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Floating Single Engine Airplane

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posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:35 AM
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I couldn't think of anywhere else to post this sighting, but decided I should just in case anyone else has seen something like this. (I've been reading this site for a while and I'm happy to actually have something to post!)

I live in Northern Virginia near Arlington. I was travelling west on I-66 this morning (Tuesday, Sept. 12) and as I was about a mile or a little more from the Rt. 50 West exit, just shy of Chantilly, VA (around 8:15am), I saw the wings of a small, single engine airplane in the distance growing larger as I approached. The plane was facing me almost head on, and it was across the eastbound lanes on my left facing toward Wash., D.C. The plane was over thick trees that run right up against the interstate.

I'm pretty observant and always on the lookout for strange phenomena, so when I saw a single engine plane that, from a distance, appeared to be flying very, very slowly over Rt. 50 I was curious. We usually get helicopters if anything, which I suspect are news teams (or police helicopters?). Also, this part of Rt. 50 is very close to Wash. Dulles airport, so there are frequently large, commercial jets, and closer to the airport, smaller, private aircraft.

I kept my eye on the plane as I neared it, because the closer I got to it the less it looked like it was moving. As I neared it I noticed there were no markings that I could make out. I don't recall if there were any lights, which I made a note to look for as I neared it (there may have been one on the nose, but it was steady if there was one at all). The plane for all intents and purposes was a full-sized, small, single engine airplane. I could not see the propeller, or even an outline that the blades would create. And it made no sound. Also, it was sitting at an angle facing somewhat NE I think (diagonally across the hwy).

As I neared it I realized that the plane was not moving. At all. It literally appeared frozen in mid-air. And I had plenty of time to observe this plane as I neared and slowly passed it. There were no strings or cables that I could see. There was no blade on top of it (why would there be? but I looked). And it was definitely a full-sized craft. As I got parallel to it that was clear. As I passed I was probably (I'm bad with distances) about 1/4 mile away? It looked about the size of a matchbox toy car from where I was. Maybe a small stapler. It was very clear to me. Was it a drone? Well, it was shaped like an airplane, not a helicopter, so how could this hover?

As I passed the plane I watched it as much as I could without veering off of the road. I did watch it long enough to make sure it wasn't a trick of the eye, and the fact that I'm posting this means I was pretty convinced. As I neared it it didn't seem to move in any direction, and its size came right up on me in a manner that really screamed out that this is a still object.

I also made sure that it didn't seem to be some sort of ballon or inflated object (you never know). It was structurally the exact shape and size of a single engine airplane. It clearly wasn't a balloon.

So I just present this as I saw it. This was an airplane with no markings, no strings, no signs (in case it was some sort of advertisement), possibly a single, steady white light on the nose, and it was not moving.

I hesitated posting this, and I probably won't tell anyone but a close friend (and ATS). Why? Because the event was so mundane (aside from the obvious) that it is very likely not what I imagine it to be, which is something very bizarre and not possible with that sort of aircraft (hovering).

But...maybe someone else has seen something like this somewhere else. The sight was very cool and very unsusual. Oddly enough, I wasn't too excited, which is very odd to me as the sight was utterly unnatural. Strange to think about it...I think it's possible to see something very bizarre and unnatural and to be unmoved by it, but wonder why that could be...by




posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 08:39 AM
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It's probably a drone, part of homeland security. I recall reading somewhere that the govt was flying drones around the DC area, or was it that they would fly drones over disasters areas, I'm not sure.

but that's my totally random and meaningless guess



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 09:05 AM
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I think you witnessed an optical illusion...caused by your rate of travel, relative to the plane.

I drive by an airport everyday to and from work, and I've witnessed this illusion many times...and I grew up around tarmacs! Because you're moving and it's moving, at the right angle and speed, it can make the plane observed as appearing to hover, when it really isn't at all.

First time I saw it, I could have sworn I saw a Cessna hover...and I just KNEW that wasn't possible, hehe.... I even stopped the car, pulled over...and as soon as I did, I could then tell it was an illusion due to motion. Freaky though.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:03 AM
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Actullay let me explain this a litte bit for you. I have a comercial pilots cert and I used to fly cessnas quite a bit. What you witnessed was essentially a small aircraft hovering. Its a trick that can be done in certian circumstances, the next step in this trick is to fly your plane backwards, but this doenst involve any aerobatics.

Light aircraft have very low speeds in which they stall (air flow over the wings ceases to be sufficient enough to provide lift). For instance, a cessna 152 is around 50-55 knots. To achieve this phenom the upper wind currents have to be at or above the aircrafts stall speed. Here is what yo do. Get the aircraft pointed into the incoming wind current and back the throttle off enough to get the plane to slow down. Pitch the nose up slightly as the plane slows and nears the stall speed. (there is a stall spped indicator in the cockpit) and reapply engine power. Once everything is in balance you can balance the airplane in the oncoming air current while keeping your aircraft ffrom stalling and falling to the ground. If the air current is strong enough, the lower the angle of the plane nose is to the horizon. From the ground, the plane will appear to be in level flight, or close to level flight.
Once you have that mastered and if you can "catch" a bit of a stronger head wind you can actully fly your airplane backwards with the same mentioned techinque. I have flown backwards a few times over my home airfield in college. Needless to say the control tower doesnt like it when a punk college kid flys across his field backward (all be it, at a safe and higher altitude, 1500+ feet above ground level)

So essentially the wind current is enough to keep the aircraft in flight but you have to use the engine power to keep the aircraft stable and stationary while in this wind current.

I hope that makes sense, sounds like someone was trying to freak people out while performing a common light aviation trick.

Cool looking though, wasnt it?



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:32 AM
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I can't discount that it could be a drone, except that it was visible from a mile or more up Rt. 50 from its location. It was a full-sized plane. And as I passed it I could see that it was too big to be a drone.

If it was a drone I'd like to say thanks but no thanks to the gov. Flying cameras are fun, but that's about it. If I had a neighbor that said he was concerned about break-ins and put up a camera at his house I'd say okay, that makes sense I guess. But if that neighbor told me he also sent up flying cameras I'd politely back away and would avoid him. Creepy.

This then leads to the possibility that I was experiencing an optical illusion. I would think that a moving object would appear stationary if you were moving along with it in the same direction. But this craft was aimed over the highway, and was a short distance from the highway, but at no time did it ever cross the highway. And it remained aimed at the highway the entire time.

This illusion seems more plausible running head on with it, but I passed this thing and witnessed it remain fixed over the same set of trees from the side. The plane didn't turn, nor did it appear to move forward, aside from the perceived movement caused by my passing it....I had slowed enough that I felt I could just stop my car, get out and stare at this thing just sitting in the air...I just don't know....

Now, the last post I read before finishing this, the person who advised of the aerial stunts, poses a possibility - that a single engine plane can remain completely stationary (for this case 10 minutes?) with some skill. But I've never seen this. And this plane literally looked frozen in mid air. How is no movement at all, no wing movement, or any movement at all, possible with this type of craft? It seems like the lack of any movement and weight of the plane would bring it down, or at least cause some motion...

Without further corroboration of this strange sight it's hard to make anything more out of it than an optical illusion. I do believe I've seen what you're (Gazrok) talking about before, and I was actually skeptical because of that possibility. I slowed down and kept fixed on the craft and just felt like it was floating there...

Weirder things have happened...who knows? ...thanks again...keep your eyes on the skies...



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:36 AM
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That is a very cool explanation from killerghia, i do like, any one want to lend me a cesna?!


[edit on 12-9-2006 by dipsothedrunk]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 11:17 AM
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I'm sure in my case the pilot wasn't doing a stunt...not over an international airport...unless he wanted his license revoked...


Just saying it was downright eerie, and I was only going about 35mph (due to traffic). Once I stopped and pulled over, only then was it's forward motion apparent...and I've been around planes ever since I could crawl (military brat).



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 01:41 PM
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To classify this as a stunt would be kind of reaching. technically the plane is in forward motion but the wind currents and airplane control and engine throttle positions prevent physical forward motion.

I have bet and won a few buck telling people and showing them that I could fly backward. As for holding what appears to be a hover, it isnt much of a problem, I have done it for 15 min at a time, afte that I got bored. Its all about keeping the airplane pointed into the wind (rudder control), keeping the nose up slightly and keeping enough throttle in the engine to maintain your position. From the ground it would literally appear to be hovering or not moving, you wouldnt see the wings or plane moving te rudder would be pretty much still but in reality, the prop is probably the only thing you will see moving or hear, or you BETTER anyway. Plus this is going to take place far enough above the ground that small movements in the control surfaces would not be detected.

btw, you dont want to be doing this over heavily traveled airspace, class c and above and you will get in some trouble. I was doing this above class d airspace, which is airspace around a modertly busy airport that has mostly small commuter aircraft. and technically I was above the airspace not in it, but they still had me in sight. I would bet that this is what you saw.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 03:22 PM
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Killer, thanks for your posts. I would hate to waste time and space on an optical illusion. Although, I still feel that what I saw, even if it was an illusion, was very odd and would be difficult to acheive.

I've seen planes climb, and then cut their engines, hover for a few seconds then fall, but this was nothing close to that. I'd never seen anything like it before. It was so low to the ground, and its position was right over a highly populated area...it was right over a bunch of trees next to this highway. And it was in a stationary position from the time I spotted it about a mile or so up, and after I passed it some 5 or so minutes later. Completely frozen still.

You know when they freeze action, like in the Matrix movies, and the camera moves around the actors. That's kind of the weird feeling I had...and again, I didn't see a propeller trail (or the visible circle a spinning propeller creates), nor did I hear anything...this is going to bug me, because of how close it was and the time it just sat there...I had the feeling that something was not right with this plane...couldn't put my finger on it. Maybe it was just the vision of it up there, but still...

I posted it here hoping that someone else had seen something like this. Out of the ordinary. However, I can't rule out the obvious possibility that there is most likely a very prosaic explanation for it...Occam's razor and all that...



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 03:47 PM
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I understand. To be honest, I was formulating an ATS post when I saw my "illusion" too, hehe... Had I not stopped that day, I'd have already posted it...


Even snapped a photo with my phone, but it didn't come out too great, lol!

[edit on 12-9-2006 by Gazrok]



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 04:11 PM
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Originally posted by OnTheDeck
I've seen planes climb, and then cut their engines, hover for a few seconds then fall, but this was nothing close to that. I'd never seen anything like it before. It was so low to the ground, and its position was right over a highly populated area...it was right over a bunch of trees next to this highway. And it was in a stationary position from the time I spotted it about a mile or so up, and after I passed it some 5 or so minutes later. Completely frozen still.


I can attest to a Piper taking off almost straight up, then landing, on what looked like 10' of parking apron at an airshow back in the '80s. I was (*shudder*) in it at the time. The pilot let me off, then proceeded to take a pass down the runway, stop, and fly back the way he came -- backwards. After his stunt they stopped the show for high winds. Imagine that. If I can find some of the pics from the show I'll post them later.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 04:18 PM
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Kill's probably more on the money, here. I've got many Cessna hours myself (150/172/182/skyhawk) and have done this maneuver several times in strong headwinds. OTD - you're referring to a stall - not quite the same thing.

This, if what you saw is as Kill describes, is known by several names - "kiting" in our hanger. The backwards flying Kill mentions is extremely difficult to execute, though not impossible, and I wouldn't attempt it below about 5k AGL in an unpopulated, no traffic area. We even then, stalls are common since the airflow over the control surfaces is mushy, inconcistent, and unpredictable. BTW - hang-gliders and sailplanes do this all the time

Not saying this is waht you saw - only that it's quite possible, common even. Also remeber that winds aloft can be much different than those near the surface.

p.s. IMO, the next most fun thing to do in a Cessna is nose-dive at your fall rate for a unique weightless experience... sorry -off topic.

Good luck - hope you find out what it was. the drone suggestion is also plausible...

a bit technical, but this explains the aerodynamics involved:
www.yale.edu...

aslo - at the EAA in Oshkosh WI, you can get a ride on a small plane in which the pilot will demonstrate this for you (take your barf bag).



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 05:09 PM
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Kill is absolutely correct. I hold a licence for light aircraft and have flown cessnas and more than often piper tomahawks. I have heard of this manouvre and have twice tried it myself. Although i never got to go backwards i have "Parked" my plane in mid air once. its an odd feeling.

As for the weightless thing that sounds like fun although ive never tried that one. Although in the military the chopper pilots used to scare the living daylights out of us by doning something similar with no warning all the time. Quite a feeling when your stomach is in your mouth and your rifle is floating in front of you :0



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 07:50 PM
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i knew Id have some fellow pilots back me up here. From the initial description, the kiting experience is what came to my mind. I have no doubt that is what was seen.

as for the zero g thing, took a friend with a self proclaimed iron stomach up and did that. he took his video camera. Once we started the manuver, his lunch and his video camera went airborn and hit the ceiling of the 182 I was flying. Broke the camera and I also had to clean the digested lunch off the airplane when we got on the ground.

nasty stuff there.....but I digress.



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 09:27 PM
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Thanks all for humoring me. I drive the same route every morning, so if I see this again I will try to get video. Only way to help find an explanation...

By the way, I saw some strange helicopter manuevering on the way home from work today. The drive's pretty boring, and there's always traffic, so I'm often looking skyward...(I am not, however, bored enough to make stuff up. I really think ATS is an important platform and wouldn't exploit it...)

Will post any further odd experiences...I'm kind of hoping there will be more, but we'll see.

Re: the flight stuff, I've been talking to some friends of mine about ultralights and gyrocopters. You can get a kit and build these things, then fly them all over without a license...They're not that expensive either, and they're fuel efficient...the stunts sound fun, but this pansy ain't getting in any plane that doesn't serve peanuts...

Thanks pilots!



posted on Sep, 12 2006 @ 10:39 PM
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On Thedeck,

Thank you for posting this! I registered to this site specifically to respond to this. This is a breakthrough for my sightings of the exact same low flying, light airplanes that seem to hover near a major highway.

I live in San Antonio, Texas. There are 3 miltary bases in the immediate area. Now I am convinced that what I see during the day and mostly at night on Highway 281 is the miltary's doing, at least I think.

I witness low flying, relatively small airplanes that move VERY slowly night and day, evreyday/night. They usually fly and hover over Highway 281, I have seen them everywhere though besides this highway. They confuse me beyond frustration. I have only seen these airplanes hover during the day twice, but at night they come out in full force. At night they have all sorts of different light combinations. Red, blue, white, orange combo, red and blue combo, red and orange combo, white and blue combo. Sometimes they have one very bright light and other times they have one dim light. When they hover over my car while driving on the highway(and I mean hover about half a football feild high or less and right over my head) they always have three white lights, one on the left wing, one on the right wing and one on the nose which makes it look trinagular in shape at night when you can't see the wings at all. The way the move and hover makes them seem utterly UFO-like and very strange. They are everywhere in San Antonio! If you want to see them for yourself all you need do is drive down to San Antonio and park anywhere you want and sit there and wait. You will see them eventually and you can't mistake them when they move the way they do, usually very slowly and change directions often.

I have taken pictures with my cellphone recently and it did not come out very well. I do have some webcam pics taken by University of Incarnate word's skyline webcams that are on another site. Would it be ok to post them even though it is from another forum website?

Thanks to the pilots in this thread I now know that it is probably some military kids having fun at the expense of confused civilians like me. If indeed this is the case then these military pilots need to be put in there place becuase hovering and doing risky tricks over major highways is outright rediculous. why would they do this and so frequently? Many of these planes do these tricks near major airports! I will be researching on who to write to, to complain about this rediculousness. Some of the moves these planes make are very strange indeed. Some of these planes go in circles at a very slow pace which makes it look like it is moving back and forth like a UFO, again why? I really hope there is a good explanation for these planes doing the things they do. I am not the only person that notices them, others around do as well. These planes at night are not helicopters as they make no noise whatsoever and come really close to the highway.

I'm angry now that I think it could be miltary people joking around. REDICULOUS! However, i'm sure there is a rational explination for their manuevers. Anyone know who I could write to to get an explination? Maybe the Airforce? Any aviation organizations that would know?

Thanks for any Input, and THANKYOU, On thedeck, for reporting your strange event. It brings further clarity to my own strange Airplane sightings. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you everyone!



[edit on 12-9-2006 by Green83]



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 09:30 AM
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Green83, you're welcome! First, I proved to myself that it was worth posting here just by the fact that my post attracted individuals who were experienced on the topic I posted on either the day I posted, or the day after! This forum is awesome! People are really reading and sharing information. It's cool...

I believe I saw something truly strange. And I think the helicopters I saw yesterday (Tues) were acting strangely as well, although that's all I can say about it, because there was nothing outright unnatural, and I have no pics/video. I thought I saw a series of lights appear across the side of a helicopter that was flying fairly low to the ground, and then the lights disappeared and it looked like a normal helicopter. I really hesitate mentioning that, because although it was overcast and cloudy yesterday, there were some breaks in the clouds that could account for this...I am carrying a digital camera now that can shoot video, so I'm prepared.

There was a second helicopter in the same vicinity (within a mile or so) that hovered over the interstate and sort of almost rocked back and forth over the interstate, and then shot off toward Wash/Dulles airport directly at a high rate of speed. It was odd to watch, but again nothing really to note there.

The reason I say all of this is that I believe there is so much going on in our skies. Green is right to think something's going on (and I would love to see pics or video!). I've seen enough of the videos of helicopters displaying morphing behavior, and just odd ufo videos (cnufos.com) that it's clear something's up. The fleet videos are insane.

The weird thing about these mundane craft is that they are performing these odd feats in plain view, over unimportant or insignificant, populated areas that don't seem to have any military or intelligence connections, and many during the day. The military is so hush hush about everything they do, and yet these very bizarre manuevers are performed in broad daylight and obvious to anyone looking skyward. This to me says that either the military is performing some sort of psychological program, or something stranger is going on.

The military program seems unlikely, because I can't see what benefit the military would reap by performing aerial feats in everyday craft, and that are only marginally unusual. And if they want to surveil they can just use the traffic cameras, or regular helicopter surveillance. The military is in love with Area 51 (and other "non-locations") secrecy, and I would suspect their bizarre stuff is saved for places like that.

Here's a slightly imaginative, and a little bizarre suggestion regarding these events. I remember a Men in Black story I read recently that took place in South America. These individuals were pursuing a man who was writing on paranormal subjects. At one point there was a foot chase and these men were unable to figure out how to ride an escalator. The theory being things that are everyday for us are difficult and even puzzling to "outsiders".

Bring this information to bear on these craft experiences, and imagine an "outsider" copying the outward appearance of our airplanes/helicopters, but manuevering them in a manner atypical of that craft. Seeing this plane sitting in midair was eerie...just a thought. If, however, this were indeed government shenanigans, I would imagine it would be evidence that there are factions at work, who obviously have different agendas and philosophies...in any event, something is going on...

I have a friend that used to work at Wash/Dulles airport. First, you should know that Dulles has several (7 or more) levels that extend below ground. In fact, there is a virtual city under Wash/Dulles airport. The security down there is so tight you need an escort to the bathroom. Why? Air traffic control? My friend had access to the uppermost levels (around lvl 5)...you weren't allowed to ask questions of coworkers, etc...there's always more than meets the eye...



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 10:28 AM
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I forgot to pose the question that if these are craft piloted by beings not of this planet, then what is the purpose (and I'm not suggesting it's an either/or scenario: either human or alien. There very well could be shades, but I'll say "not your run of the mill human" pilot)? If this is the case, which I understand is a stretch, but if so, then they are using a craft we easily recognize, and in broad daylight (in Green's case at night also).

If they wanted to surveil they could easily do it at night and without lights, and yes, they could probably operate invisible to the naked eye (yes, if I'm going to say ET, I can also suggest they might be able to be invisible...I can do that...hehe).

There has been so much activity (do the research. the internet has it all) in the skies that barring any unseen purpose to these events I would say that it is a call of sorts. I have a pretty involved viewpoint on this subject, but will suffice to say I think we're being coaxed along...urged forward...and there also seems to be parties that are obstructing this apparent attempt at communication...

The interesting thing is, if you take for example this airplane - if it was something unusual - it's something that will affect the people who are watching; aware. But it won't disturb people who are not willing or ready to accept a threat to their world view. Those people can write it off as an optical illusion. From what I've read, there is discretion in ET interaction for several reasons, but also due to the fact that, possibly, their realty is not to be forced upon ours - or more specificallly, those that are not ready to, or don't want to accept anything beyond what they know. It's easy to maintain this with behavior that is most recognized by those looking for it...just a theory...

Here's a romantic idea, and that is that the contact, if it is occurring, is very subtle; a nudge; a tug at the fabric that forms our world view. Contact that I see as, hopefully, increasing. It's not a violent attack on our personal views and beliefs, a shock and awe, but a guiding and nurturing. And I think I prefer this to fleets of craft dropping out of the sky and knocking on our front door. It seems that that would be traumatizing.

Anything important and purposeful in life takes time. Needs to grow naturally; to sprout at its own pace. And I've seen and researched enough to think that we're past the point of trying to scientifically analyize a piece of a saucer - we're not going to get that. Someone somewhere has a piece, and we're not hearing about it. But I think something much broader and significant is happening, and it's inevitable, and you don't need a piece of metal to reap the rewards that will be offered when your world view expands out into space. You can test metal and say it didn't come from this planet. Then what? What does that mean to you? How is your world view affected? The metal's not important, it's what it does to you that is significant. And seeing things like this plane and these craft has a marked effect to the viewer. Keep it coming.

Ok, so I'm not using this one odd sighting to push any philosophy or agenda, but I was thinking about this with regards to my sighting. A sighting I am well enough to leave alone now, unless it happens again...I AM in the alien section anyway...

I recently discovered that some individuals were using nightshot video to capture things that were not seen with regular video - at night and during the day. I haven't been able to put this into practice myself, but my suggestion would be to go out during the day and night and tape the skies. Seriously. When I have time I intend to do this. CNUFOS.COM has some great examples...will update with more weird stuff if I see it...

Thanks and keep sharing!



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 10:38 AM
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Do you live anywhere near an AFB?
if so, then i guarantee that they are using UAVs in your area...

I have even seen some that fit right into nature (would rather not reveal what design they were, in case they aren't known about yet),
on labor day last week, we had 2 groups that circled for about 15 minutes in an area, then they would move to another area over the city, then after I watched about three of these location changes, they sped off towards the AFB at very high speed.

I was amazed, and alarmed... what were they looking for?

I have also seen a darkstar type or other advanced high speed UAV doing wide area patrols... (but not on a holiday that time)



posted on Sep, 13 2006 @ 12:08 PM
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Laz, I live in Arlington, VA. There's probably a freaking military base under my house. Seriously, VA, DC, MD and PA (and probably WVA) have got to be almost totally hallowed out underneath for government and military installations. I bet a good earthquake could bring this part of the east coast down onto decades of military underground installations...

In any event, yes is the short answer. I've lived in this area for over 20 years. And I'd have to say that within the last 6 or 7 years in particular I noticed a bothersome increase in helicopter activity, and all over the metro DC area. Specifically, in Arlington/Falls Church/Fairfax, but I'm sure it extends all over.

When you say you're seeing these manuevers and wonder what they're doing/looking for I'm wondering the same. When you spend a lot of time somewhere you become attuned to that area; the sounds, the patterns, the habits of the locals, etc. , you know...I remember having a very unsettled feeling as these night manuevers increased. Then after time of course I started noticing jets with miles long trails of smoke spreading out into rainbow colored clouds and it was all over.

Laz, when you say "UAV" what does that mean (the acronym)? Also, you say some of these things blend into nature. I'm assuming you mean trees, birds, animals, etc.? By the way, when you say you have some craft surveilling and then speeding off quickly I can relate that to the helicopter activity I witnessed yesterday, except this chopper was then heading toward Dulles (unless there's something else over there). Also, what's a "darkstar"?

If anyone can suggest what these aircraft might be searching for we all would appreciate it. I don't know if my unsettled feeling was a result of the odd nature of the increased and loud nighttime flying, or if there is something these craft are using that is affecting people...If these patrols are looking for something it obviously isn't something they need daylight for, or probably even a conventional light for. So what are they looking for, and what means are they using to track or search for it?

So many questions...Thanks Laz!!



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