# NYT: GIMBAL Video of U.S. Navy Jet Encounter with Unknown Object

But that doesn't explain extreme acceleration reported by pilots and ground staff.

There's none seen in this video. I'm looking at possible explanations for this video.

This video summarizes some of my posts above:

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Why does this UFO rotate? It might be that it's a airplane that's actually rotating, like a fighter jet going into a banked turn, or a flying saucer just ignoring gravity. But it might be something simpler, a rotation of the infrared glare around the engines.

We know that infrared glare can look very different to the actual plane, like here where an airbus A340 looks like a giant peanut.

We also know the Raytheon ATFLIR is housed behind a glass window that rotates on a gimbal system to keep the object in view. The actual camera is on another gimbal behind the window to keep it level.

So what if the occasional rotation of the window caused the glare to rotate?

I set up an experiment with an infrared camera pointing at light. I used a lightly smudged glass slide to simulate the window, and I rotated it in front of the camera.

The result is a saucer shaped flare, which rotates with the glass.

So while this doesn't prove the UFO it's just a distant plane with some infrared glare, it's certainly a possibility to consider.

However, notice that when the camera moves the object appears to rotate at the same time, with its long axis goring from tilting to the right to being perpendicular to the horizon. So the question there is is it:

1) Coincidentally object rotating at the same time as the camera movement
2) The object is actually rotating, which is what causes the camera to lose lock
3) The camera loses lock due to turbulence, and the change in camera causes a change in the shape of the IR flare.
The first rotation of the object happens at 49 seconds while the camera is locked with horizon and clouds baseline.

The first rotation of the object happens at 49 seconds while the camera is locked with horizon and clouds baseline.

That does not mean the outer gimbal isn't rotating.

Just from assembling pieces from this thread and a bit of searching, my take is this video was recorded as part of an operational evaluation for the new sensor pod, and not originally linked to any UFO sighting or incident at all.

1 - The ATFLIR was undergoing operational evaluations for several years, something like 2002-2006, so this video could have been brought to Luis Elizondo's attention when his program started in 2007. One source for testing in 2002-2003. With a notable quote:

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The first operational Boeing F/A-18E/Fs, due to deploy this week aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln, will be equipped with refurbished engineering development pods rather than production ATFLIRs.
2 - On the To The Stars Academy page with this video, it says it has the filename GIMBAL, and their writers speculate it was named for the object being filmed, and its strange rotations. Who named the video and when is not stated. TTS Page
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The filename “GIMBAL” seems to be traceable to the unusual maneuvering of the UAP.
3 - It is plausible that the video is a recording of one plane equipped with ATFLIR maintaining a lock on another plane throughout a banking turn, by use of the ATFLIR's gimbal stabilizers. Hence the name.

4 - Elizondo or others in his program did not know what they were looking at, and in their enthusiasm for UFOs decided this must be the hit they were looking for. This is speculation, but it made the news somehow.

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2 - On the To The Stars Academy page with this video, it says it has the filename GIMBAL, and their writers speculate it was named for the object being filmed, and its strange rotations. Who named the video and when is not stated. TTS Page
External Quote:
The filename “GIMBAL” seems to be traceable to the unusual maneuvering of the UAP.

Interesting that "GIMBAL" was the filename. My hypothesis is that the rotation is a visual artifact of the gimbal system. It seems a bit of a coincidence that the ATFLIR has a very obvious gimbal system, and this somehow reminded them of the movements of the gimbal.

Five Reasons to Be Skeptical about that New York Times UFO Story

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Scratch beneath the veneer of the borderline-sensationalist reporting and we’re left with many more head-scratching questions than answers.

The eyewitness account of former F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot David Fravor is certainly intriguing — and yet he wasn’t even a part of the original Timesstory, which focused on the money trail behind the UFO hunting effort and interviews with those who are “absolutely convinced” that aliens exist and that UFOs have visited Earth.

The Times story touched off a flurry of breathless reporting by media outlets around the world, most of which seem to have failed to notice that the Times’ original reporting has some major problems with it. Here are the five of the most glaring.

1. The Pentagon didn’t release those UFO videos, an official connected to a Las Vegas company who resigned in October did.

...

Good reasons to doubt.

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Five Reasons to Be Skeptical about that New York Times UFO Story

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1. The Pentagon didn’t release those UFO videos, an official connected to a Las Vegas company who resigned in October did.

What I don't get is how they managed to release this without higher ups telling them not to? They must have known the amount of interest it would garner by releasing these videos. It's a risky thing to do, regardless if it's real or fake. They also talk about strange exotic alloys. Bring it forward to the scientific community, bring openness. That's what I don't get, they have all this stuff, present the evidence. If you already let the cat out of a bag of a UFO being caught by government jets, showing a piece of round bar with exotic properties as proof isn't far from what is being claimed here.

There is a part of me that just refuses to believe it because it's not possible. Unfortunately cool stuff like that will never happen, and if it does it wont be in our life time. I think in the end it could be a metallic balloon, drone, birds, who knows, anything other than aliens, but again, I genuinely believe the pilots actually saw something, I will give them that. He says he physically saw it with his eyeballs. How do they explain that? Or the "fleet" they mention, or chasing these things, happened on several occasions, years apart, no? It's not one pilot or two, there are several of them saying what they saw, so at a minimum I believe they actually saw something, what that is I don't know.

What I don't get is how they managed to release this without higher ups telling them not to?

If the video was never actually classified, anyone with access to it could release it, without breaking any laws. I'm not 100% sure that's accurate, looking over this page. The question then is what designation the video had, which isn't actually known because the chain of custody documentation TTS claims to have is not publicly available.

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On the TTS website directly underneath the video we're discussing, it says the following:

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GIMBAL is the first of three US military videos of unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP) that has been through the official declassification review process of the United States government and has been approved for public release.
So we're not looking at something They didn't want us to see which Tom DeLonge obtained by some clandestine or illegal means in a Cosmic Watergate scenario, which is how he previously implied his fearless whistleblowing crusade would achieve its promised mind-blowing revelations. It's not even classified, and if anything on it was ever secret, those bits were cut out before anybody in Tom's crowd saw them. So if the remaining footage shows a heavily censored but still top secret encounter between the USAF and an alien spaceship, why would it be released at all?

What I'm thinking is that this is just a clip from some otherwise routine exercise cherry-picked because those 34 seconds can in isolation be interpreted as a flying saucer, though if we saw the unedited footage and/or knew what its original context was, it would become obvious that no extraterrestrials were involved. For which reason somebody has edited it.

Look at the way it starts after they've already locked onto the UFO. Why not show the plane approaching? Perhaps because from a different angle that thing isn't shaped the least bit like a flying saucer? And why does the video suddenly end just as the object starts to do anything other than fly in a straight line at a constant speed? Same reason, perhaps?

If Tom & Co. honestly think they've got a real video of Earth vs the flying saucers, why not publish every single frame? In particular, the American pilots presumably didn't chase that thing forever, so how did they lose it? Did it suddenly make a right-angle turn and zoom off at hypersonic speed? Or maybe it simply vanished into hyperspace? If this video showed anything like that, you guys would have a lot more trouble explaining it away as a misleading IR image or whatever!

Has it occurred to anyone to try and enhance the sound? Just before it ends, the dialogue can't be fully made out, but one pilot obviously says "That's not (inaudible) is it?", and the other one replies "It is (inaudible)". To my ears, that exchange sounds as though it could be Q: "That's not our own (inaudible) is it?" A: "It is our own (inaudible)". Even if I'm wrong about that, it does sound as though these two men have figured out what they're looking at, and it's very odd indeed that they're cut off the moment they start talking about it, and before they can clearly say what they think it is.

So has anyone here got some top-notch audio software they can run this through?

Has it occurred to anyone to try and enhance the sound? Just before it ends, the dialogue can't be fully made out, but one pilot obviously says "That's not (inaudible) is it?", and the other one replies "It is (inaudible)". To my ears, that exchange sounds as though it could be Q: "That's not our own (inaudible) is it?" A: "It is our own (inaudible)". Even if I'm wrong about that, it does sound as though these two men have figured out what they're looking at, and it's very odd indeed that they're cut off the moment they start talking about it, and before they can clearly say what they think it is.

So has anyone here got some top-notch audio software they can run this through?

Kinda sounds like
"That's not hailing us though is it? or "That's not L.O.S. though is it?"
"I do...they on us dude"
"well, if there's a..."
"...LOOK AT THAT THING!"

About the audio, this bit on Quora sounds reasonable.

https://www.quora.com/For-F-A-18-crews-regarding-the-UFO”-video-that-was-recently-released-I-seem-to-hear-them-mentioning-either-LNS-or-LMS-marked-as-unintelligible-in-the-transcript-What-that-might-be

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I believe the first pilot said “That’s not the L&S, is it?” to which the second pilot responded “That is the L&S, dude.”

The L&S, in Hornet parlance, is the “launch & steering” target, in other words, what the radar is pointed at. He’s asking if the radar and the FLIR are looking at the same thing (“correlated”), and the other pilot was confirming it.

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I believe the first pilot said “That’s not the L&S, is it?” to which the second pilot responded “That is the L&S, dude.”

The L&S, in Hornet parlance, is the “launch & steering” target, in other words, what the radar is pointed at. He’s asking if the radar and the FLIR are looking at the same thing (“correlated”), and the other pilot was confirming it.

That makes a lot of sense. I guess the "fleet" they saw on the radar and what they were seeing through the camera were connected after all.

That makes a lot of sense. I guess the "fleet" they saw on the radar and what they were seeing through the camera were connected after all.
It means one of them thought they were, assuming the audio interpretation is correct.

Thanks for that information. I have no knowledge of the jargon used by USAF pilots so I couldn't guess what they might be saying. Though oddly, neither could the folks at TTS, since although their video is subtitled, those words are given as (inaudible). Meaning that: A) They don't have a written transcript of the audio, so their file on the incident is very far from complete. B) They didn't think it was worth the effort to figure out trivial little details like what the witnesses to the most important thing ever were actually saying, even though the USAF is so large that people who at least understand their jargon aren't that hard to find.

As it turns out, the exact words probably don't matter. But if TTS are always going to be this lazy about doing any research at all before bunging their wondrous discoveries out there, things like this are worth checking. Those half-inaudible words could have been the solution to the whole mystery. They weren't, but next time they might be.

Since we don't know how the encounter began or ended, when and where it took place, and what the circumstances were, numerous explanations are possible, and only one of them involves space aliens. For example, if, as a previous poster suggests, the hi-tech sensor pod the pilots were using was brand new technology, those men may not have been up to speed yet with how the world looked through their fancy new scope, and misidentified something quite ordinary.

Or perhaps there was a weird glitch that sometimes made UFO-like objects appear on the screen, which has now been corrected. Since the context in which this clip was shot is still apparently classified but the clip itself is not, one possible explanation for it being a somewhat random bit of footage with no beginning or end is that it was selected to be shown to the engineers so that they could see exactly what the problem they were supposed to fix looked like.

Personally I think the clip is most consistent with this being footage of an exercise, possibly to test how effective the new sensors would be in combat. It would make sense for pilots to be sent up to look for an unspecified target, and for them to be distracted by decoys from a "hostile" played by one of their own aircraft, which would try to escape and would not of course be in radio contact with them. Decoys, particularly electronic countermeasures that show up on radar but don't physically exist, would be consistent with the airmen detecting "a whole fleet of them" but only seeing one. It sounds as if maybe they jumped to the conclusion that all the radar targets were real, and because there were so many of them they must be drones, therefore the fighter they were chasing, which looked odd on the IR screen but was actually identical to their own plane, was a state-of-the-art robot. Maybe they'd just seen Green Lantern.

All of which is pure conjecture. But in the absence of a great many important pieces of the puzzle, definitively proving or disproving any plausible theory is impossible. And explanations which, like mine, only involve things which are firmly established to exist are intrinsically far more plausible than those requiring extraterrestrial spacecraft.

In the audio, one of them says "It's rotating". Do we think that he was unaware of what engine glare looks like through FLIR?

Not necessarily. He may have meant 'The IR glare is rotating,' or 'The pod is rotating.'

In the audio, one of them says "It's rotating". Do we think that he was unaware of what engine glare looks like through FLIR?
Yes. It looks different depending on the condition of the the glass.

After more analysis I think it's probably a distant aircraft, as when the camera moves at 32;20 (32 seconds 20 frames, timecode from the NYT version of the video) the position of the object moves in sync with the far clouds, which tends to indicate it's part of the environment rather than
View attachment 30682
(Stabilized clip attached - nothe the abrupt clockwise snap is the video resetting to the start not an actual movement. The movement of interest is counter-clockwise, and coincides with the camera shake.)

However, notice that when the camera moves the object appears to rotate at the same time, with its long axis goring from tilting to the right to being perpendicular to the horizon. So the question there is is it:

1) Coincidentally object rotating at the same time as the camera movement
2) The object is actually rotating, which is what causes the camera to lose lock
3) The camera loses lock due to turbulence, and the change in camera causes a change in the shape of the IR flare.
Not only that, but the rate of rotation of the artifact matches that of the Gimbal system

Not only that, but the rate of rotation of the artifact matches that of the Gimbal system
What are you basing that on? The Raytheon sales video?

Yes. It looks different depending on the condition of the the glass.

So we're straight-up saying that we don't believe the pilot or WSO were familiar with what jet engines look like on FLIR.

What are you basing that on? The Raytheon sales video?
Yes, but it's more of a hunch. After posting this comment I noticed that the artifact video shows different rates of rotation. So there's no real clean comparison available.

Regardless of the above, what strikes me is that the artifact rotations and the vibrations of the camera system are precisely synchronous. There appears to be a direct correlation. The video should be sharp enough to measure both and plot on a time axis.

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Not necessarily. He may have meant 'The IR glare is rotating,' or 'The pod is rotating.'

Would the pilot have sounded surprised, and have provided quotes to the NYT about the 40ft tic tac, if he'd merely been talking about IR glare from a jet engine, or the FLIR pod rotating? Well no, of course not. It seems rather narrow then to consider the IR footage but without reference to the pilots who were chasing the object purportedly shown in it.

So we're straight-up saying that we don't believe the pilot or WSO were familiar with what jet engines look like on FLIR.
Would the pilot have sounded surprised, and have provided quotes to the NYT about the 40ft tic tac, if he'd merely been talking about IR glare from a jet engine, or the FLIR pod rotating? Well no, of course not. It seems rather narrow then to consider the IR footage but without reference to the pilots who were chasing the object purportedly shown in it.

The provenance of the gimbal video is unknown. There is no pilot testimony associated with it.

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The provenance of the gimbal video is unknown. There is no pilot testimony associated with it.

Ah yes, I see.

Fin
All of the discussion about whether they're talking about the flir pod rotating.. "LOOK AT THAT THING!" etc. That is of course assuming, am i correct, that we are hearing from 2 pilots in the same jet who are not looking at this object through their windscreen, but purely seeing this and commenting on it while viewing it on a TV screen? Aren't the tv displays in jets pretty small? I'm just trying to get more context here, from a total military layman/noob perspective. Thanks

Is this accurate? We're saying they're both watching one of these screens and misidentifying the rotation based on that?

All of the discussion about whether they're talking about the flir pod rotating.. "LOOK AT THAT THING!" etc. That is of course assuming, am i correct, that we are hearing from 2 pilots in the same jet who are not looking at this object through their windscreen, but purely seeing this and commenting on it while viewing it on a TV screen?

You can see the rotation on a cell phone.

Any idea how far away the thing is? Is range indicated? Seems like a sensible question - were they looking at it solely on the display, or was it also visible to the naked eye? There is reference to seeing a whole fleet of them on the ASA, or radar. We have 30s of FLIR, but were they using other sensors too?

Any idea how far away the thing is? Is range indicated? Seems like a sensible question - were they looking at it solely on the display, or was it also visible to the naked eye? There is reference to seeing a whole fleet of them on the ASA, or radar.
Again this is conflation with the Nimitz video. AFAIK, there is really nothing but the video from the "Gimbal event". It's not even clear if this was ever officially designated as an UFO incident.

The FLIR system does neither provide speed nor distance of the locked object.

Again this is conflation with the Nimitz video. AFAIK, there is really nothing but the video from the "Gimbal event". It's not even clear if this was ever officially designated as an UFO incident.

The FLIR system does neither provide speed nor distance of the locked object.

It is indeed the GIMBAL video that features chat between F-18 pilots/pilot and WSO. As the FLIR does not provide distance information, we don't know if the object was visible or not at the time the commentary goes "My gosh!" or "It's rotating". It would clearly weaken the assertion here that perceived object rotation was actually IR glare if they were observing it visually.

It is indeed the GIMBAL video that features chat between F-18 pilots/pilot and WSO
Right, I've missed that. Anyway, lacking any contextual information there are many possibilities, including the one that this material has been explained DOD-internally already. We just don't know.

You can see the rotation on a cell phone.
I'm totally aware of that. I'm not questioning whether its possible to see the rotation on a small screen. I'm asking is that the assumption we are making at this point; that they're commentating on what they're seeing on the screens rather than with the naked eye?

I'm totally aware of that. I'm not questioning whether its possible to see the rotation on a small screen. I'm asking is that the assumption we are making at this point; that they're commentating on what they're seeing on the screens rather than with the naked eye?

Given the poor quality of the image in the display it's likely that it's invisible to the naked eye. The ATFLIR system is designed with a powerful zoom to enable them to see things that are far away.

ATFLIR footage of a visible object would be more like:

Source: TGP footage of Syrian Su 22 shot down by USN F A 18E

It might be useful to get a more comprehensive explanation of the display overlay above, as the might be clues.

Useful Sources:
https://forums.vrsimulations.com/support/index.php/A/A_Forward_Looking_Infrared_(FLIR)
(A simulation, but based on a real system, not exactly the same)

Some are options that are "on" if they have a box around them like RTCL and DCLTR

Top Line:

OPR = Operational, i.e. it's switched ona nd working.
NAR = Narrow field of view. 1.5°
Z 2.0 = Zoom factor 2.0

IR = Infrared mode
54° L = Heading of camera relative to aircraft ground track. "Lookpoint Azimuth Indicator"
[RTCL] = Reticle on (boxed)
V = ???????

Right Side
SLAVE = OFF, "Trackfile Slaved Mode"
L+S = OFF, "Launch and Steering" slaved mode
BST = OFF Boresight slaved mode.

LST = Laser Spot Tracker (LST) OFF "The LST scans for and detects coded laser energy from outside sources, which can be converted into a designation for attack conversion and ordinance delivery." (i.e. someone else lights up the traget)
1688 = "Laser code. a tri-service PRF modulated, 4-digit code" - i.e what the LST is looking for
1688 = probably the same thing for the LTD/R
LTD/R = Laser Target Designator/Ranger (LTD/R) OFF "Provide automatic or manual laser designation and ranging data. With the LTD is it possible to create a designation and lase it from ownship completely autonomously, allowing delivery of laser-guided weapons completely autonomously."
UFC = Up Front Control (OFF, unboxed) when this is ON (boxed) the pilot can enter a new code for LST or LTD/R
G1 = ???
SETUP = ???

Bottom:

238 = Air speed in knots [UPDATE: This is calibrated airspeed. True airspeed is this times 1.45 at 25000 feet]
M Q.58 = Mach number
WHT = WHT or BLK color of "hot" in IR
5246 = Mission Time in minutes and seconds, sometimes followed by "A"??
25010 = Altitude in feet
B = ?????????
DCLTR = Declutter off (not boxed). If on then airspeed etc is not shown, to declutter the display.

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About the audio, this bit on Quora sounds reasonable.

https://www.quora.com/For-F-A-18-crews-regarding-the-UFO”-video-that-was-recently-released-I-seem-to-hear-them-mentioning-either-LNS-or-LMS-marked-as-unintelligible-in-the-transcript-What-that-might-be

External Quote:

I believe the first pilot said “That’s not the L&S, is it?” to which the second pilot responded “That is the L&S, dude.”

The L&S, in Hornet parlance, is the “launch & steering” target, in other words, what the radar is pointed at. He’s asking if the radar and the FLIR are looking at the same thing (“correlated”), and the other pilot was confirming it.

I only just noticed that "L+S" is on the display:

It is indeed the GIMBAL video that features chat between F-18 pilots/pilot and WSO. As the FLIR does not provide distance information, we don't know if the object was visible or not at the time the commentary goes "My gosh!" or "It's rotating". It would clearly weaken the assertion here that perceived object rotation was actually IR glare if they were observing it visually.

We can get the apparent size from the zoom level.

External Quote:
The Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) system provides three pilot-selectable fields of view (FOV): Wide field of view (WFOV), which is 6°x6°, medium field of view (MFOV), which is 3°x3°, and narrow field of view (NAR) which is 1.5°x1.5°. Each field of view can be further narrowed by up to 2x in 10 discrete steps.
We can see it is in narrow mode ("NAR") with 2x zoom level ("Z 2.0").

View angle: 0.75°x0.75°
View width: 464px
Object longest width: 42px
Percentage of view: 9.1%
Relative size of object: 0.069° or 4.1 arc minutes

20/20 vision is defined as being able to resolve 1 arc minute.

So to the naked eye this thing is a tiny dot, rotation would be barely observable and certainly not enough to cause such exclamation.

The indicator in the top left of the display "NAR / Z 2.0" indicates maximum magnification. NAR (Narrow) is a FOV of 1.5°, so with Z 2.0 (Zoom 2.0x) (probably digital zoom) that's an effective FOV of 0.75. (By comparison the 2000mm P900 mega zoom has a FOV of about 1.0°)

We can get some ballpark figures for distance from this. Let's say the target is about the size of an F/A-18 Hornet, 44 ft wingspan with a bit extra for IR flare, like 50 feet.

If the apparent long axis of the object is representative of the wingspan, then it's 64/1074 of the width of the image. i.e. 0.75°*64/1074 = 0.0447° (note: linear to angular conversion are fine for small angles)

So converting that to distance, tan(angle) = object size/object distance

50/tan(0.0447 degrees) = 64089 feet. (12 miles away).

Alternatively if it's actually a distant airliner with a 200 foot wingspan, and the "saucer" shape is actually flare, then the effective length on the long visual axis there would be more like 500 feet. Hence 120 miles away.

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We can get the apparent size from the zoom level.

External Quote:
The Advanced Targeting Forward Looking Infrared (ATFLIR) system provides three pilot-selectable fields of view (FOV): Wide field of view (WFOV), which is 6°x6°, medium field of view (MFOV), which is 3°x3°, and narrow field of view (NAR) which is 1.5°x1.5°. Each field of view can be further narrowed by up to 2x in 10 discrete steps.
We can see it is in narrow mode ("NAR") with 2x zoom level ("Z 2.0").

View angle: 0.75°x0.75°
View width: 464px
Object longest width: 42px
Percentage of view: 9.1%
Relative size of object: 0.069° or 4.1 arc minutes

20/20 vision is defined as being able to resolve 1 arc minute.

So to the naked eye this thing is a tiny dot, rotation would be barely observable and certainly not enough to cause such exclamation.

Ha, I was typing the exact same stuff simultaneously. I got a smaller angle though. I think your measurements are a bit off, as if I resize the image to 464px then the longest dimension of the apparent object is (generously) 34 pixels not 42.

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So to the naked eye this thing is a tiny dot, rotation would be barely observable and certainly not enough to cause such exclamation.

Here's an illustration of the type of thing we are looking at.

It was basically invisible to the naked eye.

The naked eye view was just with the viewfinder magnification the same as naked eye. It does not represent human eye FOV, just human eye magnification. At actual wide angle, it's more like:

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