Why "Racetrack" UFOs are mostly Starlink Flares

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Regarding my post above, in which I said....
Edit 2: Hmm, a time of 0056Z doesnt really support the flaring Starlink hypothesis. However, if the aircrew had been using a phone with a clock that was synchronised to East Coast USA time of UTC-5, then it would fit perfectly.

Got a reply from the witness on PPrune... (I was right!)

1669113090692.png

Checking in-the-sky.org it shows (as expected) that the conditions for flaring Starlink satellites were present again.

1669114452972.png
 
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jarlrmai

Senior Member
This is all good work, but let's wait until Chris Lehto turns up in the thread before we can be sure of anything.
 

Ravi

Senior Member.
On one hand I cannot blame pilots to not be aware of the extreme amount of Starlink satellites orbiting. But, on the other hand, should that not be at some point become common knowledge? The Starlink constellation will only get bigger. I mean, they (pilots) must at some point come to a kind of consensus, right?
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
On one hand I cannot blame pilots to not be aware of the extreme amount of Starlink satellites orbiting. But, on the other hand, should that not be at some point become common knowledge? The Starlink constellation will only get bigger. I mean, they (pilots) must at some point come to a kind of consensus, right?

Yes, there needs to be something official published and widely circulated, either by an Aviation Authority such as FAA, CAA or EASA, or perhaps by a professional body such as https://www.balpa.org/ , to ensure that aircrews are made aware of this. Although it isn't a genuine flight safety risk for collision, it can't be good for pilots to be distracted or confused when they see such a phenomenon.
 

Ann K

Senior Member.
On one hand I cannot blame pilots to not be aware of the extreme amount of Starlink satellites orbiting. But, on the other hand, should that not be at some point become common knowledge? The Starlink constellation will only get bigger. I mean, they (pilots) must at some point come to a kind of consensus, right?
I think the time will come - soon - that other pilots will publicly laugh at them for not knowing what they are, and the number of reports will dwindle toward zero. Peer pressure will get to them faster than scientific analysis.
 

Easy Muffin

Senior Member
Unfortunately the flight playback and the ATC messages didn't get synced properly so that might give a false impression.

For example there's FDX1403 checking in with Ft Worth at what appears to be 0943Z.
a.jpg

Although in actual fact that flight had only just departed Memphis airport at that time.
b.jpg

Very rough estimate here, but going by the border between Memphis Center and Ft Worth Center they would have first talked to Ft Worth around 1010Z to 1020Z or so.
c.jpg
The border runs from Tulsa past Forth Smith to Texarkarna, roughly speaking. https://skyvector.com/?ll=34.9246734040739,-94.57965087780295&chart=304&zoom=4&fpl=undefined if you want to have a look yourself.

This is the sun position at Fort Smith at 1010Z, prime conditions for Starlink flares.
d.jpg

The direction of 90° matches well, too. DAL722 says earlier that they see the lights in the direction of Razorback, which is a VOR station near Tulsa and would have been pretty much due east (or straight ahead) from the plane's POV.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Unfortunately the flight playback and the ATC messages didn't get synced properly so that might give a false impression.

Nice observation. I was just starting to look into this and the time / location / sun angle didint seem to line up as I was expecting. This explains it. Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC) boundaries are split like this:



You can see US ARTCC Boundaries on ADSB Exchange - the purple lines in this image. Here we can see that Fedex1403 only entered the Fort Worth ARTCC at 10:20 UTC Time, which is 37 minutes later than the 'synchronized' audio on the video suggests.

1674914464894.png


It suggests that the video is about 35mins behind the audio - agreed?
 
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Easy Muffin

Senior Member
It suggests that the video is about 35mins behind the audio - agreed?
I tried to get the ATC comms from the LiveATC archives since they always seem to have pretty accurate timing information but couldn't find anything for Fort Worth. However I did manage to track down FDX1403's prior contact with Memphis (look for KFYV, Jan 14, 1000-1030). They are handed off to Ft Worth shortly before 1018Z. There's also a short interaction where ATC asks them if they are seeing any lights, I guess that's him relaying Ft Worth's inquiry as mentioned in Hansen's video.

17:09
ZME - 1403, you see any lights out there just north of you?
FDX1403 - Uhh, looking. I don't see anything... what exactly [am I] looking for?
ZME - Well, a word that we're not supposed to say on the frequency, but something hovering above you around 45,000 ft estimated.
FDX1403 - Okay, we're searching.

17:48
ZME - FDX1403, contact Fort Worth on [1]35.45 and let them know if you see anything out there.

Sadly 135.45 doesn't appear in the LiveATC archives.

So yeah, 35 minutes seems correct. At that point in the video anyways. It's difficult to keep track of the time as the video goes on what with all the cuts he made.
 

flarkey

Senior Member.
Staff member
Just thought I should do the due dilligence and check the parameters on this sighting.

First of all , we need to take into account the poorly-sync'd video and audio that @Easy Muffin noted above. This is so we can get an accurate time & position for DELTA722.

1675071380667.png

So at 10.05UTC aircraft DELTA722 was actually between Tulsa and Oklahoma City.

1675071421518.png
10:10UTC = 04:10 CST
.
The sun position at this location and Time was 42 degrees below the horizon on a Bearing of 088.

1675071465264.png

https://www.suncalc.org/#/35.7777,-96.6852,8/2023.01.14/04:05/1/3

Checking In-The-Sky.org planetarium view for starling satellites above the sun.

1675071251239.png

This sighting fits for the conditions under which we have seen Starlink Flares in the previous cases. Its highly likely that this is what was seen.
 
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