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The Oldfield UFO Film - Evidence that some UFOs are mirages

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posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 03:52 PM
reply to post by internos

I'll study the case as much as I can, and next I'll give my opinion.

Give me a few minutes.

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 04:00 PM

Originally posted by Arbitrageur
That seems quite easy to explain to me. In fact, you couldn't ask for a more perfect explanation of exactly what a mirage does!!!! If anything, this description CONFIRMS it's a mirage, rather than casting any doubt on it: "moving exactly in the same direction and with the same speed we were" That's EXACTLY what a mirage will do when observed in this manner my friend!!!

First and foremost, thank you for bringing physics into the argument here

And your initial post does indeed seem to illustrate the mirage illusion in the OldField case, well done!

However, in this case you are debating, quoted above, I think you might have missed a variable. For the above described mirage to travel with the plane, would not the temperature inversion (used as a secondary mirror in this example, like in a telescope) also need to be in motion comparable with the ground point and the observer's perspective?

It seems to me that if you have two moving points (the observer and the runway which was moving relative to the observer's perspective, as you mentioned) then your 'mirror' point would also need to necessarily move at the approximate speed of the observer, in order to maintain the illusion of visual/radar contact?

Perhaps I'm confused on this point, thoughts?

Also of note, there is another type of illusion that certainly fooled me at the outset of my research into UFOs. David Biedny and Jeff Ritzman helped me to understand the illusion here (ArMaP explains it very well also, through independent experiments verifying the illusion optically):

Enjoy! and thanks for bringing optical imaging effects to our attention here at ATS. This one is new to me, and I'm glad to understand it and to factor the effect in when researching cases.


posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 05:59 PM
Alright, I have been reading the case on internos thread about the case and I must divide my points in two sections. In favor and against.

I'm not trying to put your hopes down, neither I'm debunking this, it's just a pilot opinion from a pilot point of view of flying.

In favor:

1º At FL350 you can't see a runway the size of two carriers. To see a runway with that size you need to be around 3,000ft or less.

2º Another thing is angle of sight. At FL350 (or 310 for that matter, since he descended) you don't have angle of sight to see a runway in all of its glory with a size of 2 aircraft carriers, it's too much below your view (and mind you, cockpits aren't made for great views, lol).

3º Radar contact. Modern radars can tell you the density of water in a cloud, call tell you if it has ice in it, if it's safe or not to go through, etc.

But in 1986, if I'm not mistaken (since I'm a pilot for 3 years now) the radars were pretty simple, only allowing you to see if there is anything "big" and "volumous" in front of you, with limited detail as for the shape of the "object".

(for the ones that understand this) In those days I believe that they used Doppler radars, but the ones that don't do any sweeps. This means that the radar worked almost like a sonar, but the "echoes" were made by microwaves.

Modern radars move from side to side (with an angle of around 20/25º in bigger planes) and use something called pulse-Doppler.

Now, imagine a sonar (Doppler) that sends a ping. That ping echoing back, and the speed that it does that gives you an estimate in distance and speed (speed, if you send at least 2 pings(measuring intervals, etc)). But that's all you get.

Imagine that you have a sonar that not only sends a ping, but that ping has frequencies that goes through the object being detected that allow you to do something like an X-ray, see what's inside of it. Thats pulse-Doppler.

Ground WSR's equiped with good computers can even tell you how many rain drops there is in a cloud.

Airplane radars aren't that advanced (although I never studied the radar on the A380
), especially on those days.

What brings me to the next point.

4º Ground radars usually are more powerfull than the radars on the planes (that's why you need to check for weather before departure), but I don't understand why the ground radar couldn't make a difference from a microburst or a UFO. I would like to see the radar raw data, since I would like to know if the radar was able to determine altitude, or just a reading.

Mind you, that only recently (like Arbitrageur reported very well) microburst have been studied and understood, and ground radars have been improvedso they can be detected. So, in 1986, the radar provably wouldn't even pickup some phenomena like that.

5º This kind of phenomena is fast. Like a borning tornado, or a sudden sweep of air in your garden. They don't stay in the same spot, or keep up with you, neither they'll descend in altitude (usually this kind of thing is like a tornado, connecting two layers of temperature/wind, but let's forget that for a second. Like when you make a cake, and one layer (hot) makes its way up to the other (cold)).

One thing that came up in my mind was that it may be possible that the object was some kind of reflection of the aircraft lights, but this comes to the ground immediatly. You only have to turn up your lights below 10,000ft, and JAL1628 was at FL350 (FL350 = flight level 350 = 35,000ft in case anyone doesn't know). And navigation lights blink (twice for one second, or once for each 3 seconds) and do not produce a large amount of light.

So, forget about plane reflections. If it was a reflection, it could be from a cloud (like your headlights do when you drive in fog), but at FL350, you usually don't have any clouds around you.

6º Usually, this things (natural phenomena part) are fast. They appear and disappear, that's why they are so difficult to study.


1º Only JAL1628 spotted the UFO. Neither the United flight nor the C-17 (if I recall correctly) detected the UFO around JAL1628.

2º Radar contacted was not steady and strong. If I'm not mistaken, even stealth planes have a steady (but very small) radar signature. Natural phenomena doesn't.

3º Natural phenomena usually stays in the same spot for some time (happens fast, like I mentioned, but in the same spot). That would explain the movement front-to-rear relative to the plane.

...I need more information to make a more steady statement. Does anyone have a more detailed description of the flight?

[edit on 24/8/09 by Tifozi]

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:25 PM
reply to post by internos

Internos, I added you to my friends list shortly after joining ATS when I saw your debunking of the sausage shaped UFO that looked something like a time exposure of the moon. We didn't quite see eye-to eye on that explanation either, however I immediately recognized you're one of the most valued contributors at ATS and added you to my friends list. I still see you as a friend, and thanks for complimenting my contribution though extremely small in comparison to yours.

Anyway you shall continue to stay on my friends list as I don't see you asking me questions about my theory as an attack.

However what I do see, is your asking me if I think my explanation of the facts is superior to the explanations of authorities as a logical fallacy called appeal to authority.

An appeal to authority is an argument from the fact that a person judged to be an authority affirms a proposition to the claim that the proposition is true.

Appeals to authority are always deductively fallacious; even a legitimate authority speaking on his area of expertise may affirm a falsehood, so no testimony of any authority is guaranteed to be true.

Interestingly they use the example of Marilyn vos Savant:

(1) Marilyn vos Savant says that no philosopher has ever successfully resolved the problem of evil. Therefore:
(2) No philosopher has ever successfully resolved the problem of evil.

I have one of the same qualifications as she does but if I were to use that qualification, I would be committing the same logical fallacy so I'll just stick to the facts of case.

Actually I considered this a great compliment that you would start resorting to arguments other than the facts of the case! In my experience that often happens when arguments over the facts aren't going so well, however that could be wishful thinking on my part and I haven't convinced you at all.

Obviously convincing you and others is going to be harder than I thought, but that's ok. I'm going to prepare some more detailed information to try, but it will take me some time to prepare it and I'm busy this week so I might have it ready over the weekend.

Anyway I'm glad we can continue to be friends even if we are not in perfect agreement on this (yet). Your contributions to ATS really dwarf mine. Thanks for all your valuable contributions to ATS and for your valued feedback on this case which obviously you know a great deal about.

More to come later...


posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:41 PM

Originally posted by WitnessFromAfar
However, in this case you are debating, quoted above, I think you might have missed a variable. For the above described mirage to travel with the plane, would not the temperature inversion (used as a secondary mirror in this example, like in a telescope) also need to be in motion comparable with the ground point and the observer's perspective?

It seems to me that if you have two moving points (the observer and the runway which was moving relative to the observer's perspective, as you mentioned) then your 'mirror' point would also need to necessarily move at the approximate speed of the observer, in order to maintain the illusion of visual/radar contact?

Perhaps I'm confused on this point, thoughts?

Thanks Witness! No I don't think you're confused at all. In fact I think your question shows good insight, you're understanding it pretty well I think. I was merely trying to illustrate how it's possible to get air and ground returns off an object at the same time as a mirage, which could apparently confirm a real object is in the air. The facts of this case are somewhat different.

I think the inversion layer in this case was not localized, but large. So there was no need for it to travel "with" the plane. The plane essentially flew underneath it. So in this case the mirage will travel apparently at the same speed and in the same direction as the plane, which it did.

The radar contacts are transitory and ephemeral.

But then, on March 5, the FAA announced the results of the inquiry. According to the FAA press release the FAA "was unable to confirm the event" [15]. The event was unconfirmed because "a second radar target near the JAL flight at the time of the reported sighting was not another aircraft but rather a split radar return from the JAL Boeing 747." In other words, the FAA couldn't confirm the sighting on radar because the "traffic" or "primary return" reported by the AARTCC controller at the time of the sighting was merely an artifact of the radar set.

So basically if you accept the FAA report, there was nothing there but a false return. That's what I'm saying also, there was nothing there but a false return, and only for a short time.

That's why I don't understand why internos thinks I'm claiming the FAA was wrong, it seems to me like I'm actually agreeing with them that there was nothing there but the JAL flight.

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 10:01 PM

Originally posted by Tifozi
Alright, I have been reading the case on internos thread about the case and I must divide my points in two sections. In favor and against.

I'm not trying to put your hopes down, neither I'm debunking this, it's just a pilot opinion from a pilot point of view of flying.

...I need more information to make a more steady statement. Does anyone have a more detailed description of the flight?


Tifozi, your valuable contributions to this thread continue to impress me! I've starred all your posts to this thread, very good insights, I'm learning a lot from you!

I'm preparing a more detailed summary that will address some of the same points you made but it will take me several days due to my schedule to prepare it. However one thing that I would point out is that when he first saw the lights, the pilot thought they were a couple of small planes. It wasn't until later they appeared larger in size. Look at the windshield drawings the pilot made, they are some of the most excellent evidence in the case. they show the apparent size (and shape) of the objects with respect to the windshield frame.

Regarding your request for more information, I just re-read Bruce Maccabbee's summary, and it's excellent with quite a bit of detail, here's the link:

Thanks again for your outstanding contributions!

[edit on 24-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 10:49 PM

Originally posted by Tifozi

In the early days of the radar era, radar waves could only outline big particles, meaning, that you can't make a difference from a flock of birds or a bunch of bombers.

Can you give a better idea of date than 'the early days' ?

The 1952 WDC Incident seems to be suggesting radar operators could tell the difference between an inversion and a solid craft at that time, and that would mean most of the more interesting cases are covered.

Again, I'm not sure how you get from 'obvious reflection filmed by old couple who'd never even flown before' to 'mirage sighted by experienced pilots and crew', but we'll leave that for now

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 02:28 AM
come on! you think the Trinidade photo is a mirage of Jupiter?impossible, look at the size of the object.a cloud i'd believe.Jupiter would look like a star to us.

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 04:20 AM
G'day Arbitrageur.....

I am interested regarding how you feel your "mirage" theory might fit in with the following case:

The Valentich disapperance

Thanks again for triggering such an interesting thread.

Kind regards

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 07:32 AM
reply to post by Clickfoot

Around 1940's were the early days of radar. lol

Before the 70's radars weren't capable of giving you much information. Actually, you can imagine a radar like a blind person. They didn't know what was in front of them, they could only "touch it" and from that tell you that there is something in there. (basic explanation)

What gives the information "it's's's a plane" is actually the experience of the controller.

Again, it's like sonar. Sonar doesn't tell you that it's wood, steel or stone. It only feedbacks the ping. But the HUMAN behind the machine works like a computer and can understand the different signals. He knows that a low ping maybe means wood, but a very high ping means it's steel.

The same thing with radars. I don't have any experience in that far back aviation technology, but if I had to bet, I would bet that they couldn't tell one from another, they simply read the signatures.

Like I said before, the signature alone tells you the nature of the radar target.

A flock of birds or smal formation of bombers are solid objects. They appear on radar and they stay on radar as long as you point the radar to them.

You don't have walls of glass or plastic around tornados or other weather phenomena. They are anything but steady, and you can see that on the radar signature.

That's what detects that kind of phenomena, human interpretation.

Modern radars have advanced computers that read the data and present it to you in those beautifull and simple representations with color schemes so you can analyze from a direct look to the screen, if it's safe or not, how dense it is and all of that important details.

I wasn't joking. WSR's actually tell you how many rain drops there is in a cloud. That alone shows you how advanced radars are now.

In reference to the JAL1628 case, I believe (since I'm not a 747 pilot, neither in service since that time) that the radar on 747 was a Doppler based one. That only tells you where the target is and his speed.

Pulse-Doppler radars were only started to being used (on planes) around 1995 if I'm not mistaken.

[edit on 25/8/09 by Tifozi]

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 08:44 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur
Hiya A, I've been lurking this thread with interest. The JAL Flight is one of those great accounts because of the level of investigation that was invested in it. The discussion between you and Internos has been pretty competitive and well argued. From my understanding, however, I'm finding it difficult to accept a temperature inversion and mirage are responsible for 50 minutes of misidentification by radar and JAL 1628.

Looking at temperature inversions and their effects on radar, it seems that conditions were unlikely to support the probability of an occurrence. They occur when warm air closer to earth rises and, naturally, becomes cooler. The inversion happens when a cool layer of air is sandwiched between two warmer layers. Conditions that night were utterly average, neither colder, warmer or wetter. Below are a couple of examples of temperature inversions....

Chicago skyline and temperature inversion weather above

Simple diagram to illustrate the process

Simple diagram to illustrate how radar false returns occur under inversion conditions Anomalous propagation

Conditions are described in the investigation as clear. Shortly after leaving Iceland, the sun is setting. This is a good time for the creation of temperature inversions and sunset/sunrise is a good time for mirages at altitude.

On November 17th the sun set at around 16:14. An hour and 25 minutes (100m) later and at up to 35kft there's only a glow from the sun below the horizon. The sky was clear and the moon was out. The weather was mild with a light scattering of snow on the ground... less than a half inch.

Clear, calm fall nights are perfect for creating inversions near the ground. The ground cools much quicker than the air, which cools the air near to the ground. But the air higher up is slower to cool. On calm nights, when the wind isn't stirring up the air, the air close to the ground can grow quite cool compared with the air above, creating a "nocturnal" because this happens at night, or "radiation" inversion because heat is radiating away from the ground much quicker than from the air higher up. If the air near the ground often cools to its dew point temperature, water vapor in the air condenses to form tiny water droplets, which drift in the air to create a layer of radiation fog.

Near to Anchorage Airport (November 17) the maximum ground temperature was -2C and the minimum was -6C. Full weather conditions are available here... November 17th 1986

Visibility was 12 km and fog is recorded in the 24 hours, but not referred to in the course of the JAL incident. It's absence in the report indicates it either wasn't there at the time or wasn't considered a factor. The dew point was -3C (see temperatures above) and ideal for the formation of light fog, however wind speed was minimum 5km/h maximum 16km/h and this would prevent it's formation, or radiation fog. Conditions appeared not to be suitable for the creation of temperature inversions.

The possibility that the object and lights were a mirage seems unlikely due to the maneuvers undertaken by Terauchi and the the observation from the United Airlines flight. Although objects were recorded by radar stations, it's fair to leave them out as the reports are supportive of either POV. A mirage is dependent on light refraction and the angle of view of the witnesses. Think of rainbows. We can drive down a road and notice it become brighter or muted dependent on angle of view. If the crew of JAL saw a mirage, they'd all see it due to their POV being very similar although not EXACTLY the same.

Cabin of B747: Notice the wide field of view. Pilot seated left

What makes it hard to accept that the lights the crew described were runway lights is that they move haphazardly at times. A mirage of lights or a reflection on cabin windows wouldn't move erratically unless the aircraft did. The lights were described as...

"like two bear cubs playing with each other,"

Then their behavior changed and they again moved in front of the JAL and bathed the cockpit in bright light and heat...

"shooting off lights"

The above maneuvers make it extremely difficult to accept the mirage explanation because the refraction of light required to create the mirage cannot occur through a 360 degree turn. Throughout the 50 minutes, the lights were described at various positions...directly in front, above and in front, below and to port, directly to port, behind and to port, behind and above to port. The lights separated and once moved, altered 90 degrees from horizontal to vertical. During a stable (although unusual) flight pattern, how can such movements be explained by a static mirage or static runway lights?

Another interesting aspect is the United Airlines involvement in the incident. They are traveling the other direction and asked to look for an object following the JAL. The JAL flashes it's lights at the UA...

5:50:35 UA69 - UA69 heavy. We've got the Japan Airliner in sight. I don't see anybody around him. He's (referring to the "spaceship") at his seven o'clock position, huh?

5:50:46 AARTCC - UA69, that's what he says. JAL1628 heavy, say the position of your traffic now.

5:50:52 JAL1628 - Ah, now, distinguishing (he meant to say "extinguishing"), but, ah, ah, your, I guess, ah, 12 o'clock below you.

5:51:02 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, say again. You're broken.

5:51:06 JAL1628 - Just ahead of United, ah..(unintelligible)

The UA aircraft possibly sees something ahead of the JAL flight that disappears. But is it possible that a mirage would vanish from sight at the same time to two groups of observers? Could the different angles of view of the two air crews even be able to see the same mirage? Either way doesn't support the mirage theory.

During the fifty minutes, traveling at an average speed of 500kts (about 550mph), the flight covered over 400 miles. Under changing light conditions (sunset at 16:14-landing at 18:30) and the distance combined with the 360 degree turn and lower seems highly unlikely a mirage could be seen for so long. Considering the three cabin crew and their slightly different perspectives in the cabin...could they all misinterpret airfield lights for ...

"Then three to seven seconds later a fire like from jet engines stopped and became a small circle of lights as they began to fly level flight at the same speed as we were, showing numerous numbers of exhaust pipes. However the center area of the ship(s) where below an engine might be was invisible. [From] the middle of the body of a ship sparked an occasionally (sic) stream of lights, like a charcoal fire, from right to left and from left to right. Its shape was square, flying 500 feet to 1,000 feet in front of us, very slightly higher in altitude than us. Its size was about the same size ad the body of a DC-8 jet, and with numerous exhaust pipes."

What he describes here is fairly unusual and also detailed. I won't rule out mistaken identity of a conventional object, but it's hard to imagine anyone describing runway lights in these terms. The JAL flight is stable (according to the records) and the unidentified lights are moving in relation to the aircraft's position. Do runway mirages occur at such altitude? I can only find reference to below 2500ft.

Conditions weren't suitable for a temperature inversion. If one had occurred, it isn't a feature of the phenomena to move at's largely static. The 'mirage' would therefore have been left behind. Runway lights and/or mirages don't move erratically. Neither do they flash or strobe or generate heat at distance and altitude. From a stable point of view (ie the JAL flight's original heading) ground lights or mirages don't move ahead/port/below/port below/port behind. If we allow for an extremely unusual reflection or illusion of airfield lights, would they be seen by 3 observers from different angles of observation? A flight deviation of 360 degrees and altitude change would again make a mirage explanation redundant.

In one post you cite an 'appeal to authority' as a polite criticism of Internos' position on the JAL flight. I think this is an inaccurate contention. Internos didn't cite a single authority, but several independent, qualified authorities. It's worth pointing out that amongst these authorities was Philip Klass! Let's not forget or overlook that 'temperature inversion' has been used before to explain the Washington 1952 incident. They probably investigated the conditions required for temperature inversion and found them shown above. The best thing Klass could think of was a planetary misidentification. That the results remain inconclusive, despite the best efforts of these authorities and subsequent research (like yourself) highlights the unusual aspects of the incident

[edit on 25-8-2009 by Kandinsky]

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 11:31 AM
Holy Crap! I just learned so much it's ridiculous!!!!

Thank you very much Tifozi for sharing all of that data! I'm going to re-read your posts here several times, lots of great info

I collect data, and if there were even 20 pilots willing to go into as much detail as you, these posts would make for a fascinating publishable study! Perhaps you should look into interviewing some of your peers and writing a book on the subject? I'd read it!

Arbit, thanks very much for the explanation, I suppose if there was a large enough temperature inversion, in physics your model would work. The only issue I had was that it would have to be pretty huge, since most Airlines travel pretty quickly.

Not being a pilot of anything but my Toyota Prius
... My only basis for comparison on this point firsthand would be the 'mirage' of a 'floating highway'... What I mean to reference is the illusion when driving on a hot day in the desert, that the road way in front of you is 'water' and the cars on it are 'floating'. This is a heat reflection, from light bouncing off the hot asphalt. For this illusion to stay perpetual, you'd have to have road in front of you. When you get closer to the place of the illusion, you see road, and the mirage maintains it's distance from your vehicle (you can't approach it).

As I understand it, this is due to the angle of reflection, and the focal length necessary to create the illusion. I was using that as a thought example to attempt to fully fathom the mirage you were describing.

Thanks for following up on that point Arby

The 'likely conditions for a temperature inversion' post was very informative as well! Threads like this are what make ATS Great

Keep it up!


posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 12:30 PM
I have been reading about this case, and instead of finding answers I'm actually scratching my head.

The thing is, weird and natural phenomena can occur in any condition, and almost anywhere. That's why we (pilots) use "likely" a lot, because it's not 100% certain...ever.

You can also take out the thermal inversion theory, it's simply not possible.

1- It was in front, and that means they would get closer. At some point, they would have passed over/though it and actually, they would have "killed" it. For example, in some airports (close to me, the airport in Madeira island) you actually have to wait 2 or 3 minutes after a Boeing 747 has landed. That's how much air this "monsters" move. It's possible that with an thermal inversion that wasn't huge, it would have been dissipated through turbulance.

2- They don't move. At least, not the way this one did. They swift according to the air around them, and they can make movements like...trees on the wind... But they don't move for miles and go after a plane.

3- The kind of movement this "thing" (avoiding calling it a UFO for now, lol) makes, doesn't belong to any natural phenomena that I've experienced above 20,000ft.

Natural phenomena doesn't travel along your path and when gets into his mind, speeds up backwards and gets "in your face". That part still bugs me a lot. It wasn't like a fly-by or a glimpse of something you can't recognise. This thing moved, and according to movement, it's what we call "intelligent movement capability".

Only something with a certain degree of intelligence (it can be as smart as a mouse, but smart) determines his own movement from point A to point B, with precision and judges his own approach to a determined area/object.

Just for the pleasure of some of you, it wasn't any kind of weather ballon. The weather ballon would explain the brightness, radar contact (yes, they can be detected on radar) and weird movement.

But when the weather ballon would get a little closer to JAL1628 to the point where the pilot feels "warm" in his face, that thing would be sucked by one of the huge 747 engines. I know that... I once had a bird strike.

4- I would like to take out the runway theory at all. I could expose all of the reasons, but its simply not possible. Using Kandinsky photo you can see that in the cockpit you can see everything around you pretty clearly. But you can't see below the nose of the plane.

The turns were made with AP an according to the settings of this plane, you have to chose from a turning bank of 5º up to 30º.

They used the default banking. 15º.

15º doesn't tilt your plane that much, it's used for cruise maneuvers, small adjustments in navigation. You can't look at the ground by making a 15º turn. (ahrm, you can...but only far away)

5- The radar contacts don't ad anything to the case, honestly. By the communications between radars what comes to me is that they got some type of ghost signature.

This actually happens a lot, to the point that some drug dealers use this to get through the radars.

Radars some times freak out and get wrong readings... It happens, and it's normal. But the DT's thought that they could go around this "ghost planes" problem by making the software think that those 2 dots that are very close, are actually one.

Meaning, sometimes you see a plane right behind another one, passing as one to the radar.

And when two planes collide in the air, their signature has a point where it becomes one "unknown" signature.

I'm still looking into this, but for now... The "thing" is flying... It has intelligent movement... And I don't know what it is, so I guess I can call it a UFO.

(I'll post again later)

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 03:16 PM

"Then three to seven seconds later a fire like from jet engines stopped and became a small circle of lights as they began to fly level flight at the same speed as we were, showing numerous numbers of exhaust pipes. However the center area of the ship(s) where below an engine might be was invisible. [From] the middle of the body of a ship sparked an occasionally (sic) stream of lights, like a charcoal fire, from right to left and from left to right. Its shape was square, flying 500 feet to 1,000 feet in front of us, very slightly higher in altitude than us. Its size was about the same size ad the body of a DC-8 jet, and with numerous exhaust pipes."

Just out of curiosity...did anyone else notice that? How many UFO reports have described exhausts? Doesn't that suggest a conventional method of propulsion? Odd!

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 09:49 PM

Originally posted by Tifozi
What gives the information "it's's's a plane" is actually the experience of the controller.

Thank you VERY much for all the information you have posted in this thread. The quoted part confirms what I have heard elsewhere, in that a good controller could indeed tell the difference, but the software these days can interpret this data to a much higher degree.

I believe that the unexplained cases we still hear about today are the ones where weather etc. has already been ruled out for us. After all, various people spent a lot of time and effort trying to debunk them.

posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 01:59 AM
Thanks for all the great replies everyone: Sorry for the delay, it took me some time to do my analysis.

Let me post some details on my analysis and then I'll take a look to see if it leaves any contradictions unresolved besides the discrepancies I'm already aware of.

First, I found something interesting, a satellite photo of a big cloud, about 30 miles across, at the time of the sighting. It's a possible (probable?) explanation for the mothership and intermittent radar contacts which appeared, and disappeared.

It's in about the right location for JL1628 to have requested a course correction to avoid it and the spotty radar returns from it. So it seems consistent to me that a localized weather phenomenon like this 30 mile wide cloud could be a good possible source for both the mothership sightings as well as the radar contacts.

Credit for the photo and for identifying the possible explanation of the mothership goes to the poster named Aether on the physicsforums, see his post here:


Scroll down to:
Apr6-07, 11:49 AM Aether

Dr. Maccabee has shared with me a hand-drawn plot of JAL1628's ground track, and I have plotted some (not all) of those points on this satellite image: The four blue arrows that I have drawn on top of the satellite image all point to a big cloud that is approximately 30nm in diameter. The first blue arrow (near the timestamp 5:31:08) represents the direction in which the flight crew were looking when they asked the air traffic controller for permission to turn right to avoid an object ahead of them:

From this, I conclude that this cloud is in fact what Terauchi saw and reported as the "mothership" and as "the silhouette of a gigantic spaceship".

Look at how the blue arrows representing the radar contacts all point to that cloud!!!! Very interesting, isn't it?

I think he may be onto something there, but wait, there's more. The cloud may explain the mothership and spotty radar contacts, but not the lights. For those we need to look at Allen Army Airfield.

As with the cloud, this is not my theory, it's an explanation apparently proposed by Steuart Campbell that JL1628 saw a reflection in the sky (aka mirage) of The Allen Army Airfield (aka BIG-IATA or PABI-FAA), hereinafter referred to as PABI, the FAA designation. Let me address one objection to this now:

Originally posted by Tifozi
4- I would like to take out the runway theory at all. I could expose all of the reasons, but its simply not possible. Using Kandinsky photo you can see that in the cockpit you can see everything around you pretty clearly. But you can't see below the nose of the plane.

Agreed, but this is not an airport theory. It's a reflection of the airport theory, therefore he's seeing it at the same altitude as himself and not looking down as you suggest. With that in mind I as always will find your feedback valuable on this. Pay particular attention to headings of the traffic versus the location of the airport, seems like more than coincidence to me.

We need to familiarize ourselves with PABI to assess this:

Here is a photo of the airfield:|-145.720080&style=h&lvl=14&v=1

Note that the longest runway 1/19 goes to the northeast, heading 030/210,
and the 2nd longest runway 10/28 is almost at a right angle to it, heading 125/305 so actually 95 degrees.

Here are some details about those two runways, showing those two runways use high intensity edge lights:

The Wikipedia article says only 2 of the 3 runways are lighted but I don't know if that's correct:

I would assume the two larger runways are the ones lit if it's not actually all 3 lit. The 3rd small runway has only medium intensity edge lights which sounds like it can be lit but perhaps it's usually not.

Now refer back to the airport photo and the runway heading 210. When JL1628 first sighted traffic, they would have been looking almost exactly straight down the runway if there was reflection of that airport which appeared in the sky.

I also guessed that there could possibly be an interruption of the runway lights where the other runway intersects, is that possible? If so, then instead of one long string of lights, the pilot would have seen the long string interrupted perhaps.

And due to the great distance, some distortion by the mirage reflection, etc, here is an artist's conception on what the runway lights could have looked like to the crew of JL1628 if they had been looking at a reflection (mirage) of the airport as Steuart Campbell claims:

Is there a possible resemblance? Well the lights would obviously be compressed vertically due to the viewing angle, even if it's a reflection due to a mirage. Therefore, due the the high concentration of high intensity edge lights in a relatively small viewing angle, it's likely the runway JL1628 is almost lined up with at first would appear much brighter than the 2nd runway, at least at first sighting it would.

Also in the above image the lights are distorted in shape as they might be with a mirage.

Now let's compare this evidence with the crew's description of what they observed:

Upon seeing the lights he first thought he was seeing "two small aircraft." But they were "very strange" because there were "too many lights" and "it was so luminous."

Hmmm, too many lights for two small craft, but not too many lights for an airport runway's edge lights! Now how about the color of the lights, is that consistent with the sighting? Let's see:

5:19:32 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, roger.

5:19:36 JAL1628 - Ah, roger and, ah, we [have] in sight, ah, two traffic (sic), ah, in front of us one mile about.

At the time of the event Tamefuji estimated the distance to the lights as being "one mile, about" which is quite a bit greater than the "500 to 1000 feet" that Capt. Terauchi recalled in his testimony written about a month and a half later.

5:19:49 AARTCC - JAL1628, roger, do you have.., ah, can you identify the aircraft?

5:19:58 JAL1628 - Ah, we are not sure, but we have traffic in sight now.
5:20:04 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, Roger. Maintain visual contact with your traffic and, ah, can you say the altitude of the traffic?

5:20:14 JAL1628 - Uh, almost [at] the same altitude.

5:20:21 AARTCC - JAL 1628 Roger. Would you like a higher or lower altitude?

5:20:27 JAL1628 - Ah, no, negative. JAL1628.5:21:19 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, see if you are able to identify the type of aircraft, ah, and see if you can tell whether it's military or civilian.

5:21:35 JAL1628 - JAL1628. We cannot identify the type, ah, but we can see, ah, navigation lights and ah, strobe lights.

5:21:48 AARTCC - Roger, sir. Say the color of the strobe and beacon lights.

5:21:56 JAL1628 - The color is, ah, white and yellow, I think.

5:22:03 AARTCC - White and yellow. Thank you.

Actually that discrepancy in the pilot's recollection is not the only thing that he remembered differently 6 weeks later. As most investigators know, the most reliable source of information is closest to the actual sighting, so the air traffic control to pilot transcripts would almost supersede other testimony in terms of perceived reliability for events like this such as estimating the approximate distance.


[edit on 26-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]

posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 02:01 AM
But back to the lights, they were white and yellow, and some strobe lights. Is that consistent with the colors of airport lights? I think so.

Now let's look at how the perspective of the crew changed as they proceeded in their flight path:

When they first report to the control tower at 17:19 they are still lined up pretty well with the PABI long runway, though maybe a little bit off.

Note at 17:28 as they approach the cloud, JL1628 requests and are granted a course change. Then at 1730 when they may be in a position such that the airport light mirage can illuminate the cloud, they make the famous statement:

5:30:56 JAL1628 - It's, ah, very quite big, ah, plane.
The captain's narrative continues after the right turn: "We checked our rear [and] there was still the ship following us. 'This JAL1628. Again requesting for change course 45 degrees to the right.' We had to get away from that object. 'JAL1628. This is Anchorage Center. We advise you, continue and take 360 degree turn.' 'Jal1628, thank you. We will continue 360 degree turn" [2].

Unfortunately the captain was not totally accurate in his recall of these apparently frightening events. The AARTCC transcript shows that there was no request for a second right turn. There was, however, a request for a descent in altitude from 35,000 to 31,000 ft at 5:32:07 followed by a request to turn to a heading of "two one zero," i.e. about a 12 degree turn to the left, at 5:34:56. Later on, at 5:36:37 the AARTCC controller asked the plane to make a 360 degree right turn. But all of this is getting ahead of the story.

So, what was it that the captain saw that caused this "flight response?" What did he mean by the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship?

Well thanks to our physicsforum friend, we have one possibility. Now I've heard over and over about this 360 degree turn that it rules out any theory like mine about a fixed object, but does it? Let's examine Bruce Maccabee's report:

5:34:38 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, say position of your traffic.

5:34:42 JAL1628 - Affirmative. Just over Fairbanks.

5:34:52 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, understood. Your traffic is over Fairbanks at this time.

5:34:56 JAL1628 - Affirmative, ah, requesting heading two one zero.

5:35:02 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, roger. Deviations approved as necessary for traffic.

This portion of the audio tape transcript shows that the captain was incorrect in recalling a second right turn. Instead, the plane turned left about 12 degrees beginning at 5:35:09 and it continued to turn as if it were heading back in the direction of Talkeetna. By the time of the left turn the altitude had decreased to about 33,000 ft. The statement at 5:34:42 that the object was "over Fairbanks" could not be correct if the object were at the left side of the plane because at that time Fairbanks was still ahead and somewhat to the right.

So the pilot's recollection does not match the transcript, and I think Dr Maccabee correctly based his analysis on the transcript as being a more reliable source. Continuing to the most critical 360 degree turn evidence:

5:36:37 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, sir. I'm gonna request you to make a right turn three six zero degrees, 360 degree turn and advise me what your traffic does then.

5:36:47 JAL1628 - Right turn 360.

The plane commenced the turn at about 5:37:15. The pilot, in his testimony written a month
and a half later, recalled this event: " We had to get away from that object. 'JAL1628. This is Anchorage Center. We advise you, continue and take a 360 degree turn.' 'JAL1628, thank
you. We will continue 360 degree turn.' It was too slow to circle in the automatic pilot mode; therefore we switched to the manual mode and set to turn right on a 30 degree bank. We
looked to our right forward but did not see any light." (Note: if an object initially behind the
plane remained stationary as the plane turned to the right it would first be seen by the copilot on the right side.) "We were relieved, thinking the object may have left us and [we] returned to level flight, but when we checked to our rear the object was still there in exactly the same place" (i.e., after the turn was complete it was seen again, by the captain, far to the left rear of the plane).

Now, there's a big difference between watching the object follow you all the way around the turn, as some people are claiming, versus completing the turn, and seeing the object right back where it was before you started the turn. People seem to be assuming (incorrectly I believe) that the fact that the object did not re-appear outside the co-pilot's window as they were turning as evidence that the object moved and followed them all the way around the turn. I don't think this is a correct analysis.

Even when JL was on a straight and level flight, they temporarily lost sight of the traffic (If it was a mirage of the airport this could have been due to some disruption of the inversion layer causing the reflection):

5:23:13 JAL1628 - And now the target, ah, traffic is extinguished. We cannot see it now.

So the first flaw in that logic is making the assumption that the crew ever had constant visual contact with the traffic, they didn't. If it disappeared while they were in straight and level flight, why couldn't it disappear while they were making a turn? The answer is that it could have. In the pilots report, he showed the contact behind him and to the right as he started the turn, and that direction lines up with PABI pretty well.

Now back to the so called "unexplainable" 360 degree turn, recall the turn commenced around 5:37:15 (17:37 on my map)

5:38:55 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, sir. Does your traffic appear to be staying with you?

5:38:57 JAL1628 - Ah, [unintelligible] distinguished. [He meant extinguished.]

5:39:01 AARTCC - JAL1628 say again?

5:39:04 JAL1628 - It, ah, disappeared.

5:39:10 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, roger. At your discretion proceed directly to Talkeetna, J125 [to] Anchorage.

Oh really? It disappeared???? Then why the @#$^&* does everyone keep saying the same misinformation that the object followed them around the 360 degree turn? Because they read it on a UFO website somewhere? It's right there in the transcript folks, please get your facts straight, they lost sight of it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The fact that it "disappeared" very soon after the plane started the turn indicates that the "mothership" did not make a turn on the outside of the turn of the plane. On the other hand, the captain and copilot recall that they looked out the right hand side to see if it would reappear during the turn, but they did not see it. Therefore it may have trailed the aircraft during the turn. But it did not stay directly behind the aircraft after the turn because the captain recalled that after the turn had been completed and they were again heading southward "we" (the captain, since he was the only one who could see to the left and behind) "checked to our rear and the object was still there in exactly the same place."

OK as I just explained if it disappeared, it wouldn't be for the first time. Both the visual sightings as well as the radar contacts are appearing and disappearing because there's no solid object in the air besides JL1628. As he leaves the turn to resume his initial heading, they track the radar return behind him (is it the same cloud that he saw as the mothership? It seems possible to me).


[edit on 26-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]

posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 02:06 AM
Now where was the traffic at 9:44? This is where I ran out of reference coordinates for the exact location of JL1628 but I estimated their position, if anyone has exact coordinates and want me to fine tune the location please advise. So based on the flight's estimated location, the traffic was at 9 o'clock:

5:44:07 AARTCC - JAL1628, sir, do you still have the traffic?

5:44:12 JAL1628 - Ah, say again please.

5:44:13 ARTCC - JAL1628 heavy.. Do you still have the traffic?

5:44:17 JAL1628 - Ah, affirmative, ah, nine o'clock.

If it is a mirage of PABI they are seeing, then by this time they are a little past lined up with the 2nd longest runway, so it could have appeared fairly bright with so many high intensity runway lights all concentrated in a narrow field of view. And at 17:48:

5:48:16 UNITED 69 - Can you please point the traffic out again please?

5:48:19 AARTCC - United 69 heavy, affirmative. The, ah, Japan Air is in your eleven o'clock position and five zero [50] miles [away], southbound.

5:48:28 UNITED 69 - Ah, roger. Thank you.

5:48:31 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, sir, Say the position of your traffic.

5:48:34 JAL1628 - Ah, now, ah, ah, moving to, ah, around 10 miles now, ah, ah, position, ah seven, ah, eight o'clock, 10 miles.

5:48:36 AARTCC - JAL1628 heavy, roger.

Once again I must say that Steuart Campbell's analysis seems to be holding water with respect to the orientation of the airport lights being a pretty good match for the direction of the traffic. The colors and strobe is also a match I think.

Now one last nail in the coffin for any solid object in the air, confrmation by the United flight that there was nothing else there:

At 5:51:32, after the planes had passed one another, the UA plane reported being able to see the JAL plane silhouetted against the sky. The UA captain could see the contrail as well as the jet but nothing else. The controller responded, "We got just a few primary hits on the target and then, ah, we really haven't got a good track on him, ever," meaning that the radar never showed a continuous track (a continuous series of "blips") of primary-only radar targets associated with the unusual "traffic."

OK more of those radar reflections that come and go, but a clear visual confirmation that nothing is there and a recognition of the fact that real objects in the air do not normally have their radar contacts appear and disappear as has been happening all afternoon!

So I think there's a lot of support for this theory.

I also think there are some pieces of data that don't match up quite right.

One discrepancy is of course the heat on the pilots face. The only thing in this theory that might explain his face feeling warm is getting flush from the excitement. OK someone said he's scared so that might make him cold, but I reread this report several times and I see no indication that he's scared, more like excited which is different and could result in a flushed face.

Another discrepancy is that after the initial sighting, if the inversion layer resulted in a mirror like mirage, they would gradually see the angle of the lights change if they were seeing a reflection of the airport. What they drew doesn't match up with this perfectly, like the sudden movement of the top stack of lights, to suddenly be over on the right. One possibility is that as he's losing alignment with the long runway (210 heading) it would start to lose some apparent brightness and the other runway would start to gain some apparent brightness, and at some point the lights would spread out and possibly look more like a side by side, however what I would expect them to see does not match their drawings in the exact configuration of the lights. I would expect them to see lots of lights (white/amber? and they saw lots of lights (white/amber) so it's consistent from that perspective, but the shapes don't seem to match up. Hey like I said it's Steuart Campbell's theory not mine so it's ok to point out its flaws right?

Another aspect I think Kandisnky objected to was the fact that "mirages don't move", well I strongly disagree. Not only can a mirage appear to move at the same speed and direction as the airplane, but when viewing a mirage head on, you're not looking at a reflection from the a mirror, it's a reflection from an inversion layer in the atmosphere which is bound to have some undulations which could cause many of the effects described such as this:

After this sudden appearance in front of the jet the lights moved in formation with the jet for
three to five minutes. As they moved they rocked or swayed back and forth.

I would expect this kind of unstable appearance from an atmospheric mirage.

Continuing the description, the lights were like flames coming out of multiple rocket exhaust ports arranged in two rectangular arrays, according to
the captain's drawings made shortly after the event and again two months later. He compared them to "output exhaust" like the "Challenger (as it took off)" [1]. He described the colors as "amber and whitish." He stated that the "numerous lights" were "exhausts on the engines" which were "lined up all the way."

Again, we are not looking at a mirror reflection of the runway here. The lights will get brighter and dimmer, undulate, and given that there are strobe lights there is even flashing taking place. If the shape of the lights is distorted with a lot of shimmering and twinkling going on, it's not hard to imagine some of the effects he describes regarding varying intensity of the lights.

I'm the first person to admit that these explanations are less than 100% perfect, which is why I commented early on to Internos that in my opinion, it's still unexplained! So before you tell me I haven't explained everything, let me beat you to it, I haven't explained everything.

If however, I was forced to choose the most likely explanation among all those proposed, I have to say that this seems to be much more consistent with the data than an assertion that any solid object was in the air. So we still don't know what it was, and perhaps never will. But what I feel relatively certain about is that it was NOT a solid object in the air, the way the radar returns never showed a solid consistent return, they kept disappearing reappearing and disappearing again. maybe they did get reflections from that cloud? But that's not a solid object.

So, after reading all this sorry to say it's still unexplained, but hopefully you've at least considered the merits of an alternate explanation to a solid object.

@Kandinsky, my friend (you are my friend and will continue to be my friend!), I don't care how many authorities say the Earth is at the center of the universe, it could be 100 or 1000, that doesn't make it true. That said, I don't think I'm in disagreement with the FAA, I'm saying it's unexplained and so did they, I don't think there was any confirmed solid object and neither do they. But I welcome your feedback (and everyone else's) on this now that I've included the diagram showing the interesting coincidence of the "white light" traffic orientation as apparently at a relatively fixed location.

[edit on 26-8-2009 by Arbitrageur]

posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 02:53 AM

Originally posted by Sam60
G'day Arbitrageur.....

I am interested regarding how you feel your "mirage" theory might fit in with the following case:

The Valentich disapperance

Thanks again for triggering such an interesting thread.

Kind regards

No, I can't say I see any obvious fit with that case, that's a strange one indeed.

You're welcome and thanks for the feedback.

posted on Aug, 26 2009 @ 04:47 AM
reply to post by Arbitrageur
I've just read your post and it makes good points, it makes a lot of sense. I also read the physicsforums link, I'm disappointed that I haven't read that before, I've been posting and reading on there for a long time. Between the two arguments, it's made me reevaluate the incident and look more closely at the details. I've a few concerns.

I agree entirely that it must remain unexplained, but for different reasons. As I mentioned in the above post, the radar paints can be used to support either position. There's little point in discussing them. What I can't overcome in your explanation is the witness testimony and duration. The descriptions by Terauchi, Tamefuji and Tsukaba conflict with the explanation in different aspects. The cockpit being lit up and warmth being felt is hard to accept from an optical illusion point of view. If that part is taken out the equation, the explanation still relies on all three experienced aircrew being unable to differentiate something known from unknown. It also requires that atmospheric conditions hadn't been accounted for by investigators.

@Kandinsky, my friend (you are my friend and will continue to be my friend!), I don't care how many authorities say the Earth is at the center of the universe, it could be 100 or 1000, that doesn't make it true.

Whilst I appreciate those kind words, I wouldn't want you to misunderstand the point I was attempting to make. I interpreted your suggestion that Internos made an 'argument from authority' to be misplaced. It was logical to point out that several independent organizations and individuals had investigated the incident. Comparing the point to a geocentric belief system is an argument to ridicule and quite unnecessary, given your obvious intelligence.

With all that said, I reiterate that your posts here have been informative and interesting. I look forward to more

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