Unusual Contrail Off Norway


Senior Member.
A screenshot of this trail off the West coast of Norway was posted on the Chemtrails Global Skywatch Page.


Link http://go.nasa.gov/2c6Sphl

From the shape it appears to come from over the mainland, perform three loops and then head north before disappearing west over the Atlantic towards Iceland.

I've been unable to spot it on the Flightradar24 with no luck and I've tried on Planefinder but that loses track of aircraft not far off the coast.

One think that strikes me is that despite seeing many flights at contrail altitude in the area on the replay I can only spot one other trail on the satellite view
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Mick West

Staff member
The three satellites show more loops, and the evolution of the more southern loops.

I think this is very likely military, AWACs or similar.


Suomi NPP


Senior Member.
It looks like AWACS circles stretched by the map distortion. They go anticlockwise, opposite to the normal holding pattern.

Also, I recall analysing similar contrails in the same general area five years ago and identifying them as from an AWACS.


Here are crops from the 'original' untransformed swaths where the orbits are compressed laterally:
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.16.43.png Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.18.11.png
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Senior Member.
I have added a cropped Worldview image to Google Earth, manually correcting its aspect ratio. The measuring tool gives the diameter of the resulting circles being about 50 km. This is a bit wider than my previous measurements of known AWACS circles (~40 km in diameter), but probably within the margin of error of my method:
Screen Shot 2016-09-02 at 15.53.52.png


Staff member
I should have added that it was immediately blamed for the death of 300 reindeer


More than 300 reindeer corpses were found piled up and strewn across the mountainside, in a natural massacre that Norwegian officials are calling the deadliest lightning strike in their country’s history.
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An interesting claim, considering the reindeer died on Friday August 26, and the contrails were on Monday August 29.


Senior Member.
Ørland in Norway is a Forward Operating Location for the NATO E-3 AWACS fleet.


Forward Operating Location (FOL) Ørland was established in 1983. It’s situated on the coast, more or less in the middle of Norway. It is an integrated part of the NATO E-3A Component but all personnel are Norwegian. Our Host Base is Main Air Station Ørland, which is the home of the 138 Air Wing.
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About 7 years ago, these circles were more often to see above the southern half of Holland. With binoculars I was able see the dish mounted on top of the AWACS-DC-8 from my apartment. Probably they came from the AirForce base Geilenkirchen or Eindhoven. It took approx 13 minutes to make one circle.



Senior Member.
With binoculars I was able see the dish mounted on top of the AWACS-DC-8 from my apartment.
I think it was Boeing E-3 Sentry, developed from 707. It was selected ahead of McDonnell Douglas's DC-8-based proposal in July 1970.

There is an AWACS area in North Norfolk, UK, some 20 miles to the north from my place to the nearest side of the orbit. It is used by both RAF and NATO planes. I saw a few times a E-3 circling there, indeed it takes about 12 minutes to complete one circle. For example, the following two images were taken 12 minutes 29 seconds apart:
P1090204.jpg P1090224.jpg