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The Coyne helicopter incident explained

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posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 02:19 PM
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originally posted by: Nickless
a reply to: BiffWellington
I don't want to repeat all those details here, but as a general note, it's worth to remember there were multiple witness viewpoints on those events, and not all of them agree on some of the details you also mentioned, which is already a good hint that not all of them are exactly reliable. The ground witnesses for example didn't describe the object having approached as fast as most of the crew seemed to think and one of the crew members didn't see the object at all, even though he was sitting on the front seat. It's also pretty obvious that the accounts of hovering in place do not accurately reflect reality, as one can't hover in place on top of a helicopter that is moving at 100 knots. That's a pretty good hint that the object didn't actually stop at any point, but the witnesses just viewed the events in terms of how it moved relative to the helicopter.
Looking closely at the different statements from multiple witnesses is important when trying to figure out what really happened, so I'm glad to see you did that instead of buying the hype promoted by some that all the witnesses were completely consistent, when that's not true and in fact it's almost never true in reports of unusual events. There are always some differences described by the witnesses as far as I can tell, which seems to be how human observation works, because it's not completely reliable.

I think Coyne's description of the object being so "fast" is related to the proximity of the object, kind of like when someone posts a UFO video on youtube of a bug flying past the camera at 3 feet away passing a jet going mach 0.8 at half a mile away, with the title of "UFO passes jet at more than twice the jet's speed". So of course the bug aka "ufo" was going faster than the jet since this is what the camera recorded, right? Wrong, camera recordings have the same perception that humans do that closer objects are moving faster than they really are.

I also agree the lack of noise wouldn't be an issue. I've flown in helicopters and they are noisy, so an external source of noise has to be really loud to hear it, at least that was the case back in 1973 when noise-cancelling tech wasn't what it is today if they had that at all. A tanker flying at just above stall speed might not make enough noise to be heard over the helicopter's own noise. A helicopter I was riding in had a near miss with an airplane, and even though the airplane was way closer to us than it should have been, we never heard it over our own helicopter's noise.

The green light is a little ambiguous and your statement it would have flooded the cockpit of the helicopter with green light because of green tint regardless of the color of the light makes sense, but ground witnesses mentioned other things being green too, like trees. Really? The trees were green? I think that can happen even in white light, but some other comments about it made the car look green and a boy in his bedroom noticed the green light, though it's not clear if he was saying green light was flooding into his bedroom, hence why I say it's ambiguous.

Obviously a number of people responding here haven't read your blog, but I read it and find it a fascinating and perhaps plausible explanation, but the most important "objection" if I can call it that is the one you made yourself in your blog:

"While I regard this case to be solved beyond reasonable doubt, it would be nice to have clear evidence of such tanker having been there, and it's identity. That I'm still missing."

Not everyone will agree that you've solved the case beyond reasonable doubt unless you can produce clear evidence of the tanker. If investigators had suspected this back when the incident happened, it would have been possible at that time to make inquiries and gather the flight plans of tankers which could have possibly been in the area at that time and possibly even identify the tanker.

However with so much time having passed, those records are long gone and the possibility of the tanker flight crew coming forward seems remote since they may not even see your blog, and even if they do, would they come forward? There was certainly enough commotion over this incident back when it happened that if the tanker flight crew was going to come forward, that would have been a good time to do it. On the other hand, maybe they didn't want to admit their mistake in attempting to rendezvous with a helicopter that wasn't even equipped for refueling? If they are retired now maybe they can admit their mistake with less worry about the consequences such an admission would have had on their career.

Whether your explanation is correct or not I think it's a great attempt at finding a possible explanation that seems to fit the case more or less. As you said the oddball flight characteristics seemed to be a compelling part of the case and the wingtip vortices could help explain those. But why would a tanker be trying to refuel the wrong aircraft? That's certainly not impossible but it's odd and you offered several possibilities without knowing which if any of them may be correct.

In any case I found your blog to be fascinating reading for a case that had me puzzled for years and I encourage others to actually read your blog, and compare it to what the witnesses actually said, not to what people selling UFO books said.




posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:27 PM
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You wrote: "…they only noticed the climb after having watched the object go to the horizon."

Could you please provide a reference for that conclusion?

Are you drawing that conclusion from the official report that Coyne and his crew wrote right after the encounter?

a reply to: Nickless



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 03:59 PM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur

Thank you very much for you comments! It's nice to see someone actually read what I wrote
.

As for the green light, remember that Jezzi on the front seat did't "see that or sense it", and neither did the only adult ground witness, who stated "There are different versions. I know the kids have seen something. ... They say they see something a little different than I do, but I'm just telling you what I saw". So it seems the effect wasn't quite as dramatic if the adult didn't notice it at all. So the only witnesses who have claimed the light was green outside the helicopter as well are 11-13 year old children who were interviewed 3 years later and had no doubt read the media descriptions of that light.

As for that one another boy in his bedroom, that account was taken 15 years later and the location doesn't seem to match (one would basically need to assume the plane tested that light another time before the actual event or something like that). That is why I didn't even mention it.

As for the confirmation of that tanker having been there, I agree, time is not on our side, but it could be still possible. One of the articles I quoted mentioned firemen who performed their own UFO prank at that time, and apparently admitted it only recently, so maybe something like that could still happen.

If nobody comes forward, the next best thing would be to find supporting records, but I don't know if those would still exist and contain the necessary information, especially if the crew didn't actually report their mishap. That refueling group near Columbus should be a good target for searching such documents.

Then there's the question if there was a refueling track at the correct location and direction, which would function as a sort of semi-confirmation. Although it is of course also possible that it was some temporary arrangement due to Nickel Grass, for example, or some training.

In any case, I can read all the original reports and interviews so that I can basically explain every detail that is being described and visualize why each of them saw certain lights from certain angles that way and so on. I actually did that after having written the blog post to confirm I hadn't missed anything, even if there are multiple alternative explanations on some aspects. So to me it's basically already a done deal. Obviously it would be nice to have the confirmation of that plane, and better yet answers to why exactly it happened, but I doubt we can find that out unless some crew member comes forward to tell the story.



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 04:28 PM
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originally posted by: 1947boomer
You wrote: "…they only noticed the climb after having watched the object go to the horizon."

Could you please provide a reference for that conclusion?

Are you drawing that conclusion from the official report that Coyne and his crew wrote right after the encounter?

a reply to: Nickless


Yes those conclusions are based on the official reports and interviews that were performed afterwards (by Hynek and Zeidman at least) as documented in The UFO Enigma: A New Review of the Physical Evidence by Peter A. Sturrock.

That quote by Jezzi was from his interview with Hynek and Zeidman. Jezzi also stated that:

I saw the altitude. I recall it was over 3,000, it could have been 3,500 feet, and we were still talking, still trying to get Mansfield on the radio. I'm pretty sure it [the object] had disappeared by then because it faded out, and I immediately looked back over [at the instruments] and that's when I caught the altitude. The object must have been gone by then because while I could still see it, I was looking at it.


He might have also been very much on the right tracks with this though:

Was the climb the result of the vacuum the other aircraft left? I don't know.


Coyne in his interview with Zeidman:

while we could still see it, I says, "My God, we're at 3,500 feet," and I says, "What's happening?" The collective was bottomed. It wouldn't go down any farther, and while I was looking at the instruments, the altimeter was going up to 3,800. I pulled the collective up and then pushed it down and the helicopter seemed to settle."


So while Jezzi stated the object had already disappeared, Coyne remembers still seeing it, but that nevertheless indicates that happened after they had watched it go to the horizon, and at least almost disappear. Also note that Coyne explicitly mentions the helicopter was still climbing, and quite a lot actually, while the object was long gone. That makes it even more clear that the lift didn't happen suddenly while the object was on top of them, but instead they were still climbing after quite some time. Might be they only began to climb after the plane had already left and its vortexes began to grow behind it.

Coyne also stated "I noticed there was a climb, but I didn't think there would be that rate of a climb" and that he figured the reason could be turbulence but claimed he didn't notice any, except that at the moment he managed to make it go down again when he felt a bump like hitting to turbulence. He also mentions that at that time "the thing was way to the west. It was already in the Mansfield area when we began to settle." Sound like they got far enough from the wake turbulence at that time.
edit on 16-4-2018 by Nickless because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 06:17 PM
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Thanks for providing those references, it will take me some time to work through them. It seems to me that there is still some confusion and conflicting information on exactly how long it took for the helicopter to gain the 1800 ft of altitude.

Scenario #1 is that the altitude was gained in the few seconds when the object was overhead and it simply took some time afterwards (30 seconds? A minute?) for the pilots to look at the altimeter and note the magnitude of the altitude gain. It seems to me this explanation is completely in agreement with Coyne's explicit statement: "….we had climbed from 1,700 to 3,500 feet with no power in a few seconds with no g-forces or other noticeable strains."

Scenario #2-the one you seem to be assuming-is that the altitude gain began when the object took its position above the helicopter and then persisted during the couple of minutes or so that the object took to fly off to the western horizon. In that case, a rate of climb in the vicinity of 1000 ft/min going on for a couple of minutes would produce an altitude gain of around 1800 ft and it would occur at such a low level of acceleration that no one would notice it and at such a slow rate that the rate of climb indicator would give an accurate reading.

I assume you are supporting scenario #2 because you wrote:

"That makes it even more clear that the lift didn't happen suddenly while the object was on top of them, but instead they were still climbing after quite some time. Might be they only began to climb after the plane had already left and its vortexes began to grow."

I'm not sure there's enough information available to definitively choose between scenario #1 and #2 at the moment, but the real point is that even if you assume that scenario #2 is the right one, your trailing vortex explanation does not work. You really don't seem to understand trailing vortices.

Think of contrails. Contrails are exactly trailing wingtip vortices that just happen to have condensed water droplets and/or ice crystals entrained in them. The entrained droplets/crystals provide a means of visualizing the flow pattern. You may have noticed that when contrails come of the tips of lift-generating wings, the trails remain stationary in the air behind the wing; that's why they leave very conspicuous, linear trails. As I mentioned before, if you are flying along in formation with the lift generating wing just outside of and behind the tip (like geese in V-formation) then you can harvest a little bit of lift. You have to be within about one wingspan's distance of the centerline of the vortex in order to have a noticeable effect (approximately 100 ft, for a C-130, maybe 1 ft for a goose). Think about that.

Regardless of whether you choose scenario #1 or #2, we both agree that the object was only within about 100 ft of the helicopter for a few seconds. And we both agree that the helicopter was below and trailing the object at the time of close encounter (not flying off the presumed wingtip). When you're flying below the trailing vortices, the net airflow is downward. It is, in fact, reaction of the wing against this net downward airflow ("downwash") that causes the wing to generate lift (by conservation of momentum).

So the only period of time in which the two objects were close enough to have had a noticeable interaction via wingtip vortices was the few seconds that the UFO was flying in formation ahead of and above the helicopter. Yet, you claim that that was the only time "that the lift didn't happen (suddenly)".

Instead, you postulate that "Might be they (the helicopter crew) only began to climb after the plane had already left and its vortexes began to grow." What you apparently don't understand is that as soon as the object peeled off from above the helicopter and zoomed off to the west any wake that it was trailing (whether structured vortices or simple random turbulence) would have been quickly left behind by the forward velocity of the helicopter. As I said, trailing wakes remain stationary in the air mass within which they are created.

At all times other than the few seconds the helicopter and object were flying in close formation, the helicopter was flying away from the wake of the unknown object at between 90 and 100 kts (and therefore way, way outside the one wingspan distance required for interaction). There was zero possibility of a wake interaction EXCEPT for those few seconds.

a reply to: Nickless



posted on Apr, 16 2018 @ 07:23 PM
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a reply to: 1947boomer

As I just quoted, Coyne himself shot down that scenario #1. The helicopter was still climbing when the object was far away, which Jezzi estimated to have taken a couple of minutes, if I recall, which would be in good accord with what the altimeter read as the climb rate. You are just clinging on one hasty Hollywood style statement by Coyne that he himself, other crew members, their instruments, and ground witnesses all contradicted. There's no scenario #1 anymore.

As for them flying away from the wake, I have suspected I drew too much curve to the path of that plane pretty much since I finished drawing that map, but I was too lazy to fix it as I was hoping to find information of possible refueling track first, which could have enabled a much more accurate map as a whole. Unfortunately, such information didn't turn out to be easy to find. In any case, I think it's likely they traveled somewhat more towards the same direction than what my map shows. And the plane certainly never "zoomed off to the west", just like it never zoomed in from the east. I strongly suggest you actually read what I have already written to that blog post, so that I don't need to repeat all of it here.

And the distance for potentially dangerous wake turbulence is measured in minutes and miles even for large planes, let alone helicopters:
en.wikipedia.org...



posted on Apr, 17 2018 @ 01:03 AM
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originally posted by: 1947boomer
When you're flying below the trailing vortices, the net airflow is downward.
Not exactly. The vortices are circular, not simply "up" or "down", and the effect of flying through the vortices could similarly be circular, that is if you're inside the leading plane wingspan initially the net effect could be downward as you say, but as the paths of the aircraft diverge, that changes, and as you're under the wingtip path, the force would be neither up nor down, but sideways in a manner that's pushing you into the lifting area of the vortex which would then provide lift. You can see the pattern of the vortices in this test which is entirely below the plane, and it shows the vortex motion is circular, not all down as you suggest.



If a refueling attempt was being made, then of course the tracks of the two aircraft would tend to line up so I don't see why you apparently find it implausible their tracks could line up, but yes they need to be fairly close in the paths they follow for the vortex to affect the trailing aircraft. However, they don't need to be that close in current distance as the video shows the vortex persists well after the plane has passed the tower, so the trailing aircraft only needs to fly in the wake of the leading aircraft within some reasonable distance.

Where you see the smoke going up in the right hand side of the video preview, that's providing lift to something flying though it. The left side shows the downward motion and the full circle is easily seen here.

edit on 2018417 by Arbitrageur because: clarification



posted on Apr, 17 2018 @ 05:37 AM
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originally posted by: Arbitrageur
If a refueling attempt was being made, then of course the tracks of the two aircraft would tend to line up so I don't see why you apparently find it implausible their tracks could line up, but yes they need to be fairly close in the paths they follow for the vortex to affect the trailing aircraft. However, they don't need to be that close in current distance as the video shows the vortex persists well after the plane has passed the tower, so the trailing aircraft only needs to fly in the wake of the leading aircraft within some reasonable distance.


I took a better look at all the witness testimonies for those parts that describe how the plane seemed to leave, and like I suspected earlier, I need to update that map with a more straight line trajectory for the plane. That map was among the first things I did, before I had considered those vortexes too much, and I believe I still gave too much emphasis to some of the descriptions of assumed directions.

The ground witnesses described how they actually only saw the helicopter leave, indicating the plane was hidden behind it, going mostly to the same direction. One of them (Curt) only saw it again when they began driving, and it was moving slower than the car (relative to the road, so east-west direction).

Yanacsek on the right back seat described how it apparently was more towards north until it eventually became visible on the side window as well, at which point it was already far:

After it got out John Healey's side ... I think we had litters and equipment and stuff, and I couldn't really see it over the copilot's head until it got out Healey's window. At that time it was almost as small as when it started. Very small. And white. It was way over near Mansfield. The time it took to get over there was between thirty seconds and a minute.


These descriptions are quite revealing:

slowly continued on a westerly course accelerating at a high rate of speed


The faster it accelerated the brighter the white light got

Most likely it was actually much closer than they thought, that's why the light seemed to stay so bright. And the somewhat strange combination of slow movement and high acceleration was caused by it gaining altitude and hence looking to go farther against the background. So the same kind of parallax effect that made for example TTSA claim the "Go Fast" video shows a fast low-flying target, while in reality it shows a target that is flying at an altitude of over 13000 feet at bird speeds (+- unknown effects of winds).

As for how it eventually disappeared, if the light wasn't the tail light but the refueling pod light, and I believe that's more likely, they probably just turned it off at that time. Jezzi said it "faded out" and Coyne said it "suddenly snapped out".
edit on 17-4-2018 by Nickless because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 17 2018 @ 03:24 PM
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originally posted by: Arbitrageur
If a refueling attempt was being made, then of course the tracks of the two aircraft would tend to line up so I don't see why you apparently find it implausible their tracks could line up, but yes they need to be fairly close in the paths they follow for the vortex to affect the trailing aircraft. However, they don't need to be that close in current distance as the video shows the vortex persists well after the plane has passed the tower, so the trailing aircraft only needs to fly in the wake of the leading aircraft within some reasonable distance.


I now believe that is what actually happened, their tracks could have actually lined up pretty closely and they could have stayed pretty close to the plane. Here's what I'm now thinking, and I will update this to the blog later unless someone can find fault in my logic:

The ground witness testimonies clearly state that the plane came from south and then followed the track of the helicopter closely enough that they couldn't see any of it behind the helicopter for a while, and apparently only Curt saw it again later. It's also clear that the plane nevertheless began to veer somewhat to the left of the helicopter, but only slowly, so if the helicopter heading was 30 degrees, it was somewhere between that and north.

According to the current NATO instructions, the tanker should have climbed at least 1000 feet before making any turns, and it probably did something similar there. Specs say C-130 is capable of climbing 1830ft/min, but since it began from near stall speed, and tankers should accelerate smoothly instead of full power (according to current instructions), and the weight is unknown, I'm guessing it would have taken at least a minute to do so.

In reality, Coyne and others saw it climb slowly, but interpreted that as fast acceleration to distance due to the parallax effect. That also led them believe it was already far away, even though it initially seemed to move slowly and the light seemed to stay unnaturally bright for their assumed distance.

But then there were a couple of statements from different viewpoints indicating it turned, which earlier led me to believe that had to happen, but maybe it didn't. The crew may have believed it turned only because the plane ended it's climb, or their own climb was then fast enough that it cancelled that out. At that point it would look as if it didn't go further to the west anymore but just began to go more or less towards the same direction, so roughly north again, as they described.

Then there was Curt, who stated it reversed direction. He saw that after they went back to their car and drove on a road that has turns to both directions, so it's pretty hard to know if he was simply mislead by the movements of the car, or similarly by the altitude changes of the plane.

So I believe I should redraw my map so that after the encounter, the plane was flying straight with a heading of 15 degrees for instance, so close to the track of the helicopter. It would have caused vortexes long enough, say a couple of minutes, after which the helicopter hit the edge of the vortex, felt turbulence, and then regained control. Also note that the weather was described as calm, meaning there wasn't much wind to disperse those vortices, so they would probably have lasted quite some time.

Can anyone find anything on those reports and interviews that wouldn't be compatible with that?




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