Mystery C-5 from Stewart AFB

by Bruce Cornet, Ph.D.

On 4 October 1992 Bruce Cornet went to Stewart International Airport to photograph aircraft with navigation lights on at dusk. He witnessed and photographed a C-5 military transport aircraft disappear and then reappear as it landed at Stewart Air Force Base near Newburgh, NY. stewart2.jpg (7339 bytes)

He photographed this extraordinary event just outside the perimeter of Stewart International Airport at the end of the main runway (pictures below). Immediately after taking five pictures of the C-5 landing, red lights began to flash and a military police jeep sped down the runway access road to identify who had photographed the aircraft. After MPs saw Cornet, they returned to their base at the other end of the airfield. Soon thereafter a New York State trooper pulled up and stopped his car by Cornet's vehicle.   He walked up the hill to where Cornet was standing, and asked him for his ID.   He asked Cornet why he was taking pictures.  He then told Cornet that taking pictures of aircraft at the airport was prohibited. He did not specify military aircraft. Stewart airport is a joint civilian and military facility (combined Army and Air Force bases).

Puzzled by this statement (Cornet had been to Stewart airport numerous times to photograph civilian and military aircraft without anyone objecting), he asked the trooper where he could go to get permission. The trooper told him to go to airport administration and security. Cornet drove over to the airport and asked an official in administration if he could take photographs of aircraft. He was told, "Yes," and that he could park alongside the perimeter fence and take as many pictures as he wanted.

That series of events raised a number of questions in Cornet's mind, especially since he had observed and photographed the same C-5 circling above the area where he and two other witnesses had seen an AOP descend and disappear two days earlier. In order to understand the extraordinary circumstances involved, and why Air Force security became bent out of shape when Cornet photographed something he shouldn't have, the sighting on the night of 2 October 1992 will now be described.

AOP Descends and Disappears into a Farm Field
[separate window]

On 2 October 1992 Fred Brock, Evelyn Brock, and Bruce Cornet witnessed an AOP descend below tree top level three miles away from their observation station on Muddy Kill Lane, Montgomery, NY. They had climbed up to the foundation of a new home on a low ridge overlooking the Wallkill River valley in order to skywatch. At 10:45 pm they notices a golden yellow light approaching from the east over Walden, NY. It turned south (to the right) and began moving towards the town of Montgomery. Because of its relatively low altitude for a plane at night, Cornet began to take a series of time exposures. Its speed or movement was erratic. As Cornet opened the shutter for several of his time exposures, the light sped up, then slowed down. As it passed due East in front of the triple red beacon on the mountain across the valley, the AOP rose in altitude as it slowed to a near stop, then tilted downwards, and began to descend at a 7 degree angle as if on a landing approach (Fig. 6).

Click on image for the complete story [whole page].

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The AOP passed behind a couple trees and disappeared below tree top level in the direction of 109 degrees compass. The Brocks and Cornet drove towards the area where it disappeared, only to discover that it went down on the east side of the Wallkill River. Evelyn briefly saw a set of lights hovering just below tree top level in the direction where it disappeared. By the time we stopped and turned around, the lights had disappeared.

Two days later on 4 October Cornet drove over to the area where it had gone down after spotting the field it disappeared in from the house foundation they had witnessed the event. Cornet had with him the developed pictures, so that he could pinpoint the location and take photographs of the area during daylight.

Cornet discovered that an old World War II airfield, now converted to an 18 hole golf course, lay just south of where the AOP disappeared.  If that airfield were still active and didn't have huge trees growing on the old runways, what they had witnessed several days earlier could easily have been dismissed as an aircraft on landing approach to that airfield. That is because the main runway was oriented north-south, in the direction the AOP had traveled.

C-5 Circles above Cornet

As Cornet looked for any signs of vegetation disturbance in the field (he found none), he noticed a C-5 military transport aircraft circling above him. He took two pictures of it circling, one of which is figured below (Fig. 7).

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Sunset was approaching.  Before Cornet quit for the day he decided to go to Stewart International Airport and photograph commercial aircraft landing at dusk.  He wanted to photograph them with their navigation lights on, so that he had both a record of the type of aircraft, and the type of light pattern it had.  Instead of going to the main terminal and photographing aircraft through a high wire fence, he decided to locate the end of the main runway, and find a suitable place outside the airport to set up his camera and tripod.

He found a road that passed directly beneath the end of the runway, which was situated on a hillside.  A large grass-covered hill lay to the north side of runway 109, which is oriented east-west.  It is there that he began taking pictures of commuter planes landing just before sunset.

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After several commercial aircraft landed, he heard the distant sound of a C-5 as it approached the airport.  He hadn't photographed a C-5 before landing, so he made sure the camera was working properly and he had advanced a new roll of film enough.   Because the Sun was low on the horizon to the right of the picture, he had to reduce the f-stop or aperture, which slowed the shutter speed down to about an eighth or a quarter of a second. Then he saw something large approaching from the south.  As the C-5 came into range of his camera, he snapped a picture.  But as soon as he had taken the picture, he could not see the C-5 anywhere (Fig. 8).

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The photograph below shows an enlargement.  Only a blurred portion of the left wing and one navigation light can be seen.  The entire fuselage, tail, and right wing are not visible in the photograph (Fig. 9).

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Cornet's initial reaction when he saw the photograph was that he didn't have the aircraft inside the range of the camera.  But he remembered seeing the aircraft disappear.

Moments later the C-5 reappeared, but now much closer to the runway.  Cornet rotated his camera and took another picture, this time capturing the C-5 well within the picture frame.  When he examined this photograph, he was puzzled.  The image did not show normal motion blur.  In addition, the C-5 appeared as if it were a shadow.  It was coal black in color (Fig. 10).

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Based on the movement of navigation lights, it is clear that this photograph was taken as a slow speed.  Blurring should have occurred only in back as the C-5 moved forward.  But there is no blurring.  Instead, a silhouette of the aircraft's shape is replicated in discrete steps, each becoming darker as it gets closer to the center of the image.  In other words, the image of the aircraft is expanding in length and breadth in pulses, while absorbing any light that reaches the airframe.   This is what one would expect for a contracting energy field around an object, if that energy field was capable of bending light or causing light to wrap around the airframe.

Take a look at the negative and the sequence of images taken (below).   In image #3 there is no aircraft.  In image #4 the C-5 appears on the right side, but it is mostly invisible.  In image #5 the C-5 is visible, but  it does not appear normal.  In image #6 the C-5 is clearly visible, but it still has blur both in front and in back.  It is also lighter in color (not as black).  Details of its engine pods and stabilizers can be made out now, whereas before they could not (Fig. 11).

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Figure 12 below shows image #s 6, 7, and 8 on the film (numbers present on the negative).  In each of these images the amount of apparent blur decreases, as the color becomes lighter.  In the last image showing the C-5 on the runway, the multicolored camouflage paint on the airfame can be seen clearly (Fig. 12).

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Soon after the C-5 landed and came to a stop, a military jeep containing MPs sped down the access road seen on the left, and stopped opposite Cornet, who was on the other side of a wire fence (barely visible in the last image).


As the C-5 landed, it slowed in speed rapidly, accounting for some of the decrease in motion blur.  However, in Figure 10 the fact that step-like blurring occurs both in front and in back of the fuselage, along with significant light absorption, implies that something else was happening.  The fact that only a portion of the airframe is visible in Figure 8, which should not have been the case (same camera, same shutter speed, same f-stop), implies that something else was happening.  The fact that soon after the C-5 landed MPs attempted to identify who had taken pictures implies that something else was happening.  The fact that a New York State trooper was called in to investigate and get Cornet's ID, and that he was told to tell Cornet that taking pictures of aircraft was prohibited, implies that something else was happening.  What's the big deal taking pictures of C-5s, which can be seen parked on the tarmac across from a commercial terminal (Stewart AFB is a C-5 training facility)?  The fact that an airport official told Cornet later that same night that there was no ban on taking pictures of aircraft at the airport implies that something else was happening.

So what was happening?

In recent months George Filer has been getting a number of reports from witnesses, who have seen aircraft producing unusual contrails (chemtrails), which then suddenly disappear.

Filer's Files #31 -- 2000,  MUFON Skywatch Investigations
George A. Filer,  Director,  Mutual UFO Network Eastern
August 7, 2000,, Sponsored by Electronic Arts
Web Site at: Warren Webmaster.

On July 17, Georgia State Director Tom Sheets who is also a retired Chief of Police and two other high quality witnesses driving into Tennessee noticed an aircraft spraying contrails.  At the apparent end of the contrail the aircraft conducting the spraying operations suddenly disappeared.  This has been reported throughout the US and in several other countries.  Frequently, there are several aircraft involved in the spraying operation.  Many witnesses also report seeing hockey puck-like objects or disc shaped UFOs near or inside the spraying activity.  I personally have 5000 flying hours and have often seen contrails formed when we flew near or above 30,000 feet.   Essentially, these contrails are condensed water vapor.  On July 3, I saw an aircraft making heavy dark looking contrails that appeared quite different from standard.   They may have powder or impurities in them that may come from the new jet fuels.   The most amazing thing that occurred is that when the spraying stopped the aircraft disappeared.  I searched the clear blue sky with binoculars but no craft could be observed.  An aircraft simply does not vanish from a clear blue sky unless it has active camouflage or crashes.  One possible way for an aircraft to vanish would be to use a liquid screen similar to one used on a typical lap tap computer.  If hundreds of liquid screens were mounted on the underside of aircraft it could be made to seem to vanish by videotaping the sky above the aircraft and applying this same color to the liquid screens covering the aircraft.  To the naked eye the craft would disappear.  

Had it not been for this increase in reports that sound a lot like what I witnessed and photographed, I may not have been compelled to create this web page and publish my data.

Could the U.S. Air Force have perfected a cloaking device for aircraft?  Was the device being carried in the cargo hold of that C-5?  Was what I witnessed a test conducted when the military thought few civilians would be looking?  Was the time of the test chosen so that the C-5 would be approaching the runway with the Sun at its back, making observation difficult.  Would only trained observers normally be aware that something unusual was happening?  Was the short duration of the test (equivalent to the time it took Cornet to take two photographs in succession) something that military advisors thought would be "safe," given the public presence (and apathy) at Stewart International Airport?  If the answers to these questions are affirmative, then could the reaction of the pilot when he saw me taking pictures during the test (red flagged by the subsequent knee jerk response of security) be explained?

I wonder.

Comments from a Skeptic and My Reply

From: David Ring
Sent: Tuesday, August 22, 2000 2:27 AM
Subject: Skeptic's view on ufos in contrails and C5 mystery images


   It was very appropriate of you to publish skeptic's view of ufo sightings in contrails and what looked like a decent piece of research.  It surely hints at the possibility that good men and good observers can sometimes be wrong especially when it comes to interpreting photo and video images with out special equipment. It may also suggest that more research is needed.

   I liked Bruce's submission. It became a mini-detective story opportunity
for me.

   Here is my interpretation:

  I would offer that there is a standing military order to investigate anyone who may appear to be acting in a suspicious manner in the vicinity of a military installation. We still have threats from saboteurs and troubled individuals. Because Bruce was not on the airport grounds proper, he came under that order, whereas pictures taken on the grounds are perfectly acceptable.

Reasonable explanation, if what I observed and what my camera captured are 1) mistaken observation and 2) artifact of lighting condition and camera angle.

   The blurred picture of the left wing includes a light streak right near the tree top.  I submit that that is the same light we see in other pictures  of the fuselage.  For some reason his camera was not able to capture a more concrete image of the plane.  My suggestion is that the relative speed of the plane to the lens at that point (angle) prevented the camera from capturing a stronger image.

Yes, one of the lights on the C-5 is visible in the first picture, and so too is a portion of the left wing.  Missing are the entire fuselage, tail assembly, right wing, and the outermost portion of the left wing.  There is no explanation for how this could happen with the camera system being used (Minolta XG-7 with 300 mm zoom lens).  If something had blocked portions of the airfame from reaching the camera, how was this done so that the trees in the foreground were not also blocked, and the background sky was not blocked?  Camera angle does not explain it either, because it should have been an all or none effect, but not a portion on the left and right, with some of the left wing showing through.

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   I liked the image of the dark fuselage with fore and aft ghost images and the enlargement.  Bruce does good work. My interpretation of the image would be very different though.  Note that the darkest part of the image is at the center the faintest parts are the rightmost image of the tail and the left  most image of the nose. The reason for that is simple. The plane was blocking out the light from behind it as it moved across the frame. The lightest parts of the image are where the wings and the fuselage spent the least amount of time so the least light was blocked. The fact that the nose of the plane has three discrete positions while the tail is more of a continuous blur is puzzling.

Yes, isn't it though.  And that is the very reason why this picture stands out as anomalous.  Combined with the previous picture, the two together make for an even more puzzling conundrum.

At first glance it would seem like the shutter clicked three times without the film advancing, but Bruce says there was only one shutter click per frame.

Only one picture and only one movement of the reflex shutter.

That would force an explanation involving some form of light diffraction as the plane moved across the field of view.  I leave that to others with more expertise than I.  The diffraction effect, if I may call it that, is not evident in the next two frames where the plane's speed is less and the angle of view is more aligned with the longitudinal axis of the fuselage.

  As to the jeep pulling up in front of him, where else would they be likely  to go?  The passengers didn't come over to him and point their weapons at him or issue any kind of verbal challenge.

  In short Bruce presents us with an imaginative mystery that looks like some sort of camouflage mechanism is being secretly tested just when he happens to be photographing the craft on a landing approach (an unlikely scenario, at best)

Hardly an unlikely scenario.  If this was a test, where best could military personnel be positioned with cameras to record the test but in the control tower, where they would have the best view.  And they would not be out in the open where the public would notice them, and be alerted to something unusual happening.

when the better question to be asked should have been..what other circumstances could have caused these images?

True.  However, at the end of my presentation I made the statement: I wonder.  Indeed, David is correct that additional testing is needed in order to rule out the camera as being the culprit.

Two phenomena will make the image of an aircraft invisible in a still frame using a 35mm camera: 1) intensity of ambient lighting coupled with time of exposure and film speed, and 2) speed of the aircraft. 

1) A time exposure was taken the same night at dusk of a CASA C-212 Aviocar taking off.  Its lights are clearly visible, but the airfame is invisible, because it did not reflect enough light to be captured on the film.  The picture creates the illusion of sufficient light, but that is due to the length of the time exposure, which allowed enough background light to hit and expose the negative.  Lighting was much more intense when the C-5 was photographed, because sunset had not yet occurred, and because the camera was pointing just left of where the sun was located.

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2) An exposure of an aircraft traveling at Mach 6 shows the lights but not the fuselage.  This picture was taken at 1/1000 sec camera speed (ISO 400) in the early afternoon, when there would be adequate light reflecting off the fuselage of an aircraft.  However, the enormous speed of the aircraft reduced the amount of light reflecting off the fuselage below the threshold of ISO film speed.  Coupled with the intensity of background lighting, the aircraft appears to be invisible.  The C-5 was not traveling at a speed that would create a similar effect.

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   I have had the pleasure of shooting photos of flying things with Bruce and it is great fun and a learning experience. He was doing the right thing in attempting to create a file of baseline images for later comparison to any anomalous images that might turn up. He faltered when he neglected to follow up this first shoot with a rerun shoot to see if the same effects would show up in his images. That would have been preferable to attaching an analysis and explanations to the seemingly novel images without being absolutely certain that those were the only explanations or the best explanations.  If, when he does the reshoot, he tells the airport staff in advance that he will be shooting from that runway end location, he will probably avoid another visit from the sheriff. ;-)


D Ring


From: Harry Mason
Sent: Friday, August 25, 2000 1:50 AM

Re "Disappearing Technology" ???
I have a friend in a foreign country who is their top English language translator. I will not name her or the country for her safety.
In the early 1980's she went with a foreign military delegation from her country to the USA to meet with top US Military. She translated everything that was seen and said by both sides. One aspect of their visit was to observe film and hard technology of the operation of a "cloaking device". This made ships, aircraft, or even entire airfields totally invisible in reflected light and radar wavebands. It was being offered to her country as an inducement to back US policy. The device was capable of retrofitting to any aircraft etc.

There is "eye-witness" evidence of such a device in operation at an RAF -NATO airbase (Macrihanish) on the Mull of Kintyre in Scotland. This base contains the longest runway in Europe and is supposedly closed down - on care and maintenance. The airstrip points out to the west and is separated from the Irish Sea by a golf course on sand dunes next to the beach. The base is suspected of having large underground storage areas - the entrances to which are apparently as large farm storage sheds built in old "quarries"  backing into cliff faces just below runway ground level. It has a permanent force of US "gold badge" delta force "space troops" in hiding on the base area.
One day a bunch of golfers noticed a vee shape wave rushing across the calm sea surface with a vague shimmering space in the air above it - similar to that seen in the movie "Predator" as created by a "cloaked alien". The vee wave of unsettled water and the shimmering air space shot towards them at a fair speed and the shimmering went over their heads accompanied by a loud roaring noise - exactly in line with the airstrip. They concluded logically that a high powered invisible aircraft had approached low over the water and landed at the airfield. Locals and Scottish UFO researchers believe this airbase is used by covert US space planes of the Aurora type on a weekly basis. The delta force troopers are often involved in fights with locals in the pubs and apparently do not know about such local tribal fighting techniques as the "Glasgow Kiss" and thereby take considerable casualties in street fights.

So the moral from all of this is - Do not conclude that the US or other nations do not have visual cloaking devices for aircraft such as tankers.....................

Best Regards,

Harry Mason

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