Off The Record

I was recently asked if the probability of an airplane being hit by a meteor was to be taken seriously.

The answer is yes. The probability is low but not to be ignored.

As a matter of fact, considering

The number of commercial airliners up in the sky at any time

The number of meteorites crossing the earth atmosphere at cruising altitude

The average area (wing) of an airliner

I can only conclude that such an event is unlikely but very plausible.

What does it mean? A single plane is not likely to be hit in any year by a meteorite. BUT , considering the number of airliners up there, soon or later, one of them will be it by a rock.

OK. You want a prediction. One chance in ten that an airliner will be hit by a meteorite in the next 25 years.

I made that prediction over a coffee break. I believe it would be interesting to do a real estimate based on current knowledge. (This is serious work)

Regards, L

PS. I do not – of course – imply that PA 103 was destroyed by a meteorite!

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