4holer
Topic Author
Posts: 2724
Joined: Tue Feb 05, 2002 1:47 am

What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:01 am

So I'm out grilling dinner, and for a while this evening, the usual cloudless PHX sky in June gave way to some long lasting contrails. I'm always looking at contrails, probably because I was brought up in the 70s when they were more interesting with all of the 4 holers up there. But at around 6:30 PM at pretty much the same time, contrails of 2 airliners to the south made a 90 degree turn to the right almost all the way up to PHX, then a >90 degree turn back down towards San Diego. It was pretty funky to see. A quick look at my phone's flightradar app showed the flights to be these.
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/SWA215
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/DAL1467
The turns seemed even more abrupt than the line on the flightaware graphs.

So what gives? Turbulence? There were no clouds at all to indicate any "weather".
Anyone have an idea?
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tribird1011
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:12 am

Did the aircraft make those turns, or just the contrails?

If it was just the contrails, good chance that they may have gotten caught in the jetstream.
 
4holer
Topic Author
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:18 am

Definitely turns. If you zoom in on the flight paths on the links you can see. And like I said, visually, the contrail turns looked tighter than what you see on flightaware. These were big sweeping S turns.
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
 
GuitrThree
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:31 am

If you look at the flightaware maps of those particular flights on a PC or Mac (not mobile), change the map setting from "classic" to "aviation sectional" (box in upper right corner of the map).

You will see many restricted areas and parachute locations in the area they avoided by the turns. While the restricted areas are height limited, I'm betting they had some kind of operations going on in the upper FL's that prompted the S-turns you witnessed.

Of course, that's just a guess......
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JHwk
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 3:32 am

Exercises at Barry M Goldwater Air Force Firing Range? Looks like it was planned for the Delta flight at least.
 
4holer
Topic Author
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 4:19 am

Then why not fly direct towards PHX instead of tight turns?
Also, this flight took the "normal" flightpath close to the same time, but no detour...
http://flightaware.com/live/flight/A...9/history/20130618/2205Z/KDFW/KSAN

But I agree that something going on at the Goldwater Range is a good guess...
Ghosts appear and fade away.....................
 
SurfandSnow
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 5:35 am

Well, a buddy of mine mentioned on Facebook a pretty wild ride from BUR to PHX, "I think I want to congratulate the pilot for his hurried rush to get us to Phoenix as the doctor worked on the girl in the back of the plane; putting us in a perpetual nose-dive to accelerate, low-altitude banking barely over the buildings of Phoenix, full throttle landing, and 90mph race-skidding into the gate... But I also want to slap him for the White-knuckle adrenaline rush he put us in for 45 min from Burbank to Phoenix. Girl is doing fine. Walked off the plane with paramedics on her own." Posted Monday at 3:07 PM in Scottsdale, AZ. No clue if it was US or WN, but if I had to guess - WN  .
Flying in the middle seat of coach is much better than not flying at all!
 
chrisair
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 6:06 am

I saw them too--there were three up there for about 45-50 minutes and just kind of merged together. I'm sure they were just spraying some chemicals on us in the Valley.  

Seriously speaking, I bet the turns were for spacing.

Right after sunset there were a couple beautiful contrails that were lit up nicely by the sun and glowed red for quite a while.
 
PHLapproach
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RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Wed Jun 19, 2013 10:50 am

Yea, absolutely that controller was vectoring to get in trail spacing on the LYNDI3 prior to flashing the handoff to LA Center.
 
chrisair
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Joined: Fri Sep 01, 2000 11:32 pm

RE: What's With Zigzag Contrails South Of PHX?

Thu Jun 20, 2013 4:57 am

I just flew PHX-SAN today and did the same sharp turn south out of PHX. Went right over the Vee Quiva Casino before turning back to the west. Thought for a minute we were going to pay Tucson a visit!

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