On the evening of November 8, 2010 a mysterious vapor trail was illuminated by the setting sun about 35 miles west of Los Angeles over the ocean.
The trail and the object forming the trail were both captured on video by a KCBS cameraman in a news helicopter.
For several days the government, including the military and the FAA did not know what the cause of the vapor trail or contrail (condensation trail) was. Initial reports claimed it was formed by a missile, most likely an ICBM launched from a submarine, the type of missile used to carry nuclear warheads. You can see a submarine launch an ICBM on YouTube by clicking here.
I thought it was a missile too. Then I did some research and, well…it was a plane. Nothing more.
There is an exhaustive analysis of this event on contrailscience.com, which provides compelling evidence that this event was in fact a contrail from flight UPS902.
By overlaying the flight path of the plane with several time-lapse photos there is enough evidence, I believe, to support the plane theory. In addition, in the photos on contrailscience.com you can see the airplane when it reaches a part of the atmosphere where there is not enough moisture to make a contrail. The glints in the video that appear to be the flames of a rocket could also be the sunlight glinting off the body of the plane.
But why don’t we see this everyday, or at least more often if it was a plane? Two reasons…
First, at the Time to Think blog, a web-cam mounted on a building in Newport Beach captured the same flight the following day at the same time showing a distinct contrail, although not as impressive as the “missile” contrail from the previous day. To explain the difference, we have to acknowledge the fact that every day the sun sets at a slightly different time, that planes fly at slightly different altitudes even when they do the same flight over and over every day, and that those planes will not always be at the same place in the sky at the exact same time on any given day and that the moisture composition of the air the plane is passing through changes constantly and different levels of moisture make different size contrails.
Those are a lot of variables that have to be “just right” to create the optical illusion of a missile we saw on Monday.
Second, we have seen this before, as shown in an older post from Contrailscience.com where you can see photos of a very similar “missile launch” off the coast of San Clemente which turned out to be a plane.
“Missile” launch in January off San Clemente…nope, just a plane
(Click on image to enlarge)
The primary problem is that this plane was coming straight at us, which gave the illusion that the vapor trail the plane was making in the atmosphere came from the ground up.
Remember the story about Christopher Columbus discovering the world was round? He watched a tall masted ship sail away from port directly towards the horizon. Suddenly, as it got further and further away, the boat started to “sink,” from his perspective. In reality, as the boat passed over the curve of the earth, he saw the bottom of the boat disappear first, then then the masts sink down out of view and finally the top of the ship disappear. Now, reverse that story so the boat is coming at you, and make it a plane instead of a boat. In this case, as the plane comes over the curve of the earth, it’s contrail would be visible from the “ground” and moving up as the plane flew directly at you. If you look at the San Clemente picture above, and look at it from that perspective, you can see how it’s really just a plane coming over the curve of the earth directly towards you.
The contrail at the horizon is much thicker because the winds in the upper atmosphere have had lots of time to spread the vapor trail out.
We also have to consider what is more probable. Is it probable that China launched an ICBM missile 30 miles off our coast? That would come very close to an act of war. How could we have been sure that it wasn’t meant for Los Angeles and malfunctioned, flying west instead? The military would have taken such a launch very seriously and the response would have been immediate. And why did everyone assume it was Chinese? They are not the only country with submarines. Just because of the G20 conference? Launching a missile dangerously close to Los Angeles would do what for us at the G20 exactly? A scare tactic? I don’t see it…it just doesn’t make sense. It’s not probable. Countries use those tactics when war is imminent and the stakes are high, they rattle the saber and launch across your bow. They do it only at those times because the act of rattling the saber itself can start the war. The G20 is a global economic forum. Granted there are economic problems between us and many nations, but a missile launch? C’mon now. There are steps that China could take against us right now, economically, that some could argue would be more devastating than a missile to our economy.
Is it probable that we accidentally launched an ICBM? Since it takes three keys turned at three different parts in the submarine and 15 minutes for the missile to prepare for launch, this is not probable either.
One of the most compelling, but not often considered reasons a plane is more likely is because this contrail formed at sunset. Planes fly over us constantly, but it takes a sunset to make a contrail look like a missile launch. So what sounds more probable….that the Chinese just happened to launch an ICBM at sunset off the coast, or that we accidentally launched one at sunset, or that one of the thousands of planes that fly overhead everyday leaving contrails all day long just happened to fly through the atmosphere at the correct altitude and time of day (at sunset) to leave a visible contrail?
Lastly, and I don’t know enough about missiles to say this is right or wrong, but many stated that the object was flying too slow to be a missile. I have never seen a missile launch in person, so I don’t know, but watching the video, that seemed reasonable. It did seem like it was moving at the speed of a plane at high altitude, since I have seen that in person.
An excellent video explaining how this was nothing more than a plane can be viewed below…
So, as much as the conspiracy theory was more fun and more interesting, and even though I participated in bashing our government for the “cover-up,” the evidence supports the plane theory.
Sorry Big Gov! This one’s on me!