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Do Aircraft Fly Around In Tight Circles At 30,000 Feet?

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posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 03:56 PM
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I have just been outside and happened to look up at the clear night sky. I am located in North Birmingham UK. I have just witnessed a red light which i assume is a passenger aircraft. It is flying i would estimate at a height of around 30,000 feet. It is flying in tight circles and then appears to move from left to right in a matter of a few seconds. i stayed observing it for about 10 minutes. I am about 6 miles from Birmingham International Airport.
Is this normal for an aircraft to behave in this fashion? I must admit i have heard any incoming aircraft to the airport in the last 15 munutes.




posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:01 PM
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some times when planes are put in holding patterns, or need to slow down they will fly in circles. though its hard saying if this is what you are seeing or not. How tight of a circle is it?



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:05 PM
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reply to post by alldaylong
 


At 30000 feet the difference between the critical angle of attack (Aerodynamical stall) and not, is so small that abrupt or excessive control movements will cause the aircraft to exceed that critical angle. This includes excessive banking (turning) manuevers.

For an aircraft at 30k feet to make "tight" circles, those circles would have to be extremely large, several miles in diameter in fact, of course depending on speed.

I have tried to limit the techno jargon, but as a pilot myself, "tight" cirlces at 30k feet are miles in diameter.



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:06 PM
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reply to post by crimsongod21
 


To estimate the diamater of the circle it was flying in the only way i can explain it would be..........If you held your middle finger against the sky, the aircraft was turning within the length of the finger. I was wtaching it for around 10 minutes but i began to get neck ache so i went back indoors



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:12 PM
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reply to post by alldaylong
 


well im just guessing that might be a little small if you will. though in truth i am no expert. do they fly smaller planes into the local airport? could your estimation of altitude be wrong?



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:13 PM
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might be a smaller craft at a lower altitude so it seems to be the same ratio? at 30k feet i'd imagine that they would be trying to burn off fuel for an emergency landing but nothing on central news etc?



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:16 PM
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How are you determining that the aircraft is at 30K feet from the ground, in the dark?
If it was only a red light, then you can only know that it was above 10K feet, but you cannot say with any certainty anything else, especially if you cannot see the aircraft body, or even know the aircraft type.

Aircraft can circle for any number of reasons, including but not limited too: Holding, waiting to enter a traffic pattern (land at an uncontrolled airport), waiting for clearance to land at a scene or on a pad (medical helicopters, etc), observing something (traffic monitoring, police work, photography, etc), police pilots waiting for a call to do something (aka screwing around), student pilots practicing IFR night flying, military pilots waiting their turn to midair refuel, military pilots waiting their turn on a bombing range, etc...



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:18 PM
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reply to post by crimsongod21
 


We see the occasional small aircraft fly into the airport but not that often. I am sure that the height i estimated (30,000 feet) is correct. I have just been outdoors and it has gone. It's been about 30 minutes now since i have heard an aircraft come in for landing, however i saw one take-off about 5 minutes ago. I am on the flight path to the airport.



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 04:22 PM
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reply to post by defcon5
 


Thanks for your reply. I am not that clued up on aircraft behaviour. As for the height............i see aicraft fly over at about 40,000 feet during the daytime. The height of the aircraft was not that far below that. As i say.......i am a novice when it comes to aircraft behaviour, thats the reason i posted the original question.



posted on Mar, 20 2012 @ 09:45 PM
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Originally posted by alldaylong
reply to post by crimsongod21
 


To estimate the diamater of the circle it was flying in the only way i can explain it would be..........If you held your middle finger against the sky, the aircraft was turning within the length of the finger. I was wtaching it for around 10 minutes but i began to get neck ache so i went back indoors


Even at 30k feet you would see the typical red strobe light displayed by most planes today. Nothing would be orbiting at that height over your local airport because of being stacked up. At that height it would not have likely been a small private a/c. Also, near airports, planes in the area typically are required to have their landing lights on or other whilte, collision-avodiance lights that clearly indicate their presence.

I noticed a few years ago when Bush visited Austin for a day or two that at night (I was busy days) there was always a jet, probably an F-15 flying a large orbital path around Austin at quite a bit of a lessor altitude. One would leave and a couple minutes later another would take its places. These jets displaying nothing but the minimum flashing red lights fighters have that were not easy to see, no strobes.

Perhaps that craft you witnessed was flying cover for some big shot in your area..




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