Help Needed to Explain a Strange Phenomenon

I need help from my readers to explain the strange phenomenon I just observed outside. Can you, please, look at the photos and tell me what caused this strange white line in the sky? It causes me intense anxiety because I can’t explain it. For decades, I have been suffering from nightmares where airplanes fall from the sky and when I saw this I immediately imagined a falling airplane. Which gave me an intense panic attack. I’m hyperventilating and shaking right now. And I’m going to go and do some breathing exercises.

17 thoughts on “Help Needed to Explain a Strange Phenomenon”

  1. It surely does look like an airplane’s dive. Perhaps a pilot was conducting exercises. Can you tell whether the trail eventually pulled upwards or whether it appears to have hit the ground. Given the distance involved, if the plane had crashed I should have thought you would have seen flames and smoke in the distance.

    I hope that you feel better soon. Accidents occasionally happen, though they are rare in the air.

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    1. Thank you, Charles Rowley. The trail didn’t pull upwards but it didn’t come all the way to the ground either.

      And just tonight I had the airplane nightmare. The funny thing is that I have no fear of being inside an airplane. But I have this terror that it will drop on my head.

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  2. Just the trail from an airplane. They’re produced by any functioning plane with jets when the air temperature and moisture content is right- something about the moist air being compressed/heated when going through the turbines causes the water to stick together to become more cloud-like, which then expands when the plane moves on. So you see these less often when there are no clouds at all in the sky, but with those diffuse fuzzy clouds in your pictures, I think that means the conditions are perfect for making contrails. (Wikipedia “contrails” if you want another source.)

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  3. It’s obviously a contrail. It merely looks like it’s hitting the ground because the earth is round and therefore the horizon “gets in the way” once it’s far enough. (the same effect happens if you watch a ship go over the horizon; the hull disappears first and then the superstructure, ie it goes “below” the horizon.) The clouds “behind” it are cirrocumulus.

    Contrails are formed from water vapour that condenses from engine exhaust at cruising altitudes, or from low-pressure wingtip vortexes. If it was from a wingtip vortex, it would be either near landing (in which case you’d probably hear the engines, and see the contrails disappear as altitude increased) or from a high angle of attack (which basically means military aircraft or a stunt plane), in both cases on a day with high humidity. If these contrails are from a cruising airplane (which I suspect since I live relatively close to a major airport and often see contrails from cruising aircraft stretching which look like the ones in the picture) then its a perfectly normal situation. Hence, unless you live practically next door to an airport, seeing contrails means that the planes are flying normally and hence have no chance of dropping on your head. Although easier said than done, seeing such contrails means the plane is flying normally and therefore ought to help you overcome your fear.

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    1. My parents live close to an airport and whenever we go out for a walk, I become hysterical because there are all those airplanes flying very close to the ground. I know that this is very irrational but I really suffer.

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  4. One time there was a contrail that went kind of up and caught the sun in a weird way so it looked like there was this special glow. Everyone I knew was speculating if it was a missile or rocket launch or what. I think it even made the news. It was a jet contrail. A jet. Contrail. Not an ICB fucking M, FOX-7 news team.

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