I'm actually a bit surprised that no military folks like me have spoken up yet.
Although I also believe there are others in the Universe, that does not mean these were UFOs - there is no correlation.
There were two distinct and separate PHX sightings in '97. One was a series of flares, the other remains unexplained (and may even have had the
flare launching as a cover/diversion).
This current sighting fits the flare hypothesis very well. I've shot these flares while in the military many times. They only APPEAR to be
motionless to a distant observer - they are actually floating downward a very slow rate. Usually they are not launched in windy/adverse weather
conditions, and for those who have been to PHX, or any open desert area, know that the air is extremely calm, especially at dawn and dusk (which is
when these operations take place - and also when recreational balloonists take to the air for the same reason).
From the video clip, my guess is that the helicopter was at least 10 miles away from the drop. The helicopter was over a populated area - the flares
were not. The reason the military uses flares is to illuminate a target area to facilitate MULTIPLE attack methods. Yes, various other devices and
'eyes' are also used (night vision, IR, etc). But not all weapons systems use night vision or other sensing instruments efficiently. Also, there
is usually a combination used so that various forces can take advantage of the added visibility - not just the attacking aircraft, but also ground
troops, intel/recon, and, especially, 'fire direction center' personnel - whose job it is to use the 5-7 minutes of 'artificial daylight' to
pinpoint and plot enemy positions, strategic targets, friend/foe determinations, asset inventory, and access/egress locations.
The flares are launched as a pre-determined “set” # of 3, 5, 10 – how ever many are needed to illuminate the battlefield. They are commonly
used in nighttime, unlit areas, but also, during wartime, in populated areas, in inclement weather/poor visibility conditions, and in mountain/canyon
areas. Vietnam and Iraq both used flares extensively, and Israel and other Mideast combatants use flares extensively when the enemy ‘goes dark’
to avoid being seen.
There are many types of flares (even invisible infra-red ones). They are dropped from 1,000 to 5,000 feet or more and can be set to ignite and stay
lit for various periods.
The one in the PHX case is probably an LUU-2B. The LUU is a common low-grade flare - ~2million candlepower/~5 minute burn time/~2m p sec. descent
Here are a few images of flares in action:
So - to avoid any repercussions from the 'can't-be-anything-but-a-UFO' crowd - let me finally add in closing that I believe in UFOs, I believe
there are UFO conspiracies, etc. - I'm ON YOUR SIDE. It's just that I don't believe this is one of those instances and it seems, many here, with
no empirical knowledge, were drawing false conclusions not based on the facts...
Thanks for the post and interest - keep looking up!
[edit on 2/7/2007 by Outrageo]
mod edit: resized images to prevent page format skewing
Please read this link-ATTN: Image Size Guidelines
[edit on 7-2-2007 by sanctum]