Gilder pilot captures stunning footage of landspout tornado that sent him soaring upward at 200 feet per minute in Oklahoma
- Oklahoma pilot David T. Evans was taking a spin in his personal motorized glider Sunday when he came across the weather phenomenon
- With 30 years of flying experience Evans said he was looking for rising hot air to get a boost in lift
- The air, it turns out, had begun to spin and made contact with a cloud, creating a tornado, albeit a weak one
- ‘I’ve never seen anything like that,’ Evans said
What was supposed to be an average Sunday spin out in his motorized glider turned out to be anything but when pilot David Evans caught the view of a lifetime.
Evans was flying somewhere between the Oklahoma cities of Minco and Tuttle when he caught the upward spinning draft of a landspout, a kind of mini tornado, and decided to ride it out.
He caught footage of the breathtaking phenomenon too.
Despite his 30 years as a pilot, Evans said: ‘I’ve never seen anything like that.’
Oklahoma City pilot David Evans was out in his motorized glider Sunday when he caught footage of a landspout tornado
With weather poor for motor gliding, Evans said he had low expectations for the day, but was attempting to find pockets of warm air in the hopes of getting some lift, the Washington Post reported.
‘I motored around Tuttle and Minco, and then I saw some hawks,’ Evans told the outlet. ‘They’re always a telltale sign of where a thermal might be. I started getting an indication I was getting lift, so I circled in there with them.’
The air allowed Evans to rise around 100 to 200 feet per minute, he said, but then: ‘all of a sudden that vapor funnel started forming. It was going down and down and down, but there was no turbulence. I just kept flying around that thing.’
Unbeknownst to him, the hot air he was using to get that boost in lift had invisibly started circulating before making contact with a cloud.
Evans was gliding around between the cities of Tuttle and Minco when he picked up some strong pockets of warm air
That warm air soon turned into a vortex stretching from the ground to the cloud base
Evans said he felt no turbulence as he circled the spinning air
The intermix between the hot surface air and the cool, wet air above would cause the circulating winds to speed up and tighten as the hot air got sucked up through the vortex.
Although it wasn’t dangerous, local meteorologists said nobody could have seen the landspout tornado coming.
According to the National Weather Service, tornadoes are typically born from heavy thunderstorms. But there were none in the area at the time.
‘Realistically, it was more of a landspout, but we sort of have no justification as to why it occurred,’ Ryan Bunker, a local meteorologist at the NWS told the Post. ‘We didn’t have any answers.’
Tornadoes can see winds reaching up to 300 miles per hour, and since the spout stretched from the ground to the cloud base it technically fit the bill, although with winds estimated at less than 75 miles per hour, it was rather weak.
Footage of the ground showed the winds stirring up some hay on the property of local resident Judy Curry
Because the spiraling winds reached from the surface to the cloud base it was technically considered a tornado, but meteorologists said it was more like a strong dust devil, or a landspout as it’s referred to
Footage from the ground showed the winds stirring up some hay on local resident Judy Curry’s property.
Oklahoma meteorologist Michael Armstrong reported on Facebook, that Curry’s property, as well as her horses, were fine.
Without an accompanying thunderstorm, Armstrong too said the winds were akin to a strong dust devil.
‘It was really pretty,’ Evans told the Post. ‘It went from base of clouds … it was a rat’s-tail-looking thing.’
‘I’ve seen cool drone footage, but you never see someone in their own plane flying right next to a funnel,’ he said.