2004 USS Nimitz Tic Tac UFO FLIR footage (FLIR1)

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The apparent size and blurriness disqualifies an ordinary aircraft at any range.
I think you'd need to quantify that statement. What size range is this thing, as you understand it? What size range are "ordinary aircraft"?

And ... "blurriness" does not seem to be a disqualifying factor, as that a function of the camera, not the object.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I think you'd need to quantify that statement. What size range is this thing, as you understand it? What size range are "ordinary aircraft"?

And ... "blurriness" does not seem to be a disqualifying factor, as that a function of the camera, not the object.

The only thing we know about object size is the apparent angular size. We can use that to calculate size at various ranges (as I have done above https://www.metabunk.org/threads/2004-uss-nimitz-tic-tac-ufo-flir-footage-flir1.9190/post-239013).

We know the range of ATFLIR is 40nm so we should expect an object to be clearly in focus within that range unless a major malfunction happens. And we know the range of the onboard radar which should be able to lock on a large aircraft or physical object even beyond that range.

Extreme range would explain the absence of a radar lock and the blurriness maybe. But then the object would have to be larger than a fighter and moving very fast.

Also I am not sure the blurriness we see is due to the camera or the object as it could just be caused by the video itself.

UPDATED Recap of the data we have confirmed:
- this things moves horizontally 12° across the nose of a static observer (Mick estimates 4.2 seconds/degree of apparent movement)
- it is at a static altitude 5° of inclination above an observer at 20k feet.
- ATFLIR has a "max" range of around 40nm (and the intercept could have been as close as 20nm according to witness testimony by the pilot)
- the radar can't lock on and determine range although it's range is longer than ATFLIR
- the thing is emitting IR radiation
- the thing is visible on TV (black & white) mode so it is observable in the visible light spectrum with a similar shape to its IR image
- the video is blurred both in IR and TV mode.

Additional data that depends on range (assuming 40 to 20nm here):
- object speed (only horizontal component relative to observer) is around 400 (40nm) to 200 knots (20nm)
- object elevation would be at 40k feet at 40nm or 30k feet at 20 nm. Elevation is key: maintaining those altitudes for something with wings is tricky. You need high speeds and good propulsion. Would the speeds observed be enough? It could be going at an angle with us and we might be seeing only a small part of it's true speed which may be hypersonic even.
- object size: we can get there with the camera field of view. "the ATFLIR maps a 0.70/0.35 deg field of view to the ATFLIR image sensor, this is equivalent to a super-telephoto lens of a focal length greater than 1200mm and a magnification factor of 35x or greater compared to a 35mm lens and sensor. This means that for objects at significant distance the details of their structure should be visible in the ATFLIR display up to several miles in distance." source https://www.explorescu.org/post/nimitz_strike_group_2004 page 198 The two values are for zoom 1 and zoom 2. At zoom 2 the object is 57/750 pixels on my screen so 0.076 of 0.35° which is 0.0266° apparent angular size. At 40nm it's 40 meters. At 20nm it's 20 meters an F-18 super hornet is 18,31 meters long. This is the size Fravor estimated for the thing he saw.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
this things moves horizontally 12° across the nose of a static observer
A static jet? It's got a CAS of 251 knots. It's not static.

- it is at a static altitude 5° of inclination above an observer at 20k feet.
No, it goes from 6° to 5°

ATFLIR has a "max" range of around 40nm
No. Cameras don't stop working at a fixed distance. It depends on the size and illumination of the object, and weather conditions.

- the thing is emitting IR radiation
Everything does. Especially against the sky. But yes, the initial IR glare would see to indicate something hot.
Metabunk 2020-05-13 07-56-30.jpg
- the thing is visible on TV (black & white) mode so it is observable in the visible light spectrum with a similar shape to its IR image

Similar? At 41 seconds in it changes from visible to IR, at that point they don't really look that similar. You've got a peanut shape, and


40 seconds later you get an IR shape that is more similarMetabunk 2020-05-13 08-11-46.jpg

Note this is brighter on the right. This is consistent with a jet flying towards the left. I'd previously thought that the horizontal shape was from a configuration of engines, but after viewing a variety of footage that shows the body of the jet a similar intensity to the engines, I'm now leaning toward it being more like the shape of the plane, plus a blob for the engine glare.

Example with more central engines
Metabunk 2020-05-13 08-15-58.jpg

Example with engines on the left.
Metabunk 2020-05-13 08-16-56.jpg

But with poor focus.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
@Mick West all excellent points. I think the blurred image (of an F-15?) is quite indicative of what we should see it this was a blurry jet fighter at a normal range. Longer ranges disqualify a fighter.

UPDATED V3 Recap of the data we have confirmed:
- this things moves horizontally 12° (Mick estimates 4.2 seconds/degree of apparent movement) across the nose of an observer moving 250 knots with a fixed heading and altitude (HDG+BALT autopilot engaged)
- it is at an apparent angle of 6° and then 5° of inclination above an observer at 20k feet (this could correspond to a tiny change as the value is rounded to the degree).
- ATFLIR's manufacturer states "ATFLIR can locate and designate targets day or night at ranges exceeding 40 nautical miles and altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet" (and the intercept could have been as close as 20nm according to witness testimony by the pilot)
- the radar can't lock on and determine range although it's range is longer than ATFLIR
- the thing is emitting IR radiation
- the thing is visible on TV (black & white) mode so it is observable in the visible light spectrum with a similar shape to its IR image
- the video is blurred both in IR and TV mode.
- the videos is compressed and low quality

Additional data that depends on range (assuming 40 to 20nm here):
- object speed (only horizontal component relative to observer) is around 400 (40nm) to 200 knots (20nm)
- object elevation would be at 40k feet at 40nm or 30k feet at 20 nm. Elevation is key: maintaining those altitudes for something with wings is tricky. You need high speeds and good propulsion. Would the speeds observed be enough? It could be going at an angle with us and we might be seeing only a small part of it's true speed which may be hypersonic even.
- object size: we can get there with the camera field of view. "the ATFLIR maps a 0.70/0.35 deg field of view to the ATFLIR image sensor, this is equivalent to a super-telephoto lens of a focal length greater than 1200mm and a magnification factor of 35x or greater compared to a 35mm lens and sensor. This means that for objects at significant distance the details of their structure should be visible in the ATFLIR display up to several miles in distance." source https://www.explorescu.org/post/nimitz_strike_group_2004 page 198 The two values are for zoom 1 and zoom 2. At zoom 2 the object is 57/750 pixels on my screen so 0.076 of 0.35° which is 0.0266° apparent angular size. At 40nm it's 40 meters. At 20nm it's 20 meters an F-18 super hornet is 18,31 meters long. This is the size Fravor estimated for the thing he saw.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I hadn't noticed the change in vertical angle. Could that be helpful to identify range?

If we assume both objects are maintaining a static altitude. And we know the speed of the F-18 we could probably figure it out. Only problem is: the angle indicators are rounded to the closest integer.

Height change.png
 
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Max Phalange

Active Member
Over on Reddit a poster has done some analysis using the telemetry in the FLIR video in an attempt to put a lower bound on the speed of the tracked object. I'll just quote the relevant part, it ties into gtoffo's last two posts in this thread somewhat - would be interesting to hear thoughts.
... the explanation of a distant commercial plane doesn't match up with the data on the FLIR screen. David Fravor said that the range showed 99.9 because it was jamming their radar. Mick West says that it couldn't get a radar lock simply because it was too far away. That gives really useful information since the max range of the FLIR is 40 miles. If what Mick West says is true than that puts a minimum distance on the object and hence a minimum speed. We know the angle that the object travels left in a certain time (1 degree in 3 seconds towards the end). Using trigonometry to combine that with the minimum 40 mile distance thats a speed of 837 mph to the left. In other words, for Mick West's explanation to be right the object has to be moving at at least 837 mph.

But it gets more interesting. The FLIR screen also says that the object is initially 6 degrees above the F/A-18. At 40 miles away that's 22,070 feet. Add that to the F/A-18's altitude of 20,000 feet, it's about 42,000 feet in altitude. But it gets MORE interesting, If you know how triangles work the angle should go up as the F/A-18 gets closer. But it doesn't, it actually goes down to 5 degrees then stays there. Either it's rapidly dropping altitude or it's moving away from the FLIR at around it's same speed. Using the cruise speed of the F/A-18 which is 660 mph that means it must be moving away at 660 mph.

So 837 mph to the left and 660 mph away. The total vector made by this is 1065 mph.

There are only two possibilities here:
  1. If it's so far as to be out of range of the FLIR radar as Mick West claims then it has to be moving at at least Mach 1.4 therefore cannot be a commercial plane
  2. If it is within FLIR radar range then how is it completely incapable of getting a radar lock on a commercial jet? Fravor's explanation that it jammed the radar must be true.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
would be interesting to hear thoughts

Flipping from 5° to 6° tells you precisely zero about the change in vertical angle. That could be 5.999 to 6.0001, or it could be 6.1 to 5.5, based on the semi-random changes in the horizontal angle. 4, 3,4,3,2,1,-1,1,-1,0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8

The 837 mph calculation is correct for a simple 3 seconds per degree motion at 40 miles. But the average over the consistent frames is 4.2 seconds per degree.
Metabunk 2020-07-08 19-27-17.jpg

Which gives a simple perpendicular speed at 40 miles of about 600 mph. Or at 20 miles, 300 mph.

There's still plenty of configurations in which "a jet" would work
 

Max Phalange

Active Member
The change to 6 degrees is at 1:04.27 and to 7 degrees at 1:08.03 (delta of 3.76s), then to 8 at 1:12.27 (delta of 4.24 s) - so agreed, not sure where they got "1 degree in 3 seconds towards the end" from.
 

Max Phalange

Active Member
Maybe that one should go in a Gimbal thread instead of Nimitz? I'm not really sure what he's arguing in that one - what shows that the range from the object to the camera was constant? I don't think that's shown on the HUD.
 

TheoryQED

Member
The change to 6 degrees is at 1:04.27 and to 7 degrees at 1:08.03 (delta of 3.76s), then to 8 at 1:12.27 (delta of 4.24 s) - so agreed, not sure where they got "1 degree in 3 seconds towards the end" from.

I think the post on Reddit was only talking about the vertical degrees not the horizontal ones. He's saying that because an F-18 is faster than a commercial airliner the degrees should go from 6 to 7 as it gets closer, and not from 6 to 5... which he thinks shows that the object is moving away faster than the fighter jet is approaching it.
 

Max Phalange

Active Member
I think the post on Reddit was only talking about the vertical degrees not the horizontal ones.

Well, he was calculating the horizontal and vertical components separately based on the deflection angles shown in the hud, and combining to get a velocity. However, the vertical component tells us nothing useful because potentially a tiny change in the vertical angle, when rounded to a whole degree, would snap from 6 to 5 on the display.

His calculation of the horizontal component was based on a claim of "1 degree in 3 seconds", but going frame by frame and noting the timestamps when the angle changes shows it's closer to 1 degree in 4 seconds. So instead of the claimed total velocity of 1065mph, the information in the video gives an upper bound on the velocity that's less than 700mph.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
Over on Reddit a poster has done some analysis using the telemetry in the FLIR video in an attempt to put a lower bound on the speed of the tracked object. I'll just quote the relevant part, it ties into gtoffo's last two posts in this thread somewhat - would be interesting to hear thoughts.

Compare with my analysis two years ago. That was before I realized that the tracker broke lock at the end.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/2004-uss-nimitz-tic-tac-ufo-flir-footage-flir1.9190/post-217191
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/2004-uss-nimitz-tic-tac-ufo-flir-footage-flir1.9190/post-217199
 
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Wonderer

New Member
I finally finished reading this thread, and decided to synthesize all the data from the ATFLIR footage to determine the possible parameters of the UFO. Here's the data I've gathered; they're from my own frame-by-frame analysis of the video, but all numbers are consistent with what others have posted. Adopted values are in italics. When I say "fighter", I mean the fighter that recorded the ATFLIR video; when I say "UFO", I mean the object the ATFLIR saw.
  1. Apparent size. The UFO is about 0.028 ± 0.006 degrees in length. This is calculated from the FOV of ATFLIR on NAR and 2x zoom (namely 0.35 degrees), and from the number of pixels the UFO spans on TV mode (19 pixels).
  2. Increase in apparent size. Comparing the 2x zoom IR footage from the beginning and end of the video, I calculated that the UFO spanned 14 pixels at the beginning (0:15) and 17 pixels at the end (1:10), a 20 ± 10 % increase. I don't know if this increase is because the UFO is turning, or because it's getting closer. If we assume it's entirely due to the UFO getting closer, we can already calculate a rough distance: over 55 seconds at a true airspeed of ~380 knots (200 m/s), the distance to the UFO closed by 20%, so the UFO must be around (200 m/s) * (55 s) / 0.2 = 55 km away, assuming it has no radial velocity. This distance is smaller if the UFO is moving away, larger if the UFO is moving toward us.
  3. Elevation. This is the "5 degrees" displayed on the HDU. I have no idea if this refers to the angle from the fighter's axis, from gravity, or from the horizon (these are three separate angles), but I'll assume it's the angle with respect to gravity. Adopted value: 5.5 ± 0.5 degrees.
  4. Increase in elevation. If the fighter is closing on the UFO, the elevation should increase. The fact that it doesn't means either that the UFO is running away from us, or that it's so far away that the increase is undetectable. Adopted value: 0 ± 0.5 degrees
  5. Lateral drift rate. The UFO starts off at 4 degrees right, but drifts to 8 degrees left. I will assume this drift is due to the motion of the UFO, and not because the fighter is turning imperceptibly. Adopted value: 0.17 ± 0.05 degrees/second.
The parameters of the UFO that completely determine the observed data are:
  1. True size
  2. Distance
  3. Lateral (leftward) airspeed
  4. Radial (forward) airspeed
  5. Altitude above sea level
Assumptions:
  1. Both the fighter and the UFO have constant altitude, heading, and speed throughout the recording.
  2. The wind is moving at the same speed and same direction for both the fighter and the UFO.
I used nested sampling with uniform priors and Gaussian errors to obtain posteriors for the UFO parameters. In non-technical terms, I wrote a program to try out millions of combinations of the 5 UFO parameters to see which combinations fit the 5 observational data points and which ones don't. I attached the program; it's in Python, so rename model.txt to model.py. Here are the results, for 6 different assumed distances:

Distance (km)Size (m)Lateral airspeed (m/s)Radial airspeed (m/s)Altitude (km)Total airspeed (m/s)
10.5 ± 0.13.0 ± 0.9194.4 ± 0.96.2 ± 0.008194.4 ± 0.9
105 ± 129 ± 9180 ± 97.05 ± 0.09187 ± 8
2010 ± 259 ± 17170 ± 178.0 ± 0.2180 ± 17
5025 ± 5150 ± 40140 ± 4010.8 ± 0.4210 ± 40
10050 ± 10290 ± 9080 ± 8515.6 ± 0.8320 ± 90
15072 ± 14450 ± 13025 ± 13020.3 ± 1.3470 ± 130

We can dismiss the 1 km scenario, because the UFO would have to be running away from the fighter at almost exactly the fighter's speed (194.4 ± 0.9 m/s) to prevent being overtaken in no time flat. That's way too much fine-tuning. Also, I don't think a 50 cm object can travel at 200 m/s. This means there's no way the UFO is a balloon, lantern, or bird.

The 10 km scenario is slightly more plausible, as 5 m is a reasonable size for a small plane. However, the radial airspeed still has to be fine-tuned to within 5% to be consistent with the data, which I don't find likely.

The 20 km scenario is more plausible still, as 10 m is a reasonable size for a medium plane. Here, the radial airspeed must be fine-tuned to within 10%--still implausible IMHO, but not shocking.

I find the 50 km scenario the most likely. The UFO would have to be 25 m in length, about the size of a commercial airliner. The UFO would be moving at approximately 210 m/s, away and to the left of the fighter. No fine-tuning is necessary to make this work, and 210 m/s is a typical speed for a commercial airliner. In addition, the inferred altitude of 10.8 km is a typical cruising altitude for a commercial airliner.

The 100 km scenario is not crazy, but less plausible. The UFO would have to be 50 m in projected size, similar to the size of a Boeing 787-8. However, the 15.6 km altitude is very high for the Boeing 787-8 (or in general, for any passenger aircraft). The inferred speed of 320 ± 90 m/s is close to or exceeds the speed of sound (~295 m/s at 15.6 km altitude). Of course, supersonic aircraft exist, but the overwhelming majority of aircraft in the skies are subsonic, and even supersonic-capable aircraft usually fly subsonic (i.e. the fighter that took this video was flying at 195 m/s true airspeed).

The 150 km scenario is extremely implausible. 72 m is the size of an Airbus A380, but an Airbus can't fly at Mach 1.6, nor can it fly at 20 km altitude.

Let's take one specific scenario and run with it. Let's assume the UFO has an initial distance of 50 km, size of 25 m, lateral airspeed of 160 m/s, radial airspeed of 140 m/s, and altitude of 10.9 km. At the beginning, the UFO would have an angular size of 0.029 degrees, an elevation of 5.5 degrees, and a lateral drift rate of 0.18 deg/s. At the end, the UFO would have closed to a distance of 46 km (9% closer). It would have an angular size of 0.031 degrees, elevation of 5.97 degrees, and lateral drift rate of 0.20 deg/s. These numbers are consistent with the observational data points I used.

Does this mean there are no more mysteries to be solved? Alas, no. There are still a few mysteries I haven't explained:
  1. The lateral drift rate is not constant. This has already been pointed out, but the drift rate is much faster (5-6 times) near the end of the video than near the beginning. I might make a post on this soon. This is a big problem, because under the assumption that the fighter and UFO are both flying at constant altitude, heading, and speed, the only way for the drift rate to change by 5x is for the UFO to get 5x closer. But if it gets 5x closer, the elevation will also get multiplied by 5, as will the apparent size of the object. None of that happens in the video. One possibility is that the UFO turns to the left during the recording. This would explain why the elevation changes from 6 to 5 degrees at the beginning (the UFO is pulling away), yet the apparent size of the UFO increases later on (the UFO is now heading left and not away, so the fighter closes on the UFO). It might also explain why the UFO looks like a circle in the 2x IR recording at the beginning, but like a skinny oval in the 2x IR recording at the end. However, this explanation makes it less likely that the UFO is a commercial airliner, because commercial airliners rarely turn unless they're close to the origin or destination.
  2. ATFLIR fails to find a range for the UFO. Why? ATFLIR is supposed to have a range of 40 nautical miles (74 km): "ATFLIR can locate and designate targets day or night at ranges exceeding 40 nautical miles and altitudes surpassing 50,000 feet, outperforming comparable targeting systems." Also, according to the Executive Summary, "the radar was in a standard search mode (RWS/80nm/4bar/intr)", which I assume means it has a range of 80 nautical miles (150 km). If the UFO really is a commercial airliner 50 km away, it makes no sense that the radar and the infrared range-finder wouldn't pick it up.
  3. I didn't try to explain the eyewitness testimony. As far as we know, we have four accounts. From the initial encounter, Captain Fravor (who goes around giving interviews everywhere, including this 2 hour podcast with Joe Rogan, and this 4 hour podcast with Lex Fridman), his wingman pilot (a woman who wants to stay anonymous, but who gave this account; she is "Source", a "highly decorated and a recognized expert in aviation and Navy combat flight operations"), and her Weapons Systems Officer Jim Slaight (who gave his account on Fox). I'm not aware of Fravor's WSO coming forward. From the second encounter, Chad Underwood, the pilot who took the FLIR video, has given an interview where he said "so, at that point I didn’t see anything with my eyeballs" and never mentions seeing it with his eyeballs. Fravor, Wingwoman, and Slaight all give roughly consistent accounts with some discrepancies, but I have no idea what they saw. Underwood saw nothing except the video we're analyzing.
Any feedback is welcome.
 

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Mendel

Senior Member.
@Wonderer the 150-km scenario involves a sonic boom, the 100 km scenario could involve one. That should draw attention to it, and did not.

I follow your "fine tuning" argument where it involves matching the speed of the fighter, which is only probable if the UFO is another fighter of the same type, maybe?

But for the other speeds, your margin of error does not suggest "fine tuning", that's just the speed the thing has. It doesn't need to "tune" itself to its own observed speed.

Could you explain why your error margins for the radial speed are so low when your size increase is given as 20% with a margin of 10% points, so an increase in the range of 10-30%? Should that not allow for more variation in the radial speed than your table allows for?
 

Wonderer

New Member
@Wonderer the 150-km scenario involves a sonic boom, the 100 km scenario could involve one. That should draw attention to it, and did not.
Is a sonic boom audible from 100-150 km away? I honestly don't know.

I follow your "fine tuning" argument where it involves matching the speed of the fighter, which is only probable if the UFO is another fighter of the same type, maybe?

But for the other speeds, your margin of error does not suggest "fine tuning", that's just the speed the thing has. It doesn't need to "tune" itself to its own observed speed.

Here's some intuition that might help. Imagine that I have two dice: one with 6 sides, one with 100 sides. I randomly choose a die, roll it, and tell you that I rolled a very low number: 3. Which die did I probably roll? Both dice can explain the observation equally well. But with the 6-sided die, you'd expect 50% of rolls to end up with a number as low as 3. With the 20-sided die, only 3% of rolls end up with a number as low as 3. You would think it's more likely I rolled the 6-sided die, because the 100-sided die would require too much "fine-tuning". This type of reasoning is Bayesian inference.

Applying it to the UFO, imagine we're only comparing two hypotheses: D=10 km vs. D=50 km. With the D=10 km hypothesis, only a narrow range of radial speeds (within 5% of 180 m/s) are consistent with the data. With the D=50 km hypothesis, a wide range of radial speeds (within 30% of 140 m/s) are consistent with the data. A random UFO is more likely to fall into a wide range of speeds than a narrow range, ergo the 50 km scenario is more probable.

Could you explain why your error margins for the radial speed are so low when your size increase is given as 20% with a margin of 10% points, so an increase in the range of 10-30%? Should that not allow for more variation in the radial speed than your table allows for?

I think the main constraint on the radial speed comes from the fact that the elevation doesn't change, not from the size increase. If the UFO is 50 km distant and has zero radial speed, the fighter would close on it by 14 km during the 70 s recording, meaning the elevation would change from 5 degrees to 7 degrees. This doesn't happen, which means the UFO (if it's actually 50 km away) has to be moving away from the fighter.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Additional questions:
Does the size in your table take the angle of the UFO towards the observer into account, based on the relation of its lateral to its radial speed?
Why is your "adopted" elevation 5.5° and not 5°? How do you arrive at +/- 0.5° margin of error for that, and a 0.5° margin of accuracy for elevation change?
Here's some intuition that might help. Imagine that I have two dice: one with 6 sides, one with 100 sides. I randomly choose a die, roll it, and tell you that I rolled a very low number: 3. Which die did I probably roll?
Your analogy is flawed. First of all, you don't know which dice I have; if I told you I rolled a 3, you'd conclude I most likely used a 3-sided die, and you'd be wrong most of the time.

Secondly, for your intuition, I'm telling you that if I rolled a 6-sided dice, I rolled a 4 or 5; but if I rolled a 20-sided dice, I rolled a number between 12 and 17 (inclusive). Which dice did I roll?


I think the main constraint on the radial speed comes from the fact that the elevation doesn't change, not from the size increase. If the UFO is 50 km distant and has zero radial speed, the fighter would close on it by 14 km during the 70 s recording, meaning the elevation would change from 5 degrees to 7 degrees. This doesn't happen, which means the UFO (if it's actually 50 km away) has to be moving away from the fighter
That's a bad example, it involves a 40% size increase.
If you assume the elevation does not change, then the radial speed of the UFO should be equal to the speed of the fighter in every case.

You seem to be tacitly assuming that the altitude of the UFO is constant, and that the UFO does not turn.
But that's impossible given your parameters.

A size increase of 10%-30% limits the closing distance to between 1-1/1.10 and 1-1/1.30 of the initial distance, that is 9.091% to 23.077% of the initial distance.

An elevation change from 5.5° to 6° puts the closing distance at (1- sin(5.5°)/sin(5.6°)) of the initial distance, that is 8.307% of the initial distance. (Going off 5° as the elevation, (1- sin(5°)/sin(5.5°)) of the initial distance is 9.067% of the initial distance.) Obviously the closing distance is 0 if the true elevation does not change at all, so (if we only look at non-negative elevation changes) the range for the possible closing distance is 0%-8.3% of the initial distance.

These ranges do not overlap!
And that's at the edge of your precision!
And your simulation still gives results!
With wide margins!
That's nonsense.

----

But if we assume that we're looking at an airliner that is turning, then your radial airspeed computation is off, since that airliner could well be traveling faster than 380 knots (possibly close to 500 knots), with the true elevation decreasing. Then the question is, which way is it turning? Are we looking at the body of the airliner, turning away from the fighter's track? Or are we looking at the dual (or quadruple) engine exhaust of the airliner, turning towards the fighter's track?
 
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Wonderer

New Member
Additional questions:
Does the size in your table take the angle of the UFO towards the observer into account, based on the relation of its lateral to its radial speed?
No, it doesn't. This is the projected size.
Why is your "adopted" elevation 5.5° and not 5°? How do you arrive at +/- 0.5° margin of error for that, and a 0.5° margin of accuracy for elevation change?
The displayed elevation is 5 degrees. I assume it truncates, so that means the elevation has to be between 5 to 6 degrees in order for the display to read 5.

Your analogy is flawed. First of all, you don't know which dice I have; if I told you I rolled a 3, you'd conclude I most likely used a 3-sided die, and you'd be wrong most of the time.
If I was comparing the hypothesis of a 3-sided die with that of a 6-sided die, and I knew you'd picked one of the two at random, I'd indeed conclude that you rolled the 3 sided die. I'd be right most of the time.

Secondly, for your intuition, I'm telling you that if I rolled a 6-sided dice, I rolled a 4 or 5; but if I rolled a 20-sided dice, I rolled a number between 12 and 17 (inclusive). Which dice did I roll?
There is a 6/20 chance of observing what you told me if you rolled the 20-sided die, and a 1/3 chance of observing what you told me if you rolled a 6-sided die. My prior belief (before receiving the data) is that there's a 50% chance you rolled either die. My posterior belief (after receiving the data) is, using Bayes' theorem:

P(6-sided | data) = (1/3) * 0.5 / (0.5 * 6/20 + 0.5 * 1/3) = 0.526

So after receiving the data, I very slightly favor the 6 sided die. What if the two options were a 6-sided and 100-sided die, and you told me that you rolled a number between 10-19 inclusive if you had the 100-sided die? Then:

P(6-sided | data) = (1/3) * 0.5 / (0.5 * 1/10 + 0.5 * 1/3) = 0.77

I would more strongly favor the 6 sided die.

You seem to be tacitly assuming that the altitude of the UFO is constant, and that the UFO does not turn.
But that's impossible given your parameters.
I think it is turning (I mentioned this in my mystery #1), but not for the reasons you mention.

These ranges do not overlap!
And that's at the edge of your precision!
And your simulation still gives results!
With wide margins!
That's nonsense.
The error values are not strict limits, but standard deviations. The standard deviation is defined so that you are 68% confident the true value falls within 1 standard deviation, and 95% confident that the true value falls within 2 standard deviations. In other words, almost 1/3 of the time, the true value should fall outside the error bars, if the error bars are properly defined for nested sampling. I have 5 data points, so at least 1 is likely to fall outside 1 standard deviation.

Sorry for the confusion. I didn't want to get into the nitty-gritty math details in my initial post because not many people are interested in that.

But if we assume that we're looking at an airliner that is turning, then your radial airspeed computation is off, since that airliner could well be traveling faster than 380 knots (possibly close to 500 knots), with the true elevation decreasing. Then the question is, which way is it turning? Are we looking at the body of the airliner, turning away from the fighter's track? Or are we looking at the dual (or quadruple) engine exhaust of the airliner, turning towards the fighter's track?
I'll explore this in more detail in a future post. I think the UFO is heading away from the fighter to begin with (which would explain why the elevation decreases from 6 to 5 degrees), but begins to turn left (which would explain why it appears to get larger).
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The displayed elevation is 5 degrees. I assume it truncates, so that means the elevation has to be between 5 to 6 degrees in order for the display to read 5.

It would seem more likely to me that it rounds to the nearest integer, so 4.5 to 5.4999 would read 5. Chops the error in half.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
If I was comparing the hypothesis of a 3-sided die with that of a 6-sided die, and I knew you'd picked one of the two at random, I'd indeed conclude that you rolled the 3 sided die. I'd be right most of the time.
No.
You are again assuming you know which dice I have, but you don't.

But at least you have explicit priors here.
In the UFO scenario, you have not made it clear what your priors are that went into your model: what UFO appearances you think are equally likely to occur. You are inferring from a larger margin of error that that appearance has more of a chance to have been happening. It's as if you are saying, if the picture is more blurry, there's a stronger chance that it shows an actual UFO.

There is a 6/20 chance of observing what you told me if you rolled the 20-sided die, and a 1/3 chance of observing what you told me if you rolled a 6-sided die.
So, now explain to me what the UFO priors are that went into your model: which types of UFOs have you been modeling, and what were their "observation spaces" that we observed a subset from?

Because you did not compare the 4-5 and the 12-17 ranges directly in my dice example, you compared them to the ranges you know that the dice have. Which means your prior is assumptions/knowledge about the dice. Now for your UFO simulation, you need to explicitly state what the priors are for the UFOs that you are modeling.

The error values are not strict limits, but standard deviations. T
Yes, that's your mistake. If you take a yardstick and measure a length as 13 inches +/- 0.5 inches, then modeling that as 13 with a SD of 0.5, you assign a nonzero probility that the length is 14, and that's nonsense; and you are saying that the length is more likely to be 13 than it is to be 13.4, which is also nonsense.
That HUD display shows 5° elevation, and it is equally likely to be 4.6° as it is to be 5° or 5.4°, and it is impossible to be 4.4° or 4.6°. If you model this with a normal distribution, your statistical model is unsuitable.
(which would explain why the elevation decreases from 6 to 5 degrees)
You never mentioned this in post #584.

begins to turn left (which would explain why it appears to get larger).
Please answer my question:
Then the question is, which way is it turning? Are we looking at the body of the airliner, turning away from the fighter's track? Or are we looking at the dual (or quadruple) engine exhaust of the airliner, turning towards the fighter's track?
IR displays heat sources prominently.
 

Wonderer

New Member
So, now explain to me what the UFO priors are that went into your model: which types of UFOs have you been modeling, and what were their "observation spaces" that we observed a subset from?
The models I'm comparing are the 6 different distances, the ones I listed in my table. The observation spaces are the ranges of the parameters (size, radial/lateral speed, altitude) that I used for the prior: size 0.1-100 m, lateral speed -1000 m/s to 1000 m/s, radial speed -1000 m/s to 1000 m/s, altitude 0.1 to 40 km. These priors are extremely wide because I wanted to constrain the properties of the UFO based more on the data than on my prior assumptions.

Yes, that's your mistake. If you take a yardstick and measure a length as 13 inches +/- 0.5 inches, then modeling that as 13 with a SD of 0.5, you assign a nonzero probility that the length is 14, and that's nonsense; and you are saying that the length is more likely to be 13 than it is to be 13.4, which is also nonsense.
That HUD display shows 5° elevation, and it is equally likely to be 4.6° as it is to be 5° or 5.4°, and it is impossible to be 4.4° or 4.6°. If you model this with a normal distribution, your statistical model is unsuitable.
You're taking the HUD display too literally. It's entirely possible that the number is rounded instead of truncated, as Mick West suggests; that would mean a reading of 5 actually means 4.5-5.5, not the 5-6 I've been assuming. I also doubt the reading is perfectly accurate. After all, the heading number isn't; it jumps from 4 to 3 back to 4, and later on it jumps from 1 R to 1 L. There is likely both a random and a systematic error to the elevation reading, and if I had to guess, it's probably around 0.5 degrees, because there's no point designing the instrument to be much more accurate if the pilot only gets the elevation rounded to 1 degree.

Is the real error distribution a normal distribution? Almost definitely not. But a Gaussian is a better approximation than an error model which assumes that 4.6 degrees is perfectly possible, but 4.4 degrees is absolutely impossible. Considering the other uncertainties in my model (see my assumptions #1 and #2, of which I think #1 is inaccurate), I'm not at all worried about using a normal distribution.

You never mentioned this in post #584.
Please answer my question
Please read the mystery #1 description in my original post. I mention the elevation change, and describe how I think the UFO is turning.
 

Wonderer

New Member
I recorded the azimuth reading every 100 frames (3.3 seconds) and plotted it as a function of time:
heading.png
As you can see, the lateral drift rate is not consistent. It's very low at the beginning, but accelerates towards the end of the video.

To quantify this acceleration, I fit a quadratic to the azimuth reading as a function of time. The fit was:

θ = -1.86e-3 * t^2 - 2.7e-2*t + 4.1

Taking the derivative, we get the angular speed:
ω = -3.7e-3 * t - 2.7e-2
angular_speed.png
Here is a plot of the angular speed we get from the equation. It increases from -0.05 deg/s at the beginning to -0.30 deg/s at the end (the negative sign means the UFO is drifting left instead of right). What could account for this acceleration?

One possibility is that the UFO got 6x closer. But if it gets 6x closer, the elevation will also get multiplied by 6, as will the apparent size of the object. None of that happens in the video. Another possibility is that the UFO turns to the left during the recording.

Let's take one specific scenario and run with it. Let's assume the UFO has an initial distance of 50 km, size of 25 m, and true airspeed of 250 m/s. It is also turning. At the beginning of the video, it is heading 10 degrees to the left of the fighter; by the end, it is heading 80 degrees to the left of the fighter, for a turn rate of 1 deg/second. At the beginning, it would have an apparent lateral drift rate of 250 * sin(10 deg) / 50,000 = 0.05 deg/s; by the end, it would have a lateral drift rate of roughly 250 * sin(80 deg) / 48,000 = 0.30 deg/s.

What about the closing rate? At the beginning, the UFO is actually running away from the fighter at 250*cos(10 deg) - 195 = 51 m/s. By the time the turn angle gets to 40 degrees, 30 seconds into the video, the fighter starts closing on the UFO. By the end of the video, the fighter is closing on the UFO at 150 m/s. In total, if you do the integration, the fighter closes on the UFO by 2 km--hardly anything.

Is this rate of turn realistic, or too fast? 1 degree per second is 1/3 of the standard rate of turn. From that article:
A rate half turn (1.5° per second) is normally used when flying faster than 250 kn. The term rate two turn (6° per second) is used on some low speed aircraft.
So 1° per second is about how fast airplanes usually turn. We can also compute the centripetal acceleration of the UFO. The turning radius is R = v/omega = (250 m/s) / (pi/180 rad/s) = 14.3 km. The centripetal acceleration is v^2/R = 4.4 m/s^2, or about 0.4 g.

In this interpretation, the apparent increase in size of the UFO is not because it's getting closer, but because it's turning left and presenting a wider cross-section. This interpretation would also explain why the UFO looks completely different in IR mode at 2x zoom at 00:15 compared to 01:10:

ufo_begin.pngufo_end.png

Perhaps the IR image at 00:15 doesn't represent the outline of the UFO at all, but is instead the glare from the UFO's engines.

Lastly, I want to point out an error in my first post. I said that the UFO in the video was not detected on radar. At least according to the TTSA report, this is not true:

According to the radar display, the initial tracks were approximately 30-40 nm to the south of the aircraft. LT [redacted] was controlling the radar and FLIR and attempted multiple times to transition the radar to Single Target Track (STT) mode on the object. The radar could not take a lock, the b-sweep would raster around the hit, build an initial aspect vector (which never stabilized) and then would drop and continue normal RWS b-sweep. When asked, LT [redacted] stated that there were no jamming cues (strobe, champagne bubbles, "any normal EA indications").
From this Fightersweep article:

The WSO first picked up a contact on the radar around 30nm away while it was operating in the RWS scan mode.
So the UFO did show on on radar; the radar just had difficulty tracking it. 30nm is 55 km. This is in the ballpark of the 50 km distance that I said was most probable based on the FLIR footage alone. If the UFO is turning, that could potentially make it harder to track on radar, but I don't know enough about radar to say this confidently.

Difficulties with this explanation:
  1. Earlier, I also said that this interpretation explains why the elevation indicator drops from 6 degrees to 5 degrees at 00:23--the UFO is pulling away from the fighter for the first 30 seconds. However, I realized it doesn't explain why the elevation doesn't increase again to 6 degrees for the rest of the video. Maybe I'm also doing what I said Mendel was doing, which is taking the elevation indicator too literally instead of allowing for a realistic amount of error.
  2. Why would the UFO be turning? Most airplanes don't turn for the vast majority of their flight. This is especially true for commercial airliners, which maintain a constant heading and speed for pretty much the entire flight. However, there is one place where all aircraft typically turn: near the airport where they take off or land. So, did this encounter take place near an airport?
What is the time and location of the encounter?
I tried to determine when and where the encounter took place as accurately as possible. According to the TTSA report:
The time was approximately 1500L. The flight checked with the E-2C and separated. Their jet proceeded south to the southern cap.
If you look at the video, there's a timer at the bottom that reads 41:35 at the beginning and 42:50 at the end. I assume this is the time since the beginning of the flight. If this is true, the encounter happened November 14, 2004 at around 15:42 local time (plus or minus probably 20 minutes. I assume local time means Pacific. This is backed up by the Nimitz deck logs, which say the time zone is "+8U", where U is the military time zone corresponding to Los Angeles.

Where did the encounter happen? Again according to the TTSA report, the first encounter happened at N31 20' W117 10'. The second encounter happened at the "southern CAP point". The Fightersweep article says:
Though low on gas, the FASTEAGLE flight swung through the CAP position to try and pick up the AAV again. They saw nothing more on their way back to Nimitz.
This implies that the CAP point is roughly in between the Nimitz and the point where the first encounter happened. Since this is the southern cap, I assume the CAP is to the south of Nimitz, and the first encounter is to the south of the CAP.

In this podcast with Lex Fridman, Fravor says (1:28:30):

'Hey sir, you're not going to believe this, but that thing's at your CAP.' [...] This is like, 60 miles away, and it just re-appears.
So the CAP is 60 miles to the north of N31 20' W117 10'. That would put it roughly here:

possible_location.png

However, maybe you shouldn't trust this too much. The accounts by Fravor, Wingwoman, and the TTSA report appear inconsistent with respect to the location of the first encounter:

Screenshot from 2020-12-14 15-54-31.png

Fravor says (1:19:10 on that podcast):

And we're basically off the coast of...if you look at a map and go to San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, we're kinda in between that and we're probably about 80, 100, I don't know, it's pretty far off the coast.

I labelled this point on the map above, as "Fravor: 80-100 mi west of SD/EN". Wingwoman's account says:

“Source” and OK-1’s aircraft was approximately .3 NM behind OK-2 and OK-3’s aircraft and both F-18s proceeded East at an altitude of approximately 10,000 to 20,000 feet towards San Clemente Island.
This implies they were west of San Clemente Island and flew east to get to the first encounter. San Clemente Island is on the map, so this would be on the line between "Nimitz?" and "60 mi east of Nimitz?" I plopped the Nimitz pin where it is because Wingwoman's account also says:
On 14 November 2004, the U.S.S. Nimitz Battle Group was conducting a training mission in U.S. Navy Operating Area ‘Whiskey’, approximately 80 nautical miles (NM) West from the coast of San Diego.

Finally, the TTSA report says the first encounter happened at N31 20' W117 10'. This is labelled on the map as "First encounter".

So I'm not really sure where the first encounter took place, since the three accounts seem contradictory. This would put into question my reconstruction of where the second encounter (aka the southern CAP point) is located. If my reconstruction is correct (a very big if), the southern CAP point would be within 40-50 km of San Diego airport, which has one of the busiest airways in the world.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
The models I'm comparing are the 6 different distances, the ones I listed in my table. The observation spaces are the ranges of the parameters (size, radial/lateral speed, altitude) that I used for the prior: size 0.1-100 m, lateral speed -1000 m/s to 1000 m/s, radial speed -1000 m/s to 1000 m/s, altitude 0.1 to 40 km. These priors are extremely wide because I wanted to constrain the properties of the UFO based more on the data than on my prior assumptions.
You're giving me ranges and not distributions.
Is a size of 1-2m as likely as a size of 20-21m? Or should it be as likely as a size of 20-40m?
Think of my dice, you didn't think 4-5 was less likely than 12-17.

You've also not used any information we have on the sizes and speeds of known (man-made) objects occurring above 20,000 feet; they do not fit your priors, so you're explicitly looking for non-natural phenomena (but still assuming their motion is straight-line and does not change altitude).

There is likely both a random and a systematic error to the elevation reading,
Then model it that way!
 
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Wonderer

New Member
In two previous posts, I did mathematical analysis on the motion of the UFO in the FLIR video. I found that it's consistent with the altitude, size, and speed of a commercial airliner, that it could have been filmed close to San Diego airport, that it was a probably turning during the video, and that the turn rate is typical of aircraft. That still leaves the question of what the witnesses in the first encounter (David Fravor, Wingwoman, Jim Slaight, and Fravor's WSO) saw. There are two components to their testimony: the turbulent patch of water (as if something had just submerged), and the tic-tac UFO.

From wingwoman's account:
As “Source” looked down at the ocean from the cockpit, she noticed a small patch of water, approximately 60 feet wide by 80 feet in length that appeared choppy and turbulent amongst a calm sea. The disturbance was unusual in that there was no apparent cause. The area was generally the shape of an oval and appeared to be ‘roiling’. Towards the center of the disturbance, the water appeared lighter color and smooth again as if an unknown object had recently submerged beneath the surface.

The UFO had weak radar returns that were detectable by the Princeton and by the E-2 radar aircraft, but not by the fighter jets:
At no time during the incident did either F-18 have radar contact with the object; however, OK-6 and the female air controller confirmed radar contact.

On the appearance of the UFO:
Approximately two seconds after noticing the unusual water disturbance, “Source” described witnessing a small, unidentified aerial system (UAS) cross over the turbulent area of water. The unidentified object was elongated, approximately 30 to 40 feet in length, white in color, and described resembling a ‘tic-tac candy mint. The object had no distinguishable control surfaces, was uniformly smooth, with no windows. doors, or lights visible. The object was opaque with a solid, definable edge.

On the motions of the UFO:
As OK-2 conducted the maneuver, “Source” noticed the object immediately respond to OK-2’s change of direction. [...] “Source” indicated that the object began to make deliberate changes in its altitude and angle in response to OK-2’s aircraft in a manner that seemed to defy the laws of flight physics. The object instantaneously but in a controlled, intelligent manner ‘tumbled” into nonsensical angles, that made any engagement by the F-18 impossible.

Fravor has a mostly consistent account, though with some discrepancies. @Kaen did a wonderful job correlating different sources, so I've taken the liberty of quoting from his transcription of Fravor's TTSA interview. On the water disturbance:
I look out the right side and I see something in the water, and it looks like … about the size of a 737 … in the water, pointing east. So, you don’t see an airplane but if you’ve ever been out to sea with like an underwater seamount, as the waves come and there’s something right under the surface they’ll break – same thing that happens on shore – they’ll break and you’ll get whitewater. So this thing looks kind of like that shape, looks really like if you put a 737 about 10, 15 feet under the water the waves are going to crash over the top and you’re going to get this whitewater.

On the tic tac:
“So we see that, and then … so he’s pointing east so it would be on the right hand side of the airplane just forward of the wing line is this little white – which looks like a tic-tac which is why we call it ‘the tic-tac’ – and it’s moving around erratically – so it’s doing this [makes irregular horizontal motions with his hand]. It’s not hovering, it’s moving just randomly around, not fast, just kind of left, right, forward, and back. There’s no rotor wash – which you would see from a helicopter – it’s just this odd object.”

On the reaction of the UFO:
“So as we pass through about the twelve o’clock position and we’re descending, it kind of recognizes that we’re there and it starts to mirror us. So now think of it at the six o’clock position and we’re at the twelve o’clock position, we’re coming down and it starts coming up. So it’s going towards nine o’clock, we’re going towards three o’clock. And we do this all the way around until I get all the way back towards about the nine o’clock position. So I’m still coming down nice and easy and I’m watching this thing because it’s just kind of watching us and following and I’m like ‘that’s kind of weird’.
So now it’s probably about maybe 3000 feet below us and about a mile across the circle. It’s about the size of an F18, so about 47 feet long, it has no wings, I don’t see any exhaust plume – like an older airplane would have smoke - there’s none of that.”

On the disappearance of the UFO:
So as I come across, I’m a little above him, he’s at the three o’clock position, and I go ‘the only way I’m going to get this is to do an aggressive out-of-plane maneuver, so I dump the nose and I go from the nine o’clock through the vertical down to go across to the three o’clock.
So as I get down to about – and I’m probably about 60 degrees nose low pulling through the bottom – it starts to accelerate, it has an incredible rate of acceleration and it takes off and it goes south. And it takes off like nothing I’ve ever seen. It literally is - one minute it’s there and the next minute it’s like ‘poof’ and it’s gone.”

What looks like a white tic tac, has weak radar returns, moves around slowly ("left-right-forward-back", as Fravor described it), notices and responds to the presence of fighter jets, and can seem to disappear quickly? How about a bird, like this one?

1608193486388.png
Image credit: https://fineartamerica.com/featured/great-egret-soaring-kerry-fischel.html

A soaring white bird could look like a tic tac from afar. Birds can notice and respond to fighter jets coming near them. Birds generate extremely weak radar returns, explaining why only the powerful radar of the Princeton and E-2 could detect them. Birds can also fold up their wings and dive, making them seem much smaller and less visible. This could explain why the UFO disappeared for both Fravor and Wingwoman simultaneously.

As for the disturbed water, that could be due to a large marine animal, like a dolphin or whale. It might not be a coincidence that the tic tac UFO appeared right beside the disturbed water, because birds and dolphins often fish together, according to BirdNote:
Northern Gannets, fish-eating seabirds, dive headfirst into the ocean at speeds of up to 60 miles an hour, pursuing their prey. Sometimes, they get help. Dolphins herd fish into dense, frantic concentrations near the surface, while gannets take advantage and plunge into the shoals from aloft.

Birds and humpback whales are also often found together, according to the Orleans Conservation Trust:
Humpback Whales will consume up to 1 ton of sand eels every day. The primary way that these whales feed is known as “bubble feeding”: the whales use their blowholes to send these massive bubbles of air up to the surface of the water, forcing any sand eels in that direct area upward.. When a large school of these fish is located near the surface of the water, the whales will then rise up with their mouths agape and take in mouthfuls of them. This method is particularly effective for the whales to consume the food they need to survive, but it also benefits other species as well.

Closer to the shore, gulls such as herring or laughing gulls will take advantage of these large schools of fish conveniently located right at the surface because of the whale’s behavior. Farther out at sea however, other birds will also get in on the feeding frenzy. [..] All these birds, the gulls and the shearwaters, will often be seen whenever groups of whales are feeding, simply taking advantage of the fact that the whales’ feeding technique provides such an abundance of their favorite food.

Perhaps just as Fravor and Wingwoman arrived, a humpback whale started bubble feeding. This is why the ocean appeared to be "roiling". A large white bird hovered overhead, looking for schools of fish. When it saw what it was looked for, it folded its wings and dove, making itself invisible to the pilots.

Of course, this is highly speculative, and I'm no biologist. What do you think? If you're a biologist, is this a plausible explanation for what Fravor, Wingwoman, and Slaight saw?
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
@Wonderer

Well, one of the others that were with Fravor. not sure if it was his WSO or one of the two in the other jet, anyway, one of them said they thought it was a sub , which contradicted Fravor's belief. And given the USS Louisville was also in the area, it's likely they saw that IMO
 

Wonderer

New Member
@Wonderer

Well, one of the others that were with Fravor. not sure if it was his WSO or one of the two in the other jet, anyway, one of them said they thought it was a sub , which contradicted Fravor's belief. And given the USS Louisville was also in the area, it's likely they saw that IMO

I think it's possible they saw a foreign sub. If it was an American sub, I think the Navy would know about it, since they'd know the sub's exact location at the time the pilots saw the disturbed water. Also, the submarine explanation doesn't explain what the tic tac is or why it's so close by; the bird + dolphin/whale explanation does.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
I think it's possible they saw a foreign sub. If it was an American sub, I think the Navy would know about it, since they'd know the sub's exact location at the time the pilots saw the disturbed water. Also, the submarine explanation doesn't explain what the tic tac is or why it's so close by; the bird + dolphin/whale explanation does.

There is a line of thinking that it was a radar spoofing balloon or drone. Both of which can be launched from a sub. But of course speculation.

The curious thing about fravours current account of the incident, is that it doesn't match what was supposedly his pilot report which leaked back in 2007 on ATS. In that he said he lost the object in Haze and that it's top speed was less than Mach 1. Now days he says it zipped off at unbelievable speed on a crystal clear day.

Let's not forget the bit where he claims the training excersizes had seen the objects for weeks before him and yet they didn't do anything. So unknown fleets of craft being picked up on radar 60 miles from major US cities, and the Navy did nothing. Doesn't add up at all. Unless they new what they were of course.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Of course, this is highly speculative, and I'm no biologist. What do you think? If you're a biologist, is this a plausible explanation for what Fravor, Wingwoman, and Slaight saw?

This is extremely unlikely (to put it mildly) given there were multiple observers and initial contact was from very high altitudes.

These people spend their lives in the air. They know what a bird and a whale look like.

I think it's possible they saw a foreign sub. If it was an American sub, I think the Navy would know about it, since they'd know the sub's exact location at the time the pilots saw the disturbed water. Also, the submarine explanation doesn't explain what the tic tac is or why it's so close by; the bird + dolphin/whale explanation does.
If this was a U.S. sub the case would have been closed long ago.

This could be a foreign sub deploying some kind of balloon or UAV.

It would have penetrated the US defences and the patrolled space of a carrier strike group undetected. That would be a major defensive concern for the most powerful armada in the world.

Not impossible but highly unlikely given this is the U.S. Navy...

  1. Why would the UFO be turning? Most airplanes don't turn for the vast majority of their flight. This is especially true for commercial airliners, which maintain a constant heading and speed for pretty much the entire flight. However, there is one place where all aircraft typically turn: near the airport where they take off or land. So, did this encounter take place near an airport?
Aren't we saying the UFO is at a high cruising altitude and flying level? That doesn't match the "near airport" hypothesis.

I find the 50 km scenario the most likely.
This is well within the ATFLIR detection range and the F/A-18C radar detection range.

An F/A-18C is built to intercept and kill fighters at this range. This is exactly what the Navy and a carrier strike group is built for. We need to be aware of what a carrier strike group is and it's capabilities.

It is impossible for an airliner to escape detection from a CSG at this range.

It would be the greatest blunder in the history of the Navy and in the history of military forces. 10s of billions of $ (at least) in equipment and they can't detect and airliner!?
 

Wonderer

New Member
This is extremely unlikely (to put it mildly) given there were multiple observers and initial contact was from very high altitudes.

These people spend their lives in the air. They know what a bird and a whale look like.
I'm not sure about that. I'm confident they know what fighter jets and bombers look like, since that's what their job is. But there are dozens of dolphin/whale species and 10,000 bird species in the world, most of which have behaviors that aren't fully understood even by experts. I've never seen any of the pilots say "I see whales/dolphins submerge all the time with birds hovering overhead, but the UFO doesn't look like that".

As for the altitude, let's say the bird was hovering at 10,000 feet. The pilots were initially at 20,000 feet. If the bird's wingspan is 1.5 meters, the bird would have an apparent size of 1.7 arcminutes (for comparison, the full moon is 30 arcminutes). The human eye's resolution limit is about 1 arcminute, but it was a clear day with calm seas and the bird was a moving white dot against a blue background, so it would have been barely visible. Fravor says he got to within 0.5-1 miles of the bird. At that distance, the bird would be 5 arcminutes--big enough for the basic shape to be visible, but not big enough to discern smaller features like the head, neck, tail, and feather markings.

Aren't we saying the UFO is at a high cruising altitude and flying level? That doesn't match the "near airport" hypothesis.
There's some leeway in the altitude, but yes, the UFO is quite high, within 1 km of cruising altitude. I assumed it was flying level, but that may not be the case.

This is well within the ATFLIR detection range and the F/A-18C radar detection range.

An F/A-18C is built to intercept and kill fighters at this range. This is exactly what the Navy and a carrier strike group is built for. We need to be aware of what a carrier strike group is and it's capabilities.

It is impossible for an airliner to escape detection from a CSG at this range.

It would be the greatest blunder in the history of the Navy and in the history of military forces. 10s of billions of $ (at least) in equipment and they can't detect and airliner!?
The radar did detect it, and at about the 50 km range I said was most likely, even though I mistakenly said it didn't in my original post. According to the TTSA report:

According to the radar display, the initial tracks were approximately 30-40 nm to the south of the aircraft. LT [redacted] was controlling the radar and FLIR and attempted multiple times to transition the radar to Single Target Track (STT) mode on the object. The radar could not take a lock, the b-sweep would raster around the hit, build an initial aspect vector (which never stabilized) and then would drop and continue normal RWS b-sweep. When asked, LT [redacted] stated that there were no jamming cues (strobe, champagne bubbles, "any normal EA indications").
From this Fightersweep article:
The WSO first picked up a contact on the radar around 30nm away while it was operating in the RWS scan mode.
So the UFO did show on on radar; the radar just had difficulty tracking it. 30nm is 55 km. This is in the ballpark of the 50 km distance that I said was most probable based on the FLIR footage alone. If the UFO is turning, that could potentially make it harder to track on radar, but I don't know enough about radar to say this confidently.

It seems like ATFLIR detected the UFO too. It can certainly lock on the UFO visually with no problem. Halfway through the video, you see "99.9 RNG 99" show up on the upper right, which seems to indicate that the laser rangefinder got a return from the UFO but it was too weak to determine the range. I don't know why it couldn't determine the range, but it's possible that the 40 nm range quoted on Raytheon's marketing material is for huge aircraft in ideal conditions, not for the worst case or even average case scenario.
 

Agent K

Senior Member
I don't know why it couldn't determine the range, but it's possible that the 40 nm range quoted on Raytheon's marketing material is for huge aircraft in ideal conditions, not for the worst case or even average case scenario.
Probably the range of the laser designator, for laser-guided bombs.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Mick didn't like my previous post.

I'll just post some raw data points minus my commentary. Put things into perspective by yourselves and make up your own minds.

During the Gulf War (1990s tech)
"On average AWACS detected and identified enemy aircraft while they were still over 70 nm from U.S. fighters."
"On average, U.S. pilots detected enemy aircraft on their own radars at 42 nm and launched missiles at 10 nm."
https://csbaonline.org/uploads/documents/Air-to-Air-Report-.pdf

AWACS was (obviously) in the air that day and directed the intercept.
30 nm is well within the average intercept by a Navy squadron in the 1990s.

Remember all those ranges refer to enemy fighters and NOT large airliners not trying to evade detection.

Typical radar cross section values for a centimeter wave radar are:[9][10]
  • Insect: 0.00001 m²
  • Bird: 0.01 m²
  • Stealth aircraft: <0.1 m²
  • Surface-to-air-missile: ≈0.1 m²
  • Human: 1 m²
  • small combat aircraft: 2–3 m²
  • large combat aircraft: 5–6 m²
  • Cargo aircraft: up to 100 m²
Another data point...
Here are the operational ranges of the AIM-120 AMRAAM medium range A/A missile
Operational
range
• AIM-120A/B: 55–75 km (30–40 nmi)[4][5]
• AIM-120C-5: >105 km (>57 nmi)[6]
[failed verification]
• AIM-120D (C-8): >160 km (>86 nmi)[7]

and for the short range AIM-9 (fravor mentioned his F-18 was carrying dummy AIM-9s at the time https://podscribe.app/feeds/http-jo...rss/episodes/d9e17c921e16426f9a7ed615813e6b65 min 11.40
Operational
range
0.6 to 22 miles (1.0 to 35.4 km)
 
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jackfrostvc

Active Member
Did anyone ever obtain the weather report for the area the Tic Tac event took place on Nov 14th 2004?
And by weather report , I mean a report detailing if there was Haze, Smog , cloud cover etc that day in the area
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Did anyone ever obtain the weather report for the area the Tic Tac event took place on Nov 14th 2004?
And by weather report , I mean a report detailing if there was Haze, Smog , cloud cover etc that day in the area
According to Fravor:
what drew our eyes down there as we see this white water when it's a perfectly clear day with no white caps and you go whoa what's that and then you see the Tic Tac
https://podscribe.app/feeds/http-jo...rss/episodes/d9e17c921e16426f9a7ed615813e6b65

Calm and clear day with no white caps on the water.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
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gtoffo

Active Member
I know he said that, but the Event Summary (log) that leaked in 2007 on ATS said Fravor lost it in Haze.

That's why I want to see the weather report for that area and date

Getting the weather report might shed light on which was accurate

@Mick West Did you manage to get it?
Which report?

All sources concur it was a clear day with unlimited visibility. Maybe by haze they mean "long distance" haze?

See the "official" leaked report here: https://media.lasvegasnow.com/nxsgl...TIVE REPORT_1526682843046_42960218_ver1.0.pdf
Pag. 6 USMC Cmdr.
"He noted the weather that day was blue skies, no clouds and unlimited visibility"
Pag. 9 Lt. (Underwood)
"It was a clear day. There were no clouds and there was a discernible horizon."

Why are you asking?
 

gtoffo

Active Member
The original leak on ATS mentions twice that pilots lost visual contact with the object due to haze
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread265835/pg1

That in turn seems to be summarising an "event log" which was supposedly exfiltrated from the Nimitz in the form of a Microsoft Word document, "Event Summaries 14NOV04.doc"
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread265835/pg9#pid2951082
Seems a pretty shaky source and vague statements. It's basically saying that they lost sight of the object.

All sources concur there was unrestricted visibility and no clouds.

What is the hypothesis here? Do we have a potential explanation in mind tied to this statement?
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
Seems a pretty shaky source and vague statements. It's basically saying that they lost sight of the object.

All sources concur there was unrestricted visibility and no clouds.

What is the hypothesis here? Do we have a potential explanation in mind tied to this statement?

Sources 5 years later said that.

The 2007 leak was from someone who supposedly was a NAVY IT2 service man- I think who had worked on the Nimitz

He told the story of the Tic Tac event on ATS in Feb 2007. But few believed him
Then he claimed to have proof, he claimed he copied the TicTac video, Event log, and a powerpoint off the ships computer when it all happened - and had it all on disk.
No one believed him

So he posted it all , except the powerpoint on ATS in Feb 2007 <- Note the date. This was only 27 months after the TicTac event actually took place

That was the first time the TicTac video had surfaced. A good 10 years before Elizondo got it.
The Powerpoint supposedly had a top down pic of the ocean and had marked on it where the TicTac event took place, ships and jets locations etc

Yet again though, very few on ATS believed him or that the TicTac vidoe was real. They thought it was fabricated
At this point the poster had enough and did not post again

Fast forward to 2017, and Elizondo gets the video again and releases it as a new thing.

Then in 2019 the original poster popped up again on ATS.
Now that people realised what he had posted in 2007 was a real video from the NAVY, they took him more serious.
It was at this point the Admins checked him out and found he seemingly was who he says he was all along
 
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Max Phalange

Active Member
Then in 2019 the original poster popped up again on ATS.
Now that people realised what he had posted in 2007 was a real video from the NAVY, they took him more serious.
It was at this point the Admins checked him out and found he seemingly was who he says he was all along
Do you have a link to one of the 2019 threads? He must have switched to a new username.
 
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