# Question for the pilots here

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.
Friend keeps posting these photos claiming plane is at "maybe 12K feet"

Can anyone estimate how high it might be?

#### Billzilla

##### Senior Member.
Good luck with that.
You might be able to if know knew the zoom on the lens and the wingspan on the aeroplane ..... but even that would have a large margin of error.

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.
Thanks. I realize it's impossibly to eyeball, which is exactly my point with the poster. He always seems to pick the 12K number when he's posting a photo.

#### justanairlinepilot

##### Senior Member.
I've seen contrails as low as 24,000 feet, that's pushing it. I've been flying in the upper atmosphere for about 15 years.

Usually contrails start above 29k-30k. It's extremely variable.

J

#### Joe

##### Guest
Friend keeps posting these photos claiming plane is at "maybe 12K feet"

Can anyone estimate how high it might be?

Being I taken a lot of these types of photos as Im tracking them on Flightrader for alttitude I assume he has no zoom I would guess at least twice the altitude he stated . AT LEAST ! Thats if it a commercial airliner . Id agree with Justanairlinepilot 29000 . Tell him even a CT person says he is full of it .

#### Trailspotter

##### Senior Member.
Friend keeps posting these photos claiming plane is at "maybe 12K feet"

Can anyone estimate how high it might be?

For the plane being at 12,000 ft, this photo has to be taken without zoom and not cropped (e.g., like a phone camera). Still, for the horizontal FOV of 55°, the angular dimensions of the plane appear less than 1° (my estimate is about 0.5°), so it would have to be a rather small plane:

12,000•2sin(0.5°/2)=105 ft (32 m)

PS Do you have a link to this photo? I'd like to see its EXIF data, if available.

#### MikeC

##### Closed Account
The older 737-20's and -300's have a 93-95 foot wingspan, from the -600's on they get to 112-117 feet (with winglets).

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.

I don't know. After an hours long discussion, during which he called in a big gun (Russ Tanner), the thread was deleted (at Tanner's request) and I was de-friended. Probably also at Tanner's request, as Tanner said he was tagging me as a disinfo shill and said all my posts were to be deleted..

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.
For the plane being at 12,000 ft, this photo has to be taken without zoom and not cropped (e.g., like a phone camera). Still, for the horizontal FOV of 55°, the angular dimensions of the plane appear less than 1° (my estimate is about 0.5°), so it would have to be a rather small plane:

12,000•2sin(0.5°/2)=105 ft (32 m)

PS Do you have a link to this photo? I'd like to see its EXIF data, if available.

Who is Russ T
anner?

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.
Who is Russ Tanner?

Chemtrail guru who thinks chemtrails are killing him and years of mercury fillings in his teeth has made him super sensitive to smell. He can smell those trails miles away. He only has a selective schnozz, though. When I told him I'd hate to be him passing a farm, he said it's only the metals they spray that he smells.

http://russtanner.com/

Here's his mercury story:
(Oh, did I mention he SELLS STUFF? He got really p-'d off when I mentioned that.)
http://herballure.com/HotTopics/MyMercuryStory.html

#### justanairlinepilot

##### Senior Member.
Wow, OK. Typical I guess.

#### RolandD

##### Active Member
Chemtrail guru who thinks chemtrails are killing him and years of mercury fillings in his teeth has made him super sensitive to smell. He can smell those trails miles away. He only has a selective schnozz, though. When I told him I'd hate to be him passing a farm, he said it's only the metals they spray that he smells.

http://russtanner.com/

Here's his mercury story:
(Oh, did I mention he SELLS STUFF? He got really p-'d off when I mentioned that.)
http://herballure.com/HotTopics/MyMercuryStory.html

Wait, is it his fillings causing all his ailments or chemtrails?

#### Jay Reynolds

##### Senior Member.
Wait, is it his fillings causing all his ailments or chemtrails?
His problems are all of his own making. Ten thousand ther people live around Tanner and never get sick, he says he just barely survives from day to day, in "incredible" pain and suffering.

Russ Tanner claims that "contrails are so rare that most people will never see one in their lifetime, and if they do occur, they are at high altitudes that cannot be seen from the ground."

I kid you not. With leadership like that, no wonder these people get frustrated.

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
His problems are all of his own making. Ten thousand ther people live around Tanner and never get sick, he says he just barely survives from day to day, in "incredible" pain and suffering.

Russ Tanner claims that "contrails are so rare that most people will never see one in their lifetime, and if they do occur, they are at high altitudes that cannot be seen from the ground."

I kid you not. With leadership like that, no wonder these people get frustrated.
Too much Coast-To-Coast A.M. methinks! Let 'em believe what they want. Use of logic and facts is strictly prohibited, besides, it won't change a thing. You can't reason with "true believers" of any stripe. EDIT: Just skimmed Mr. Tanner's website post. Amazing! He goes on for thousands of words and not ONCE that I saw does he present an actual, retail fact! He pulls charts and graphs right out of his tailpipe with no regard for anything except what he "THINKS." Heck, I THINK I'm gonna win the Powerball jackpot tomorrow but that doesn't make it so. Oh wait!!! I just tossed the IChing and it verified that "fact." Pardon me while I go out and put a deposit on that Ferrari California I've been lusting after.

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Contrails usually don't form below FL 165 but just eyeballing, this dude has to be at FL 240 or above. No matter. Dispersed metals (assuming powder) would be pretty much invisible. As well, to have the effects that our tinfoil hat friends attribute to them they'd have to be sprayed above FL 560 and no aircraft that I know of, commercial or military, that has the load capacity for same is capable of cruising at that altitude......

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Lord help us all!!! Here is EVIDENCE of B-17s and their fighter escorts OBVIOUSLY dispersing Chemtrails! How far back does this odious plot go??? Can we even trust the Wright brothers?

#### Mick West

Staff member
Lord help us all!!! Here is EVIDENCE of B-17s and their fighter escorts OBVIOUSLY dispersing Chemtrails! How far back does this odious plot go??? Can we even trust the Wright brothers?

Some chemtrailers would claim one of:

A) The image is fake
B) The image show deliberate smoke trails used to cover the bomber
C) The image shows normal smoke from the engines
D) The image does not show persistence, just "normal" contrails

#### George B

##### Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Question to the pilots on Metabunk . . . why do you think people are obsessed about persistent contrails . . . ?

#### Mick West

Staff member
Question to the pilots on Metabunk . . . why do you think people are obsessed about persistent contrails . . . ?

They are not, they are obsessed with the chemtrail theory.

It's simply an easy theory for people to fall for, if they are conspiracy-minded. It's right there in the sky, plain to see. They don't remember noticing those trails before, so it's a super easy leap to "they are spraying us".

It's basically a viral theory, a meme. It survived because it's adapted to the environment. It continues to mutate to better fit into the changing environment (e.g. during the summer, when there were no contrails in California, a "no-trail" variant of the the theory started to reproduce and spread).

If you believe that the WTC was destroyed by a controlled demolition, why would you not believe in chemtrails? There's a huge vulnerable target population, and they all just got infected with chemtrails.

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Question to the pilots on Metabunk . . . why do you think people are obsessed about persistent contrails . . . ?

Because they, as you, believe as your signature states. BTW your statement is incorrect, unless of course, to name at least one other thing that is "guaranteed," you personally believe that death is "optional."

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Some chemtrailers would claim one of:

A) The image is fake
B) The image show deliberate smoke trails used to cover the bomber
C) The image shows normal smoke from the engines
D) The image does not show persistence, just "normal" contrails
Wait Mick! I have the answer! I don't believe in Chemtrailers . . . . .

#### David Fraser

##### Senior Member.
Friend keeps posting these photos claiming plane is at "maybe 12K feet"

Can anyone estimate how high it might be?

With practice and a good pair of binoculars it is possible to guesstimate the height. When in the military we would use silhouette charts with different sizes of images that would represent the height. However by eye the accuracy was only at best to 5,000 ft, and that was if you were well trained and the plane at 30,000 or lower.

If you watch the Battle of Britain you get to see some of the basic kit the Observer Corp would use to estimate height. I find it miraculous some chemtrailers can do it by eye.

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
With practice and a good pair of binoculars it is possible to guesstimate the height. When in the military we would use silhouette charts with different sizes of images that would represent the height. However by eye the accuracy was only at best to 5,000 ft, and that was if you were well trained and the plane at 30,000 or lower.

If you watch the Battle of Britain you get to see some of the basic kit the Observer Corp would use to estimate height. I find it miraculous some chemtrailers can do it by eye.
They're "trained observers" Dave. You don't believe me? Ask them!

#### Mick West

Staff member
With practice and a good pair of binoculars it is possible to guesstimate the height. When in the military we would use silhouette charts with different sizes of images that would represent the height. However by eye the accuracy was only at best to 5,000 ft, and that was if you were well trained and the plane at 30,000 or lower.

If you watch the Battle of Britain you get to see some of the basic kit the Observer Corp would use to estimate height. I find it miraculous some chemtrailers can do it by eye.

If you don't know exactly what type of plane it is, then you could be off by a factor of more than 2 (i.e. 15,000 feet vs. 30,000 feet).

And that's just when planes are directly overhead, you also need to account for angle.

Here's my CS articles relating to the subject

http://contrailscience.com/measuring-the-height-of-contrails/
http://contrailscience.com/how-far-away-is-that-contrail/
http://contrailscience.com/why-do-some-planes-leave-long-trails-but-others-dont/

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#### David Fraser

##### Senior Member.
If you don't know exactly what type of plane it is, then you could be off by a factor of more than 2 (i.e. 15,000 feet vs. 30,000 feet).

And that's just when planes are directly overhead, you also need to account for angle.

Here's my CS articles relating to the subject

http://contrailscience.com/measuring-the-height-of-contrails/
http://contrailscience.com/how-far-away-is-that-contrail/
http://contrailscience.com/why-do-some-planes-leave-long-trails-but-others-dont/

We used to have silhouette books of all major aircraft. We used to even train with models of the aircraft. I did say it was a guesstimate. The best I was ever able to do using the method was ID a T74 tank at 3.5km away. That is on the ground btw, nit flying ;-)

Last edited by a moderator:

#### George B

##### Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
They are not, they are obsessed with the chemtrail theory.

It's simply an easy theory for people to fall for, if they are conspiracy-minded. It's right there in the sky, plain to see. They don't remember noticing those trails before, so it's a super easy leap to "they are spraying us".

It's basically a viral theory, a meme. It survived because it's adapted to the environment. It continues to mutate to better fit into the changing environment (e.g. during the summer, when there were no contrails in California, a "no-trail" variant of the the theory started to reproduce and spread).

If you believe that the WTC was destroyed by a controlled demolition, why would you not believe in chemtrails? There's a huge vulnerable target population, and they all just got infected with chemtrails.

Fair enough . . . my inquiry into the belief tends to push me toward the visual reinforcement of the obsession from the persistent contrails and contrail induced cirrus clouds . . once someone has seen them one cannot un-see them . . . without this reinforcement the concept would simply run out of steam . . .

#### George B

##### Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Because they, as you, believe as your signature states. BTW your statement is incorrect, unless of course, to name at least one other thing that is "guaranteed," you personally believe that death is "optional."

One could also add Taxes . . . The only thing guaranteed in life is deception. . . everything else is optional except for Death and Taxes . . . George B: or The only thing guaranteed in life is deception, Death and Taxes . . . everything else is optional . . . George B

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Fair enough . . . my inquiry into the belief tends to push me toward the visual reinforcement of the obsession from the persistent contrails and contrail induced cirrus clouds . . once someone has seen them one cannot un-see them . . . without this reinforcement the concept would simply run out of steam . . .
OK. If you saw ice crystals generated as contrails at high altitudes, with favorable winds / atmospheric conditions you'd agree that they could be disbursed thinly and "mutate" into a cirrus-like formation before disbursing? Here's a link to a website you might enjoy.
http://aviationweather.gov/products/nws/winds/ Couple it with reported "Chemtrail" sightings and see what you think.

#### George B

##### Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
OK. If you saw ice crystals generated as contrails at high altitudes, with favorable winds / atmospheric conditions you'd agree that they could be disbursed thinly and "mutate" into a cirrus-like formation before disbursing? Here's a link to a website you might enjoy.
http://aviationweather.gov/products/nws/winds/ Couple it with reported "Chemtrail" sightings and see what you think.

I don't believe persistent contrails or contrail induced contrails are chemtrails . . . I am talking about what motivates Chemtrail Conspiracy Advocates . . . I think the existence of routine aviation exhausts as it is practiced presently reinforces the misconception or misidentification . . .

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
Agreed. But "education" doesn't seem to be an option for those so motivated. . .

#### F4Jock

##### Senior Member.
One could also add Taxes . . . The only thing guaranteed in life is deception. . . everything else is optional except for Death and Taxes . . . George B: or The only thing guaranteed in life is deception, Death and Taxes . . . everything else is optional . . . George B
Monaco?

#### JRBids

##### Senior Member.
Fair enough . . . my inquiry into the belief tends to push me toward the visual reinforcement of the obsession from the persistent contrails and contrail induced cirrus clouds . . once someone has seen them one cannot un-see them . . . without this reinforcement the concept would simply run out of steam . . .

It's synchronicity. Like when you buy a certain car, all of a sudden you begin noticing how many are on the road.

#### George B

##### Extinct but not forgotten Staff Member
Agreed. But "education" doesn't seem to be an option for those so motivated. . .
That is where the suggestions presented by the websites, YouTube, etc. would seem to be more important . . . however, my inquiry does not necessarily support that conclusion. . . .

#### Trailspotter

##### Senior Member.
For the record: Estimation of the plane altitude from a photograph.

The altitude (i.e., the distance between the camera and the plane, H) can be calculated from any of the plane known dimension (e.g., the wingspan width, D) and its angular width (α) by formula H = D/2sin(α/2). The angular width can be calculated from the the photograph's field of view and the ratio of the dimension of the image to the dimension of the photograph. The former can be determined for a given camera or calculated from the known focal length. Using long lenses or a big optical zoom will allow more accurate estimates.

This picture has been taken using Nikon Coolpix P510 at the maximum optical zoom, the 35 mm equivalent focal length of which is 1,000 mm. This gives the horizontal angle of view of the photograph being about 2.1°. From the ratio of the width of the plane image (~435 px) to the width of the picture (4608 px), the angular width (α) of the plane wingspan is about 0.2°.

Zooming the image shows the plane probably being a Boeing 737-800 (of Norwegian Air Shuttle), the wingspan of which is about 115 ft. Thus the plane altitude estimated from these data is about 33,000 ft.

#### Jay Reynolds

##### Senior Member.
When I click on the attachment, I get a good view of the plane type, and can see the number of numeral/digits on the wing, but not read them legibly.
Comparing the livery colors, I'd say you have a good ID of the 737-800's the airline flies:

The wheel well circles of that plane mid-fuselage are fairly distinctive.

Good work.

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