Retired F-18 Pilot Reports 5 UAPs Pacing His Aircraft Over Channel Islands 8-18-22

RTM

Member
Half of UFO twitter is outraged that Mick suggest that the UAP might actually be reflected iPhone focus lights and the other half is outraged that he would be so stupid as to think that the obvious iPhone focus lights are the UAP that was recorded and as yet it is undecided as to what exactly in the video everyone was so excited about but it could be Polaris, Pherkad or Kochab or all 3!
I didn't see any snarky comments about seagulls or people claiming the lights are another species sharing the planet with us, so that's progress.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks. If the the flashes are his phone and these are stars. Then what was he trying to record? There is nothing here. Do any filters bring out unseen lights?
I don't really see anything interesting in the videos. Perhaps at this point, it would be best to wait until Ben Hansen gets clarification from the pilot - as clearly Ben's original video went way down the wrong road, and I assume he will want to sort it out.
 

Rocky

Active Member
So far this year I've seen a pilot claim an orange light in the same place as a flaring oil rig was not that oil rig and that a plane in the exact same position as a 'tictac' was not a plane.

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/reddit-video-27mar22-airline-crew-uap-sighting.12361/#post-268295
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/reddit-pilot-sees-a-ufo-from-n14aq-probably-dal2369.12561/

And now that they somehow saw a UFO that looks exactly like reflections of the AF assist lights in the exact device they were using to record the video.

Pilots are people, some of them want to believe and some of them seemingly want to try and make evidence for UFOs out of normal things, whether they are consciously doing it or not and they will use their position as pilots to add authority to their arguments.
This video to me has been debunked. And as far as retired military pilots making these claims I think they are trying to make a buck or get on some podcasts and tv shows.
 

3db

New Member
While I am quite suspicious that I cannot view the full video by itself, and have to watch edited parts of it on a UFO related youtube channel that posted one previous video in the past 5 years, I believe we should assume good faith until proven otherwise, as the cockpit video gives us the aircraft speed, heading, altitude and location by focusing on the instrument panel for a little bit, which is a lot more than most videos give us.

If I may answer. Only the phone cam can see it. It is 900nm or so, just at the edge of human vision, but the ccd/cmos can detect it. :)

EDIT
Ugh, I tried to find the wavelength used (just for curiosity), but boy do they hide that! I spend half an hour searching.. Nothing. Educated guess only, is 840 or 950nm leds.

For what its worth searching for LEDs on my electronic parts supplier of choice, digikey, the most in stock part is a 940nm LED, which the datasheet says is explicitly intended for infrared illumination and machine vision. The 2nd most popular item has 1/3 of the stock.
 

Stingray

Banned
Banned
I believe that whatever the pilot is trying to film is whats in the center of the video and that crop with IR reflection was just what Ben Hansen thought was the UFO.
I edited the main video being discussed in this thread to focus on those lights only and they seem to fade in and out with the brightest one moving in relation to the others. At 27 seconds in, I reversed the video back and forth to better show this movement.
Here's a gif of that movement.

short(1).gif

And here's the full video edit:

 

Easy Muffin

Active Member
I believe that whatever the pilot is trying to film is whats in the center of the video and that crop with IR reflection was just what Ben Hansen thought was the UFO.
I edited the main video being discussed in this thread to focus on those lights only and they seem to fade in and out with the brightest one moving in relation to the others. At 27 seconds in, I reversed the video back and forth to better show this movement.
I too had a difficult time figuring out what exactly we are supposed to be looking at but I suppose it is that bright light you pointed out. There's also the two fainter ones to its left - I found they are more distinct in a stabilised and level-enhanced version.



Same clip at 5x speed. Looks like the brightest one's moving left to right?

 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
The context here is that this pilot has given the story and video to a YouTuber who makes UFO content.

https://www.youtube.com/c/HypocenterProductions101/videos

In the description of the video
A retired F-18 Marine Corps pilot was flying a chartered private jet en route to Maui on 8-18-22. He encountered 5 red, rapidly flashing objects that paced his aircraft for 15 minutes and performed circular motions to the side and over the top of his jet.

1661939478475.png

So all this "what is the anomalous object here" talk is either backtracking based on this (Metabunk) analysis or a complete and utter total miscommunication with the YouTuber that broke the story and the witness, or the witness inventing a story that the YouTuber bought based on the video.

Source: https://youtu.be/_s-TDoc7YLY?t=1162


This is the time stamp he specifically talks about the objects (iPhone reflections) in the top left.
 
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flarkey

Senior Member.
Hang on - I'm still confused at what we're looking at the 20m20s point the two lights (circled) seem to move in sync with each other. Is this anther reflection? Or is this the UFO? The host (Ben) seems to replay and comment upon this segment of the video straight after so I can only assume he wants us to look at this movement again.

1661942822668.png

Source: https://youtu.be/_s-TDoc7YLY?t=1210

Ben says at 21m33s:
"Wow. So....The pattern seems to be either going around a solid structure, erm there's a point where it looks almost triangular, to em - you know- random separate craft that are kinda joining together"
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
believe that whatever the pilot is trying to film is whats in the center of the video and that crop with IR reflection was just what Ben Hansen thought was the UFO.
I edited the main video being discussed in this thread to focus on those lights only and they seem to fade in and out with the brightest one moving in relation to the others. At 27 seconds in, I reversed the video back and forth to better show this movement.
I don't see anything suspicious about the small lights. The one that is moving relative to the others seems to be over land (if you scrub the video, it moves at a similar rate to the land near the coast. Maybe a small plane or Helicopter. The others look like stars.

the two lights seem to move in sync with each other. IS this anther reflection? Or is this the UFO?


1661942822668.png
I think those are stars, and the camera is moving. I identified them earlier, the three named stars are a match for position, time, and heading. (looking North over Pt Dume and Malibu)
Which one do you think is not a star?
2022-08-30_12-51-34.jpg
Also, it's looking North over Westlake Village, where I first lived when I moved to California, and personally flew over during pilot training years later - something that trips people up is that the coastline at Malibu is oriented east/west, and they are used to thinking of the California coast is North/South.
2022-08-31_03-59-10.jpg
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
I think those are stars, and the camera is moving. I identified them earlier, the three named stars are a match for position, time, and heading. (looking North over Pt Dume and Malibu)
Yeah, I saw your stars suggestion - but hadnt seen the video of them moving.

So what is Ben trying to say is in the video? All I can see is:
  • Flashing Pink lights? (iphone)
  • Moving White lights (stars)
  • Static yellow lights (Malibu)
What am I missing that makes him go "wow"...?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The videos span several minutes. Two videos were submitted to MUFON. Video11 is at 03:20:22 EDT, Video4 is at 03:31:50 (EXIF, and verified by the ADS-B track and cockpit display)

2022-08-31_08-35-22.jpg
2022-08-31_08-47-41.jpg

11.5 minutes later. So he was filming, on and off, for over 11 minutes. But got nothing.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Why are they so low resolution given they were shot on a relatively modern phone, just low res shares? I have no idea how you get video off an iPhone.

Are the original files attached here?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Why are they so low resolution given they were shot on a relatively modern phone, just low res shares? I have no idea how you get video off an iPhone.

Are the original files attached here?
I've added the two files from MUFON to the OP.

The odd resolution indicates they have been cropped in-camera. The code ID of avc1 indicates they were emailed from the phone. If you download an iPhone video with Dropbox, or share with iMessage, or download directly (say, with the iMazing app), it will keep it in the native hvc1 format at a higher bitrate, and maybe 50% bigger file size.

Emailing does not change the resolution.
 

Easy Muffin

Active Member
I dug into the LiveATC archives for a little bit trying to surface the audio. I got but unfortunately it doesn't have the pilot talkback, only the ATC comms. Anyway, I found the parts where the controller (same female voice) asks two other crews if they've seen anything. No way to hear what they replied but from the way this one-sided convo pans out it doesn't seem like they saw much, if anything. Times are UTC and are based on the LiveATC filestamps. Maybe worth noting the United flight was following a similar path whilst the American entered the sector from the west, i.e. they had been out over the ocean. Also 'miles' in the context usually means 'nautical miles'.

07:49
UAL2650, cleared direct DINTY and I have a question for you when you're ready.
[...]
Okay, so an aircraft ahead of you at 47,000 ft was reporting aircraft above them circling. They are about 75 miles ahead of you now. I'm not showing anything, I was just wondering if you see anything up there. As they reported it they would probably have to be above 50,000.
[...]
He had reported them from about 50 miles west of LA all the way to his current position, which is about 20 miles past DINTY.

08:00
I just wondered if you ever ended up seeing anything?
[...]
UAL2650, roger, radar service terminated, change center(?) frequency.

08:20
AAL6. do you have time for a question?
[...]
Earlier, probably about 20 minutes ago, I had an aircraft that was outbound at 47,000 ft and they reported multiple aircraft above them circling. I just wondered if you saw anything. That was probably between LA and DINTY, they reported it several times and they said that [they] looked at the Big Dipper, it was near that.
[...]
Roger. Yeah, that's what we thought it was here but the guy said - he was a retired F-18 pilot - and he's never seen anything like it, it was definitely aircraft. So I was just wondering if you had seen anything.
[...]
Roger, thanks. Yeah, I wish we knew what it was!
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
" aircraft above them circling." and "they said that [they] looked at the Big Dipper, it was near that" are two very different things. At that time the big dipper (Ursa Major) was low on the horizon
2022-08-31_11-59-43.jpg


That does correspond with the one moving object in the video though.
2022-08-31_12-05-42.jpg
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Agreed, the "long description of sighting report" (attached in #1) does not match with what we see in the videos at all. "high above our aircraft, in circular formation", is not what we see?
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I've extended Sitrec specifically for this:
https://www.metabunk.org/sitrec/?sitch=kml



The new code allows me to add in two KML tracks (i.e. GPS tracks of planes downloaded from Flightaware.com or ADSB Exchange. The first one is the camera track, and the second one is the target track. They are synchronized by their timestamps.

I also set up the view camera (attached to the plane) in portrait mode.

From this is seems plausible that the light that flares up and then vanishes is the oncoming jet (red target track). The camera jet crosses in front of it so will only briefly be in line with the landing lights.


This all is a preliminary result, as it's now time for dinner. I also need to add in the video (and, ideally, accurate stars)
 

Attachments

  • FlightAware_N702GH_KSJC_KLAX_20220818.kml
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
I've extended Sitrec specifically for this:
https://www.metabunk.org/sitrec/?sitch=kml



The new code allows me to add in two KML tracks (i.e. GPS tracks of planes downloaded from Flightaware.com or ADSB Exchange. The first one is the camera track, and the second one is the target track. They are synchronized by their timestamps.

I also set up the view camera (attached to the plane) in portrait mode.

From this is seems plausible that the light that flares up and then vanishes is the oncoming jet (red target track). The camera jet crosses in front of it so will only briefly be in line with the landing lights.


This all is a preliminary result, as it's now time for dinner. I also need to add in the video (and, ideally, accurate stars)
That is super cool but yeah bringing all the currently manual work together would be a powerful tool, but maybe too complex I imagine.

Full Google Earth type data with terrain elevation
Load multiple custom KMLs
Support for setting view angle to KML from arbitrary ground position as well as a fixed ground position from KML
Landing light direction simulation
Stellarium star map
Night imagery of cities

Even cooler would be access to the ADSB DB to do track seeking from a set date/time position and FOV...
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Full Google Earth type data with terrain elevation
Load multiple custom KMLs
Support for setting view angle to KML from arbitrary ground position as well as a fixed ground position from KML
Landing light direction simulation
Stellarium star map
Night imagery of cities
All those things I plan on doing.

Even cooler would be access to the ADSB DB to do track seeking from a set date/time position and FOV...
That's a possibility.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
If I may answer. Only the phone cam can see it. It is 900nm or so, just at the edge of human vision, but the ccd/cmos can detect it. :)

EDIT
Ugh, I tried to find the wavelength used (just for curiosity), but boy do they hide that! I spend half an hour searching.. Nothing. Educated guess only, is 840 or 950nm leds.

In a rush - lunch time here - but I wonder if any of the "teardown" or "ebom" analyses might mention the exact tech involved.
e.g. this article https://www.techinsights.com/blog/teardown/apple-iphone-13-pro-teardown gave me the string "SPAD" to search for, which ead to this one: https://4sense.medium.com/apple-lidar-demystified-spad-vcsel-and-fusion-aa9c3519d4cb , which seems to contain quite a bit, I've not had a chance to dredge through it all. I noticed that ifixit also had a teardown, but I haven't even clicked that link yet.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
In a rush - lunch time here - but I wonder if any of the "teardown" or "ebom" analyses might mention the exact tech involved.
e.g. this article https://www.techinsights.com/blog/teardown/apple-iphone-13-pro-teardown gave me the string "SPAD" to search for, which ead to this one: https://4sense.medium.com/apple-lidar-demystified-spad-vcsel-and-fusion-aa9c3519d4cb , which seems to contain quite a bit, I've not had a chance to dredge through it all. I noticed that ifixit also had a teardown, but I haven't even clicked that link yet.

Another quick idea, hastily pasted as really it is lunch time now:

12:30 <@FatPhil> elided: do you have an ability to vary the IR cutoff frequencies
in your broadband photos? i.e. is it possible to reverse
engineer what a pure IR frequency might be depending on
how/when it gets filtered out?
12:32 < elided> FatPhil: what do you mean? after the image is captured?
12:33 <@FatPhil> by capturing multiple images, changing filters in betweenb
12:33 < elided> oh yeah sure
12:33 < elided> if you have the characteristics of the filter down, you can
switch them one at a time
12:33 <@FatPhil> wondering if it's possible to reverse engineer the IR
wavelength of an iPhone 12/13/Pro face detection system
12:33 < elided> thats more into the realm of multispectrum photography
12:34 < elided> as opposed to full spectrum
12:34 < elided> I was on a 850nm yesterday, I saw the phones blinking everywhere
12:34 <@FatPhil> but you use the tools that you have to hand.
12:34 < elided> but it was invisible to my naked eyes
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
Another quick idea, hastily pasted as really it is lunch time now:

12:30 <@FatPhil> lld: do you have an ability to vary the IR cutoff frequencies
in your broadband photos? i.e. is it possible to reverse
engineer what a pure IR frequency might be depending on
how/when it gets filtered out?
12:32 < elided> FatPhil: what do you mean? after the image is captured?
12:33 <@FatPhil> by capturing multiple images, changing filters in betweenb
12:33 < elided> oh yeah sure
12:33 < elided> if you have the characteristics of the filter down, you can
switch them one at a time
12:33 <@FatPhil> wondering if it's possible to reverse engineer the IR
wavelength of an iPhone 12/13/Pro face detection system
12:33 < elided> thats more into the realm of multispectrum photography
12:34 < elided> as opposed to full spectrum
12:34 < elided> I was on a 850nm yesterday, I saw the phones blinking everywhere
12:34 <@FatPhil> but you use the tools that you have to hand.
12:34 < elided> but it was invisible to my naked eyes
I think there are 2 different terms being mixed up here a little.
  • The wavelength of the IR light used is what you seem to be talking about with the filter discussion, cutoff filters block wavelengths which can sometimes be expressed as frequency.
  • The number of times per second the light in the iPhone flashes on and off (frequency) which is what I was wondering because if we know this we can compare the rate recorded on the video.
Both are possible avenues of confirmation of the theory but they are different measurements.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
I think there are 2 different terms being mixed up here a little.
  • The wavelength of the IR light used is what you seem to be talking about with the filter discussion, cutoff filters block wavelengths which can sometimes be expressed as frequency.
  • The number of times per second the light in the iPhone flashes on and off (frequency) which is what I was wondering because if we know this we can compare the rate recorded on the video.
Both are possible avenues of confirmation of the theory but they are different measurements.
For the latter, I'd be worried about aliasing, a.k.a. the cartwheel illusion. However, if you can capture in 24fps, 25fps, and 30fps, you could numerically triangulate.
 

jplaza

Member
Another quick idea, hastily pasted as really it is lunch time now:

12:30 <@FatPhil> elided: do you have an ability to vary the IR cutoff frequencies
in your broadband photos? i.e. is it possible to reverse
engineer what a pure IR frequency might be depending on
how/when it gets filtered out?
12:32 < elided> FatPhil: what do you mean? after the image is captured?
12:33 <@FatPhil> by capturing multiple images, changing filters in betweenb
12:33 < elided> oh yeah sure
12:33 < elided> if you have the characteristics of the filter down, you can
switch them one at a time
12:33 <@FatPhil> wondering if it's possible to reverse engineer the IR
wavelength of an iPhone 12/13/Pro face detection system
12:33 < elided> thats more into the realm of multispectrum photography
12:34 < elided> as opposed to full spectrum
12:34 < elided> I was on a 850nm yesterday, I saw the phones blinking everywhere
12:34 <@FatPhil> but you use the tools that you have to hand.
12:34 < elided> but it was invisible to my naked eyes
I think you may have a chance to reverse engineer, or to have some broad spectral information if you had the raw image, that is, before it is converted to RGB values and then compressed to jpg format.

Before all that happens, the individual pixels are filtered by a Bayer Filter (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bayer_filter) so every group of 4 pixels contain information about a red, green and blue filters, which is used to then determine a RGB value for each individual pixel.

Maybe one can build a look up table, or some sort of calibration, to know for a specific wavelength the raw values it produces in the 4 pixel group.
 

Easy Muffin

Active Member
Just for completeness' sake, and because my other post is now locked for editing.

These are the three ATC comms I pulled from LiveATC. I put a short beep between each to mark the transitions but I kept each segment unedited since I felt that rather than trimming the silent parts they help give an idea of how extensive the pilots' replies may have been.

 

Ravi

Senior Member.
In a rush - lunch time here - but I wonder if any of the "teardown" or "ebom" analyses might mention the exact tech involved.
e.g. this article https://www.techinsights.com/blog/teardown/apple-iphone-13-pro-teardown gave me the string "SPAD" to search for, which ead to this one: https://4sense.medium.com/apple-lidar-demystified-spad-vcsel-and-fusion-aa9c3519d4cb , which seems to contain quite a bit, I've not had a chance to dredge through it all. I noticed that ifixit also had a teardown, but I haven't even clicked that link yet.

The thing is it projects an array of dots on your face and this wavelength is never mentioned..

I used a simple fiber fed instant spectrometer a lot in the past (lab) and it is able to go to ~1100nm. Like the ones from OceanOptics.
I have one here at work, and I have an Iphone13, so I could potentially try to observe the peak of the IR light source. But time, etc....
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I used a simple fiber fed instant spectrometer a lot in the past (lab) and it is able to go to ~1100nm. L
I have some IR filters at various wavelengths. It's still visible on my IR modded P9500 at 950nm cut-off (i.e. some of it is >950nm) but it seems to be attenuated a bit. I think 840nm is probably a good guess. I'm not sure why it matters though.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The number of times per second the light in the iPhone flashes on and off (frequency) which is what I was wondering because if we know this we can compare the rate recorded on the video.
I recorded it at 240fps, There's a few lights flickering, but the brightest seems to be at about 30/240, or 8 flashes per second.


I don't think at this point there's really a question as to what the flashing purple lights are.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
I have some IR filters at various wavelengths. It's still visible on my IR modded P9500 at 950nm cut-off (i.e. some of it is >950nm) but it seems to be attenuated a bit. I think 840nm is probably a good guess. I'm not sure why it matters though.
Indeed, it does not matter. It was more out of interest (for me).
 
[UPDATE - the flashing lights in the video appear to be reflections of the iPhone 13 Pro autofocus system. First suggested by @flarkey]

2022-08-30_10-15-06.jpg



Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_s-TDoc7YLY


Interesting case - some very rapidly flashing and seeming erratic motion of some lights seen from a plane. There are several video clips in Ben Hansen's video. I include one clip here that shows the light in the context of both stars and land.


Initially seems like a reflection, but the pilot says the lights moved around the plane.

Update: Attaching two files submitted to MUFON.
Solved
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Landing light direction simulation
Sort of: https://www.metabunk.org/sitrec/?sitch=kml



JavaScript:
export class CNodeDisplayLandingLights extends CNodeDisplayTargetSphere {
    constructor(v) {
        super(v);

        // It's viewed from the camera
        this.input("cameraTrack")

        
        this.angleFullBeam = v.angleFullBeam ?? 7; // angle at which it starts to fall off
        this.angleFallOff = v.angleFallOff ?? 8 // angle at which falloff is complete

        this.minSize = v.minSize ?? 150 // varies from size to minSize
    }

update(f) {
    super.update(f)
    const camera = this.in.cameraTrack.getValue(f)
    const target = this.in.track.getValue(f)
    const targetToCamera = camera.position.clone().sub(target.position)
    const fwd = this.in.track.getValue(f+1).position.clone().sub(target.position)
    const angle = degrees(targetToCamera.angleTo(fwd))
    var scale = this.inputs.size.v0
    if (angle > this.angleFallOff || angle < 0 ) {
        scale = this.minSize
    } else {
        if (angle < this.angleFullBeam) {
            // leave full size
        } else {
            const fraction = (angle-this.angleFullBeam) / (this.angleFallOff - this.angleFullBeam)
            scale = this.inputs.size.v0 + fraction * (this.minSize - this.inputs.size.v0)
        }
    }
 //   console.log ("Angle = "+angle+" scale = "+scale)

    this.group.scale.setScalar(scale);
}
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
It seems the Gulfstream and private jets in general usually have a co-pilot (for safety reasons). Pilot sits on the left. Can anyone figure out if these few seconds of video - a shot going from the control panels over to the window on the right - were shot from the left seat or the right seat?
 

Attachments

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I believe this case is solved now. The video below is filmed by me last night with a iPhone 13 PRO through a glass window out in the dark. Exactly the same color and blinking lights. I did not do anything but turn on the camera and start filming out the window.

Otherwise you need to explain the following:
1) Why does it look exactly like the iPhone lights, but at the same time being something else?
2) If he is filming through the glass into the dark night, why would he NOT see the iPhone light, when multiple tests shows that this would most likely happen.
So it's pretty hard to ignore the iPhone light completely, if you really want to explain the "UAP" video.

This is another great example, that the eyewitness testimony does not match the video documentation. Just like the latest Pentagon videos.

The report might be fake - and the video is not related.

Source: https://youtu.be/cp54eEHA58g
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Looking at a Gulfstream 650 cockpit, it seems likely to me that the footage was shot by the co-pilot, not the pilot. The orange digital clock (which you can just see as the camera pans right) is right of the screens which means that's the right-hand seat.
Ben Hansen's source who said he shot the footage also said he was the pilot of that plane. So... does the pilot sit on the right in Gulfstreams? Does the pilot ever sit on the right?copiolot.jpg
 
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Ravi

Senior Member.
It seems to be again a case where someone was overconfident (based on their background). How many times have we seen this happen? But to the ufo community (who don't have a strong memory), these pilots are the best witnesses ever.

This way, I, and I guess many others, loose interest in it.
 
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