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Author Topic: KBWI lightning strike audio  (Read 6974 times)
RonR
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« on: September 14, 2013, 11:44:15 AM »

On Thursday 9/12 at about 2:20PM there was a lightning strike at KBWI airport that shut down ATC operations.  This audio clip is a compilation of KBWI Approach, Tower and Ground.  The news reports said that lightning struck the tower.  There's no doubt something went wrong but if you listen, you might notice that the tower controllers sounded like they themselves didn't know exactly why they were shutting down.  If lightning struck the tower, it seems to me that someone (pilot or controller) would have noticed a bright flash and an incredibly loud bang...and if a storm was on top of the airport, I doubt planes would have tried landing in that...

Ron

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notaperfectpilot
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« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2013, 11:59:19 AM »

On Thursday 9/12 at about 2:20PM there was a lightning strike at KBWI airport that shut down ATC operations.  This audio clip is a compilation of KBWI Approach, Tower and Ground.  The news reports said that lightning struck the tower.  There's no doubt something went wrong but if you listen, you might notice that the tower controllers sounded like they themselves didn't know exactly why they were shutting down.  If lightning struck the tower, it seems to me that someone (pilot or controller) would have noticed a bright flash and an incredibly loud bang...and if a storm was on top of the airport, I doubt planes would have tried landing in that...

Ron



Man, you beat me to it, I was just getting ready to start the new topic!  grin Anyways, attached are the complete audio for Tower, Ground, and Approach, shortened for silence and unrelated traffic (you did a great job shortening it!). Seems like a lot of aircraft heard that they could get ATC from Potomac Approach, so quite a few pilots calling the TRACON asking "hey, what is going on here?" From what Approach says, one of the controllers was shocked through one of the phones due to the strike, hence the closure...
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RonR
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« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2013, 12:09:17 PM »

That's funny!  grin I was actually thinking to myself as I was putting it all together...watch, I'm going to spend all this time putting this audio file together and when I'm finally done, someone else will post it first  smiley Actually i was surprised that it hadn't been posted sooner...

I dunno, this whole thing seems strange to me.  I don't doubt there was a lightning strike somewhere, but it surely wasn't at the airport.  Something like that would not go unnoticed if it were that close.  Somebody would have said something.  In fact one flight even asked where the weather was and ATC said it was about four miles away...

Ron

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ZBW Boston Center (CLIPR32/HTO31)
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RonR
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« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2013, 12:15:07 PM »

I especially liked one pilot's question: "What's ATC Zero?"  grin
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notaperfectpilot
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« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2013, 01:08:06 PM »

That's funny!  grin I was actually thinking to myself as I was putting it all together...watch, I'm going to spend all this time putting this audio file together and when I'm finally done, someone else will post it first  smiley Actually i was surprised that it hadn't been posted sooner...

I dunno, this whole thing seems strange to me.  I don't doubt there was a lightning strike somewhere, but it surely wasn't at the airport.  Something like that would not go unnoticed if it were that close.  Somebody would have said something.  In fact one flight even asked where the weather was and ATC said it was about four miles away...

Ron


I especially liked one pilot's question: "What's ATC Zero?"  grin

yeah, I was sure that someone was going to beat me to it, I had taken my own time getting it done, had about, what, 2 hours to sift through? grin

hard to say, like you said, the controllers seemed to not know what was going on at that time, I would have thought it would have been obvious is the tower was struck, there would be a lot of light, and a nice WHAM, I would think. Then and again, another flight queried if they had gotten struck, as if they had seen it...
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trichorse
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2013, 07:51:57 PM »

There is a phenomenon known as positively charged lightning that can strike several miles from the source point, which is in the very top of thunderheads.  It's about a hundred times more powerful than negatively charged "normal" lightning, making it very, very dangerous.  That could explain why lightning struck the tower when the weather was several miles away.

This is also not the first time this has happened at BWI airport.  In late June of 2008, the tower was struck by lightning, but that occured as a thunderstorm was passing over the area.
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