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Lightening Starts Parked Tractor
Can a tractor left in gear and struck by lightning, start up and take off entirely on its own - even with the ignition turned off?
"You bet," answers retired Kansas farmer James Porter, of Riverton, who speaks from personal experience.
One day last summer, he watched in utter amazement as lightning started up his parked 1952 Ford 8N tractor during a severe thunderstorm. What's more, it happened twice within a 30 minute period.
Seconds after the first lightning strike, James looked out the window just as his driverless tractor was backing through a fence and heading across an open field.
He ran outside and caught the tractor, taking it out of gear and turning off the engine. He then restarted the engine and drove the tractor back to headquarters where he parked it outside, with the attached 3-pt. grader blade resting on the ground.
About 30 minutes later, a loud crash of lightning sent him scurrying to the window. "Come quick," he called to his wife.
"Here was the tractor, it's engine running, moving toward the house," James told FARM SHOW. He ran outside and, luckily, got the tractor stopped before it ran into anything.
In checking with several local mechanics about the freak incidents, James was told that lightning could indeed start an older model tractor with positive ground, and with a piece of metal touching earth.

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1985 - Volume #9, Issue #1