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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 20

Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

From: DRudiak@aol.com
Date: Wed, 19 Nov 1997 17:20:49 -0500 (EST)
Fwd Date: Thu, 20 Nov 1997 09:16:32 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

> From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@ix.netcom.com>
> Subject: re: UFO UpDate: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony
> Date: Tue, 18 Nov 1997 10:44:29 -0800

> >  Date: Mon, 17 Nov 1997 21:51:10 -0500
> >  From: bruce maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
> >  Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony
> >  To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

> >  Now I hope you understand that it would be DIFFICULT for Arnold
> >  to mistake geese for high speed objects because as soon as he
> >  started flying parallel to their path he would realize he was
> >  catching up.   When Kottmeyer realized this he shut up.

> I'm glad you raised this, Bruce, because I did a semi-controlled
> experiment this weekend (talk about coincidence).
> I was driving on a north to south highway, and it turned out that
> there were some geese flying in approx. the same direction. They
> were at some distance, and as I drove along I quickly caught up
> with them and passed them (@65 mph).
> Also, they were at about 20 degrees elevation; they were clearly
> geese at all distances, even when at the limits of resolution.
> And, despite the fact that the sun was to my right and the geese
> were to my left, they never once emitted a specular reflection or
> looked like disk-shaped object.

I did a rather similar chance experiment during a discussion of the seagull explanation for Tremonton, Utah movie.  Driving down the freeway in the S.F. Bay area, I noticed a group of white birds circling over the freeway some distance ahead.  I deduced that they were undoubtably seagulls even though I still could see no details such as wings or body.  At that point they were just white dots.

I then watched them until I could just make out their wings, checked my odometer, and then determined how far I drove until I passed right under them.  The distance was about .6 - .7 mile.

The gulls around here probably have wingspans of about 2.5 feet.
That means I could begin to clearly distinguish them as birds when the wings subtended an angle of about 2.5 min arc.  The actual detail I was discerning was considerably less than than.

Eyechart letters, e.g., are designed to have the line thickness and gaps between adjacent lines (like on the letter "E") be exactly 1/5 the width of the letter itself.   I've tested to 20/12 letter acuity in laboratory conditions (0.6 minarc resolution), and making out the wings on the gulls was a simpler resolution task than distinguishing different letters on an eyechart.  I was probably resolving detail of about 0.5 minarc.

Flapping of the wings also helped.

Like yourself, I have never seen gulls or any other type of bird
flashing with a metal-like finish in the sun.  The gulls I saw
varied in brightness as they soared and changed angle, but
nothing like the bright, specular reflections reported by Kenneth
Arnold, the ones that drew his attention to the objects in the
first place.

Larger birds like geese or swans, proposed by Kottmeyer, would
have to be further away than the gulls I saw in order for Arnold
to have not recognized them for what they were (assuming he had
perfectly corrected eyesight).

Kottmeyer used a one mile estimate, though if they had been real
big birds like swans they might have been further than that, say
6000 or 7000 feet.

Beyond that and they would just look like dots with no
distinguishing detail, yet Arnold reported detail.  Without
question, if he had been close enough he would have seen flapping
wings no problem.

Arnold indicated he was flying at around 110 mph, or nearly two
miles per minute.  That means that even at 7000 feet distance,
Arnold would have intercepted the hypothetical birds in about 45
seconds on his initial eastward trajectory while they flew south.
 He would have recognized them as birds long before then as he
approached, even if he swung south before interception in order
to open his pilot side window to check for reflections.

In addition, the birds would not have receded in the distance and
faded from view, but would have remained close at all times.

Finally Bruce Maccabee's point about the birds drifting back to
the north as Arnold flew south at twice the speed of the
hypothetical birds, would also preclude birds from being an
explanation, since Arnold saw them disappear to the
south-southeast in the direction of Mt. Adams.

David Rudiak

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