1998 USAirways Flight 861 incident
The USAirways Flight 861 incident occurred on February 26, 1998 after a plane in route to Birmingham from Charlotte, North Carolina, was struck by lightning, in flight, resulting in an emergency landing upon arrival at the Birmingham International Airport. The incident was a result of 64 lightning strikes to the fuselage resulting in multiple hydraulic systems to fail, including the braking and steering systems. The Fokker 100 aircraft was carrying 87 passengers and 5 crew members with no injuries attributed to the incident.
Without braking capabilities, the plane skidded seven-tenths of a mile before coming to a stop in mud off the runway. Airport officials credited the muddy conditions for quickening the stopping of the aircraft and averting a larger disaster. Upon landing, the plane's nose gear broke off, and three of the aircraft's six tires burst or were flat upon landing.
In the NTSB report released in spring 1999, the cause of the hydraulic failure was attributed to the bonding strap on the aircraft melting from intense heat and electrical current creating holes in the plane's hydraulic lines.
- NTSB report for the 1998 USAirways Flight 861 incident
- Ross, Julie (March 1, 1998) "Lightning struck jet 64 times." Birmingham News.
- AP Reports (April 1, 1999) "NTSB: Plane wasn't adequately protected against lightning." Birmingham News.