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Crew remember the day UFO was spotted over Kaikōura 40 years on
At the end of 1978, Australasia was in the grip of UFO fever. In October, 20-year-old Frederick Valentich disappeared while piloting a small Cessna 182 aircraft over Bass Strait while heading to King Island in Tasmania. Described as a "flying saucer enthusiast", Valentich informed Melbourne air traffic control he was being accompanied by an unknown aircraft.
Two months later across the Tasman, on December 21, Safe Air pilots Vern Powell and Ian Pirie spotted strange lights while flying from Blenheim to Christchurch. A producer for Melbourne's Channel 0 (now Channel 10), Leonard Lee heard the news and tracked down reporter Quentin Fogarty, who worked for the channel but was on holiday with his wife and children in Christchurch, staying at TV One journalist Dennis Grant's home.
Freelance Wellington cameraman David Crockett was also hired, along with his wife Ngaire, who operated the audio tape recorder. The group were invited to jump aboard Safe Air's Blenheim-based Argosy plane, named Merchant Enterprise, late on December 30, which pilots Bill Startup and Bob Guard were taking on a newspaper run between Wellington and Christchurch.
Shortly after takeoff, the pilots noticed strange lights appearing and disappearing over the Kaikōura coastline about 20 miles west. "While we were filming a standup to camera, Captain Bill Startup shouted to us that we should go to the flight deck immediately as something was happening again," says David Crockett. He managed to film a rapidly moving, bright white light.
"We got all sorts of people ringing us up telling us we're idiots," says Mr Startup. "We were fooling the public, we were putting a hoax out, this was all a big hoax for Christmas," says Mr Startup.
"I became a bit of an object for criticism and almost ridicule, because we were poo-pooed by the authorities, and sceptics came out of the woodwork and cherry picked the things that suited them and dismissed all the evidence, and said we saw this, we saw that," says Mr Fogarty.
Some of explanations for what they had a seen and filmed were Venus, squid boat lights and the lights of Wellington and Christchurch.
"People can think about that, but they weren't on the aircraft," says Mr Startup.
None of those involved are satisfied with any of explanations given by scientists and government officials.
"None of them to my knowledge or satisfaction have coordinated the visual sighting with the radar sighting," he says. "They've said the visual sighting was squid boats, it was Venus, it was Jupiter, it was the harbour lights. You name it, they can come up with all sorts of reasons for what it was.
"But they haven't explained why I can see Jupiter, Venus and the harbour lights doing 140 knots on my radar." says Mr Startup.
Caught on film by TV crew: The 1978 Kaikoura UFO sightings
originally posted by: ConfusedBrit
Startup's reply to some of the more hasty explanations is a classic:
"But they haven't explained why I can see Jupiter, Venus and the harbour lights doing 140 knots on my radar."
originally posted by: Phage
There is a light source. Very nearly a point source. Is there any possibility that the enhancements (filters) you've used have accentuated artifacts produced by the lens/shutter system of the camera? I ask because such effects can be seen in other equipment.
An experiment of mine, using a tripod so the image is quite steady. No stabilization required.
I'm aware that you used film, not an original digital record. Is it possible that the process of digitization itself introduced artifacts?
Try to explain the different colours and the UAP's innerstructures as well as a clearly visible rotation of the UAP.
Yes. With very little atmospheric distortion (known as mirage effects, or scintillation in astronomy). Your video can be interpreted as showing the effects of atmospheric distortion of a distant object rather than "rotation", can it not? It appears so to me.
Your Venus recording only shows a steady non rotating object.
Correct. Including the use of digital zoom.
You used a digital camera.
Yes. I understand that. I said so. Can scanners introduce artifacts? In particular when high levels of zoom are employed.
The film was made with 16 mm and digitzed using film scanner.