Airplanes often trigger lightning when flying through a heavily charged region of a
cloud which then flies through the lightning flash, which reattaches itself to the
fuselage at other locations while the airplane is in the electric “circuit” between
the cloud regions of opposite polarity.
A lightning strike usually hits an extremity of an airplane, like the wingtip or its nose,
travels through the conductive exterior skin and structures of the aircraft, and then exits through
another extremity, such as the tail.
Most aircraft skins consist primarily of aluminum, which conducts electricity very well, but
some modern aircrafts are made of advanced lightweight carbon composite materials that is
then covered with a slim layer of copper and embedded layer of conductive fibers or screens
which are less conductive than aluminum.
An airplane is designed in a way that it can withstand powerful bolts of lightning without
compromising the safety of the people inside, a lightning bolt may exert an enormous amount of
energy, but in essence, just like any other circuit, it’s just a flow of electrons in a particular
Therefore, the airplane becomes a Faraday cage of sorts, ensuring the absolute safety
of the people within itElectrically speaking, at lightning’s higher frequencies, currents are carried mostly
on the outside of conducting objects that carry most of the lightning on outer
The same holds true for lightning when it hits a car with a metallic top: the outer surface
carries most of the electricity and the majority of the current flows from the car’s metal cage into
the ground below.
In essence, a car acts like a mobile Faraday cage, an enclosure formed by conductive
material or by a mesh of conductive material, which can block external electrostatic and
electromagnetic influences.
When a spark of electric current strikes the cage, it conducts electricity and passes it onto
the ground, leaving the inhabitant of the cage completely unscathed by the powerful electric
current such as lightning.
However, ‘Faradayness’ of cars can be compromised by a number of factors, such as substandard
quality metal used in car’s frame and convertibles don’t have metal roofs which impedes
electricity’s ability to flow through the car

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