For lack of any other explanation, my guess is the Kalitta crew were hot dogging this descent creating a shockwave over Oakdale New York...had no time to set camera on raw image, sorry for quality...thought this was a rare event as I have never seen this before on a major jet transport...


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This is indeed droplets or ice crystals becoming visible in the sunlight. They seem to prismaticly break the light a bit to give some color. You need not fly supersonic to have a bow wave, but if conditions are just right, these weak waves can also trigger water vapour to form briefly from compression-decompression. I have captured on video a very nice shock wave dancing on the surface of a cruising jetliner going transsonic (as PAX). I could only see it from 1 or two seats right above the centre of the wing. I just had to show it to one of the pilots after landing (was the last get off). He said he knows of the shock waves, but has never seen one in his thousands of hours flying, nor any other phenomena. Those seats in the front are just not a good place for observing these.


I may be missing something here, bit if you looke very close to the #4 engine, you will see a similar effect, as well as what appears to be a ripple from turbulent air off the trailing edge of the port wing.

gerard isaacson

Yes, if you look carefully ,the entire airframe has this effect...I'm 54 and have looked up at every aircraft that has past over my head since I was 6 years old...I have never seen this before and was very fortunate to catch this...I had seen an Airbus create even a funkier effect earlier this day which prompted me to get my camera...Unfortunetelly, I was just photodocumenting items for ebay and had the camera set on jpg/med rather than RAW as I typically do. imagine the image in RAW?!