Interesting Contrail Over Seattle

Message posted by Christian Bryan on April 19, 2015 at 17:55:15 PST:

Hi Guys-

Don't post here that much, but thoroughly enjoy the forum, and always read the posts.

Writing today to share some images that I had taken on April 15, 2015, at approx. 6:25 PM, between Auburn & Enumclaw, WA, about 35 miles south/southeast of Seattle.

I was called outside to view this contrail, and when looking up, I was quite amazed to see this thing...I'm in no way suggesting I saw something necessarily exotic, but I'm sure it's something somewhat off the beaten path, and I certainly don't see trails like these over this area.

The traffic was heading east/southeast, crossing over the Cascade Mountain Range, just north of Mt. Rainer. There was nothing unique about the altitude...I would say the typical 35,000 to 40,000 height, but the speed was a bit better than an airliner, my estimated guess is around somewhere between .85 to maybe .95 Mach, something like that.

Since I ran outside in a hurry, I didn't have a camera handy, so when the aircraft was too far away to see anyway, I dashed inside, grabbed the camera, and took these shots.

I've been gazing at contrails since I was around 3 years old, I'm 54 now, and can honestly say I've never seen such a "Strident", "Buffed Up" trail such as this...the trail itself almost looked like it would had to have been three large aircraft in very tight formation, but I'm almost positive this was just one airplane.

Don't quote me on this part, but I think I noticed a much longer than usual wing chord at the root of the fuse/wing juncture...can't confirm this, and I couldn't really see much of the fuselage, if there was one. The wing sweep (Of what I could see) was nothing outstanding...very hard to tell, but looked like 35-40 degrees.

The way the trail fans out gradually a few miles behind the aircraft, and tapers slightly back inward, is somewhat similar to a B-52 contrail, but this was much "Beefier', with copious amounts of vapor like I've never seen.

I ran it through my mind a few times, and B-1 is what I came up with...the trail just behind the aircraft seemed very "Tight", as if there were very large engines packed tightly together, a little bit like the scant few images/films I've seen of XB-70 trails. For that reason of course, "Brilliant Buzzard" comes to mind, but who knows.

I thought perhaps some "Contrail Experts" here might identify this for me? Now comes the obligatory: "The pics don't really do the images justice, and the contrail looked quite a bit larger and more impressive in person", LOL, but it's really true.

This was one thick, fat, copious trail, and I'd love to know what it was. I've posted the seven pics here:

I've never used before, so hope this works. If there is perhaps a better place to host these with better resolution, feel free to let me know. Also, please feel free to share...not concerned about any rights on this, just anxious for an answer!

Thanks very much Guys,



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