Sphere, Acorn, Metallic Blimp - Three iPhone Photos From an F-18 via Mystery Wire

DavidB66

Active Member
Some time has passed and nobody has disputed my and jarlmai's calculations that the object must be at a MINIMUM 1 meter in width.

Here are the conclusions (REDACTED to compress see original posts for full details)

[.....]


So Max approximate size is several meters across and most probably no more than 5 meters across.

Counting pixels the object appears approx 30x32 pixels. So basically 1x1 meter or 5x5 meters is the maximum range approximately.

[.....]

Typical batman balloon sizes (I initially found 45x70cm but can't find that format anymore):
71cm w x 69cm h https://www.instaballoons.com/products/batman-cape-shape-28-mylar-foil-balloon
69cm x 99cm https://rakkoonsballoons.com/product/supershape-balloon-batman-action/ (different design)

From 1 meter to 70cm we would need a big (but not impossible) error given our approximations.

I wouldn't exactly dispute your conclusions, because I don't understand either cameras or geometry well enough to follow your calculations. As the metadata about the photo seemed to exclude the use of zoom, I reapplied my own crude method, using 65.5 degrees as the FoV, and got results very similar to yours. I didn't think it was worth commenting again, and threw my scribbles away. But my calculations relied heavily on the assumption that your estimates of viewing distance were correct, at least for the upper and lower limits. Before anyone starts quoting your conclusions as definitive I think the underlying method and assumptions need to be reviewed. I'm bound to say I start from the strong presumption that the object is a Batman balloon, since it looks exactly like one, and it doesn't look much like anything else. There are literally many points of resemblance! So my question is: are your findings robust enough to overturn this presumption? For example, how sensitive are they to slight variations in the estimate of the viewing angle? And how are they affected by the actual change in direction of view between the two photos, as shown by the changing position of the pilot's helmet, etc?
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I wouldn't exactly dispute your conclusions, because I don't understand either cameras or geometry well enough to follow your calculations. As the metadata about the photo seemed to exclude the use of zoom, I reapplied my own crude method, using 65.5 degrees as the FoV, and got results very similar to yours. I didn't think it was worth commenting again, and threw my scribbles away. But my calculations relied heavily on the assumption that your estimates of viewing distance were correct, at least for the upper and lower limits. Before anyone starts quoting your conclusions as definitive I think the underlying method and assumptions need to be reviewed. I'm bound to say I start from the strong presumption that the object is a Batman balloon, since it looks exactly like one, and it doesn't look much like anything else. There are literally many points of resemblance! So my question is: are your findings robust enough to overturn this presumption? For example, how sensitive are they to slight variations in the estimate of the viewing angle? And how are they affected by the actual change in direction of view between the two photos, as shown by the changing position of the pilot's helmet, etc?
Well then you, jarlmai and I used three different methods and we all got basically the same results.

I tried the analysis with several FOV estimates to check how impactful it was. It basically didn't vary.

The most crucial factor is the speed of the F-18.

My conclusion is that the object is at least 1 meter wide (1.16 meters with F-18 @350knots passing at 130 meters from object) but some approximations and assumptions were made. So if the batman balloon is 70cm I don't think we can exclude it completely but we would need to find a pretty big error in the calculations (certainly possible) to make it fit. Or we need a bigger balloon candidate.

To recap the assumptions:
  1. object is perfectly static in mid air
  2. no wind affecting the F-18 (could introduce +/- 50/100knots although if object is a ballon it would follow the wind and cancel out)
  3. altitude around 25k feet
  4. min true air speed around 320/350 knots
  5. iPhone FOV 65°

Changing any of those parameters influencing relative speed would influence the result. We are talking of 320/350 knots of relative speed in the current calculations so we would need and impact of over -90 knots (-30% in speed) to get the estimated size of the object to 70cm.

Continued: If we want to exclude the balloon we must take for good assumptions 1 and 2 (the wind affects both object in the same way so relative position change is only due to the F-18's speed). The min speed is then basically dependent on altitude. So assumption 3 is basically the only relevant to calculate assumption 4 and minimum size possible. And to get a 30% reduction in speed we would be at 230 knots TAS which is below stall speed of an F-18 even at sea level basically unless it was in an improbable configuration (full flaps/minimum load etc.). And we are definitely not at sea level.
 
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deirdre

Senior Member.
This is their boilerplate message every time they release a comment on this subject. No point reading into it much. It is meant to be vague.
the point is there is no reason for bandit to think the us military is "ridiculous' or 'incompetent' simply because he is not understanding what they actually SAID about this matter vs online speculation like radar was involved or the Task Force "apparently say they are UAPs".

There are multiple events, as well as generalized statements in that article that have nothing to do with thee particular photographs.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I'd like to point out that my calculations as stated do not exclude an 80cm batman balloon and that I think that the size is likely on the lower end of a spectrum between 0.5cm to 3m with 3m being if the jet was travelling at a high, near full speed.

Margins of error are big when the object is likely so small and the speeds of the jet so fast, it could easily slip 10cms based on the jet yawing or being on climb etc or a slight pixel mismeasurement due to glare or something. Really what we rule out is a large car sized object like big drone or plane etc.

I also think pixel size measurements based on a precisely known sensor are fairly accurate, the main issue is not knowing if the object was really still, or if there was wind blowing the object towards/away from the jet and and such a wind would also change the performance characteristics of the aircraft with it being able to sustain a slower ground speed of flying into a head wind etc. All these factors could affect the range of the objects size.

Given the shape is an almost perfect match for that batman balloon and the size is not outside of my calculated range of possibilities, it's the most likely candidate and even if we determine it's 1-1.5m or so it's still more likely someone made a large version of the balloon, or there's larger versions available and we just haven't found yet or that our margins of error are bigger than we think than it is that this is some sort of craft that defies tech/physics as we know them.

I'm currently working on a recreation in Blender with a modelled version of the batman shaped balloon.

here's my last post on the subject.

Using the calculator above and given we know the full camera specs so by measuring pixels we can calculate:

The size given a distance or the distance given a size, however we do not know either of the variables so we don't gain much here alone.

We can however measure approx jet speed by assuming a fixed position object and noting the increase in apparent size over the gap between 2 pictures (0.374s)

The object goes from 20 pixels tall to 32 pixels tall in 0.374s

If we assume a 1m object that's 163m to 101m in 0.374 seconds = 322kts
If we assume a 5m object that's 815m to 509m in 0.374 seconds = 1590kts

I would suggest this puts bounds on the object size of 0.5m (approaching stall speed) and 3m (very fast cruise speed) given they were making passes to take photos and get a closer look on the slower and thus smaller end.
 
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DavidB66

Active Member
I have gone back to basics again to make my own estimate of the distance of the object in the second photo.

Unless otherwise stated, distances are given in meters, and angles in degrees.

I assume that the jet is moving in a straight line and the object is static.

Construction: Draw a line AB. At time T1 the jet is at point A and at time T2 at point B. At both times the object is at point C, somewhere beyond B but not in the straight line AB. Join A, B, C to form a triangle. Extend AB to some point D. At T1 let the angle of view from the jet to the object be p, relative to the direction of flight, therefore angle BAC = p. At T2 let the angle of view, relative to the direction of flight, be q, therefore angle DBC = q. Draw a perpendicular from B to the line AC, meeting it at a point E. This gives us two right-angled triangles, ABE and CBE.

From these assumptions:
angle ABE = 90 - p.
angle CBE = 180 - q - angle ABE = 90 - q + p.
BE/AB = sine p, therefore BE = AB sine p.
BE/BC = cosine angle CBE, = cosine (90 - q + p), therefore BC = BE/cosine (90 - q + p), = (AB sine p)/cosine (90 - q + p).

Problem: to find BC, the distance of the jet from the object at the time of the second photo.
To find this, we need values for p, q, and AB. As reasonable round figures for p and q I have taken 10 and 15 degrees respectively, which is not very different from those used by gtoffo. In consequence, angle CBE = 90 - 15 + 10 = 85.
For the distance AB, we need the speed of the jet and the time interval between T1 and T2. Fortunately the metadata give the difference between T1 and T2 as 0.374 seconds, leaving only the speed to be estimated. I have taken a round figure for this as 500 km per hour, or a little over 300 miles per hour, which I think is within the accepted range of possibilities.
A jet flying at 500,000 meters per hour travels 138.889 meters per second, therefore in .374 of a second it travels 51.944 meters, giving this as the value for AB.
An online trig calculator gives sine 10 as .17365, while cosine 85 = .087157.

Therefore BE = 51.944 x .17365 = 9.02, and BC = 9.02/.087157 = 103.48 meters.

Given the assumptions, I therefore estimate the distance of the object in the second photo as just over 100 meters.

This is considerably lower (about half) of gtoffo's lower end estimate. I may well have made some error either in method or calculation, but if not, the Batman balloon seems well within range.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I have gone back to basics again to make my own estimate of the distance of the object in the second photo.

Unless otherwise stated, distances are given in meters, and angles in degrees.

I assume that the jet is moving in a straight line and the object is static.

Construction: Draw a line AB. At time T1 the jet is at point A and at time T2 at point B. At both times the object is at point C, somewhere beyond B but not in the straight line AB. Join A, B, C to form a triangle. Extend AB to some point D. At T1 let the angle of view from the jet to the object be p, relative to the direction of flight, therefore angle BAC = p. At T2 let the angle of view, relative to the direction of flight, be q, therefore angle DBC = q. Draw a perpendicular from B to the line AC, meeting it at a point E. This gives us two right-angled triangles, ABE and CBE.

From these assumptions:
angle ABE = 90 - p.
angle CBE = 180 - q - angle ABE = 90 - q + p.
BE/AB = sine p, therefore BE = AB sine p.
BE/BC = cosine angle CBE, = cosine (90 - q + p), therefore BC = BE/cosine (90 - q + p), = (AB sine p)/cosine (90 - q + p).

Problem: to find BC, the distance of the jet from the object at the time of the second photo.
To find this, we need values for p, q, and AB. As reasonable round figures for p and q I have taken 10 and 15 degrees respectively, which is not very different from those used by gtoffo. In consequence, angle CBE = 90 - 15 + 10 = 85.
For the distance AB, we need the speed of the jet and the time interval between T1 and T2. Fortunately the metadata give the difference between T1 and T2 as 0.374 seconds, leaving only the speed to be estimated. I have taken a round figure for this as 500 km per hour, or a little over 300 miles per hour, which I think is within the accepted range of possibilities.
A jet flying at 500,000 meters per hour travels 138.889 meters per second, therefore in .374 of a second it travels 51.944 meters, giving this as the value for AB.
An online trig calculator gives sine 10 as .17365, while cosine 85 = .087157.

Therefore BE = 51.944 x .17365 = 9.02, and BC = 9.02/.087157 = 103.48 meters.

Given the assumptions, I therefore estimate the distance of the object in the second photo as just over 100 meters.

This is considerably lower (about half) of gtoffo's lower end estimate. I may well have made some error either in method or calculation, but if not, the Batman balloon seems well within range.
My estimate is that the distance of the object in the second photo is 137 meters. So not very different from your calculation. That would result in an object size of 1.16 meters.

But:
- the speed you use (500km/h) means 270 knots true air speed. That speed at 25.000 feet corresponds to 183.5 knots of indicated air speed or mach 0.44 which is at the very edge of the envelope at full military power (no afterburner just full dry power).
- At 10k feet that speed corresponds to 233 knots indicated or mach 0.42 which is within the envelope.
- You shouldn't round the angles as that is basically one of the few factors we actually have. The calculations I used are based on an initial angle with the object at T1 of 12.45° (not 10°) and at T2 of 18.47° (not 15°).

Even with those changes in assumptions (some of which I think are incorrect) you don't really reach the necessary change in size to result in 70cm.

I'd like to point out that my calculations as stated do not exclude an 80cm batman balloon and that I think that the size is likely on the lower end of a spectrum between 0.5cm to 3m with 3m being if the jet was travelling at a high, near full speed.
Remember your speed assumptions were based on IAS while you should be using TAS. So the speeds you were using were lower than you thought they were. So you were calculating the absolute minimum speed limit (depending on altitude).

Margins of error are big when the object is likely so small and the speeds of the jet so fast, it could easily slip 10cms based on the jet yawing or being on climb etc or a slight pixel mismeasurement due to glare or something. Really what we rule out is a large car sized object like big drone or plane etc.
Not really. It is minimum a 1x1 object based on my calculations and could easily be a 3x3 meter object. So basically small car sized.

I also think pixel size measurements based on a precisely known sensor are fairly accurate, the main issue is not knowing if the object was really still, or if there was wind blowing the object towards/away from the jet and and such a wind would also change the performance characteristics of the aircraft with it being able to sustain a slower ground speed of flying into a head wind etc. All these factors could affect the range of the objects size.
If this was a ballon wind is totally irrelevant. It would affect both the F-18 and the balloon equally and therefore have no effect on relative speed. In the air you don't care where the ground is going.

Wind only comes to play if the observed object is able to move independently from the wind. And therefore it would not be a balloon.

Given the shape is an almost perfect match for that batman balloon and the size is not outside of my calculated range of possibilities, it's the most likely candidate and even if we determine it's 1-1.5m or so it's still more likely someone made a large version of the balloon, or there's larger versions available and we just haven't found yet or that our margins of error are bigger than we think than it is that this is some sort of craft that defies tech/physics as we know them.
Your calculations indicate that the balloon would need to be 50% larger to fit the observed image. From 70cm to 1 meter. My different method of calculation reaches the same conclusion as yours.
That's a big error and pushes us to unrealistic speeds at most altitudes.

Unless there is some major error in calculations we need a bigger balloon or something else.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
My estimate is that the distance of the object in the second photo is 137 meters. So not very different from your calculation. That would result in an object size of 1.16 meters.

].....]

Unless there is some major error in calculations we need a bigger balloon or something else.

Sorry, I overlooked that you revised your distance estimates. In an earlier post you gave a range of 203 to 336 meters, which is what I had in mind when I said my estimate was only half your lower end. You did indeed later reduce it to 137 meters.

No-one so far has shown an error in my method or calculation, and unless they do, I will continue to take 103 meters as a reasonable possibility.

You say that with your figure of 137 meters you get an object size of 1.16 meters.. Well, I don't. I think it is agreed, whether based on pixel count or an old-fashioned ruler measurement, that the object in the second photo has a width nearly 1/200 of the total image width. With an FoV of 65 degrees the width of the field of view at a distance of 137 meters would be 2 x 137 x tan 32.5 degrees. Tan 32.5 is about .637, which gives a width of about 174.5 meters. Dividing that by 200 gives a width for the object of 0.872 meters. My own distance of 103 meters gives a width of 0.656 meters. Either figure would be consistent with a standard Batman balloon

You don't say how you get your figure of 1.16 meters. In an earlier post you said that with a distance of 203 meters you got a width of 1.4 meters. The relationship is linear, so with a distance of 137 m, if you used the same method, you should get a width of 137/203 x 1.4, which is about 0.945 m. That's higher than my estimate of 0.872, but still under a meter.
 

flarkey

Active Member
In my experience, trying to model pixels, focal lengths and fields of view is very difficult to accurately do and often involves many iterations until you get the right or desired answer. It might be easier to get an iPhone 12 and a Batman balloon (or similarly sized object) and photograph it from multiple distances and compare this with the photos from the F/A-18.
 
the point is there is no reason for bandit to think the us military is "ridiculous' or 'incompetent' simply because he is not understanding what they actually SAID about this matter vs online speculation like radar was involved or the Task Force "apparently say they are UAPs".

There are multiple events, as well as generalized statements in that article that have nothing to do with thee particular photographs.

Hello,

I'm not actually suggesting (at least I didn't think I was) that the US military is ridiculous or incompetent. I actually think they're neither. What I am suggesting is that what we're being told, if true, could only lead us to the conclusion that they're both ridiculous and incompetent, ergo what we're being told is untrue.

Look, these photos are so underwhelming (speaking personally) and look so much like balloons, that it's difficult for me to believe otherwise. From the images alone, Metabunkers have argued convincingly that these indeed are balloons, yet two years later (Sightings: 4th March 2019, MW Article: 6th April 2021) the UAPTF still can't determine what they were (allegedly). Moreover, if, 'the best aviators in the world', in top-of-the-line combat jets encountered these undentified objects under intelligent control in restricted, military airspace, why not engage them? If they're sub-launched Chinese drones, that'd one in the eye for the Politburo. But no one (allegedly) could 'snag' one for study.

More from Mystery Wire:

Critics tried to explain away the objects. Several people online compared the Acorn to a toy Batman balloon. But two years later, after careful study by the UAP Task Force, the objects remain unidentified [emphasis mine].

Although these three did not perform spectacular maneuvers like the famed Tic Tac or Gimbal UFOs recorded elsewhere, they do not behave like any drones or balloons known to the U.S. military.

...The Task Force reports noted that the objects were able to remain stationary in high winds, with no movement, beyond the capability of known balloons or drones.

Source: https://www.mysterywire.com/ufo/new-uap-photographs/

Moreover, as you yourself point out, the implication of Susan Gough's statement is that the Blimp, Acorn and Sphere aren't UAPs at all:

DOD does not discuss publicly the details of either the observations or the examinations of reported incursions into our training ranges or designated airspace, including those incursions initially designated as UAP.” [Ibid.]

Lastly, I don't (and I doubt anyone else does either) really accept that the Pentagon doesn't have the sensory and visual data to prove exactly what these things are. Hence my view is that we're being subjected to official dishonesty for ulterior reasons.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Sorry, I overlooked that you revised your distance estimates. In an earlier post you gave a range of 203 to 336 meters, which is what I had in mind when I said my estimate was only half your lower end. You did indeed later reduce it to 137 meters.

No-one so far has shown an error in my method or calculation, and unless they do, I will continue to take 103 meters as a reasonable possibility.

You say that with your figure of 137 meters you get an object size of 1.16 meters.. Well, I don't. I think it is agreed, whether based on pixel count or an old-fashioned ruler measurement, that the object in the second photo has a width nearly 1/200 of the total image width. With an FoV of 65 degrees the width of the field of view at a distance of 137 meters would be 2 x 137 x tan 32.5 degrees. Tan 32.5 is about .637, which gives a width of about 174.5 meters. Dividing that by 200 gives a width for the object of 0.872 meters. My own distance of 103 meters gives a width of 0.656 meters. Either figure would be consistent with a standard Batman balloon

You don't say how you get your figure of 1.16 meters. In an earlier post you said that with a distance of 203 meters you got a width of 1.4 meters. The relationship is linear, so with a distance of 137 m, if you used the same method, you should get a width of 137/203 x 1.4, which is about 0.945 m. That's higher than my estimate of 0.872, but still under a meter.
I posted my entire calculation here with complete inputs for the triangles used.
https://www.metabunk.org/threads/sp...om-an-f-18-via-mystery-wire.11692/post-247375

It is the same method as yours. I just didn't use the formulas for right angles for the trig, used more precise calculations for the initial angles of the object and a more realistic speed given the altitude.

Also you are introducing another error in the latest calculation:
- the object is not 1/200 of the image. I calculated 30 pixels out of 4032 so 0,0074% of the image. With a field view of 65° that gives you 0,484° of apparent angle. And that is what I used in my calculation in the link above.

- the speed you use (500km/h) means 270 knots true air speed. That speed at 25.000 feet corresponds to 183.5 knots of indicated air speed or mach 0.44 which is at the very edge of the envelope at full military power (no afterburner just full dry power).
- At 10k feet that speed corresponds to 233 knots indicated or mach 0.42 which is within the envelope.
- You shouldn't round the angles as that is basically one of the few factors we actually have. The calculations I used are based on an initial angle with the object at T1 of 12.45° (not 10°) and at T2 of 18.47° (not 15°).
Our results are basically the same except you make unnecessary approximations (apparent angles and apparent object width) and some unreasonable assumptions (speed).

If you fix the angles you will see you get closer results. If you apply a more realistic speed you get the same result.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Ok I see some confusion. So I'll repost my final calculations here.

Step 1: Pixel counting.
We take 3 measures and then divide by total number of pixels in image (4032) and then obtain final angle given a total camera horizontal FOV of 65°

Example: for the apparent angle at t1 I count 772 pixels from a centerline on the cockpit. Divide by 4032 gives 0,191 which multiplied by 65° of field of view gives 12.445° of apparent angle.
Do the same at t2 and the same with the 30 pixels of apparent object width at t2.

Screen Shot 2021-04-27 at 20.02.36.png

Step 2: estimate speed and distance.
Time difference between t1 and t2 is known: 0.375

THIS IS CRUCIAL: I estimate a minimum/probable True Air Speed of the aircraft (assuming 25k feet of altitude) at 350 knots (which is 240 knots of CalibratedAirSpeed at 25k feet of altitude).

0.375 sec at 350knots = 67.52 meters of movement

I round down at 67 meters and use it as side c in the triangle below. Where (see table from step 1) angle A (t1) is 12.45° and angle B is 180°-18.4°=161.53° plug those into http://cossincalc.com/#angle_a=12.4...&side_b=&angle_c=&side_c=67&angle_unit=degree
and you get a nice little triangle like the one below telling you: the distance from the object at t2 is 137 meters

Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 13.43.59.png

Step 3: calculate apparent size at t2 with a distance of 137 meter.
We use our trig calculator once again with an apparent angle A of 0.484° as calculated in step 1 and sides b,c as 137 as calculated in step 2.
http://cossincalc.com/#angle_a=0,484&side_a=&angle_b=&side_b=137&angle_c=&side_c=137&angle_unit=degree
Screen Shot 2021-04-09 at 13.49.50.png

CONCLUSION:
Voilà! The Object is 1.16 meters.


The lInks to the triangles are active so you can plug in your own numbers. The only variable is in Step 2: the crucial speed and altitude estimation.

CONCLUSION 2: So.... what speed do we need to achieve 70cm of object size?

Here are your same 2 triangles:
http://cossincalc.com/#angle_a=12.4...&side_b=&angle_c=&side_c=40&angle_unit=degree
http://cossincalc.com/#angle_a=0,484&side_a=&angle_b=&side_b=83&angle_c=&side_c=83&angle_unit=degree
You need the F-18 to cross 40 meters in 0.375 seconds which corresponds to a speed of 207 knots True Air Speed which at 25.000 feet is 139 knots CAS. At 5000 feet it's 192 knots CAS.
We are outside of the flight envelope for the apparent altitude I think.

Unless some assumption above is wrong. This is NOT 70cm wide.
 
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DavidB66

Active Member
I based my 1/200 figure on a) my own measurement of the image on screen, and b) Jarlmai's comment at #39 above, saying he measured the object at 20 pixels, which makes 1/200 of 4000(ish). If it is 30 pixels that obviously has a proportionate effect on the result. But I'm not clear where you get 30 from, and it would be difficult to reconcile with my own measurement.

I used 10 degrees and 15 degrees for the angles of view because in an earlier post you said
I calculated number of horizontal pixels between an approximate centerline for the aircraft and the object and I see: 10,15° in the first one and 15,06° in the second one
so I thought we were on common ground. I find it difficult to keep track of all the changes in assumptions or estimates.

Added: I wrote this in response to #92, and before seeing #93. I still don't see that you have addressed my point that

In an earlier post you said that with a distance of 203 meters you got a width of 1.4 meters. The relationship is linear, so with a distance of 137 m, if you used the same method, you should get a width of 137/203 x 1.4, which is about 0.945 m.

As to the speed of the aircraft, I think it is reasonable to assume that when the photos were taken the crew were specifically trying to get a look at a mystery object, otherwise the rear crew member would not have had the camera in his/her hand ready to snap it. (Either they had been directed to the location or they circled round to take a closer look.) In this case they would be flying as slowly as possible. I am no expert on what is possible for the aircraft in question, but an online discussion here suggests that it may be below 200 knots.

https://bbs.hitechcreations.com/smf...d to find a stall speed of F-18,bank angle 30)...
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
THIS IS CRUCIAL: I estimate a minimum/probable True Air Speed of the aircraft (assuming 25k feet of altitude) at 350 knots (which is 240 knots of CalibratedAirSpeed at 25k feet of altitude).
How are you getting 250 Knots CAS stall speed for an F/A-18? You cited a flight simulator page, but even there they listed typical landing speed at 130knot (and you don't stall when landing).

This Navy document ( A1-F18EA-NFM-200 NATOPS FLIGHT MANUAL PERFORMANCE DATA NAVY MODEL F/A-18E/F 165533 AND UP AIRCRAFT) seems to suggest a range from 100 to 200 knots, depending on loading.

2021-04-27_12-13-50.jpg
 

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jarlrmai

Senior Member
The object in image 1 is 20 pixels tall

1619550552221.png

The object in image 2 is 33 pixels tall

1619550625310.png

measured in photoshop analysis ruler records as below

1619551117251.png

Rather than using FoV I use an online image / object size calculator which does the math for you with the iPhone 8 specs entered, I presume the longest measurement given for batman balloon is 80cms.

https://www.scantips.com/lights/subjectdistance.html

1619551210893.png
1619551246869.png

1619551913153.png
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I based my 1/200 figure on a) my own measurement of the image on screen, and b) Jarlmai's comment at #39 above, saying he measured the object at 20 pixels, which makes 1/200 of 4000(ish). If it is 30 pixels that obviously has a proportionate effect on the result. But I'm not clear where you get 30 from, and it would be difficult to reconcile with my own measurement.
Jarlmai is measuring height in t1. I'm using width in t2. In pic 2 it is approximately 30x32 pixels by my count (+/-1px I'd say). Please refer to post #93 so we avoid confusion.

As to the speed of the aircraft, I think it is reasonable to assume that when the photos were taken the crew were specifically trying to get a look at a mystery object, otherwise the rear crew member would not have had the camera in his/her hand ready to snap it. (Either they had been directed to the location or they circled round to take a closer look.) In this case they would be flying as slowly as possible. I am no expert on what is possible for the aircraft in question, but an online discussion here suggests that it may be below 200 knots.

https://bbs.hitechcreations.com/smf/index.php?topic=368823.0#:~:text=Re: F-18E stall speed at full load&text=EF-200.pdf-,I tried to find a stall speed of F-18,bank angle 30)...
I agree. As slow as possible but at a comfortable margin from the edge of the envelope at full military thrust (no after burner) and without full flaps engaged.

How are you getting 250 Knots CAS stall speed for an F/A-18? You cited a flight simulator page, but even there they listed typical landing speed at 130knot (and you don't stall when landing).

This Navy document ( A1-F18EA-NFM-200 NATOPS FLIGHT MANUAL PERFORMANCE DATA NAVY MODEL F/A-18E/F 165533 AND UP AIRCRAFT) seems to suggest a range from 100 to 200 knots, depending on loading.

2021-04-27_12-13-50.jpg
The F-18s flight envelope is classified. In the document you show the values are in Calibrated Air Speed at sea level and with all possible lift aids deployed (full flaps, high angle of attack etc.). It is the absolute limite in the most extreme conditions (even with maximum thrust=full afterburner).

If you move to 25k feet the air you can use http://www.hochwarth.com/misc/AviationCalculator.html to calculate the CAS/Mach/TAS/EAS Conversions due to reduced air density.
The aircraft still stalls at the same INDICATED speed (so let's say 80 knots with minumum loading, full flaps, maximum thrust, high angle of attack etc.) but at 25k feet that means you are travelling at 120 knots True air speed.

Obviously in the picture the AOA is not high and it is unlikely that high thrust was being used and that the F-18 was in landing configuration. So the minimum speed will be necessarily much higher.

Flight sims are good sources for approximate data such as this flight envelope for the F-18:

At 25k feet the edge of the envelope at full military thrust is almost 0.4 mach. And you would be almost falling out of the sky with all lift aids and high AOA. That's 184 CAS and 271 TAS. An unrealistically low speed for such an intercept.

To get 70cm we need 207 knots True Air Speed so we are way out of the envelope at 25k feet.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
In the document you show the values are in Calibrated Air Speed at sea level and with all possible lift aids deployed (full flaps, high angle of attack etc.). It is the absolute limite in the most extreme conditions (even with maximum thrust=full afterburner)
Where does it say that?
 
Re: jarlrmai and deirdre

The military clearly aren't putting most of this information out to the public through active duty personnel or official channels, hence that's why it's almost all coming from former staff who are apparently "plugged in". Whether anyone of their status is ever really "ex" intelligence or "ex" military is debatable. I would think not, but one could argue the opposite, too.

[Deep breath]

I think I walked in half way through all this, so, to clarify, I just think we're missing the point in measuring and re-measuring these flipping photos. As I see it, the main issues are (i) Why are we being told any of this at all?, and (ii) why is there such a huge disconnect between what we are being shown and what we are being told?

1. The US military has, officially, poo-pooed UFOs for almost 75 years. In 2017, though, there's a tentative 180, with people like Davis (still, allegedly, a consultant to the unnamed, unacknowledged, top-secret successor project to AATIP) speaking of, to quote the NYT, 'off-world vehicles not made on this Earth.' Why the change? If it's true, why drip-feed it to us? If, tomorrow, Biden, Johnson, Xi, Putin, Macron, etc. were to all announce that "ALIENS ARE REALLY HERE", for most people it'd be thrilling news, not terrifying.

2. Elizondo, Mellon, Radcliffe, Davis, Fravor, et al, have, for 4 years now, been making statements from which any reasonable person would infer that physical craft of unknown origin displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities (shape, speed, endurance, manoeuvrability, the 5 observables, etc.) are real, are here, do not respond when challenged for identification, cannot be intercepted, and are routinely and regularly being observed by military pilots. But one example from Elizondo:

'We have the technological capability to demonstrate one or maybe two of the observables but not all five, and, so, what do I mean? So, the first observable is instantaneous acceleration. The human being can withstand about nine g forces before we start having negative biological consequences such as red outs and blackouts. Uh, to put that in contrast, uh, our F-16 which was one of our older aircraft, but still one of the most highly manoeuverable aircraft on the planet - manned aircraft - can pull about 17 g's before you start having structural failure, uh, you start having wings begin to snap off the aircraft. And yet what we're seeing are doing five, six, seven hundred g forces, um, so that's that's that's pretty, pretty, pretty incredible.

3. The US military has space-based and land-based radars and sensor arrays that can, allegedly, read your newspaper headlines and car number plates from hundreds/thousands of miles away, instantaneously detect ICBM launches, acoustically track Russian submarines, track from Los Angeles a baseball launched from New York, and monitor half a million pieces of space debris measuring as small as 1cm but travelling at up to 17,500mph.

4. Now look again at the photos of the Acorn, Sphere and Blimp which are exercising so many people's minds and taking up so much of their time. They're garbage snaps from an iPhone! The 3 objects aren't even described as having any exceptional technical capabilities whatsoever. Moreover, they look like kids' balloons, and MW et al have made a convincing case that they are kids' balloons.

I say, therefore, we shouldn't engage with this tat a moment longer. A man's time and effort are his own, of course, but I just perceive this as a calculated slight. All the coyness of, "we can't show you what we have because of sources and methods" is total BS. We're being played for chumps by a bunch of spooks. The Skinny Bob footage is more compelling than all 3 of these grainy photos and all 3 blurry TTSA videos combined!

Unless and until we get given evidence that matches the hyperbolic rhetoric, e.g. hi-res footage of a tic-tac going 0 to 10,000mph and from 80,000 feet to a dead stop at sea level, all this pixels per centimetre is a 21st-century version of angels on the head of a pin.

I don't want to argue with people, so I won't say any more until "they" release something worthy of our time and invstigative efforts. All the best.

Space Debris and Human Spacecraft: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html
Elizondo on Mystery Wire: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTdxjJZP1W0

Raytheon - Security from 20,000 miles above Earth: https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/space-based-early-warning
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Where does it say that?
It specifies on the sheet it's CAS (which varies with altitude). And it's a stall profile derived from flight test (see it says "flight derived").

The way they do this is they get at a minimum safe altitude (there might be total loss or control or spin and the pilot might need to bail out) and try to stall the aircraft as slow as possible with different configurations.

The goal is to identify the minimum stall speed that you should never reach (if you do: you might die). So you employ every tool you have (flaps, high AOA, etc.) to see how slow you can get the plane to go safely.

But that is the limit. If you stall an F-18 while on short final landing on an aircraft carrier you are probably dead. That is why you land around 130+ knots (depending on weight but when you get back to the boat you have no fuel and no weapons so you are usually very light) which is the minimum you can achieve while having enough safety margin.

You never fly close to the stall limit except while making extreme manoeuvres.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
Re: jarlrmai and deirdre

The military clearly aren't putting most of this information out to the public through active duty personnel or official channels, hence that's why it's almost all coming from former staff who are apparently "plugged in". Whether anyone of their status is ever really "ex" intelligence or "ex" military is debatable. I would think not, but one could argue the opposite, too.

[Deep breath]

I think I walked in half way through all this, so, to clarify, I just think we're missing the point in measuring and re-measuring these flipping photos. As I see it, the main issues are (i) Why are we being told any of this at all?, and (ii) why is there such a huge disconnect between what we are being shown and what we are being told?

1. The US military has, officially, poo-pooed UFOs for almost 75 years. In 2017, though, there's a tentative 180, with people like Davis (still, allegedly, a consultant to the unnamed, unacknowledged, top-secret successor project to AATIP) speaking of, to quote the NYT, 'off-world vehicles not made on this Earth.' Why the change? If it's true, why drip-feed it to us? If, tomorrow, Biden, Johnson, Xi, Putin, Macron, etc. were to all announce that "ALIENS ARE REALLY HERE", for most people it'd be thrilling news, not terrifying.

2. Elizondo, Mellon, Radcliffe, Davis, Fravor, et al, have, for 4 years now, been making statements from which any reasonable person would infer that physical craft of unknown origin displaying beyond-next-generation capabilities (shape, speed, endurance, manoeuvrability, the 5 observables, etc.) are real, are here, do not respond when challenged for identification, cannot be intercepted, and are routinely and regularly being observed by military pilots. But one example from Elizondo:



3. The US military has space-based and land-based radars and sensor arrays that can, allegedly, read your newspaper headlines and car number plates from hundreds/thousands of miles away, instantaneously detect ICBM launches, acoustically track Russian submarines, track from Los Angeles a baseball launched from New York, and monitor half a million pieces of space debris measuring as small as 1cm but travelling at up to 17,500mph.

4. Now look again at the photos of the Acorn, Sphere and Blimp which are exercising so many people's minds and taking up so much of their time. They're garbage snaps from an iPhone! The 3 objects aren't even described as having any exceptional technical capabilities whatsoever. Moreover, they look like kids' balloons, and MW et al have made a convincing case that they are kids' balloons.

I say, therefore, we shouldn't engage with this tat a moment longer. A man's time and effort are his own, of course, but I just perceive this as a calculated slight. All the coyness of, "we can't show you what we have because of sources and methods" is total BS. We're being played for chumps by a bunch of spooks. The Skinny Bob footage is more compelling than all 3 of these grainy photos and all 3 blurry TTSA videos combined!

Unless and until we get given evidence that matches the hyperbolic rhetoric, e.g. hi-res footage of a tic-tac going 0 to 10,000mph and from 80,000 feet to a dead stop at sea level, all this pixels per centimetre is a 21st-century version of angels on the head of a pin.

I don't want to argue with people, so I won't say any more until "they" release something worthy of our time and invstigative efforts. All the best.

Space Debris and Human Spacecraft: https://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/station/news/orbital_debris.html
Elizondo on Mystery Wire: Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DTdxjJZP1W0

Raytheon - Security from 20,000 miles above Earth: https://www.raytheon.com/capabilities/products/space-based-early-warning
Nothing is preventing you from ignoring this thread if you are uninterested in this stuff.
 

DavidB66

Active Member
Having seen the blown-up photos in Jarlmai's #96 above, I accept that I previously underestimated the full width of the object, from tip to tip of the 'wings'. It is very difficult to identify the tips without zooming in closely, and I couldn't zoom in far without cutting off part of the full image, which I wanted at the same scale for comparison with the object. Even in Jarlmai's blown-up image, it is difficult to be sure where the tips are, but it seems safe to say that the full width is nearly the same as the full height, which is also true of the standard Batman balloon. This gives about 30 pixels for the width in photo #2, as stated by gtoffo. With all other assumptions the same, this would give a width of over 1 meter for the object, which is larger than the standard Batman balloon. Whether or not this is thought to rule out that balloon depends on those other assumptions, notably about the speed of the jet.
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
There are balloons larger than 1m for sale, I just can't find a batman balloon that shape and size, doesn't mean there isn't one or someone made a custom one.

Given the number of shots from f/18's we seem to be seeing I thought about getting the F/18 module for DCS but then i'd have to learn to fly a
Hornet... Could be fun and might help with analysis..

We don't know altitude here as well as any potential wind speed it's possible this was at a lower altitude or into a headwind which would allow a slower air speed.

https://www.instaballoons.com/products/batman-cape-shape-28-mylar-foil-balloon

This balloon gives a max altitude for some reason.. lol 10,000 feet. take that with whatever grains of salt you need.
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
It specifies on the sheet it's CAS (which varies with altitude).
CAS (Calibrate Air Speed) varies with altitude for a constant TAS (True Air Speed). But the point of CAS is that the stall speed in CAS is the same regardless of altitude. My point was that the CAS stall speed of 100-200 knots is quite a bit lower than the 240 knots CAS you cited as a minimum CAS.

You never fly close to the stall limit except while making extreme manoeuvres.

Extreme maneuvers? Flying as slow as possible is not an extreme maneuver, it's a trivial part of flying, something you do in training all the time to get a feel for the plane. It's perfectly safe at altitude for a small plane, or a fighter.

It's entirely plausible they flew around to make a slow pass of the object to get a better photo.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
CAS (Calibrate Air Speed) varies with altitude for a constant TAS (True Air Speed). But the point of CAS is that the stall speed in CAS is the same regardless of altitude. My point was that the CAS stall speed of 100-200 knots is quite a bit lower than the 240 knots CAS you cited as a minimum CAS.
Remember that the engine thrust produced also varies as the air density lowers. The values you see indicated in that stall report are meant at low altitude and in a standard atmosphere (U.S. Standard Atmosphere 1962).

Look at the envelope I linked in post #97 for an idea of the required speeds for level flight at different flight levels. At 10k feet the stall speed at mil thrust is 0.22 Mach (120 knots CAS) and at 25k feet it is 0.38 mach (155 knots CAS). So you can see how much altitude affects the stall speed.

Also as I stated: those minimum speeds require maximum AOA (so nose up, which is not the case in the image) and full flaps (which is unlikely in the picture) and full thrust (which is unlikely in the picture).

If 155 knots CAS is the stall speed at 25k feet the plane was certainly flying AT LEAST 10-20% over that limit to maintain a comfortable margin and ensure manoeuvrability.
139 knots CAS is what we need for the balloon to be 70 cm at 25k feet. So below the stall speed at that altitude.

Estimating the actual speed is crucial, since we don't know the altitude and we don't know the actual speed.

Given this data. What do you think is the minimum TAS speed at 10k feet and at 25k feet for this picture?

Extreme maneuvers? Flying as slow as possible is not an extreme maneuver, it's a trivial part of flying, something you do in training all the time to get a feel for the plane. It's perfectly safe at altitude for a small plane, or a fighter.
Flying slow does not mean stalling the plane. Stalling the plane is something you only do during emergency training at a safe altitude to train how to recover and during extreme acrobatic manoeuvres (not even in combat. It makes no sense to stall the aircraft).
It's entirely plausible they flew around to make a slow pass of the object to get a better photo.
Slow yes. Stalling no.
 
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Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Flying slow does not mean stalling the plane. Stalling the plane is something you only do during emergency training at a safe altitude to train how to recover and during extreme acrobatic manoeuvres (not even in combat. It makes no sense to stall the aircraft).
Obviously not, but it's pretty trivial to fly on the edge of stall deliberately if you are trying to pass something as slow as possible.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I finally thought of looking at the image EXIF data. We get all the camera parameters there including focal lenght etc.

I can confirm that the FOV is 65.5 deg (I used 65 in my calculations). So that assumption is confirmed.

I was trying to figure out if any barometric data or GPS data was present.... but I guess barometric data would only show the pressurised cabin.

We do have accelerometer data. Maybe we can calculate altitude based on the measured vertical G force?
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Obviously not, but it's pretty trivial to fly on the edge of stall deliberately if you are trying to pass something as slow as possible.
This is how an F/A-18C looks like flying at the stall limit (110 knots in this show): Source: https://youtu.be/52zgIccljK4?t=251


It is not trivial at all. It is an airshow stunt. Basically it's disabling the AOA limiter (usually you wouldn't be able to do that manoeuvre...those jets are expensive), full flaps, and using the engine power to keep up the jet with minimum load. That's not how you fly an F-18. And not how you would fly an intercept with an unknown contact. Also it is obviously not how the plane was flying in the image (compare AOA with is basically flat in the picture).
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Unlikely, the change is miniscule. around 0.1% and would be lost in the noise. Related discussion here: https://www.metabunk.org/threads/codys-lab-how-weight-changes-with-location-and-velocity.8783/
Can we estimate altitude from the other elements? I'll brainstorm here.

Method 1: there might be a slight curvature in the horizon.
According to: http://thulescientific.com/Lynch Curvature 2008.pdf
Visual daytime observations show that the minimum altitude at which curvature of the horizon can be detected is at or slightly below 35.000 ft, providing that the field of view is wide (60°) and nearly cloud free
However there is definitely some cloud cover in this case.

Method 2: I can see an island next to the pilots arm. It has barely distinguishable features. Maybe we can compare it with known pictures of islands form different altitudes? How wide is that beach?

Method 3: There are several layers of cloud cover. They seem high altitude cirrus or altostratus clouds to me. They are typically only found above 18k. Maybe?


Those all seem to indicate that my estimate of 25k feet is at least reasonable. It definitely "looks" that high or even more possibly.
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
crazy chance, but could this be a ship? Bottom right of the "closer" photo.

1619638065674.png

Also based on the original story this happened in the area around Virginia beach near Portsmouth if that is an island or headland there might not actually be that many options I can only see the heasland of Fort Story or Fisherman/Adams Island as possible matches,
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
I saw those balloons in my searches they are pretty big as demonstrated in that second photo, the acorn ones are the most interesting I reckon as we have the 2 photos with time delta and a known camera and a pretty distinctive shape.

This bit of land is seen by in the acorn image, given the time of day it looks like they are flying NNW-NW (sun is on the left judging by highlights/shadow angle

1619647186471.png

This is the view NNW flying towards the headland by Virgina beach

1619647331614.png
 

JMartJr

Senior Member
there is no way that this batman balloon can partially deflate (and some eye tricks due to bright sun glow) to make this blob right?
1619646230220.png

I had dismissed it a while back because i saw no head, but today searching for batman ufos i saw an iron man balloon that somehow is inflated but he lost his head.

how did he lose his head?
iron man.png
https://www.india.com/viral/its-a-b...s-of-alien-invasion-in-greater-noida-4177273/
As it happens, I did the Spiderman version of this balloon for my nephew some time back. The various segments of the one we had were each separate balloons, held together by double-sided tape. A segment tearing off (or deflating and hanging down the back) would not compromise the other bits unless the Mylar tore. So it's not terribly surprising when one loses a bit but keeps on tickin' along.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
I saw those balloons in my searches they are pretty big as demonstrated in that second photo, the acorn ones are the most interesting I reckon as we have the 2 photos with time delta and a known camera and a pretty distinctive shape.

This bit of land is seen by in the acorn image, given the time of day it looks like they are flying NNW-NW (sun is on the left judging by highlights/shadow angle

1619647186471.png

This is the view NNW flying towards the headland by Virgina beach

1619647331614.png

WHAT!?!?!?!!?

https://i.gyazo.com/bbc52becce8cb31f45d6c1e570a1a25b.mp4


THAT MUST BE IT.
I think the Navy should be scared about us or hire us (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Screen Shot 2021-04-29 at 01.16.51.png

I'm really not sure if it means anything but trying to match the apparent size on google earth gives me a camera 5000m high.

I think we can do a better job at matching the profile with the horizon and cape charles. Maybe then we can calculate something useful.

LOL incredible job jarlrmai!
 

Mick West

Administrator
Staff member
Very tenuous, but I wonder if there's a possible source of a bunch of mylar balloons on March 4, 2019, in Virgina Beach? I notice there's an expo called "The Outdoor Show" that seems like it might be on that date.
 

gtoffo

Active Member
Can we confirm more solidly that the position fits? It is definitely a likely position given the Navy presence and training ground but can we confirm the land profile matches in a more definitive way?

It would be a major breakthrough.

Once that is done we can:
  • attempt to calculate altitude and distance based on size of the visible landmarks
  • check weather report for wind etc.
  • verify traffic in the area at the time and potential sources of misidentification
  • verify the presence of events in the area that could involve large balloons
We know the other pictures such as "blimp" were taken in the same flight/day right?
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I'm not sure if you missed it but the general location was mentioned in the original article mentions the plane was in zone W72, if you keep the the sun to your left there doesn't seem to be any other candidate land masses.
so by looking at this W72, you can see it starts from Virginia Beach
Screenshot 2021-04-07 at 09.24.05.png
which actually has a big problem with people releasing balloons
https://www.pilotonline.com/ask/vp-...0190913-56a4334i7bbmxm4dwnqzap3beu-story.html

so recently they even introduced a fine (250$ - 2500$) for releasing more than 50 balloons
https://www.13newsnow.com/article/n...ases/291-d6a4de31-b6ea-4cf3-b0b0-9ecb92b913a8
 

jarlrmai

Senior Member
I measured the gap between the 2 points then made a best guess as to where that was in the photo (there's a general sense of that land mass but it's not as clear as the other one (also lol Big Ball Island.)

It's 17.6km between the 2, using the same measuring tool as above I got an estimated jet distance from that point of 53 km, I then drew a circle centred on that point of 53km radius, as the jet is not at sea level it is inside that circle somewhere depending on altitude, my google earth fu is not strong so i'm having trouble doing the photo overlay trick Mick uses, however I also marked a point that lines up with the airfield at Virginia beach (you can see f/18s on the apron there). This problem is similar to the one we had with positioning the the news chopper filming the wildfire with the ship that looked like it was flying, however don't have as distinct feature to map to.

1619702369829.png
 

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