Beautiful Photo of Wingtip Vortices

Click picture for larger view (Image credit: U.S. Coast Guard)

Wingtip vortices form on airplanes due to the finite length of their wings. In general, lift on the wings results from low-pressure, high-velocity air moving over the top of the wing and high-pressure, low-velocity air moving below the wing. Near the wingtips, the high-pressure air is able to slip around the edge to the top of the wing, generating a vortex that then trails behind the airplane.

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