Airplane Gets Crazy Close to Funnel Cloud [VIDEO]
Storm Team 3 Chief Meteorologist Rob Perillo posted a video to his Facebook page of an airplane getting CRAZY close to a funnel cloud. INTENTIONALLY!
And when we say "CRAZY close", it appears that the airplane is just a few hundred feet of the funnel cloud, and kept circling around it.
Rob (as we like to call him), Chief Meteorologist for KATC TV 3, posted a video that shows a glider making tight turns around the funnel cloud, and the comments are going just as crazy as the flight seems to be.
One of the people commenting has (what I think is) a valid question: "if the glider is traveling in the same direction of rotation as the funnel cloud, wouldn't it lose lift?"
I guess the obvious answer to that question would be "no", because the airplane doesn't appear to lose (too much) lift at all.
Other common comments on the video include the obligatory "Wow" and "That is so KOOL!" and "OMG". Someone even threw in a "KEE YAW!"
Someone in the comments section asked if the airplane could have actually flown through the funnel cloud and, judging by the answers I found on Quora online, it is possible. Some pilots even recounted instances in which a funnel cloud formed directly on the runway as they were mere feet off of the ground, and they went through it without incident.
With that being said, it is NOT a good idea to fly through a tornado. What's the difference between a funnel cloud and a tornado?
A funnel cloud is a cloud that drops down toward the earth (making the cloud resemble the shape of a funnel, big on top, tapering to a point on the bottom) but hasn't yet touched the ground. Funnel clouds are usually just water droplets that are spinning around, forming the cloud and encouraging it to drop the way it does.
A tornado, on the other hand, is a funnel cloud that has dropped all the way to the ground and has picked up speed, power, and debris. A bunch of debris: tornadoes have been known to pick up animals, trees, dust, sticks, boards, and whatever else in their path that they can destroy. A tornado even picked up a house in Kansas and dropped it on a witch once. (Maybe twice, we don't know.)
It would be a bad idea to fly an airplane through a full-fledged tornado, as it probably would not come out intact.