Flybe plane plunges to 1,000 feet after lightning strike

The plane fell at a speed of 9,500ft per minute

Updated: 
Flybe plane struck by lightning drops to 1,000 feet

A Flybe plane on its way to Shetland ended up plummeting to 1,000 feet above ground after being struck by lightning.

The plane, which was flying between Aberdeen and Sunburgh in December 2014, rapidly fell from the sky at a speed of 9,500 feet per minute just before it was due to land, Deadline News reports.

See also: Watch: Heathrow plane struck by lightning

See also: Man survives lightning strike thanks to his slippers

According to the report from the AAIB (Air Accidents Investigation Branch), the plane was around seven nautical miles east of Sunburgh Island when the incident took place.

The report, which was published 6 September, says: "As the aircraft established on a southerly heading, it was struck by lightning.

"When the commander made nose-up pitch inputs the aircraft did not respond as he expected."

The document explains that the pilot was under the impression that the autopilot had been disabled, even though it 'remained engaged'.

The AAIB report also reveals that the co-pilot made a mayday call to air traffic control.

Both pilots reported that the plane began to drop immediately after the lightning struck.

Thankfully no passengers or crew members suffered any fatal or serious injuries as a result of the incident.

'Automation surprise' and 'cognitive tunnelling' are both suggested as possible causes of the incident in the report.

The first occurs when the 'autopilot doe not behave as expected, for example if the system remains engaged when the flight crew believes it is not'.

'Cognitive tunnelling' is induced by stress and forces the individual to focus on a small number of issues rather than the whole incident - it can also cause 'inattentional deafness'.

The plane was diverted to Aberdeen where it landed safely. The AAIB report can be read in full here.

World's best airlines 2016 (Skytrax)

World's best airlines 2016 (Skytrax)