reply to post by Sunburnt
Ok....I have seen many videos like (similar) to this, sorry.
They look very much like the lights of large airliners, off in the distance. As they are being radar-vectored by Air Traffic Control for final
approach to their destination airport.
I see, by looking at maps, the general vicinity of the Wilmington Airport, just west by northwest of your position on the Wrightsville Beach.
I presume you were filming out over the water, correct? The lights shifted positions, as you see rather slowly and gradually (which is what it looks
like when you see the landing lights of large jets that are distant by 20, 30 or even 50 miles away.
(It is important to understand how the airliners behave on descents. Firstly, it is common to illuminate nearly all of the external lights, to
include landing lights, as you descend through 18,000 feet. AT that altitude, you are generally within 50 miles of landing at your destination.
Secondly, the arrivals are often "sequenced" by ATC by being given headings to fly, with occasional turns left or right).
Several airplanes, at distance would appear to be "close" to one another, when they are many miles apart. Only as they get nearer to
does this separation they have become more obvious.
I hear a lot of wind in the recording, from that evening. Did the wind happen to be coming mostly from the North, or North and slightly West, by any
chance? Or some other direction that was blowing offshore? Because you can see the runway at Wilmington that is aligned North/South.
A wind from the northwest direction would mean they'd be landing in that direction, on that runway. However, due to the angle of the other runway,
and the direction some lights appeared to be moving to your North, as you filmed, they could also have been maneuvering to line up to land to the
SouthWest, if that was more the wind direction.
SO, if you remember the wind direction, we can figure this out more accurately.
Here is an actual Wilmington Airport diagram:
See, one Runway is numbered 17/35 (those are magnetic headings, actual numbers are 168.3° and reciprocal of 348.3°, which is how the Runway
numbers are derived).
If the wind was more from the South, and West, then it would favor landing into the wind on the crossing Runway. (6/24). Runway 24 being the landing
Was the wind direction that unusual, so the airline traffic was coming from directions you were not used to seeing, before? (Plus, a very clear
evening, with very good and distant visibility). These situations often lead to these "sightings" for locals who aren't accustomed to seeing the jets
at all, nor in those directions.
This might help you in future, too:
From the above ^ ^ ^ you can zoom in on the "Big Map"
view and see the
airplanes that are arriving/departing from Wilmington.
The airplane icons in cyan are local....the green ones are just passing by, from other origins.
I see, just now as I type this, a lot of rainclouds and weather in your area? Some rain perhaps?? (This is Wednesday afternoon, the 10th January at
about 3:30 EST).
Your temperature (at the airport) is 17°Celsius, or about 63°F......so, no snow. The winds are light today, from 140° at about 6 knots.
Aviation Weather Forecast for the next few hours (up to midnight GMT) is for gusty winds from the South and occasional heavy rainshowers......
edit on Wed 11 January 2012 by ProudBird because: (no reason given)