Data

Location: West Searsville Rd. just south of dog-leg bend at entrance to new housing development on hill.  Panoramic view below shows landscape looking to the east.  West Searsville Rd. is visible in the foreground (middle of picture).  Pictures taken from house on hill top.

Click on panoramic view for enlargement.

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Focus right:

Location of parked van and observation point.

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Two craft (AOP) were spotted that evening between 11:14 pm and 11:30 pm.  One flew directly over the location where Cornet and Hartwell parked their van.  Their location and the approximate flight paths of the craft are indicated on the composite satellite image below:

Click on image for link to high resolution satellite images.

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First Craft

The first AOP was spotted to the east at 11:14 pm.  It brightened two lights to the extent that an aura or halo was created around them.

Looking to east near treetop level.

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The craft was so low to the ground that its lights were partially blocked by tree branches in the foreground.  The tree branches are highlighted in the image below, illuminated by the bright lights.

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Animation with sound mouse-over.

To listen the audio, You need to upgrade to a browser that support the <embed> tag!

As the first craft approached the observers, it turned down the intensity of its headlights just before turning south.  As it flew south (to right) additional lights came on along its side, giving the craft the superficial appearance of a Boeing 747 with its two rows of windows up front.

britlit4.jpg (16079 bytes)

But no Boeing 747 landed at Stewart airport that night, and no commercial aircraft was scheduled to land within the hour of the sighting.  Another unusual aspect of this sighting is that the AOP traveled no more than three miles during the three minutes of it captured on video.  That distance traveled and time compute to ~60 miles per hour, which is less than half the stall speed of conventional jetliners.  And its strobes appeared to fire semi-randomly, especially the tail strobe, but this could be due to the timing of strobes and to camcorder error (see below).

Flaring Lights and Unusual Navigation Lights

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Anomalous Strobe Patterns

Presented below is a comparison of strobe intervals for the AOP and a commercial jetliner on its way to Kennedy airport.  A discussion of the differences follows the tables.

4 May AOP (11:14 pm)

31 August Jetliner

Interval based on video frame count.

Tail Strobe

Port Strobe

Beginning 11:16:00 pm Beginning 11:16:00 pm
155+
105+ red
white 30
30 red
white 30
91 red
red 121
30 red
white 30
30 red
white 121
121 red
white 30
30 red
white 30
60 white
white 30
91 white
red 121
30 white
white 30
30 white
white 30
30 red
white 30
30 white
white 91
91 red
white 30
60 white
white 30
30 white
white 30
80+ white
End 11:16:31 pm End 11:16:31 pm
Interval based on video frame count.

Wingtip Strobes

Belly Strobe

Beginning 8:16:57 pm Beginning 8:16:57 pm
white starboard 24+
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
not visible 36
37 whitish red
white starboard 35
37 blocked by engine
white starboard 36
37 blocked by engine
white starboard 37
36 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white starboard 37
38 whitish red
white starboard 37
37 whitish red
white both 37
37 whitish red
white both 37
37 whitish red
End 8:17:16 pm End 8:17:16 pm

Jetliner:

The wingtip strobes of the jetliner fired white, while the belly strobe was red (although it appears whitish on the video).  The wingtip and belly strobes alternated, and are almost consistently separated by 37 frames on the video (the belly strobe fired consistently 15-16 frames after the wingtip strobes).  On occasion the number of frames between strobes is lower or higher, but it cannot be determined if that is due to camcorder error, or due to occasional variation in the firing of strobes on the jetliner.  In addition, the wingtip strobes are shielded so that they are both visible only when the aircraft is viewed from the rear.  The belly strobe was blocked by an engine pod as the aircraft turned.  On one occasion the wingtip strobes seemed to have skipped firing, but on two other occasions the timing of those strobes coincided with gaps between video frames, and were only partially recorded.  It is suspected that these variations are due to camcorder error or orientation/obstruction.

Additional data were analyzed in order to determine if aircraft strobes could be missed because of camcorder error.  It was discovered that jetliner strobes that fired at 36, 37, or 38 frames had missing strobes in 30 frames-per-second video only on occasion.  However, aircraft strobes that fired every 28-29 frames missed being recorded more frequently (e.g. three times out of 14 firings).  One jetliner had wingtip strobes that fired rapidly in a semi-random sequence (frame count between recorded strobes: 4, 10, 15, 5, 10, 15, 15, 15, 5, 25, 6).  Because a strobe firing six times a second could be out of sync with the frames of a video, it is possible that 19 out of 31 strobes were not recorded.

AOP:

The white tail strobe and a red port strobe on the AOP are separated by 30 frames (or an approximate multiple of 30), with the port strobe appearing white when it fired brighter.  The tail strobe occasionally appeared red when its brightness decreased.  Fluctuation in intensity could be explained by frame-strobe mismatch, where the camcorder recorded only a portion of the strobe interval.  In addition, both the tail and port strobes skipped one to four intervals.  The missing strobes can be explained by camcorder error (the firing of strobes fell between the recorded frames).  The question then becomes: Can exceptionally long strings of unrecorded strobes on AOP or repeating patterns of alternating strobe intervals be due only to camcorder error?  In order to understand the question, additional data need to be considered (below).

Similar problems with inconsistent strobe patterns have been recorded for other AOP.

In the case of the Sea Bright Black Triangle, the strobe intervals were consistently 29 and 59, or a multiple of them (i.e. 88).  What is most unusual about this example is that there was no variation in strobe interval (e.g. mostly 29 frames but occasionally 30 frames) as there is with conventional aircraft strobes.  In this case the pattern of strobes seems to have produced what appears to be a deliberate signal or pattern of seven distinct strings of data.  This statement is supported by the fact that the Triangle turned on its side (belly towards camcorder) and flew without any means of aerodynamic lift from wings for about 20 seconds (without banking or turning)!  In addition, one belly strobe alternately fired at 29 frames, then 59 frames, then 29 frames, etc.  It is highly unlikely that this variation can be totally explained by camcorder error, which caused every third strobes not to be recorded over an interval of 87 seconds.

Three graphs showing anomalous strobe intervals for AOP.

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tstrobe2.jpg (19298 bytes)

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Summary

One possible explanation for these strobe interval anomalies (which are not due to camcorder error) is that observed patterns for conventional aircraft were copied literally (abstract mimicry).

Second AOP next.

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Copyright 2000 Sirius Onion Works.

This page was last edited 09/01/2005