'Fluffy' F-22 Raptor captured at the Royal International Air Tattoo

Photographer captures ‘fluffy’ F-22 Raptor at the Royal International Air Tattoo

  • ‘Fluffy jets’ are rarely observed as it requires a photographer to snap the exact millisecond the plume bursts 
  • Yet David Lister captured this F-22 Raptor at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucester 
  • It is caused by humid air entering a low-pressure area over the flying surfaces, generating condensation 

Roaring through the sky, this F-22 Raptor appears as though it has either burst into a puff of smoke or is struggling to shake off a clingy cloud.

But while one may think that this ‘cloud cover’ is just another cloaking device deployed by the stealth fighter plane, it is actually a unique phenomenon caused by the jet’s frightening speed.

So-called ‘fluffy jets’ are rarely observed as it requires a photographer to snap the exact millisecond the plane is engulfed in plume.

Yet David Lister achieved this most remarkable of feats when he captured F-22 Raptor at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucester.

So-called ‘fluffy jets’ are rarely observed as it requires a photographer to snap the exact millisecond the plane is engulfed in plume, but David Lister captured this F-22 Raptor at the Royal International Air Tattoo in Fairford, Gloucester

He said: ‘On the day itself was just at an air show really it was the star of the show and really impressive to see.’

The unusual image is caused by humid air entering a low-pressure area over the flying surfaces, reducing the density and temperature.

As the jet zooms through the sky, this produces condensation which kicks up the cloud-ball effect. 

Officially known as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the single-seat twin-engine plane is one of five fighters boasted by the US Air Force’s awesome military arsenal.

It is part of an elite group of ‘air superiority’ craft designed to clear the skies of enemy planes and establish immediate dominance in a conflict zone by carrying out ground strikes.

One model costs an eye-watering £115million to build and boasts a weapons bay which holds two bomb racks short-range missiles. 

The Royal International Air Tattoo claims to be the ‘world’s greatest airshow’ and brings over 200 planes to RAF Fairford in July each year.  

Officially known as the Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor, the single-seat twin-engine plane is one of five fighters boasted by the US Air Force’s awesome military arsenal

How ‘fluffy jet’ is related to Bernoulli’s Principle of Lift

‘Fluffy jet’ is a colloquial name given to the process of condensation clouds forming around aircraft.

As air flows over an aircraft’s wing, there is a low pressure region above and a high pressure region below the wing.

This is due to Bernoulli’s Principle of Lift – that the faster speed of air along the top of a wing leads to reduced air pressure.

Humid air enters the low-pressure area over the flying surface, which reduces the density and temperature.

This happens when a plane pulls up and the pressure above the wing decreases.

As the pressure decreases, so does the temperature – making the moisture in the air condense.

This then creates visible condensation, which looks like a fluffy cloud that engulfs the plane.

The whole sight only lasts a few milliseconds and is therefore hard to capture on camera.

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