Aviation Investigation Report A98H0003

1.7.6  Weather Conditions on Departure from JFK

At the time SR 111 departed from JFK airport, there was lightning associated with cumulonimbus clouds in the area, northwest and south of the airport. Within two minutes after take-off, the flight crew requested a heading deviation from the cleared track routing to avoid the isolated thunderstorms in that area. Cloud-to-ground lightning strike data indicated that the aircraft was more than 23 nm away from the closest ground strike and much farther away from the major ground lightning activity. Therefore, it is unlikely that the aircraft sustained a direct lightning strike from the cloud-to-ground lightning. (STI1-49)

The weather report at JFK airport included occasional lightning in cloud at the time of SR 111's departure, with isolated thunderstorms and cumulonimbus clouds in the vicinity. There was no reported lightning from cloud-to-cloud, only within the cloud. The thunderstorms were miles apart; therefore, it is unlikely that the aircraft intercepted a cloud-to-cloud lightning strike. (STI1-50)

The FDR showed no anomalies that might have indicated any unusual electrical disturbance within the aircraft during this period of time, and there was no recorded ATS communication to indicate that any lightning strike phenomena affected the aircraft. The available information indicates that the aircraft was not struck by lightning.

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