Phenomena

Wake Vortices at Night

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The ends of an airplane’s wings generate vortices that stretch back in the wake of the plane. Most of the time these vortices are invisible, even if their effects on lift are distinctive. Here an A-340 coming in for a foggy landing demonstrates the size and strength of these vortices. Notice how the fog gets swept up and away by the vortices. Pilots will sometimes use this effect to their advantage in clearing a runway of fog by making repeated low-passes to clear the fog before landing. (Video credit: A. Ruesch; submitted by Jens F.)

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