Vapour Trails

Travel theme: Work – flightpaths vary with weather and atmospheric conditions. Some days the skies over Hexham are empty whereas on others, like today, jets fly overhead in virtual squadrons. They are mostly tracking northwest out of Europe, bound for the US. These two were both heading for JFK:

On the right – Royal Jordanian Airbus A340 JY-AID out of Amman
On the left – Delta Airlines Boeing 767-322 N1605 out of Frankfurt

Bound for JFK

The pilots are earning their keep and some of the occupants will be on business trips. As they work their passage, they leave trails in their wake, like airborne snails:

Vapour trails


  1. Cindi · February 22, 2014

    Insightful words behind the images. So many people, lives, and thoughts represented in those vapour trails!

    • northumbrianlight · February 22, 2014

      It is easy to ignore them but they are people in the sky – when you know the plane and where it is going from/to, it comes alive.

  2. SeniSilat · February 22, 2014


  3. LaVagabonde · February 22, 2014

    How did you know which exact flights they were?

    • northumbrianlight · February 22, 2014

      Glad you asked Julie – go to and you can see what is over head anywhere in the world in real time. Zoom into your local area and once you identify the plane, click on it and the full details are displayed. Amazing system and alarming just how many aircraft are in the skies – who would ever want to work in ATC.

      • LaVagabonde · February 23, 2014

        That’s interesting. I’ve seen something like that before, but it was a lot less slick, just blips on a map.

    • northumbrianlight · February 22, 2014

      Sorry, wrong link –

  4. restlessjo · February 22, 2014

    Just what I was going to ask? I presume you’d been on Newcastle airport’s arrivals and departures? Very resourceful, Robin 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · February 22, 2014

      Its cleverer than that Jo – see above – I love it. Could be a ‘boy’ thing – I used to be a plane spotter at Ringway in my yoof 🙂

      • restlessjo · February 22, 2014

        Fascinating! I live and learn 🙂

  5. litadoolan · February 22, 2014

    Awesome. Reminds me of the power of looking up and also how infinite the space above us is!

    • northumbrianlight · February 22, 2014

      Many thanks….and if you follow the link above, it’s amazing just how much is going on up there.

      • litadoolan · February 22, 2014

        It’s quite mindblowing! (in a good way!)

  6. Cate Franklyn · February 22, 2014


    • northumbrianlight · February 23, 2014

      Many thanks Cate – strange to think that in just a few hours they would have been over your skies.

  7. beachy117 · February 23, 2014

    Great imagery!

  8. greenmackenzie · February 23, 2014

    What a lovely post….to know the planes destinations and departure points brings them closer to our experience…..we can imagine the stories and lives going on all the way up in the clouds. Snail trails 🙂

    • northumbrianlight · February 23, 2014

      Many thanks, strange to think of all that life up there, passing by in an instant.

  9. littledogslaughed · February 25, 2014

    Wow-these images are fantastic-talking about the human element makes it more real too-a very thoughtful interpretation of the challenge!

    • northumbrianlight · February 25, 2014

      Many thanks Meg – I was really annoyed that I just missed capturing the one on the left before it disappeared behind the cloud. My reactions are slowing up 😦

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