Bolbliksem getuigenis

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Inferno FS
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Lid geworden op: 16 jun 2007 17:27

Bolbliksem getuigenis

Bericht door Inferno FS » 01 feb 2008 16:12

Onderstaand artikel is afkomstig uit een nieuwsbrief van de Davis Weather Club

Het verteld een opmerkelijk verhaal van een B52 piloot tijdens die Vietnam oorlog die oog in oog kwam te staan (vliegen) met een bolbliksem.

Former B-52 Pilot Remembers Brush with Ball Lightning

Who needs action movies when you know people like Bob Croach, of Canon City, Colorado, who can tell you a story like the one below? Bob was inspired to tell us about his experience with ball lightening and aircraft by the article in our November issue. Hang on to your hats.

“During the Vietnam action, I first flew the venerable old Caribou or C-7 for the Air Force in-country and had many experiences with lightning in general. My next tour was in the venerable (forever) B-52 and I spent quite some time flying missions from Guam. “Flying a bombing mission in the B-52 G model over South Vietnam during the cyclone season, we were proceeding in-country (known as flying 'feet wet' to 'feet dry') at about 41,000 feet (12,500 meters). We encountered a highly charged electrical area that was evidenced by more St Elmo’s fire on the wings and fuselage than we had ever seen. The blue-green glow extended several feet from every surface that we could see including the tail (had to use the sextant port to observe that). Since that was nothing more than a more than usual occurrence of St. Elmo’s, we just ignored it after remarking on the intensity of it.

“The St. Elmo’s was just getting started though. My copilot grabbed my arm and pointed to the forward, center, windscreen just as a mass of ball lightning seemed to transition through the windscreen just above the center instrument panel. The ball lightning then proceeded down the center aisle right over the throttles of the BUF. (B-52 crew members’ nickname for the B-52: Big Ugly Fellow, sort of). En route to the electronic warfare and gunnery station, the ball lightning tripped not less than about 100 circuit breakers mounted on the side panels of the aisle leading from the pilot’s stations to the defensive stations where it finally discharged, burning the gunner slightly on the left arm and the EW (Electronic Warfare Officer) slightly on the right arm – not to mention momentarily blinding both of them and knocking out many of their systems.

“Needless to say, this was an alarming and unusual experience on an extremely long mission – fortunately we had packed extra underwear in our mission kits. It was also pretty unusual since it happened only to my BUF, and not to two others that were flying in formation with me at 500-foot (150 meter) altitude intervals and approximately one mile (1.6 km) separation. Guess that was just one of many events that earned my Vietnam sorties the nickname of the ‘flying circus.’”

Bob’s memory was really kicked into gear and he added this: “I forgot the most salient point: I assume aircraft windscreens, especially of the B-52 vintage, are glass – almost pure silica. Of course, current vintage aircraft, especially fighter aircraft are Poly cyo. Would be interesting to find out if any current jocks had instances of ball lighting in their cockpits – if so, might work to dispel the connection of silica and ball lighting – or confirm if they have not.”

Continuing to mull, a few days later he added this: “Well, to negate the theory, one only needs to read all the tales of St. Elmo’s and ball lighting on tall ships of the previous two centuries. I have to believe it as more to do with static electricity reaching a critical mass with objects passing through an intense area of electrical charge. The object passing through would be the catalyst or ‘gatherer’ and where the static discharge builds until the ball lightning occurs.”
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