Mystery Chemtrails Explained?
A KC-135 Crew Chief
Clears The Air
Mr. Rense,
I listened to last night's (8-1-99) program today from the archives about the chemtrail thing and just had to comment.
I have some pretty strong feelings about this topic because I'm a crew chief on KC-135's and have been for over 13 years. I've spent a good deal of time deployed all over the world in the past year, or else I would have tried to set the record straight on this a long time ago. I'm aware that I have a lot more insight on the technical capabilities of this aircraft than your average person, but some of these things I've been reading on the internet are flat wrong.
In all my years I have NEVER seen a KC-135, or KC-10 for that matter, that spread noxious gasses on anyone.
There are a lot of pictures on the internet of aircraft spreading contrails out of the end of the horizontal stabilizers on the tail. This is also incorrect. If you look at any close-up picture of aircraft contrails you will notice that the contrail actually starts a short distance behind the engines exhaust. On a two engine jet aircraft (one engine on each wing) it will generally be in line with the ends of the horizontal stabilizer on the tail, thus giving the appearance that the contrail is coming out of it.
I have also had plenty of exposure to JP-8 jet fuel which is pretty similar to kerosene. Because of the nature of my job, I'm exposed to it virtually every day. For the several years that the Air Force switched over to JP-8 from JP-4, I have not met anyone that has suffered any kind of health problems from exposure to it. This includes friends of mine who work in our Fuel Cell section and actually go into the empty fuel tanks to make repairs. Don't get me wrong, they wear protective breathing equipment because of the lack of oxygen in the tank, not because they will immediately contract some kind of illness.
I've also read online about orange or red KC-135's that are supposedly training aircraft or belong to the Air National Guard. This is also incorrect. All the KC-135's that I've ever seen are a flat gray in color with black numbers and other markings used for identification. There are orange and white aircraft used at Edwards Air Force Base, California, but these aircraft are used as chase planes and experimental tests on those particular airframes. At last count they didn't have any KC-135's or KC-10's stationed there. As a matter of fact whenever they do any air refueling there they use tankers from any of the assorted state side bases that have those. I know this because I spent a month there several years ago while the B-2 was still doing some testing and training. I will admit that what some people may be seeing are KC-135's, but if they are dumping anything it would be JP-8 coming out of the air refueling boom and not some type of chemical or biotoxin.
I realize that it may be alarming enough just to hear that they are dumping JP-8 all over the place. This is actually not an uncommon practice for any aircraft civilian or military because all aircraft are supposed to be equipped with some kind of fuel dump capability. Why would they be dumping this in the air you may ask? Well, the fact of the matter is that the KC-135 can carry about 200,000 pounds of fuel when full. It can take off with that much but it can't land with that much. If they go to their designated refuel track and one of their recievers cancels out or doesn't take as much fuel as was originally thought that means they either have to dump the extra or fly around for a very long time just burning it off. There are regulations about how long flight crews can fly and and crew rest periods that I won't get into, but it is usually easier to dump it than to fly it off. I don't necessarily agree with this particular point, but that's how it works.
When it is necessary to dump fuel they are given a certain "track" to fly in to dump it. In most cases it isn't over large cities but I have seen it happen. Usually this "track" isn't a very large area so the KC-135 must fly in a very tight circle or actually dump it in spurts over the "track". When they dump, it does come out of the refueling boom in a large white stream which does look like a very large, bright contrail. This would explain why some people would report large circlular or criss-crossing contrails.
In any case, the JP-8 will spread out and slowly dissipate, usually slower than an average contrail. It will dissipate to the point that it will be atomized long before it ever reaches the ground. If it didn't, then anyone outside having a smoke underneath it would incinerate several miles worth of real estate.
There are also tales of a strange jelly substance full of toxins raining down from these aircraft. I have never heard of JP-8 turning to jelly after being dumped and then plopping onto someone's house or car, but I suppose if it combined with something else in the atmosphere after being dumped it may be possible, but not very probable.
I'm sure I haven't answered all of the questions that have arisen about this topic, but I can only comment about what I have actual knowledge of.
I checked out that picture you were talking about on
and that does appear to be a KC-135 dumping fuel. That is exactly what it
looks like.
Courtesy of
You see, the fuel is dumped through the same air refueling boom you can see in the pictures I attached in my earlier email. Normally it isn't lowered specifically for dumping but we maintainers like to ask the aircrews to lower it during dumping simply because it tends to backflow into the shrouded area on the end of the boom and then drain all over the ground once they land. It tends to make a big mess and it's a dead give away that they've been dumping fuel.
If there any other questions about this topic don't be afraid to ask. I'm just glad that I could actually help.
Takes Exception To Some Crew Chief Comments
From Pam (data on file)
Hi, Jeff.
I am a former boom operator and was certified to fly on 6 different models (R, RT, A, D, E and G) of KC-135 aircraft. I have a few comments about what the crew chief said re: fuel dumping and fuel load capacity.
In my 6 years as a boom operator, I NEVER once had to dump fuel. Neither did any of my peers that I was aware of. You see, although the chief is right in saying the 135 can hold up to 200,000 pounds of fuel...he neglected to say that 135's are NEVER loaded to that capacity in peacetime unless they are sitting alert. (That means aircraft which are fueled to capacity, geared up, pre-flighted, and ready to take off within 4 minutes go to war - with flight crews sequestered in a high security facility just waiting for the siren to go off.) The typical aircraft takes off with around 70,000 - 100,000 pounds of fuel...and the aircraft can land with that weight. So, again, dumping is more rare than he portrays. (I know the fuel weights FOR SURE because the boom operator is the crew member who figures the center of gravity of the airplane and must know exactly how much fuel is in each indiviual tank. The co-pilot uses that information for take-off and landing calculations.)
Also, refueling in peace time is MERELY practicing making contact between the planes, both for the boom and the reciever. None (maybe only 1%) of the planes refueled during practice really need that fuel to get to their destination. (The exception is support for war games, such as Red Flag, held here in the Southwest - the fighters do need that fuel.) In fact, several contacts are usually made between the boom and each receiver, not always passing fuel. Sometimes, it's just practice contacts. But, more often, a cursory amount of fuel is offloaded - typically 1,000 - 2,000 pounds (compared to 12,000 - 20,000 for Red Flag). Anyway, the point: if there is a problem with a receiver not showing up, which has happened to me numerous times, we simply GO HOME. No fuel dumping. Just usually more touch and go (take-off and landing, a.k.a "crash and dash") practice for the pilots. Period.
Last point, we NEVER flew in any pattern other than large ovals. No "X"s, no grids, no numerous lines...etc. Nothing like that ever.
The whole point I am making here is there are MANY more mysterious contrail photos on the web than could ever reasonably be explained by fuel dumping. It's just not common enough. And, the Air Force uses fuel dumping as a LAST RESORT only, as dumping jet fuel into the atmostphere is not considered to be "a good thing."
There's my 2 cents.
Mime-Version: 1.0
Date: Mon, 2 Aug 1999 20:56:07 -0800
Subject: Mystery Chemtrails Comment
From Burt Tschach <
Dear Jeff, If the explanation by the KC-135 crew chief is his version of the gospel truth, then there are a great deal of planes missing their scheduled refueling rendezvous. Frankly, I don't buy it. The number of Chemtrails that have been seen seems completely out of line with simple fuel dumping. The fact that many people have seen Chemtrails repeatedly over large and small population centers alike flatly disputes the statement that it rarely happens or they try to dump fuel in non-populated areas. This reeks of disinformation. It was a nice try though. It tells me that somebody is aware that people are onto the Chemtrails and explains why there seems to be an effort afoot to camouflage them. Some of the ones I have seen lately are really quite creative and if I hadn't seen them laid out, I would have thought they were clouds. Thanks for your great site and your great sense of fair play in presenting all sides of the issues. If only the mainstream press were as wise.
Burt from Portland