An air traffic controller told a Southwest pilot he had “a chemtrail off (his) left wing” last week – and it was recorded for posterity.
40 seconds after Southwest 1256 took off from Portland International at 6:18pm, September 21st, 2016, an air traffic controller in the tower radioed the pilot to say:
“I don’t know if it’s normal I just haven’t seen it that low; it appears like a chemtrail-type situation off your left wing.”
When the pilot asked her to repeat it, she said:
“it looks like a chemtrail off your left wing, I just have not seen it that low before, but it does look similar to a…”
Her transmission is cut off before she can finish her sentence. When you hear her again 10 seconds later, she alters her phrasing to say “Alright, a contrail off your left wing.” The pilot does not appear surprised or concerned.
Fortunately, the audio was archived at LiveATC.net. To download it for yourself, select September 22nd 2016 (UTC), select the KPDX Ground/Tower and 0100-0130 for the time and click submit. You should then be able to download the file “KPDX-Twr-Sep-22-2016-0100Z.mp3”
Published under Fair Use, here’s the relevant clip, 18 minutes and 40 seconds into the file.
Here’s a link to the Flightaware status page for Southwest 1256 and its flight track log. This is a link to the Reddit threadwhere I found out about it – now deleted – and the submitter – also deleted. This is a link to the Salem atmospheric soundings for 9-22-16, 00Z UTC and the NASA satellite views for Portland on 9-21-16 PDT; Terra, Suomi & Aqua.
Here’s footage of another plane spraying from its left wing, filmed by Mark Menard:
TOWER: Southwest 1256, I don’t know if it’s normal I just haven’t seen it that low; it appears like a chemtrail-type situation off your left wing.
PILOT: Say again Southwest 1256?
TOWER: Southwest 1256, it looks like a chemtrail off your left wing, I just have not seen it that low before, but it does look similar to a… (transmission cuts out)
PILOT: Ah, OK, thanks.
TOWER: Alright, a contrail off your left wing
PILOT: OK, thank you.