The Aftermath of An Air Force NH90 Lightning Strike
(Source: Newshub New Zealand; posted Sep 27, 2016)
An NH90 helicopter operated by the Royal New Zealand Air Force survived a lightning strike in 2013 virtually unscathed, with only minor damage to its main and tail rotor blades. Its electronics and avionics were unaffected. (RNZAF photos)
Newshub can reveal photos of lightning damage sustained by one of the Royal New Zealand Air Force's brand new NH90 helicopters three years ago.

The images are part of an Official Information Act request that was initially declined by Defence officials, but partially released after a complaint to the Ombudsman.

The lightning strike happened while the aircraft was on a training flight near the Ohakea Air Base on August 22, 2013.

Crew heard a loud bang, followed by a quiet whistling sound from the rotor blades. They declared an emergency and landed safely at the base eight minutes later.

It was the first ever reported lightning strike to an NH90, and damage was only sustained to the main rotor blades and the tail rotor. None of the sophisticated avionics were damaged.

The aircraft - NZ3301 - was out of service for months and it cost $4.8m to repair before taking to the skies again.

That's well below estimates by the helicopter's manufacturer that the repair would cost between $6.7m and $15.1m.

Click here for the full story, with several accompanying photographs, on the Newshub website.


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