NEWS Report: DHC-8-400 damaged by lightning strike whiile on approach to Fukue, Japan

Damage to the nose (JTSB)
Damage to the nose (JTSB)

An ANA Wings DHC-8-400 was damaged as a result of a powerful shockwave generated by the discharge of lightning near the aircraft, as it was approaching the Japanese airport of Fukue, according to a Japan Transport Safety Board (JTSB) investigation.
On November 29, 2013, a Bombardier DHC-8-402Q Dash 8 was involved in a lightning strike accident near Fukue, Japan. The aircraft operated flight NH4915 from Fukuoka Airport.
During the weather briefing prior to departure, the captain and the first officer noted that there was a wintry pressure pattern, a trough accompanied by cold air would pass through western Japan during the morning, there was no specific information indicating the possibility of lightning on the flight planned route of the aircraft.
The aircraft departed Fukuoka Airport, Japan at 09:03 hours local time. The captain was Pilot Flying. While the aircraft was cruising at an altitude of 12,000 ft, heading for Fukue Airport, the captain and the first officer visually observed white clouds with a top height of 11,000 ft, on its course. When the aircraft began to descend at around 09:24 in order to approach the airport, the observed clouds were not so thick as could be suspected to cause turbulence or lightning but were displayed on the weather radar display of the aircraft in a green color, indicating an area with weak rainfall. At around 09:30, while descending through the clouds at 5, 300 ft, the captain and the first officer observed a strong flash of light coming from the left fore side of the cockpit and heard a loud “bang” immediately after that.
Afterwards, the captain and the first officer carried out checks to determine if there were any abnormalities. Although a wind noise was heard from the nose direction, no other abnormalities were identified.
On the final approach to the airport, the aircraft exited the clouds, and landed at the airport at 09:37.
After landing, the captain, the first officer and the mechanic carried out inspections on the aircraft, and consequently, the following were revealed:
– Five dents occurred on the aft side outer skin of the upper left access panel on the nose,
– Six rivet heads on the upper left access panel on the nose were burned, and
– The aft latch of the upper right access panel on the nose, as well as the fore and aft latches of the upper left access panel on the nose were opened.
The Company inspected the details of the damage of the aircraft, and confirmed that deformations had also occurred on the internal structure supporting the rear side outer skin of the upper left access panel on the nose.
PROBABLE CAUSES: “In the accident, it is somewhat likely that the aircraft sustained damage on the aft side outer skin of the upper left access panel on the nose and on the portions of the internal structure supporting the outer skin because it was subjected to a powerful shockwave generated by the discharge of lightning while making a landing approach.”
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