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LH3431 B737 lightning strike?

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LH3431 B737 lightning strike?

Old 6th Apr 2008, 07:36
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LH3431 B737 lightning strike?

Local media reports of possible lightningstrike followed by fire in both (!) engines, severe turbulence and bits and pieces of the tail missing after landing.

Supposedly happened just after departure from Sofia, B 737.
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Old 6th Apr 2008, 12:22
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LH 737 on fire

Anyone have any info on this?

Can only find the norwegian article on it;
http://www.dagbladet.no/dinside/2008/04/06/531684.html

Quick summary;

Passenger tells story from last night over Sofia, Bulgaria
LH3431, B737 classic headed for Frankfurt.

Big flash, possibly lightning. Engine instantly on fire.
possibly both.
Aircraft started shaking, hysterical passengers, crying
flight attendance.

On the ground again, the pilot took a mobile photo of the tail
showing that a piece had fallen off and hanging down....

Cheers,

M
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Old 6th Apr 2008, 12:41
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Anyone know about LH in big trouble in Sofia??

Hi!

There is a story in norwegian paper "Dagbladet" today http://www.dagbladet.no/dinside/2008/04/06/531684.html about Lufthansa B737 having big problems after departure from Sofia yesterday.

Been searching for it on the net, but can't find anything else.

Fast translation of story the passenger is telling (a former SAS employee):

3-4 minutes after departure we got into clouds and did see a big flash, must have been lightning. I was sitting by the wing and did see the engine catch fire at once. According to a collegue on the other side, that engine was on fire too. Aircraft started shaking like I never experienced before, atleast one of the stewardesses was screaming and crying...................

....... After landing the captain said it was 1 in a billion chance this would happen, and the picture he did show mef rom his mobile taken on the runway revealed clearly that something had fallen of the tail and also something was hanging down.

-------------

Find it strange that I can't find anything else about this on the net.

Regards
Final vectors
Norway
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Old 6th Apr 2008, 16:29
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Fire in both engines sounds like a fairly severe case of St Elmo's fire ( wholly possible in an active CB) if it really was both engines on fire I doubt anyone would be telling the story.
Could also of course be a surge caused by ingesting vast quantities of water.
In any case I don't dispute the seriousness of it, sure all will become public in due course.
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Old 6th Apr 2008, 18:17
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Wowwww, I am not a pilot and thought that lightening was not a severe danger for a plane. I had myself a lightening strike (on the left wind where I was sitting). landing in VCE on a Iberworld A320. Just a bang, a bit of a shaking, reflection on the cabin ceiling, but continued landing with no problems, no turbulence.....

Sounds a terrifying scene indeed.

Just a question. Wouldn´t the weather screens or whatever they are called, have indicated that they were approaching a tricky area?.

Last edited by keltic; 6th Apr 2008 at 18:29.
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Old 6th Apr 2008, 22:35
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Pictures of the Boeing tail

Some pictures in a Bulgarian spotter forum showing the damaged elevator. Might have been a lightning strike. Looks severe! Reg: D-ABXM, a 737-3.

Last edited by Patuta; 6th Apr 2008 at 22:48.
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Old 7th Apr 2008, 05:39
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In response to Keltic - no, not necessarily. En route back from Mexico City once we were flying through what seemed to be soup, nothing showing on radar, when we had a lightning strike. Blew a hole in the radome and, according to the pax, they saw the fireball exiting by way of the starboard wing.
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Old 7th Apr 2008, 05:52
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Just a humble ops chap here

Would that be the exit point on the trim tab?

Are the pics of the type sent to the manufacturer to assess 'within limits?'

Cheers,

Bored
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Old 7th Apr 2008, 08:05
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A more than usual exit damage on the elevator trim tab. You wouldn't see any pictures of "engine fire" as there was no engine fire. It would have been coronal discharge called St.Elmo's fire. I have experienced a lightning strike on the nose in a thunderstorm which sent a ball of fire from beside the first officer's left knee, out of the cockpit, rolling down the aisle and exiting with a big bang in the tail cone. No serious damage though and nobody hurt except a few soiled undies.
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Old 7th Apr 2008, 09:37
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Could have been engines stall due to massive hail ingestion.
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Old 7th Apr 2008, 10:00
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Highly unlikely to have any effect on the engines but it does tend to make you spill your coffee!
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 12:03
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Passanger

I was a passenger on the plain. If anyone like to hear my story (and not from a journalist point of view...) just e-mail me at [email protected] . It was a pretty rough tour, and I haven't managed to get over it yet. The eninges was not at fire but some of us (not me) saw flames bursting out. If that was right after the lightning i am not sure...
The turbulence (lasted app. 5 min) was not normal turbulence but heavy "shaking". It was caused (told by the captain) by the loose part making heavy turbulence and a terrible sound. When the part was "thrown away" the turbulence stopped as sudden as it arrived. We turned around and landed a "normal" landing. The problem was that the captain didn't get any alarms and didn't know what caused the turbulence. We therefore made the landing with NO information. So..... we were safe when the plane stopped. So it was 15 (app.) terrible minutes. People crying (also the airattendent), praying to God, some turned on their phones to get a last call and goodbye.....
Once again if anyone are interested just e-mail me... I am not an expert but a passenger that got to speak to the captain...
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 15:33
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Steelfo

Would you consider it possible to share your experiences with the Forum members?

I believe that the professional comments of some members to such a post might help.

Hope you are recovering OK

FB
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 16:44
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For those that don't know, the B737 has a trimable horizontal stabilisor and hydraulically actuated elevators. It also has a trim tab on each elevator. In normal hydraulic control this tab is locked and in line with the elevator. With no hydraulics in manual control, it is unlocked and works as a trim tab. The pictures show that the trim tab actuating rods and attachment on the trim tab is missing, so the trim tab would have been flapping. This would have ben the exit point for the lightning, wonder where the entry point was?
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 18:08
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Sharing

Of course I am willing to share my experience. I have told the short story but right now I am having problems with flashbacks. The actual flying part is not the big problem but the flashback of the peoples reaction and panic and most of all my own thoughts and feeling are the worst. It gets better and better so i hope everything turns out good.
What really pisses me off is that i feel that Lufthansa is trying to "smothen" up the incident. Like they are trying to say that this was not that bad.... Well... I cant as a normal passanger tell how bad it was by seeing the pictures (that I know is the right ones because the captain showed us on his mobile phone). So... today we got an offical statement from Lufthansa that shortly tells:
"...hit by lightning shortly after take-off. The captain was handling this by the Lufthansa strict manual and called an emergency landing so that he could immidiately could go back to Sofia. Every captains is trained on this in a simulator. For you as passangers I have no doubt that this was seen as dramatic, but we have to say that there never was a danger for neither the passangers, the rest of the people on board or the aircraft. After landing it was obtained damages on the left hight-? and therefore the aircraft could not be in traffic before this was repared by technicians"

The problem is that the captain told us that he to was afraid, and this was nothing near what they had trained on in a simulator because this was to severe. He had no idea what caused the "shaking" and turbulence before he was on the ground.

So I have some questions:
1. What could have happened if not the part that was causing the shaking was thorn away? I have to say that it had to be very hard to control the aircraft in such a turbulence. How long could the aircraft stand such turbulence before it affected other parts/instruments?
2. How bad was it for you expert that has seen the pictures? Are they trying to make this better then it was? Or am I just to "close" the incident to see things clear?
3. How crusual are the part that was hit and how difficult is it to fly without it?
4. Shouldnt this be more official than it is?

Just some questions from me.

If you have any more questions about the incident dont hesitate to contact me.

Best regards
Steelfo
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 18:23
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Hit by a missile.

All 3 hydraulic systems gone, so no steering anymore!

Landed successfully.

Last edited by hetfield; 8th Apr 2008 at 18:39.
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 20:53
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Hetfield:

I assume that's the DHL Airbus at Baghdad?
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Old 8th Apr 2008, 22:11
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Many thanks steelfo for facing up to the 'memories' and sharing with us .

May I suggest that subsequent posts stick to the subject.

It is clear that professionals on the type out there can make a significant contribution to steelfo's recovery by helping him/her understand what happened and the level of real danger he/she was / was not in.

FB
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Old 9th Apr 2008, 04:09
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Flying Brain....Amen

This is a classic time for the "Pros" of this forum to help someone who's obviously distressed over a harrowing experience.

Perhaps someone here can help explain that it wasn't as bad as it seemed for Steelfo?
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Old 9th Apr 2008, 04:55
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@llondel

Yes, unbelievable performance of the DHL-crew.
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