Hey Heidi: What are those white trails behind an airplane?

One step into the Aero Charter hanger and you quickly get an idea of how the other half lives.

"We'll have clients that will take business trips, golf outings, promotional trips things of that nature," explains John Morgenthaler, President of Aero Charter.

It's a company that took flight in 1978 and has been soaring ever since.

"We do aircraft charter and management," Morgenthaler points out.

He's a guy who's handled the controls of these planes since 1984 so he knows a thing or two about flying and about those white trails of what seem to be smoke.

"It's actually not smoke, it's ice crystals," he explains.

A line in the sky known as a con trail.

"So a con trail is just a short name for condensation trail. So what is, is as the engine is putting out the water vapor it creates a small relative area of higher humidity past the saturation point where then that water vapor turns to water droplets and it's so cold out there that the water droplets instantly freeze into ice crystals,"

But the planes need to be so high for that to happen.

"Yeah, it's humidity and temperature so basically you need to be above 26,000 feet where the temperatures reach 40 degrees below zero," Morgenthaler says.

And even then you don't see them daily.

"So on dryer days you're not going to see it," he goes on to say.

But the next time you do, you'll know what you're looking at.


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