This work investigates the flow dynamics of a radio-frequency (RF) non-equilibrium argon atmospheric pressure plasma jet. The RF power is at a frequency of 50 Hz or 20 kHz. Combined flow pattern visualizations (obtained by shadowgraphy) and gas temperature distributions (obtained by Rayleigh scattering) are used to study the formation of transient vortex structures in initial flow field shortly after the plasma is switched on and off in the case of 50 Hz modulation. The transient vortex structures correlate well with observed temperature differences. Experimental results of the fast modulated (20 kHz) plasma jet that does not induce changes of the gas temperature are also presented. The latter result suggests that momentum transfer by ions does not have dominant effect on the flow pattern close to the tube. It is argued that the increased gas temperature and corresponding gas velocity increase at the tube exit due to the plasma heating increases the admixing of surrounding air and reduces the effective potential core length. With increasing plasma power a reduction of the effective potential core length is observed with a minimum length for 5.6 W after which the length extends again. Possible mechanisms related to viscosity effects and ionic momentum transfer are discussed.