JERRY McBRIDE/Durango Herald
A circular contrail visible from Durango turned heads skyward early Friday afternoon.
The contrail – condensed water vapor from a high-elevation airplane or rocket – came into view from east of the city, formed a circle, then trailed off toward the south or southwest.
Zach Martinez, a mechanic at Animas Air Park, saw the contrail about 1:15 p.m.
“It looked like a perfect circle to me,” Martinez said. “We’ve had two calls about it.”
About six people reported the contrail to The Durango Herald.
Allen Kenitzer at the public affairs office of the Federal Aviation Administration for the Northwest Mountain Region in Renton, Wash., said the agency had received no other calls about the contrail.
Kenitzer said a formal inquiry would require an email with details of what, where and when.
A spokesman at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, N.M., said he’d look into the matter. A spokeswoman for White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico said the contrail was not any White Sands activity.
Sara Ransom, a retired solo performance actress, was in Durango driving south on East Second Avenue.
“I saw a jet make a very large contrail that appeared to hover over Bodo Park, and then the plane continued on its way, going from east to west,” Ransom said. “I was calling out to pedestrians, inviting them to look up. They must have thought I was crazy.”
Don Brockus, deputy director of aviation at Durango-La Plata County Airport, said his daughter sent him a photo of the contrail taken with her iPhone.
“I didn’t see it myself,” Brockus said.
Ann Bond of Durango said she was driving back from the Vallecito area when a “huge jet” suddenly banked. She couldn’t tell for certain whether the plane was military or commercial.
“It just caught my eye because he started to take a U-turn real tight,” she said.
The contrail doughnut was very tight before it began to spread in the atmosphere.
“It was really quite amazing,” Bond said.
firstname.lastname@example.org. Staff Writer John Peel contributed to this report.