2004 USS Nimitz Tic Tac UFO FLIR footage (FLIR1)

Mick West

Administrator
Staff 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?

I mentioned "lost in the haze" to Robert Powell in a recent discussion. My point was somewhat lost, in that I was trying to say they did not indicate how long it took for the Tic-Tac objected to be lost from view, and "lost in the haze" takes a while. There was also a speed estimate of 600-700 knots.

https://otter.ai/u/g-FGuVasgvUFrw-rCjEFtNtZTzM
When you're up in a plane there's always some haze toward the horizon.

However Robert took this as being lost in "mist", and then wanted to make it about the weather.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Admin Note: If you a going to refer to something in an external discussion, document, or video. Please link to it and include an excerpt or transcript of the relevant part, so people don't have to go looking for it.
 

gtoffo

Member
The official Event Summary or the report describes the object as simply being lost in the haze, that kind of really means that they can visually track it all the way until they disappeared, you know, far off in the distance in the haze, which is radically different from the instantaneous disappearing, that Fravor has later come to describe.
Thanks for clearing this up.

Yeah I think by haze they mean "disappear in the distance/horizon".

In a clear day that's pretty far off. So even if the managed to track it for 10 seconds instead of "instantly"(=0 sec) disappearing that would be an insane acceleration.

A missile like acceleration that would kill anyone on board and require a lot of energy and tech beyond what is possible today (missiles only fly for seconds and then fall and can't hover).

So I understand that the story might have changed from a certain point of view but the underlying information is valid. Even 10 seconds to disappear over the horizon is "instantaneous" acceleration for a pilot. Nothing normally does that.
 
Thanks for clearing this up.

Yeah I think by haze they mean "disappear in the distance/horizon".

In a clear day that's pretty far off. So even if the managed to track it for 10 seconds instead of "instantly"(=0 sec) disappearing that would be an insane acceleration.

A missile like acceleration that would kill anyone on board and require a lot of energy and tech beyond what is possible today (missiles only fly for seconds and then fall and can't hover).

So I understand that the story might have changed from a certain point of view but the underlying information is valid. Even 10 seconds to disappear over the horizon is "instantaneous" acceleration for a pilot. Nothing normally does that.
Unless of course there was Haze in the true sense.

And I think it's a big stretch to say they meant Haze as in "disappear in the distance/horizon""
That doesn't make sense TBH. Especially in an official event summary. You would think they would not use words in a way that was not congruent to there literal meaning.
 

Riccardo

New Member
Hi,

this has probably already been asked above, but I can't find any reference. There is a small detail I'm rather curious about. In the infamous video at around 33 seconds (Source: https://youtu.be/lWLZgnmRDs4?t=33
) one can see that the operator tried to assess the distance to the object, but the radar returned a range equal to 99.9, which to the best of my understanding means "infinity". Is this correct? What is the most accepted explanation of this apparent mismeasurement? Is this an indication of something going on with either the radar or camera, or something more exotic with the object itself?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
but the radar returned a range equal to 99.9, which to the best of my understanding means "infinity". Is this correct? What is the most accepted explanation of this apparent mismeasurement?

I asked an avionics technician about it.

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/av...flir-targeting-pods-tracking-and-glare.11392/
What does the 99.9 RNG Display mean?
Metabunk 2020-09-18 11-04-24.jpg
M: Do you know what the 99.9 thing means? The 99.9 RNG.
K: That means he's not tracking..., that means he's not locked on to it with radar.
M: Okay
K: Is it that way the whole video?
M: No, it starts out blank, there's nothing there and at about 33 seconds that pops up and stays there for the rest of the video.
K: Let's see... [watching video]
M: Some people say that's an indication of the radar being jammed.
K: It's definitely not. You get all kind, you know you're... no, it's not the radar being jammed.
M: Good to know.
K: Okay, so he's just doing an optical track on this as well. So he initiated that range in TV, just doing the optical track, it looks like here, so you are not going to get a range in TV, and he's not going to designate it a target obviously. Because I'm sure he knows, it's just a plane, airliner.
M: He says he doesn't know that. You should listen to his interview, it's kind of interesting, he just did it.
K: Yeah I'm not interested, after hearing Fravor, and that other guy.
M: Jeremy Corbell
K: Yeah, Jeremy Corbell
M: Yeah this was Jeremy Corbell interviewing Chad Underwood, the guy who says he took this video.
K: Yeah, he knew exactly what that was. That's why he didn't designate it as a target. It's not a big deal to designate something as a target, you haven't engaged it, it's just giving you a radar range, but, technology 2004 they probably wouldn't know. Nowadays you know you are designated as a target because you are getting tracked with radar. You're getting ranged, you're getting blasted. So those 99.9s just mean null, null reading.
M: Now is it showing up because he's requested it, like he's pressed the button to get the range?
K: So, yeah, in TV mode he did that, just on an optical track.
M: So there was nothing there before, so he presses the range button, and this crops up just ot show him that he can't get a range?
K: Right, well, I mean, it's "invalid".
M: or it's saying there is no range
K: yeah, there is no range, it's not like a bad range. It's not "you could not get a range", it's "there is no range". He just pulled up the display for range.
 
So I have searched the forum and could not find anyone who posted the weather conditions for Nov 14th 2004 in the rough location where the Tic Tac event occurred. And to be clear, I don't mean the temperature for the day, I mean the atmospheric conditions on whether there was any reports of Haze, Smog etc.

Be nice if this could be obtained somehow, I have looked a bit myself online , but no luck so far.

It would be pivotal in terms of determining whether the Haze mentioned in the Tic Tac Exec Summary is accurate or not
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
So I have searched the forum and could not find anyone who posted the weather conditions for Nov 14th 2004 in the rough location where the Tic Tac event occurred. And to be clear, I don't mean the temperature for the day, I mean the atmospheric conditions on whether there was any reports of Haze, Smog etc.

Be nice if this could be obtained somehow, I have looked a bit myself online , but no luck so far.

It would be pivotal in terms of whether the Haze mentioned in the Tic Tac Exec Summary is accurate or not
I tried ogimet for aviation weather reports (METARs), but they only go back to 2005. San Diego airport itself might have an archive; the report would include information about visibility.

https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/has/HAS.DsSelect is an overview of US government weather databases, maybe that can help you?
 

Riccardo

New Member
Cool, thanks! From other sources, I gather that this may mean that the object was further than 40 nautical miles (~75 km) from the jet. Is this compatible with the size of the blurry object in the frame? I mean, a F-18 hornet has a wingspan of about 15 meters. In normal condition, is the radar powerful enough to resolve such a small thing at that distance? If the answer is positive, then the fact that it didn't in the Nimitz encounter points either to a malfunction or to something else (people say jamming?). I wonder if one could get a ballpark estimate of the size of the object knowing the aperture of the train of radar waves (assuming they travel in a cone).
 

jarlrmai

Active Member
Cool, thanks! From other sources, I gather that this may mean that the object was further than 40 nautical miles (~75 km) from the jet. Is this compatible with the size of the blurry object in the frame? I mean, a F-18 hornet has a wingspan of about 15 meters. In normal condition, is the radar powerful enough to resolve such a small thing at that distance? If the answer is positive, then the fact that it didn't in the Nimitz encounter points either to a malfunction or to something else (people say jamming?). I wonder if one could get a ballpark estimate of the size of the object knowing the aperture of the train of radar waves (assuming they travel in a cone).

No it just means there was no range and he turned on the range display, ie the RADAR might not have been asked to lock this target even though it was capable of doing so.

"there is no range, it's not like a bad range. It's not "you could not get a range", it's "there is no range". He just pulled up the display for range"
 

Riccardo

New Member
Oh, ok, that's clear now, I got it. Yeah that's the most likely explanation. Just for the sake of completeness: has Chad Underwood ever said anything about his intentions regarding the radar? His memory might have very well faded by now.
 
@Mick West

As per the above few posts, can I ask why you think Underwood saw an F-18 in that Tic Tac footage?

Given the footage showed a Tic Tac looking craft in TV mode and not IR mode, why would you say that it was an F-18?

The Chilean jet IR signature looked similar to the Tic Tac , but it was an IR image. The Tic Tac was a TV mode image.
Are you making a mental comparison between the two, and not accounting that one is IR and the other is in TV mode?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
As per the above few posts, can I ask why you think Underwood saw an F-18 in that Tic Tac footage?
I think it's a good match for for the approximate size, given that the image appears blurry. It also matches with the IR glare at the start, which then seems to shift to the right, consistent with the engine placements
 

gtoffo

Member
I think it's a good match for for the approximate size, given that the image appears blurry. It also matches with the IR glare at the start, which then seems to shift to the right, consistent with the engine placements
A couple of questions:
  • Why would the TV image look blurry?
  • When the WSO tried locking the radar on the target why didn't the F-18 get a radar warning and signal a buddy spike?
  • Why didn't the radar lock on properly on an F-18?
  • Where would the other F-18 come from? Another ship? Why wasn't Underwood aware/in contact with it?
Thanks
 

food-creature

New Member
Why would the TV image look blurry?
It's still like a digital zoom of a distant (unknown distance) object, right? I don't see why it couldn't be blurry
When the WSO tried locking the radar on the target why didn't the F-18 get a radar warning and signal a buddy spike?
Do we know for sure they tried a radar lock-on? It's kind of hard to get a grasp on what certain parts of the FLIR display mean, but the recent video was from a simulation hobbyist and could be mistaken. From the discussion with the supposed technician:
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/av...flir-targeting-pods-tracking-and-glare.11392/
K: So what it's tracking is not like tracking with radar, or infrared, it's not tracking from the pod, it's the pod talking to the CDU, talking to the actual display. It's tracking the pixels on the screen, if that makes sense.
...
M: There are various points where the bars widen. Does that indicate that it has lost lock, or is it just, what is it?
K: Well, I think the terminology is just a little weird there, because it never had "lock." It's just a visual track.
Which would mean the sensor pod is also capable of just moving to keep the dot that appears on the screen in frame.

I mean, it still seems hard to believe that the object could be another F-18, it sounds like they have a very good idea + display of where friendly pilots are at all times. We'd like to think our military pilots wouldn't make that kind of mistake. But could it be a very distant airliner? Either way, I'm not sure we can rule things out without a better idea of whether there was actually a radar lock.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Why would the TV image look blurry?
Two reasons. Firstly it's a poor quality copy. You see the text on screen is blurry. Secondly, it might be out of focus. There's what looks like FOCS 8 on the left.
2021-05-05_10-21-33.jpg

When the WSO tried locking the radar on the target why didn't the F-18 get a radar warning and signal a buddy spike?
Because the WSO did not try to lock on on F-18.

Why didn't the radar lock on properly on an F-18?
Because the radar wasn't looking at an F-18, the ATFLIR was.

Where would the other F-18 come from? Another ship? Why wasn't Underwood aware/in contact with it?
Part of the exercise, maybe even his wingman.
 

gtoffo

Member
Two reasons. Firstly it's a poor quality copy. You see the text on screen is blurry. Secondly, it might be out of focus. There's what looks like FOCS 8 on the left.
Certainly low quality. And I don't know how the FOCS setting works. It isn't simulated usually and I can't find any info looking around. From most videos I've seen it seems to always indicate 8. It's probably a static setting (for example it could mean "infinity").

Given the usual distances this is used at I would assume the focus on this is basically set to infinity at all times. All other ATFLIR videos I have seen show detail in TV mode even at long range. Never such a big blob. Can we find any other example of such blobs in TV mode? (IR glare is certainly possible at extreme range).

Because the WSO did not try to lock on on F-18.
He did. As you can tell from the RNG indicator popping on the screen. He tried and it failed returning 99.9.

Because the radar wasn't looking at an F-18, the ATFLIR was.
The RNG indicator appearing shows that the radar was also trying to get a lock at what ATFLIR was pointing but failed. Also this is right in front of the aircraft basically. The radar is pointing straight at it.

Part of the exercise, maybe even his wingman.
This is straight in front of Underwood. He can see exactly where ATFLIR is pointing. He is the WSO. His only responsibility is to use those systems. He isn't even piloting the plane to ensure he has full focus on those instruments. He would need to be totally incompetent to be recording his wingman. And why did the radar fail to lock an F-18 right in front of him?
 

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