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airweather
5th Apr 2010, 19:00
Hi, I have a meteorological reporting question, I am interested to know whether a pilot(s) would report a 'ball lightning' sighting during a flight if there was not a direct lightning strike/impact to the plane? What are the requirements/recommendations for such rare meteorological phenomena reporting? Many thanks.

Pilot Positive
5th Apr 2010, 19:10
Ball lightning is a tricky one because its a disputed phenomena amongst metmen - with differing views of definitions. Best to report it to ATC as just lightning rather than attempting to give some kind of descriptor.

If you have it, use the wx radar to identify heavy preciptation returns (could be indicative of mature CB formations and therefore possible lightning) and ask ATC for appropriate track corrections to avoid in the first place.

Evening Star
7th Apr 2010, 16:30
There is a slowly emerging consensus concerning ball lightning, although the phenomenon is difficult to study and, as PP points out, there are still those sceptical about the whole business. As SLF, I cannot comment on whether one reports to ATC. However, can say with certainty that The Tornado and Storm Research Organisation (http://www.torro.org.uk/site/report_intro.php) will positively welcome any reports, particularly from well qualified observers.

airweather
8th Apr 2010, 20:50
Thank you both very much for your response and advice. This is very useful. As ball lightning witnessed from the air is such a rare phenomena I am now wondering whether most pilots would be able to recognize it or even differentiate it from corona discharges for example?

Pilot Positive
8th Apr 2010, 23:58
Probably not.

I know I dont really attempt to distinguish between types (cant remember if our ATPL Met ever went into sufficient detail about lightning phenomena), instead just avoid by using a mixture of WX radar, ATC empathy and turn the flight deck lights up... :)

...and if, for some reason, its unavoidable put the seatbelts sign on, advise cabin crew and maybe make a PA to pax as an extra precaution. :ok:

There's very few sensible pilots who would fly into thunder and lightning intentionally! :}