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Q400 With Contrails?!  
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12106 times:

Hi all.

I was at the Oregon International Airshow today (Saturday) in Hillsboro, Oregon. About 4 PM I looked up and saw a plane at high altitude with a fairly good sized contrail flying West-bound towards the Oregon Coast and Pacific Ocean. The plane looked "odd" to me so I got out my video camera and zoomed in.... It was a all-white Dash 8 Q400! How weird is that?

Why would it be at such high altitude heading towards the ocean around Portland? I got a little of it on video, but stupidly enough I didn't get the contrail in it.

Also I should add, I am assuming it was a Horizon Q400.

Thanks  


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29 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlineEMBQA From United States of America, joined Oct 2003, 9364 posts, RR: 11
Reply 1, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12063 times:

Quoting KPDX (Thread starter):
How weird is that?

Not weird at all.... Contrails depend on several factors. The temp aloft, the relative humidity aloft, the temp of the exhaust and the humidity of the exhaust. Jets are not the only ones that will leave them. Just look at pictures of the B-17's during WWII



"It's not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog"
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 12020 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):
Not weird at all....

The contrails were cool but I was mainly talking about the fact that it was at such a high altitude (it was really high up) and heading westward over Portland, OR.  



View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 3, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 20 hours ago) and read 11980 times:

Quoting KPDX (Reply 2):

Well then you post is a tad mis-leading   . I too assumed you were focusing on the contrails, for one because of the name of this thread.



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineCBPhoto From United States of America, joined Dec 2003, 1551 posts, RR: 5
Reply 4, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11917 times:

Quoting KPDX (Reply 2):
The contrails were cool but I was mainly talking about the fact that it was at such a high altitude (it was really high up) and heading westward over Portland, OR.

Agreed, slightly mis-leading. However, I can assure you, the Q400 was not any higher then 25,000 ft, as that is the service altitude of that aircraft! So in all reality, it really was not "that" high!!  



ETOPS: Engines Turning or Passengers Swimming
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 5, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 19 hours ago) and read 11898 times:

Argh... cmon guys, be easy on me. I got excited. 

Anywho, for normally seeing Q400's at 15,000 or so... yeah it seemed a bit high. I am not saying it was at 30,000 feet or anything... Just higher than I personally have ever seen a Q400.


*Puts mental notes to not get so excited while typing out a post. Big grin

[Edited 2010-08-21 23:49:57]


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User currently offlineDocLightning From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 19371 posts, RR: 58
Reply 6, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 11794 times:

Quoting EMBQA (Reply 1):

Not weird at all.... Contrails depend on several factors. The temp aloft, the relative humidity aloft, the temp of the exhaust and the humidity of the exhaust. Jets are not the only ones that will leave them. Just look at pictures of the B-17's during WWII

Water vapor is one of the two major products of a hydrocarbon combustion reaction. CO2 is the other. Given the right altitude, temperature, and ambient humidity, any such reaction will produce visible condensation, whether it is a piston engine, a turbine, or a bunch of angels using lighter fluid to start their backyard (backcloud?) grill.


User currently offlineCentre From United States of America, joined Mar 2010, 488 posts, RR: 0
Reply 7, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 18 hours ago) and read 11659 times:

WW2 contrails... they explain it pretty well  Smilehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfOrez6q7WM&feature=related

[Edited 2010-08-22 01:12:00]


I have cut 4 times, and it's still short.
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 8, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11617 times:

Thanks for the information about the contrails guys. Now does anyone have an idea why a Q400 was flying that high over Portland heading towards the Pacific Ocean?

Thanks   



View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineLN-KGL From Norway, joined Sep 1999, 1005 posts, RR: 4
Reply 9, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 17 hours ago) and read 11520 times:

Contrails you even can get on the ground provided the right weather conditions.

http://www.plane-spotter.com/Jpegs/800/Wideroe/LN-WDA_TO_at_TRD.jpg

The local pressure changes around the propeller wings makes the water in the air condensate on humid days.


User currently offlineFlyASAGuy2005 From United States of America, joined Sep 2007, 7004 posts, RR: 11
Reply 10, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 12 hours ago) and read 11139 times:

Quoting KPDX (Reply 8):
Thanks for the information about the contrails guys. Now does anyone have an idea why a Q400 was flying that high over Portland heading towards the Pacific Ocean?

You said it was all white? Is it possible it was a ferry fight up to Alaska for a Horizon repositioning? (stops on the way of course).



What gets measured gets done.
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 11, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 11 hours ago) and read 11055 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 10):
You said it was all white? Is it possible it was a ferry fight up to Alaska for a Horizon repositioning? (stops on the way of course).

Ah, good point. Very possibly. Another theory of mine was maybe some kind of flight test. The plane had a heading of about 280 (straight out towards the ocean) and kept that way for about as long as I could see it.

Guess I'll never know for sure.  



View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineas739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6086 posts, RR: 24
Reply 12, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10880 times:

Quoting FlyASAGuy2005 (Reply 10):

The Q400's do not operate in Alaska. Also, from the PDX area it would not be on a west heading (280) if going to Alaska. It would be heading northerly.

I'd have to guess some sort of test flightas that does seem weird seeing a Q400 on that heading and altitude.



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlinecschleic From United States of America, joined Feb 2002, 1246 posts, RR: 0
Reply 13, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10807 times:

Due to the airshow at Hillsboro this weekend, traffic taking off to the west from PDX has to be routed further west than usual before heading south (if it's going that way), rather than turning south over the Hillsboro area as usual, so it would have been higher and heading westerly this time.

User currently offlineMidEx216 From United States of America, joined Jun 2005, 651 posts, RR: 4
Reply 14, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10807 times:

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 9):
Contrails you even can get on the ground provided the right weather conditions.

That statement is true, however I have to be picky; what you showed in the pictures are not contrails. Those are vortices. Those are a matter of pressure more than temperature (though both play a part).



"Cue the Circus Music!"
User currently offlineas739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6086 posts, RR: 24
Reply 15, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10765 times:

Quoting CBPhoto (Reply 4):

25K is the passenger restricted altitude due to O2 requirments. There is options on the a/c for a 27K and I believe that aircraft can go into the 30K's range with a crew onboard doing a test flight. Why would they, who knows!



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlinetdscanuck From Canada, joined Jan 2006, 12709 posts, RR: 80
Reply 16, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10710 times:

Quoting LN-KGL (Reply 9):
Contrails you even can get on the ground provided the right weather conditions.

The local pressure changes around the propeller wings makes the water in the air condensate on humid days.

Technically, that wouldn't be a contrail. The mist you get around prop tips and wing vortices is extremely transient because it's caused by the local pressure drop...as soon as the surface moves away it disappears and no water is being added to the atmosphere.

A contrail is water being dumped by the engine condensing out and forming a cloud...it persists much longer because it's stable in the air independent of pressure and will persist as long as it takes for the water to switch back to vapour.

Tom.


User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 17, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 10 hours ago) and read 10598 times:

This probably won't help one bit, but this is a short video I shot of it...after the contrail had dissapeared behind it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n38NYFhgk2k

Also let it be known I was zoomed in a LOT (nearly all the way) at one point in that video, and my camera has a high optical zoom.

[Edited 2010-08-22 09:21:18]


View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineHighflier92660 From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 672 posts, RR: 0
Reply 18, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 9 hours ago) and read 10245 times:

As CBPhoto said, the Horizon Q400s are only certified to 25,000 ft. With individual drop-down passenger masks the aircraft would be certified to 27,000 ft.

Here is a video from circa 1950 showing the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser flying at the same relatively low altitude with a contrail. The phenomena is a result of moisture content in the cold air and some particulate matter in the exhaust. Here is a contrail from an aircraft equipped with P&W R-4360 recip engines. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Fwp9Vheh8E


User currently offlineas739x From United States of America, joined Apr 2003, 6086 posts, RR: 24
Reply 19, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 8 hours ago) and read 9260 times:

Quoting Highflier92660 (Reply 18):

25K without the mask. There is an option for 27K with mask. But again the plane can fly higher, that was my point! Check out the a/c specs!

If there is a mx flight, the 25K restriction is not in place as it would be a Part 91 operation.



"Some pilots avoid storm cells and some play connect the dots!"
User currently offlinebartonsayswhat From Canada, joined Oct 2007, 434 posts, RR: 0
Reply 20, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7581 times:

It could have been a delivery flight to QantasLink or a South Asian operator. We had a delivery flight stop in YYJ last year and it departed striaght to HNL the next morning. Might explain why it was headed out to sea.

User currently offlinetharanga From United States of America, joined Apr 2009, 1861 posts, RR: 1
Reply 21, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 5 hours ago) and read 7497 times:

Quoting bartonsayswhat (Reply 20):
It could have been a delivery flight to QantasLink or a South Asian operator. We had a delivery flight stop in YYJ last year and it departed striaght to HNL the next morning. Might explain why it was headed out to sea.

The OP must have been quite sharp-eyed, and lucky with the timing, if that's the answer to the puzzle.

[Edited 2010-08-22 13:41:14]

User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 22, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6789 times:

Quoting bartonsayswhat (Reply 20):
It could have been a delivery flight to QantasLink or a South Asian operator. We had a delivery flight stop in YYJ last year and it departed striaght to HNL the next morning. Might explain why it was headed out to sea.

That is exactly the first thought that came to my head. How cool would that be.  



View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineKPDX From United States of America, joined Dec 2005, 2726 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 6537 times:

Ok, so I may be obsessing over this, but I think it would be really neat to figure out what this is, being an aviation geek. 

Heres sorta a reference of its flightpath, black circle being where I shot the video.

http://i30.photobucket.com/albums/c326/KPDX/Pic.jpg



View my aviation videos on Youtube by searching for zildjiandrummr12
User currently offlineT prop From United States of America, joined Apr 2001, 1023 posts, RR: 1
Reply 24, posted (3 years 11 months 5 days 3 hours ago) and read 5827 times:

Quoting as739x (Reply 15):
25K is the passenger restricted altitude due to O2 requirments. There is options on the a/c for a 27K and I believe that aircraft can go into the 30K's range with a crew onboard doing a test flight. Why would they, who knows!

Think of the fuel flow... So what use would an aircraft be that can loiter for long periods of time over an area virtually unseen or heard?


25 Post contains images AviationAddict : Must be Horizon's new PDX-ICN direct service!
26 Post contains images KPDX : I should have known.
27 whiteguy : Don't thinks its a QX Q400. Aren't their engines dark brown/black on the bottom?
28 SJC4Me : UBG and BTG VOR's are located in the Portland vicinity and both are on the Olympia Six arrival into SEA. Could have been a regular QXE SEA arrival.
29 KPDX : Hm possibly, but I looked on Flightaware for SEA arrivals around the time I saw it Saturday and nothing matched when it came to flightpath and timing
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