Monday, April 02, 2007

AirFest 2007-Part Eleven

Bear with me for this post. There are a ton of pictures here but I wanted to show you what I saw. This plane is called Ditto and it's a T-28. What makes it unique is the smoke. Plenty of planes have smoke, even the paratroopers had smoke. But none of them looked like this. Look closely and you'll see the smoke is coming from the wing tips. Most planes produce their smoke by injecting paraffin into the exhaust. It makes a white smoke that quickly dissolves and is environmentally friendly. On this plane, they somehow make the smoke at the wingtips, making a double trail. What I don't know is if they use something other than paraffin. The trails behind this plane seemed to hold together longer than the normal single trails. And they behaved like living creatures!
See how the trails directly behind the plane are already starting to curl up? I think it has something to do with the air currents behind the plane. But wouldn't they be extremely turbulent? I would expect the smoke to curl up and dissipate.

The longer the smoke hung in the air, the weirder it's behavior. In spots, the two trails would join up, forming actual smoke rings. You could actually see it happening. I was having a hard time snapping pictures, because I was too intrigued by the behavior of the smoke. I eventually quit shooting the plane, and just shot the smoke as it twisted in on itself in ways that just didn't seem natural.
Once in a while, the rings would form in just the right spot, and the pilot would fly back through them, effectively tying the trails in a knot.

The cohesiveness of this smoke was just incredible.

I hope this guy shows up again at another airshow. I don't think these pictures do justice to what I saw out there.

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