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Summary

Summary

The Twin Otter took off from runway 16L, on climb to 3,000 ft. Both pilots reported that shortly after entering cloud at 2,000 ft there was a bright flash from the nose of the aircraft, temporarily blinding them. All electrical services had failed, but there was an electrical burning smell and smoke in the cockpit, which cleared when the electrical fire drills were completed. The on-board Emergency Locator Transmitter had also self activated. Suspecting a lightning strike, and having lost radio communications, the aircraft was flown back for a landing on runway 25, with the crew broadcasting their intentions blind. The aircraft subsequently landed safely. The departures controller noticed that the radar return from the Twin Otter had lost its altitude display soon after departure and tried unsucessfully to contact the pilot. He thought the aircraft had suffered a communications failure and, from its track, assumed it was returning to land on runway 25, and immediately cleared the adjacent airspace. The tower controller also noticed the aircraft was landing on runway 25 without communications, and issued a landing clearance by flashing a green light signal. A subsequent inspection revealed the aircraft had sustained a lightning strike on the nose. The nose cone bonding strip had been destroyed and the resulting heat damage had ruptured the nose cone structure. The current had taken multiple exit paths throughout the aircraft, rendering most electrical services inoperative, before exiting at various points on the tail surfaces.
 
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