I'd appreciate help IDing this very odd contrail flight

This afternoon (2:09 pm) I saw this contrail. I was about 15 miles east of Sacramento, near the river when I saw it. It was to the north.
It's kind of hard to see in the picture but it first went left (west), then up (I think that would be south), and then right (east). I have more than one picture but this one shows what I'm describing. It's super hard to see the trail but the turning is on the left side of the photo (I tried to play with the brightness and contrast of the picture to make it easier to see, but I couldn't really improve it)
16-10-20 trail-4 1509 did 180degree turn, N of mile 19-.jpg
 
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yes, I'm glad you were able to see it. Of my 5 pictures, I'm afraid that was the best one.
The trail came from the right side (attached to what is the bottom of that trail) from a pretty good distance and then from the top it continued far to the right until the air was too hazy for me to see it any more.
 
It was 3:09 PM when I first saw it where it had come from the right, gone "up", and turned back to the right.
Thanks for bothering with this
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Probably some kind of test or training flight. To and from Van Nuys, Los Angeles. I suspect a new jet being put through its paces. It was at 43,000 feet when you saw it make those turns. So the only plane high enough to make contrails.
 
thanks again so much. I wonder how often we get flights like that. Maybe that's what I saw that one day a flight went north, south, north, south, east, west, and then disappeared heading east
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
thanks again so much. I wonder how often we get flights like that. Maybe that's what I saw that one day a flight went north, south, north, south, east, west, and then disappeared heading east

More often than you see them. But fairly rare to spot. I see only a handful a year that do full turns like that, but it's just luck to catch them.

Here's one I saw, with nice photos.

https://www.metabunk.org/nasa502-gl...e-leaves-giant-curving-contrails-again.t7419/
 
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