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Commercial Airliners in Formation ?

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posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:33 AM
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I snapped the photo showing the two airliners close together Friday 01/21 around 5:00 PM over NW Atanta. My guess is that the altitude was around or over 30,000 feet.

What took my notice was seeing two contrails so close together and at first thought they may have been military aircraft, as they approached overhead I was able to determine otherwise.

As I've understood it civilian airliners normally maintain a three to five mile separation horizontally when at or near the same altitude and heading. Also I usually see a marked separation in altitude of 3000 feet or so.

Both aircraft maintained position until out of view over the horizon and from that aspect it was clear that the altitude of both A/C were very close.

Wonder what these aircraft were up to ?

The Southwest (presumed) flight would have been blind to the presence of the 757 (suspected)

737 and 757 in loose Formation


Zoomed Image of 757?


Zoomed Image of Southwest 737?


Photo of Soutwest Airlines 737-300 for Comparison


Photo of 757 for Comparison


I've been sky watching for four decades and cannot recollect seeing civilian airliners track each other like these two were doing.

Note: Image was done with 10X optical zoom augmented with 100X digital zoom, to the naked eye the A/C appeared as a dot like this bolded period . , they were really high up there.

[edit on 22-1-2005 by Phoenix]




posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:37 AM
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Probly the military moving something they dont want advertised by using civlian air craft . Ps its the only logcial explanation I can think of .



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:43 AM
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Originally posted by Simcity4Rushour
Probly the military moving something they dont want advertised by using civlian air craft . Ps its the only logcial explanation I can think of .


Yeah was wondering something along those lines myself but I'm not sure what the resolution is on civilian air traffic control radar, will it see A/C separation or not at the distance these two A/C are at?

Anyone know about ATC radar capabilities?



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:45 AM
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A bunch of business tycoons/senators/congressmen etc. going to/returning from thebush inaugration?

Wild guess but could be..



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:46 AM
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The internationally approved separation distances is 5 nautical miles laterally, OR 1000 feet vertically. These planes were more than likely traversing main routes, in which case they would appear to be in formation for a period of time.


When I flew from UK to Cyprus in July 2004, we were 'tracked' by a 767 around 3000 feet off to the right and 1500 feet below us, for around 30 minutes, when it veered off to land at Larnica, while we landed at Paphos. It was quite a sight, unfortunately my camera was out of battery at the time :/



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:50 AM
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I saw this yesterday - LINK - and it didn't exactly thrill me considering how little I like to fly already.


WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Airplanes are now allowed to fly closer to one another under a Federal Aviation Administration regulation that went into effect Thursday.

The new rule reduces the long-standing vertical separation minimum of 2,000 feet to 1,000 feet, thus doubling the number of routes airlines can fly between 29,000 feet and 41,000 feet, an FAA press release said.


Out West where I live there is a very narrow corridor that commercial airlines must use when departing so seeing planes tail each other is fairly common. But never at the distances you show in your photos.

Really strange stuff there,
B.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:51 AM
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Originally posted by Phoenix

Yeah was wondering something along those lines myself but I'm not sure what the resolution is on civilian air traffic control radar, will it see A/C separation or not at the distance these two A/C are at?

Anyone know about ATC radar capabilities?


There are several different types of ATC, you have regional ATC which handles airport to airport, and you have airport ATC which handles anything up to 15 miles around the airport.

Both types of radar can tell seperation to 100 feet in any direction, if the aircraft are closer than 100 feet then they merge. This is one of the reasons there are huge seperation distances.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:53 AM
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seperated by 1000 feet verticaly? Looking at the photo sure doesent look like a 1000 feet higher to me one plane would look signifghtly smaller .
they are very very close to the same flyght leavel and less the a half mile apart juging by the photo.
as a matter of fact the photo realy shows true as the smaller looking plane is the Smaller plane and slightly farther away in the photo.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 10:55 AM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice
The internationally approved separation distances is 5 nautical miles laterally, OR 1000 feet vertically. These planes were more than likely traversing main routes, in which case they would appear to be in formation for a period of time.



As you may be able to see these two A/C are much closer than the approved distance. They are about 1200 feet apart using the 757 fusalage length to judge by and my best guess was that there was 500 or less feet in verticle separation throughout the entire time they were in view.

I would agree that they were on an airway though because many single A/C had used the same route before and after the image was taken.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 11:00 AM
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I have seen this happen MANY times, I live in probably the busiest airways of the world and I have seen many of these kind of things...

Just imagine how many "chem-trails" we get, that's another reason I dismissed that as a hoax...but that's another topic...

I live in Den Helder, The Netherlands, and we get alot of air traffic heading towards Schiphol from Scandinavia and the UK, on average you can spot 6 aircraft in our skies when you look up in the skies...

I've also seen alot of military aircraft above my country, we even had TU-95's "get lost" above our skies here and they had to be "escorted" by dutch F-16's, this was in the 80s, sneaky Russians...i've also seen US aircraft, like F-15s, presumably coming from Germany which in turn came from Afghanistan (presumably).

One note though, most aircraft I spotted here are white, I never could make out colors like that aircraft in this thread.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 11:12 AM
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Atlanta is a busy hub for air traffic and in the medium to lower altitudes one may see parallel lines of aircraft in the inbound/outbound corridors day and night usually 3-5 miles behind each other and parallel by about five miles.

The aircraft on the higher airways going over Atlanta always have good aircraft separation such that an observer would have to wait three or four minutes for each individual aircraft to be directly overhead.

This particular incident was not at all normal for this area and is one I've never observed - as I said I have been observing for a long time.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 11:26 AM
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Originally posted by Phoenix
As you may be able to see these two A/C are much closer than the approved distance. They are about 1200 feet apart using the 757 fusalage length to judge by and my best guess was that there was 500 or less feet in verticle separation throughout the entire time they were in view.

I would agree that they were on an airway though because many single A/C had used the same route before and after the image was taken.


At a guess, using the aircraft lengths as a judgement, id say the vertical separation is adequet, and its definately more than 500 feet. The apparent size of an aircraft is hard to go by, as it all depends on various factors, but id say there was more than 500 feet separation there, judging by the differences in the exhausts. The 737 is higher than the 757.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 04:45 PM
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Originally posted by RichardPrice

At a guess, using the aircraft lengths as a judgement, id say the vertical separation is adequet, and its definately more than 500 feet. The apparent size of an aircraft is hard to go by, as it all depends on various factors, but id say there was more than 500 feet separation there, judging by the differences in the exhausts. The 737 is higher than the 757.



The verticle separation was much closer than the image would lead you to believe but I did have the luxury of watching then go uprange to the horizon where that aspect could be seen much better. The 737 was slightly lower than the 757, it appears opposite because the 737 is smaller, slightly farther out and its contrail is more diffuse I'm assuming because of engine type.

The fact that they were fairly close is not something that I deemed a danger especially with the very clear conditions, its the fact that they were so coordinated in speed and altitude for such a long time with no deviation that makes one wonder what the reason was. I would have thought if it was just a casual coincidence that ATS would have requested the planes to maintain a further distance than they indeed did.

ATS not requesting separation indicates something other than the transport of passengers was possibly occuring. What that "other" reason is I don't know thats why I posted the Image to see if anyone else had an idea.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 06:14 PM
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Maybe the 737 pilots had requested a visual on a problem on the aircraft? Stuck elevator or something.



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 06:57 PM
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I have no idea about that but i was on a plane recently and i had a window seat (we all love them) and i saw another plane maybe 40-50 miles away it came closer and closer i took pictures with my cheap camera lol and the other plane flew over mine going in another direction which was pretty cool, it didnt scare me.. i was just amazed to see that another plane came so close and flew over ours



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 07:41 PM
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When going to Chicago airport, I saw a small aircraft come quite close to our aircraft, it kinda scared me since it was post 9/11



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 08:52 PM
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It actually looks like the 757 is lower about 1000 feet even. Check the contrails the plane's tail wings makes.

The contrails on the 757 start in front of the Tail wings, and the contrails on the 737 starts behind the tail wings, signifying that the 737 is presumably higher than the 757.

Also the 757 is drawing brighter and sharper contrails, so the camera picked it up better due to lower altitude.

And I'd say it is behind the other plane about half a mile, or enough about a quater mile.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Jan, 22 2005 @ 09:32 PM
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This seems like a normal seperation albiet close, Remeber that they FAA just changed the separation rules to be more in line with those of Europe and planes are allowed to be much closer. They also have, the acronym eludes me, a collision avoidence transponder if another plane gets too close. Im in the air all the time in the copter, and ATC calls esp for commerical traffic is pretty good, so Im sure the SW pilot knew he had a 757 in trail as it were.

Two unrealted notes:

The wake turbulence off of the 757 is pretty bad so I ive felt, we crossed ones path in our BK-117 and lets just say it was bouncy.

The SW planes in that new pain scheme (at least the ones I have seen) have the belnded winglets that look so cool.



posted on Jan, 23 2005 @ 03:38 AM
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That would be the TCARS you're thinking of.



posted on Jan, 25 2005 @ 01:17 PM
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Could it be for a photo shoot? Don't they sometimes use other airliners? (I don't know about this kind of thing....maybe the use biz jets or something)



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