UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > May > May 6

Re: Case Studies In Pilot Misperceptions Of UFOs -

From: Don Ledger <dledger.nul>
Date: Sat, 05 May 2007 13:37:58 -0300
Fwd Date: Sun, 06 May 2007 08:12:51 -0400
Subject: Re: Case Studies In Pilot Misperceptions Of UFOs -

UFO UpDates - Toronto wrote:

>Source: Peter Smith's Website


>November 10, 2002

>Case Studies In Pilot Misperceptions Of "UFOs"

>James Oberg
>voice/fax 281-337-2838

>How good are pilots' "UFO reports"? There is some dispute over
>whether the features they describe are imaginative
>interpretations of raw visual stimuli (based on their own
>aviation experience) or are sound renditions of raw perceptions.


>Rhodes appears to be a sincere witness who's convinced he saw a
>true UFO. But to understand the case we need some more relevant
>data and comments. First of all, this is the key: The Russian
>Baikonur Cosmodrome (space launch center) is located at approx
>46N 66E, east of the Aral Sea in independent Kazakhstan.

>The regularly scheduled unmanned supply ship Progress M-21 was
>launched toward the Mir space station at 0212 GMT on January 28
>(a Friday) aboard a "Soyuz" (SL-4) booster. It blasted off and
>then pitched over on a slightly north-of-east course, and nine
>minutes later achieved orbit about 140 miles up, 1200 miles down
>range, at a speed of 17,600 mph. During ascent it followed a
>straight course on a constant heading. However, at about 2.5
>minutes into the flight the four strap-on boosters separated and
>fell back to Earth still trailing smoke.

>The "Tajik Air" report does not provide direction of eyewitness
>view or direction of motion of the airliner. However, if one
>assumes it was flying eastwards, the launch would have been seen
>directly in front of them and they would have passed under the
>booster exhaust trail (NOT a jet engine "condensation", or
>CONtrail) much later.

>These booster plumes are known to last 40-60 minutes after a
>launch, which would explain the air crew's feeling that they
>observed the UFO for that long. The plumes are twisted into
>corkscrews and zig-zags by the varying directional winds in the
>upper atmosphere.

>Since this is the obvious visual stimulus for this apparition,
>we can see that this air crew made many, many perceptual
>mistakes, including:

>1. A "bright light of enormous intensity" must be calibrated
>with a pilot's dark-adapted yes in a dimly lit cockpit. From
>hundreds of miles away a rocket is indeed a "bright light" but
>it it is hardly dazzling, blinding, or "of enormous intensity".

>2. They concluded the UFO "approached them from over the
>horizon" when it merely rose and grew brighter as it was at all
>times flying away from their reported position. They mistook
>"brightening" for "nearing", an extremely common UFO witness

>3. They claim to have watched "the object" for forty minutes,
>although the rocket would have been out of sight in four or five
>minutes. The smoke plumes, sunlit in the pre-dawn upper
>atmosphere, would have been visible ahead of them in the sky for
>forty minutes, but there was no "object" there.

>4. The pilots reported seeing "circles, corkscrews, and 90-
>degree turns" but the actual rocket did no such maneuvers.

Ergo it wasn't the rocket.

>However, the smoke trail would within half an hour have
>portrayed such a path, so the pilots could have simply assumed
>they were seeing an accurate history of the object's original
>path, instead of a smoke trail distorted by winds. They could
>NOT have actually seen the UFO performing these maneuvers, but
>in hindsight they could easily believe they did.

Watch the word "assumed". Oberg is trying to make a square peg
fit into a round hole. The rocket launched so that's what the
pilots' had to have seen.

>5. The UFO maneuvered "under very high g's", according to the
>pilots. But that rests on assumptions of actual distances and
>actual speeds, as well as the erroneous belief that it really
>changed course as reflected in the smoke trail.

Pretty easy to note a course direction change. Rockets don't do

>6. The pilots recall that "after some time, the object adopted a
>horizontal high-speed course", when the rocket had been flying
>essentially straight and horizontally away from them since early
>in its flight. Their report of a non-existent gross change in
>course and speed must have been a rationalization to explain its
>eventual disappearance.

Again he assumes they were looking at the rocket. The rocket was
up there so that's what they saw.

>7. The pilots "were adament that they had seen thousands of
>'falling stars' and other space junk entering the atmosphere in
>their years of flying... This, they insisted, was nothing
>like a meteor." While true, it mis-aims attention at one
>explanation while omitting the other, a rocket launching.

He's got this rocket launch on the brain.

>8. The pilots concluded that "on the basis of its speed and
>maneuverability... the object was extraterrestrial and under
>intelligent control." One last erroneous interpretation based on
>all previous misinterpretations and imaginations.

Gross over exaggeration.

>These recent examples are consistent with the experience of UFO
>investigators for more than fifty years. Reports of UFO
>maneuvering, intelligent flight formations, responses to
>witnesses, and other 'inexplicable' narratives can be engendered
>from prosaic, simple, but unfamiliar phenomena.

Meaning they were all rockets.

>In these cases, "UFO reports", even from pilots, did not need
>a "real UFO" to create them.

Nor astronomers or middle level NASA engineers. And three out of
more than 10,000 sightings-if they were prosaic? Oberg hasn't
proved his case. I responded to this about 6 or 7 months ago.
It's on Update's archieves somewhere. Jim Oberg wrote it in
2002. he should have sent this to Dick Haines Ph.D. retired
Chief scientist at NASA/AMES for 30 years [to Oberg's mid-level
engineer] who disagrees with Oberg's opinion about pilot

Roswell, pilot misconceptions, next it will be the Socorro
"balloon". The big wheel keeps on turning.

Don Ledger

Listen to 'Strange Days... Indeed' - The PodCast



[ Next Message | Previous Message | This Day's Messages ]
This Month's Index |

UFO UpDates Main Index

UFO UpDates - Toronto - Operated by Errol Bruce-Knapp

Archive programming by Glenn Campbell at Glenn-Campbell.com