What does Air Traffic Control do when there is Lightning?

Reader Submission:

Dear ATC MEMEs,
My name is Skyler, and I just love you guys so much. My question is, what do you guys do when there’s lightning? Do they still make you guys park the Airplanes or do the drivers just have to figure it out themselves?Β 

Dear Skyler,
Thanks for the love. First off, those drivers are actually called Pilots, and no ATC’er would ever allow pilots to figure things out for themselves. It would be anarchy. When lightning strikes are reported within one mile of the airport, we are required by FAA regulations to put our wands in our pockets and head indoors till the lightning stops. If there are any airplanes still driving around on the airport they have to stop until the lightning goes away. Recent legislation was passed that says, If there is a U.S. Marshall on board, then they will take command of the plane and direct the pilot on how to drive to the gate. This is because they are more qualified to handle stressful situations than the flight deck crew. This isn’t really ever an issue, seeing as most major airports have anti-lightning equipment installed around the airfield. Thanks for being a fan. Hope I answered your question. Cheers. -AX

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