Tuesday, August 01, 2017

Lightning struck BA aircraft takes off after a week

Chennai: A British Airways aircraft on a scheduled flight from London to Chennai on July 22/23 suffered a lightning strike which led to the plane being grounded at Chennai airport. The incident is said to be the first of its kind at Chennai airport in recent times.

Flight BA35, operated with one of the airline’s Boeing 787-8 (G-ZBJG), left London’s Heathrow airport on July 22 a little after 2 p.m. local time. Sometime after take-off, the jet was struck by lightning. The crew decided to continue flying and the flight landed at Chennai at 4.17 a.m. against its scheduled arrival time of 3.30 a.m., covering the distance of 8,242 km in a little over nine hours, non-stop. Damage to the aircraft was discovered after engineering checks at Chennai. The return flight, BA36, scheduled at 5.30 a.m on July 23 was cancelled, which the airline attributed to “a technical issue.”

As the plane was grounded for seven days and parked off at the airport’s secondary runway, it led to speculation among aviation enthusiasts here that the damage was significant. The airframe of this futuristic, wide body twin engine aircraft, popularly called the Dreamliner, makes extensive use of carbon fibre composite materials.
Lightning strikes to flights are not uncommon and aviation data shows that a plane can be struck by lightning every 1,000 to 3,000 flight hours.
01/08/17 Murali N. Krishnaswamy/The Hindu