Phenomena

Airplane Vortex Wake

The wingtip vortices in the wake of a commercial airliner distort the clouds as the plane descends. Wingtip vortices form as a result of high pressure air from the underside of the wing accelerating around the wingtips to reach the low pressure on top of the wing. They can be hazardous to other (lighter) aircraft. They also contribute to downwash that decreases the effective lift of a wing. Geese use the same mechanism to their advantage when flying in a V-formation, and some snakes use it to glide.

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