General Weather/Earth Sciences Topics > Aviation Weather

Pilots aboard Hurricane Hunter plane experience St. Elmo's Fire



An experienced hurricane hunting crew chasing a winter storm came across a far different discovery this past weekend. In what is known as St. Elmo’s fire, footage of the forking electric discharge was captured on Saturday by pilots as the spectacle flashed throughout the cockpit.

I've witnessed this myself flying jump seat on an MD88 about 100 miles east of Tucson heading home during monsoon season. My encounter was much more subtle and continuous around the frame of the windshield. Fascinating to see.

Fairly common and not necessarily related to storms.  I saw it frequently when I was flying larger planes up high.  Pretty cool to see at night.

Shouldn't the static wicks on the trailing edge of the wing discharge this?


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