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

jarlrmai

Senior Member
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);
}
That is so cool, I guess being an ex game developer is actually really useful when investigating UFOs after all ;)

Re the ADSB DB stuff I was thinking if we had say a general area, and date/time stamp if we could then use an estimated phone angle from cockpit/window clues to goal seek for the flight combos that matched. I imagine that would be quite computationally taxing depending on flights in the area.

But if you know its above or below and at approximate angles at x time in x area you can eliminate a lot then present candidate planes combos...
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
I think technically they are both pilots but are designated captain and first officer, from what I can find in fixed wing aircraft captain is on the left and first officer is on the right.
This is a little troubling to me. It was the pilot with all those credentials that Ben spoke to, the pilot who shot the footage... but he was sitting on the right where the first officer or co-pilot usually sit? Why is Ben calling him the pilot? Or why is he calling himself the pilot?


Note also that Ben shows the footage in the wrong order - he starts with the second video124552_submitter_file2__Video4 shot at 3.31 (16:29 in his YouTube video), which he calls the "first glimpse" and is the cockpit panning to out the window to a brief flash of the lights (he replays it zoomed in and slo-mo).

Then "he starts filming again" and Ben plays the first video 124552_submitter_file1__Video11 shot at 3.20, which is a longer look at the lights (19:43 in his YouTube video).

The video that was shot first is a nice scenic shot of LA with the purple lights in the corner and unremarkable cockpit chatter. Then the camera operator decides to shoot the cockpit screens and pan out the window for a second shot - which makes more sense to me. I'd be in a rush to shoot the UFO first and then think about filming some context such as the cockpit screens.

If I realized after my first shot of scenic LA-by-night that I'd captured what looked like UFOs, and I decided to create a hoax out of it, then I'd go back and shoot the cockpit screens for context. Either way, that order of shots makes more sense than the backwards order Ben showed them in. (I presume he got them round the wrong way because they were uploaded in the wrong order, but that puts into question what he talked about with the pilot for two hours...)
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Re the ADSB DB stuff I was thinking if we had say a general area, and date/time stamp if we could then use an estimated phone angle from cockpit/window clues to goal seek for the flight combos that matched. I imagine that would be quite computationally taxing depending on flights in the area.
Not really computationally expensive if you do it right. But historical API access isn't free, and it's a chunk of code. I'll probably do it at some point though
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
This is a little troubling to me. It was the pilot with all those credentials that Ben spoke to, the pilot who shot the footage... but he was sitting on the right where the first officer or co-pilot usually sit? Why is Ben calling him the pilot? Or why is he calling himself the pilot?
Please don't get hung up on terminology. Both people in the cockpit are fully FAA-certified to fly the aircraft, and the organisation operating the aircraft designs one as pilot in-command (PIC). The PIC traditionally occupies the left seat, but that's not set in stone.
At any time, one pilot is the pilot flying (PF) while the other is pilot not flying (PNF) or pilot monitoring (PM), but these roles can change several times during a flight.

So if there are two people in the cockpit, they're both pilots.
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Please don't get hung up on terminology. Both people in the cockpit are fully FAA-certified to fly the aircraft, and the organisation operating the aircraft designs one as pilot in-command (PIC). The PIC traditionally occupies the left seat, but that's not set in stone.
At any time, one pilot is the pilot flying (PF) while the other is pilot not flying (PNF) or pilot monitoring (PM), but these roles can change several times during a flight.

So if there are two people in the cockpit, they're both pilots.
Do you know how unusual it would be to have only one pilot? I'm asking because Ben never mentions anyone else in the cockpit. Whoever that was (if there was someone), their testimony would obviously be important.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Interesting new development. On Aug 10, this was posted:

Source: https://www.tiktok.com/@flying_hi/video/7130252599206481194


Trent 0:00
So one of the questions I get asked the most is, if I've ever seen any UFOs, and tonight, we saw some pretty interesting things.

Pilot 2 0:07
Yeah we did actually, quite a few different things, actually.

Trent 0:11
Yeah, so we saw what looked to be a star that would get bright and then go dim, but it was also moving. Um, I don't know what else...

Pilot 2 0:20
rapidly blinking lights.

Trent 0:22
Yeah, rapidly blinking lights above them. And then they would look like to there was smaller, really faint light, that were kind of shooting out from them, or around them or something.

Pilot 2 0:33
Yeah, it was very unusual. I haven't seen anything like this before. I've seen other UFOs but nothing like this.

Trent 0:38
Yeah. So lots of activity. Like the whole time we were flying tonight, which is about a five hour flight. We saw all sorts of stuff. And then at the end, he was actually taking a restroom break, but the flight attendant was up in the cabin and we saw something really crazy that I'm going to post next so stay tuned for that.

Pilot 2 0:55
And the other thing is a lot of other pilots, while they were out there, were talking about it.

Content from External Source
Two pilots describe what sounds exactly like this incident. BUT, the actual report in this thread is from Aug 18.

Then on August 17, he posts a text message from the pilot ("Chris") he was flying with on Aug 10, discovering that they were filming reflections.

2022-09-02_06-50-20.jpg

So what happened? Did they go out the next day and fake a UFO video?
 

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  • Trent on TikTok.mp4
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Charlie Wiser

Active Member
So what happened? Did they go out the next day and fake a UFO video?
If these are the same guys...
You'd think they'd delete the TicTocs if they intended to maintain the hoax, and certainly after Ben Hansen got involved.

He posted 3 UFO videos on his instagram on Aug 9-10(?) including this one:
https://www.instagram.com/reel/ChF6E3eDQcm/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
which presumably turned out to be the IR light from his phone.
Says he usually flies people to and from Hawaii.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
I wonder if it's a kind of UFO flap, but confined to pilots? Like there's talk in some bits of the pilot community about seeing UFOs, maybe specifically on the HI (Hawaii) route. So they look real hard for them, and then see something that looks like what someone else saw.

flying_hi says:
we saw what looked to be a star that would get bright and then go dim, but it was also moving.
Content from External Source
That was for the 8-10 post. So then the new one, posted to MUFON, also on a HI route, does not describe dimming, but does say:
I then saw what I believed was a shooting star, but it stopped descending and joined the other 4 UAP’s in their circular orbit.
Content from External Source
But the video does show something similar to the earlier description:


But new Sitrec identifies this as the landing lights of a plane descending towards LAX [EDIT: Incorrectly, it's above the location of the indicated plane, and is most likely a satellite, see: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/re...nnel-islands-8-18-22.12616/page-3#post-281439 ]
2022-09-02_08-45-44.jpg
 

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  • 19min clip showing land - short.mp4
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Also of potential interest. The LLF (Landing Light Flare) is below the horizon. It's quite a bit below him. But weather conditions (and lack of civilization in Central CA) make it look like it's quite a bit ABOVE the horizon. Speculating here, but maybe this made him think that the LLF was above him?

Here's the side view. It's looking down like 10°, so you'd think probably not. But maybe?
2022-09-02_08-52-03.jpg
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
The diagram above shows a 2° spread (-2° to +2° - I use the angle from the centerline in Sitrec) That will actually match a lot better than the 6° I have now.
Although that does not seem right, as the LLF jet is quite a bit lower, so would need to be pitched up. Hmm.....
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
I asked Ben, he says it's not them. "flying_hi" seems to fly SouthWest, not private jets.
Just adding to this - I contacted that pilot and he did not know who Ben Hansen was 36 hours ago (I filled him in), then 15 hours ago told me Ben had contacted him. If he's Southwest then he wasn't one of the two commercial pilots that Ben said had seen the lights but "didn't want to report it over the radio" according to the air traffic controllers who allegedly called the pilot witness when he landed [6:22 of his video]. Neither was Southwest.

Ben also found four commercial airliners in the area at the right time that he hoped had seen something [29:07], but also none were Southwest.

I've googled a few variants but failed to discover what the "FAA Presidential Aerial Security Administration" or "FAA Presidential Aerial Security office" in Washington DC (from the pilot's MUFON report) might be.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Just adding to this - I contacted that pilot and he did not know who Ben Hansen was 36 hours ago (I filled him in), then 15 hours ago told me Ben had contacted him. If he's Southwest then he wasn't one of the two commercial pilots that Ben said had seen the lights but "didn't want to report it over the radio" according to the air traffic controllers who allegedly called the pilot witness when he landed [6:22 of his video]. Neither was Southwest.

Ben also found four commercial airliners in the area at the right time that he hoped had seen something [29:07], but also none were Southwest.

I've googled a few variants but failed to discover what the "FAA Presidential Aerial Security Administration" or "FAA Presidential Aerial Security office" in Washington DC (from the pilot's MUFON report) might be.
It might be related the post 9/11 policy of fighter aircraft making a cordon around the presidents current location, we mentioned it briefly in this thread

https://www.metabunk.org/threads/cl...landing-at-jfk-on-11-11-19.11269/#post-239270

https://text.npr.org/518861719
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
Ben Hansen has posted an update on this story. This is a summary. The pilot now agrees the purplish-pink lights are a camera artifact. Ben does not clarify things very well, which could be because the pilot didn't clarify things very well.

On the assumption the pilot didn't upload to MUFON and hand over to Ben video showing nothing, we have to assume that at the time he thought he'd captured his UFO on the videos (whether the pink lights or something else).

But now, according to Ben, the reason the pilot took those short videos was:

trying to establish the city lights as he was setting up his cockpit for the next transition into the next radar airspace. So he's busy in the cockpit put he's scanning the skies. And the other video he took a picture of his instrumentation to establish what was there.
And in this case as well you can see he wasn't expecting to capture anything because the video is shaky in the cockpit and that's when the pinkish lights are captured in the corner.

If he didn't expect to capture a UFO and wasn't trying to, then do we assume he looked at the video afterwards, saw the pink lights, and thought that was his UFO? Even though it didn't match what he was seeing with his eyes for 15 mins and had reported to ATC? (He reported it before filming anything, according to Ben and the MUFON sighting report.)

Ben asked him: "Were you actually directly seeing the object and then trying to record what you're seeing? Are you seeing the same thing at the time you're trying to record?" The pilot was "very honest and transparent with me and said, You know what, I don't know." The pilot wasn't sure if he was capturing "anything at all" as the lights moved around and over him.

We need to reconcile:
  1. The pilot called ATC about unidentified aircraft or lights at high altitude.
  2. The pilot reported to MUFON: that he saw "2 UAPs in a circular formation" lights, later 4, then a "shooting star" that became the 5th circling UAP. He attempted to record them going over his aircraft, continued talking to ATC, then lost sight of them. One other aircraft "reported the incident". And the FAA Presidential Aerial Security Administration was interested.
  3. The pilot seems to have told Ben they were red lights that appeared pink in the footage. He now agrees they're an artifact of the phone.
  4. The pilot has now told Ben the videos themselves do not show his UAPs, but were filmed for another reason.
  5. The pilot does not know if he was seeing the same thing, at the same time, with his eyes that he was trying to record. Ben says he has "witness remorse".
Additionally, Ben played one-sided ATC chatter where the controller asks another pilot (AAL6) if they saw anything and they appear to say no. An hour later that pilot calls in lights to the north, well above the horizon, that appear bright then go dim, not continuously but 10 seconds apart, same general area but different spot. Controller says she'll pass it along because "They were asking up higher if I had any more reports." Presumably this is the report that prompted her (or someone from ATC in LA) to track down the first pilot, to tell him (per his sighting report to MUFON) that another pilot had seen something.

But the second sighting is nothing like the first pilot's report. It does seems to match Southwest pilot Trent (flying_hi)'s report (Aug 10) that Mick mentioned, a sighting Ben says he will do a deep dive on later. Whether AAL6 would even have reported his sighting without first being asked to look out for strange lights is unknown. We also don't know if Trent thought his sighting was significant enough to call in at the time, or how often pilots generally see this "distant bright/dimming light" phenomenon out of LA.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
It is funny it goes from "this is going to be very big" (Ben's words), to perhaps not so big, to basically nothing special.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
Which is nice.
Some reports got debunked and stayed big anyway.

True. And that is mainly caused by the re-hashing of old (dead and buried cases) going on at Reddit, but certainly also on Youtube. Many youtubers jumped on it (and increasingly so). I think it is counter productive and will increase the noise floor even higher.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
True. And that is mainly caused by the re-hashing of old (dead and buried cases) going on at Reddit, but certainly also on Youtube. Many youtubers jumped on it (and increasingly so). I think it is counter productive and will increase the noise floor even higher.
I bet in 3 months time this video gets posted on Reddit by someone and people will argue with you in the comments about "pilots with 10000's hours of experience versus ex video game developers"
 

Charlie Wiser

Active Member
It is funny it goes from "this is going to be very big" (Ben's words), to perhaps not so big, to basically nothing special.
There is something else going on here which I find dismaying. Ben explained how he assured the pilot it didn't matter too much about not getting video, although that would've been awesome of course, but that his testimony was still extremely meaningful because he's a retired military blah blah.

This pilot had "very big" video evidence of UFOs that Ben shared with us all, and a week later he doesn't even know if he got it on video - despite handing over that video. But Ben's effusive support remains undiminished and he's now letting us know he's counseling the pilot through his alleged "witness remorse".

Maybe it's just me, but if a pilot gave me 2 videos that he said showed a UFO that he and at least one other pilot also seen with the naked eye, and we talked for two hours about it to make sure I understood exactly what was going on, and I staked my reputation on it before all of ufology (99,000 views and counting), I would be demanding some answers about how anything makes sense now he knows they were camera artifacts that he clearly did not see with the naked eye. Not propping him up in public or in person.

All Ben has right now are two pilots who saw something completely different from this pilot, and one not even on the same date.

Have any of these big names in ufology ever just admitted they were hoaxed?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Maybe it's just me, but if a pilot gave me 2 videos that he said showed a UFO that he and at least one other pilot also seen with the naked eye, and we talked for two hours about it to make sure I understood exactly what was going on, and I staked my reputation on it before all of ufology (99,000 views and counting), I would be demanding some answers about how anything makes sense now he knows they were camera artifacts that he clearly did not see with the naked eye. Not propping him up in public or in person.
You're not being persecuted and "stigmatised" for coming forward with UFO reports. If these guys who earn good youtube money from this (or plan to) want to keep receiving material, they need to visibly encourage everyone who is not quite sure what they have seen, because that's most of the non-hoaxed UFO reports.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
Have any of these big names in ufology ever just admitted they were hoaxed?
Of course not. True believers make excuses for conflicting reports, pretty much like the religious make excuses for god. Those who exploit the reports for publicity and profit are unlikely to confess that their livelihood is based on a sham. It's left to people like us to debunk them ...and thus we will never be "big names in ufology".
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
What are "big names in ufology" anyway? The loudest mouth? The one that has the most podcasts? The one that is interviewed the most? It is rather silly if you think about it. How easy would it be to become expert in ufology.. just remember very well all the past cases and you are in..
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
But new Sitrec identifies this as the landing lights of a plane descending towards LAX
2022-09-02_08-45-44.jpg

Hey @Mick West just going back to this - your compound picture above does suggest that the light is below the horizon, and the Sitrec suggests that it could be the Flaring Landing Light, but on closer inspection of the clip the 'UFO' light is at the same height as the star Merak in the Big Dipper and therefore must be above the horizon. Are you sure the perspective and overlay in the compound picture is correct?

1665487799562.png
Comparison showing the position of the light with the Big Dipper pan.

In your overlay the alignment of the coastline appears to be off....

1665489025040.png

When I try to align the video of the coastline with the Sitrec model image I get this....

1665489937782.png


Now, back to what the "light" may be... I think that the light seen here is again a flaring Starlink satellite, and by checking on In-The-Sky.org at the time indicated (2022-08-18 07.19UTC) we can see that there were illuminated Starlink satellites in this exact region of the sky near Merak in the Big Dipper. I've taken the observer's lat long from the flight track kml as the plane flies close to Malibu.

1665488040950.png
1665488068150.png

Also note that the flaring satellite was directly in line (Observer>Satellite>Sun) with the obscured sun (over the horizon to the NNW) making the case that a Starlink satellite could flare to be possible/likely. This is as per the other flaring Starlink investigations that I've already done.

1665489165952.png

?

Edit: moved pictures & text to make the argument flow a bit better.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Hey @Mick West just going back to this - your compound picture above does suggest that the light is below the horizon, and the Sitrec suggests that it could be the Flaring Landing Light, but on closer inspection of the clip the 'UFO' light is at the same height as the star Merak in the Big Dipper and therefore must be above the horizon. Are you sure the perspective and overlay in the compound picture is correct?
Well, heck. You are correct. I must have misidentified the stars and done a bad fit to the coastline. I was wrong, you are right. My apologies for my lack of rigor.

This suggests a few improvements needed for Sitrec.
  • Stars!
  • City lights, from the NASA Blue Marble night image, maybe.
  • A tilt setting for the ADS-B tracking camera [done]
  • (and in an Ideal world) Starlink tracking, with flaring,
All in good time.
 
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flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Well, heck. You are correct. I must have misidentified the stars and done a bad fit to the coastline. I was wrong, you are right. My apologies for my lack of rigor.

@Mick West - please try and be more rigorous in future. It would be rather embarrassing if you had to ban yourself from your own debunking website! ;)

  • (and in an Ideal world) Starlink tracking, with flaring,
The heavens-above.com website used to be able to predict flares from the Iridium satellites, but they have all since been retired. The website https://www.satflare.com/home.asp offers some predictions, but not yet for Starlink satellites. I dare say the mathematics for predicting Satellite flares is rather complex - although I am starting to understand the reasons and conditions for why and when they flare a bit more after the recent "racetrack UAP" investigations. A quick Goole returns this with some C# code already written: http://dkami.umcs.pl/how-to-calculate-flares-from-satellites/
 

Rocky

Active Member
I am now also convinced that, at least what we see in the video (the presented evidence), is an artefact caused by the camera. The MUFON report above (#14) however, mentions that he saw the lights well before he took his phone out. Also the story he tells makes it sound the things were doing loop-de-loops above the plane. Is this just subjectivity, I wonder.

I always find it hard to understand what really happened, going with a witness account. For instance, something could be reported being an object 200 meters away, but in reality it was a star.. That type of thing.
Not saying the pilot is not trustworthy, but they can make wrong judgements.
The report on Mufon does sound like the UAP's were all over his plane. Yet the video evidence is very weak and suspect. Looks like this former F18 pilot is trying to get a seat next to Cmdr Fravor at the next UFO symposium. :p
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
This and racetrack stuff is making me marvel at the number of pilots who report this stuff, act excited about it at the time and then just vanish from the discussion leaving the UFO fans to stan for them.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
This and racetrack stuff is making me marvel at the number of pilots who report this stuff, act excited about it at the time and then just vanish from the discussion leaving the UFO fans to stan for them.

Are they hovering away completely silently, or shooting off at an incredible speed?
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
This and racetrack stuff is making me marvel at the number of pilots who report this stuff, act excited about it at the time and then just vanish from the discussion leaving the UFO fans to stan for them.
They are excited, as would any of us be if we saw something mysterious. But a mundane explanation throws a bucket of cold water on that excitement, and leaves the viewer either (1) embarrassed, and wanting not to discuss it any more, or (2) defiant, enjoying the interest from ufologists, and unwilling to entertain any other interpretation but his own.

There seem to be more of (1), but group (2) have a bigger audience and a louder megaphone
 
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