In an odd piece of video uploaded to YouTube over the weekend, what appears to be a strange “cloud” formation resembling a double-helix was filmed over Auckland, New Zealand.

Then, approximately one minute into the video, it becomes apparent that the formation was no cloud at all, but some variety of exhaust being produced by an aircraft, which slowly begins to descend as it moves away toward the horizon.

The user who uploaded the video, portiasukiotisluca, included the following comments about the incident:

Got up to look out the back window and saw this dark vertical cloud so started filming.

The cloud started to “unwind” into a helix type thing so I kept filming. 50 seconds in, an object appears out of the bulbous end of the cloud and flies down to the horizon.

Definitely no commercial flight–any ideas what it could be? How was it out of sight for that time?

Similar “helical” patterns created by aircraft passing overhead were filmed over Germany last year, as seen in the video below which describes the jet trails as purported “chemtrails”.

Further back in December of 2012, these striking images of a spiraling contrail were also photographed from numerous angles over Russia, but with no apparent views displaying the aircraft that made them.

Offering a meteorological explanation, this article suggests that wind shear might be the cause of helical formations in some contrails. Richard Gregory of Suffolk submitted his thoughts, along with the photos in the accompanying link, and the following observational hypothesis:

The observations I have made so far, have coincided with the clear air of high-pressure systems to make the sightings possible; this is not to say that this form of vapour trail does not occur on occasions of complete cloud cover.

If wind shear at height is causing helical twisting in the contrails, it seems curious that the trail, once formed, subsequently widens and thickens but, having become a helix, no longer continues to rotate. Does this then mean that the fluid disturbance, having once formed and shaped the trail, then dies away completely?

Could this be the cause behind formations like those observed in the videos above?

On the subject of the aircraft making these formations, in recent weeks a number of odd things have been observed nearby, including this video of an unusually-shaped aircraft filmed over Adelaide, Australia.

Is there a natural cause underlying why jet trails produced by certain aircraft might take this irregular appearance? Or was the New Zealand object evidence of some variety of experimental aircraft, the design for which produces trails in this formation?

If you have seen similar formations accompanying aircraft in the sky, we’d like to hear about them. Email us, or share this video with others and invite them to tell about their observations by using the social media buttons below.

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Author: Micah Hanks

Micah Hanks is a writer, researcher, and podcaster. His interests include areas of history, science, archaeology, philosophy, and the study of anomalous phenomena in nature. He can be reached at

One Reply to “Helical “Cloud” Over New Zealand Reveals Strange Aircraft”

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