How Good Is Your Perception?
by Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.
The following animated gif of the Manta Ray was made from a video that was taped at 8:25 pm on 25 January 1997 on South Searsville Rd. near where it intersects West Searsville Rd., Montgomery, NY. It was one of three craft that flew over Bruce Cornet and John Macedo, Jr. that night. Following the fly-over, Macedo and Cornet watched from another location as each of the AOPs flew towards the same area in the Wallkill River valley, made a U-turn, brightened their lights to sunburst intensity, then dimmed them, followed by each one in turn slowly descended into an area where Lake Osiris is located. The video clearly shows the AOPs descending slowly below tree top level as if on a landing approach, but there is no commercial or private airport located anywhere near where they disappeared.
As the Manta Ray approached the camera at 8:25 pm, it was initially low to the ground, clearing a 160-foot-high ridge to the west by not much more than 200 feet. It steadily climbed in altitude as it traveled east, so that it was above 1,000 feet when it passed over Cornet.
As you watch the animated gif below, pay close attention to where the strobes fire, how often each one fires, and whether or not there is any pattern to their firing. Aircraft strobes fire in repeating patterns. Wingtip strobes tend to fire in pairs and in unison, while belly and tail strobes fire at a similar rate as the wingtip strobes (although not necessarily in unison). Belly and tail strobes on conventional aircraft typically are located along the airframe midline, not off to one side. The colors of conventional aircraft lights are very uniform: white, red, and green. Yellow, orange, and blue lights are not typical for conventional aircraft (they are not FAA approved). Note that the small solid white light located above the plane of the craft in the animation is positioned a significant distance to the right side of the midline. Its location is in a position where no fuselage exists on a conventional aircraft, and where no navigation light is visible from the front of a conventional jetliner. The drawing of the Westchester Wing or Manta Ray (from Night Siege, 1987), however, does show a white light in that position. Note also that some of the strobes fire in positions where there are no wings or fuselage on a conventional aircraft, but where there is fuselage indicated on the Westchester Wing or Manta Ray.
The colors of the strobes have been enhanced for clarity, but their size or brightness has not been changed. The timing of strobes at the beginning of the animation is close to real time. Then the animation is slowed down so that you can examine the pattern of strobes more carefully. The rapid, seemingly random firing of strobes in the animation is not possible for conventional aircraft, unless specifically engineered to do so - against FAA regulations. The rapid sequence of colored strobes was limited to the approach of the craft, implying that the anomaly was intentionally programmed for the observers on the ground.
The Manta Ray traveled fast that evening, faster than conventional aircraft on approach to Stewart airport nine miles away. The speed of the Manta Ray was calculated based on an estimate of its size and the rate at which it passed a star caught on film. Its speed was calculated at about 300 mph.
For additional images, movies, and graphics on this performance, go to:
The Landing, part 3
For the complete story and other AOP sightings that evening, go to:
Copyright © 1999 Sirius Onion Works
Last modified: May 01, 2007