Air Force says phallic shape created in the sky by F-35 pilots was an accident

(U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Jensen Stidham)

Two F-35 Joint Strike Fighters from the 56th Fighter Wing at Luke Air Force Base made the contrails when they were told to hold off as they were beginning a dog fight with four F-35s.

The hold off “caused them to hook to reposition before then beginning the fight again, causing them to hook once more,” said spokeswoman Maj. Rebecca Heyse in an email to

“We’ve seen the photos that have been circulating online from Tuesday afternoon,” she said. “The 56th Fighter Wing senior leadership reviewed the training tapes from the flight and confirmed that F-35s conducting standard fighter training maneuvers Tuesday afternoon in the Gladden and Bagdad military operating airspace resulted in the creation of the contrails.”

“There was no nefarious or inappropriate behavior during the training flight,” she continued. “The flight audio was reviewed by senior leadership, and it confirmed the statements by the pilots explaining what happened.”

According to Heyse, the flight pattern created something like a phallic symbol in the sky.  She says there was a “third vertical contrail” that was parallel to the two but it was not shown in the photos circulating on social media.

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