Photos of Planes and Contrails (That you took yourself)

Trailspotter

Senior Member
Here are some contrail photos I took in Washington, DC on Jan 20, 2018, from approx 1:30 to 3 pm. Whatever the exact mechanics of contrail preservation are, they were in effect that day along this air corridor...





Here are a battalion of new trails, which thereafter spread out...



Parallel contrail stripes near Washington, DC, can be seen on the GOES-16 images of the day.
Here is a link to their time-lapse: http://col.st/4kIdw
 

igoddard

Active Member
DC was just on the edge of an area of high humidity that afternoon. (This chart is 1pm DC time)

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I often find that contrails can be more striking at the edge of a big area of high upper-level humidity rather than when you're smack in the middle of it, as you often get less natural cloud. Also the sudden appearance of trails on one side of the sky but not the other can catch your attention more.
Yes, very good observation and point. The flight corridor happened to be right along an edge of humidity, which I noticed at that time and you can even tell that in my photos. In the first two, the area to the right (NW) looked drier, and contrails there did more evaporating than persisting, and there were no natural-looking clouds there either. But further to the left (SE) they mostly expanded. That looks to comport exactly with the humidity map you show!
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Best morning for contrails for a while here (Hampshire, UK). First one looking southeast, second looking northwest at the same time.

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Long contrail at 33,000ft, short one at 37,000ft:

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M Bornong

Senior Member
A broken squiggly contrail, that pretty well matches the waves in the surrounding cloud layer. March 6 2018,1:25 pm PST over Bakersfield, CA.DSCF1299.JPG
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
A big loop this morning. Hard to fit it all in a photograph but to a casual observer it looked like "they're flying in circles".

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SR1419

Senior Member
While hanging around the North entrance to Yellowstone, I saw this. No idea who or what...there was a fourth plane that was further out in front (you can just barely see the contrail)

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derwoodii

Senior Member
been very traily today ah this RH at FL 34 could explain

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I couldn't even get in golf practice without the distraction of Kiwis going over to Perth or Adelaide


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Marin B

Active Member
A contrail outside my window caught my eye because the sky was otherwise very blue. It was CA987 flying Beijing to Los Angeles at 33,000 ft. I noticed another flight from China, CZ621, flying at 35,000 ft. on the same path just a few minutes behind CA987, but there was no contrail. I snapped the 1st picture when I spotted CZ621 out my window. Then just a couple of seconds later it started leaving a trail (2nd photo). Just thought it was interesting how the two planes were on the same path just a couple of thousand feet apart in elevation, with one leaving a trail and the other not.

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Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
Just thought it was interesting how the two planes were on the same path just a couple of thousand feet apart in elevation, with one leaving a trail and the other not.
Was that today? This is a snapshot of the humidity at 250mb (roughly 34,000ft) at 1800 UTC (11:00am California time).

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The humidity is quite patchy, with drier air north of San Francisco and moister air to the south. The plane was heading south, from the drier air into the more humid air.

It's reasonable to assume that the humidity was also patchy in the vertical direction, so the contrails would "switch on" in different places depending on the altitude.
 

Marin B

Active Member
Was that today? This is a snapshot of the humidity at 250mb (roughly 34,000ft) at 1800 UTC (11:00am California time).
Yes, today just after 11am. Thanks for the info!
Within a couple of hours the sky switched from blue to a lot of cirrus blending with persistent contrails. Seems to be a common summer pattern - blue skies in a.m., cirrus in afternoon.
 

M Bornong

Senior Member
A contrail outside my window caught my eye because the sky was otherwise very blue. It was CA987 flying Beijing to Los Angeles at 33,000 ft. I noticed another flight from China, CZ621, flying at 35,000 ft. on the same path just a few minutes behind CA987, but there was no contrail. I snapped the 1st picture when I spotted CZ621 out my window. Then just a couple of seconds later it started leaving a trail (2nd photo). Just thought it was interesting how the two planes were on the same path just a couple of thousand feet apart in elevation, with one leaving a trail and the other not.
Similar conditions south of you above Bakersfield on Monday, everything above 35,000 ft. was leaving contrails, below 35,000 ft, extremely hard to even pick the planes out.

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This one flashed a reflection of sunlight, allowing me to pick him out. These two were just minutes apart, same make and model, basically the same location, just 2500 feet difference in altitude.
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Chew

Senior Member
88F0BA72-CB3B-4571-831C-EF4BF3A2F52D.jpeg The World War II C-53 “D-Day Doll” flying overhead in Riverside CA this morning. They take it out for a spin every now and then. Planes from that era have a distinctive sound you just don’t hear from modern prop planes. Note it still has the white and black stripes they used to try to camouflage its chemtrail sprayers.
 

Keith Beachy

Senior Member
View attachment 33889 The World War II C-53 “D-Day Doll” flying overhead in Riverside CA this morning. They take it out for a spin every now and then. Planes from that era have a distinctive sound you just don’t hear from modern prop planes. Note it still has the white and black stripes they used to try to camouflage its chemtrail sprayers.
Invasion Stripes, used on D-Day to keep allied anti-aircraft from firing on out of the ordinary aircraft used during D-Day. Dad dropped on D-Day from an aircraft like that, spent time in a tree until the moon broke out; exposing he was 6 inches from the ground.
Invasion Stripes, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invasion_stripes
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member



A pair of parallel contrails at sunset last night. Both planes followed a very similar track a few minutes apart. The second one (left) was a couple of thousand feet higher (41000ft vs 39000ft) and the later part of its contrail dissipated.
 

Trailblazer

Moderator
Staff member
This contrail was quite striking tonight, lit up by the sun while the lower clouds were already in shadow. Photos were taken about two minutes before official sunset.

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derwoodii

Senior Member
Trip to Perth last weekend

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In the distance another plane trails over Esperance western Australia

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Hmm huh?? I cant seem to post a 10 second camera video?? guess the upload dont support vids.. anyhoo i was sitting in very back seat and could see condensation trail developing out my window. In the video you can see it forming in a picture you can not.. I back dated nullschool to find the conditions were pretty good at the time height & place of my observation.. Seeing developing contrails out a window at 800+ clicks not fully formed it moving away pretty darn fast

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Sarah T.

New Member
Hi! I just joined (again) yesterday and am looking forward to looking carefully and slowly at all the sky photos that have been added over the years. But I can’t wait to share some of my own! I am sorry that due to several computer and phone carastrophes- many of my photos only exist as they were saved by Facebook when I shared them there.

This dawn shot (4/27/12 Florence, Indiana) of a contrail making a colorful sundog with an impressve tail is one of my favorites and I was delighted to see in the old comments on my FB post- that I had sought out information about this and found Metabunk! ( I was set straight before setting foot in a rabbit-hole. Thank you for preserving my ability to enjoy the sky!)... Mick gave me an excellent explanation and took the time to do some overlays. I also discovered I’d forgotten that I had made an account just to ask that one question.

I have looked through the posting guidelines and didn’t find direction about posting photos- thumbnails or full size?

I have about 20 of my own contrail pics that I feel are pretty primo. What would be the smoothest way to share them? Add replies to other people’s photos of similar things? Start a thread? Dump a bunch in a single post?


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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I have looked through the posting guidelines and didn’t find direction about posting photos- thumbnails or full size?
Full size

I have about 20 of my own contrail pics that I feel are pretty primo. What would be the smoothest way to share them? Add replies to other people’s photos of similar things? Start a thread? Dump a bunch in a single post?
People just post the odd photo in this thread. If you have a related collection then you might want to start a new thread - particularly if you have questions about them. But this isn't really a photo hosting site, so I wouldn't encourage large collections of photos. Maybe just the best/most relevant, and then a link to an album if there's more than, say, ten.
 

Sarah T.

New Member
The panorama scan has warped the contrail to look even more dramatic than it already was- (a straight line going horizon to horizon and almost directly overhead) a lovely tightly textured altocumulus sheet in low afternoon light and contrail to distrail...
Florence Indiana

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Sarah T.

New Member
Either on their own would have been a treat- but to catch them crossing!!... a twisting diffuse contrail and a sharp fresh one leaving an intense shadow (and look near the junction- the shadow seems doubled- is that due to two veils of cloud layer there?)A3B34C90-817C-4DFE-87E2-8FDF23C88E0F.jpeg

I used to do a lot of custom paint work and this contrail reminds me of striping tape... I want to run my finger along it and stick it down.
 

Sarah T.

New Member
These pictures of planes flying in line with the sun (coming and going) are two separate events.
I was thrilled to see other photos of planes “flying on a street” posted already and am curious how pilots experience this- I wondered, when flying away from the sun, if the shadow is like a dark beam straight out in front- (do you see a glory split by your wings like a crosshairs?) or if the shadow is like the path of a knife through a cake- that we on the ground view from the bottom edge?- (is it like a brocken spectre With the halo at the tip of a shadowy projection?)
Is the sun’s position merely coincidental or is it used in navigation? I would think modern flight paths don’t take the sun into account.
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Mechanik

Member
2C066294-F3E6-4A7D-8E1B-AB88C0DE1B2C.jpeg So many contrails, so little time. Roughly noon a few miles north of Los Angeles. The plane flying right to left fell into the shadow of two of the contrails as it passed under or through.
 
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