...over Billings, Montana 



A Billings resident put this report together...


Strange Saturday at the Home Office

I have seen the Contrails homepage. I haven't thought much about it. I am more interested in the radar images. But this morning when I rolled out of bed and crawled into my office chair with a cup of coffee, I looked out the window and saw a massive web of these contrails just like I saw on the web page. So I decided to document the incident (as I feel too lazy to do anything else today). This page I send to the Contrails webmaster just for your guys sake as a documented incident today April 17, 1999. The pictures and notes were taken over the course of five hours from 9:30 AM to now as I put together this page at 2:30 PM. Location is ten miles northeast of Billings Montana.

I have no film for my camera so I used my workstations Cam and even applied some ingenuity with a pair of X35 binoculars. From 10:00 AM to about 12:30 PM I counted over forty planes that passed directly over the Billings area, four planes at a time, in fifteen minute intervals. The planes are at least 40,000 feet in the air because you cannot see them with the naked eye. You can only see the smoke left behind. When you look through binoculars you can barely see their silouette. When I apply my cam to the binoculars you can't quite see the silohuette.

First Picture after noticing them around 9:30 AM. (All pictures are out of my office window which faces directly due west. These are the only clouds in the sky).

10:00 AM - I go back and fill up the coffe mug and take a shower. Then return back to my office  to take the picture below.

Second Picture 10:00 AM

10:15 AM:    Four planes are coming from the west heading due east. The next picture is taken with my binoculars to try and get a picture of the planes silouette. It doesnt work very well though.

The planes are so far up, you can't see them with Binoculars

10:30 AM:    Three planes heading west from the east, can't see a fourth.

New Contrails next to ones that are about forty minutes old.

10:35 AM     I decide to photograph one plane from each pass now. As seen below.

Every Fifteen minutes I take a picture of one of the planes, profesionally zoomed in by eloquently twisting my body and holding the binoculars to the cam with the other hand clicking the mouse. With each passover my skill improves.


10:47 AM    Another sortie of four planes coming from the northwest heading southeast. As seen below.


11:00 AM    Almost like clockwork. The next sortie flys over. The smoke from the planes do not go away. The sky is getting covered witht their smoke. The wind is not blowing, and the temperature has risen from 50 degress to 59. These planes are traveling due west from due east. Each are heading parallel to each other with about twenty miles between them. I can't get them all in one picure. And to save memory I take a still take a picture of one.

Fifteen minutes later. This one is almost directly above my office. I can actually see it better than my cam. It has a white body, and the wings are red. Looks larger than a 727. Has a very long slender body. Some seem to have small wings in front of the main wings.


Ripples now form in these now artificial clouds that have developed for about five minutes after each sortie. If you look at the first picture above you can now see how cloudy it is beginning to get by their smoke. I decide to run outside and clean the windshield on my car to see what kind of dust settles on it.


11:23 AM    This one was just to fast for my special cam binocular technique. The neighbor girl has decided to quit playing with her sister outside of my office. My pecular positions required to take these photographs makes me feel a little insecure now after her very sour look she just gave me. I believe she may call the cops thinking that I have been taking pictures of her. This may not go well at the office. But like a dedicated researcher I move on. Planes are heading northeast from the south west.


11:53 AM    Curse this damn technique. This one got too fast too. Four planes heading strait west. two at a time this time.

12:05 PM    Next sortie on its way. Coming once again ifrom the direction they went. These have to be the same four maybe five planes. I think I have counted thirty two planes passing over sine 10:00. If I include the number of contrails I counted when I first discovered them there would be about 40 passes since around 9:00 AM.


12:17 PM    Seems the sorties are slowing down. I can only see two flying by. Each about three minutes apart.

The sky is now covered with their "smoke". THis picture shows how the blue sky disappeared.

There is a Halo around the sun. It is a light blue with a soft pink color in it.


Now its been a couple of hours. I think I should run outside and see if anything is setting on the window of my car.

Clear brown sandy crystalline dust is the layer that actually covers the window of  the car. This is the result of swiping a friend's business card upward along the windshield for two inches. This is magnified X10. The line in the picture is a regular notebook line from college rule notbook paper.

Perhaps these innocent horses down that pasture will perish from the smoke.


Who knows!. Anyway it is now 4:30 PM. The planes keep flying over, but only one every thirty minutes  I think. It's hard to tell. The sky is cloudy everywhere. The sun is now facing my window making it too bright for my cam. Well I gotta get some other things done. I have never seen so many planes, and I always look out my favorite window, as seen below. Who wouldn't? I love the sunsets and swear I would have noticed this many planes passing overhead before. This is my beer drinking spot, I would have noticed.