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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Nov > Nov 21

Re: Pilots & UAP

From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
Date: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 14:34:11 +0000
Archived: Wed, 21 Nov 2007 15:46:27 -0500
Subject: Re: Pilots & UAP

Hi Brad,

>From: Brad Sparks <RB47x.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 21:55:23 EST
>Subject: Re: Pilots & UAP

>>From: Joe McGonagle <joe.mcgonagle.nul>
>>To: ufoupdates.nul
>>Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2007 13:09:25 +0000
>>Subject: Re: Pilots & UAP

>>The point that I was making as I am sure you will appreciate is
>>that in the absence of other cues that you mention in the
>>snipped portion from your post, pilots are really no better than
>>anyone else when it comes to estimating size/height/speed of an
>>unknown object (as you imply in the final sentence above). There
>>are many examples of people accepting such estimates without
>>querying how they were arrived at, simply because the witness
>>was somehow an "expert observer".


>Sight-lines from an aircraft in motion provide a continual
>series of baselines which can triangulate an unknown object's
>position, and thus its speed, distance and size, via something
>that is roughly analogous to interferometry.

>As an observation progresses over time a pilot in an aircraft
>flying at say 500 mph can gain legitimate visual cues about an
>unknown object's relative speed and position, which a stationary
>observer on the ground cannot. Thus, equating the two
>situations, ground and air, is not valid. Furthermore, with more
>experience in making observations from the air, the better able
>a pilot will be to process these dynamic visual cues.
>The fact that a pilot may make mistakes in such situations
>inside a moving aircraft, or that there may be a few situations
>where no dynamic observational cues are perceived, are merely
>the exceptions that prove the rule: The rule is that in general
>pilots in flying aircraft <do> have an ability to perceive and
>estimate size, speed, distance and relative position of unknown
>objects in the sky, <unlike> observers on the ground.

Hi Brad, List,

I don't think we are really in much disagreement here, Brad,
though I would query the question as to whether or not accurate
estimates are the norm or the exception in cases involving UFOs.
I think this would be a difficult thing to prove either way, and
to my knowledge, no study of these particular circumstances have
been conducted. All that we currently have to go on are isolated
cases, where dimensions have been arrived at that can be
compared to the pilot's initial estimates.

Two such cases come to my mind immediately.

First, the relatively recent Bowyer case - which Martin and his
colleagues will shortly be publishing a detailed report on.

IMO Bowyer was an excellent witness, reporting accurately what
he saw and qualifying estimates of distance and size. This is
one of the factors which have made it possible to carry out any
meaningful study of the report.

Bowyer revised his initial estimate - of distance - following,
IIRC, consultation with Air Traffic Services. His initial
estimate was out by a considerable margin, as the report will

That is not a slur on Bowyer or his abilities, but does tend to
confirm my view about the need to question the accuracy of
observations even if they are made by a pilot or what some
regard as any type of 'expert witness'.

The other case that comes instantly to mind is the 1990 case
near the Dutch-German border, admirably written up by the UFO
Working Group Netherlands at:


In this case, a re-entering satellite caused two highly-skilled
RAF pilots to think that an unidentified aircraft was in their
immediate airspace, causing at least one of the aircraft to take
avoiding action.

Straight off the top of my head, there are two cases
exemplifying what I am talking about. I am unable at this time
to recall any case demonstrating the accuracy of pilot
observations in respect of UFOs, perhaps you can?



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