View Full Version : Unusual contrail over UK
16th Jan 2012, 15:45
Question for London ATCO's:-
I was flying in and out of Heathrow today and with the clear blue skies could see what looked like a 'B' shaped contrail between London and TNT being formed over and over again.
It was at a good height, >FL400 and was in the air from around 11am until at least 1:30pm.
Do you guys and girls know what aircraft it was? What were they doing?
Or can't you say?!
16th Jan 2012, 16:03
Didn't you take a picture?
16th Jan 2012, 16:10
Other threads have mentioned E-3 AWACS activity in the area today.
16th Jan 2012, 16:12
I would guess that it was an AWACS type of thing........They sit up there in the FL400's around that geographical area doing funny shapes.
16th Jan 2012, 16:40
From the Mt. Belzoni area this morning, a clearly defined holding pattern contrail was visible, which looked like an aircraft holding high at Honiley, (using extended legs). A perfect race-track it was and the time correlates nicely, but sadly I didn't have the camera with me.
16th Jan 2012, 17:59
RAF Sentinel (GLEX) doing whatever it is that they do.
Active on Mode S for a good two-and-a-half hours.
17th Jan 2012, 05:58
Thanks for the info. Certainly was interesting to look at. It was a small aircraft alright. GLEX-sized.
17th Jan 2012, 10:27
It looked more like the Boeing E3 Sentry
17th Jan 2012, 12:40
My wife drew my attention to it .. and she never looks skyward:ooh:
Surprised these boys in blue don't check the contrailing levels before starting their ops.
E3 Sentry will normally operate a lot lower than 40,000' in the UK AEW areas.
I expect in a real conflict situation, they will indeed take account of the contrail level, or operate far from any threat.
Surprised these boys in blue don't check the contrailing levels before starting their ops. - as 10W says, they do if necessary - it is normally briefed, but I guess the fighter threat was low over Nottinghamshire that day.:)
17th Jan 2012, 18:45
Surprised these boys in blue don't check the contrailing levels before starting their ops[Caution: Old Git Mode ON] Reminds me of the 60s when you would see endless circling contrails from Vulcans and Victors almost anywhere in the UK. I guess the Russians knew we were planning to incinerate them, and if they didn't, it was a good way of reminding them :)
17th Jan 2012, 19:18
At least one E3 (a NATO one) was on exercise from the Wash down to the Channel for about 4 hours yesterday.
Good to know that, after so many years of joint cooperation, those foreign Jonnys have reached the letter B in the English alphabet.;)
17th Jan 2012, 23:46
I don't think the Luxembourg registered ones can get that high
18th Jan 2012, 12:42
They're usually FL300 ish and sat in the lobes. Without the charts near me, i couldn't have a guess as to which one it was in.
18th Jan 2012, 12:46
Sentinels usually operate upwards of FL470
18th Jan 2012, 18:45
Both right! Sentinel higher up and E3 lower down and slightly to the West....same time frame.
18th Jan 2012, 22:07
The one that half the country saw was an E-3 at FL310 ;)
19th Jan 2012, 09:31
sprite 1 was correct in his estimation....however 750XL could be a little out, and I suggest FL410/FL430 might be more realistic. DaveReid correct and 10W correct.
20th Jan 2012, 22:10
never seem them above 410/430, typically 410 negative RVSM so blocking three levels if you include 420!
U2's drop in to upper radar cover passing 470 out of 660 ish to land occasionaly