Peings and von Rennenkampff: Reconstruction of Potential Flight Paths for the January 2015 “Gimbal” UAP

Mick West

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Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WsbMIm9QtEA


Abstract:
The “Gimbal” video is arguably the most recognizable publicly-available footage of unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP). Recorded in January 2015 off the coast of Jacksonville, Florida, by a U.S. Navy F/A-18F Super Hornet’s AN/ASQ-228 ATFLIR targeting pod, the video shows an infrared-significant object skimming over clouds. Towards the end of the 34-second clip, the object appears to stop and rotate in mid-air. Naval aviators who participated in the event indicate that: (1) The UAP was within 10 nautical miles of the F/A-18F, (2) that, from the perspective of the aircrew’s top-down radar display, it was seen to stop and reverse direction with no radius of turn, and (3) that the UAP was accompanied by a formation of 4-6 other objects. Using data from the ATFLIR video, it is possible to reconstruct potential flight paths for the object as a function of distance. We show that, at the range provided by the aviators, potential flight paths align with eyewitness accounts: The object decelerates from a few hundred knots before rapidly reversing direction in a “vertical U-turn”. Such a maneuver would have been observed on the overhead radar display as an abrupt reversal of direction with no radius of turn. The highly anomalous flight path found at the range provided by the aircrew, along with the remarkable match between the reconstructed flight path, eyewitness recollections, and the object’s rotation, raises intriguing questions about the nature of the object. This is especially the case because, at this distance, no wings or infrared signatures consistent with conventional means of propulsion (e.g., an exhaust plume in the direction of flight) are visible. An alternative hypothesis, which proposes that Gimbal shows infrared “glare” from the exhaust of a conventional jet aircraft viewed approximately tail-on 30 nautical miles from the F/A-18F, is also discussed. According to this theory, the rotation observed in the video is an artifact of the ATFLIR targeting pod. Our goal is to provide an overview of analyses of the Gimbal encounter conducted by private citizens. We encourage aeronautics/aerospace experts to provide feedback so that a better understanding of the Gimbal UAP may be achieved.
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Conclusion:
Three-dimensional geometric reconstructions of the Gimbal UAP event include solutions that match witness descriptions of a highly anomalous flight path. At the range provided by witnesses (i.e., within 10 nautical miles from the F/A-18F), geometrical reconstructions show that the Gimbal object must stop and reverse direction along the vertical, in what is best described as a “vertical U-turn.” This explains the brief stop and the absence of radius of turn observed on the aircrew’s situational awareness (SA) radar display. The vertical U-turn also coincides with the long, continuous rotation of the object observed in the FLIR video. Including the effect of wind is critical and helps explain why the stop on the SA page was observed just before the rotation in the infrared video. Of course, the solution we highlight here depends on the accuracy of the provided radar range (< 10 Nm), which is not available to us. Although we depend on (high confidence) witness testimony for that aspect of the data, the match between the reconstructed trajectories, witness accounts, and what is observed in the video is remarkable.

Although uncertainties in several parameters limit a precise assessment of the speed and maneuvers of the object, our results support that the Gimbal object exhibited anomalous flight characteristics. An ability to maintain low speed at high altitude, without apparent (large) wings to compensate for low air density at altitude, and the ability to reverse direction in the vertical are two perplexing features. For example, a fighter jet requires several thousand feet to conduct such a direction reversal in the vertical. The Gimbal object, however, executes this maneuver in only a few hundred feet. The absence of an exhaust plume or other tell-tale signs of propellant/powered flight in the direction of motion raises additional questions about the nature of the object. Overall, this makes identification of the object difficult. An advanced drone may have the ability to make sharp maneuvers, but the range of velocities, lack of wings (especially in conjunction with the high altitude), remote location, and odd IR signature raise doubts about the plausibility of this explanation. At the same time, in the 0.35° field of view and at the 8 Nm range provided by witnesses, the object’s infrared signature is approximately 15-20 feet along its longest axis. This suggests that the Gimbal object is markedly smaller than any conventional aircraft. Ultimately, however, the purpose of this study is to point out potential flight paths for the Gimbal object that align with witness accounts. Identifying the object is beyond our expertise.

While it has been suggested that the Gimbal UAP is simply a case of sensor-induced optical illusion and aircrew error, it is our opinion that this hypothesis does not fit the data. Even if we consider that the apparent rotation in the Gimbal video is caused by the roll of the ATFLIR pod, the context plus agreement between 3-D reconstructions and witness accounts suggest there is much more to this event than simply a distant plane locked by error, coupled with an unusual “glare” in the optics. Clearly, there is a link between what was observed on radar and the object in the FLIR, given how the reconstructed close paths align with what the aircrew saw on the situational awareness (radar) display. This means that if a distant plane was involved, the radar data was either erroneous or tampered with; both scenarios that are far beyond a simple and mundane misidentification by the aircrew. In sum, our opinion is that the evidence available to us points to a more straightforward scenario requiring fewer low-probability assumptions (i.e., the object was within 10 Nm of the F/A-18F and followed an anomalous flight path).

Through this work, we seek a more organized and transparent effort to investigate this case, to include experts from the aeronautics, engineering, and defense sectors. Moreover, if the Department of Defense still retains it, the public disclosure of radar data from this event would be extremely beneficial. If not in original format (e.g., due to classification restrictions), an official Department of Defense communication of the object’s approximate range to the F/A-18F would suffice. As we have shown in this work, range is critical to refining potential flight paths. Dissemination of such information would go a long way in gaining a better understanding of the Gimbal incident. Of note, it is plausible that the F/A-18F WSO and/or pilot involved in the event may ultimately speak publicly. Such commentary would likely assist greatly in evaluating the plausibility of different scenarios. We look forward to any feedback these individuals may have on this study and will update the results with relevant information that may be released in the future.

Gimbal is a fascinating case, especially since it occurred amid daily, years-long observations of anomalous objects in tightly controlled training ranges [1]. Accurately characterizing the UAP observed by naval aviators off the U.S. East Coast is a matter of national security, aviation safety, and, based on the findings of this paper, possibly novel scientific knowledge. By raising awareness of the Gimbal incident in the aerospace and broader technical communities, it is our hope that this study will catalyze further interest and engagement in this case, and UAP more broadly.
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The argument here is not especially new, Yannick prefers the close path, as it seems to make more sense in the context of the second-hand eyewitness accounts. It does not make any physical sense, and yet they deem this "anomalous" path to be "a more straightforward scenario", which seems a backwards application of Occam's razor as it requires a physically bizarre craft instead of the much more actually straightforward distant path.

Given that the paper was presented (see video) at Ryan Grave's segment of the AIAA conference, it will get some attention. UAP enthusiasts will prefer the anomalous interpretation, rightly or wrongly, so it deserves some technical review and response. I start this thread as a discussion along those lines. Given the known complexity of the case (we've been discussing it since 2017), it might take a while.
 

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The vertical U-turn also coincides with the long, continuous rotation of the object observed in the FLIR video.
Including the bumps, then?
The rotation is 100% an ATFLIR artifact, it's not evidence of anything else.

Although uncertainties in several parameters limit a precise assessment of the speed and maneuvers of the object, our results support that the Gimbal object exhibited anomalous flight characteristics. An ability to maintain low speed at high altitude, without apparent (large) wings to compensate for low air density at altitude, and the ability to reverse direction in the vertical are two perplexing features. For example, a fighter jet requires several thousand feet to conduct such a direction reversal in the vertical. The Gimbal object, however, executes this maneuver in only a few hundred feet. The absence of an exhaust plume or other tell-tale signs of propellant/powered flight in the direction of motion raises additional questions about the nature of the object. Overall, this makes identification of the object difficult. An advanced drone may have the ability to make sharp maneuvers, but the range of velocities, lack of wings (especially in conjunction with the high altitude), remote location, and odd IR signature raise doubts about the plausibility of this explanation. At the same time, in the 0.35° field of view and at the 8 Nm range provided by witnesses, the object’s infrared signature is approximately 15-20 feet along its longest axis. This suggests that the Gimbal object is markedly smaller than any conventional aircraft. Ultimately, however, the purpose of this study is to point out potential flight paths for the Gimbal object that align with witness accounts. Identifying the object is beyond our expertise.
This is a well-reasoned argument for the idea that the range could not have been under 10 nm.

The radar data would only corroborate the video if it could be shown that the radar object is identical to the ATFLIR object, but we don't know that.
If the aircrew sensibly (but erroneously) thought it was, that would lead them to describe the encounter as they did, because they saw and interpreted that radar display.
 
In my opinion it's pointless arguing it. it doesn't matter what is said, they don't even need evidence I am not even sure why the Navy videos are even slightly relevant now, what is a few blurry videos now that Grusch has confirmed the US has several recovered craft and bodies etc and they (NHI/Aliens) killed people etc.

The only thing that might even slightly be worthwhile past what we've already done is if Congress said to Boeing/Raytheon forget your NDA and secrecy on the ATFLIR / F18 hardware, put your best test pilots and engineers on analysing this video publically and in as much detail as possible you have full access to Naval aviators and whatever money you need to try and recreate it will be supplied and don't worry about what the Chinese/Russians get from it.
 
In my opinion it's pointless arguing it.
The problem is that if this paper is left entirely unaddressed, then it's far easier to assume its conclusions are correct. I think at the least it needs a clearer explanation of why the "anomalous" path being considered the simplest explanation is a fallacy - along with explaining any errors in the paper.

No rush though.
 
What is meant by a vertical U - turn?
Is it their conjecture that it started to fly back towards the FA/18?

If that's the case, wouldn't appear to be closing in and becoming bigger on screen
 
The problem is that if this paper is left entirely unaddressed, then it's far easier to assume its conclusions are correct. I think at the least it needs a clearer explanation of why the "anomalous" path being considered the simplest explanation is a fallacy - along with explaining any errors in the paper.
Well, given @Edward Current 's work, the conclusion is somewhat correct:
IF the range is 8nm, THEN the flight path is a vertical hook.
I don't think we can dispute that.

But the assumption, that the distance really was that close, is shaky.
IF the range is 30 nm, THEN the flight path is straight and regular, like an airliner.

So the argument boils down to, which range is more likely?
• in favor of 8nm is the witness account of some radar targets at that range (but most of them were not spotted)
• in favor of 30nm is that it resolves to a flight path that doesn't strain physics

Would you rather believe in human error in the heat of the moment, or an upset of physics at a scale that has been settled for over a century? Because either the radar identification is wrong, or classic physics is.

In my opinion, the "simplest" explanation is the one involving human error—there's ample precedent—and not the one involving alien physics.
 
The problem is that if this paper is left entirely unaddressed, then it's far easier to assume its conclusions are correct. I think at the least it needs a clearer explanation of why the "anomalous" path being considered the simplest explanation is a fallacy - along with explaining any errors in the paper.

No rush though.

The main fallacy is 'scienciness' masquerading as science. It has two main components:

(1) Summarily dismissing Mick's ATFLIR camera rotation and behaviour analysis (including bumps) rather than refuting it point-by-point (with rigour) as inadequately accounting for all the 'flight characteristics' regarded anomalous.

(2) Putting too much stock on anecdotes because they originate from honest people and credentialed pilots / military personnel.
 
So the argument boils down to, which range is more likely?
• in favor of 8nm is the witness account of some radar targets at that range (but most of them were not spotted)
• in favor of 30nm is that it resolves to a flight path that doesn't strain physics

Just had a quick look at the paper. Their argument against the straight trajectory seems to be that the object has to accelerate:

Figure A7. Potential flight path at about 30 Nm from the F/A-18F, where fairly straight and leveled flight path solutions exist. The altitude is set constant to 18,700ft to simulate a leveled flight path at 30Nm. This is very consistent with the Sitrec simulator. In this configuration, however, we do not find a steady speed for the object (i.e.,it needs to accelerate from 300 to 450 kts)
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Is that acceleration also needed in Sitrec, or @Edward Current calculations? I don't have the time now to review what was said back then, sorry.
 
Is that acceleration also needed in Sitrec, or @Edward Current calculations? I don't have the time now to review what was said back then, sorry.
There's no acceleration in my 30NM scenario. In Sitrec, the 30NM scenario takes a very slight S-curve, but otherwise does not accelerate. In the 10NM scenario there is dramatic acceleration both horizontally and vertically, in fact, there is a near-continuous jerk (change in acceleration). Is it not explained how this 300–450 knot acceleration at 30NM was determined? Do they not find jerk in the 10NM scenario?
 
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There's no acceleration in my 30NM scenario. In Sitrec, the 30NM scenario takes a very slight S-curve, but otherwise does not accelerate. In the 10NM scenario there is dramatic acceleration both horizontally and vertically, in fact, there is a near-continuous jerk (change in acceleration). Is it not explained how this 300–450 knot acceleration at 30NM was determined? Do they not find jerk in the 10NM scenario?
Thanks, so that means there is a straight-line, constant-velocity, nothing-abnormal scenario that they were not able to find.
 
Just had a quick look at the paper. Their argument against the straight trajectory seems to be that the object has to accelerate:

Figure A7. Potential flight path at about 30 Nm from the F/A-18F, where fairly straight and leveled flight path solutions exist. The altitude is set constant to 18,700ft to simulate a leveled flight path at 30Nm. This is very consistent with the Sitrec simulator. In this configuration, however, we do not find a steady speed for the object (i.e.,it needs to accelerate from 300 to 450 kts)
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Is that acceleration also needed in Sitrec, or @Edward Current calculations? I don't have the time now to review what was said back then, sorry.

It's pretty misleading, or misunderstanding.

The lines of sight can be traversed in Sitrec using a variety of algorithms and settings:
2023-06-15_16-22-16.jpg
What they seem to have done is set the algorithm to "Constant Altitude" and the "Target Wind" to the same as local wind (i.e. 120 knots from 270*) That give airspeed (blue) and groundspeed (green), like:

2023-06-15_16-25-35.jpg
But if you go with constant air speed, you get:
2023-06-15_16-27-08.jpg
i.e. no acceleration due to the air mass, and STILL with very little change in altitude.

Both of these traversals are quite simplistic - holding one thing constant when going from LOS to LOS. Error can quickly compound, and I think it's quite likely that much more optimal (and realistic) paths can be found using a genetic algorithm that allows for a variety of slack, in the form of error bounds for the lines of sight.

As it stands the acceleration "needed" is really a reflection of the sensitivity of the traversal to a hard lock on altitude - which essentially boils down to very shallow angles - a very small vertical change in a LOS can result in a disproportionately large horizontal movement required to maintain constant altitude. More realistically a path would be found that optimizes BOTH altitude and velocity change minimization.

There's also a variety of other sources of errors. In Aguadilla this was handled somewhat by having a manually edited spline for the LOS, which allowed for manual optimization (which again, makes it more realistic, as simple constraints are artificial). I had hoped to automate this more generally, but life got in the way.

Now I guess I'll give it another go.
 
And to expand on that - the "straight line" traversal is the ultimate artificial path. All it does is plot the intersections of the lines of sight and a vertical plane. This leads to a path that's a straight line when viewed from above. There's no physical correlation with the tilt, nor is there any plausible physical reason why it would be moving along such an artificial path - unless it knew exactly what the plane was doing AND where the ATFLIR was looking (@Edward Current has made similar observations years ago).

You have to force the path, as there's no other way of getting there. It's what we'd call in coding a "patch" or "fudge" - essentially forcing the code to give the correct answer when the actual algorithm disagrees with what you expect.
 
You mean the 8nm flight path?
10NM, which is basically the same thing.

By "straight line traversal", I mean setting the LOS traversal type to be "Straight Line". Obviously if that's what you pick, then a straight line is going to be the result. The subsequent correlation with "eyewitness" accounts is incredibly tenuous.

What's much more significant is that when you put in "constant speed" and 30NM, then a fairly straight path, at fairly level altitude emerges.
 
You have to force the path, as there's no other way of getting there. It's what we'd call in coding a "patch" or "fudge" - essentially forcing the code to give the correct answer when the actual algorithm disagrees with what you expect.
It's a classic case of "overfitting" - where you use too many parameters of your own selection in order to describe a phenomenon, and then use that contrived curve to extrapolate.

My favourite case, a deliberately pedagogical one, of overfitting - let's model the trajectory of US population over time:
- 2 parameters, p=a.t+b, linear => population increases
- 3 parameters, p=a.t^2+b.t+c, quadratic => population increases, at an increasing rate
- 7 parameters, ..., sextic =>

(via: https://www.mathworks.com/help/curv...nid=30294133b4b7544539dceeadb0bb#zmw57dd0e115 )
Good luck guys - make the most of it!

It's pretty much a corollary to Ockham's Razer, the less contrivance in the inputs of your own choosing you need in order to get a decent model of what the data shows, the better.
 
A few thoughts:

The difficulty in arguing against this is the insistence that pilots' testimony is infallible. There's a lot of "sciency" stuff in the paper and the presentation but it's stil founded on pilot testimony.

A key element of their case appears to be the air crew statement that it was going "against the wind." That is then taken as a fact and the wind direction plotted. The direction of the object is a straight line based on the wind direction.

There's also mention of Ryan Graves "God's-eye view" but I didn't see any evidence to show where Grave's plane was in relation to the observing F-18 or the "object" which should be a key piece of evidence. As with the "against the wind" statement it's pilot anecdote.

At about 1:51 in the presentation they show two redacted versions of a document with bullet pointed extracts. I combined the extracts (pdf and word file attached) and interestingly they have inserted the word "radar" into two bullet points (5 and 7) where it is not included in the redacted extract.

Point five "stable [radar] trackfile" does not refer to radar in the redacted document. The text reads:

"With a stable track file, the two aircrew determined that it was not “false hit” and they were able to gain a lock via the [missing text]." What is the missing text?

As I understand it (from YouTube of course) the ATFLIR has two ways of finding a target in air-to-air mode. Either visual or using radar.

Were they scanning the view ahead and found something on the screen or did they have a radar signal and lock the ATFLIR onto that?

Their point four: "Air contact coming from the east" is actually "air contact via [missing text] coming from the east and heading towards the ship" which I assume included the source of the air contact - radar? visual on the ATFLIR display?.

It seems fundamental as the radar contact would go a long way to proving their case, particularly point 7 "Range derived from radar" which does not appear anywhere in the redacted documents. The reference they give in the document for this claim is "Because this event took place at night, [missing text] being used and the closest point of intercept being approximately [missing text], [missing text] with the craft(s) was never made." No mention of range being derived from radar.

It's an impressive number of words and pictures but is fundamentally flawed and frankly deliberately misleading. That will make no difference on #ufotwitter and for believers of course.


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Another point:

The next slide (approx 3:10) is Ryan Graves account which refers to the "wedge formation flying, let's call it north, then they turned their return radius right into the other direction, which is how aircraft turn... ...So they turn in the other direction... meanwhile the 'Gimbal' object that was following behind them suddenly stopped..."

So corroboration of the redacted document? Well no, because the redacted document clearly states that "he and the pilot detected an air contact via [missing text] coming from the east..." and later ..."headed back towards the east..."

He continues "...and waited for the wedge formation to pass. Then it tilted up like you can see in the video..."

This is claimed to be what isn't shown in the video but directly contradicts the other testimony.
 
And finally. This part of the presentation was priceless. The animation shows the black curve of the F-18 in side view. The pink line is almost identical in shape so from pure line of sight information even if it was 8Nm away it could be following a similar flight path to the jet.

But the insistence on the straight line flight path (because wind) for the object creates the so called "vertical U-turn."

Screenshot 2023-06-16 at 08.34.28.png
 
And finally. This part of the presentation was priceless. The animation shows the black curve of the F-18 in side view. The pink line is almost identical in shape so from pure line of sight information even if it was 8Nm away it could be following a similar flight path to the jet.

But the insistence on the straight line flight path (because wind) for the object creates the so called "vertical U-turn."

Screenshot 2023-06-16 at 08.34.28.png
I'm not sure if it's entirely correct to reason like that, but in layman's terms...

I think everyone has noticed that objects far away follow your own motion. If you jump, the faraway mountain or skyscraper "jumps with you" while the bush or car next to you "stays down". Obviously that mountain doesn't actually move because it's very far away. But if an object nearby moved like you (e.g. a sibling or a teammate), you'd assume they jumped when you did.

Now, when we see the GIMBAL contact move, there are two options: a) either it's far away, and only appears to move; or b), it's close and actually moves like the F-18 jet. Since "close" still means 8 nm, and the contact is only visible through a "military-grade" infrared tracking telescope, it's pretty much impossible for the contact to copy the F-18 trajectory deliberately (in the way that your sibling jumped when you jumped). Option b) is basically unachievable for an alien; if it was close, we'd expect its trajectory to be different.
SmartSelect_20230616-102421_Samsung Internet.jpg
But if we attribute the "weird", hard-to-copy part of the motion of the contact to the known movement of the observer jet, then what we're left with is the steady motion of an object at thrice the distance: not quite a mountain at rest, but an airliner keeping course in high winds.

If we don't believe in jumping mountains, we don't need to believe that GIMBAL breaks physical laws: all we need to believe is that the witnesses somehow got the range wrong. And we've all made mistakes, especially at night.
 
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Sorry if I wasn't clear. I understand all of that. I'm used to working and visualising in 3D for my work and it was just my immediate reaction that the two curves were visually the same and could easily represent two things following the same path, but they were saying "the black line is flat and curving away, but the pink line is straight and going up and down."

I think that's why they included the "15% increase in size" comment (which I confess I coudn't see) which was necessary to reinforce the straight line scenario.
 
Sorry if I wasn't clear.
No, you were quite clear. I'm happy if I managed to represent your idea correctly; my aim was to break it down to a layperson's words.

I think that's why they included the "15% increase in size" comment (which I confess I coudn't see) which was necessary to reinforce the straight line scenario.
Since we're looking at glare, any size change could also be attributable to a brightness adjustment anyway.
 
I think that's why they included the "15% increase in size" comment (which I confess I coudn't see) which was necessary to reinforce the straight line scenario.

Are they attributing the "15% increase in size" in glare to a 15% reduction in distance? There are other reasons that the source of glare could appear larger - such as (1) it actually became brighter/hotter, or (2) as in the 'distant jet' scenario - more of the exhaust of the jet became visible as the F18 manoeuvered around to the target's rear. (?)

Edit: from page 10
1686907965148.png
 
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That's my view. They have to justify the distance closing from 8Nm to 6.8Nm in their model to give a straight line in the direction they need. Therefore 15% increase in size of the vague blur. I haven't checked the basis for that claim.
 
I found a 20% increase in size. (That link is very old, before the 3D analysis when we were briefly considering Venus as a possibility. If I had to do this over, I wouldn't select individual frames to pixel-count.)

Their analysis seems much more coarse (Figure A2 in the Appendix). I don't know why their image is so jaggy.Screen Shot 2023-06-16 at 9.43.49 AM.png
 
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So they are positing that we are not looking at glare, but a physical object? But if that were the case, then they have put themselves back in the position where they have to account for why the actual object "knows" when the ATFLIR is rotating (including bumps!) so it can counter-rotate then and ONLY then! (Well, I guess THEY don't, but somebody does.)

It is not yet on the level of the Flat Earth proponents, but it does remind me of their propensity to analyze and explain one isolated facet of the issue, oblivious to how many problems they are creating for themselves in the bigger picture.
 
I found a 20% increase in size, which under their assumptions corresponds to about a 9% reduction in distance.
You should clarify that 20% increase is in area.

To get a linear increase, you're taking the square root, and then the inverse, to arrive at ~9% reduction in distance, provided the size change is entirely due to a distance change. I agree with all of that.

But it also bears pointing out that the size of the glare may well vary with the viewing angle; the visible heat of the UAP may vary with the viewing angle; and that ATFLIR does some processing for brightness and contrast that would also change the shape of any glare, since a glare is always bigger than the bright object producing it (compare the sun). So the assumption that the size of the UAP varies only with distance is likely wrong to start with.
 
It is not yet on the level of the Flat Earth proponents, but it does remind me of their propensity to analyze and explain one isolated facet of the issue, oblivious to how many problems they are creating for themselves in the bigger picture.
Insightful. There should be a name for this, because it's a persistent problem in these types of motivated reasonings.

As someone who has spent way too much time thinking about 7 World Trade Center, I am reminded of the claim that "2.25 seconds of freefall measurement means that all of the support must have been removed simultaneously," when this assertion creates the problem of how, in the previous 1.75 seconds, the roofline descended by only 7 feet. Or, in 2020 election-fraud beliefs, creating the problem of how Republicans won down-ballot races when so many ballots for Biden were fraudulent.

It's like opening a jar of flies to kill one fly, and then letting a bunch of other flies out.
 
Edit: from page 10
1686907965148.png
Their analysis seems much more coarse (Figure A2 in the Appendix). I don't know why their image is so jaggy.Screen Shot 2023-06-16 at 9.43.49 AM.png
There's a maths error.
The number of pixels identified through this method increases by ~15% throughout the video.
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That's an area increase by a factor of 1.15.
This corresponds to a linear increase of the square root of 1.15 = 1.07, only 7%.
This increase would, all else being equal, correspond to a distance factor of 0.9325, or a 7% decrease in distance. But they claim
this corresponds to a decrease in distance of ~13%
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They have to justify the distance closing from 8Nm to 6.8Nm in their model
That is, of course, a 15% decrease. The object does not grow big enough to match their model, by a factor of 2.
 
The 15% change in apparent size was also selected based on measuring changes in both axes (d=1/s), and taking a middle-ground estimate for the change in distance (previous work on this forum found a 10-20% change in size, so it's in the ballpark). We've been aiming for the 10-20% interval of change in distance shown in Fig. 5. 7% change in distance is on the low-side, but plotting a path that corresponds to this would be marginally different from the ones we show. Something I will clarify in a following version (we plan on submitting to a journal).

As discussed in the paper, the change in apparent size is of course an approximate estimate, because as pointed out here, we don't know how the IR signature reflects the true shape and size of the object. It's mostly used to constrain flight paths that obey to the general change in apparent size, and a decrease in the distance (along with the other parameters we detail that align with context).


1686940285490.png

Also, remember we are showing one flight path here, but the results are not very sensitive to the exact parameters chosen for the close-range trajectory, within 10Nm (they all show a reverse of direction and a stop on SA, i.e. 0 or close ground speed).
1686940788730.png
 
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I think a significant issue with Yannick's theory is (as it has been for over a year) that it does not actually match the eyewitness accounts of the SA page, and the accounts from Graves (who saw the video later, and was not aware of the incident at the time) are inconsistent and vary significantly over time.

In "Unidentified" (heavily edited) he describes the Gimbal object as "stationary" during the video, and does not really describe how it moves or changes direction otherwise. He shows the positions before the "fleet" moves with this diagram:
2023-06-16_16-03-37.jpg


In The Kevin Rose interview (May 2021) he describes it as stopping and waiting
there was about five to six, in my memory serves me now, of the smaller objects that we're used to seeing, and they're kind of flying in a web formation in front of that larger object, and then those turned around with some radius of turn started flying in the opposite direction, that large object just kind of stopped and waited for those to kind of come back around then you see kind of do that, that gimbally shift, right. And then it started going back in the direction falling behind the wedge formation. So you know, that was strange for us, but we haven't seen that object before. Because you could actually make some structure on that right? I mean, it that looks like a top almost. Whereas other ones look like someone was shining a flashlight into our sensor.
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In the AIAA presentation, august 2021 he again says the the Gimbal object stopped as the fleet did the turn:

2023-06-16_16-06-29.jpg

Then in late 2021 or early 2022, he learned of Yannik's theory.

On Lex Fridman, Aug 1 2022
And what they essentially saw was, if we were consider of the object north, so it's kind of offset to the north of the object, there was a formation about somewhere between four and six of these objects in a rough wedge formation, you know, so kind of side by side like this. And again, not in a like autopilot type manner, where it was very stiff, it was very kind of non mechanical, the flight mechanics again, and these objects were in that formation, and they were going along, and then they turned pretty sharply, but they still had a radius of turn, and then went back in the opposite direction. And during that turn, it was there kind of like all over the place. Like it wasn't tight, they weren't even like super, they weren't flying in a way I would expect them to be flying in relation to a flight lead. They were flying as if they were flying close to each other, but not in formation, which was kind of strange, right. And then when they rolled out that kind of tightened backed up, like so when they basically they started that turn and then 180 degrees out, essentially, they start flowing in the opposite direction, and kind of got back in that formation. And while that was happening, the gimbal object was proceeding let's say left to right. And as as those, the formation kind of turned up to the north, and was just passing back at the gimbal just kind of went back in the opposite direction. So to follow it back in that direction. And in the in the FLIR itself, you know, you see the object changes orientation quite a bit. So you see it more or less level, maybe canted, about 45 degrees. And then you see it kind of moving around like this almost as if it was a gimbal. I've come to learn after some, you know, having seen some research online and people really looking into this, that it seemed that the object actually climbed during that maneuver. And so the reason it looked like it turned immediately is because it turned like this, it turned in a vertical fashion like that, which is pretty interesting.
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On his Substack page, on Sept 27,2022, Graves gives an account accompanied with a mock-up of the SA page:
The GIMBAL object was located between 5 and 10 miles away, while these other objects appeared to be spaced 3 to 5 nautical miles apart. What these numbers mean is discussed in more detail below. Offset to the north, and ahead of the GIMBAL object, this formation made a maneuver (I believe to the left) that caused the wedge formation to break down a little into what appeared to my trained eyes to be poor formation keeping.

The formation tightened into its original wedge shape as it rolled out on its new ultimate heading, which appeared 180 degrees from its original heading. This formation turned at a tighter radius during the maneuver than I had anticipated based on my prior experience.

Additional data about GIMBAL's behavior could be found on the SA page. When the constellation of smaller objects changed course and advanced in the opposite direction, the GIMBAL performed a roughly 180-degree maneuver to stay close to the group. In contrast to the turn of the formation, GIMBAL's turn was lightning fast. Just what does this signify? Assuming the vehicle has inertia, it had just made a vertical turn. These things were functioning oppositely, executing turns in an energy inefficient manner. Or was this an intentionally over-aggressive maneuver to complicate the geometry of the approaching fighter jet, Ripper 11? We just don't know.
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The diagram does not match the previous diagrams.
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On Joe Rogan, #1883, October 2022, Graves new describes the gimbal object as just continuing on in a straight line, and then "ping" it reverses direction like bouncing off a wall. It does not stop.

More recently, on Kokrete S1 E170, JAN 2023, 49:35,
... when the wedge made that turn and rolled out in the opposite direction back in formation, the Gimbal object just kinda went "boop" [indicates sudden change of direction with hands], it just kinda, it's going in one direction, and it appeared, from a gods-eye view, and it just started going in the other direction with no radius of turn
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On Unravelling the Universe, Mar 10 2023, 40:00
then the Gimbal object, from the perspective of a top-down view, proceeded in a direction, the wedge turned, then the gimbal object ping-pong-balled and followed the wedge. That's from a top-down view. I've come to understand that it turned in the vertical, looking horizontally ... which made it look, from the top down, that it was instantaneous.
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And just a couple of hours ago, Graves discussed the issue:

Source: https://www.youtube.com/live/NTNUijbhMoo?feature=share&t=3803

(transcript later)

Notable the distance is described as 4-6 miles not 6-8. Again with the instant turn, that he thinks the "J-hook" explains.

So, the big issues here are
A) in the LOS reconstruction the object actually slows down very gradually, seems to stop, and then very gradually goes in the other direction. There's no ping-pong.
B) The "J" shape is just a projection of the path of the plane onto a distant level path.
C) 4-6 miles is even weirder than 6-8, or 10
D) It's dinner time on Friday! Laters...
 
On Joe Rogan, #1883, October 2022, Graves new describes the gimbal object as just continuing on in a straight line, and then "ping" it reverses direction like bouncing off a wall. It does not stop.
If that description had been given immediately after the event (and assumed to be completely accurate), it would falsify the assumption that the object he's describing is the one in the video. In the 3D models there's no discontinuity in the motion of the line of sight; it smoothly sweeps across the clouds, slowing down over the 34 seconds as the plane banks left. And the straight-line solutions in the 10NM range, as seen from above, smoothly slow down, "stop," and then reverse direction. I don't believe there's a ping or bounce in the space of solutions, for the above reasons.

As it is, being years later, who knows how Graves' present-day descriptions can help us.
 
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The stop LT Graves describes is not the stop in the local air mass. It's the moment when air speed passes under wind speed (~120kts), i.e. 0 ground speed. Ground speed is what they see on the SA display.

He has said multiple times, including to us in private discussions, that the object stopped and immediately reversed direction, with the velocity vector going all over the place for an instant (as expected from a geostationary object with no defined direction of flight). At 120kts the object is still far from completing a stop.

The "waiting for the fleet to complete the turn", I assume, is this time interval when the object is still going against the wind, but under wind speed/low ground speed. Before speeding up in the opposite direction with the wind ("going back towards the East").

Of note, we know for a fact that LT Graves is in regular contact with the WSO, which may explain new aspects having emerged in the recollection as he got more details from him.

Details are unclear after all these years, but overall the behavior of ground speed/air speed within 10Nm is remarkably similar to what LT Graves describes. He agrees with it, so I doubt the WSO doesn't. I'm pretty sure we'll hear from the aircrew at some point, which will probably bring some light on all this.
 
Of note, we know for a fact that LT Graves is in regular contact with the WSO, which may explain new aspects having emerged in the recollection as he got more details from him.
Except that, as witness memories go, these new details may be the least reliable of them all. The human mind is not a recording device.
 
Remember of course, that if we are to take the Pilot/WSO testimony at face value, then the only statements they made that I know of re the GIMBAL video, are the ones they make in the GIMBAL video itself.
Where the WSO? says emphatically "It is a f..king drone bro"

This is first hand evidence from the Pilot/WSO.

Why is it that we must believe military personnel, yet everyone seems to forget what the WSO? said.

What's interesting here, is that if it were a drone, it seems it was one with a jet engine given the ATFLIR image. The intesting thing here is the X-47B which they had been flying in the previous months off the Roosevelt, is a jet powered drone. One media outlet labelled it, the NAVY's UFO drone due to it's appearance.

According to the TheDrive, the X-47B was part of a project called NEMESIS which involved fleets of drones and EW used in concert to fool it's opponent.
Docs show this was a classified project. They also show they tested NEMESIS in a wargame around the time of the GIMBAL event. The GIMBAL event happened in COMPTUEX, a kind of war game.
 
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I mentioned on another thread (related to Nimitz, I think) that a radar expert, Dr Phil Metzger, had been commenting on the radar aspects of UAP cases. This is just to draw attention to a long thread of posts yesterday (December 8, 9 or 10 depending on your time zone) by Metzger ( @DrPhiltill ) on Twitter/X commenting on the Gimbal case and the paper by Peings and von Rennenkampff. His analysis is very complicated and technical, including a theory for why the Situation Awareness display might show a badly wrong estimate of the distance of the Gimbal object. I can't evaluate this, but others here may be interested.


Source: https://twitter.com/DrPhiltill/status/1733506967589531669
 
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Incidentally, on skimming through the paper by Peings and von Rennenkampff, who I think are better known as @The_cholla and @MvonRen, I noticed the following description of Mick West's 'rotating glare' theory:

According to Mr. West, the IR signature observed in the video is an infrared “glare” induced by engine exhaust.
If I understand it correctly, in Mick's theory it is not so much the engine exhaust that is responsible for the glare as the heat of the engine itself and the adjacent parts of the plane, which are intensely hot, and good emitters of IR radiation. The engine exhaust, in contrast, is a plume of gas which rapidly mixes with the surrounding air and cools down. (Ordinary atmospheric air itself emits little IR radiation, no matter how hot, because oxygen and nitrogen gas molecules are poor radiators.) If so, the description in the paper is misleading or misconceived.
 
If I understand it correctly, in Mick's theory it is not so much the engine exhaust that is responsible for the glare as the heat of the engine itself and the adjacent parts of the plane, which are intensely hot, and good emitters of IR radiation. The engine exhaust, in contrast, is a plume of gas which rapidly mixes with the surrounding air and cools down. (Ordinary atmospheric air itself emits little IR radiation, no matter how hot, because oxygen and nitrogen gas molecules are poor radiators.) If so, the description in the paper is misleading or misconceived.
Well, charitably the "exhaust" could be the "exhaust pipe". But yes, the hot bits of the engine give of a lot more thermal radiation than gases. We see this in videos when planes go from tail-on to side aspect.

 
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