Aviation safety investigations & reports

Lightning Strike, Near Darwin, NT; VH-FWI Fokker F28 Mk 100

Investigation number:
Status: Completed
Investigation completed


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At approximately 1620 CST1 on 17 December 2005, a Fokker 100 series aircraft, registered VH-FWI, with 14 passengers and a crew of 5 was returning to Darwin on a charter flight from the Indonesian port of Kupang.

On approach to Darwin, the crew were instructed by air traffic control to hold approximately 50 NM to the south of Darwin due to thunderstorms at the airport. The crew reported that, while holding in instrument meteorological conditions at approximately 16,000 ft above ground level, and between 6 and 8 NM from any storm cells, the aircraft was stuck by lightning.

While the aircraft was still holding, approximately 20 minutes after the lighting strike, the number-2 hydraulic system low quantity warning light illuminated and the number-1 hydraulic system quantity was observed to be reducing. The aircraft was then immediately tracked for a landing on runway 29 at Darwin.

The number-1 hydraulic system low quantity warning light illuminated when the crew selected the landing gear and flap, early on final approach to land. The landing was continued and the aircraft was able to be taxied to the gate.

An engineering examination found that two of the hydraulic return lines to the elevator boost unit and a hydraulic union and attaching line were damaged, due to electrical arcing as a result of the lightning strike. The examination also found at least two strike holes to the forward and mid-section of the aircraft fuselage. There were approximately 90 other strike related damage zones along the underside of the fuselage, landing gear doors and on the trailing edges of the wings and tailplane.

During subsequent scheduled maintenance, further melting damage was found to the elevator flight control cables.

The aircraft operator reported that the aircraft was repaired and returned to service.

  1. The 24-hour clock is used in this report to describe the local time of day, Central Standard Time, when particular events occurred. Central Standard Time is Coordinated Universal Time (UTC) + 9.5 hours.
Download Final Report
[Download  PDF: 95KB]
General details
Date: 17 December 2005   Investigation status: Completed  
Time: 0750 CST    
Location   (show map): Darwin, Aerodrome    
State: Northern Territory   Occurrence type: Lightning strike  
Release date: 05 December 2006   Occurrence category: Incident  
Report status: Final   Highest injury level: None  

Aircraft details

Aircraft details
Aircraft manufacturer Fokker B.V.  
Aircraft model F28  
Aircraft registration VH-FWI  
Type of operation Charter  
Damage to aircraft Nil  
Departure point Kupang, Indonesia  
Departure time 0619  
Destination Darwin, NT  
Last update 16 February 2016