An Emirates A380 is currently stranded in Munich following a series of lightning strikes. While the aircraft landed safely, it is now grounded as the aircraft is not deemed safe for flight. The incident took place as the flight was preparing to land on Monday.
Emirates is currently the world’s largest A380 operator, regularly flying A380s to multiple destinations across the globe. In fact, in London alone, the A380 operates to both Heathrow and Gatwick with Emirates also flying their Boeing 777 into Stansted Airport.
Flight EK51 departed from Dubai at 16:22. This was slightly late, as the aircraft was due to depart at 15:55. Despite this, the aircraft arrived early at the time of 19:17 although it was scheduled to land at 19:35. This meant that the total flight time for the aircraft was five hours and fifty-six minutes.
It appears as though the aircraft entered a lightning storm shortly before landing at Munich. Reports suggest that the aircraft was struck several times in quick succession. Thankfully, this incident had no effect on the safety of the flight, and the aircraft was able to land without incident.
The exact details of the damage sustained by the aircraft are not immediately clear. We do, however, know that the aircraft is not fit for flight.
Records show that the aircraft has been grounded since it landed at Munich. The aircraft involved in the incident is registered A6-EOK, and is a four year old A380, first flown in February 2015. It was the 184th A380 to be constructed by Airbus.
As a result of the aircraft’s grounding, the return flight to Dubai, EK52, was cancelled. While it has not been confirmed, it is likely that Emirates rebooked passengers onto yesterday and today’s flights. Simple Flying has contacted Emirates for clarification on this.
What is a lightning strike?
A lightning strike is exactly what it says on the tin, a strike of lightning. This is essentially a bolt of electricity which jumps from the sky to the ground. While aircraft lightning strikes are incredibly common, they can have a fearsome reputation among travellers.
The metal shell of the aircraft shields passengers from the effects of the lightning strike. This phenomenon is known as a Faraday cage. Carbon composite aircraft have a thin layer of copper in the aircraft’s skin to replicate this effect.
Due to the heat involved in a lightning strike, some localised damage may occur to the aircraft. Indeed, a lightning strike can reach temperatures of 30,000 degrees Celcius. This can cause some localised melting where the strike hits the aircraft. Most passengers may only notice a flash or a bang when lightning hits an aircraft.
How long do you think Emirates’ Airbus A380 will be grounded. Have you experienced an aircraft lightning strike? Let us know in the comments down below.