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No. 81: May-Jun 1992

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Rayed Ball Lightning Hits Plane

The following material is "reprinted" from CompuServe's Aviation Special Interest Group (AVSIG), with the permission of J. Baum. (Cr. E. Kimbrough) For the uninitiated, we are dealing with a computer bulletin board here!

Subject: #235852-Ball Lightning
From: Jeff Baum (PHX) 73740.1302@compuserve.com
To: Emory Kimbrough [TCL] 72777.1553@compuserve.com(X)

"On 8 January 1992 we were in MSP [Minneapolis/St. Paul] ready for pushback at sunrise. Weather was sleet squalls, temperature of +2 degrees C (35 degrees F), ceiling of indefinite 100 obscured, visibility of about 1 and mile variable. We deiced and taxied for the active 11L, airborne in 8 minutes after deicing had ended. The First Officer was flying that leg. Climbing through about 900 feet ABL, this incandescent sphere approximately 10 cm (6 inches) in diameter surrounded by a, what I called, plasma cloud of bluish white approx 1 to 1 and meter (3 to 4 feet) in diameter with bright white 'rays' similar to a fireworks explosion formed just forward and to the left of the radome. We contacted this within second on our left side, just aft of the attach seam of the radome (namely about in line with my left foot). With this contact there was a sharp bang. The cabin crew reported the loud bang but didn't see any haze or light inside the cabin. One did report seeing a bright light on the left side of the aircraft's exterior."

Reference. Rayed ball lightning is fairly common. We have cataloged it in GLB3 in our catalog: Lightning, Auroras. To order, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #81, MAY-JUN 1992. 1992-2000 William R. Corliss