# Go Fast - Balloon theory

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
There has been discussion recently on social media regarding the possibility of Go Fast being a balloon.
Supposedly Go Fast was at around 13k feet it's being said and 300 miles off the coast.
The 300 miles is from a quote by Graves who said they were about that far out doing a race track pattern around the carrier when the flight crew saw Gimbal.
Of course Go Fast was supposedly filmed 16 minutes lqater by the same crew. So should be a round the same area.

Here is the debate on the balloon theory.

Those saying it cant be a balloon have brought up the points below.

1) A balloon rises at around 2 m/s and if went out to 300 miles off shore, it would need to have been travelling at 540 mph horizontally to get to a point 300 miles off shore and only be at 13k feet alt (due to the 2 m/s ascension)

My contention to this is that a balloon can be released :

A) partially deflated and only reach 13k feet top alt
B) or the balloon may slowly deflate as it rises resulting in a slowing ascesion rate and a final top alt of 13k feet
C) or as it leaked it may have gone higher than 13k feet, and was seen at 300 miles out when it had descended to 13k feet

In either case ending up 300 miles off shore at 13k feet

Are my theories sound, or am I missing something here that makes it impossible for a balloon to be 300 miles off shore and at 13k feet?

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#### Mendel

##### Senior Member.
1) A balloon rises at around 2 m/s and if went out to 300 miles off shore, it would need to have been travelling at 540 mph horizontally to get to a point 300 miles off shore and only be at 13k feet alt (due to the 2 m/s ascension)

My contention to this is that a balloon can be released :
a balloon can be released off shore, the assumption that it must have been released on land is not proven

it could be as simple as a birthday party aboard a ship

the possibility that it was some Navy balloon, possibly released by a submarine or even a foreign nation, has been thoroughly examined in this article:
Article:
Are Some Of The UFOs Navy Pilots Are Encountering Actually Airborne Radar Reflectors?

Submarine-launched, radar reflector-toting balloons used to stimulate enemy air defenses can be traced back to a Cold War era Skunk Works program.

[...]

We have no idea if something like this was ever actually developed, but it is another good reminder that somewhat exotic applications for older technological concepts could result in capabilities that seem alien at first glance. And really, that is the beauty of these balloon concepts, they have a cover story built-in—they would appear somewhat out of this world to even a trained observer. Throw in an LED light and you are talking about something that can look extremely strange, especially to a fighter pilot moving past it at high speed. Its small size would also make it hard to spot in the first place and depending on its radar reflector configuration, it could exhibit a highly variable radar cross-section.

If anything else, a submarine-launched balloon system designed to catalyze clandestine electronic intelligence gathering is a remarkably creative, but obscure concept that existed nearly 60 years ago. Does it explain every aspect of every detail of every incident Navy personnel have described over the last 15 years? No. But nothing else does without jumping to some extremely reality-warping conclusions.

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
it could be as simple as a birthday party aboard a ship

Yes that's a good point also

#### DavidB66

##### Senior Member
Another argument I've seen, possibly from the same source, is that it can't be a weather balloon, because weather balloons are made of latex, and latex is (allegedly) transparent to IR radiation, and therefore wouldn't be picked up by an IR sensor like ATFLIR. In support of this they cite this video by Dave Falch which shows latex party balloons in IR, here:

At room temperature the balloons are almost invisible against a background of the floor, presumably at the same temperature. That's not surprising, as it's equivalent to showing a white object against a white background. More interestingly, Falch also shows a balloon he has been keeping in a fridge or freezer, which would therefore have a temperature around freezing. Ironically, this low-temp balloon is perfectly visible against the floor, but Falch insists that it is 'transparent' because his feet (relatively hot) are visible through it. Depending on your definition of transparent, this may be true, but the relevant question for videos like GOFAST is whether a cold balloon would be visible in IR against a warmer background (the sea), which by Falch's own evidence it clearly would. Falch does go on to say that his cold balloon is only visible 'for a very short period of time', but again that is hardly surprising, as once outside the fridge the cold balloon would warm up to ambient temperature. The same would not be true of a latex balloon floating at 13,000 feet.

I did also try a little home experiment of my own, using a rectangular piece of latex cut out of a kitchen glove, described by the manufacturer as made of 'superfine latex'. Dangling this between one of my hands and an IR source (a gas fire), I found it gave my hand good protection against the heat. Evidently the latex was absorbing IR radiation, confirmed by the fact that the latex itself became hot. (If trying this, don't hold the latex too close to the fire, as it may emit a horrible and lingering smell!) Any general proposition that latex is transparent to IR is apparently incorrect. However, I must admit that despite the description 'superfine', the latex I used was not very thin. I would estimate it at about 0.5 mm, on the basis that a double thickness was about 1 mm. This is no doubt a lot thicker than a party balloon, and probably also thicker than a weather balloon, though these do need to be relatively robust.

It would be nice to have direct IR observations of weather balloons, but on a cursory search I couldn't find any. Searching for 'weather balloon in infrared' I got a lot of results for IR observations taken from weather balloons, but none of the balloons themselves!

Of course, there are other balloons besides party and weather balloons. In a naval exercise area, these might include target balloons. I don't know if these would be thicker or thinner than weather balloons.

#### jarlrmai

##### Senior Member
If we accept that the range shown on the screen comes from a RADAR track then the object must present a decent RADAR target, if a balloon then possibly either a large Mylar one or one carrying a radar reflector.

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
Isn't it settled that the range in GoFast is an estimate from the ATFLIR, not from a slaved radar track?

When I asked Graves, he said that the FLIR generate its own range guesstimate that is very unreliable in air to air combat, only used in air to ground mode (geostationary targets). Precise ranging requires the built in laser to be fired, and this is not used in A/A environment as it is a safety hazard for pilots' eyes. Pretty sure he said so on Twitter or elsewhere too, can't find it.

My guess is that the range shows up in GoFast because the target is close to geostationary (as reconstructions have shown), but the algorithm is unable to estimate a range in Gimbal because the lines of sight don't intersect, hence no displayed range.

Regardless, in Gimbal they had the range from inboard/outboard radar tracks. GoFast we don't know but I don't see how they could catch a 2-feet object at 4Nm in the 0.7FOV, without having detected it on radar before (especially at night, if GoFast was shot 16 minutes before Gimbal). If they had GF on radar, they had its speed/trajectory too, so they must very well know if it's consistent with a balloon or not.

#### jarlrmai

##### Senior Member
Isn't it settled that the range in GoFast is an estimate from the ATFLIR, not from a slaved radar track?

When I asked Graves, he said that the FLIR generate its own range guesstimate that is very unreliable in air to air combat, only used in air to ground mode (geostationary targets). Precise ranging requires the built in laser to be fired, and this is not used in A/A environment as it is a safety hazard for pilots' eyes. Pretty sure he said so on Twitter or elsewhere too, can't find it.

My guess is that the range shows up in GoFast because the target is close to geostationary (as reconstructions have shown), but the algorithm is unable to estimate a range in Gimbal because the lines of sight don't intersect, hence no displayed range.

Regardless, in Gimbal they had the range from inboard/outboard radar tracks. GoFast we don't know but I don't see how they could catch a 2-feet object at 4Nm in the 0.7FOV, without having detected it on radar before (especially at night, if GoFast was shot 16 minutes before Gimbal). If they had GF on radar, they had its speed/trajectory too, so they must very well know if it's consistent with a balloon or not.
It's not settled at all, we have a whole thread on it.

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
A few thoughts about the balloon theory for GoFast, focusing on flight path only, and not if a balloon could be a few hundreds miles off the coast at 13000ft.

1) The early 3D reconstructions not accounting for the effect of wind, i.e. just based on Azimuth, Elevation angles, banking of the F-18, retrieve lines of sight that suggest the object was high and slow, ~30-50Kts at 13000ft, at the range given by the FLIR. Mick found this first, Edward Current too, me too more recently, others ,... The new reconstruction from Mick in Sitrec says the same with no wind. See below, the blue curve in the graph is speed of the object, the green curve in the sim is its path, blue curve is the F-18 path. At the given range, the object is around 13000ft, under 50 Kts.

2) Now if you look at the motion of the background ocean in this configuration, it's too slow. Something Edward noticed too in his own 3D simulation. And there is good evidence GoFast was filmed a few minutes before Gimbal, so there was a strong wind at the F-18 altitude (25000ft, 120 Kts to the West, if we trust the audio in Gimbal).

Adding wind in Sitrec (local wind=120Kts), allows to retrieve a speed of motion for the background more consistent with the video. The wind needs to be head-cross wind, this spreads out the lines of sight. Tailwind makes the motion of the background ocean even slower. The angle of motion helps to refine the wind direction, and it looks like the sweet spot is with a wind facing the F-18, at ~30-50° to its left. This is pretty much the default configuration in Sitrec now, so I guess Mick noticed this too. Note the background motion is still a bit too slow, tweaking the Az to "match the ocean" gets you closer (not shown here). Both Az and closing velocity (Vc) are consistent with the video, too.

In this configuration though, the object is not so slow anymore, it needs significant speed, more or less in the same direction as the wind (blue arrow in the screenshot below), at the given RNG range. At least 100Kts, and on January 20-21 2015, there was no such wind at 13000ft, it was more in the 30-50Kts range (verifiable here for example: https://earth.nullschool.net/). The green curve in the speed graph shows ground speed (intrinsic+wind speed, ~100 Kts). The blue curve shows the needed intrinsic speed (~50Kts), if the 13000 ft wind was 50Kts (in the same direction as at 25000 ft, there was probably a small difference in direction though).

This suggests that the object could not be a balloon, at least at the range given by the FLIR, because it needs intrinsic speed in addition with wind speed at 13000ft. As I mentioned in a post above, we've heard that the RNG given by the FLIR is likely not very reliable, so the object may be somewhere along these lines of sight. However we don't know how far off it could be. Regardless, I do not see any match for a balloon at any altitude in this configuration. Speeds are too high, or the object does not go with the wind direction.

Speculation now. Even though we need to account for the effect of wind to retrieve the correct lines of sight (i.e. trying to match the background motion, like Sitrec allows), the pod still "sees" the lines of sight with no wind. Wind does not affect the pod motion, only Az, Elevation, banking, pitch, does. So the pod sees a close-to-stationary object, and in fact in the no-wind configuration the lines of sight intersect, a bit below the given range, around 5.5Nm. So if the FLIR algorithm that estimates range is mostly made for ground targets, it is possible that the range pops up in GoFast, but not Gimbal, because the pod sees it as such. Like I said, speculation, but I have read others mention a similar idea, and it is possible given the convergence of the lines of sight and that the object may appear stationary or close, like a ground target would (building, a truck, for example).

This deserves to be explored further, but at this point the evidence points to the objet having intrinsic speed, which would rule out a balloon.
A bird would be more plausible in that sense, although I know this is debated too.

I think it's unlikely the WSO slewed the FLIR randomly in the dark and caught GoFast by pure luck (a 2-ft object in the 0.7 FOV). They had to see it on radar first to know where to look. So they probably knew the speed of the object. Something to consider too.

To see how the motion of the background ocean changes with wind:
https://www.metabunk.org/sitrec/?sitch=gofast

Another top view of the path with wind effect included. The path is a bit noisy because the lines of sight haven't been refined like for Gimbal-Sitrec, but it gives the big picture.

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#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
@dimebag2
"on January 20-21 2015, there was no such wind at 13000ft, it was more in the 30-50Kts range (verifiable here for example: https://earth.nullschool.net/)"

Where on that site does it mention the airspeed was 30-50Kts on that date? Having trouble finding that info. Can you screen grab it and post it

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
Here it is for January 20, 2015, 21:00 UTC (4pm local EST). If you go in "Control" and click on the calendar icon, you can choose the day. Then the time above.

I would have to look at other meteorological data that I don't have now, to see at which height each isobar was, but 700hPa should be around 10000ft. The wind was ~30Kts over the ocean off Jacksonville. 500 hPa is (in average) at 18000ft, wind is a bit higher with 50Kts max in the area. They are lower/upper bounds because 13000 ft was in between these two isobars. So 30-50Kts is a safe interval.

700 hPa

500 hPa

I checked, over the two days of January 20-21 2015, the max wind at 500 hPa (overestimate for 13000ft) is 60Kts, in the area of interest.

100Kts is a very strong wind at 13000ft, the jet stream is higher (and usually more to the north) than that.

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
@dimebag2
Correct me if I'm wrong, but from what you wrote before, you are saying the object if at 13k feet, needed to be travelling at 120Kts for the background ocean motion to appear like that.

Is that it?

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
No the F-18 needs to face a strong headwind or slight/moderate crosswind to match the background ocean motion.
It changes the lines of sight compared to if you neglect the effect of wind. Without wind the motion of the background is too slow.

From these new lines of sight, you can check what the object speed is at 13000ft, at the given range. It roughly goes with probable wind direction at 13000ft , but the speed is ~100Kts. Too fast for a balloon drifting in the wind.

#### Mick West

Staff member
I'm not planning on looking at this (or any of the Navy videos) again before the UAP report comes out, probably not until next year. But regarding Sitrec, I'm fairly sure the wind calculations are correct, but that "work in progress" text is there for good reason - as is my lack of making any videos based on the results. I'd strongly encourage that any such results be double-checked by at least ballparking them using a different method.

I think here, ultimately, the simulation needs to be driven by the motion of the ocean, particularly near the start (i.e., in the same way we match the cloud motion in Gimbal). Currently, this is not the case.

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
I'm not planning on looking at this (or any of the Navy videos) again before the UAP report comes out, probably not until next year. But regarding Sitrec, I'm fairly sure the wind calculations are correct, but that "work in progress" text is there for good reason - as is my lack of making any videos based on the results. I'd strongly encourage that any such results be double-checked by at least ballparking them using a different method.

I think here, ultimately, the simulation needs to be driven by the motion of the ocean, particularly near the start (i.e., in the same way we match the cloud motion in Gimbal). Currently, this is not the case.

Are you saying @dimebag2 is correct in saying there needs to be a 120Kts wind?

#### Mick West

Staff member
Are you saying @dimebag2 is correct in saying there needs to be a 120Kts wind?
No. I'm saying he needs to double-check. He could be right, or he might be using Sitrec incorrectly, or making some false assumption, or Sitrec itself might have issues. Since I'm not planning on spending any time on it for a while, I'm encouraging him to verify his work by finding the same answer using a different method (a common sanity check in engineering and math)

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
I don't see how Sitrec would be way off in the portion where the sim and video are close, in terms of background motion, Az, Vc. But yeah I plan on making my own model accounting for wind. Working on Gimbal for now.

What is clear to me is that the models not accounting for wind are somewhat off (mine included), the head-cross wind significantly impacts the lines of sight. The object is still high and not very fast at the displayed RNG, but to conclude it's a balloon (the topic of this thread) is more difficult.

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#### Nemon

##### New Member
I'm not planning on looking at this (or any of the Navy videos) again before the UAP report comes out
If I'm interpreting your statement correctly, are you suggesting that the report will plausibly eliminate or solve the issue of the Navy videos, so that any further study of them would be a waste of time? Or are your reasons more personal?

#### DavidB66

##### Senior Member
I'm probably missing something obvious, but what do we know about the speed of the F-18 itself, and how do we know it? I see that the Sitrec menu has an entry for 'TAS', which I take to mean 'True Air Speed'. The Gofast video itself shows (in the lower left corner) a figure 'M 0.61', which I took to mean 0.61 Mach, which according to online tables equals 468 mph, 753 kph, or 407 knots (but NB what assumptions do these make about altitude, etc?). [SEE 'ALTITUDE' BELOW] A simulation manual for ATFLIR [see link below] also describes this part of the screen as giving a 'calibrated airspeed and Mach number'. However, immediately above 'M 0.61' is the number '253' (varying slightly in the course of the video). This is obviously a long way from 0.61 Mach whether in mph, kph, or knots. The ground speed, or in this case speed over the surface of the sea, would be greater or less than the airspeed depending on whether the plane is flying with a tailwind or a headwind, but if the simulation manual is correct, the figure ought to show calibrated airspeed, not ground speed, so this does not seem to explain the discrepancy. What am I missing?

ALTITUDE: OK, it seems that Mach number needs to be significantly adjusted for altitude. It's complicated, but it does seem that a Mach number of 0.61 at 25,000 feet (the altitude of the F-18 in Gofast) corresponds to air speed of about 250 knots, which is consistent with the figure shown in the video. I'll leave this comment up in case it is still helpful to others.

[Here is the simulation manual I mentioned. It is somewhat different from the Gofast format, but I don't see what else the 'M' figure could refer to.]

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#### Mick West

Staff member
If I'm interpreting your statement correctly, are you suggesting that the report will plausibly eliminate or solve the issue of the Navy videos, so that any further study of them would be a waste of time? Or are your reasons more personal?
Article:
One of the videos, referred to as GoFast, appears to show an object moving at immense speed. But an analysis by the military says that is an illusion created by the angle of observation against water. According to Pentagon calculations, the object is moving only about 30 miles per hour.

Another video, known as Gimbal, shows an object that appears to be turning or spinning. Military officials now believe that is the optics of the classified image sensor, designed to help target weapons, make the object appear like it is moving in a strange way.

Article:
In the "Go Fast" video Navy pilots are heard exclaiming how fast an object is moving above the water. According to the U.S. official, the leading assessment from experts is that what the pilots saw on their video screens was actually an optical illusion of an object that was not moving very fast at all. The illusion was created by the angle and height at which the object was viewed by the sensors as it moved above the water.

The "gimbal" video taken in 2015 by a jet fighter crew that shows an object rotating in the clouds. The official says it's now believed that the object's strange movements and observed spinning was caused by the sensor aboard the plane that captured that image.

So I'm waiting to see.

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
Sanity check.
Reconstruction done in Python using wind, 120 Knots affecting the F-18, 45° left of the F-18 initial heading (same as the Sitrec example above). Every 10 frames, starting at frame 371 when lock is acquired. Using F-18 speed, banking, azimuth/elevation angles, range to the object displayed on the screen.

The blue vector shows wind direction, the pink curve is GoFast, the F-18 path is on the right of the lines of sight. The left side of the LOS is where they cross the ocean surface.

Top view

Corresponding ground speed (green) and air speed (blue) for the object, assuming the wind was 50Kts at 13000ft, roughly in the same direction as the object. Speeds are smoothed with a 10-point moving window (i.e., 100 frames smoothing).

Something very close to what I see in Sitrec, but retrieved completely independently. I didn't use any data shared on this forum. I used Sitrec to estimate wind direction though, since in the simulator we can see which direction gives the right angle of motion for the background.

So again, an object too fast to go with the wind in that configuration. The wind at 13000ft could not be 100 Knots.
Will need further investigation but I think concluding GoFast is a balloon does not fit the data/status of analyses at the moment.

An object flying at 50 Knots with a 50 Knots wind, maybe.
Nothing remotely close the what TTSA has claimed (2/3 speed of sound) at this range, I agree completely. Would have to be right above the ocean to go at that speed (450 Knots average speed near the surface).

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#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
Well, I'm not sure how much this means , but by the Gimbal video which allegedly was taken in the same rough area and time (within 30 minutes) , the wind was 120 knots to the west(if I heard right in the video) but at 25,000 feet.

I wonder if there is any info on what wind speed to expect at around 13k feet when it's 120 knots at 25k feet

Also, have we taken into account the possible speed of the motion of the ocean waves ? Rather than static ocean backdrop, has a motion speed for the ocean waves been accounted for?

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#### Ann K

##### Senior Member.
Also, have we taken into account the possible speed of the motion of the ocean waves ? Rather than static ocean backdrop, has a motion speed for the ocean waves been accounted for?
There's a formula for that which requires even more assumptions of unknown parameters, but this article mentions a typical ocean wave speed of 28mph.

Ocean waves behave differently depending on the depth of the water they have formed in. ‘Deep’ water is generally considered to be when the water has a depth larger than half a wavelength, which is usually the case in the open ocean. In deep water:

• The velocity of a wave through water determined by the wavelength
• Longer waves move faster
• Typical speed=28 mph
Content from External Source
https://www.azocleantech.com/article.aspx?ArticleID=227

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
Bring up the menu in the bottom left. Then hit the little calendar next to "Control". Looks like it only goes back to 2013.
Thanks very much for that

#### DavidB66

##### Senior Member
I wonder if there is any info on what wind speed to expect at around 13k feet when it's 120 knots at 25k feet
I found a Quora discussion with some theory, and a graph claiming to show average wind speeds at different altitudes. The average at 12000 feet is about 55 mph or ~50 knots. At 13000 feet it would be a bit higher. That would be consistent with Dimebag's assumption. But NB these are averages, and we know that wind speed can be higher than this even at sea level. I would also be skeptical of any mathematical formula for the relationship between wind speed at very different altitudes, because winds at different altitudes are not necessarily even in the same direction!

Quora discussion here:

https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-average-wind-speed-at-different-altitudes

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
Average wind means nothing, it depends on the location first, and the weather varies a lot in one location.

I've downloaded precise weather data for January 20 and 21 2015. Hourly data from one of the best global weather data reanalysis, ERA5. It's from the UK Met Office.
https://cds.climate.copernicus.eu/cdsapp#!/dataset/reanalysis-era5-pressure-levels?tab=overview

It gives the altitude of isobars (hectopascals hPa), so I can find what the wind was at a certain altitude. The closest isobar for 13000ft, off the Jacksonville area, is 600hPa (it's more 14000ft, but closest isobar available). For 25000ft, it's 400hPa (more 24000ft, but closest isobar available).

The max wind you'll find over these two days is Jan 21 8UTC, when there was the maximum upper-level wind in the Jacksonville area. It's 120 Knots and beyond at 30000ft, but more around 90-100Knots at 24000ft. Because it's hourly data, it's possible there was a peak at 120Knots when Gimbal/GoFast were shot. There is also data error, these are reanalyses and not direct measurements (but very reliable in general). Or the pilot is talking about the general upper-level wind this day, but I assume they have a precise local wind speed indicated in their instruments. Anyway, around Jan21 8UTC is my best guess for when these videos were shot, as far as having a strong 100-120Kts westerly wind at 25000ft off Jacksonville.

At 13000ft and the supposed altitude of GoFast, the wind was never over 40Kts. Again, you may have a wind burst here and there, but not to the point of reaching 100Kts for 30sec at that altitude. It's a lot.

Here is the wind speed at the two levels (GoFast and F-18), on Jan21 1UTC (would be 8pm local). Not very strong yet off Jacksonville (but already ~120 Knots at upper-levels >30K ft, not shown).

Now, Jan 21 8UTC (3am local, middle of the night). Now we see a band of strong wind over Jacksonville at 24000ft. The wind is still <40Kts at 14000ft.

Bottom line, GoFast going at 100Knots at 13000ft seems inconsistent with an object drifting in the wind.

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#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
@dimebag2

How do they know the wind speed at every location and altitude?

How is that measured to get that level of detail

#### dimebag2

##### Active Member
See file in attachment. It's state-of-the-art weather data, don't tell me you're going to dismiss it because you need your 100+ Knots wind at 13000ft. This is not serious.

#### Attachments

• ecmwf-fact-sheet-reanalysis.pdf
1.6 MB · Views: 13

#### Mendel

##### Senior Member.
How do they know the wind speed at every location and altitude?

How is that measured to get that level of detail
the short answer is that they're using a computer model of the kind that is also used for weather forecasts. It takes known measurements at certain places and times (including satellite observations) and computes what the weather must be like everywhere for it to behave as it is seen to behave.

So these wind speeds haven't been measured, they come out of a computer simulation of the weather, but one that matches the actual weather fairly closely.

#### jplaza

##### Active Member
For real measured data, the University of Wyoming keeps a database of atmospheric soundings at https://weather.uwyo.edu/upperair/sounding.html

For Jacksonville there are available two soundings on 21 JAN at 0UTC and 12UTC

https://weather.uwyo.edu/cgi-bin/sounding?region=naconf&TYPE=TEXT:LIST&YEAR=2015&MONTH=01&FROM=2100&TO=2200&STNM=72206

## 72206 JAX Jacksonville Intl Observations at 00Z 21 Jan 2015​

 PRESS (hPa) HGHT (m) DRCT (deg) SKNT (knot) 627.3 3962 245 21 384.5 7620 270 61

## 72206 JAX Jacksonville Intl Observations at 12Z 21 Jan 2015​

 PRESS (hPa) HGHT (m) DRCT (deg) SKNT (knot) 622.0 4036 295 32 385.8 7620 290 85
Content from External Source
NOAA also has a database of reanalysis data at https://psl.noaa.gov/data/gridded/data.ncep.reanalysis.html

One could crosscheck the reanalysis with the soundings to figure out how reliable the reanalysis can be.

Edited to add: wind plots from NOAA reanalysis, to compare with those of ERA5, at 00Z and 06Z (the closest available)

------------

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#### DavidB66

##### Senior Member
For Jacksonville there are available two soundings on 21 JAN at 0UTC and 12UTC
Are these soundings taken by weather balloons? Maybe with GPS location to determine speed? (I don't see the method stated in the linked documents, but I don't know how else direct measurements of speed could be made.) If so, it would confirm that weather balloons were present in the relevant area on the relevant date at the relevant altitude (around 4000 m). Just not moving at the speed of the Gofast object, if Dimebag's estimates of that are correct!

#### jplaza

##### Active Member
Are these soundings taken by weather balloons? Maybe with GPS location to determine speed? (I don't see the method stated in the linked documents, but I don't know how else direct measurements of speed could be made.) If so, it would confirm that weather balloons were present in the relevant area on the relevant date at the relevant altitude (around 4000 m). Just not moving at the speed of the Gofast object, if Dimebag's estimates of that are correct!
As I understand it, this website collects data from weather balloons launched from many different places, including airports (JAX).

As for how they measure the wind speed:
A radiosonde whose position is tracked as it ascends to give wind speed and direction information is called a rawinsonde ("radar wind -sonde").[2][3] Most radiosondes have radar reflectors and are technically rawinsondes. A radiosonde that is dropped from an airplane and falls, rather than being carried by a balloon is called a dropsonde. Radiosondes are an essential source of meteorological data, and hundreds are launched all over the world daily.
(...)
Modern radiosondes can use a variety of mechanisms for determining wind speed and direction, such as a radio direction finder or GPS.
Content from External Source

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#### DavidB66

##### Senior Member
As I understand it, this website collects data from weather balloons launched from many different places, including airports (JAX).
Thanks. Also noteworthy that

as in the Gofast case there is an issue about how the object was first detected, and where the range (RNG) data on the screen comes from. Even if the object didn't have a purpose-built radar reflector, a balloon with a payload of instruments would likely have some radar profile.

Of course this doesn't exclude other possibilities, whether mundane or not.

#### jplaza

##### Active Member
Thanks. Also noteworthy that

as in the Gofast case there is an issue about how the object was first detected, and where the range (RNG) data on the screen comes from. Even if the object didn't have a purpose-built radar reflector, a balloon with a payload of instruments would likely have some radar profile.

Of course this doesn't exclude other possibilities, whether mundane or not.
Jacksonville is in time zone UTC-5. So the sounding on 21 Jan 0z is 20 Jan 7pm in Florida.

As for the 12z sounding, it would be 7 am, just at sunrise with already some light.

In remember Graves said for Gimball, they were returning from a night exercise, I think he mentioned before sunrise, but I am not sure now.

Also, the balloon would be deployed from land, and we don't know how far off the coast the fighter was. The wind would of course take it east into the ocean, but how much?

And it would ascend higher than 13000 ft. Would it ascend at 13000ft with such a slow rate that wouldn't be noticed for roughly 30 seconds?

Could the 12z weather balloon be the Go Fast object? I doubt it, but I don't know.

#### jackfrostvc

##### Senior Member
I'm not planning on looking at this (or any of the Navy videos) again before the UAP report comes out, probably not until next year. But regarding Sitrec, I'm fairly sure the wind calculations are correct, but that "work in progress" text is there for good reason - as is my lack of making any videos based on the results. I'd strongly encourage that any such results be double-checked by at least ballparking them using a different method.

I think here, ultimately, the simulation needs to be driven by the motion of the ocean, particularly near the start (i.e., in the same way we match the cloud motion in Gimbal). Currently, this is not the case.

Now that the UAP report is out, would be nice to see your current take on this in regards to possible alt and speed of the go fast object.