UFO stands for “unidentified flying object”.
What better object to be misidentified than an actual object that flies? Believe it or not, airplanes can be and are misidentified as “exoticly behaving ” UFOs for a variety of reasons.
Before I go into the more reasonable explanations of how planes can appear as unidentified objects, I need to address something that seems to be taking hold in UFOlogy. There are a few individuals on the internet who have been recording UFOs that suddenly start sounding like airplanes. One would think that the videographer
would accept the possibility they were mistaken and admit they were planes. Instead, these people are convincing themselves that what they are seeing are UFOs that mimic airplanes to confuse the observer. These are being referred to as “fake airplanes”. With this kind of logic, it is impossible to explain anything. Is this the future of UFOlogy?
Airplanes during the day
People could never misidentify an airplane right? Well, that depends on the observing conditions. Aircraft seen from a distant during the day look like white dots or flat discs. If they are moving between clouds they can appear to simply disappear without a trace indicating great speed.
If they catch the sun just right, they can gleam in the light just like this image of a landing airliner. I took this photo with a 400mm lens. To the unaided eye, it just looked like a bright object floating in the sky during its approach.
Many people think aircraft will be followed by a contrail but that is not always the case. Under certain conditions there will be no contrail. Small aircraft may not even produce a contrail even though contrails would be visible from higher flying jetliners.
There are airplanes that look odd to the observer. Most obvious are the F-117 and B-2 stealth aircraft but those are fairly
localized to where they operate from. Other strange airplanes could include ultralights, experimental aircraft, or UAVs.
Back in the 1970s, it was common for airplanes to have illuminated messages under their wings. They are not so common anymore. The last time I recall seeing something like that was in 1997. However, I still see airplanes towing banners.
These banners can be much larger than the airplane that is towing them. Recently, I saw what appeared to be a red cigar shaped craft hovering over the highway. I photographed it and, after zooming in, was able to determine it was one of these ad plane banners. The plane was not visible as it was behind the trees.
Airplanes at sunset and sunrise
Planes and their contrails reflecting the sun can be misperceived as UFOs. The below image shows five airliners and their contrails reflecting the setting sun. It was interesting to say the least.
Under conditions where contrails are not formed, a plane can suddenly reflect light as bright spot in the sky. Just as suddenly as it appears, it can disappear giving the impression of UFO that appeared and disappeared suddenly. The image to the right shows this effect.
Airplanes at night
Airplanes at night can be very misleading. Their lighting patterns can change as the plane maneuvers and presents different aspects to the observer.
For instance, an airplane approaching an observer can appear to “stand still” for a significant period of time giving the impression of hovering. When it makes a gradual turn, from that distance, it could appear to make a sudden right angle turn. All sorts of interesting interpretations could be made by excited individuals, who want to see something unusual.
Under certain conditions, the lights of an aircraft can take on a triangular shape. Anytime I see a video of a series of lights that appear to be triangular at night, I look for the anti-collision strobe. If it shows up, then odds are VERY GOOD that it is simply an aircraft. The lack of noise from such aircraft probably has a lot to do with the distances involved. This image here shows an aircraft at night with an interesting lighting configuration. Playing “connect the dots”, a person might call this a “disc” or “pentagon” shaped craft.
Some airplanes fly in formation at night. It is not often but it does happen.
In NH, I have seen big C-5 galaxy aircraft climbing to refuel with KC-135s in the late evening. At night, these aircraft and their lighting can make them appear extremely odd.
If two or more military aircraft are flying in formation towards a military operating area at night, they would look unique and it would not take much to play connect
the dots. It is this kind of situation that seems to have produced several of the UFO reports filed in the Stephenville case.
This image below shows a formation of Snowbirds I photographed at an air show. Compare it to the effect I introduced by darkening the background and blacking out the aircraft. Prior to blacking out the aircraft, I added the navigation lights and the taxi light in the nose. It is interesting the resultant formation takes on the appearance of a large
V-shaped object. Planes will not fly this close together at night but if you spread them out, the “V” can suddenly appear like a massive object hundreds of feet across!
Helicopters tend to be quite noisy but one can never tell. Police helicopters often use bright spotlights that make them obvious from a distance. Military helicopters can appear unusual especially if it is a twin-rotor type like the Chinhook pictured here. From a distance, one may have difficulty determing if it is an alien spaceship or just a helicopter.
I used to perform Physical training with the junior military personnel while stationed in Orlando. We would run in formation on the golf course for a few miles early in the morning. During the winter it was quite dark. Just to the south of the naval base was the Orlando Executive airport.
As we were making our turn back to the gym, somebody noticed a bright light rising above the horizon. He remarked that it looked like a UFO. A few seconds later, I told him he needed to look again since his UFO had the words “FUJI” on its side. From a distance, the blimp can appear like a UFO. Luckily, we were only a few miles away so we could read the advertisement.
There are many blimps operated around the United States by various companies. All can be seen at sporting events day or night. During the recent Gulf oil spill, the US Navy used its MZ-3A airship to help identify oil slicks! I wonder if there were any UFO reports created by this craft?
There are also smaller advertising blimps that can be suspended over a business. This image from californiablimps.com shows an interesting object that might look like a UFO to an unsuspecting individual
Radio controlled aircraft
A recent addition to potential UFO sources is the night flying of radio controlled aircraft. The addition of hundreds of LEDs on these craft have produced objects that can fly at night that appear to be bright objects performing exotic maneuvers that an observer might misinterpret as an exotic craft that was “unworldly” since no normal aircraft could conduct such rapid loops and turns.
Image from RCgroups.com
Beware the aircraft
Aircraft can produce UFO reports and the first thing any investigator should do is examine this possibility. Too often, UFO investigators want to dismiss aircraft simply because they can not believe that aircraft could have been misperceived as something exotic. This possibility increases greatly at night. If anti-collision beacons/strobes are mentioned or recorded on video, the possibility of it being an aircraft is high. Unless a person resorts to the “fake airplane” answer, the rule should be, If it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it probably is a duck.
Quelle: SUNlite 6/2010