When you travel by plane, it’s normal to worry a little. A metal structure bigger than a house, with no feathers or anything, is not exactly what you’d think could fly. But it does. And one of the many questions people have is: What happens if lightning strikes it?

What happens if lightning strikes it?

The answer is simple. Nothing.

You can continue sleeping peacefully because nothing will happen to the plane, and to those inside it.

It is quite common for an airplane to be struck by lightning. But the airplane is a metal structure and that metal creates a Faraday cage.

We define Faraday cage as an enclosure covered with metal, which when electricity is applied to it, it is not able to reach the inside, and is conducted to the outside.

And so it happens in airplanes. Most often, lightning spreads from the nose to the tail, leaving everything else intact.

But does everything remain intact?

Well, not everything, but almost everything. Most of the time the lightning enters through the weather radar, located at the tip. And yes, that melts it. The other electronic circuits are protected against surges. Otherwise, it can also melt the rivets, which will have to be checked once the aircraft reaches the ground, but it is of no further consequence.

This Faraday cage can also be applied to buildings.

It is a system whereby the roof, or parts of the building to be protected, are covered with metal in such a way that in the event of a lightning strike, it is harmlessly deflected to the ground.

This method is less used than the lightning rod because it is more complicated to cover a building with a metallic structure than to place spikes at a higher height.

In addition, the Faraday cage does not “attract” the lightning as such, but acts as an “armor” in case of impact. Therefore, trees, antennas, or animals outdoors are exposed to lightning strikes.

Nothing to do with an active type lightning rod, such as our PDC lightning rods. A lightning rod like this one does attract the lightning, preventing it from falling in the immediate vicinity. For large outdoor areas, which are otherwise impossible to protect, the only way is to use the active lightning rod.