# F-16 Pilot Chris Lehto's Interpretation of the GoFast footage [Focus, Parallax, Inaccurate Range]

If 10 waves go by in a second it matters if they are 1 foot waves or 10 foot waves.

The size of the waves is literally irrelevant. You just need some feature to track, it could be part of a small wave or big wave. Speed is not being determined by how many waves pass per second but how fast that particular feature travels relative to the FOV.

Edit: Perhaps you could argue the size of the wave determines in part how fast they travel or something. But I think the motions of the waves here are rather random and slow compared to the panning speed. And still irrelevant to my main point that other solutions should be tried before the FOV change.

Last edited:
The size of the waves is literally irrelevant. You just need some feature to track, it could be part of a small wave or big wave. Speed is not being determined by how many waves pass per second but how fast that particular feature travels relative to the FOV.

Edit: Perhaps you could argue the size of the wave determines in part how fast they travel or something. But I think the motions of the waves here are rather random and slow compared to the panning speed. And still irrelevant to my main point that other solutions should be tried before the FOV change.

I put this in the other thread but it's relevant here: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/go...-the-jet-or-the-camera-only.11812/post-251655

The speed of the waves is insignificant. At the surface, a 0.7° field of view at that angle is on the order of 500 feet across, and it takes on the order of one second for features (Derick is correct, large or small features, it doesn't matter) to cross the frame. That's 500 feet per second, and pretty close to what my sim sightline measured, 325 knots. But my surface motion was off by 40-50%. Waves don't move anywhere close to 160 knots.

The real major uncertainties here are most importantly wind speed at 25,000 feet and how that affects actual ground speed, and the exact turn rate of the plane. Possibly also the actual field of view as it's displayed on the screen, which is what I adjusted for in the end because frankly it was quick and I'd already worked on the project for several days. As with the slight gaussian blur and brightness adjustment I did at the end, that was mostly for fun to see how closely I could reproduce the original, and not a scientific process (*cough*...Leroy Hulsey...*cough*). Whether the object was two feet or three feet or four feet doesn't matter much; the point is that is was pretty small.

I am inclined to believe the range data is accurate, and comes from the radar. However, I admit my reasoning for this comes more from my opinion of the source of the video than the video itself.

Per the NYtimes article, the pilots starting noticing objects after they got a radar upgrade, moving from the AN/APG-73 to the AN/APG-79, which is an AESA, or Active Electronically Scanned Array. Apparently AESAs have a limitation in that they cannot scan more than 60 degrees in any direction off of center. This was hard to verify, as the FOV of antenna arrays is not a common internet topic of conversation (and antennas are not my thing), but I did find a Lockheed marketing bouchure quoting the max FOV for a different type of AESA on the F-16 as +/- 60 degrees, and a radar company saying the same thing.
https://www.lockheedmartin.com/cont.../aero/documents/F-16/F-16V-Geece-Exec-Sum.pdf
Currently, the maximum FOV for a standard flat phased AESA antenna is between 90 and 120 degrees.
Suspiciously, the Go Fast videos ends with the tracked target 58 degrees to the left of the airplane nose, or just a second or two before in passes out of the FOV of the radar, where I assume the range data would be lost.

Does this mean anything? Not really. It just reinforces my suspicion that the released videos are purposefully presented in a manner that strips most of the context out of them, so as to leave people depending on person who released them for interpretation.

I could be wrong on the FOV, if there is a handy Super Hornet pilot who could confirm/deny that would be cool. Also, aircraft carriers sail with a marine squadron, who use the original F-18, which I do not think have the radar upgrade. Theoretically this video could come from one of them.

I am inclined to believe the range data is accurate, and comes from the radar. However, I admit my reasoning for this comes more from my opinion of the source of the video than the video itself.

If Chris Lehto is the only person saying the range data is inaccurate, I think it's pretty safe to ignore him at this point.

After his last video on the "pyramid" UFO I don't believe he is arguing in good faith at all. This is of course my personal opinion, but I believe he is motivated purely by getting his Youtube channel monetised, as he mentioned trying to get his subscriber count up to satisfy Youtube's monetisation requirements at the end of his first video about UFOs. Youtube also has an hours watched requirement too, which would explain why his "pyramid" UFO video was 40 minutes long.

After his last video on the "pyramid" UFO I don't believe he is arguing in good faith at all.

Chris commented politely on my GOFAST Blender analysis. He agreed with it mostly, but he rejected my estimate of the object's size. "Absolutely no way a targeting pod can track any moving object two feet across out side of maybe a few hundred feet away," he wrote. So I asked him to confirm that "NAR" with zoom level 1.0 is in fact a 0.7° field of view, and if so, shouldn't a 2' object at 12,000 feet altitude (or a 4+' object at zero altitude) occupy the same part of the visual field that the model predicts? I also asked if it was a simple optical tracking, given that my circa-2008 After Effects will easily auto-track a highly contrasty dot like that.

That was three days ago. He hasn't responded. I'm okay with being shown why I'm wrong, but I'm not a fan of argument from incredulity.

That was three days ago. He hasn't responded.
Nor will he, given how I'm pretty sure he has claimed to be keen to talk to Mick and yet hasn't responded to any of his comments anywhere that I have seen.
After his last video on the "pyramid" UFO I don't believe he is arguing in good faith at all.
Yep, and he even tweeted this about it.

External Quote:
Didn’t think to include “bokeh” in my analysis because we’ve learned a lot the last 70 years crashing planes with night vision devices & “bokeh” wasn’t one of them! Didn’t feel the need to make something up.
Imagine talking for that long about that video and not even mentioning this...

Or the fact that the stars match up perfectly, but if you cover that then even a few of the hardcore believers watching might realise it's nothing.

Also some more comments from him

"No, I've never heard of bokeh. Pretty sure if it was a real thing I would have heard about it lol"
"It looks in pretty damn good focus to me. You can see the stars and the stantion"

Last edited:
How could an adult with access to the internet assert they've never even heard of bokeh. Lehto's opinion on all of this stuff is completely irrelevant IMO. He's shown himself to be largely ignorant of the concepts discussed in the debunking videos and his work history has zero relevance to analyzing footage.

…his work history has zero relevance to analyzing footage.
This is a genuine question as I try to better understand the rhetorical strategies that are acceptable here at metabunk: If an argument from authority is a fallacy, shouldn’t the inverse, an argument from a perceived lack of authority, also be a fallacy?

If a pilot shouldn’t dismiss a debunker’s theory simply because the debunker has never flown an F-18, shouldn’t a debunker refrain from dismissing a pilot’s theory because the pilot doesn’t have a documented background in optics and photography?

Under what circumstances is it acceptable here to consider someone’s expertise?

This is a genuine question as I try to better understand the rhetorical strategies that are acceptable here at metabunk: If an argument from authority is a fallacy, shouldn’t the inverse, an argument from a perceived lack of authority, also be a fallacy?

If a pilot shouldn’t dismiss a debunker’s theory simply because the debunker has never flown an F-18, shouldn’t a debunker refrain from dismissing a pilot’s theory because the pilot doesn’t have a documented background in optics and photography?

Under what circumstances is it acceptable here to consider someone’s expertise?
The difference is backing it up with evidence and demonstrations/experiments and other sources, also being open for discussion.

This is a genuine question as I try to better understand the rhetorical strategies that are acceptable here at metabunk: If an argument from authority is a fallacy, shouldn’t the inverse, an argument from a perceived lack of authority, also be a fallacy?

If a pilot shouldn’t dismiss a debunker’s theory simply because the debunker has never flown an F-18, shouldn’t a debunker refrain from dismissing a pilot’s theory because the pilot doesn’t have a documented background in optics and photography?

Under what circumstances is it acceptable here to consider someone’s expertise?
I wouldn't say that he's wrong because he's a fighter pilot not a photographer -- that would be the logical fallacy to which you refer -- I'd say he's wrong because he says things like "two distances can't be in focus at the same time" and "I haven't heard of bokeh therefore it's not real". At some point, his opinion isn't worth listening to when he destroys his credibility with statements like these. There's no intrinsic reason why a fighter pilot couldn't be knowledgeable about photographic concepts; it just so happens that *this* fighter pilot is not knowledgeable about photographic concepts.

The difference is backing it up with evidence and demonstrations/experiments and other sources, also being open for discussion.
Okay, thanks. I’m still not sure why fighter pilots’ employment history is selectively pertinent but I’m admittedly coming from a position of ignorance. What about ad hominem arguments based on motive (fame, money, predisposed to fantasy, etc.). Under what circumstances are these acceptable here? I see these arguments commonly posted in regards to witnesses who come forward.

I wouldn't say that he's wrong because he's a fighter pilot not a photographer -- that would be the logical fallacy to which you refer -- I'd say he's wrong because he says things like "two distances can't be in focus at the same time" and "I haven't heard of bokeh therefore it's not real". At some point, his opinion isn't worth listening to when he destroys his credibility with statements like these. There's no intrinsic reason why a fighter pilot couldn't be knowledgeable about photographic concepts; it just so happens that *this* fighter pilot is not knowledgeable about photographic concepts.
I agree. His statements better illustrate his understanding of optics/photography than his work history. So is it equally fallacious to cite someone’s work history in this instance (lack of professional image analysis experience), as it is to cite work history when it comes to experience in identifying and pursuing aircraft?

I’m still not sure why fighter pilots’ employment history is selectively pertinent
To be fair Alphadunk also mentioned that Chris Lehto is "largely ignorant of the concepts discussed". It's not just because of employment history, which I agree on its own should be irrelevant.
What about ad hominem arguments based on motive (fame, money, predisposed to fantasy, etc.). Under what circumstances are these acceptable here?
I'm new here, but these are only ad hominin arguments if you are using them to avoid responding to arguments being made. (which you should call out if you see). In Chris Lehto's case most of his arguments have been criticised already.

In cases of these types of attacks being used to dismiss witnesses it's a bit trickier of an issue because there are no arguments to counter in the first place so it's not really ad hom. Things like fame/money etc actually become (somewhat) valid reasons for not trusting someone, but I certainly think dismissing someone's experience just because they meet one of these criteria can be lazy, It should be combined with other critiques like inconsistencies in their story.

Are there any witnesses you feel are being dismissed unfairly?

To be completely fair, I don't recall ever seeing the word until looking at UFO figure-outing in the past year. I knew the phenomenon (can't watch Hallmark movies without seeing a LOT of Bokeh) but if you'd said the word I would not have known it.

But I would not claim that, since I had never heard of it, it must not be real or pertinent to the topic under discussion.

This is a genuine question as I try to better understand the rhetorical strategies that are acceptable here at metabunk: If an argument from authority is a fallacy, shouldn’t the inverse, an argument from a perceived lack of authority, also be a fallacy?

If a pilot shouldn’t dismiss a debunker’s theory simply because the debunker has never flown an F-18, shouldn’t a debunker refrain from dismissing a pilot’s theory because the pilot doesn’t have a documented background in optics and photography?

Under what circumstances is it acceptable here to consider someone’s expertise?
We often have to take the word of pilots and other experts in the operation of these systems because of a lack of documentation, or because the existing documentation is inadequate (documentation, anyway, is just taking a different expert's word for it). It's unfortunate but can't really be helped given the secrecy surrounding said systems. Lehto has asked us to take his word for it regarding e.g. how far the gofast object is, or whether the range information could come from radar, etc, but then made several errors that make taking his word for it somewhat unreliable, like when he said the 'L' for 'left' stands for 'laser', and now that he asserts it couldn't be bokeh (more properly, the fact that the so-called 'circle of confusion' is shaped like the aperture), because it doesn't exist. I think it's fair to ask at which point you stop giving an expert a privileged rhetorical status altogether.

Are there any witnesses you feel are being dismissed unfairly?
In some posts, yes. In many others I think witnesses are being fairly doubted based on available data and it’s analysis.

In this case, Lehto’s interpretation has been overwhelmingly disputed by careful analysis. I just thought that citing his lack of work history in optics/photography potentially illustrated a double standard.

But this detour has gone too far already and that’s my fault. If the subject deserves anymore attention it should be in another thread.

The speed of the waves is insignificant. At the surface, a 0.7° field of view at that angle is on the order of 500 feet across, and it takes on the order of one second for features (Derick is correct, large or small features, it doesn't matter) to cross the frame. That's 500 feet per second, and pretty close to what my sim sightline measured, 325 knots. But my surface motion was off by 40-50%. Waves don't move anywhere close to 160 knots.

The real major uncertainties here are most importantly wind speed at 25,000 feet and how that affects actual ground speed, and the exact turn rate of the plane. Possibly also the actual field of view as it's displayed on the screen, which is what I adjusted for in the end because frankly it was quick and I'd already worked on the project for several days. As with the slight gaussian blur and brightness adjustment I did at the end, that was mostly for fun to see how closely I could reproduce the original, and not a scientific process (*cough*...Leroy Hulsey...*cough*). Whether the object was two feet or three feet or four feet doesn't matter much; the point is that is was pretty small.
Hi.
great job!
So the problem would be solved if we approached the pivot point to the surface or the surface to the pivot point. Correct?

In some posts, yes. In many others I think witnesses are being fairly doubted based on available data and it’s analysis.

In this case, Lehto’s interpretation has been overwhelmingly disputed by careful analysis. I just thought that citing his lack of work history in optics/photography potentially illustrated a double standard.

But this detour has gone too far already and that’s my fault. If the subject deserves anymore attention it should be in another thread.

The issue is he is the one trying to use this work history to engender a sense of authority regarding the matters he talks about.

The issue is he is the one trying to use this work history to engender a sense of authority regarding the matters he talks about.

Yeah.. And meanwhile over on reddit, they are feeding this sense of authority using strong formulated responses in threads like for example this:

You and I don’t fly like these guys and girls do. They are used to what a plane near the ground looks like. The guy was from Top Gun. His training cost close to \$4 million. The guy has essentially a doctorate level and beyond understanding of all this. Included in that is skill as well.

He’s used to things like this. All 4 of them were. We can’t comprehend it as easily because we haven’t had the training they had.

Plus it was on other sensors. The Navy might be stupid, but they are nowhere even in the vicinity of this stupid, and if they were, they would be even more stupid for not covering it up as opposed to showing the whole word that we are idiots.

Making them look like infallible uber-gods or something. I don't doubt that they are very good, but still human.

Last edited:
The issue is he is the one trying to use this work history to engender a sense of authority regarding the matters he talks about.

We agree that Lehto’s appeal to authority (citing jobs he’s held) is fallacious. But I don’t see how an additional appeal to authority (citing jobs he hasn’t held) is any less so. And I think both are unhelpful in any case.

Isn’t the poster who cites Lehto’s lack of pertinent employment “trying to use this work history to engender a sense of (ignorance) regarding the matters he talks about?” The poster already made a great case through his analysis. Why bring up bona fides?

Some of the best image analyzers on this site are amateurs. I feel like citing credentials on either side won’t help identify the objects in the videos. It’s a shady tactic used commonly in UFO media to shut down a line of questioning. Maybe steer clear of it here?

Last edited:
We agree that Lehto’s appeal to authority (citing jobs he’s held) is fallacious. But I don’t see how an additional appeal to authority (citing jobs he hasn’t held) is any less so. And I think both are unhelpful in any case.

Isn’t the poster who cites Lehto’s lack of pertinent employment “trying to use this work history to engender a sense of (ignorance) regarding the matters he talks about?” The poster already made a great case through his analysis. Why bring up bona fides?

Some of the best image analyzers on this site are amateurs. I feel like citing credentials on either side won’t help identify the objects in the videos. It’s a shady tactic used commonly in UFO media to shut down a line of questioning. Maybe steer clear of it here?

Honestly it reads to me like they are pointing out his appeal to authority isn't even relevant to the thing he goes on to talk about. It's like a double fallacy.

Him being a pilot is an appeal to authority even if he talks about piloting, but saying "I am pilot and here's some stuff on optics" is just a non-sequitur on top of the appeal to authority.

This part of the forum has been very quiet lately, here is some new material by Chris Lehto (a retired fighter pilot) about GoFast :

I watched it quickly, but it seems his two main arguments are that :
- the ocean is too much in focus during tracking for the object to be mid-air (given the small depth of field of the ATFLIR instrument).
- the range is incorrect, with the interesting idea that this is because the instrument is tracking the object as if it was a fixed location on the ground.

Both are interesting arguments I think. I'm sure many here will disagree

Chris has to stop his "two objects at different distances cannot be in focus at the same time" narrative, because it is just plain wrong.. I am pretty baffled why he keeps going on, it might look a bit stupid to some.

I think what he's saying is they can be in approximate focus depending on the depth of field. His point is that the depth of field being narrow in GoFast, if the object was at 13000 ft between the ocean and the plane, the ocean would be more blurry than that.

I'm more interested in the 2nd argument that the range is wrong because he has the experience we do not have for knowing this.

I think what he's saying is they can be in approximate focus depending on the depth of field. His point is that the depth of field being narrow in GoFast, if the object was at 13000 ft between the ocean and the plane, the ocean would be more blurry than that.

I am not convinced the DoF in the go fast video was narrow/shallow. I am actually pretty certain the stop size (we don't have this info sadly) and the design allow very large DoF, even to the point the sensor cannot resolve the differences anymore. A sensor system that has very shallow DoF would be quite annoying in battle situations for instance..

the range is incorrect, with the interesting idea that this is because the instrument is tracking the object as if it was a fixed location on the ground
That implies that the range display will be useless, or positively misleading, when the instrument is tracking an aerial object. The true range of an object on the ground can never be less than the altitude of the plane, so a range figure that is less than the altitude (as in the Gofast video) must be nonsense. Perhaps it is (which is what Chris Lehto seems to think), but one would expect that the system would be programmed to give an error message of some kind in this case.

I think what he's saying is they can be in approximate focus depending on the depth of field. His point is that the depth of field being narrow in GoFast, if the object was at 13000 ft between the ocean and the plane, the ocean would be more blurry than that.
How big is the camera??? The point he made in his first video about optics was so flagrantly incorrect and presented in such a smug, self-confident manner I never felt the need to gird my fortitude for watching any more of his videos.

Please explain how a camera can focus on something 13000 feet away and still have a depth of field that doesn't have something twice as far also in focus. How did he determine the blurriness of moving ocean waves in the background?

He demonstrated he doesn't know how optics work and how to scale optical systems and attempted to explain it using a phone camera and objects within inches of that camera. Sorry, but I just can't take anything he says seriously, unless he's willing to apologize for his obvious mistake and begin assessing the video in a careful, thoughtful manner.

How did he determine the blurriness of moving ocean waves in the background?

How did he determine/quantify blurriness at all, in the low resolution versions I've seen it is a bit silly to base an argument such claims. Or did we get a higher resolution version that I missed?

How did he determine/quantify blurriness at all, in the low resolution versions I've seen it is a bit silly to base an argument such claims. Or did we get a higher resolution version that I missed?
And how high-resolution would it have to be to be able to tell if water waves moving quickly across the background were in focus as seen from five miles away?

Chris has to stop his "two objects at different distances cannot be in focus at the same time" narrative, because it is just plain wrong.. I am pretty baffled why he keeps going on, it might look a bit stupid to some.

I presume the screenshot image for the vid is the same for you - because that image on its own says "I know nothing about optics", no matter how wrong he's been in the past (which is very, for the reason you state). If this is the hill he wants to die on, that's his choice.

Being blunt... pilots are airplane drivers. They have more social standing than truck drivers do. That's an entirely emotional reaction. Ever tried driving a big rig? Jump in one and give it a shot. It's a skilled job.

Being a truck driver doesn't mean you're an expert in transmissions because you have shifted - very skillfully! - a million times. Nor does it make you an expert in how radios work, or speedometers or air brakes... or Newton's Three Laws, just because the job entails an intuitive feeling for Newton's Three Laws.

Now there are truck drivers who are quite knowledgeable in these fields. There are truck drivers with graduate degrees. But they didn't get the knowledge simply from being an end user.

Chris Lehto is out of his depth when he talks about optics. That's just a fact; as certainly as a Flat Earther is out of his depth when he talks about gravity. Or a truck driver spouting nonsense about transmissions.

I've run across professional photographers who don't know squat about optics. They're just end users. But plenty of photographers have educated themselves in optics. But it didn't come from just being an end user.

I'll leave it up to experts in formal logic (which I'm not) to decide whether argument from social standing is the same as argument from authority.

Last edited:
And how high-resolution would it have to be to be able to tell if water waves moving quickly across the background were in focus as seen from five miles away?
Higher than what I've seen, at any rate.

I've been following this story and exchange between Chris and Mick for sometime. It's quite obvious that Chris is clutching at straws trying to make his point that the object must be near the water's surface. He's just plainly wrong and the more he digs in the sillier he looks. Its shame because I quite enjoy his channel.

One thing I did learn from this is that the object can be seen to 'flap' and so is more likley a bird than a balloon.

I've been following this story and exchange between Chris and Mick for sometime. It's quite obvious that Chris is clutching at straws trying to make his point that the object must be near the water's surface. He's just plainly wrong and the more he digs in the sillier he looks. Its shame because I quite enjoy his channel.

One thing I did learn from this is that the object can be seen to 'flap' and so is more likley a bird than a balloon.

It's impossible to tell if its flapping or just artefacts of compression etc.

The balloon theory is posited on the range displayed being from radar and thus it being a balloon with a radar reflector, it's unclear but probably less likely that a large bird would show up as a track on a the planes radar and provide range, however there is some debate/lack of pure clarity as to where the range figure comes from.

Additionally the narrative seems to be shifting to somehow the debunkers are the ones making an invalid assumption that the range is to the target. I figured this might happen when Lehto did his 1st video.

Just to be clear the TTSA (with Elizondo present) were the ones to say this (perfectly reasonably apart from when you then try to conclude it is low and fast as well)

So if this is not the range from jet to go fast object Chris Lehto is arguing with the experts at TTSA//AATIP where it was sourced.

This part of the forum has been very quiet lately, here is some new material by Chris Lehto (a retired fighter pilot) about GoFast :

I watched it quickly, but it seems his two main arguments are that :

- the range is incorrect, with the interesting idea that this is because the instrument is tracking the object as if it was a fixed location on the ground.
As I said above, if the instrument assumed the target was on the ground, then the range estimate would've placed it on the ground:
Passive ranging is possible, generally based on assumptions about the target's speed, not size, in which case a "go fast" assumption is more likely than a "go slow" assumption. But if the pod is in ground track mode, then it should just estimate the range to the ground, yet it estimates half that range. I'm not convinced that it couldn't get a range estimate from the radar or laser rangefinder.
A better explanation is that the instrument tracked the object as if it was a fixed location high above the sea level, which would make it appear to go slow because the starting assumption is that it's going nowhere. But this would make no sense in air-to-air mode since aircraft usually don't hover in place.

Last edited:
As I said above, if the instrument assumed the target was on the ground, then the range estimate would've placed it on the ground:

A better explanation is that the instrument tracked the object as if it was a fixed location high above the sea level, which would make it appear to go slow because the starting assumption is that it's going nowhere. But this would make no sense in air-to-air mode since aircraft usually don't hover in place.

This idea has recently been proposed by somebody on Twitter, who has supposedly worked for 40 years in the aerospace/defence industry. I cannot verify if his credentials are legit, but he sounds like he knows that stuff.

Now it's interesting because setting up a ~100-Knots headwind in my 3D reconstruction, I retrieve a geostationary object at ~13000ft (speed=0) and range/closing velocities that are very close to the video at my two points of reference (0'11 and 0'31). In other words it really looks like the algorithm is giving the range to the intersect of the lines of sight. So either there is a geostationary object there (stationary relative to ground, i.e. moving against the local wind). Or range is wrong and the object is somewhere else along the lines of sight.

Having a 100-knot headwind gives a better match for the speed of the background in Sitrec. Without headwind the background moves too slow, a problem that was also noticed by @Edward Current in his GoFast Blender model. I think it suggests the F-18 was more or less facing the wind that was reported that day (120 Knots to the West, assuming GoFast happened just before Gimbal).

This all will need confirmation, but the idea that the range is inaccurate because it is looking for a geostationary object is not absurd given the situation. Now it does not mean that the object is way far from the given range, but if the Navy has additional data that showed that the object was fast (?), this may explain the discrepancy with the displayed RNG. Lehto and Ryan Graves, among others, also believe the range is inaccurate because it is mostly used for air-to-ground, so this is not completely out of the blue.

EDIT: note this is a 3D model I made, it looks 2D because I'm showing a view from the top.

Last edited:
Why would Air to Air mode assume a stationary ground target?