777 lightning strike inspection

On average, every commercial aircraft is struck by lightning once or twice a year. After the aircraft lands, an inspection must always be performed to assess the state of the aircraft prior to return to service. The Boeing 777 is no exception and here you will learn the ins and outs of lightning strike inspections performed on this aircraft type.

The Boeing 777 was the first aircraft designed on a computer, with significant input from airlines during the design phase. The development of the 777 began in 1990. The intended purpose was to fill the gap between the 747 and the 767. The first Boeing 777 entered service with United Airlines on June 7th, 1995, having seen a strong market demand over the years.  

How often is a Boeing 777 hit by lightning?

Over the years Boeing has delivered a total of 1,600 aircraft airlines all over the world. It is one of the most popular aircraft in commercial aviation.

The Boeing 777 is struck once or twice a year by lightning and given the global fleet in the world, this results in 1,500 to 3,000 lightning strikes per year.

Picture of KLM B777-300 hit by lightning strike

Are there any incidents with a Boeing 777 caused by lightning strikes?

Picture of Aeromexico Boeing 777-200 registration N774AM in flight

Despite the frequency of lightning strikes, no major aircraft incidents have occurred for the Boeing 777.

In 2015 an Aeromexico Boeing 777 (N7774AM) was hit by a bolt of lightning, but its impact was only determined upon landing. During the flight, the passengers complained that the IFE systems were not working properly. In order to determine the problem, the aircraft was inspected, and lightning strike damage was found on the radome of the aircraft.

How many man-hours does it take to perform a lightning strike inspection on a Boeing 777?

After the aircraft is struck by lightning, the aircraft is grounded and thoroughly inspected for damage such as pits and burn marks by aircraft maintenance engineers to guarantee its airworthiness before the next flight. The inspection alone requires 3 licensed aircraft maintenance engineers and 12 hours to complete. The total man-hours for a Boeing 777 lightning strike inspection are 36 hours.

To assess the status of the aircraft, the aircraft maintenance engineers will move from station to station, from stringer to stringer, using additional equipment to inspect the top of the fuselage and the tail. The tail is 17 meters high and not easy to reach while the aircraft elevators and stabilizers are blocking the man lifter equipment. Often during the inspection, additional damage can be caused.

aircraft parking procedure

How does a drone fit in the aircraft lightning strike inspection process of a Boeing 777?

Picture showing Drone inspection Boeing 787

The use of drones for aircraft inspections brings game-changing results for the aviation industry and particularly Maintenance, Repair, and Overhaul (MRO) companies and organizations. All aspects of the inspection procedure, from drone flight to report generation, are automated, allowing the ground team to easily analyze and report the status of an aircraft.

In the event of a lightning strike, using a drone to perform aircraft inspection on the Boeing 777 can decrease the inspection time by 75%. A drone can speed up the entire process of the General Visual Inspection (GVI) during a lightning strike inspection, which can now be performed in minutes (60 minutes) instead of hours (12 hours). Our drone will safely fly around the aircraft and capture high-resolution pictures, allowing aircraft maintenance engineers to make a much faster damage assessment.


777 lightning strike inspection