Lightning strikes millions times a year and kills many people. Worldwide, lightning strikes on commercial planes are daily occurrences. Generally aircraft often trigger lightning when flying through a heavily charged region of a cloud. In these instances, the lightning flash originates at the airplane and extends away in opposite directions.

A cockpit camera in an F-18 fighter jet caught the stunning moment a lightning bolt struck the aircraft canopy and startled the pilot, whose initial instinct was to duck. In the rare video, evidence of the lightning strike can easily be seen on the canopy where it left marks. A crack can be seen in the glass following the lightning strike. The crack was deep, but not wide, and the canopy remained intact. The Kuwaiti pilot who goes by the handle Viper sent his video to Jack Barquist, a certified pathologists assistant in the San Diego area who holds a private pilot’s license.

Generally lightning strikes on aircraft are far from uncommon, and it is believed that every plane that is used regularly is struck by lightning at least once a year. The hi-tech planes are designed to be protected from lightning and to ensure that no gaps exist in the path the electricity travels along the aircraft’s aluminum surface. Safety features are also built into the planes’ internal electrical systems.

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