- The A380 Singapore Airlines flight descended straight into storm’s path before landing at Singapore
- Photographer Gary Brown captured the bolt of lightning whisk past the plane’s right wing about 6.30am
- He described the event as a battle between ‘man’s best engineering versus the nature of lightning.’
- A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesperson said planes can withstand lightning strikes and are commonly hit
- Birmingham and Heathrow-bound planes survived lightning strikes during their descent
This is the hair-raising moment an A380 Singapore Airlines plane flew straight into the oncoming path of an electrical storm before narrowly missing a stray bolt of lightning.
Passengers aboard the long-haul flight from London to Singapore woke up gasping at the site of the frightening electrical storm shortly before the aircraft’s arrival at Singapore airport.
It sent the stomachs of at least two passengers churning as they struggled to hold down their in-flight breakfast, which was served at the same point the storm engulfed the aircraft some 20,000 feet above sea level.
The plane was on descent into Singapore when it brushed passed this huge bolt of lightning at more than 20,000 feet above the ground
Using his iPhone, photographer Gary Brown scrambled for his iPhone to capture the storm at 120 frames per second
Gary Brown was the man aboard who photographed the incredible light show
It was anything but a relaxing descent into Singapore for photographer Gary Brown and the passenger seated to his left in the aircraft’s emergency exit row.
Mr Brown, 40, described the moment as a test of ‘man’s best engineering versus something as simple as the nature of lightning.’ And while he had heard about an aircraft’s ability to withstand the electrical force of lightning, it didn’t make he nor his frightened passenger feel any more at ease.
‘I was sitting there capturing these photos and the person sitting next to me freaked out,’ he told Daily Mail Australia.
‘To see lightning in the middle of the sky, surrounding the plane was gob-smacking.’
‘Just the way these planes are designed to take all that electrical power, enough to light up a whole city, is unbelievable.’
Just minutes before Mr Brown captured the iPhone images at 120 frames per second, the aircraft had been hovering above the storm in the pre-dawn sky with next to no light around. It then began making its descent straight through the storm on approach into Singapore.
Incredibly the aircraft experienced very little turbulence as a result of the storm.
Mr Brown said when the realistation that he and other passengers on board would be safe, his fear quickly turned to delight.
‘It was, although quite scary, very very pretty,’ he said.
A Civil Aviation Safety Authority spokesman said while he could not specifically comment on A380′s, but said ‘aircraft are built to cope with lightning.’
‘It passes through the aircraft and does not affect passengers,’ he told MailOnline.
David Learmount, operations and safety editor of website Flightglobal, told MailOnline after a 2011 incident when a plane was struck at Heathrow airport that it was common occurrence planes get struck by lightning.
His comments came after the Airbus A380 was hit while hovering above Heathrow.
‘Planes get hit by lightning several times a year,’ he said. ‘They act as a conductor. Getting a good strike like this can look very dramatic but it might not make any impact.’
‘Manufacturers must make aircraft capable of withstanding a lightning strike and protecting those inside.
Earlier this year a Boeing 737 aircraft experienced a ‘massive bang’ when the KLM service from Amsterdam to Birmingham was hit by lightning.
A statement from KLM at the time state: ‘Occasionally aircraft is hit multiple times by lightning. All pilots and air crew are trained to deal with this.’
A spokesman for Birmingham Airport said: ‘All aircraft landed safely without incident.’
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Cardiff, United Kingdom,
13 hours ago
Non-story, aircraft always get hit by lightning.
13 hours ago
That’s nothing major when compared to the Tornado Alley in the US. I’ve flown many times between Dallas and California and the views are more than spectacular with storms on both sides while the plane tries to squeeze through between them. Te turbulence can also be quite awesome.
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Terrifying moment plane flew straight into the path of an electrical storm ...