UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 15

CE: 'War Games Mistaken for UFOs'

From: Kenny Young <task@FUSE.NET>
Date: Tue, 14 Jul 1998 12:47:42 -0400
Fwd Date: Wed, 15 Jul 1998 07:12:13 -0400
Subject: CE: 'War Games Mistaken for UFOs'


The Cincinnati Enquirer.
Monday, July 13, 1998
By John Hopkins

"War games often mistaken for UFOs in Tristate "
"At first, it looked like an asteroid and fireball"

They saw it over the skies of Wilmington, Loveland and Mount
Healthy and as far south as Maysville, Ky.

Lights flashed in a synchronized pattern. A huge orange fireball
disappeared, then reappeared. Smaller objects moved in a
triangular formation. Below, neighborhood dogs barked.

In Maysville, Jamie Orme noticed the activity in the sky that
night in March 1997. It lasted, he said, no more than two
minutes. "I was astonished at what I saw," Mr. Orme said at the
time. "They were little balls of white light that appeared and
disappeared. Sometimes one, sometimes three or six little white
balls of light in the distance."

Officials at the Ohio Air National Guard in Springfield have
confirmed that Tristate residents have indeed seen colorful
objects in the sky and may very well see them again.

But they weren't UFOs.

Military dog-fight maneuvers over the skies of Southern Ohio --
which usually go unnoticed -- happen on a regular basis. The Air
National Guard conducts intercept training with F-16 "Falcon"
jets and flares in the skies over the region.

In military jargon, airspace very near Cincinnati is called the
Buckeye MOA. Though most people have never heard of this or any
other MOA -- shorthand for Military Operating Area -- the
Buckeye MOA is a hotbed of high-altitude pyrotechnics and
all-too-real-looking aerial dogfights.

The training overhead includes air-to-air refueling of F-16s by
aerial refueling tankers, dog fights and low-altitude exercises.
There are also search-and-rescue exercises.

In fact, similar war games are scattered throughout the
Tristate. To the west of Greater Cincinnati, pilots drop bombs
on the Jefferson Proving Grounds in Indiana, where the grounds
remain littered with 1.5 million rounds of unexploded

To the south, Blackhawk helicopters run low-level exercises over
Fort Campbell, Ky., near the Kentucky-Tennessee border. From
Louisville to Fort Knox, Ky., the C-130 "Hercules" four-engine
turboprops -- a transport aircraft -- conduct exercises along
Military Training Routes.

On some nights, area residents may look skyward and catch a
glimpse of some training missions -- if the skies are clear.
What residents were actually seeing last spring were the F-16s'
afterburners and flares being ejected from the $17.5 million jet

The pilots were simulating air-to-air dog fights. And in actual
combat, pilots drop hot, glowing flares during enemy
confrontations to confuse heat-seeking missiles, said Capt. Neal
O'Brian of the Air National Guard in Springfield.

"They eject the flares and typically that's what people see," he
said, "a streak of flares that at night burn very bright. It's
not uncommon for people all across the country to mistake the
flares for some unidentified flying object.

"They might see the aircraft or hear it. More than likely, they
will hear it. But the flares take a certain amount of time to
burn and that is what they're seeing in the sky."

Mystery in sky

On clear nights, the high-altitude training missions inside the
Buckeye MOA -- a large block of air space over an area near
Cincinnati, Springfield, Columbus and Portsmouth -- startle many
Greater Cincinnati residents.

That was the case in March 1997.

In Loveland, Ohio, Jake Ashcraft reported seeing a "main object"
and smaller objects in a triangular formation in the sky. He
said the main object was "absolutely huge" and that many people
"had to have seen it."

Mr. Orme of Maysville, Ky., said what he saw did not appear to
be military maneuvers. "At first, it looked like an asteroid and
fireball, then it slowed down and came to a halt."

Air National Guard officials said there is no mystery to the
sightings -- the military exercises have been conducted for
decades. The afterburners of a climbing F-16 give an appearance
of something hovering.

Pilots at the 178th Fighter Wing in Springfield spend an average
of six hours a day flying in the Buckeye MOA, said Capt.
Ann-Maria Coghlin, public affairs officer for the 178th Fighter
Wing. They spend an average of 30 minutes a day training in a
low-altitude training area called the Brush Creek MOA, which is
within the larger Buckeye MOA, she said.

Maj. Brian MacLeod of the 178th Fighter Wing, recalled the night
that area residents got a rare glimpse of the air-to-air combat
and maneuvers.

"It was kind of a funny night," he said. "Most of the calls we
got came out of Columbus."

The jet flares actually burn bright white when they are ejected
from the jets, he said. But when viewed from ground level and at
a distance, the flares appear to flicker and burn orange because
of pollution in the air, Maj. MacLeod said.

Restricted air space

Exercises in the Buckeye MOA are conducted at altitudes above
5,000 feet. Supersonic flight is done at 35,000 feet, about
seven miles above ground, said Maj. MacLeod.

"We try to be very, very noise-conscious because people live
down there," he said.

Some civilian pilots -- unaware of these areas -- have flown
their small planes into the training spaces. It is a dangerous
way to get an up-close view. Aeronautical charts warn pilots of
the many restricted training areas throughout the country.

"MOAs are places typically where aircrafts practice maneuvers,"
said Maj. Ken MacNevin of the National Guard Bureau in
Alexandria, Va. "We have special use areas, so that other
aircrafts know to be aware."

In the United States, there are 388 MOAs, said William Shumann,
spokesman for the Federal Aviation Administration in Washington,
D.C. There are also much smaller Restricted Areas (RAs)
scattered throughout the region, as well as Military Training
Routes (MTRs). The MTRs "tend to be more like corridors, certain
distances above the ground. They also loop around communities,
wildlife refuges and other sensitive areas," said Maj. MacNevin.

The restricted areas, such as the nearby Jefferson Proving
Grounds, are used by the military for air-to-ground target
training. Almost all the units in the region routinely deploy to
wherever the Air Force is conducting operations, making it vital
that pilots receive ongoing training, said Maj. MacNevin.

                                                        End of


Interesting to note the skew that Hopkins delivers to the piece,
conveniently disregarding viable information conflicting with
the flare theory. Hopkins contacted me three times in March and
April of 1997 regarding this piece, so he was aware of the
discrepancies against the flare theory, yet selectively chose to
delete that data.

Yesterday I spoke with Hopkins about the article, which took
over one year before appearing in the Cincinnati Enquirer
(recenly troubled by the Chiquita calamity involving reporter
Michael Gallagher), and reporter John Hopkins said that the
editors of The Cincinnati Enquirer simply wanted some "Fourth of
July Fluff" to run in their newspaper, which is why this story
was a banner headline and appeared at all. I also expressed that
it was within my rights to complain that Hopkins had utilized my
research for his piece, to which I was given no reference or

I left Hopkins and his editors a letter to mull over afterward.

Kenny Young
Cincinnati, OH
UFO Research