Pilot films metres from the core of a funnel cloud tornado

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A pilot flying through the centre of a storm system has captured incredible footage of a funnel cloud while flying just metres away from its core.

US man David Evans was flying his glider southwest of Oklahoma City on Sunday when he encountered the shocking natural event.

The funnel cloud was attached to the ground beneath, which technically made it a tornado, but its strength was weak so it was not likely to cause harm to anyone, the Washington Post reported.

Mr Evans told the publication he went out in search of a thermal area to help keep his motorglider aloft, but the last thing he expected was to get such an up-close look at a landspout.

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After following some hawks, which were a telltale clue of a thermal patch, he said he flew his glider in broad circles and noticed his vessel was getting a slight lift.

The next thing he noticed was a large spout that had formed above his glider and travelled all the way up to the base of the clouds.

As it narrowed and strengthened around him, he began filming the experience from inside the cockpit.

“[The thermal] was raising me up at about 100 or 200 feet [30 to 60m] per minute,” Mr Evans said.

“Then all of a sudden that vapour funnel started forming. It was going down and down and down, but there was no turbulence. I just kept flying around that thing.”

His rare footage was later circulated widely on social media and gained attention from across the globe.

While technically the funnel cloud was a tornado, meteorologist Ryan Bunker said it was closer to a landspout – a term used to describe short-lived, weak systems not associated with a mesocyclone.

“Realistically, it was more of a landspout, but we sort of have no justification as to why it occurred. We didn’t have any answers,” Mr Bunker told the publication.

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