# Gimbal Blender Simulation with Clouds

For the cloud motion parallax to stop as it does
It does not stop. The clouds keep moving, at roughly 0.03°/second. Meaning the target is probably moving to the left.

That the clouds almost come to a stop at the end means that the pilots got in quite a specific configuration of alignments with the unknown plane velocity vector. Like if they had a 3D GPS in their head and made a turn that corresponds to a circle exactly tangent to the plane direction. While watching the ATFLIR, checking the wind, and other objects on the radar (fleet of them). Also note that they keep going with their circle at thend end, so it's not like they intended to "chase" the unknown plan by heading exactly behind its tail. Did they have a trace for the plane trajectory on their instruments ? Or just a dot pointing at the direction of the unknown object on their radar ? This looks like magic to me.
Maybe what we see on the video just represents what happened? Your argument seems odd. Yes, the end result is specific - but any configuration yields specific results. This is consistent with a small jet flying away.

A question that bugs me : what is the probability for a plane at 25000 ft, 350 Knots, to make a coordinated turn and end up in the exact boresight of another plane at 19000ft, 380 Knots, so that the cloud motion parallax is close to 0 ?
The cloud parallax is close to zero...but as others have mentioned, it's not zero. The angle between the sightline and the Scenario #5.x vector (30 NM straight & level) at the end of the video is somewhere between 15° and 7°, depending on relative cloud motion. If they lined up exactly, I could understand your incredulity and appeal to magic. But they're just sorta-kinda lined up.

(The tiny white line is the 10 NM mark from yesterday.)

There is a moment when the vectors of the F-18 and the object in this scenario are pointing in exactly the same direction (at least in two dimensions)...but if one aircraft is flying straight and the other is making a circle, that will always be the case.

It does not stop. The clouds keep moving, at roughly 0.03°/second. Meaning the target is probably moving to the left.
This represents hardly 0.1 FOV/second. Which means close to perfect alignment as I show above.

Maybe what we see on the video just represents what happened? Your argument seems odd. Yes, the end result is specific - but any configuration yields specific results. This is consistent with a small jet flying away.
That a scenario takes too much happy accidents to happen reduces its credibility.

In the distant plane scenario, you need :
- an unidentified plane, in an area of US military exercises
- an unidentified plane that is hauling ass at 19000 ft, 300 miles off the coast. ~400 Knots against the wind...
- a fast unidentified plane that is seen under a very specific angle at the end, making it look like still in the air (my point above)
- a fast unidentified plane seen under specific conditions that creates a 60ft glare covering the plane during the whole encounter
- all of the above, with a glare that rotates with the background at 0'30 (while a glare should not), because the pod head roll occur just when the plane banks which masks the non-rotation of the glare with the background
- all of the above, with steps in the rotation of the pod head, but not at 0'30 when it would make it clear that the glare rotates due to the pod head

This is only using data from the video. You can add :
- all of the above, with glitches in the radar (fleet of them), and a false under-10Nm-range for the unknown plane.
- all of the above, with the military still being confused about it despite having more data than us (Ryan Graves interview)
- all of the above, happening in a period of several reports for UAP by the military, going all the way up to congress and leading to the Gillbrand amendment

I'm sure I'm forgetting other things. So of course, an exotic craft is very peculiar and unlikely, but don't tell me that the scenario above is not.
I'm not a UFO-guy, I have a rational mind, but this is too much to treat it lightly and sell this thing as being a mundane object.
These uncertainties should at least be mentioned when making this public.

Do you understand my doubts ?

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View attachment 49734

(The tiny white line is the 10 NM mark from yesterday.)

There is a moment when the vectors of the F-18 and the object in this scenario are pointing in exactly the same direction (at least in two dimensions)...but if one aircraft is flying straight and the other is making a circle, that will always be the case.
In that configuration the pod head azimuth would not be 0 like in the vid (0 azimuth for the cue dot, which is more representative of the object alignment of the pod head because this is in the plane reference). It would be a small angle to the right.

In that configuration the pod head azimuth would not be 0 like in the vid (0 azimuth for the cue dot, which is more representative of the object alignment of the pod head because this is in the plane reference). It would be a small angle to the right.
Are you saying the position of the cue dot falsifies the straight & level scenario at 30 NM? As I understand it, the cue dot doesn't give us any new information except for the aircraft's angle of attack.

an unidentified plane that is hauling ass at 19000 ft, 300 miles off the coast. ~400 Knots against the wind.
380 knots isn't hauling ass for any jet other than the Cirrus. It's not "~400 knots against the wind" -- all airspeed is against the wind. And where did you get 300 miles off the coast?

Are you saying the position of the cue dot falsifies the straight & level scenario at 30 NM? As I understand it, the cue dot doesn't give us any new information except for the aircraft's angle of attack.
The cue dot tells us that when the object is right in front of the pod, the background motion is at its minimum. This is not the case in your schematic above. The directions need to be perfectly aligned, not simply parallel.

380 knots isn't hauling ass for any jet other than the Cirrus. It's not "~400 knots against the wind" -- all airspeed is against the wind. And where did you get 300 miles off the coast?
I'll give you that, I don't know much about aviation. Do you mean that flying 400 knots with a 100Knots headwind is similar to flying at 400 Knots with a 100 knots tailwind (in terms of engine power)? Am I missing something ?

300 miles off the coast was mentioned by Ryan Graves, and I think we discussed it in another thread, maybe the rocket thread. At least we know this was far off the coast during a Navy training with the USS Roosevelt if I remember correctly.

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The cue dot tells us that when the object is right in front of the pod, the background motion is at its minimum.
The cue dot does not tell you when something is "right in front of the pod". The Azimuth value at the top of the screen tells you that. The cue dot is just a situational awareness cue that tells the pilot where the target is in the frame of reference of the banked plane. When it's centered, then pushing the nose down (perpendicular to the wings) will move the nose towards the target.

Am I wrong in thinking that if the plane is banked and look straight at a non-moving object (or exactly aligned moving object), the cloud parallax will stop at 0 cue dot Az, not at 0 horizon Az ? Like you say, at 0Az cue dot, if you push the nose down you go towards the target. To me it's more representative of what the pod sees, and of how the directions are aligned.

Do you mean that flying 400 knots with a 100Knots headwind is similar to flying at 400 Knots with a 100 knots tailwind (in terms of engine power)? Am I missing something ?
If that number is airspeed (like TAS, true airspeed), yes, they're the same. 400 knots TAS with a 100-knot headwind would have a ground speed of 300 knots, assuming perfect measurements. You're just swimming upstream. 400 knots with a 100-knot tailwind would have a ground speed of 500 knots. Which is why it's usually faster to fly from California to New York than vice versa, even if the airspeed is the same.

Am I wrong in thinking that if the plane is banked and look straight at a non-moving object (or exactly aligned moving object), the cloud parallax will stop at 0 cue dot Az, not at 0 horizon Az ? Like you say, at 0Az cue dot, if you push the nose down you go towards the target. To me it's more representative of what the pod sees, and of how the directions are aligned.
Parallax stops when there's zero relative lateral motion. The cue has nothing at all to do with this. We've shown it's just the heading of the target in the plane of the wings.

When the cue angle (light blue arrow) is zero here, the plane is pointing to the left of the target (green dot, with yellow arrow being the azimuth), so if the target were stationary then the clouds would be moving in the other direction. Minimum parallax (ignoring wind differentials) with a static object would occur when Az=0

The clouds don't turn around, they don't stop, they just slow down. Which means that the target is moving left.

Ok, sorry for misinterpreting the cue dot then. You're way better than me, and most of us I'm sure, at seeing things in 3D. I still think this almost-complete slowdown of parallax motion is quite a coincidence, cue dot Az or not.

If you guys are confident that your trajectory is plausible, go for it. I've made my point about what I think on its likelihood. I'm going to stop annoying you. I hope at least you'll recognize it takes quite a chain of circumstances to happen, and don't present it as something perfectly "mundane".

@Edward Current if you happen to check how sensitive is the final parallax motion-stop to the F18 exact ending trajectory, the unknown plane direction, and both combined, this would be interesting to see.

Ok, sorry for misinterpreting the cue dot then. You're way better than me, and most of us I'm sure, at seeing things in 3D. I still think this almost-complete slowdown of parallax motion is quite a coincidence, cue dot Az or not.

If you guys are confident that your trajectory is plausible, go for it. I've made my point about what I think on its likelihood. I'm going to stop annoying you. I hope at least you'll recognize it takes quite a chain of circumstances to happen, and don't present it as something perfectly "mundane".
Your comments have helped me fine-tune my script, so thanks for that. I encourage you to start the other thread as you had mentioned.

I don't think anyone is referring to the encounter as mundane. The glare rotation is unusual, as is the coincidence of a fleet of objects on radar (whether that was connected to the Gimbal object or not). It's unusual that it happened on the same day as GoFast. The encounter is non-mundane enough to be not only a legitimate unidentified aerial object, but one of the most notable of all time. Nothing mundane about that.

However, the object itself and what it was doing might be mundane. If it was at 10 NM and had a trajectory with some combination of accelerations in various directions, it's kind of weird that this combination sums to something that resembles, in the ATFLIR view, a more distant plane flying straight and level — the simplest trajectory there is. It's an important point: If you took the coming-to-a-stop 10 NM scenario, and reversed the sign on the acceleration so that it's speeding up, there's no corresponding straight & level trajectory, anywhere. Same with making it descend instead of climb, at least at the 10 NM distance.

It reminds me of medieval astronomers seeing the Solar System as Earth-centered, with the planets having wildly complicated trajectories, reversing direction and whatnot. Fast forward to the 20th century, and it turns out all of those planets were just moving in straight lines (through curved spacetime). The planets' actual trajectories were mundane — the observations from Earth were not.

If you happen to check how sensitive is the final parallax motion-stop to the F18 exact ending trajectory, the unknown plane direction, and both combined, this would be interesting to see.
I don't understand what you mean. Please tell me what you want me to try. I will say that everything is extremely sensitive to angular changes, to the point where translational changes don't have much effect.

Your comments have helped me fine-tune my script, so thanks for that. I encourage you to start the other thread as you had mentioned.

I don't think anyone is referring to the encounter as mundane. The glare rotation is unusual, as is the coincidence of a fleet of objects on radar (whether that was connected to the Gimbal object or not). It's unusual that it happened on the same day as GoFast. The encounter is non-mundane enough to be not only a legitimate unidentified aerial object, but one of the most notable of all time. Nothing mundane about that.

However, the object itself and what it was doing might be mundane. If it was at 10 NM and had a trajectory with some combination of accelerations in various directions, it's kind of weird that this combination sums to something that resembles, in the ATFLIR view, a more distant plane flying straight and level — the simplest trajectory there is. If you took the coming-to-a-stop 10 NM scenario, and reversed the sign on the acceleration so that it's speeding up, there's no corresponding straight & level trajectory, anywhere. Same with making it descend instead of climb, at least at the 10 NM distance.

This is very well put and I'm glad that you intend to present it that way, so that people can make up their mind on which scenario is more probable with all data in hand. I agree that it is also a coincidence that a straight leveled trajectory can be found behind the close-scenario trajectory. We would not have this discussion if not. I tried in Geogebra 3D, it's not too hard to find steady trajectory behind crossing LoS of a closer trajectory though. I think it will be super interesting to confrount your scenario to Ryan Graves, he and the pilots are the best person to judge if that could have happened. I hope Mick could setup an interview with him.

I don't understand what you mean. Please tell me what you want me to try. I will say that everything is extremely sensitive to angular changes, to the point where translational changes don't have much effect.
I would like to see how the clouds motion would have been at the end, if the F18 trajectory was shifted a couple degrees to the left or right, and with a slightly different orientation of the unknown plane direction.

Maybe I'm mistaken because I imagine the scene wrongly. What I got is that they saw a radar return (several in fact), and turned towards it to check it out. It's unclear to me if they had a return on the exact target direction, and aimed to close almost directly behind it like they did. They may have turned a bit more, or less, and arrive with the plane in their boresight (0 azimuth angle) under a different angle of view, with more parallax motion.

Also, do you think they derived their observation that the object stopped from the FLIR, or from the signal on radar ? If that comes from the FLIR, your scenario perfectly shows they could have been fooled. But then they say it reversed direction after the video stops, so it seems this observation was coming from another data (although I know this can hardly be discussed because this is data we don't have). This is a crazy case for sure.

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In that slightly different configuration of the objects alignment, the parallax speed of the unknown plan relative to background should be ~100 Knots. which corresponds to ~ 0.2 FOV/s.
F18 at 350 knots at an angle of 4⁰ has a horizontal speed component of 24.4 knots.
At 30 nm, the FOV of 0.35⁰ is 0.183 nm wide.
0.183 nm/24.4 knots = 0.0075 h per FOV, that's (×3600) 27s, or about 2 FOV/minute parallax ≈ 0.04 FOV/s.

8⁰ off results in twice the parallax, it's roughly proportional at small angles.

P.S. the biggest problem with your geogebra worksheet is that you compute parallax speed for the cloud distance, but the FOV window size for the F18-Gimbal distance.

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P.S. the biggest problem with your geogebra worksheet is that you compute parallax speed for the cloud distance, but the FOV window size for the F18-Gimbal distance.
Thanks for checking, I'll fix that.

Any small jet, I think, except for the single-engine Cirrus Vision, which is too slow (cruising speed 300 knots). It could also be a drone, although I don't know what their speeds are.
As I'm trying real hard to convince myself this is a plane, I found this chart : https://schweisshydraulicdoors.com/airplane-size-chart.php
It gives wingspans for a variety of planes.

Looking at the glare size for a 30Nm object:

Don't you think we should see at least a small signature of wings as the glare rotates and uncover what's behind ? Especially because we see the plane from above (the pod is looking down), so the wings are seen from an angle.

Do you propose that the plane is inside the glare all the time ? If yes that would suggest a plane with less than 25ft wingspan. That rules out a F18 for example.

I googled a bunch of the planes <25ft that are listed in the chart, what I see in Google images does not look like a plane I want to fly 400 Knots far from the coast. But I haven't tried them all. The possible wingspan + speed should help refine the list of possibilities for the type of plane.

This is a crazy case for sure.
You can say that again.

I threw together a scenario where the object follows the 10 NM line that I had created, to see the 3D shape of such a trajectory. Interestingly enough, it doesn't only come to a horizontal stop while accelerating vertically, it changes direction (something you can see if you squint back here). Here's a view of the trajectory looking directly from the side — the orange lines are the corners of the FOV frame:

So, it's rising and vertically accelerating while slowing down horizontally, and then it makes a vertical U-ey. Similar trajectories seem to occur closer than 10 NM.

This is increasingly resembling Ryan Graves' account — enough so that I'm starting to think he really was seeing the Gimbal object on the SA page. However, I'm highly skeptical that any object took this decelerating parabolic upward trajectory. It doesn't look like a physical trajectory. It looks more like a mathematical curve, or like what you'd see if you projected a straight line onto a curved surface.

So, here's a new hypothesis: System-integration failure. The various systems were collecting information on the Gimbal object, but the synthesis of this information failed — so, rather than placing the object where it actually was, it showed up on the SA page as being much closer, and taking the trajectory it would take if it were at that close range. Additionally the imaging was fragmented, resulting in the "fleet" of objects in an "imperfect wedge formation."

External Quote:
“The wedge formation was flying, let’s call it north, then they turned their return radius right into the other direction, which is how aircraft turn. We have to bite into the air. So they turn in the other direction and keep going. Meanwhile, the ‘Gimbal’ object that was following behind them suddenly stopped and waited for the wedge formation to pass. Then it tilted up like you can see in the clip, and that’s when my video cut out, but it just kept following the other five or six, doing like a racetrack pattern,” Graves stated, explaining what isn’t shown on the public “Gimbal” video.
Source: https://thedebrief.org/devices-of-unknown-origin-part-ii-interlopers-over-the-atlantic-ryan-graves/

Maybe the video cut out because the video system crashed. We've all seen graphics glitches immediately before a computer crash.

External Quote:
Electro-optical systems, like the ATFLIR, have become staple pieces of hardware in modern military aircraft. The systems are integrated with other sophisticated avionics, including radar, all in hopes of providing the modern warfighter with a superior degree of situational awareness.
(same source)

However, the systems were recently upgraded at the time of Gimbal and GoFast:

External Quote:

Initially, Graves says the appearance of these odd interlopers roughly coincided with the F/A-18’s upgrade to the AN/APG-79, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. “Sometimes you get reflections off clouds with older radars, so we were somewhat accustomed to seeing stuff on the radar that didn’t necessarily mean an object was actually there. The APG-79 wasn’t supposed to have this issue, but it was pretty new, so we just assumed at first this was a bug in the software,” said Graves.

Rather quickly, however, pilots began to realize whatever these radar returns were, they weren’t bugs in the system. “We started locking these things up as solid returns and then slaving the FLIR to it, meaning you’re seeing an IR [infrared] source. That’s when we realized this wasn’t necessarily some type of radar malfunction. There were physical objects out there.”
(same source)

So, maybe there were malfunctions and physical objects out there. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

Don't you think we should see at least a small signature of wings as the glare rotates and uncover what's behind ? Especially because we see the plane from above (the pod is looking down), so the wings are seen from an angle.
Maybe, but not necessarily. The wings could be the same temperature as the background and blend in. The background (I think) is space, the heat of which is also what the upper surface of the wings are reflecting. And with only 2° of incidence, we wouldn't see much of their upper surface at all. That's an interesting find, though, the slight lighter/darker areas where wings might be.

Do you propose that the plane is inside the glare all the time ? If yes that would suggest a plane with less than 25ft wingspan.
The wingspan of a Gulfstream II (popular with drug runners) is 77 feet. So, no, I don't think the wings are hidden inside the glare if it's any closer than 40–50 miles.

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@TheCholla I spent the afternoon setting up a parametrized version of the situation in Geogebra that can calculate the camera slew rate with respect to the clouds. The geogebra file is attached to this post, to download and open in Geogebra/geometry. Most parameters can be modified via the algebra view.

The F18 always starts at the origin; as a simplification I'm using a circular flight path with radius r=3.2 nm; in GIMBAL, the turn radius changes. F18speed=350/3600, that's 350 knots converted to nm/s. The UAP is initially (UAP0) placed at dUAP=29.8 nm with a bearing of 54⁰ from the F18, and it velocity vUAP is 380 knots heading 69⁰, which corresponds to @Edward Current 's scenario 5 with straight and level UAP trajectory.

Edit the above values to match a specific scenario, the rest is automatic.
All distances are in nautical miles (nm), times (t, arrow) are in seconds, speeds are in nm/s.

You can move both objects t seconds ahead via the t slider. This will update the azimuth of the UAP with respect to the F18, corresponding to the GIMBAL video HUD.

The velocity vectors vF18 and vUAP are calculated for 1 second; the displayed velocity arrows are scaled by the arrow slider, which is calibrated in seconds, to make them more visible. The headings of the F18 and the UAP are indicated as blue and red dashed lines.

The thicker dark green line is the sight line from the F18 to the UAP, with dotted lines to each side indicating the 0.35⁰ FOV. The thin green line is the sight line from the tip of the F18 arrow to the tip of the UAP arrow, i.e. it indicates what the sight line would be arrow seconds in the future if the F18 continued along its current heading. This gives you a way to examine how much the sight lines are going to diverge over time, from any F18 position.

Geogebra actually computes this divergence using a cloud bank at Clouddistance=120 nm (editable!) from the origin. It determines where the current and future sight lines intersect the clouds, computes the Slew angle of these points with the F18, and normalizes it by dividing by arrow to yield the indicated slew rate.

The s/FOV reading is just a simple conversion of the slew rate with a 0.35⁰ FOV. If you set the arrow time to be half that, you can see the future sightline exactly at the edge of the FOV.

I hope this is clear enough; have fun!

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@Mendel , you're the man ! Thanks a lot for taking the time to do this. This is so much better than my rushed schematic of yesterday.
Now I see more clearly that the radius of the circle does not affect so much the FOV/s close to 0 Az. It's just changing the time when it occurs.

As Edward said above, the real factor is not the F18 circle, more the UAP direction. Any UAP direction more or less perpendicular to a large circle drawn around the F18 will cause this slowdown of parallax motion when the F18 is doing a circle. So it's not an unlikely configuration, but not completely random either. It has to (loosely) follow a radial from a circle centered on the F18. Good to know!

As Edward said above, the real factor is not the F18 circle, more the UAP direction. Any UAP direction more or less perpendicular to a large circle drawn around the F18 will cause this slowdown of parallax motion when the F18 is doing a circle.
Yes.
Basically, you see this anytime you chase an object that's moving more or less away from you.

The thing is, when the UAP is moving sideways, it's no longer technically parallax. Parallax is an apparent movement of an object against its background that is due to the motion of the observer. When the motion against the background is due to the object actually moving, that's just regular motion.

Obviously both effects can be superimposed, but when the observer is moving towards the object, the parallax component of the effect is minimal.

I'm happy you enjoyed my Geogebra diagram! It was interesting to learn to set it up!

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Maybe, but not necessarily. The wings could be the same temperature as the background and blend in.
They don't need to be the same temperature, just a lot closer to it than the exhaust. Like in this video

At the start the glare is larger, but not large enough to cover the wings.

As the jet banks away, the glare size is reduced (as we see less and less of the hot internals of the engine). The exposure changes, and we see the wings (and the nearby trees) appear.

This is even more dramatic, in that you can only just see the right wing, the left wing is invisible. Glare size is less than 1/4 of the wingspan.

In Gimbal, we see the cloud details though. The image is not blurry like this one.

In Gimbal, we see the cloud details though. The image is not blurry like this one.
The clouds are far away.

You can say that again.

I threw together a scenario where the object follows the 10 NM line that I had created, to see the 3D shape of such a trajectory. Interestingly enough, it doesn't only come to a horizontal stop while accelerating vertically, it changes direction (something you can see if you squint back here). Here's a view of the trajectory looking directly from the side — the orange lines are the corners of the FOV frame:

View attachment 49753

So, it's rising and vertically accelerating while slowing down horizontally, and then it makes a vertical U-ey. Similar trajectories seem to occur closer than 10 NM.

This is increasingly resembling Ryan Graves' account — enough so that I'm starting to think he really was seeing the Gimbal object on the SA page. However, I'm highly skeptical that any object took this decelerating parabolic upward trajectory. It doesn't look like a physical trajectory. It looks more like a mathematical curve, or like what you'd see if you projected a straight line onto a curved surface.

So, here's a new hypothesis: System-integration failure. The various systems were collecting information on the Gimbal object, but the synthesis of this information failed — so, rather than placing the object where it actually was, it showed up on the SA page as being much closer, and taking the trajectory it would take if it were at that close range. Additionally the imaging was fragmented, resulting in the "fleet" of objects in an "imperfect wedge formation."

External Quote:
“The wedge formation was flying, let’s call it north, then they turned their return radius right into the other direction, which is how aircraft turn. We have to bite into the air. So they turn in the other direction and keep going. Meanwhile, the ‘Gimbal’ object that was following behind them suddenly stopped and waited for the wedge formation to pass. Then it tilted up like you can see in the clip, and that’s when my video cut out, but it just kept following the other five or six, doing like a racetrack pattern,” Graves stated, explaining what isn’t shown on the public “Gimbal” video.
Source: https://thedebrief.org/devices-of-unknown-origin-part-ii-interlopers-over-the-atlantic-ryan-graves/

Maybe the video cut out because the video system crashed. We've all seen graphics glitches immediately before a computer crash.

External Quote:
Electro-optical systems, like the ATFLIR, have become staple pieces of hardware in modern military aircraft. The systems are integrated with other sophisticated avionics, including radar, all in hopes of providing the modern warfighter with a superior degree of situational awareness.
(same source)

However, the systems were recently upgraded at the time of Gimbal and GoFast:

External Quote:

Initially, Graves says the appearance of these odd interlopers roughly coincided with the F/A-18’s upgrade to the AN/APG-79, active electronically scanned array (AESA) radars. “Sometimes you get reflections off clouds with older radars, so we were somewhat accustomed to seeing stuff on the radar that didn’t necessarily mean an object was actually there. The APG-79 wasn’t supposed to have this issue, but it was pretty new, so we just assumed at first this was a bug in the software,” said Graves.

Rather quickly, however, pilots began to realize whatever these radar returns were, they weren’t bugs in the system. “We started locking these things up as solid returns and then slaving the FLIR to it, meaning you’re seeing an IR [infrared] source. That’s when we realized this wasn’t necessarily some type of radar malfunction. There were physical objects out there.”
(same source)

So, maybe there were malfunctions and physical objects out there. Those two things are not mutually exclusive.

I listened to R. Grave interview again, it's fascinating :

Source: https://youtu.be/8R34a9_sRKQ?t=687

In several occasions, they saw the physical object behind the radar signals though. The "cube in a sphere" sounds like GoFast, cold and stationary. He explains they had a hard time to pick these things up, which may explain why the pilots are so excited when they lock on the target in GoFast.

As far as their system going to that level of failure in Gimbal, I imagine they would have investigated it, fixed it, and concluded on this video being the result of malfunction at this point. You don't go to war with instruments that mess up a target position to that extent. The glitch scenario takes quite a stretch. But it could be one on the list.

This is increasingly resembling Ryan Graves' account — enough so that I'm starting to think he really was seeing the Gimbal object on the SA page. However, I'm highly skeptical that any object took this decelerating parabolic upward trajectory. It doesn't look like a physical trajectory. It looks more like a mathematical curve, or like what you'd see if you projected a straight line onto a curved surface.

Don't say that too loud, or you're going to excite curiosity from the UFO community. What you say sound like a 4D object moving in a 3D space. Maybe you don't know it but you are making the first scientific study on the displacement of flying saucers

In several occasions, they saw the physical object behind the radar signals though.
As far as I know, the Gimbal object was never seen with the naked eye by anyone. I think he's talking about other encounters. In the other accounts he's given, he was looking at the Gimbal object on a different plane's avionics suite.

I imagine they would have investigated it, fixed it, and concluded on this video being the result of malfunction at this point.
But they didn't necessarily know it was a malfunction. It was just a weird, unexplainable encounter. Even if they did know it was a malfunction, there's still a weird-looking video of an unidentified object, and to this day no one knows where or what it was. Learning that the video was taken during a system malfunction doesn't identify the UAP.

Don't you think it's odd that (1) trajectories inside 10 NM correspond to Graves' description of what he saw, yet (2) these weird hook-shaped trajectories exactly flatten out to a straight & level trajectory at 3x the distance?

Don't you think it's odd that (1) trajectories inside 10 NM correspond to Graves' description of what he saw, yet (2) these weird hook-shaped trajectories exactly flatten out to a straight & level trajectory at 3x the distance?
These U-ey trajectories are assuming constant distance from the F18 right ? If it was in front of the LoS interesection, the object probably didn't stay at the same distance all along (we in fact see it grow in the video). It's hard to visualize without seeing you model, but isn't this just the fact that you project the straight distant trajectory on a moving vertical plane that stays at constant distance from the F18 ? So whatever this distance is it makes the same U-ey shape in the vertical plane ?

I just threw 4 points in Geogebra, without thinking about it, just so they represent crossing LoS of an object seen from above (that does not stay in the same altitude, P1 and P2 points). Behind the LoS of the "real" trajectory, there are multiple straight leveled trajectories.
https://www.geogebra.org/3d/v98vtuvt

EDIT : we see the same in GoFast, if we didn't have the range, pretty much any altitude can correspond to a straight leveled trajectory if you assume the object can go at high speed.

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These U-ey trajectories are assuming constant distance from the F18 right ? If it was in front of the LoS interesection, the object probably didn't stay at the same distance all along (we in fact see it grow in the video). It's hard to visualize without seeing you model, but isn't this just the fact that you project the straight distant trajectory on a moving vertical plane that stays at constant distance from the F18 ? So whatever this distance is it makes the same U-ey shape in the vertical plane ?
If the object takes an oblique trajectory, starting inside 10 NM and approaching the F-18, we still get “the hook” — just stretched out. It has a stronger vertical acceleration (a function of distance and approaching velocity), as well as a stronger horizontal acceleration (a tangent function of the trajectory angle). Top & side views:

I just threw 4 points in Geogebra, without thinking about it, just so they represent crossing LoS of an object seen from above (that does not stay in the same altitude, P1 and P2 points). Behind the LoS of the "real" trajectory, there are multiple straight leveled trajectories.
https://www.geogebra.org/3d/v98vtuvt
I don't think so. Closer than 29.8 NM, they bank to the left; farther away, they bank to the right. As for being level, that's a function of recession velocity. Your Geogebra model isn't constrained to the cloud motion, is it? This is why the simulation with clouds is useful!

(Edit: There are infinitely many straight & level solutions if we allow the object to accelerate. But that's not what I mean by "straight & level.")

EDIT : we see the same in GoFast, if we didn't have the range, pretty much any altitude can correspond to a straight leveled trajectory if you assume the object can go at high speed.
I'm not sure that's true. If I went back and constrained my GoFast model to the water motion*, I suspect we'd similarly find one straight & level solution, with the rest being banking solutions or with some other parameter that changes. It might be very subtle, though, because that scene is less angle-sensitive.

*This would be harder, because in GoFast there's no horizon or other obvious reference line. Still, I should try it. I'd bet \$100 that if close to the surface, the object would need to bank to stay in the middle of the picture.

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I agree the clouds are useful, but we don't know how they were that day. What height are your clouds, in each scenario ? Btw, do you plan on sharing your model at some point, so anybody can play with it ? I understand if not, just asking.

I agree the clouds are useful, but we don't know how they were that day.
They're more than useful, they're the only dataset that provides precision angular information, both laterally and vertically.

What height are your clouds, in each scenario ?
I discussed that here, in this thread.

Btw, do you plan on sharing your model at some point, so anybody can play with it ? I understand if not, just asking.
I linked it earlier in the thread, but all of the models and scenarios are here.

Don't you think it's odd that (1) trajectories inside 10 NM correspond to Graves' description of what he saw, yet (2) these weird hook-shaped trajectories exactly flatten out to a straight & level trajectory at 3x the distance?
The main point in considering (2) is looking for something normal: away from airports, out on the ocean, a plane going from point A to point B normally flies straight, level, and at constant speed. That's what we are probably going to see. It's also how I would expect flying saucers to move, when they're not taking off or landing.

The probability of a takeoff or landing to look like GIMBAL is very slim, in most of these scenarios I'd expect to see pronounced vertical movement.

It's when you add some constraints that the motion of the UAP becomes irregular and even "physically impossible". At this point, a scientist questions the constraint; maybe there has been an error, maybe the 10 nm referred to a different target that this crew is unaware of, who knows?
But our untrained everyday minds rarely work this way. We tend to not question what we "know", and instead look for a new explanation. Unusual or impossible movement for no discernible reason looks mystifying and alien, so it has to be un-natural and extraterrestrial.

These are really two modes of thinking. The second mode, that never falsifies and prefers to invent new and more complex explanations, is the mode that leads down rabbit holes of all sorts, even Q-shaped ones. It's the one that requires the least effort and is the most exciting, ergo the most rewarding. A UFO that accelerates doing hook-shaped maneuvers on the open sea is extraordinary and fun to think about.

A miscommunication over radio and an unknown aircraft plodding its straight and level course in the distance is drab and mundane by comparison. It's also much more likely to be real. The first mode of thinking leads to knowledge about how the world works.

Your Blender simulation can't rule out the UFO theory–nothing can. @TheCholla can go on thinking it's a UFO if they prefer.
But the simulation does give us constraints on what the ordinary, normal, probable explanation looks like, and shows very vividly that this scenario results in what we're seeing in GIMBAL.

Is this scenario unique? Yes. Are there many similar scenarios that would result in a similar video? Also yes. (e.g. we found out that turning to chase any absconding target results in background motion slowing down). It happens.

@Mendel , I'm going to be honest, I'd prefer it to be a UFO because it would open a whole new world of possibilities if such discovery was made. Yes, it's exciting. I don't get why you guys are so afraid of that possiblity.

That doesn't put me in the Qanon-type category (this is insulting). My line of thinking comes from the fact that I am modest about what I know, and respect what people who know better say. If random people were pushing these UFO stories, I would not pay attention. It all resides in the fact that it comes from intelligent, educated, down-to-earth people, who I consider credible (Navy fighter pilots). I was never very much interested in UFOs before hearing about these Navy reports. I think there are plenty of people like me, who got interested in that stuff because of this. So ok TTSA is full of crap, but I don't care about debunking them, I want to learn the truth (like many).

Your last sentence sounds very presomptuous, a tone I see often around here. You were not there, they were. Your model may work, but the data also fits with all of what they describe. At that point I would not jump on conclusions like you do. But that's just me.

Thanks @Edward Current for sharing the model.

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Yes, it's exciting. I don't get why you guys are so afraid of that possiblity.
I don't think anyone is "afraid".
That doesn't put me in the Qanon-type category (this is insulting).
QAnon is a very deep hole that you're not in, and I didn't mean to imply that you were; I'm sorry if I haven't made that sufficiently clear.

It's not a character flaw to want UFO sightings to be real.

They're more than useful, they're the only dataset that provides precision angular information, both laterally and vertically.
My concern is that you base all your reconstruction on the clouds, but we know very little about them except for what we see on the screen. You assume they are perfectly flat, but little relief in the clouds can make some difference on a 0.35FOV.

I played again with my 3D Gimbal model, that uses a precise reconstruction of the plane trajectory and LoS, using numbers of markus and others here.

I retrieve the climb of the object from mark 0'01 to 0'31 (300-500 ft). I retrieve a ~10-15% decrease in the object distance in the close scenario (that matches the change in size on the screen). I retrieve your straight trajectory further behind. I don't think we need clouds to retrieve your results, the geometry is enough to find it. I retrieve the plane speed of ~400 Knots further behind at 30Nm. This is for close to constant elevation of the two LoS (-2deg).

Now changing the elevation of one LoS by 0.12 degrees (1/3 of the FOV), makes big differences. You go from 380 Knots to 130 Knots one way, to more than 500 Knots the other way. Considering what we know about the clouds, I would put a big uncertainty interval around the plane speed you retrieve. Something like 380 knots +/- 200 Knots, easy.

Slight LoS changes do not affect the trajectory in front of the LoS so much.

That is to say, the plane speed is far from being a robust result.

https://www.geogebra.org/3d/qdu3cabd

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My concern is that you base all your reconstruction on the clouds, but we know very little about them except for what we see on the screen. You assume they are perfectly flat, but little relief in the clouds can make some difference on a 0.35FOV.
Some difference yes, but not much. If we significantly sloped the cloud bank (which is not something that marine layers do), it would just place the straight & level solution somewhere else. I can't emphasize this enough: Translational variations, like the cloud height changing over time, have little effect on the family of scenarios. There is always a straight & level solution somewhere around 30 NM.

I don't think we need clouds to retrieve your results
You can get results, just very coarse results. You're assuming a circular flight path? That's extremely crude. Today I'll put in a circular flight path and remove the cloud constraint so you can see what happens in the camera view.

I would put a big uncertainty interval around the plane speed you retrieve. Something like 380 knots +/- 200 Knots, easy.
The uncertainly in the speed of scenario 5 is about ±40 knots, all things considered, unless you entertain relative cloud movement (by differential wind) much greater than 100 knots, which isn't realistic. Or put the clouds several miles underground. Don't know where you get 200 knots.

You can get results, just very coarse results. You're assuming a circular flight path? That's extremely crude. Today I'll put in a circular flight path and remove the cloud constraint so you can see what happens in the camera view.
It's not what I'm doing. I use 4 points and 3 radius circles to estimate the trajectory. I use the trajectory from this 2D model, that I refined over last months using work from people here, especially you and Markus.
https://www.geogebra.org/m/p4zhvaaf

I think it is a pretty accurate representation of the LoS. In the 3D model I put these LoS on the F18 altitude plane, but the LoS can be moved along the vertical to match the elevation at PT1, PT2, PT3 and PT4. From the screen, we only know it's in between 1.6 and 2.4 deg (constant -2deg). The cloud tell us the elevation does not change so much because they stay in the FOV, ok. Now, look at the sensitivity to the parameters.

For a curved trajectory of Gimbal, that climbs a little, like you find :

I vary the elevation by 1/3 of FOV one way (from 1.82deg at PT1 to 1.93deg at PT4). Here is the plane trajectory further down at 30Nm :

Not aligned, and a speed of ~150 Knots

I tweak the elevation a bit to make it more constant, I get this :

More in line trajectory, speed of ~270 Knots

Now I move again the elevation by 1/3 FOV the other way :

Still in line plane trajectory, but much faster speed.

Hence my claim the results are very sensitive to the parameters for the distant plane trajectory.

The object is a bit more above the clouds at the end :

And we are not exactly sure about the cloud type. A marine layer happens when warm air flows above cool water, I don't think this is what we see here. I had discussed this in my thread about the meterological data on January 20,21 2015. There was no marine layer off the coast of Florida, only clouds that were associated with a low pressure system. There were higher altitude clouds in the area, up to 7000m, and those are more vertical than stratus clouds.

Your model is great but also has its uncertainties, it's difficult to have a 0.1 precision in the LoS elevation just by inferrring it from comparing clouds in the video, and a flat cloud surface in your software. My two cents.

Here is my new 3D model : https://www.geogebra.org/3d/wqmhfpdz

EDIT : the color/label of the points Plane2 and Plane3 were inverted, I fixed it.

Here's what the camera view looks like when I remove the cloud constraint. This is with a circular path. I hope you can see why models that aren't constrained to the cloud motion are crude and not helpful at this point. The angular precision the clouds provide is critical to getting results anywhere near accurate.

There were higher altitude clouds in the area, up to 7000m, and those are more vertical than stratus clouds.
The clouds cannot be higher than 15,250 feet or else they obscure the sky with the camera pointing down by the minimum elevation, 1.5°. This has all been covered in this thread. I don't know what you mean by higher clouds being more vertical — this is clearly a cloud layer that has a generally consistent altitude across several miles — but such translational variations have little effect.