Lightning And A Near Collision

September 21, 2009

in Weather Stories

A few years ago, I took off from Albany on an AA super80.  It was cloudy and raining when we took off, but everything went as normal.   We were bouncing around quite a bit due to the turbulence of the storm, but basically everything was OK.  About 10 minutes into the flight, as we were still climbing out, there was suddenly a huge bright flash of light and a very loud bang.  Practically everyone on the plane jumped and let out some sort of scream/exclamation.  We had been hit by lightning!  Other than that, nothing seemed to happen, and the plane continued to climb.  A few minutes after that, the pilot came on the PA and told us that while we had been hit by lightning, the plane was fine, and that being hit by lightning was no big deal, as aircraft were designed to deal with it.

So we continued on, eventually leveling off at cruising altitude.  We were above the clouds and the flight had become quite smooth.  The flight attendants were in the aisle with the drink carts serving passengers.  I was looking out the left side window, which was right over the wing.  Suddenly, the spoilers on the wings (those flaps on top of the wings that rise up right after you land, to spoil the lift of the wings) went fully open, and the plane dropped like a rock!  I heard a loud clattering to my right, and a female voice (the FA as it turned out) yelling a word I’ve never heard from a FA before or since (it started with an “F”).  She was uttering this word as she fell onto the floor after hitting the ceiling of the plane.  The drink cart had likewise risen off the floor and fallen back, tipping over and spilling its contents as it struck.  The cart, unlike the FA, was mute.

Luckily, the flight attendant was not badly hurt, and the drink cart was uprighted and the drinks placed back on.  Shortly afterward, the pilot was back on the PA to tell us (as he put it): “We got a little too up close and personal with another airplane and our on-board systems took evasive action.”   I was thinking that bad things come in threes, so I was thankful that we landed safely at ORD an hour or so later.  But I’d like not to be on a flight again where the FA feels it necessary to use the F-word.


{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

saw September 22, 2009 at 7:59 am

Don't on-board systems WARN pilots about nearby planes BEFORE they have to take action on their own? Was your pilot not paying attention? I've been in several situations where emergency maneuvers were made, but none that drastic. Seems like a panic move, and that something else was going on there…


Amber May 20, 2016 at 3:41 pm

Planes do most of the flying for the pilots these days.


Bob September 22, 2009 at 9:44 am

Waa, then the baby in front of me crapped all over the place and it flew everywhere and then the guy in the aisle seat had his head ripped off when the drink cart landed on him,Waaaaa, then the foul mouthed flight attendant puked all over everyone within a twenty seat radius and then screamed f*** two more times, then to top it all off the FA screwed up my drink order by rudely not sticking one of those umbrellas in it . And I think I broke a nail and I think that I may be a serial whiner and I think that I should shut the f*** up and WAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!


Demotage September 22, 2009 at 10:29 am

Could be SAW. I really only know what happened and what they told us.


saw September 22, 2009 at 12:16 pm

Yup… and most cases, I don't think they tell you the 100% truth 🙂

Oh, and Bob… you're an idiot. Did you read this and not have something to say, so you just spewed out some crap? If that's the case, it's OK to just not comment…


Elodie September 22, 2009 at 2:58 pm

Yes, this was a terrifying experience, but really? You had to make a big deal about the FA cussing? Dude, you said she hit and the ceiling and the floor! It was a cry of surprise–words like that slip out sometimes when, you know, you experience a great shock like being suddenly shaken around like a ragdoll. Geez. Cut her some slack.


Demotage September 24, 2009 at 5:34 am

I wasn't critisizing the FA. I was illustrating that the event was severe enough that a normally circumspect person would drop an f-bomb. We've all seen circumstances where a FA faced a situation that would drive almost anyone to cursing. But they almost invariably handle the situation with professional calm. What I was conveying is that given the difficulty of rattling a FA, I'd rather not be in a circumstance that warrants another F-bomb from a person so unlikely to drop one.


saw September 24, 2009 at 7:33 am

Elodie… I didn't read the F-word commentary as a criticism – especially since Demo mentions "I've never heard a FA utter that before."

And honestly, you don't want to be in a situation where you hear them saying that in response to a "flight related event"… that's generally to be taken as "bad news".


madachode September 24, 2009 at 8:24 am

Next time you want to complain about what you pay for, do us all a favor and don't leave your house, don't go anywhere just kill yourself.


Elodie September 24, 2009 at 10:56 am

Oooh, sorry. I saw your last sentence and thought you were being critical. Whoops.


saw September 24, 2009 at 5:58 pm

Hey madachode… if you're going to comment, put the comment on the right story at least… moron.


Leave a Comment
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Previous post:

Next post: