EWR Spotter
Topic Author
Posts: 62
Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2000 12:12 pm

Aircraft Trailings

Tue Sep 26, 2000 10:26 am

Yesterday 9/24/00, I viewed some aircraft approaching EWR over my home. This was the first time I notices that there was a short stream of something trailing from the middle or so of the wings. I know it was not from the engines because, it was on an MD-80 as well as 737's and such. This occured to all aircraft that passed over yesterday. They have passed over before and it has never happened, or at least I have not seen it. Yesterday was a partly cloudy day at EWR and I don't know if that would have something to do with it. My friend seem to have his own thoughts for the trailings. One is that it is water vapor from the clouds. He claims: "When the planes fly through clouds, they get wet. Then when it's landing, air makes it evaporate (makes steam)". Keep in mind my friends are not that knowledgeable in aviation. I know that many people probably know the answer to this question but I do not. Does anyone have any info for me?

RE: Aircraft Trailings

Tue Sep 26, 2000 10:30 am

Typically, they do this above FL25. It makes them easy for me to spot using a Telescope. I have seen Delta 757's at FL35 with the Telescope. But I observed a Southwest 737 at FL25 I think, and its contrail was lost as it descended. I have no scanner, so these may not be so acurate.
Posts: 3126
Joined: Fri Jul 07, 2000 3:14 pm

RE: Aircraft Trailings

Tue Sep 26, 2000 10:30 am

I heard that this happens only to Delta-wing aircraft at low speeds? Did you see the Concorde?


Could it be unburnt fuel? just a guess.

RE: Aircraft Trailings

Tue Sep 26, 2000 10:42 am

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © Samuel lo

Click for large version
Click here for full size photo!

Photo © PixAir

The reason for this is simply humid air becoming compressed by the airplanes wings...
Posts: 4971
Joined: Tue May 18, 1999 11:55 am

RE: Aircraft Trailings

Tue Sep 26, 2000 10:47 am

Vapor Trails!? I just uploaded a photo like that, and I hope it gets uploaded soon. Look for it, it's an Air Transat 757.

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