I own a small light sport airplane and was flying between UT and CA at 12.5k ft and saw one of these pass 1,000ft below me not far outside of Reno. ATC didn’t call it so presumably they didn’t see it on radar. It was exactly as described, small, shiny, cylindrical, no wings, and fast. If I could guess it was doing 500kts in the opposite direction. By the time I pulled out my phone to snap a picture it was gone. If it was a cruise missile it was flying over a populated area and not in restricted airspace or a MOA. Not sure what conclusions to draw other than these things are real and probably more common than people assume. It was not an airliner or private jet I’ve seen plenty of them.
Flying a long range unarmed stealth drone in lightly populated areas through the US would tell you a great deal about how observable the drone is to US radars. Flying dangerously through Air traffic controlled space also ensures that the military radars get pointed in your direction at some point or another.
For an unarmed small(ish) drone the risks of getting caught are likely minimal. Crash in an unpopulated area (plenty of those in the west coast), self-destruct at high altitude or simply acknowledge the spying incident and point to the SR-71/U-2 as precedent.
Edit: Any resemblances to these?
Case in point: the FAA now requires a digital transmitter beacon (ADS-B) in most of the commonly used airspaces in the continental US as of last month.
Not a reasonable presumption. VFR aircraft are lowest priority, and traffic calls for VFRs are very much not guaranteed. If a controller has too much to do, you won’t get traffic calls. And just because the frequency is quiet, doesn’t mean the controller is twiddling their thumbs. They could be on the landline or briefing the next controller.
I hope I don't sound too critical. I wondered if the thing in the article's story was some small object ejected from the pilot's own plane and he overtook it as it slowed down so it appeared to be moving backwards. Since you had a similar experience, I wondered if there was some other information that helped you judge it.
When you say "small", can you give an estimate of it's length and diameter?
Are we talking small-plane-small, or welding-gas-cylinder-small?
Alternate theory: Boeing wheels one of these things out to buzz commercial aircraft and airports every time they have some sort of mishap as a PR diversion.
(b) Completely impossible to get good video about them.
a & b => bs
We're talking about visual phenomena, and we capture video constantly.
By the time I see the thing and pull out my phone it's already gone before I can hit record (unless it's really slow I guess, but those reports are much less common).
Reminds me of growing up in fundamentalist religious communities where it was commonplace to hear of physical miracles. All sorts of people had stories of God healing people for example. And yet it never happened around me or on film, despite me spending over a thousand hours at religious services as the like.
Eventually I realized many people are just willing to believe things and succumb to simple cognitive biases.
...because one has seen UFOs in the past, and wants to capture them?
If I went on a walk through the woods behind my house and saw Bigfoot, I would probably carry a camera next time I went walking behind my house to try and get a picture of bigfoot.
Also how many thousands of hours of flying and not seeing anything interesting do I have also add another thing I have to focus on when it will likely last only a few seconds and I can never guess when? I don't need another distraction while flying.
Pilots claiming to see these aren't typically trying very hard to convince others that they're real (or at least I've never met any, they're often hesitant to bring it up at all for fear of being labeled crazy). They're just reporting what they saw. So most really don't have much incentive to bother with installing a GoPro on their flights.
Yes, if my goal were to prove the existence of these things what you're saying makes sense. But my goal is to fly the plane to wherever I'm going.
The joys of having radio control. As a driver, I find a dash camera very valuable for the rare occasions I've needed it, but maybe pilots think "radio control knows where everyone is flying, and even if there's any accident, the black box will survive. That's all I need".
A380 has camera on it's tail, aerodynamic external camera system mounts are can be installed in almost all Airbus and Boeing models. Passengers have cameras.
There are satellites with radar, IR and visual range looking downwards.
"Ernst Florens Chladni, was the first to publish (in 1794) the idea that meteorites might be rocks that originated not from Earth, but from space....The scientific community of the time responded with resistance and mockery." - Wikipedia
Ball lightning stories disappeared with mobile phones. Ufo stories are also disappearing. It's less and less likely that everybody just happens to miss opportunity of taking pictures.
The difference can be lots of things of course: densely populated, maybe seen from further away etc. But it's indeed peculiar that now in the smartphone age, we hardly see any UFO's on video, relative to how many camera's there are.
That said, because they're very common, and that there are many stories about them across the history (and not just in recent times) and from many different sources, and that there's a lot of government documentation, and the fact that even Pentagon officially recognized that there's something going on, should be at least enough to steer you away from saying something is just 'bs'.
I wouldn’t be too quick to dismiss anecdotal reports of simalarly rare and hard-to-capture aeronautical pheonmenon.
Exactly my point. There are so many cameras in the air that you should trust less and less these ufo stories.
It seems to match up with https://aerospace.org/reentries/cz-11-rocket-body-id-46463
Vaguely Identified Flying Object
Especially given all of the hypersonic missile development going on right now.
The point is, the recording posted at the linked article is... really all of the context there is. You hear "Have any targets here? We just..." with the beginning of that sentence cut off. You never hear the pilot identify, presumably it was cut off, so I'm not even totally sure how the source identified which aircraft this was.
You also do not hear the response.
If the transmission was on 127.85 or 134.75 as the author suggests, it was either Borger Low or Amarillo High. They filed FL360 and for the type anyway it was probably Amarillo High, ZAB sector 97. Unfortunately atclive doesn't archive that sector or it seems even any near it. Any chance some other website does?
Also are commercial pilots not allowed to carry smartphones? Did the pilots not record outside the cockpit window with their phones?
Hearing of this UFO is pretty exciting, and it would be even more exciting to have actual photographs of it from official sources.
It would be, indeed.
There's probably a simple explanation for the fact that when the general public started carrying around high-quality camera equipment at all times, UFO/alien sightings went down and police brutality incidents started cropping up.
Apparently it's difficult to quantify the number of police use of force complaints, in part, perhaps, because there are so many different jurisdictions and they collect data and report (or not) differently. I'd bet on use of force complaints declining though, I'd bet it is directly related to crime, which I expect has also gone down.
One explanation for the above is that it is as easy as ever to see a UFO without video evidence. "I forgot to film it! It was so fast! My phone wasn't working! etc". It's also possible to create fake photos, either with props or taking pictures of things that aren't immediately identifiable, or with photo editing software. The existence of phones probably makes police brutality a little less likely, on the other hand, if it does anything, because police know there is an increased chance their subject/victim will be recording them or that someone else will be (or that their bodycams are).
1 - https://www.statista.com/chart/8452/ufo-sightings-are-at-rec...
They are called reconnaissance aircraft, and open you up to all sorts of fun stuff like compliance with arms control treaties. Also as a general rule, airlines and even private pilots don't like to pay (in fuel) to carry things up in to the sky that they don't need on a regular basis.
> Also are commercial pilots not allowed to carry smartphones?
Pilots are trained to follow one general principal above all else: "Just fly the airplane." The concept is further expanded to "aviate navigate communicate administrate," if you are ever wondering what you should be doing at a given time. Screwing around with your phone is nowhere on the list unless you are on scheduled break time.
Pilots can also operate a camera and many do record and share their travels on Youtube.
You know what happens to recon assets that frequent hostile airspace, don't you? There are legitimate reasons to not build functionality into something.
Holy smokes, that would be quite alarming.
American Airlines confirms...the radio transmission was from one of their pilots. OK. It will be interesting to see how the 6-month pentagon directive goes.
(I personally have no opinion on this, as to weapon or sky dolphins or aliens)
One of my pet theories is that there is no big "coverup of the known" with UFOs. Instead it's a coverup of the unknown.
We humans have basically built up a pile of experiential-scientific debt, due to leftover 20th century "don't look into it, don't ask questions" psychology which was rampant in world militaries and governments.
If there's a UFO coverup, it's likely a natural human coverup due to leftover human evolutionary speedbumps like the delayed-frightened animal response.
One specific example:
“There’s no doubt it was something beyond anything we know or understand. […] I have concerns, but I don’t think we can do anything about it. I think this is beyond us. So: Quit worrying about it.” --Lt. Colonel Charles Halt, USAF, who actually experienced the Rendlesham Forest incident
(Can you imagine a military leader with similar psychology managing a department of UFO research?)
Another researcher's take:
“…not only is there a UFO coverup, but they [government / miltary] simply have no idea what they are. They really don’t.” --John Greenwald
IMO we should train our elected and appointed leadership to look into things--otherwise in many cases they will refuse to do so when their subjective leanings are calling the shots. This is basic, foundational strategy for contingencies...
That's why I said--I have no opinion as to what it is. Why leap to conclusions in either direction, which just gets subjective way too early?
If you're saying, "it's probably..." then that's your call, but being so subjective, the attractiveness of having reached an answer so fast could also prevent you from learning that it's something else. A.k.a blindspot.
Col Halt is not a UFO researcher. He has other primary duties. David Fravor (the tic tac guy) does a good job on Lex Fridman's podcast of explaining why the folks that experience these things can't/don't/won't do anything about it. Basically it's somebody else's job. So don't blame them.
A) The contents of these experiences tend to swing toward "random and subjective, but in a funny, objective way" which would eventually, logically lead to the conclusion that e.g. mind control is directly available and usable--so why not use it like a government would?
B) Which experiences fall within this scope? Which do not? How could you start to identify them and develop an idea as to purpose?
And C) in the event of any disclosure from moles or leaks inside _any_ military that's involved, I would expect it to hit the fan very fast, on any side you can name.
The details are going to be key, and there are way too many hand-wave explanations that involve broad gestures toward "government stuff".
Again: I personally have no opinion on this, as to weapon or sky dolphins or aliens.
All of the aircraft appeared to be heading due west in the direction of Las Vegas (Nellis AFB) and southern Cal.
The last time I witnessed this degree of activity was in early 2020, one day after the drone strike on Iranian General Soleimani. The whole sky was a crisscross mesh of expanding vapor.
In these circumstances you can easily tell the difference between commercial and military aircraft simply by their speed. Military aircraft haul ass at all altitudes, without exception.
Ironic to me that this story appeared on HN today given what I've mentioned. I'm not surprised AA reported a UFO encounter two days ago either. Southwest US skies seem to have become very busy.
Those contrails do not indicate more aircraft. They indicate favorable conditions for the formation of contrails.
And I wouldn't call it "very" unusual. It happens about every month or so, and more often at this time of year.
It has been very windy for many months, along with drought conditions, so the skies here have been clear. No monsoon to speak of either. I found it unusual given what seems to be the new "normal" of clear skies the past couple of years.
I check the humidity every day, and it's been elevated on and off for the last few weeks. But that's here at the surface. What happens at the level that jets fly is entirely different weather.
Fighters can reach supersonic speeds in some circumstances but seldom do so outside of controlled exercise areas.
You can't reliability differentiate between civilian and military aircraft just by watching contrails from the ground.
It is not uncommon to be driving between Las Vegas and Phoenix and have jets from Luke AFB flying training missions overhead at low altitude.
A lot of helicopter training is done out here as well.
Fermi's paradox only asks simply "if statistics say they are everywhere, well then where are they?"
What if the answer is simply: "Zooming all around us and we occasionally see one". Period. The rest is assumption.
Fermi's paradox does NOT presuppose contact. That is likely a false assumption. It does not presuppose consistent detection also.
Why would they make contact anyways? Didn't Hawking point out that contact is a bad idea for lesser advanced cultures throughout history? Wouldn't extreme clandestine scientific activity be the MOST intelligent thing to do, even the most benevolent? Wouldn't extreme evasiveness and covert activity, even active concealment of both your orgin, existence, and intention be the most species-self-preserving if you knew you weren't "alone out there"? If they are sufficiently advanced, what could they possible gain talking to us that cannot simply be deduced from observation alone? When was the last time you parked your Tesla next to an ant hill and demanded to talk to the queen ant? When was the last time you tried to contact an un-contacted tribe deep in the jungle to announce your existence? None of that seems to pan out so we convince ourselves that it cannot be therefore it must not be based on false assumptions. Even if they were sloppy about concealment like we are I don't think we would even be able to pick up a alien TV station if it was emanating from a planet orbiting Alpha Centari. The signal loss is 1/r^2 unless you direct a focused tight beam dedicated to being detected.
And what would you want the governments of the world to tell you if they knew? "Yes, they are here. Yes we know some. Yes they are super advanced. No there is nothing we can do about it sorry they run circles our best stuff. Yeah we also heard a rumor they are taking people in the middle of the night and we don't know why. Sleep tight!" ... Think of the lawsuits!
I would say black project aircraft is the only viable alternative theory, but how is that not EQUALLY interesting also given the capability described? Why poo poo it? That's what I don't understand. I don't buy mass hallucinations of the same thing over and over. Its just too consistent.
"Where's the video"? Go take a video of the full moon with your phone and tell me if its discernible from a can light on a distant black ceiling.
Just my 2 cents. Would love the hear the counter argument.
Now, we’re 60 years on from the Blackbird and 40 years on from the stealth bomber. We know the military has operated drones for decades and that Russia has hypersonic missiles.
I find it much more plausible that these are top secret man made UFOs. In 10-20 years when this technology is outdated we’ll probably find out what it really was.
Based on something I saw in the mid 90s and the numerous reports of these cylindrical crafts, I think it will be more than 10-20 years before these are outdated. Like the Stealth version of the UH-60 helicopter that crashed during the Osama raid, we likely won't know more about these crafts unless there is a similar sort of accident.
Eye witness testimony is notoriously poor evidence on it’s own.
Of course anything is possible, but stories alone are not sufficient evidence since we do have a history of misinterpreting things or making things up without physical evidence and buying into it en mass.
I think many people take a certain comfort in the assumption that we basically have the universe and the nature of reality figured out. They can accept the possibility that there may be some microbes buried deep on Mars, because it doesn't disrupt their world view or understanding of the nature of reality. But to consider the possibility that there are actually "alien" intelligent beings from other worlds, other dimensions or places unknown flying around on earth shatters their entire understanding of how the world works. It turns all of their assumptions about the universe, the history of our planet and the nature of life itself on its head. Its too much for many people to even contemplate, so they reflexively look for mundane explanations that fit into their perceived understanding of reality. For those predisposed to cling to the safety of what they think they know, the further idea that the government could have been aware of this phenomenon for decades while lying about it and covering it up is just another bit of paradigm busting trauma. The possibility is just too frightening for some, so they refuse to consider it (consciously or not).
People have that assumption? That's... a pretty terrible assumption, and even a cursory read of some pop-sci articles is enough to tell you there's a ton we don't know. I'm just not convinced that most people assume we know these things.
Couldn't agree more. Unfortunately it doesn't make it any less prevalent.
There are two poles: Either the aliens are extremely rapacious, or very enlightened.
If they're rapacious, we are weak annoying ants to be crushed.
If they're enlightened, a cursory examination of our history and treatment of the world would show that we are extremely rapacious, and need to be contained or destroyed.
So no matter where on that continuum, we are either destroyed or enslaved.
Again, they'd know the future tech path forward better than we, but I'd see a "cockroach" that went from basic agriculture to nuclear weapons and launching rockets into space within 100 years.
We've had the tech to be a significant solar system race for 60 years now. If the military budget were allocated to space development we'd have a full fledged space civilization and manufacturing base by now.
If they are enlightened, they will very much see us as dangerous to the planet that needs to be curtailed.
Yes? When was the last time you were on the Moon?
Or do I misinterpret?
This is why publishing such articles is important, and why they should make more people think that there is a possibility after all that humans are not the only ones in the universe and that life is all around them.
This is such a preliminary line of thought, that, if most humans lack this perspective, why even begin to engage?
On what grounds? Besides, the federal government is sovereign and can't be sued in most circumstances.
It was as if the "UFO" flew inside its own sort of bubble, isolated from the surrounding environment. Flew right past the helicopter as if it was nothing. That's what was the most shocking.
Still, it's most likely this is a US drone on a long range testing mission(or just flying off course due to a sw bug).
People: "Theres no such thing as aliens, you're mad, its nothing"
> Foreign nation continues to send cylindrical drones into US airspace as no one cares
The interesting/curious/conspiracy-invoking concept is the unknown flying thing, whatever you call it. Whatever name you use will get associated with the interesting/curious/conspiracy aspect.
Would guess they both would prefer it if that wasn't in the news.
Almost a linguistic catch-22 version of the "ATM Machine" phrase. Not redundant, but guaranteed to be either colloquially misinterpreted, or technically incorrect.
It's kinda weird how words can just get coopted by popular use. Take calling someone a "Nimrod" -- before Loony Tunes, that would have been a compliment that meant "mighty hunter". But kids growing up in the 50s and on first heard it in when Bugs Bunny used it as an insult, contextually meaning idiot or bumbler or something -- which due to Loony Tunes' cultural influence is now the dominant meaning, supplanting the original biblical origin (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nimrod#Idiom)
Depends. Let's take the opposite case, where the object has been determined to be of likely terrestrial origin (identifiable letters and numbers on a wing or tail), but otherwise still mysterious. Is it identified or not? How about if it is rumored to be US military, but officially no one will confirm or deny? How about if someone does officially confirm, but no specifics are available (so there is no project/program name, or branch, or model)?
Especially considering that official statements may be misinformation, at what point can we say that the FO is no longer U?
A similar continuum of identification specificity applies to non-terrestrial origins, all the way up to "Oh yeah, that was BortXd from Omega Draconis, he got drunk again at a tailgate party."
Somehow confirming that it is not from Earth doesn't identify it. There are multiple types of flying objects, like planes and missiles, and could be multiple different aliens groups it could be from.
It's a strange thing - I don't think there's any conspiracy to create a cult, just a certain bias in the use of symbols makes "I couldn't explain what that was" become "intelligent creatures from other worlds created this effect".
The problem is, when UFO reports occur they invariably seem to objects that cannot fly by any sort of conventional aircraft physics:
a) There are no wings. Ever.
b) They are often reported as moving slowly or even hovering, which missiles cannot/would not do.
Thus UFO has come to be synonymous not with its literal meaning of a flying object that doesn't light up with proper ID codes on radar, but a flying object that is not merely unidentified but unexplainable. Unexplainable Flying Object would be a more accurate expansion given how it's used. That doesn't automatically imply aliens, but the whole "secret military breakthrough" angle is no more falsifiable than aliens are.
The pilot was at 37,000 feet and said the object was above them. Commercial planes top out at about 42k feet and would have shown up on ADS-B. A U-2 flying at 60k would look like a long cylindrical object about the size of a cruise missile (in the same way a 747 looks small from the ground), and not show up on instrurments. Oh and they regularly fly out of Nevada to swoop down over New Mexico/Texas on their way to Mexico and Central America.
Sometimes the military misses a lot of items on the checklist, and accidentally ships a nuclear missile where it didn't intend 
I wouldn't say "absolutely zero chance", but I'd say "it's unlikely this was an expected outcome, and it's possible that someone is in deep trouble right now."
Just doesn't make sense in a Bayesian sense.
They are testing hypersonic missile systems for both ABM and warhead delivery.
As long as they were not at commercially used altitudes, it seems to me that they wouldn't advise anyone.
Due to retinal persistence you will see the part of an aircraft that is longest in the direction of travel (the body) more clearly than the wings. Only military aircraft carry radar, commercial planes depend on TCAS which requires the other object to be transmitting a beacon signal.
> The Lockheed U-2, nicknamed "Dragon Lady", is an American single-jet engine, high altitude reconnaissance aircraft operated by the United States Air Force and previously flown by the Central Intelligence Agency.
Also, he’ll if we civilians know what kinds of retrofits have been made in the past several decades, particularly for the purpose of testing and development.
If you're throwing Tomahawks at the Taliban, you'll get longer range from a higher altitude approach, with little risk of being detected let alone shot down.
If you're trying to hit Moscow, by all means, try to avoid radar by going 50 feet off the ground.
Found this in the article. This is close enough to "aliens!" if added to an article about airline incidents.
> Former CIA Director John Brennan thinks there may be life on other planets too. December’s Covid-19 relief bill included a directive to the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to share what they know about UFOs within 6 months. People with the highest of security clearances think there’s something out there.
> ‘Something’ of course doesn’t necessarily mean extraterrestrial in origin, even though New Mexico is home to Roswell…
Seems like that Covid-19 relief bill was about everything but the Covid-19 relief, lol
I don't think it was more than 2-3 meters across, but it was dark and scale was difficult. It was quite loud, I assume internal combustion but don't know what non-hobby-drone electric rotorcraft sound like.
It was about 0100. I assume it was a friendly, but who knows?
There's all sorts of shit going on in the sky, legal and otherwise. :D
We have all seen videos of the coast guard finding submarines with people smuggling drugs into the US. In my years of growing up in Palos Verdes, we have had multiple submarine like vessels, skiffs, and other odd marine vehicles wash up on our shores due to tough sea conditions with tons of drugs and even some manned by smugglers which were later arrested.
The cartel obviously has tons of money, and to me it would make sense that they are going Ariel with smuggling. It gets harder and harder to smuggle on land across our border and same with sea, due to coast guard being more present than ever on coast lines.
I guarantee they have some military grade equipment and are attempting to fly under radar to smuggle goods into the US. Maybe this missile like object drops the packages out of the sky with parachutes attached to certain drop points, who knows. I think this is a more realistic scenario than aliens. This incident did happen over New Mexico which is a place in which a lot of cartel activity happens. Let me know what you think.
I'm sure if it was real and if we wanted to we could obtain decisive visual proof in a way where the public was convinced that was not fraudulent.
Like why should we be spending millions of dollars on seti when the corresponding search for these kind of things on earth should be a lot cheaper and easier.
You know how they are frequently just simple shapes? Okay well imagine you are making a game and you need an object to act as your player and you don't care what it looks like. The easiest way is to just drop in a primitive shape. So you just drop in a cylinder or whatever because it doesn't matter.
I think that might be the kind of thing that's going on with UFO shapes, assuming they are extraterrestrial in origin.
Anyone have any guesses?
Best guess I've seen was that it was a supply canister or drop tank. But it seems to pause in mid-air at 0:32, travel horizontally, and is over a civilian area where it seems unlikely that something would be dropped. It does look somewhat like a cruise missle but a lot slower.
It somewhat resembles the reflection from a strand of spider silk. Maybe something caught on a long strand of spider silk?
We saw a lot of recklessness with self driving vehicles. I wouldn’t be surprised to see a similar attitude while developing tech like this.
If the pilot can see it, certainly a cam from inside the cockpit can see it.
I understand that planes aren't cars but... We have cars doing just that: recording absolutely everything in case something unexpected happen.
It's 2021: I'm sure airliners could have it at some point. It doesn't look like a feature too much out of a science-fiction movie.
And this would settle quite some of the UFO sightings.
I guess it didn't happen.
I think we need a new term, maybe: Not an Extraterrestrial Flying Object NAEFO, never mind...
Let's hope the US military was testing stuff and that's what it was.
Let's not want to believe 
There's a reason people like to put such a spin on articles like this, and it isn't only because they want more clicks.
It's because it's related to one of the most important questions humankind has ever asked for many centuries.
That, and there are a lot of these reports throughout the history about this. And in very recent times, Pentagon officially recognized such phenomena - phenomena that is very similar to what is described in the article. Is it, then, so unreasonable to use a similar tone in such an article?
Why would you be "so sick" of it? Instead of allowing yourself to wonder at the sheer vastness of the universe and asking yourself similar questions, why would you choose to be so put off by it?
UFO != extraterrestrial
> On Aug. 4, 2020, Deputy Secretary of Defense David L. Norquist approved the establishment of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Task Force (UAPTF). The Department of the Navy, under the cognizance of the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence and Security, will lead the UAPTF.
What percentage of commercial airline pilots do you think have ever seen a cruise missile?