Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Old 05-07-2008, 12:52 PM   #1
2 Rivet Member
Rick56Safari's Avatar
1956 22' Safari
Lakewood, WA in the summer and Boulder City, NV in the winter , WA / NV
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 30
Send a message via AIM to Rick56Safari
Thunderstorms and Airstreams

I originally thought of this question one night during a rather terrific thunderstorm in the Highland lakes area of Central Tx.
I know my tow vehicle is grounded by the four wheels and no metal to ground contact BUT what about a parked Air Stream with the tongue jack and wheel in place and four metal jacks supporting the front and rear areas of the trailer? We were also hooked up to water and electric at the time. To me this spelled disaster if we should take a lightening strike.

So, the question is: How safe are you in a tin can during an electrical storm??

Rick56Safari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 01:03 PM   #2
Rivet Master
HowieE's Avatar

1991 34' Excella
Princeton , New Jersey
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 6,303
Images: 12
Can you say Antenna?

Odds are the trees around you are more likely to take the hit being higher but I would not want to park on a bald hilltop with the TV antenna up.

Just don't hang on to the skin of the trailer during the storm.

My house was hit years ago and the bolt came in through the corner of the livingroom, 3 pieces of wire lath converged at the ceiling, and rolled across the floor between my wife and I. I left a 3 in dia. whole in the ceiling, ran the garage door up, and blow out one channel of the Hi Fi amp. We felt nothing.

2004 Excursion 4x4
1991 34 ft. Excella +220,000 miles, new laminated flooring, new upholstery, new 3200 lbs axles

HowieE is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 01:08 PM   #3
Rivet Master
mandolindave's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2004
Posts: 2,086
Images: 4
There is another thread on this topic

There were a few different points of view. I was nearby when lightning struck a tree near my friends camper. The lightning went underground and came up under her matt and arched between her metal lawnchairs, fried her electrical system and sent Saint Elmos Fire along some speaker cables and made the soundmans hair stand on end. No branches landed on her or her camper.
You do the math, I don't want to be under trees or out in the open during a thunderstorm.
But to answer your question, the jury is out as to whether an Airstream is safer than an SOB trailer.
mandolindave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 01:14 PM   #4
Rivet Master<br><img src="/ugala/forums/images/5rivet.gif">
CanoeStream's Avatar

2006 25' Safari FB SE
St. Cloud , Minnesota
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 13,279
Images: 19
Blog Entries: 3
Here are some threads on the subject:

Don't forget about wind and trees overhead.

5 meter Langford Nahanni

CanoeStream is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 02:12 PM   #5
Always Airstreaming!
rickandsandi's Avatar
2005 22' Safari
1960 24' Tradewind
Anytown , Connecticut
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,114
Send a message via AIM to rickandsandi
While at a rally a few years ago we had a very strong thunderstorm pass. Aftere the light show an old timer Airstreamer came over and pointed out that our AS was not properly setup for surviving such a storm. I had leveling blocks under the front jack and under all four stabalizing legs. What we needed was a grounding cable from the frame into a stake in the ground. Now we always make sure we have at least two of the legs into the dirt when weather is predicted. Many years ago I had a new Loran unit and PC set up in our sail boat. We had the system "professionaly" installed along with a new sea antena. Some time afterwards while docked at the marina a big storm passed and sure enough the "Medalist" was struck. The charge went down the antena lead toasted every single wire in the boat ($6,500 in wiring alone) and to make things worse through the shore line connection and down the dock!
J. Rick Cipot
Sandi Gould
NEU New England Unit
Airstream Life Magazine
Proud Member of WBCCI
WBCCI #3411
AIR #17099
2009 Silverado 2500HD
2004 22' Safari
1960 24' Tradewind
rickandsandi is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 05:51 PM   #6
Rivet Master
1975 29' Ambassador
Reno , Nevada
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 1,351
Any earth grounding you may or may not use while camping is not going to make a whit of difference to a lightning bolt.

Your safety comes from the fact that an electrical currents will flow on the outside of your Airstream. Stay inside and don't stick your hand out the window to see how wet things are getting.

The major hazard to RV's in storms comes from falling or blowing debris.

If you have any electrical or electronic equipment you value, unplug it from everything until after the storm.
bryanl is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-07-2008, 07:01 PM   #7
2 Rivet Member
Rick56Safari's Avatar
1956 22' Safari
Lakewood, WA in the summer and Boulder City, NV in the winter , WA / NV
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 30
Send a message via AIM to Rick56Safari
Great thread responses Thank you !! , I don't feel much safer about being in my Air Stream during a electical storm now, but I understand it a whole lot better. LOL I think I did the right thing at the time by vacating the Air Stream. Next time I will park along side some of those huge Motor Homes and hope I am the lowest thing in the park.
Before I posted the original note I did a search and didn't find a thing about it anywhere else. Thanks Canoestream for your inputs.
Rick56Safari is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 07:08 PM   #8
2 Rivet Member
2014 23' Flying Cloud
Reed Point , Montana
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 99
I know this is an older thread, but my wife and I have a beautiful new 2014 23' Flying Cloud that has only been out to play twice in the last two months. Living in Montana, this spring has been full of large hail days........can't imagine how I'd freak out to see the beauty beat up by large hail stones........
We may camp in the garage this weekend, forecast is for "Severe Storms, Large Hail"!
At some point, I guess I'll just have to go for it...............
Bigskyrider8 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 07:51 PM   #9
3 Rivet Member
TCA and GPO's Avatar
2013 27' FB International
2016 28' Land Yacht
Baton Rouge , Louisiana
Join Date: Jun 2013
Posts: 231
We had some cosmetic hail damage to our trailer in April. We just received a check from our insurance company but frankly I am more concerned that replacing roof and front panels may result in problems like leaks or worse...thinking of living with the dents. Thoughts?

TCA and GPO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 08:06 PM   #10
Rivet Master
rodsterinfl's Avatar

2006 25' Safari
Fort Myers , Florida
Join Date: Oct 2011
Posts: 2,090
Images: 4
We have super storms where I live- lightning capital of the world. That said, I have seen many lighting strikes. There is so much randomized action that it would be difficult to say what COULD happen. The main thing is to not be out in the open. Most SOB brands are also made with aluminum sheets and aluminum frames so they would most likely be equivalent in conductivity. The path of least resistance is the metal framework so that would actually protect you. Years ago there was a story in the local paper about a family traveling across alligator alley (Naples to Fort Lauderdale). Their car was struck by lightning and it blew out all 4 tires. People think that tires protect but consider that the charge jumps thousands of feet, what's a few inches? The main thing is that the frame would protect you as it does in a car. The biggest danger would be large branches and other big tree parts smashing the trailer.

Annie, as far as damage goes, make sure your seams are sealed and there are no missing rivets. A dent doesn't leak but a damaged seam not sealed can leak. You can have panels replaced but I would suggest extensive replacement be done at the factory. If it is a panel or two then a dealer with experience and metal training from Airstream.You could always name the trailer "dimples" I have a damaged scratch spot from the original owner next to the door. I am trying to work up something creative.
2015 Ford F-150 3.5 Ecobeast 3.55 Lariat
rodsterinfl is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 09:20 PM   #11
4 Rivet Member
Durango , Colorado
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 273
A few years ago there was an incident in a field in Colorado. Lightning struck a tree near where several migrant workers were standing, the foreman was in an airstream beside the tree. Three workers were killed, two severely burned and brain damaged. The foreman in the airstream was unharmed and never even felt a shock. However the blast did cause a small fire and the sound deafened those near the strike.
The moral of the story is you are safer in an Airstream than outside the Airstream. Also never gather near a tree in a lightning storm.
RVDreamer is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 05-28-2014, 10:19 PM   #12
Agent 86
J. Morgan's Avatar
1972 31' Sovereign
1975 31' Excella 500
Currently Looking...
Benton , Arkansas
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 4,356
Images: 11
IMO, a person is probably safer in a lightning storm in an Airstream than in 90% of houses.

The fact that I am opinionated does not presuppose that I am wrong......

J. Morgan is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Are Airstreams that much better - 2005 Classic? Scott Hopkin 2001 - 2005 Classic 58 08-17-2014 07:27 PM
How many Airstreams are out there? Andy R Our Community 13 12-09-2007 05:20 AM
Where are the Airstreams? Fraserg Member Introductions 19 09-28-2006 01:54 PM
airstreams for the uk Perry Modifications 14 11-08-2003 04:16 PM
Used ipso_facto Link Archive 1 03-22-2003 08:50 AM

Virginia Campgrounds

Reviews provided by

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities

Copyright 2002-2015 Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:36 AM.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.

Airstream is a registered trademark of Airstream Inc. All rights reserved. Airstream trademark used under license to Social Knowledge LLC.