Got hit by lightning during a thunderstorm in a 1947 Cessna 140. Had fought off cloud suck less than 45 minutes before. I was terrified. Night, horrendous rain, poor panel lighting, and two gyros, needle, ball, compass--I could keep the wings level and the attitude ok with the gyros. No GPS. No way to effectively navigate. Ink still wet on my pilot's license. Then came the strike. Blew every fuse in the panel and smoked the 196o's era radio. Had to fly with both hands--the air was too violent to let go and change fuses. Had a very early keychain LED light clenched in my teeth, scanning the primitive panel. I remember paying $20 for the light, thinking it was stupid, and here it was, literally saving my life. My ears were still ringing from the sound. It was like an explosion. The smell of ozone, mixed with the smoke from the radio and several cooked wires is something I'll never forget. I was pretty sure I was done, as I was flying over raw wilderness. A VERY competent instructor's words echoed in my head for most of the flight, berating me for making the mistakes that got me there, and telling me every few seconds to trust my instruments. As I flew away from the mountains, and towards the valley floor, the rain continued, but the buffeting calmed. The lightning strikes soon illuminated a butte about twenty miles south of my home airport, and I finally knew where I was. Sweet relief! I landed the squirrelly taildragger in the rain and dark on a dimly lit runway, no landing lights. The Lightning had literally ruined everything electrical but those sweet, sweet magnetos. I had to replace the generator and regulator, battery and several feet of wiring. The radio was a mixed blessing, as it was HUGE. The new one was a fraction of the weight.
New pilots do some stupid things. Now you know the story behind my pen name.