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A crew chief assigned to the 158th Maintenance Group prepares an F-35A Lightning II for departure to training known as Southern Lightning at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, from the Vermont Air National Guard Base, South Burlington, Vt., Jan. 23, 2020.
A crew chief assigned to the 158th Maintenance Group prepares an F-35A Lightning II for departure to training known as Southern Lightning at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, from the Vermont Air National Guard Base, South Burlington, Vt., Jan. 23, 2020. (Julie Shea/U.S. Air National Guard)

PLATTSBURGH, N.Y. (Tribune News Service) — If you noticed more white streaks than usual in the sky Tuesday morning, it's likely you saw the contrails left behind by Vermont Air National Guard F-35A Lightning II aircraft conducting training missions.

"I think they were flying through (Vergennes) into the Adirondacks where they were training," U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Michael Davis, public affairs superintendent assigned to the 158th Fighter Wing, told the Press-Republican.

Davis explained that contrails, also called vapor trails or condensation trails, are a function of heat and moisture that happens in the combustion part of an aircraft's engine, and can be generated by either civilian or military craft.

"So essentially what's happening is super cold air with moisture kind of gets heated up in the engine, and then after it leaves it gets cold again afterwards and that's what is producing contrails," he said.

"It's more common when it's in the wintertime probably because there's more moisture, the air is super cold, but it's essentially a product from that set of atmospheric conditions."

Some of the contrails appeared to follow a circular pattern, which Davis said could have been due to training maneuvers being performed.

He confirmed the exercises and resulting vapor trails are a completely normal occurrence.

Plattsburgh International Airport Director Chris Kreig said planes flying in and out of the local airport did not contribute to the greater prevalence of contrails Tuesday.

cchapman@pressrepublican.com

(c)2021 the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.)

Visit the Press-Republican (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) at pressrepublican.com

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