A pilot was able to land a CF-18 safely in Whitecourt, Alta. on Thursday after the plane was struck by lightning.
Capt. Adam Runge was on his way to Whitecourt for the Hometown Heroes Airshow scheduled to take place this weekend. He was about 50 miles away from his final destination when the plane was struck by lightning.
“A clearly defined bolt stretched from the clouds towards the aircraft,” said Runge. He said the strike was quick and compared the feeling to putting a finger in an electric socket.
“It was probably just a split second, we’re talking not even half a second I’m guessing, that it hit the aircraft around the cockpit area,” he said. “It was just a short tingle.”
He said the power in the plane went out after the bolt struck, but returned quickly.
Runge — who has been a pilot for 12 years and been flying CF-18’s for four — said he did not have to declare an emergency at the time as everything on the aircraft was still functioning normally.
The pilot spoke nonchalantly about the incident, saying he remained focused during his flight.
“This could have led to a bigger event potentially had other systems on the aircraft been damage, but in this case it everything was fine,” Runge said. “I was fine, and I continued on the trip to Whitecourt with no incident.”
There was no visible damage to the airplane and Runge hopes he will be able to join in the practice runs on Friday ahead of this weekend’s airshow.
“Chalk it up to an interesting event,” he said. “Tomorrow once we do a little bit more inspection on the aircraft to make sure there were no systems damaged, we’ll be right back in and participating in the airshow agenda.”