Skip to comments.Unusual vapor trail causes speculation[Top-Secret 'pulse jet' tests]
Posted on 01/15/2007 5:46:27 PM PST by FLOutdoorsman
A photograph taken in Beavercreek has some hoping it's proof of top-secret 'pulse jet' tests.
BEAVERCREEK A Beavercreek man's photograph of an unusual aircraft condensation trail has sparked a high-flying debate among scientists and aviation fans over whether the Air Force or NASA is flying an aerospace vehicle with an exotic new propulsion system.
The photo of the vapor trail, taken Nov. 10 by amateur meteorologist Bill Telzerow from his backyard, shows a distinctive "doughnuts-on-a-rope" shape.
The photo has raised questions about whether an experimental propulsion system that uses pulse detonation engine technology is being tested here. The propulsion system could potentially hurtle manned craft at six times the speed of sound (Mach 6).
The photo has been downloaded several thousand times each day since it was posted on the Web a week ago by the Federation of American Scientists (www.fas.org/irp/mystery/donuts.html), a Washington, D.C.-based group of scientists and engineers who monitor national policies on technology and research.
"I don't think (the photo) is proof positive, but I think it's interesting and suggestive," said Steven Aftergood, a senior research analyst at the federation.
Similar vapor trail sightings nationwide from 1988 to 1992 fueled speculation that the Air Force was working on a top-secret successor to the SR-71 Blackbird spy plane.
Pulse detonation engines, or pulse jets, contain no moving parts and are lighter and more efficient than regular jet engines.
Fuel is injected into the air inside the tube and ignited in a rapidly-occurring series of pulses. General Electric and Pratt & Whitney are both exploring the technology.
The Air Force Research Laboratory at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base has conducted runway tests on a small version of a pulse detonation engine, but officials there say they have not yet flown a PDE craft.
Telzerow, a spotter for the National Weather Service, said he was photographing the wind gauge in his backyard when he noticed the unusual formation.
He snapped four photos over several minutes because "I'd never seen anything like it before."
He said he had no idea what it was until he talked to two ex-pilot friends, both of whom speculated it was from a pulse jet.
Tim Fry, an aerospace research engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute, said he isn't convinced. Vapor trails "do wacky things. There could be any number of atmospheric disturbances going on that could cause it to lump together like that," he said.
Contact this reporter at (937) 225-2437 or jdebrosse@DaytonDailyNews.com.
I think there have been quite a few photos of "doughnuts on a rope" vapor trails...
Yes the SR-71 left them when it flew. This is nothing new to get excited over lol
Paging Art Bell!
I think PDF would leave the same uniform vapor trail as any other jet. This is a atmospheric event.
"Hehe heh. He said Beaver-creek"
I have heard Art Bell and he is not an appealing character to me.
Yeah, he and his broadcast alternate, George Noury, are always going on about vapor trails being a government conspiracy to poison us/control our minds...
An P-51 with severe engine knock.
Beat me to it,..Aurora ping.
I need a sound bite of the loading zone is for drop off ony, no parking. Do you have one?
I have seen vapor trails criss-crossing the sky and then the sky is completely hazey so there is something to it.
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