Project CHECO

The USG was Plagued by UFOs During the Vietnam War. They Were Referred to as “Enemy Helicopters” because the North Vietnamese Did Not Have Helicopters so Reports Could be Made Clandestinely

Estimating Flight Characteristics of Anomalous Unidentified Aerial Vehicles

by Kevin Knuth Robert M. Powell and Peter A. Real

Department of Physics, University at Albany (SUNY), Albany, NY 12222, USA Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies (SCU), Fort Myers, FL 33913, USA


Several Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) encountered by military, commercial, and civilian aircraft have been reported to be structured craft that exhibit ‘impossible’ flight characteristics. We consider a handful of well-documented encounters, including the 2004 encounters with the Nimitz Carrier Group off the coast of California, and estimate lower bounds on the accelerations exhibited by the craft during the observed maneuvers. Estimated accelerations range from almost 100g to 1000s of gs with no observed air disturbance, no sonic booms, and no evidence of excessive heat commensurate with even the minimal estimated energies. In accordance with observations, the estimated parameters describing the behavior of these craft are both anomalous and surprising. The extreme estimated flight characteristics reveal that these observations are either fabricated or seriously in error, or that these craft exhibit technology far more advanced than any known craft on Earth. In many cases, the number and quality of witnesses, the variety of roles they played in the encounters, and the equipment used to track and record the craft favor the latter hypothesis that these are indeed technologically advanced craft. The observed flight characteristics of these craft are consistent with the flight characteristics required for interstellar travel, i.e., if these observed accelerations were sustainable in space, then these craft could easily reach relativistic speeds within a matter of minutes to hours and cover interstellar distances in a matter of days to weeks, proper time.

1. Introduction

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAPs) partially identified as being unknown anomalous aircraft, referred to as Unidentified Anomalous Vehicles (UAVs) or Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs), have been observed globally for some time [1]. Such phenomena were studied officially by the United States Air Force in a series of projects: Project Sign (1947), Project Grudge (1949) and Project Blue Book (1952–1969) [2]. Other nations, such as Australia, Brazil, Canada, Chile [3], Denmark, France, New Zealand, Russia (the former Soviet Union), Spain, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Uruguay, and the Vatican have also conducted studies, or are currently studying, UAPs [4]. In December of 2017 it was revealed that the United States government had been studying UAPs through at least one secret program called the Anomalous Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) [5], and that there have been times at which United States Naval pilots have had to deal with nearly daily encounters with UAVs [6,7]. These unidentified craft typically exhibit anomalous flight characteristics, such as traveling at extremely high speeds, changing direction or accelerating at extremely high rates, and hovering motionless for long periods of time. Furthermore, these craft appear to violate the laws of physics in that they do not have flight or control surfaces, any visible means of propulsion apparently violating Newton’s Third Law, and can operate in multiple media, such as space (low Earth orbit), air, and water without apparent hindrance, sonic booms, or heat dumps [4].

The nature, origin, and purpose of these UAVs are unknown. It is also not known if they are piloted, controlled remotely, or autonomous. It has been made clear by U.S. officials that if these craft were hostile, then they would pose a serious threat [4]. If some of these UAVs are of extraterrestrial origin, then it would be important to assess the potential threat they pose. More interestingly, these UAVs have the potential to provide new insights into aerospace engineering and other technologies [8]. The potential of a serious threat, the promise of advancements in science and engineering, evolving expectations about extraterrestrial life, and even a deeper understanding of the acts of misperception and misinterpretation are all important reasons for scientists to seriously study and understand these objects [9,10,11,12,13].

In this paper, we carefully examine several well-documented encounters with UAVs, and estimate lower bounds on their accelerations. We demonstrate that the estimated accelerations are indeed extraordinary and surprising. While one cannot prove that any one of these craft is extraterrestrial in origin, we show that their observed accelerations are consistent with accelerations required for effective interstellar travel.

2. Case Studies

We consider a handful of case studies of encounters with UAVs. These encounters were selected from a subset of cases for which there were multiple professional witnesses observing the UAV in multiple modalities (including sight, radar, infrared imaging, etc.). This subset was selected based on the fact that there was sufficient information to estimate kinematic quantities such as speeds and accelerations. Due to the professional standing and expertise of the witnesses, and the fact of both qualitative and quantitative agreement among a significant number of witnesses employing different imaging modalities, it is assumed that the relevant details of the events were not fabricated or embellished. Of course, in most situations, one cannot rule out such possibilities. However, it is unlikely that this would occur with multiple independent witnesses. Assuming that any one of the cases we examine is based on accurate reports, we show that the UAVs exhibit unreasonably high accelerations ranging from 100g to well over 5000g.

To properly estimate lower bounds on the observed accelerations of the UAVs, we assign uncertainties to the observations. Unfortunately, such uncertainties are difficult to assign. We assign rather liberal uncertainties modeled by a Gaussian distribution. In some cases, to provide an even more conservative estimate, we integrate (marginalize) over all possible values of σ.

2.1. Bethune Encounter (1951)

On 21 February 1951, Lt. Graham Bethune of the U.S. Navy, experienced with 4150 Navy flight hours and 1340 civilian flight hours, was flying Navy R5D, Bureau №56501 with Lieutenant Commander (LCDR) Fred Kingdon and Lt. Noel Koger, on a scheduled eight hour passenger flight from Keflavik, Iceland to Argentia, Nova Scotia, while two other crews slept on board. It was a clear northern night, and they were flying on autopilot at 10,000 ft with a ground speed of over 200knots. Lt. Bethune and LCDR Kingdon were on watch for other aircraft. About four and a half hours out of Keflavik, Lt. Bethune noticed a yellow glow below the horizon approximately 30 to 35 miles away that appeared to be city lights. Concerned that they were off course, they had Lt. Koger confirm the navigation and verify that there were no ships in the area. Lt. Jones and Lt. Meyer were woken and came forward into the cockpit. The consensus was that the lights were probably due to a ship. When the lights were about 5 to 7 miles away about 30∘ to the right, the lights went out and a circular yellow halo appeared on the water. The halo changed from yellow to orange and then to a fiery red when it rose suddenly to meet them, turning to a blueish red around the perimeter. It arrived at about 100 to 200 feet below their altitude in a fraction of a second [14] and about 200 to 300 feet in front of the airplane. The UAV was observed to be a metallic disk-shaped object that was about 200 to 300 feet in diameter. The UAV flew with the airplane for about 5 min, and was witnessed by most of the passengers on board, before leaving at a speed in excess of 1500mph, which was later confirmed to be about 1800mph by Gander Center Radar, Newfoundland, Canada [15]. It should be noted that the airspeed record of 698.505mph was made almost two years later in November of 1952 by General J. Slade Nash flying a North American F-86D Sabre ([16], p. 24).

In Lt. Bethune’s letter to Stuart Nixon (NICAP), he stated that the UAV was about 5 to 7 miles away [15] when it began its ascent, whereas in his interview with Sirius Disclosure, he states that it was about 15 miles away [14]. We were aware only of the 15-mile distance during our oral presentation. The accelerations have been re-analyzed for this paper using the 5 to 7 mile distance to ensure a more conservative lower bound estimate of the acceleration.

We employed Monte Carlo sampling to estimate the acceleration of the UAV. The UAV was described as rising from the sea at a distance of about 5 to 7 miles to the approximate position and altitude of the craft in a fraction of a second. We assign uncertainties to these distances and times to accommodate the possibility that the pilot and witnesses could have been in error. The duration of the maneuver was reported to be a fraction of a second. We modeled this as a truncated Gaussian distribution with a mean of 1s and a standard deviation of 1s, which allowed for the possibility that the maneuver could have taken up to two or more seconds (Figure 1A). The altitude to which the UAV rose was modeled as a Gaussian distribution truncated at 10,000 ft with a mean of 9800 ft and a standard deviation of 200 feet (Figure 1B). At an altitude of h=10,000ft, an object at a distance of d=6mi (31,680 ft) on the sea surface would have been at an angle of

below the horizontal. We sampled the distance based on a truncated Gaussian-distributed mean angle of 17.52∘ with a standard deviation of 5∘. This 5∘ standard deviation accounts for an error approximately equal to the angular width of one’s fist extended at arm’s length. The resulting distance samples are illustrated in Figure 1C where it can be seen that potential errors in angle lead to an asymmetric distribution.



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Galán Vázquez

Galán Vázquez

Painter, Graphic Designer, Seville Spain, Member of the Center for Interplanetary Studies of Barcelona. Research Correspondent at UFO-SVERIGE