[follows from previous post]

What I did was to take Blender and make a 'model' of the viewing geometry of the (putative) F-18 – Atlas encounter. The model has a 1000:1 scale, that is to say 1 km = 1 m (in Blender measurement units).

An F-18 (about 20m long, with about 15m wingspan) would be minuscule at this scale, so it's enlarged by a factor of 50 (this does not change anything for the overall geometry, but makes the spatial oreintation of the F-18 more readily observable and easy to work with), for an overall length of the F-18 of 1m in Blender units. Then I used a long, thin cylinder (250m long in Blender units = 250km) for the ATFLIR line of sight, which I set to an elevation of -2° (it's so small it turns out it's irrelevant). I then made a copy of the F-18, so I had two models to represent the same aircraft at Time=0s and Time=34s. Then I slanted the line of sights, 52°L for the first F-18 and 6°R for the second, and finally I raised the central point of the two airplanes (where the Blender gizmo lies in the drawing below) at an altitude of 25kft =~ 8300m = 0.83m in Blender units. This was the result (orthographic projection):

I then rolled left the two airplanes, the first one by 21.8° (T=0s) and 27.8° for the second (T=34s). At this moment all the parameters which could be deduced from the video (see previous post) have been set.

I then conjectured a semicircular left turn (consistent in direction with the banking angle) for the F-18, with a total turn of 40 degrees (slightly more than a leisurely 1°/s). This turn offsetted the second copy of the F-18 by 5 km, in respect to the first one, along both axis of the horizontal plane. For reference, at Mach 0.58, 34 seconds are about 6.8km of linear distance travelled. I did not strive for precision with the offsets because the movement of the F-18 is anyway small at the scales considered (tens of km for the rocket altitude and hundreds for the distance), the angles influence the results much more.

Then I tried to fit the line of sights of the ATFLIR to two possible points of an hypothetical rocket trajectory. There are many unknown variables involved:

- The altitude of the rocket at the start and end point (and the distance between the two points)
- The F-18 pitch angles (at start and end point)
- The relative spatial positions of the F-18 and the rocket trajectory

I arbitrarily chose 60km and 80km as the altitudes for the rocket, that is to say, about midway of the first stage burn. I could have chosen different values, lower or higher, but I had to start somewhere.

I set a pitch angle of 50 degrees for the F-18 at time zero, which is steep enough so that a point at 60km altitude may fall on the 250km-long the line-of-sight cylinders, then I moved the sphere representing the rocket at time=0, in the XY plane, until it was on the line of sight. Then I manually changed the pitch angle of the other F-18 at time 34s, so that the two lines of sight were approximatively parallel one to each other as seen from the Blender 'Y' direction (from the right side of the two F-18, it's difficult to explain with words, but the reason why I did it will be clear soon). This resulted in a pitch angle of ~21.5° for the F-18 at time=34s. I then moved the second sphere (at 80km heigth) in the XY plane to bring it into the line of sight of the second F-18.

This is the result (the rockets are spheres):

The F-18 is about 200km from the rocket (the lines-of-sight cylinders are 250km long). At this scale the F-18 is shrinked to points, this is the enlargement (the F-18 at Tvideo = 0 is the one nearest the origin):

And this is another view from another angle:

The distance travelled by the rocket in 34s, measured with my model, is 47km, or about 1.38 km/s. It's a bit slow for a rocket (the Atlas was travelling at 2km/s at 74.5km of altitude, and accelerating) but in the right ballpark. Consider that I did not fine tune any parameter, it's just the first 'reasonable' combination I came up with.

THE CLOUD COVER
In the Gimbal video the 'object' keeps a rather constant angular separation from the cloud tops, which can be well reproduced by the model. The 'trick' is having set the pitch angles so the lines of sight run almost parallel in one direction:

This allows for a geometry where the F-18 is coasting, while it turns left, a higher cloud on his left, like roughly shown here (the stripes representing the clouds are set at 10km height, 1700m above the F-18, remember the F-18 should be just a point at this scale, in the model it's 50 times bigger than it should be):

And the clouds and the line of sights have a very similar angular separation, both at T=0s and T=34s:

Finding that the pitch of the F-18 at time=34s, set in order to allow a nearby cloud to be inserted to achieve the same effect seen in the video, retrives a reasonable distance between the two snapshot of the Atlas at the start and end of the video without fine tuning, as seen previously, ~200km away,

*is a strong indication that the model works*, and that the Gimbal object was probably the MUOS-3 Atlas launch.

*I would like to notice that knowing what the cloud cover was at around UTC 01:00 Jan 21, 2015, East of Florida, could be a great source of new data* (I tried to find them, but I drowned in a list of obscure meteo satellite names). My model predicts a cloud higher than 25kft on the left of the F-18, around which it coasts (with a few km radius), while under the F-18 the cloud deck must be lower than 25kft (it could even be clear sky). This could be checked knowing the meteo data. In any case getting hold of the cloud cover data could help in determining the time Gimbal was filmed, the position of the F-18 and the direction the 'object' was seen from, given the particular configuration of clouds, airplane movements and line of sight of the ATFLIR which are seen in the video, which is independent from what the filmed object actually was..

I must also notice that I considered only the start and end points of the video, I'm sure lots could be gleaned by examining how roll angle and ATFLIR targeting direction (co)vary and this could very well give a mortal blow to my model, who knows. I can safely say it's too much work for me.

As an additional caveat, I have no idea if the kind of manouvres and angles I suggested (which are just one point in a wide parameter space, so they're by no means inscribed in stone) are inside the possible flight envelope of an F-18 (thanks

@Mendel for reminding me to add this).

Anyway, I have imported a map of Florida in Blender (from Google Maps), on which I have drawn the trajectory of Atlas (about due East from Cape Canaveral, slightly South), I have scaled it up and then roughly aligned the Atlas trajectory to the two spheres representing it in Blender. Looking from the Z-axis, this is the geometry the model reconstructs for the encounter:

The F-18 is just off the coast, slightly south of West Palm Beach, but of course changing the parameters (ie., the pitch angles, or the points where the video starts and stops, 34s apart, as marked on the rocket trajectory) would change the F-18 position, possibly significantly, I did not carry out any sensitivity analysis (note: the orange point north-east of Palm Beach is just the central point of the Florida map overlay).

I would also like to notice:

- The Atlas hypothesis easily predicts with a precision of a few minutes the exact time the Gimbal video was taken. Should we ever come to know this the Atlas hypothesis could be decisively refuted, or greatly corroborated.
- The Atlas hypothesis can predict (albeit through a lot of mathematical difficulties) an envelope of possible positions, pitch angles and headings for the F-18, so coming to know anyone of this informations could refute/corroborate the hypothesis as above.
- The Atlas hypothesis makes another (not so reliable) prediction: the GoFast video has been reported as from Jan 21 2015 too and, probably (but we don't really know, I think), later than about 01:40. Thus Gimbal and GoFast might be a mini-UFO flap: Atlas was mistook for an UAP, and in the general UAP frenzy which followed after the pilot landed, something else was then mistook for a GoFasting UAP.

I also wish to remind the Atlas hypothesis was first proposed by

@Leonardo Cuellar in post #1

PS: I assumed the Earth is flat. With the distances and altitudes involved the horizon line and Earth's curvature are irrelevant for the viewing conditions, the Atlas has a great view of the F-18 from a height of ~70km, so does the F-18 from below. Numerical values of angles and distances would instead change a little, but not much.

PPS: if someone can help me secure a grant of some million $ from the Navy, I could write a nice report for them. No bad for some days of work I guess. Thank you.

PPPS: I'll post the Blender models tomorrow when I wake up, good night everybody.

PPPPS: I forgot to make my compliments to the F-18 pilot for his flying skills. My head was spinning even sitting at my desk chair, I barely dare to think what the real thing really is, and what it takes to be able to pilot it.