Unusual trails and clouds in Australia

TWCobra

Senior Member.
J from your info I would guess they are F18Es and A330 MRTT tankers out of RAAF Amberley. They have a weapons range at Evans Head and restricted areas off the coast that they use for exercises and training. Just an educated guess however.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
All i'm suggesting is that for your "punch hole" theory to reflect the shown outcome, each plane would have to descend at "X" distance from the airport to coincide with the movement of the cloud cover, therefore, "Hypothetical Scenario 1" would be favourable for achieving a "grouped appearance" as shown in the photo.... "Hypothetical Scenario 2" would be favourable for achieving a "Queued appearance"

Are we on the same page??

Somewhat. There are multiple different scenarios that could end up with the same result, depending on the speed and direction of the cloud layer, the cruise altitude of the planes, the actual location of the plane, and the angle of descent. It's not hard to imagine several that end up with the image seen.

Note that the wind is not at all necessary. You could easily get the same result with zero wind, but that's unlikely.

I've been looking into your Dec 3 photo. TWCobra suggest military planes, but let me suggest another explanation, wich I think fits your observations very well:

Quantas has a regular scheduled service from Sydney to Brisbane, the north flights are even numbered 502,504,506 etc. Your trails are labeled as being laid at 7:50, 8:15 and 8:45 on Dec 3, 2012.

Quantas flight 506 arrived at Brisbane at 8:20AM, and at about 7:50, was entering a high altitude hold with descent over Gold Coast Airport at 37,000 feet. That matches one of your flights.
Quantas flight 508 arrived at Brisbane at 8:54 that day, and at about 8:15 was entering the same hold/descent.
Quantas flight 510 arrived at Brisbane at 9:18 that day, and at about 8:45 was entering the same hold/descent.

Here are the flight tracks for those three flights, viewable in Google Earth:
View attachment FlightAware_QFA506_YSSY_YBBN_20121202.kml
View attachment FlightAware_QFA510_YSSY_YBBN_20121202.kml
View attachment FlightAware_QFA508_YSSY_YBBN_20121203.kml



So I'm suggesting it was not one plane flying around, but THREE planes, all of whom flew the same circuit, but one after another. Each plane was descending as it moved off into the distance, and would stop leaving a trail, then the next plane would come in and start leaving a trail. So it seems quite plausible that you could lose sight of the (no-trail) descending plane, and then see the newly arriving plane shortly thereafter.

This also might shine some light on the holepunch photo, as an example of what happens to real-world flights sometimes. These three flights, all of whom planned to take the same direct path, ended up being delayed a bit, and all descended through (say) 20,000 feet at very different positions, but within an hour of each other. Here's a different perspective on that:

 
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U

Unregistered

Guest
Thanks Mick, but i can only tell you what i saw....... 1 plane, and 1 plane only. and by the speed, altitude and direction it was flying tends to make me believe it was NOT a domestic flight, So i would have to lean towards TWCobra's assumption of, military exercises, what the execises were would be hard to guess, perhaps, what to do in an emergency when the pilot is drunk.... hahahaa.

cheers.
 
U

Unregistered

Guest
J from your info I would guess they are F18Es and A330 MRTT tankers out of RAAF Amberley. They have a weapons range at Evans Head and restricted areas off the coast that they use for exercises and training. Just an educated guess however.

Thanks, if this is the case then it makes perfect sense.

cheers.
all the best.

out.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Mick, but i can only tell you what i saw....... 1 plane, and 1 plane only. and by the speed, altitude and direction it was flying tends to make me believe it was NOT a domestic flight, So i would have to lean towards TWCobra's assumption of, military exercises, what the execises were would be hard to guess, perhaps, what to do in an emergency when the pilot is drunk.... hahahaa.

cheers.

Well, I'm impressed that you managed to keep your eyes on one plane for an entire hour! :)

Either way, I think you've got some very plausible explanations for your photos.
 

TWCobra

Senior Member.
J, I am Ex-RAAF and while I wasn't a fighter pilot, I had enough back seat rides to know that what they do in training exercises involves a lot of "random" manoeuvering. Think what you saw in Top Gun, which was compressed (aircraft flew much closer to one-another than normal) for the camera.

Here is the NOTAM (Notice to Airmen) for the exercise. The top right corner of the exercise area shown in the appendix is over Ballina; my guess is that you may have seen some activity there...air-to-air refuelling.. interceptions followed by dogfights etc.

http://airservicesaustralia.com/aip/current/sup/s12-h94.pdf



 
U

Unregistered

Guest
Thanks for all the info, its been fun but i must get some work done now.!!

merry xmas to all.
 

386

Member
I've been lurking here for a few days and was just reminded of this image that I took a few years ago. It shows an example of contrails 'glowing' a flame orange colour in the evening sunlight and also shows the standard holding patterns of multiple aircraft while they were waiting for clearance. I was excited at the time about the unlikely chances of the great sunset, perfect contrail conditions, and the planes going into holding all syncing up together.

small contrails holding pattern-4149.jpg
Location: Brisbane, Australia. Dec 4, 2012.
 
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