Fravor's Hypersonic UFO observation. Parallax Illusion? Comparing Accounts

Alphadunk

Active Member
Targeting balloons are not launched from subs. It would be a huge failure of operations to vector pilots into range of a live fire test. Investigations also would have figured this out immediately. The balloon hypothesis just doesn't hold up when paired with the testimony of those involved or the data we have available.
 

folly4

Member
Targeting balloons are not launched from subs. It would be a huge failure of operations to vector pilots into range of a live fire test. Investigations also would have figured this out immediately. The balloon hypothesis just doesn't hold up when paired with the testimony of those involved or the data we have available.

What if the Tic Tac was a balloon that got loose?

What if it wasn't actually related to, or right above, the disturbance in the water? What of those memories were conflated a bit? The disturbance was there, and drew pilots' eyes down to the water, bit the Tic Tac wasn't right above the disturbance?

1623859065115.png

http://www.nicap.org/reports2/2004_Navy event document 2004 Nov 14.pdf
 

Domzh

Active Member
didnt he say he saw the tic tac above the disturbance? 5nm is 10 kilometers, thats a pretty significant offset to describe it as "above the white water area", or is this only me interpreting it weird?

i mean it could be possible that a pilot would label 5nm offset as "right above" based on its altitude, but they assumed its roughly at 500-1000 feet above surface so this just doesnt really make sense to me

2:22 60min Segment (Youtube)
 
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folly4

Member
It was according to both pilots in the current recollections.

"Current" is the operative word.

The descriptions have fairly significant discrepancies, and at this point 17 years later, seem to be subject to conflation, legend, embellishment, etc. on a range of points. (Visual contact time (10 sec or 5 min) from "merge plot" forward, type of movement the Tic Tac displayed BEFORE Fravor's aggressive maneuvers (erratic or straight line), was the object on the left or right side of the sortie, whether Fravor began a 300 knot "slow descent" or dove in right away, etc.)

While I know Dietrich said the "5NM" away bit from the report you discussed was not her recollection of events, much of the report seemed accurate on her view.

It could be the alleged targeting balloon was indeed above the disturbance, but the disturbance was not a submarine, or anything directly related to the balloon.

Or, if the object was actually closer to Fravor than he realized and he misjudged it's size and/or location and/or speed as a result, as you suggested in your discussion with Dietrich, it's possible it only appeared to be near the disturbance. But perhaps he only perceived it to be near the disturbance from his vantage point?
 

Domzh

Active Member
Do we know how big of an area "merge plot" actually is? Dietrich said something along the line of "its not an exact position" iirc?

I always visualized the tic tac right above the disturbance above the surface, maneuvers, tic tac zoomed away, disturbance ceased.

If "over the white water" includes multiple kilometers offset than the disturbance-uap relationship becomes (a lot) smaller
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Well, take a look at this:
Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LuLHfauM1w


DCS so not a real jet obviously, but things like fuel consumption should match reasonably closely. Merge happens at 2:30, Su-27 is dead at 9:20. That's almost 7 minutes, with the F-18 being transonic/supersonic during much of the fight (that's the other thing, not all dogfighting happens with the throttle to the firewall; it's a maneuvering contest, not a race).

I'll chalk it up to the usual twitter saber rattling because there's really no way this makes sense otherwise. Sort of a moot point though, the discrepancy seems to have been more or less resolved after the conversation with Mick above.
The sim is good. However, the pilots in that video are amateurs and the conditions are unrealistic.

They are transforming the sim into a dogfighting game.
The plane has basically infinite endurance: starting from the air (I assume with a lot of fuel) and they don't need to go back to the base.
The pilots have infinite endurance: try flying 5 minutes at 9Gs. Pilots only train to stay at those G for seconds. Did you hear how they are breathing in that real Rafale-F-22 dogfight?

Don't base any conclusion on that unrealistic video. It doesn't mean anything.

Regarding throttles: you need energy to manoeuvre. The more thrust you have the better. If you have a lot of energy and the enemy has less: you win.

Real dogfights are at full afterburn. You never slow down. If you slow down you die. To quote this fighter pilot on quora: "Never get slow; speed is life!" https://www.quora.com/If-theres-rea...nding-dogfight-of-Top-Gun/answer/John-Chesire

In those conditions your full endurance with full tanks is in minutes. And you still need to get there and get back home.
 
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Parabunk

New Member
While I know Dietrich said the "5NM" away bit from the report you discussed was not her recollection of events, much of the report seemed accurate on her view.
I'm interpreting that to mean the jets were 5NM from the whitewater (and tic-tac) when they sighted the "capsule".

Could also be misinterpretation by whoever wrote that summary.
 

markus

Member
try flying 5 minutes at 9Gs.
The claim was that the fighters would run out of fuel well before 5 minutes. It could be she had in mind a context in which they were already somewhat low on fuel, but there's little doubt that claim makes no sense as a sweeping statement.
 
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Domzh

Active Member
The claim was that the fighters would run out of fuel well before 5 minutes. That claim is nonsense.
she probably referred to their fuel economy at this point. they were at the end of a training session and probably not 100% fueled up anymore
 

folly4

Member
I'm interpreting that to mean the jets were 5NM from the whitewater (and tic-tac) when they sighted the "capsule".

Could also be misinterpretation by whoever wrote that summary.

Based on Fravor's public tellings of the encounter, no one saw the Tic Tac until after they'd reached a "merge plot" position on available radar imaging, meaning they were in the same vertical column of air as the Tic Tac.

According to Fravor, they start looking all over after they reach merge plot.
 

Parabunk

New Member
Based on Fravor's public tellings of the encounter, no one saw the Tic Tac until after they'd reached a "merge plot" position on available radar imaging, meaning they were in the same vertical column of air as the Tic Tac.

According to Fravor, they start looking all over after they reach merge plot.

Event log:
FAST EAGLES (110/100) COULD NOT FIND UNID AIRBORNE CONTACT AT LOCATION GIVEN BY PRINCETON. WHILE SEARCHING FOR UNID AIR CONTACT, FAST EAGLES SPOTTED LARGE UNID OBJECT IN WATER AT 1430L.
Executive report states they had sporadic Link-16 tracks (from Princeton).

So it seems to have taken some searching within that general area, and he may have first seen it from that ~5NM distance while searching.
 

folly4

Member
Event log:

Executive report states they had sporadic Link-16 tracks (from Princeton).

So it seems to have taken some searching within that general area, and he may have first seen it from that ~5NM distance while searching.

Possible.

We're in a brand new world now in terms of the Tic Tac encounter. The "8-10 second visual" world.

We've been using Dave Fravor's account for years. And now Dietrich contradicts him on several points, and seems very believable and credible.

Speculating, I feel like Fravor is exaggerating. He's been telling the story and emphasizing "5 mins" of visual contact for all 4 pilots form 2 different perspectives, and using that info to "sell" the veracity of the account. He really sells it hard, too.

What would the WSOs say? Might they also say they only saw it for 10 seconds, like Dietrich? Then what?

Remember, Dietrich went on 60 Minutes and nodded along to everything Fravor said. In reality, she only saw it for 10 seconds...but Fravor apparently thought she saw it for 5 minutes like him, and said so while she was just sitting there!

How much has Fravor (the commander of all these other folks) driven this narrative? How much have their accounts acquiesced to his over the 17 years?
 
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Parabunk

New Member
We're in a brand new world now in terms of the Tic Tac encounter. The "8-10 second visual" world.
I like the new world. It has more data. Not enough, but more.

We've been using Dave Fravor's account for years. And now Dietrich contradicts him on several points, and seems very believable and credible.
We have of course had Dietrich's written account before and known they contradict, but it has been sort of easy to give more weight to Fravor's account where they differ.

One reason obviously that we have actually seen him tell the story in multiple places, and he has seemed to have a good recollection, which actually fits quite well with the available documents. Dietrich's account not so much, and that 8-10 seconds has seemed like a probable error.

But in the end that "small" detail (as some seem to think about 30x time difference) opened up a very fruitful discussion and made us see the entire event in a brand new way. Suddenly the vast majority of that earth shattering event was actually unnoticeable for even someone who was actually there, and quite likely to half of all witnesses.

That leaves us with the short part where their accounts differ significantly enough that if someone would ask me to explain that part, I could just ask which version.

Then there's the grand finale, the supposed extreme acceleration, the highlight of the story. I still haven't seen Dietrich giving a detailed answer to how it actually disappeared. Like was there a distinguishable direction of movement, and was she definitely looking at it right at the moment when it disappeared. The fact that she talks about disappearance instead of acceleration seems indicative, but it would be nice to have a definite answer from the source. That could pretty much make or break what's left of this story.

Speculating, I feel like Fravor is exaggerating. He's been telling the story and emphasizing "5 mins" of visual contact for all 4 pilots form 2 different perspectives, and using that info to "sell" the veracity of the account. He really sells it hard, too.
He seems to enjoy telling it, Dietrich not so much. It would be nice if both were somewhere in between, interested enough to answer questions, not enough to exaggerate.

What would the WSOs say? Might they also say they only saw it for 10 seconds, like Dietrich? Then what?
A third opinion would certainly help. If Dietrich is right and Fravor was looking at it much longer, their WSOs would likely have a similar split of opinion, as they have no doubt had ongoing discussions with their backseaters

But then again, it would seem logical for Fravor to have talked sooner with his wingman as well, instead of circling for a few minutes looking at it, while the other pilot was apparently completely unaware of the whole thing. Maybe it didn't actually look special enough at that stage to warrant such communication?

Remember, Dietrich went on 60 Minutes and nodded along to everything Fravor said. In reality, she only saw it for 10 seconds...but Fravor apparently thought she saw it for 5 minutes like him, and said so while she was just sitting there!
Fravor and Slaight also didn't say anything on that Fox interview while the host was showing the wrong video and commenting it doesn't look like a submarine.

It's just easier not to correct or disagree with others publicly, which is then way too easy to interpret as agreement. I mean, just look what a difference that one on one conversion between Mick and Alex made! If only we could get one of the WSOs to do the same.

How much has Fravor (the commander of all these other folks) driven this narrative? How much have their accounts acquiesced to his over the 17 years?
Quite a lot probably. Although faded memories are probably bigger issue by now.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
Well, so far I have seen the following theories re, what the Tic Tac was

1) It was Douglas Kurth's Jet

2) It was a drone launched from the USS Louisville. Possibly with EW capabilities

3) Balloon tethered to the USS Louisville that was then released. Possibly with EW capabilities

4) It was a live fire test from the USS Louisville


As for the disturbance in the water:

1) It was the USS Louisville

2) Sea mount

3) Sea life (whales, fish etc)



I suppose combinations could occur as well. for example say, The USS Louisville fired a missile that was spotted on radar. Kevin Day then vectored them to that area where a miss id of Kurth's jet occurred.
Just an example of how combinations of the above could occur


Some facts:

It occured in the SOCAL Range Complex where they conduct military training and testing run by SCORE. The area is used to test fleet readiness, reaction and to test new systems and weapons, They also hone tactics based on all that. The following is a chart of the military exercises conducted that year in the SOCAL Range Complex . C2W in this context is used to denoted EW

1623888115314.png


1623889681007.png
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
3) Balloon tethered to the USS Louisville that was then released. Possibly with EW capabilities
I only now realize that the USS Louisville is a submarine
1024px-US_Navy_050314-N-0413R-002_The_Los_Angeles-class_attack_submarine_USS_Louisville_(SSN_7...jpg
it is 110m long overall
according to wikipedia, this is 40% longer than the body (or the wingspan) of the largest passenger jets

downed airliner much larger than a submarine.png

3) Sea life (whales, fish etc)
Article:
The blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus) is a marine mammal belonging to the baleen whale parvorder Mysticeti. Reaching a maximum confirmed length of 29.9 metres (98 ft) and weighing up to 199 tonnes (196 long tons; 219 short tons), it is the largest animal known to have existed.

There could have been more than one.
 
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markus

Member
Quite a lot probably. Although faded memories are probably bigger issue by now.
One thing that I found interesting is that in Fravor's retellings he describes Dietrich's reaction as being "disdainful of some of the leadership who didn't tell them that those things were out there" (or something to that effect, I couldn't find the exact clip). Now Dietrich tells Mick she was angry at the leadership because it looked like they were vectored into what might've been a live fire exercise!
 

Parabunk

New Member
One thing that I found interesting is that in Fravor's retellings he describes Dietrich's reaction as being "disdainful of some of the leadership who didn't tell them that those things were out there" (or something to that effect, I couldn't find the exact clip). Now Dietrich tells Mick she was angry at the leadership because it looked like they were vectored into what might've been a live fire exercise!

Her written (TTSA) report also states that after first noticing the disturbed water and object:
Source immediately became alarmed and initially thought that perhaps this was an unannounced, classified missile test by a U.S. Navy submarine.

Slaight stated in that Fox interview:
My initial thought was well maybe it's a submarine and it had, you know, had launched a missile.

Kurth stated in Executive report:
Reminded of images of something rapidly submerging from the surface like a submarine or ship sinking. It also looked like a possible area of shoal water where the swell was breaking over a barely submerged reef or island.

So all of them seem to have initially thought there was a submarine. Methinks there was a submarine.

I tried to ask Dietrich on Twitter if she was aware of the executive report part about Louisville live fire exercise, as she told Mick she has been reassured there weren't subs in the area, but she never answered.

I wonder who gave her those reassurances, and on what basis?
 

Domzh

Active Member
the disturbance is key imo. im pretty sure if we solve this, we are 80% towards the tic tac explanation
 

Parabunk

New Member
If you have Alex's email contact. Can you ask her if she saw Douglas Kurth's jet.
It seems she's not at all eager to answer such questions, like anything related to details of those events. I have tried to ask a few things on Twitter before, but haven't received answers. And I haven't seen her answer others either recently.

She has made some posts that sort of make fun of people asking details and for example liked one tweet where someone tried to question my Nimitz FLIR video analysis based on apparent misunderstanding what I did there.

She has made her lack of interest quite clear while talking with Mick and elsewhere, but I'm also getting the feeling that she's also not too excited about the possibility of these events finding a mundane explanation.

I hope she's still willing to talk to Mick, as there are certainly some things I would very much like to see clarified, but I think we should now tread carefully what to ask and how. I guess the best possibility could be if @Mick West can still have another session with her at some point, as that format certainly worked, and collect a few of our high priority questions for consideration?
 

folly4

Member
It seems she's not at all eager to answer such questions, like anything related to details of those events. I have tried to ask a few things on Twitter before, but haven't received answers. And I haven't seen her answer others either recently.

She has made some posts that sort of make fun of people asking details and for example liked one tweet where someone tried to question my Nimitz FLIR video analysis based on apparent misunderstanding what I did there.

She has made her lack of interest quite clear while talking with Mick and elsewhere, but I'm also getting the feeling that she's also not too excited about the possibility of these events finding a mundane explanation.

I hope she's still willing to talk to Mick, as there are certainly some things I would very much like to see clarified, but I think we should now tread carefully what to ask and how. I guess the best possibility could be if @Mick West can still have another session with her at some point, as that format certainly worked, and collect a few of our high priority questions for consideration?
She seems open to answering questions, but answering questions opened a can of worms for her recently with the 8-10 seconds bit. I imagine she'll be a bit more careful with her words going forward.

So much of what Dietrich is saying and implying with the "8-10 seconds of visual contact" makes no sense in the world of Fravor's 5 minutes of visual contact. She tried to make it fit in her talk with Mick, and Mick was very generous and charitable, but I don't think it fits at all. If she speaks clearly about exactly what she saw, I predict it will only make the contrast in recollection between her and Fravor more stark.

And that's an awkward position for her to be in. Fravor was her commander.
 

markus

Member
She seems open to answering questions, but answering questions opened a can of worms for her recently with the 8-10 seconds bit. I imagine she'll be a bit more careful with her words going forward.

So much of what Dietrich is saying and implying with the "8-10 seconds of visual contact" makes no sense in the world of Fravor's 5 minutes of visual contact. She tried to make it fit in her talk with Mick, and Mick was very generous and charitable, but I don't think it fits at all. If she speaks clearly about exactly what she saw, I predict it will only make the contrast in recollection between her and Fravor more stark.

And that's an awkward position for her to be in. Fravor was her commander.
I thought her proposed explanation was reasonable. The stuff about her "keeping high cover" during the encounter can be chalked up to a memory error, as she simply accompanied Fravor and kept formation during the descent, distracted following the lead, and the lead distracted chasing the object. Then she sees the object and Fravor performs the low yo-yo, which she would've seen as an aggressive dogfighting maneuver (because it is). She's intimidated, hangs back, and 10 seconds later the encounter is over. After years and many retellings the story morphs to where it is today, with Fravor descending alone while she hangs back at the original cruising altitude. It's plausible. Certainly much more plausible than the idea that Fravor descended 10,000 feet to meet the tic tac in 10 seconds, going full supersonic BFM out of nowhere after seeing an unidentified target for only a couple seconds.

It's also worth noting that the event summary is quite vague on the "high cover" point. I suppose Fravor could just be lying about a bunch of things but I don't think we're there yet. He seems to have a recollection which he always asserts is a perfect match for everyone in his wing, but that doesn't need to come from malice.
 

folly4

Member
I thought her proposed explanation was reasonable.
I didn't. Not in the slightest.

Then she sees the object and Fravor performs the low yo-yo, which she would've seen as an aggressive dogfighting maneuver (because it is). She's intimidated, hangs back, and 10 seconds later the encounter is over. After years and many retellings the story morphs to where it is today, with Fravor descending alone while she hangs back at the original cruising altitude. It's plausible. Certainly much more plausible than the idea that Fravor descended 10,000 feet to meet the tic tac in 10 seconds, going full supersonic BFM out of nowhere after seeing an unidentified target for only a couple seconds.

I believe Dietrich's 8-10 sec visual timeline is roughly accurate. I think this was a very short visual by all involved, with an almost immediate aggressive dive to engage by Fravor, and the alleged Tic Tac disappearing from everyone's sight within 8-10 seconds of first being seen.

At this point, I think the 5 minutes is pure fiction. Manufactured over time.

It's also worth noting that the event summary is quite vague on the "high cover" point. I suppose Fravor could just be lying about a bunch of things but I don't think we're there yet. He seems to have a recollection which he always asserts is a perfect match for everyone in his wing, but that doesn't need to come from malice.

I'm not ready to say he's lying, either. But I don't believe the details of his account anymore. I think it became embellished over time. But I believe they saw something that appeared to them to look something like a Tic Tac.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I was given Fravor's email address, and this morning I invited him to a similar talk to help clear this. I've not heard back yet.
 

Parabunk

New Member
At this point, I think the 5 minutes is pure fiction.
I believe the balloon explanation requires several minutes.

Fravor's description about ping pong movement would fit a tethered balloon, but it would have to be low over the water at that point, like he has said it was.

But the latter part, and parallax explanation, requires relatively high altitude. The event summary states capsule was at 14kft when they lost it, but hard to say how accurate that estimate is. In any case, it would need time to rise several thousand feet.

Dietrich said it was near the water when she first saw it, but obviously some 10 seconds wouldn't work for a balloon. I think that timeline would require her to have misinterpreted the altitude, so that it would have been already much higher up when she first saw it cross the whitewater.
 

Rocky

Member
I didn't. Not in the slightest.



I believe Dietrich's 8-10 sec visual timeline is roughly accurate. I think this was a very short visual by all involved, with an almost immediate aggressive dive to engage by Fravor, and the alleged Tic Tac disappearing from everyone's sight within 8-10 seconds of first being seen.

At this point, I think the 5 minutes is pure fiction. Manufactured over time.



I'm not ready to say he's lying, either. But I don't believe the details of his account anymore. I think it became embellished over time. But I believe they saw something that appeared to them to look something like a Tic Tac.
I think Fravor is embellishing a lot with this incident. From listening to many of his interviews he definitely had that UFO interest. He said he even faked one once with his jet on a night time flight. But it seems Dietrich is very cautious about jumping into that UFO group from the 60 min interview. She later even said that she believes it was atmospheric rather than aliens. And I don't think it is because of the stigma she feels she may receive. In the end we have fuzzy videos from the cockpit of a fighter jet miles away from the objects.
 

folly4

Member
I believe the balloon explanation requires several minutes.

Fravor's description about ping pong movement would fit a tethered balloon, but it would have to be low over the water at that point, like he has said it was.

But the latter part, and parallax explanation, requires relatively high altitude. The event summary states capsule was at 14kft when they lost it, but hard to say how accurate that estimate is. In any case, it would need time to rise several thousand feet.

Dietrich said it was near the water when she first saw it, but obviously some 10 seconds wouldn't work for a balloon. I think that timeline would require her to have misinterpreted the altitude, so that it would have been already much higher up when she first saw it cross the whitewater.

Why assume the ping pong movement is accurate? Why assume the Tic Tac was ever at low altitude?

From my recall, Dietrich seems to say the Tic Tac appeared to be moving along the water in more of a straight line, and only made apparent erratic movements AFTER Fravor dove to engage. Couldn't this just be parallax, a la GoFast?
 
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Parabunk

New Member
Why assume the ping pong movement is accurate? Why assume the Tic Tac was ever at low altitude?

From my recall, Dietrich seems to say the Tic Tac appeared to be moving along the water in more of a straight line, and only made apparent erratic movements AFTER Fravor dove to engage. Couldn't this just be parallax, a la GoFast?

My approach is basically that I assume nobody lied, and given accounts accurately reflect at least what they thought they saw, unless I have specific reasons to believe otherwise (like conflicting accounts) or there's for example a visual illusion that clearly fits the case.

Dietrich's straight line can easily be just like Go Fast, and I think it was, and it was at high altitude when she saw it.

I can't say the same for Fravor's description. Especially now that the new timeline more or less removed the conflict from that part of the account. I can't visualize such movements to multiple directions easily with parallax. So I'm inclined to believe it really was close to the water then, and ascended within minutes.

I actually think this new timeline is a bit of a game changer and the sub launched radar testing balloon hypothesis can now explain the entire event pretty well while agreeing with most of what the witnesses have said. Evidence is of course still lacking.

I will probably collect my more detailed thoughts to a blog post more suitable for such speculations during the weekend, if I find the time.
 

jackfrostvc

Active Member
My approach is basically that I assume nobody lied, and given accounts accurately reflect at least what they thought they saw, unless I have specific reasons to believe otherwise (like conflicting accounts) or there's for example a visual illusion that clearly fits the case.

Dietrich's straight line can easily be just like Go Fast, and I think it was, and it was at high altitude when she saw it.

I can't say the same for Fravor's description. Especially now that the new timeline more or less removed the conflict from that part of the account. I can't visualize such movements to multiple directions easily with parallax. So I'm inclined to believe it really was close to the water then, and ascended within minutes.

I actually think this new timeline is a bit of a game changer and the sub launched radar testing balloon hypothesis can now explain the entire event pretty well while agreeing with most of what the witnesses have said. Evidence is of course still lacking.

I will probably collect my more detailed thoughts to a blog post more suitable for such speculations during the weekend, if I find the time.

Of course I proposed the Balloon tethered to the Louisville myself in the past.
It does need that the balloon was detonated at some point or something that explains that part of the story. Which is still unclear whether it zipped off or dissappeared

Given the timing of Kurth's arrival, these days I'm kind of leaning towards that theory. Hilarious to think now that people are opting finally for my tethered balloon tied to the Louisvuille that was let go theory, that I'm now more inclined to believe the Douglas Kurth explanation. With the Haze, height and maybe the right paint job, maybe it did look like a tic tac. Everything else fits.The timing Kurth arrived, and him going over the disturbance and circling around it. Then flying off to the his designated area. They didn't see him, but saw a tic tac, Kurth never saw a tic tac.
 
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markus

Member
I honestly can't see the CO of a carrier fighter squadron diving headfirst (literally) into a dogfight with an obj
Of course I proposed the Balloon tethered to the Louisville myself in the past.
It does need that the balloon was detonated at some point or something that explains that part of the story. Which is still unclear whether it zipped off or dissappeared

Given the timing of Kurth's arrival, these days I'm kind of leaning towards that theory. Hilarious to think now that people are opting finally for my tethered balloon tied to the Louisvuille that was let go theory, that I'm now more inclined to believe the Douglas Kurth explanation. With the Haze, height and maybe the right paint job, maybe it did look like a tic tac. Everything else fits.The timing Kurth arrived, and him going over the disturbance and circling around it. Then flying off to the his designated area. They didn't see him, but saw a tic tac, Kurth never saw a tic tac.
The problem with the Kurth explanation is that Fravor thought the object was sort of hornet sized, and Kurth's hornet of course fits that. That probably rules out a parallax explanation for the extraordinary motion of the object.
 

markus

Member
I didn't. Not in the slightest.

I believe Dietrich's 8-10 sec visual timeline is roughly accurate. I think this was a very short visual by all involved, with an almost immediate aggressive dive to engage by Fravor, and the alleged Tic Tac disappearing from everyone's sight within 8-10 seconds of first being seen.

At this point, I think the 5 minutes is pure fiction. Manufactured over time.

I'm not ready to say he's lying, either. But I don't believe the details of his account anymore. I think it became embellished over time. But I believe they saw something that appeared to them to look something like a Tic Tac.
I have a hard time believing that 10 seconds inflated into 5 minutes due to memory errors. It's within the realm of possibility, but rather extreme, so if that's the case it probably means Fravor's lying, not misremembering. I also have a hard time seeing why the CO of a carrier fighter squadron would immediately get in a dogfight with an unknown object before making any real attempt to identify it or intercept it first. Also the altitudes given in the event summary would have to be fabrications. I just don't see the 10 seconds timeline working with anything else.

May I ask what you find implausible about Dietrich's attempt to reconcile the two perspectives?
 

folly4

Member
My approach is basically that I assume nobody lied, and given accounts accurately reflect at least what they thought they saw, unless I have specific reasons to believe otherwise (like conflicting accounts) or there's for example a visual illusion that clearly fits the case.

Dietrich's straight line can easily be just like Go Fast, and I think it was, and it was at high altitude when she saw it.

I can't say the same for Fravor's description. Especially now that the new timeline more or less removed the conflict from that part of the account. I can't visualize such movements to multiple directions easily with parallax. So I'm inclined to believe it really was close to the water then, and ascended within minutes.

I actually think this new timeline is a bit of a game changer and the sub launched radar testing balloon hypothesis can now explain the entire event pretty well while agreeing with most of what the witnesses have said. Evidence is of course still lacking.

I will probably collect my more detailed thoughts to a blog post more suitable for such speculations during the weekend, if I find the time.

I'd very interested to hear your full theory. I'm working on my own. As time allows. :)

I can't visualize such movements to multiple directions easily with parallax.

If the the balloon started high, and Dietrich thought it was low and fast in a straight line because of GoFast-esque parallax perception...and then Fravor engaged aggressively almost immediately and also misjudged it as low, then I think all the pieces roughly fit without much total elapsed time at all.

When Fravor aggressively engages, on this theory, he has a serious misperception locked in his mind. He's operating under that illusion and everything makes sense in that frame. He thinks the Tic Tac is low and big and fast. It's not. It's high and small and slow. So his angles are all wrong. It "overtakes" him. He can't keep up with it. It's moving erratically from his (mis)perception. The illusion could be very immersive. Completely persuasive for 8-10 seconds.

Notice Dietrich, as far as I'm aware, never attributes any sporadic ping pong ball type movement to the Tic Tac BEFORE Fravor aggressively engages it. It's going in a straight line for Dietrich, and then it moves when it "reacts" to Fravor.

That's VERY different from Fravor's story: Right when he sees the Tic Tac above the disturbance, Fravor says, it's displaying the back and forth erratic movements. I honestly don't think we need to account for these pre-aggressive-engagement erratic movements anymore. I think a tethered balloon (perhaps to a submarine) fits some of the data for the ping pong ball movement and water disturbance...but I don't see much reason anymore to actually believe this was nearly as prolonged an encounter as Fravor made it in his story over the years.

Obviously, one of the difficult parts of doing these cold case investigations is parsing out what is true and what is false from the eyewitness accounts. It's hard to do. It intuitively feels right to account for every single thing Fravor and Dietrich say. One thing I've found, I think specifically from the JFK assassination, is that sometimes you do need to "ignore" certain eyewitness (or earwitness) testimony to actually make the pieces fit so you can find the truth. There are outlier data that is completely wrong, even if it's sincerely believed.

It's possible, for instance, the disturbance in the water existed (I think it did), but was completely unrelated to the object in the air. The two memories were just conflated. They did look down because of a disturbance in otherwise calm water, and that did lead them to see the Tic Tac. But the connection stops there. Memory errors and pattern recognition tendencies take over from there.
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
The problem with this balloon hypothesis is that there is zero evidence American submarines launch balloons, tethered or not, in 2004 or anytime after. Dietrich was also assured by multiple parties multiple times that there was no submarine at their merge point.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The problem with this balloon hypothesis is that there is zero evidence American submarines launch balloons, tethered or not, in 2004 or anytime after. Dietrich was also assured by multiple parties multiple times that there was no submarine at their merge point.
Doesn't have to be launched by a sub the sub being there and a balloon also being there could be unrelated.
 

Domzh

Active Member
The problem with this balloon hypothesis is that there is zero evidence American submarines launch balloons, tethered or not, in 2004 or anytime after. Dietrich was also assured by multiple parties multiple times that there was no submarine at their merge point.
she said something like "i was assured there wasnt a submarine in this area doing life fire excercises with weapons that could fit the description"

thats a difference
 

Alphadunk

Active Member
The executive summary says there was.
It does not say the sub was positioned at their merge point. Additionally there is no provenance for that summary. I would lend more credence to Dietrich's own testimony than an unverified summary containing several dubious contradictions. There is no reason to believe a balloon was launched from a submarine other than pure speculation. There is no more evidence of a balloon than there is of an alien spaceship, sobering as it may be to admit.

If someone has evidence of American subs launching balloons in 2004 or anytime after I'm all ears though.
 

markus

Member
I would lend more credence to Dietrich's own testimony
Even in the relatively lax standards of a court of law, that testimony would be considered hearsay. We don't even know who told her that. On the other hand, Fravor actually attests to the quality of the executive summary. And, like @Parabunk said, Kurth, Slaight, and Dietrich all thought the disturbance looked like a submarine. Sure would be nice to track down some of the crew of the Louisville, although I expect they'd be able to say approximately nothing about what they were doing.
There is no more evidence of a balloon than there is of an alien spaceship, sobering as it may be to admit.
The prior probability of a balloon is orders of magnitude higher even under impossibly generous assumptions.
If someone has evidence of American subs launching balloons in 2004 or anytime after I'm all ears though.
If they could launch balloons in the 60s, there's no doubt they could launch them in 2004. We're not told every operational detail on the extremely secretive operations of submarines, true, but that's hardly a compelling counterargument.
 
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Woolery

Member
I also have a hard time seeing why the CO of a carrier fighter squadron would immediately get in a dogfight with an unknown object before making any real attempt to identify it or intercept it first.

It’s worth noting that neither Fravor nor Dietrich had any weapons. Fravor wasn’t attacking it. The only plausible explanation for his maneuver was to get closer to the object for an ID. And getting closer, for whatever reason, proved difficult.
 
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