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- 18/04/2012, 14:58 #1
United Airlines: Rayo provoca que un Boeing 777 regrese a San Francisco
A United Airlines Boeing 777-222/ER, registration N788UA, operating as Flight UA-930, traveling from San Francisco International Airport (SFO) to London Heathrow Airport (LHR) was struck by lightning on Thursday, April 12, 2012 shortly after 8:00 p.m. PDT, causing the plane to return to San Francisco, according to reports published on Friday, April 13 by The Associated Press, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Los Angeles Times, and other sources.
The incident occurred as the plane was climbing through 13,000 feet after takeoff, and resulted in the airport suspending flight operations until the storm had moved through the region, according to Nancie Parker, the SFO duty manager.
Passengers aboard the flight reported a big flash followed by an enormous "bang" as oxygen masks dropped about 45 minutes into the flight, as seen in the attached video clip and slide show which accompany this report.
None of the 258 passengers on the Boeing 777 were injured. While an inspection determined that there was no damage to the plane, travelers were delayed overnight until a replacement flight was scheduled for the following afternoon.
Studies by The Boeing Company have determined that airliners are struck by lightning an average of twice per year out of an estimated 30.12 million flights annually. It is very unusual for a plane to be struck by lightning.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that there are some 16 million lightning storms each year throughout the world.
The effects of normal lightning on traditional metal-covered aircraft are well understood and serious damage from a lightning strike to an aircraft is rare.
However, as there have been more newer planes with exterior skins made of non-conducting composite materials, like the just introduced Boeing 787 Dreamliner, additional design and testing have been required before certification of these aircraft into commercial service.
Positive lightning has been blamed for the crash of Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707-121 registered as N709PA, en route from Baltimore to Philadelphia on December 8, 1963, which went down near Elkton, Maryland after being hit by lightning, killing all 81 on board.
At that time, aircraft were not designed to withstand such strikes. The destruction of a glider in 1999 has also been attributed to a positive lightning strike.
Unlike the more common negative lightning, positive lightning occurs when a positive charge is carried by the top of the clouds rather than the ground. As a result of having greater power, as well as lack of warning, positive lightning strikes are considerably more dangerous.
Lightning is an atmospheric electrical discharge accompanied by thunder, usually associated and produced by cumulonimbus clouds, but also occurring during volcanic eruptions or in dust storms.
This discharge of atmospheric electricity releases a bolt of lightning that can travel at speeds of 140,000 mph, and can reach temperatures approaching 54,000 °F, hot enough to fuse silica sand into glass channels.
An estimated 24,000 people on the ground are killed by lightning strikes around the world each year and about 240,000 are injured.
In the United States, it is the second biggest weather related killer after floods. Between 9% and 10% of those struck die, for an average of 40 to 50 deaths per year. The odds of anyone living in the U.S. being struck by lightning in a given year is calculated at one in 500,000.
Lightning strike causes United Airlines jet to return to San Francisco - National Airlines/Airport | Examiner.com
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