Raptor Vapes

  • Aug 8, 2015 10:17am GMT

Caught this on SierraHotel.net today.

What you have here is an USAF F-22 Raptor doing some type of high angle-of-attack (AOA) maneuver, like the rapid transition from high-speed to vertical flight - presumably as part of an airshow demo. In (vectored) thrust we trust!

Curious how a vapor 'cloud' (that's not smoke) forms around an aircraft when there's no visible moisture in the sky? The reason, in simple terms, is pressure and temperature. There are two times you see this type of moisture phenomena around aircraft. One is in the high "alpha" (angle-of-attack) regime where airspeed is traded for altitude AND water vapor. The other is the high-speed (pre-supersonic) transonic regime - like the 'flat pass.'

If you're still curious, you can go to the place where every psychology-major-turned-fighter-pilot goes for answers to hard, sciency questions... Wikipedia: "When the localized air pressure around the object drops, so does the air temperature. If the temperature drops below the dew point a cloud forms."

Speed is life.