Back to Squawk list
  • 25

Rare lightning phenomenon captured in the sky during Hurricane Idalia evacuations

A rare weather phenomenon, in which lightning appears upside down, was captured by pilots as Hurricane Idalia approached Florida. The stunning footage of St. Elmo’s fire - a phenomenon in which luminous plasma is created in an atmospheric electric field - was filmed by pilots at MacDill Air Force Base in Tampa on Monday 28 August. ( More...

Sort type: [Top] [Newest]

bbabis 13
Not even lightning. It's Saint Elmo's Fire or plain old static electricity on the windshields. Every time I get it I like to play with it. If you spread your fingers and quickly put your hand toward the windshield, you'll look like Merlin the Magician as the electricity jumps from your fingertips.
Robert Black 8
I used to see that all the time on research missions into hurricanes. Discharges like these are only generated when flying in the ice, and the airframe gets charged by particle impacts. The process is called triboelectric charging.
I did not screen shot it..the flight aware track of the NOAA flight on Wed night was crazy, that HAD to be a bumpy ride.
Steve Aliamus 4
Here is a better link on YouTube, without all the advertisements from the other website:
sweeper239 7
Took a direct hit In my F-4 in Nam. Took out everything. Made for an interesting flight back to Da Nang
bentwing60 5
Pretty sure I am not alone in saying that as a nearly 40 year airplane driver, all the old timers have seen some lightning on occasion. To include, in my case, the strike on the captains windshield in a C421 over New Mexico that was definitely the most intimate. Guess I wasn't holding up a one iron as old Lee Trevino once said,

"If you are caught on a golf course during a storm and are afraid of lightning, hold up a 1-iron. Not even God can hit a 1-iron."

Still love to watch the big sparks but nobody wants to be a participant!
Mike Ziemann 3
Just when you think a journalist couldn't post any LESS informed of a story, another one steps up to lower the bar. Thankfully, those commenting here all seem to understand what is actually happening. The funny thing is, The Independent correctly identifies it as St. Elmo's fire... but then seems to have ZERO understanding of what it actually is. To call it "lightning" in the "sky" is like calling that bug splat on my car windshield a swarm of locust flying across the highway.
C J 1
If nothing else, people on this forum need to realize that this is EXACTLY why you shouldn't believe every word of any article online. You don't have to be uniquely qualified to write an article on aviation, much less politics, world events, etc.
When Al Gore invented the internet he said that everything on it had to be 100% real.....
Randy Marco 2
When trump said We are going to get soooooo tired of winning and we'll have the GREATEST Health Plans and on & on.... then adds 7 TRILLION to the deficit MOST of any administration ... did EVERYTHING he could to overthrow our Government & Democracy and become a Dictator like his love interests Kim Jung Un and Putin,,, made LYING about EVERYTHING a new art form for his ignorant, retarded sycophant, TRAITOR follwers like recor10.
Randy, your TDS is showing. What the heck does Al Gore claiming to have invented the internet have to do with Trump? Seriously, while I can assume you lead an apatheitic life, I also assume (being as you on on this forum) you can afford some mental health care (Granted, post Obama Care the US mental health care system is terrible at best. I know, watch some Jordan Peterson content on YouTube and try to HTFU. But, back to airplanes eh?
Randy Marco -4
Just go inject some bleach TRAITOR so we can cleans America of your ilk.
For me, when I play doctor it would be, and was a toss-up...bleach or an experimental rNA shot, after the Govt rewrote the definition of a vaccine. On a positive note, I personally handed out quite a few "less than correct" vaccination cards to everyone from postal workers to airline pilots. Only a fool trusts the Government to handle their personal well being. Plus, you seem to forget that "Operation Warp Speed" was a Trump thing (lead by Faucci)...not a Biden thing.
Randy Marco 0
I get it... you don't give a cr@p about America or Democracy, have no morals, are a Facist and apparently YOU are a Convicted Felon yourself; therefore, you embrace & endorse criminal activity.
Bob Harrington -1
Remember when Al Gore claimed he was elected president?
John Rogers 0
What RECOR10 said was funny. What you said was just pissy. Good job dragging an anti Trump post onto an aviation forum. I just knew someone would have to do it. The TDS has taken hold of your consciousness.
George Lane 1
Anybody know what type of aircraft this was? From the control panel it looks like a 4-engine plane.
AA61hvy 3
MacDill gets KC-135s and C17... My guess is a 135.
rob strong 1
Oliver Browning is obviously not involved in any aspect of aviation.
jetserf 1
This really isn’t that rare.
Sorak 3
It follows the eBay and Craigslist title vs reality naming structure perfectly then!
C J -1
Great addition to the conversation...
Tflys1 0
RARE my eye
C J -3
Why do you all get so spooled up about semantics in a headline?!? The Independent is just a general news source. For an everyday reader of their site, something like St. Elmo's Fire would be a very "rare" thing to see. It's insane that you're so high on yourself that you think news sources should say, "St. Elmo's fire is a rare sight...unless of course you're Tflys1, a resident expert on a free flight tracking website who we legally need to recognize as being cooler than, and having more aviation experience than the rest of our readers." Take a breath and maybe get off the internet for a while.
It is called St-Elmos fire


Don't have an account? Register now (free) for customized features, flight alerts, and more!
Did you know that FlightAware flight tracking is supported by advertising?
You can help us keep FlightAware free by allowing ads from We work hard to keep our advertising relevant and unobtrusive to create a great experience. It's quick and easy to whitelist ads on FlightAware or please consider our premium accounts.