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Did That Plane Just Freeze Mid-Air?

By The Hyperhive


6 February 2024

Plane freeze mid-air

©️ Will Manidis / X

In a recent viral video shared on X (formerly Twitter), a plane appeared to be frozen in mid-air above the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge and San Francisco Bay. Will Manidis, the CEO of a healthcare natural language processing company, captured the moment during his flight home from New York City to the Bay Area. But did the plane really freeze mid-air? Or was it another glitch in the Matrix? Continue reading to find the link below.

X Users React

The video sparked various humorous reactions, with some users suggesting the plane was “buffering” or that there was a “glitch in the matrix.”

Plane freeze mid-air
©️ Will Manidis / X

DeFi Mark, another X user commented, “Guy forgot that friction and air resistance exist. They land at the same time in a vacuum.”

He continued to explain, writing “Given that we are not in a vacuum, measuring the difference in speeds precisely actually gives a lot of insight into how objects fall through air, depending on volume, shape, and density.”

Another exclaimed, “In home bruh? Do u live inside a vacuum chamber or something?”

People were confused if this was a parody or if Mandis was talking seriously. Another one wrote, “I’m almost certain this is a troll account.”

“Parody account?” asked another.

Did the Plane Freeze Mid-Air?

Manidis clarified in an email to PEOPLE that the apparent lack of motion was merely an optical illusion. He also took the time to explain the science behind it. Planes, during their journeys, may experience headwinds and tailwinds. Strong headwinds, in particular, can make a plane appear frozen in the sky, even though it is moving slowly through the air. Additionally, a person’s perspective, especially when moving opposite to a slowing plane, can contribute to the illusion.

Plane freeze mid-air
©️ Will Manidis / X

Manidis’s video received praise for capturing the phenomenon exceptionally well, thanks to the perspective provided by the San Mateo-Hayward Bridge. Similar incidents have been recorded in the past, with one occurring near Dallas Fort Worth’s airport in 2018 and another going viral on social media in 2022.

One commenter on X explained the phenomenon as parallax, writing, “The Parallax Effect is a difference in the apparent position of an object when viewed along two different lines of sight.”

Plane freeze mid-air
©️ Will Manidis / X

A pilot also chimed in, attributing the illusion to two planes landing simultaneously, with the smaller one moving slower due to its lighter weight and potential headwinds.

Residents familiar with the area mentioned witnessing such spectacles regularly, emphasizing that it’s not an uncommon occurrence. The San Francisco International Airport’s arrival procedures, initiated in 2013, allow for staggered arrivals on parallel runways during poor weather conditions. This might be the reason behind the frozen plane illusion.

While the video sparked speculation and humorous comments, it serves as a reminder of the fascinating optical illusions that can occur during air travel. Although rare, these moments provide a unique and beautiful phenomenon for those fortunate enough to witness them from another aircraft. The exact origin of the floating plane and whether passengers were onboard remains unclear.

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The Hyperhive

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