Yes, it is a commonly held belief that planes, especially military planes, are dusting the country with nanotechnology, sickness-inducing chemicals, or any combination of mind-controlling substances. Why? Conspiracy theorists argue logically that “Chemtrails” keep people sick to boost medical sales or to make us purchase more consumer goods.

“Just to be clear: contrails are the normal trails left by passenger liners and, I have it on good authority, from an aeronautical engineer, that commercial airlines have worked very hard over the past decade or so to reduce the emissions in their exhausts to the point that now around 99 per cent consists just water vapour. That’s why contrails disappear very quickly ~ usually in a matter of minutes ~ whereas chemtrails merge into a dirty-white haze which hangs around most of the day, blocking the sun.” from a conspiracy blog.

I am a military pilot, and can confidently say that “Chemtrails” are not anything sinister. While in the cockpit I am constantly fascinated by the formations of clouds. Pop-up cumulonimbus clouds can unfurl upwards into a tower faster than our aircraft can climb, and popcorn clouds will form in waves like a rock was skipped on a gigantic pond. How can a single cloud in the sky have such a defined cotton candy shape in an otherwise clear sky? Just the magic of combination of temperature, pressure, humidity, and physics. In some skies the conditions are right for clouds, and all they need to get started is a little bit of superheated water vapor from a jet engine. It’s exactly like throwing boiling water in the air during sub-freezing winter days, it instantly crystallizes and forms a cloud. Even simpler, it’s like your breath on a really cold day. You just made a cloud. Same thing. Except jet exhaust water vapor is several hundred degrees.


In fact, it is a simple math problem to look at weather data and calculate the altitudes at which contrails will seed more permanent clouds. In military flying, you sometimes specifically want to avoid creating this hundred-mile banner pointing to your ship which says “shoot here.”

Even cooler, sometimes the conditions can be so perfectly balanced that the pressure from wingtip vortices is enough to cause free humidity in the air to condense. This is my plane doing just that with the mini-vortices from the propellers during takeoff.


My favorite response to this conspiracy bunk is that of Kyle Hill, who in his series Reductio ad Absurdum notes that the infrastructure to successfully carry out nation-wide spraying would make America look a lot more like Coruscant. The amount of “evil chemicals” would surpass the fuel of the airplanes, where are the chemical trucks and depots? Where are the reports from millions of pilots who have witnessed, and flipped switches to activate, so many noxious chemtrails?

I’ve spent years listening to radio chatter in the big sky, and never heard anyone flying suspicious patterns over centers of civilization. Most civilians don’t realize that the sky is criss-crossed by designated routes and marshaled like a network of highways. When a plane flies a certain path on the ground the air at the saem time is shifting, so when another plane flies the same path on the ground it creates a second parallel contrail since the air has moved a little downwind. Crisscrossing contrails, while intimidating, simply mean you live near a common IFR navigation point. It would be funny if all these theorists were simply under holding points “Look Walt! He’s just flying in circles, WHAT’RE THEY DOING UP THERE!”

I recently flew back across Europe and the UK, it does not surprise me that many of these claims seem to be coming from that country. The dewpoint is perfect for fog, and hence other low-lying clouds, pretty much EVERY DAY. And also, in comparison to America’s vast and inefficient use of real estate, the United Kingdom seems TINY. No wonder airplanes fly over your house all day. WHAT IS THIS, A COUNTRY FOR ANTS?

↓ Transcript
I'm excited for my trip, but I wish I could fly instead.
I don't, I hate the Chemtrails.

Huh? You mean contrails?
Don't be so naive, Kate.

You really think the government and Big Pharma aren't trying to control us?

(speaking to her cat)
Well, that's one breakup closer to adopting fifty more cats.

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