EXPERT: 'Planes get struck by lightning more than you may think'
Bad weather is affecting travelers across the country, especially people catching flights.
Tuesday, a flight diverted to Chattanooga after it was struck by lightning.
Former NTSB Chairman Jim Hall tells Channel 3, it's much more common than people realize. He said it's estimated that most commercial planes get struck by lightning at least once a year.
“It's a common occurrence, and aircraft is engineered to ensure that it's safe in those situations," said Hall.
A plane headed to Atlanta from Milwaukee made an emergency landing in Chattanooga after it was struck by lightning Tuesday.
Hall said airplanes are made to handle it. The plane acts as a lightning rod, and it's engineered so that a lightning strike will pass through the plane and go to the ground.
Hall has been on two planes when this happened, "You normally see a flash; you may hear a sound. It's very quick, but you know something has happened."
He said when a plane is struck by lightning, most pilots will continue the flight and the plane would be inspected at its next destination.
In Tuesday’s case, he said it sounds like the pilot made a good call diverting the flight and making an emergency landing.
“The aircraft that was here had side mounted engines. There is a possibility in those situations that there could be a flame out or some damage to the engine,” explained Hall, “So, the pilot made a very wise decision in getting on the ground as soon as possible."
He said every plane that is struck by lightning during a flight is inspected after it lands.