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Video of Plane Suspended in Mid-Air Outside Moscow Sparks Conspiracy Theories

Here’s one of today’s most burning questions: can a plane hang in mid-air, completely motionless? If so, is this something limited to Russian airspace or can it be done elsewhere too?
Driver spots plane "suspended" in mid-air near Moscow, video goes viral 9 photos
The Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jetThe Qatar Amiri Boeing 747-8i, the world's largest business jet
A video shot just outside Moscow, near the Vnukovo airport is causing quite a stir online for showing a passenger plane apparently suspended in the air. That is to say: it doesn’t seem to be moving. At all. As you can imagine, this goes against everything we know about airplanes, i.e. how they need to be moving in order to fly.

You can see the video at the bottom of the page. It’s gone viral since it was posted the other day, prompting a flurry of conspiracy theories, hilarious jokes and outraged comments.

The footage starts when the driver in the car spots the airplane and, realizing something is “off” about it, decides to film it. As the car approaches the aircraft from the opposite direction, the clear impression is that, indeed, it is not moving at all in the air. The driver and the passenger in the car are just as amazed as you (probably) are, laughing about it and happy to have caught it on camera.

Now, before you go ahead and believe that Putin has some kind of special powers that can freeze planes in the sky or that it’s possible for a pilot to pull on a handbrake and get the plane to stop, here’s the thing. Planes can’t hang in mid-air, no matter what you think you see in the video.

What’s happening here is a combination of an optical illusion and weather conditions. First off, the car is driving towards the plane, which creates the impression that the aircraft is not moving.

Secondly, if the plane is flying at low speeds (as this one is: it’s either landing or taking off, judging by the height it’s flying at) and it hits strong winds, this can slow its progress so much to the point where, to the people on the ground, it seems motionless.

Still, it’s a neat thing to observe, innit?

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