Image credit: USNI NewsFor the past week or so, the public has been witness to an aerial assault of sorts, flying objects that are, for the most part, labeled as unidentified, take on different shapes and sizes, are shot down with recovered pieces being analyzed, even “back engineered” to cough up the goods as to where they come from and what they are doing drifting about in our atmospheric firmament.

Image credit: Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies

 

For the past week or so, the public has been witness to an aerial assault of sorts, flying objects that are, for the most part, tagged as unidentified, take on different shapes and sizes, are shot down with recovered pieces being studied, even “back engineered” to cough up the goods as to where they come from and what they are doing drifting about in our atmospheric firmament.

 

The language and grammar whirlpool about these lofty incursions should give rise to more reflection about Unidentified Flying Objects as well as the new nomenclature, Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, or UAP for short.

The on-going reveal regarding these sky-high visitations means what to the UAP/UFO community?

Are there any lessons learned from these incidents and takeaways from pilot descriptions of the objects?

UAP have been reported by Navy pilots unlike anything they have ever witnessed.
Image credit: Enigma Labs/Lt. Cmdr. Alex Dietrich

There are those that will surely portray these new close-encounters as part of an ultra-classified government plan to prepare the citizenry for “full-disclosure.” That is, yep, Earth is on the receiving end of stopover vessels from the vastness beyond sight, sound, and dimension of mind.

But just how much shadow, how much substance, are we dealing with here?

Eyewitness accounts

A leading doubting Thomas and nemesis of all the uptick in UFO and UAP uproar is Mick West, a writer, skeptical investigator and a former video game programmer.

“The varied pilot reports we’ve seen in the media illustrate how difficult it is to get information about encounters with slow-moving objects from eyewitness accounts,” West told Inside Outer Space.

“The difficulty of judging the speed of an object without knowing its distance is greatly compounded in an encounter with unfamiliar balloons where the pilots do not know how big they are,” West says.

West points to both congressional testimony and the recent output and on-going work of the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) and the newly established All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

Released in January, the ODNI’s 2022 Annual Report on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena is available at:
https://www.odni.gov/files/ODNI/documents/assessments/Unclassified-2022-Annual-Report-UAP.pdf

Low information zone

Balloons are a common source of pilot reports of UFOs/UAPs, says West.

A wayward balloon is a likely explanation for the “GoFast” UFO video, released in 2018, which seems to show an object moving at high speed over the ocean, but actually shows a much slower object, West adds.

GOFAST
Credit: DOD/U.S. Navy/Inside Outer Space screengrab

UFO reports emerge because of a lack of information, West continues, existing in the so-called “Low Information Zone” or LIZ – the set of conditions where an object is just too far away, small, fast, blurred, or out of focus to determine exactly what it is.

“NORAD’s radar has always had a significant LIZ, where radar returns of low quality, or that resembled birds, balloons, or other airborne clutter, have been filtered out as distractions to the primary mission of detecting incoming conventional aircraft and missiles,” West says.

Expensive, dangerous shoot downs

“The furor over the large Chinese balloon has prompted NORAD to modify or eliminate the filters to attempt to better capture similar incursions,” West says. “This has resulted in low-information objects being selected from the LIZ for investigation. Many of these will be innocuous items, like stray balloons, potentially even of U.S. origin.”

Some items may be previously undetected adversary incursions, West concludes. “Disambiguating these will represent a significant challenge. Unfortunately, the perceived need to take rapid action will result in expensive and dangerous shoot-downs of a variety of objects based on limited information.”

Shown at Congressional hearing, Video 1 2021 flyby movie showing a purported UAP.
Credit: Counterterrorism, Counterintelligence, and Counterproliferation Subcommittee/Inside Outer Space screengrab

Aerial excitement

All the chatter related to balloon shoot downs and UAP talk has also caught the attention of noted UFO disbeliever Robert Sheaffer. He’s an author, freelance writer, and skeptical investigator of all manner of bogus claims.

The ongoing aerial excitement involving balloons means, either that the Chinese have just now dramatically increased their balloon-launching activities, or else that such balloons are no longer being ignored,” Sheaffer explains, “and it’s more likely the latter.”

Sheaffer points out that the pilots, and other official personnel, seem quite clueless about what is being seen.

As noted in one CNN report, there have been some pilots claiming to have seen no identifiable propulsion on the object. Those pilots could not explain how the object was staying in the air, despite its cruising at an altitude of 40,000 feet.

“An object that is lighter than air does not need ‘propulsion’ to remain aloft,” Sheaffer responds.

FLIR
Credit: DOD/U.S. Navy/Inside Outer Space screengrab

GIMBAL/“Tic Tac”
Credit: DOD/U.S. Navy

“In recent years the Chinese have developed small inflatable drones that could possibly account for some sightings,” Sheaffer adds.

Effects of perspective

Similar in view to West, the question of “balloons” is relevant to the UAP video release of the so-called “go fast” object, Sheaffer points out, which may well be a balloon that drifted out over the ocean.

“That object is indeed ‘going fast’ with respect to the camera — perhaps 400 miles per hour — but relative to the ground, it is almost stationary,” Sheaffer says. “The aircraft is passing the object at a high rate of speed, which makes the object appear to be moving rapidly in the opposite direction.”

The fact that Navy pilots did not realize this, says Sheaffer suggests that those pilots don’t understand simple effects of perspective. “And the fact that the Pentagon’s ‘UAP experts’ failed to realize what was happening demonstrates their complete incompetence in such matters,” he feels.

As for the other two publicly released videos — called the Tic Tac and the Gimbal – “they are probably the infrared signatures of distant jet aircraft, and have nothing to do with balloons,” Sheaffer concludes.

Credit: Piplsay

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