commercial aircraft are each struck by lightning at least once per year, according to estimates by aviation experts. Luckily, they rarely compromise flights. As passengers, we may not always notice the event. With their electrically conductive surfaces, planes serve as something like lightning rods in flight. Their amplified electrical fields make aircraft themselves responsible for about 90 percent of these strikes. Planes are usually rerouted to avoid storms and potential lightning, but a new idea being investigated would actually see planes intentionally increase their electrical charge and fly right through the threatening storms. Although it sounds counterintuitive — or even a bit insane — researcher demonstrate that there is a sweet spot for an airplane’s electrical charge that that could let it avoid strikes, even in the midst of a storm.

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