Dramatic footage has emerged showing the hair-raising moment a KLM plane was struck by lightning as it took off from Amsterdam Airport. The jet, belonging to the Dutch national carrier, can be seen taxiing towards the runway as it prepares to take to the grey skies above the Netherlands. But as it begins to disappear into the thick clouds there is a sudden bright flash of light. A huge bolt of lightning seems to strike the plane’s nose.
The plane continued as if nothing had happened, landing in Lima, Peru, on schedule 12 hours and 40 minutes later, the website RT.com reported. The video had amassed more than 1.5 million views. “I was on that flight!” Nicole Neyer commented. “We saw something like the flash of a camera and then the pilot said it was a lightning bolt. I’m so glad these planes are prepared for that.”
Patrick Smith, a pilot and author of Cockpit Confidential, told the International Business Times that it’s not uncommon for planes to be struck by lightning – and the aircrafts usually sustain minimal damage.
“Once in a while there’s exterior damage – a superficial entry or exit wound – or minor injury to the plane’s electrical systems, but a strike typically leaves little or no evidence,” he said.
Naturally, many of the commentators were impressed with the airplane's intelligent design, which allows it to withstand such strikes. One viewer, Dan, simply responded “What an absolute beauty!” while another, LUX Aviators, posted: “That was amazing! And what a lucky catch!”.
Fortunately, most Boeing planes have a composite fuselage rather than metal, and its embedded conducting material is designed to absorb a lightning strike. Although it may sound a terrifying prospect, commercial aircraft around the world are bombarded with bolts of lightning every single day. According to experts, in an average year any given airliner can expect to be struck at least once on its travels.