The following post is a series of excerpts from a report prepared by Rubén Lianza, Commodore (ret), Argentine Air Force, Head of the Argentine Air Force Committee for Aerospace Phenomena Research.
On the night of April 25, 2013 at about 09:22 PM (local time), a Bombardier DHC 8 airplane operated by the U.S. Customs & Border Protection equipped with an Infrared camera, captured and followed a very peculiar flying object which yielded a fluctuating infrared signature over Rafael Hernández airport, Aguadilla (Puerto Rico). The object at times seemed to disappear (which was interpreted by some ufologists as “splashing into the ocean”) and also split into two pieces (1).
The Aguadilla UFO video has been uploaded to many websites. Here is one
[Mod note: link in the PDF report is broken, replacing with a similar link]
While attending a course on IPACO photo/video analysis software under Dr. Eng. François Louange, I was shown by my instructor a copy of the Infrared video of the Aguadilla UFO. Even though it initially seemed rather difficult to interpret (since I had never seen it before), after viewing it a few times and gathering enough evidence, I could come up with the explanation of what (I would later realize) for many UFO researchers was a true example of “unidentified aerial phenomena.”
Making theories to fit the facts
One thing that really helped me a lot to quickly interpret this alleged UFO as a wind-driven object was my former military pilot experience, having shot several airborne videos during hundreds of hours of test flights. But to avoid imposing here any “argument from authority” and to make this work completely scientific, I still had to demonstrate that the conditions for this object to be wind-driven must be met.
So… no matter how familiar a wind-driven object would look to me, I started to work assuming this is a theory (not an obvious fact) so I would not contaminate my analysis with preconceived assumptions, thus following Arthur Conan Doyle's famous character (Sherlock Holmes) who quoted: “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data. Insensibly one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead theories to suit facts”.
Question 2: Is it one object… or two? The timeframe of the video that shows the object splitting into two was crucial to determine its true nature. Far from being the result of a single image “duplicated” by atmospheric diffraction, as Bob Bixler suggested: “Some or all of the 9 factors above could lead to image shimmering and signal variability, mirages (double mirages) and signal loss” (3) or even the most bizarre explanation about an extraordinary flying object duplicating itself, the two objects do not show reciprocating (mirror) images, as some kinds of mirages usually do. They are identical in shape and size and also bear exactly the same Infrared signature. The upper “lobes” show hotter (darker) spots as much as at the bottom areas (where lantern´s fires are usually located).
Under close inspection, it can be easily seen that each one of them is unmistakably manufactured in the shape of a heart.
Their truncated bottoms owe their shape to the circular openings for the air intake right below the candles.
Question 3: In case they were two lanterns, is it normal that sometimes they fly in pairs? The answer is YES. Applying Ockham´s razor principle, by approaching this UFO case starting from simpler to more complicated theories, and considering the humans´ social behavior before thinking about any non-human flying object theory, I believe this case might have been easily solved a long time ago, just if we bore in mind that heart-shaped hot air balloons are, in fact, released tied in pairs during some earthlings´ wedding parties.
Indeed… there exist companies which sell pairs of lanterns in the shape of hearts paraphrasing the song “Love is in the air” (George Young and Harry Vanda, 1978) and offering the balloons tied up holding a banner with the names of the just married.
Next, I looked for the weather report for that day at Puerto Rico´s Rafael Hernández airport (www.wunderground.com). According to the historical weather records, that night the wind was blowing from the East North-East quadrant.
Question 4: Where did they come from? Many resorts in Puerto Rico offer their facilities for wedding parties. Among the most known is the Mansion Hacienda Villa Bonita, less than 10 km South East of the airport (www.mansionvillabonita.com/bodas):
There are also many Beach Resorts where wedding parties take place. One of them located on the beach near Villa Montana shows in the Internet pictures of people releasing (you guessed) wedding lanterns (
The Villa Montana Beach is located right to the East North-East of the Aguadilla airport, exactly the direction the wind was blowing from the night of April 25, 2013! In the map below we can see the area where the alleged UFO was captured in video and the relative position of Villa Montana Beach Resort.
Even though the complete IPACO report can be read on Annex A, we can here anticipate the conclusion that for a UFO size of about 3 feet (1 m.) of transverse height and width, the camera-UFO distance was calculated in 3.9 NM (7,223 m.).
In the graphics below, I have superimposed frame 01:24:44 most relevant data, on a Google Earth (satellite) 3D view. This may help readers have a complete spatial perception of the distances, angles and especially about the fact that the UFO was, indeed, flying over land, although the frame showed only water in the background. All data were converted into the metric system for accuracy. Dimensions of the FOV have been exaggerated for readability.
Summarizing all the reports written on this strange UFO case, in addition to my recent IR image interpretation plus having identified a wedding lantern release scenario in perfect coincidence with the prevailing winds the night of April 25, 2013, I can conclude with a decent margin of certainty that a simple explanation does exist for the flying objects captured by the Wescam Infrared camera over the Rafael Hernández airport.
The alleged UFO was a simple pair of wind-driven hot air lanterns in the shape of hearts, tied together, very likely released during a wedding party, from a beach near Villa Montana Resort (or any place upwind from the Airport).
Link to Full Report:
Video: https://www.metabunk.org/f/Aquadilla High Quality Original.mp4
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