Smoke On

Following each pass by the Condor Squadron yesterday, there would be a trail of smoke.

It was fascinating watching it drift and curl, an active, visible display of the wake turbulence that follows high performance or large aircraft. (Okay, technically all aircraft have wake turbulence, but a 747 isn’t going to worry about the consequences of following a Cessna 172, while if the situation is reversed, a 172 following a 747 can get flipped right out of the sky in an instant.)

It drifted downwind, away from us, curling and twisting, descending toward the ground. And everyone else ignored it, looking in back of us for the planes that had just laid down the smoke, coming around for another pass.

And before anyone gets upset by the “pollution,” this isn’t exhaust from the engine or massive amounts of toxic waste being dumped. To make smoke for a demo or air show, planes have a separate reservoir of “smoke oil,” which is a biodegradable, non-toxic mineral oil that’s injected into the exhaust manifold. No chemtrails necessary!

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