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Wondering about all those Bend contrails? Here's the answer

Portland fighter wing conducts training flights

BEND, Ore. - Bend-area residents curious about numerous jet contrails in the skies over the past couple of days have been asking questions about them, and a National Guard unit in Portland confirmed Thursday they were conducting training flights in the area.

Callers to NewsChannel 21 were asking about them, especially due the varying designs the trails were making, some saying the planes involved appeared to be making S-curves, even U-turns.

“We were flying in the area yesterday (Wednesday) and today for normal training to the southwest of Bend,” said Steven Conklin,  public affairs superintendent for the 142nd Fighter Wing, an Oregon Air National Guard unit based at Portland Air Base.

“Our actual training space is away from the city, but we do pass over on the way there,” Conklin told NewsChannel 21.

The 142nd Fighter Wing currently flies F-15 Eagles and was founded in 1950.

Conklin said he could not be specific about the number of planes that were passing over, but did confirm “you’ll typically see more than two F-15s at a time.”

As for how often the unit's jets fly over more populated areas such as Bend, Conklin also couldn't be too specific, as you'd imagine when it comes to military movements.

“We have a number of training areas around the state and, depending on several factors, we may be flying in one location or another, but an exact frequency in one location will vary,” Conklin said.


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