Can someone please explain this video of multiple trails?

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It's five planes flying in formation leaving contrails.

The most common explanation for this (I've seen it a couple of times myself) is that it's fighter jets moving from one place to another. Sometimes it's an aerobatics team. Sometimes just normal fighter jets.
 

Bill

Senior Member
At first glance this looks like something associated with an airshow or practice for an air show.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Here's an aerial photo of six Blue Angels while cruising enroute to an Air Show (from June 2012):

http://www.dvidshub.net/image/612571/blue-angels-en-route-air-show#.UxZOnPk_CS4

They are obviously at contrailling altitude, and not expelling demonstration smoke.

Adding: I have found this snippet online:

Also, the Blue Angels' full 2014 schedule:
http://mt-shortwave.blogspot.com/2013/10/blue-angels-announce-full-2014-air-show.html
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The Blue Angels only perform from March to November. In the winter they are based in El Centro, California.
http://framework.latimes.com/2011/03/30/blue-angels/
Austin, TX, is roughly in between:


However, their first show of the season in in El Centro, March 15th. So that makes them seem less likely. Not that they can't fly back and forth. It's only 1,700 miles.
 
Last edited:

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Yeah, it may well not be them. But it still looks like five small jets in formation, that's all.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
Yeah, it may well not be them. But it still looks like five small jets in formation, that's all.
There also are the USAF's version...the Thunderbirds:

http://www.nellis.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123373842

Last show was in Daytona (Feb 23), and next in Las Vegas (Mar 9).

So, here's a thought....the T-Birds are based at Nellis AFB.

(But again...if their direction was eastbound, it still might not have been them either).
 

Bill

Senior Member

TWCobra

Senior Member
Both the Blue Angels and the Thunderbirds generally arrive at a weekend show on the Wednesday or Thursday before the show.
Each airport and its environs are different, so this allows them to identify their timing markers/local hazards etc etc in their practice sessions.
I doubt this is either of them.
More likely it is a group of fighters in transit.
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
how come military doesnt show up on those flight radars? commercial planes still have to fly 'around' them. the air traffic controllers must still track them no?
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
how come military doesnt show up on those flight radars? commercial planes still have to fly 'around' them. the air traffic controllers must still track them no?
Quite often, although military flights are on an IFR Flight Plan, they are biased out of the public's view of the ATC system. That's my understanding, at least. Think, for instance, of AF1, AF2 or other such VIP flights...not the sort that should be publicly visible via FA or FR24.
 

MikeC

Closed Account
The military doesn't use ADSB at he moment - which is what "Flight Radar 24" is actually monitoring - ADSB is NOT the same as Air Traffic Control.....yet.....and so yeah, they still show up on the real radar.

For the uninitiated - ADSB is a system where the aircraft broadcasts its current position, height, heading, speed, and identifying information - you can pick up those signals with a fairly cheap system, and flightradar24 uses information submitted by such amateur stations around the world.

ADSB is set to become the standard means of determining position in the USA by 2020 IIRC - and "real" radar will be phased out from ATC after then.

The wiki page on ADSB has all the info you need, and then some :)
 

deirdre

Moderator
Staff member
The military doesn't use ADSB at he moment - which is what "Flight Radar 24" is actually monitoring - ADSB is NOT the same as Air Traffic Control.....yet.....and so yeah, they still show up on the real radar.

For the uninitiated - ADSB is a system where the aircraft broadcasts its current position, height, heading, speed, and identifying information - you can pick up those signals with a fairly cheap system, and flightradar24 uses information submitted by such amateur stations around the world.

ADSB is set to become the standard means of determining position in the USA by 2020 IIRC - and "real" radar will be phased out from ATC after then.

The wiki page on ADSB has all the info you need, and then some :)
I think ill just pretend they can always see us on real radar forever. o_O
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The military doesn't use ADSB at he moment - which is what "Flight Radar 24" is actually monitoring - ADSB is NOT the same as Air Traffic Control.....yet.....and so yeah, they still show up on the real radar.

For the uninitiated - ADSB is a system where the aircraft broadcasts its current position, height, heading, speed, and identifying information - you can pick up those signals with a fairly cheap system, and flightradar24 uses information submitted by such amateur stations around the world.

ADSB is set to become the standard means of determining position in the USA by 2020 IIRC - and "real" radar will be phased out from ATC after then.

The wiki page on ADSB has all the info you need, and then some :)
A lot of the US traffic on FR24 is actually FAA data (the orange planes). The FAA just does not forward the military traffic to the third parties like FR24, but they still have it.
 

WeedWhacker

Senior Member
I think ill just pretend they can always see us on real radar forever.
I think what MikeC was pointing out is that ADSB is a further enhancement, and will be a requirement in future, past certain cut-off deadlines for those operators in certain airspace jurisdictions.

There will, for safety reasons, still be "normal" RADAR available. For instance, say that the ground-based ADSB receivers failed in a particular ATC sector...then they would need to resort to the "older" methods, tried and true...but with the anticipated increase in air traffic in the coming decades, such a situation would result in significant delays.

It's similar to how severe weather is handled today...traffic corridors can become blocked by weather systems, and the ability to handle the normal volume of traffic diminished. (Fewer "gates" to funnel traffic through, if you will). The "solution" is what's called a "Ground Stop" being issued....there are certain places in the ATC system that oversee the "big picture" and they make this call, when needed. By ground stopping, they can restrict the number of flights in the air, in any particular region, as they deem fit.
 

pseacraft

Active Member
Another couple things to consider is that both the Blues and the AF teams have more than 5 aircraft (up to 12 for the Blues) in transit as they require spares just in case and their ground crews have spotters who are also qualified pilots who fly these aircraft. Also NAS Corpus Christi is a Naval Aviation Training base, granted not fast movers, but they do frequent the base during training flights from other bases. The same can be said of the Air Force Bases in Texas as well as the Reserve Base in Fort Worth. It is not uncommon to see multiple ship transits for training, aircraft transfers, movements to and from PDM, etc. I don't doubt the KC10FE has refueled a bunch of those flights...

Not much can escape Radar Tracking, as the old saying goes 'what you don't know can't hurt you' and you don't have the need to know which is why nearly all military aircraft flights (missions) are not shown publicly. Although I do know that the RAF's rotators are displayed as well as some of the French Air Forces' transports.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member
Correct, although the number of aircraft used for each team in a show is usually 8. 6 show aircraft and two spares piloted by the advance pilot/narrator and the Squadron XO.

There are 12 officers in each team but some are not pilots.
 
Top