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LHR landing: going up in stacks after lightning

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LHR landing: going up in stacks after lightning

Old 28th Jan 2019, 12:46
  #1 (permalink)  
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Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: FRA
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LHR landing: going up in stacks after lightning

Hi everyone!
I experienced a very disturbing flight as a PAX into LHR yesterday.
Coming from the European continent, the A320 Neo descended into very dark clouds over London. We were struck by lightning (loud bang) which I believe I could see out the widow hitting the right wing. At this point we were at just over 800meters hight.
The pilot immediately revved up the engines and "jerked" the plane up to 1400 meters. It felt like it was flying irradically for a while with lots of powerful moves which made me feel all the Gforces.
Pilot then announced that it was a lightning strike and that Heathrow was too busy to let us land. We would try again in 5 minutes.
The 5 minutes felt like a real struggle (PAX perception obviously).
We finally re-started a straight descent into LHR and landed with windshears etc but safely. The cabin crew with over 20 years experience seemed utterly disturbed upon landing. So was I.

I have worked as cabin crew for years and although I have experienced lightning, I have never experienced such a strange sudden increase in speed and problematic approach.
Any ideas what could have been the issue? Would ATC at LHR really instruct to go up in the stacks? The clouds were just as bad at the other flight level.
Here is the tracking for the flight: https://fr.flightaware.com/live/flig...310Z/EDDF/EGLL
Thanks!!

Frequent_Flyer is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 13:00
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800m metres, or about 2600feet is about 8 miles from touchdown so it sounds like a break-off and re-positioning. No big deal.
HEATHROW DIRECTOR is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 13:04
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Sounds perfectly normal, lightning strike on approach so go around, check that all is well, and try again.
A go around at LHR can feel a tad hairy because the airspace is very congested so manoevering is restricted.
The Ancient Geek is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 14:03
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Originally Posted by Frequent_Flyer View Post
Any ideas what could have been the issue? Would ATC at LHR really instruct to go up in the stacks?
It didn't go anywhere near the stacks after its missed approach. Here's its track.



The return flight to FRA took off about 25 later than usual.
DaveReidUK is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 14:15
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Watched it on FR24 and it looked to be a perfectly normal manoeuvre following the lightning strike. As mentioned above, it would have been wise, just to be sure, for the crew to initiate a GA following the lightning strike to ensure all was well rather than continue that approach in IMC conditions. The subsequent track clearly indicates that ATC neatly vectored the aircraft around into the next available "slot" in the landing sequence. At no time did the aircraft re-enter the stack.

Edit: Was busy faffing whilst DR basically posted the same conclusion.
Hotel Tango is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 14:20
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Once sat through a go around landing in a BA737 at Gatwick. First thing was engines spooling up followed by a wee tug upwards and away she went, quite exhilarating actually but some frowns from around cabin. ga triggered by fod on runway which was a panel from previous to. Think the pilots like the opportunity to employ some of the latent performance available.
weemonkey is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 14:35
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Generally speaking, lightning = thunderstorm, and thunderstorm = turbulence. Wouldn't really surprise me at all to get a rough and disturbing flight in the vicinity of lightning.

That's in addition to the tight turns and maneuvering the airspace may require, as correctly described previously.
pattern_is_full is offline  
Old 28th Jan 2019, 19:21
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Thanks for all this insights gents! Makes alot of sense. Yes, I have experienced go-around at LHR shortly before touch-down on the runway which was fine.
DaveReidUK why do you think the return flight was delayed even though the aircraft landed on time? Inspection for lightning damage?
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Old 28th Jan 2019, 20:18
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Originally Posted by Frequent_Flyer View Post
DaveReidUK why do you think the return flight was delayed even though the aircraft landed on time? Inspection for lightning damage?
I think that's probably the reason.

Lufthansa Technik: Lightning strikes during flight
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 14:41
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Originally Posted by Frequent_Flyer View Post
.
The pilot immediately revved up the engines and "jerked" the plane up to 1400 meters. It felt like it was flying irradically for a while with lots of powerful moves which made me feel all the Gforces.
Pilot then announced that it was a lightning strike and that Heathrow was too busy to let us land. We would try again in 5 minutes.
This makes Heathrow ATC sound like couldn't-care-less morons.

In actual fact, looking at the trace of the track, the whole team would have been working their butts off the moment the final approach was disturbed by the strike, and co-ordinated the aircraft back round as first priority in the minimum possible time, while handling everyone else on the approach who are now making way for this aircraft.
WHBM is offline  
Old 5th Feb 2019, 16:57
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To put the event in context, there were 582 go-arounds at LHR in 2017.
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Old 5th Feb 2019, 17:06
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I think the comment about LHR being too busy to let us land falls into the say something that doesnt worry the passengers much and of course while no doubt LH pilots speak excellent English its not their first language . In any event it sounds better than 'we have been hit by lightening and are going around again in case it has damaged the aircraft '

I am sure LH pilots who are large and regular users of Heathrow would never bad mouth LHR ATC intentionally .

If I could diverge into a huge thread drift, the only common thing being a 'surprise' during a landing-I have just come back from Sri Lanka and when the LHR-CMB flight touched down , a nice stable approach followed by a nice solid firm landing , the reversers deployed normally and powered up but after about 5 seconds the brakes came on at level I have never previously experienced and there was a massive deceleration which flung everyone against their belts . i know there are many possible reasons from runway incursion to misjudging trying to make a taxiway but it sure was a graphic demonstration of the power of modern aircraft brakes (A330-300) and more importantly why you should make sure your seat belt is properly fastened , no belt on this trip and you would have got face full of seat back very very quickly .
pax britanica is offline  
Old 6th Feb 2019, 06:53
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WHBM... you sure have a "Hollywood" view on LHR ATC. Nobody would have worked their buts off. A go-around, as suggested by Dave's post, is not unusual and it is no big deal fitting a go-around back into the landing stream. A maximum of two controllers would probably have handled the "event". Sorry to disappoint you!
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