Flying in a Lightning Storm

Last night I flew back to New York from Jacksonville, Florida and the weather in Florida couldn’t have been better. However, as we made our way up the east coast it started to get a little bumpier. All of a sudden you could see lightning blazing through the clouds. A truly awesome sight if you’re not the one who is in the plane. It can actually be quite terrifying and several people on plane were totally freaking out.

I have landed in lightning a few times, twice that I can recall and each time it was an uneasy feeling when you descend 30,000 feet through an electrical storm. However, those were in large jets and both times in JFK airport in New York. This time I was on a small Delta Connection plane with only 40 or so seats landing at much smaller LaGuardia Airport. Additionally, I believe that many of the people on the plane weren’t veteran flyers and it showed with how they reacted to the storm.

Some people were yelling at the flight attendants and screaming literally as the bumps ensued on our descent. I had to calm down the woman that was sitting next to me saying that it was OK and they wouldn’t land if they thought there was any danger and the storm was on the side of us, etc. Granted it was close but not close enough to do some damage. I couldn’t help but feel nervous simply because of the way everyone was reacting. However, in the end, the pilots did a great job and we landed safely, even 7 minutes early.

In my life, I have been in a car that was struck by lightning but the tires really minimized the jolt-it was scary nonetheless. Even scarier, I was caught in a flash electrical storm while playing golf and had to lay flat in the middle of the fairway taking off my metal golf spikes for 20 minutes until it passed. Obviously, there were trees on both sides so we couldn’t take shelter there and we couldn’t drive the cart back to the club house or be near our clubs. That storm was literally on top of us and was pretty unnerving not to mention loud. So I completely understand why people may freak out in a plane but I believe and certainly hope that the pilots and air traffic controllers-especially in countries like the United States would never put passengers in danger. They would re-route the plane or make them hold far away from the center of the storm.

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  1. I was stuck on a golf course in Ohio when lightning struck and I had to do the same. It was frightening. You can’t be near the metal clubs, the trees, spikes, cart or anything. I’d imagine flying would be scary, I might pass out.

  2. Wow, thats scary

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