Flight tracking map doesn’t show chemtrail planes

1 September 2023
What was claimed

A flight tracking map shows planes spreading chemtrails over the UK in 2023.

Our verdict

The image of the map is from 2020, and actually shows survey-pattern flights.

A post on Instagram with more than 2,000 likes shows a flight-tracking map of part of the UK covered in short, parallel flight paths.

Text overlaid onto the image says “CONTRAILS OR CH3MTRAILS?”, while part of the caption says “UK 2023 Flight Patterns”. 

The post (which has also been shared on Facebook) appears to suggest that the unusual-looking routes shared on the map are linked to so-called ‘chemtrails’, a conspiracy theory which claims that the white lines seen behind planes are actually chemicals being deliberately sprayed into the atmosphere.

These white lines in the sky are actually contrails—water vapour produced by aeroplane engines freezes at high altitude, forming long thin lines of cloud.

In reality the flight paths shown on the FlightRadar24 map aren’t ‘chemtrails’ or contrails, nor are they from 2023. 

As indicated by the text in the bottom-right of the image, which says “selection of survey patterns over the UK, April 2020”, the picture shows the path of survey flights that took place more than three years ago. 

The picture has been shared at least three times on X (formerly known as Twitter) by FlightRadar24 since April 2020. 

The blog shared by the flight tracker says: “One of the most visible quirks of flying at the moment are survey-pattern flights. These flights take place all the time for a variety of reasons. 

“Some flights are capturing imagery for mapping services—‘satellite’ maps used in commercial mapping services are often partially compiled from aerial imagery. Other flights are completing various other surveys using technology like LiDAR [a remote sensing method used to examine the surface of the earth]. 

“Some of these are working on ecological projects, engineering works, or even checking for leaks in utility pipes.”

We have written many times before about claims that chemicals are deliberately being sprayed into the atmosphere from planes.

While it is sometimes claimed that the trails are being released in order to harm the health of the population, we’ve recently seen many posts suggesting that ‘chemtrails’ are part of a secretive geoengineering plot designed to manipulate the weather.

Image courtesy of Belinda Fewings

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