Flight to Denver Sees St. Elmo’s Fire and It’s Not What You Think
From the headline, you'd assume that a flight crew managed to toss an old VHS or DVD into the plane's video system and show a classic 80's "Brat Pack" movie on their way from Miami to Denver. But in fact, the flight was treated to the real thing.
If you remember in the film, there's a scene where Rob Lowe - Billy - describes to Demi Moore - Jules - the meteorological phenomenon known as "St. Elmo's Fire" as an analogy of what's going on in her life at the time. Never mind the fact that his cute little speech isn't exactly scientifically accurate, nor the fact that watching this scene all these years later makes you slightly embarrassed for feeling so overwhelmed by drama in your younger life you probably now view as ridiculous.
Rob Lowe got this one wrong - it turns out that St. Elmo's Fire is actually a legitimate meteorological phenomenon and it was recently documented by a US airline pilot, on his way from Miami to Denver during Hurricane Ian.
The phenomenon - named after St. Erasmus of Formia, St. Elmo for short - can warn of an imminent lightning strike and was named as such because he was the Patron Saint of Sailors. He was regarded by seafaring men with awe and sometimes considered to be a good omen if and when they saw it.
In a nutshell, St. Elmo's fire is a blue glow that occasionally appears near pointy objects during storms. It essentially looks like lightning, but technically isn't. Think about those crazy electricity balls that were around when we were kids, where you could touch it and the lightning bolt would follow your finger, sometimes making your hair stick up.
Now multiply that little bolt by the size of an airplane flying through a thunderstorm, and you get something like pilot Luis Andress witnessed outside the windshield of his Airbus and managed to catch on camera below.
Pretty to see a picture of. No doubt terrifying to see in person outside your window as you're landing in Denver.