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(Part 1) The Phoenix Lights - Laying To Rest The Myth

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:32 PM
-- Part 2 to this series can be found here: The Phoenix Lights - Laying To Rest The Myth (Part 2 with Map) --

The Phoenix Lights - Laying To Rest The Myth

The "Phoenix Lights" are now known as a series of two separate events that occurred in the late evening hours of March 13, 1997. The first event involved a V-shaped formation of lights that traveled across the state and were reported between 8:30pm and 8:45pm.

The second event involved a string of multiple lights that appeared over the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range just outside of Phoenix at around 10pm.

This thread will show that the first event was a formation of planes, and that the second event was flares dropped by the military during a training exercise.

Second Event - FLARES

I'm going to start with the second event because it's the most recognizable. When someone mentions "Phoenix Lights', the above image is the first thing to come to mind as images and videos of the second event were plastered all over newspapers, television, and websites.

As most already know, and yet some will still deny to this day, the lights seen in the above image are from flares dropped by four A-10 Warthog military planes on a training exercise at the Barry Goldwater Range at Luke Air Force Base. This information comes to light thanks to the U.S. Air Force.

Authorized to speak publicly, Lt. Col. Ed Jones, a Maryland Air National Guard pilot, did confirm that he was one of the four pilots that dropped flares during that training exercise on the night of March 13, 1997.

A video analysis by an independent video laboratory known as Cognitech was performed by superimposing the above image over a daytime shot from the same location, proving that when the lights went out, they did so because they fell behind the mountains.

Dr. Paul Scowen, visiting professor of Astronomy at Arizona State University, also performed his own independent analysis by also superimposing the above image over a daytime image from the same location, confirming Cognitech's findings that the lights each disappeared when they fell behind the mountains of the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range.

This image (and video elsewhere online) shows the lights lined up with the outline of the mountains, just before they disappeared behind the mountains:

Thus proving that flares were dropped, and disappeared behind the mountains shortly after 10pm, on the evening of March 13, 1997.

(continued below....)

edit on 8-2-2015 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:33 PM

First Event - THE VEE

This was the event that started the whole night off, beginning around 8:30pm, and lasting for the next almost 15 minutes.

There is only one known video of the first event, recorded by retired pilot and contract employee with the U.S. Department of Defense, Terry Proctor, on his VHS camera for 43-seconds. Below is a moving GIF that I made from part of the video, which is not available anywhere online, but small clips of which can be seen on Discovery Channel's Website:

As you can see, the light at the upper-right of the image is already falling out of formation. By the end of the 43-second video, most of the lights have fallen out of formation, indicating that the lights are all separate vehicles, not one massive, single ship:

What is little-known are the witnesses that saw the "vee" formation, but saw that it was planes and not a solid object. One such witness is Mitch Stanley. A 21-year-old amateur astronomer who spends several nights a week in his backyard looking at the sky with his 10-inch Dobsonian, F 5.5 TELEVUE 32mm Plossl, which produces 43X magnification.

Here's Mitch with his telescope:

And Mitch's words:

"It was plain to see. What looked like individual lights to the naked eye actually split into two under the resolving power of the telescope. The lights were located on the undersides of squarish wings."

"They were planes. There's no way I could have mistaken that."

Make a mental note of the "squarish wings" and keep them in mind for later.

According to an article that appeared in the May 1998 issue of Reader's Digest titled "UFOs – A Second Look":

At 8:30 p.m. the cockpit crew of an American West 757 airliner at 17,000 feet near Lake Pleasant, Ariz., noticed the lights off to their right and just above them.

"There's a UFO!" co-pilot John Middleton said kiddingly to pilot Larry Campbell. They queried the regional air-traffic-control center in Albuquerque, N.M. A controller radioed back that it was a formation of CT-144s flying at 19,000 feet.

Overhearing the exchange, someone claiming to be a pilot in the formation radioed Middleton. "We're Canadian Snowbirds flying Tutors," a man said... “We’re headed to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.”
Emphasis mine.

During the same Reader's Digest article, the Canadian Snowbirds were contacted, and Capt. Michael Perry, squadron logistics officer for the Snowbirds said that they were not in Arizona at the time of the sightings, and also had this to say:

"We don't travel in a V-shaped formation, and we don't cruise with landing lights on."
So, where does that leave us?

Let's take a look at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base that I bolded above.

Davis-Monthan Air Force Base has been home since the 1970's to Operation Snowbird, where pilots from snowy and icy northern states can come to continue their winter flying tactics and practice in a warmer climate. Below is a video advertisement for Operation Snowbird at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base:

Now, taking into account that the America West pilots and regional ATC controller may have been slightly mistaken (or stories slightly altered), it wasn't Canadian Snowbirds flying the vee formation, but Snowbirds (pilots from the northern states in Operation Snowbird) returning to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base.

It also just-so-happens that the night of the sightings, March 13, 1997, was the last night of Operation Snowbird for the winter season of 1997.

As such, retired Air Force Major and UFO researcher James McGaha reconstructs what likely occurred on the night of March 13:

Five A-10 jets from Operation Snowbird had flown from Tucson to Nellis Air force Base near Las Vegas several days earlier, and were now returning.

The A-10 jets were flying VFR (visual flight rules), so there was no need for them to check in with airports along the route. They were following the main air corridor for air traffic traveling that route, the “highway in the sky.”

Because they were flying in formation mode they did not have on their familiar blinking collision lights, but instead their formation lights. In any case, FAA rules concerning aircraft lights and flight altitudes, etc. do not apply to military aircraft. The A-10s flew over the Phoenix area, flew on to Tucson, and landed at Davis-Monthan.

Other witnesses to the vee formation:

Former Police Officer Dennis Monroe, Paulden, AZ:

“They were the speed of helicopters and soundless. The lights were large and soft, not focused or concentrated. I thought I saw stars between the lights. We had them in sight for five minutes. Over the southern horizon they went out a few at a time, like they weren’t 360 degree lights. As a police officer I learned to control my emotions, but this got me pretty excited.”

John Widener, Chino Valley, AZ:

I did not see any solid mass. There were five bright, white lights in a v-shape formation. Then it actually changed formation. It was now in a half-circle with five red, bright lights.

MUFON investigator Alan Morey, Scottsdale, AZ:

“At first the lights appeared pale orange in color, but through the binoculars we could see a little red light on the port side of each of the five larger orange lights.

They were five independent objects because we could see stars between them. One light was behind the others in a delta wing configuration. But then the formation tightened. The lights covered an area twice the size of my fist if I extended my arm to the sky.”

(continued below...)

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:33 PM
Bree Crownover, Tempe, AZ:

“The red/orange lights seemed to be lower in altitude and oblivious to the fact they were flying directly toward commercial aircraft traffic. They were in a v-formation, three red/orange lights in front, two red/orange lights behind and to each side.

There seemed to be no ‘body’ to this aircraft, only lights. When directly overhead, it was so large it wouldn’t fit into direct vision. I had to shift my eyes to see the entire object. At this time, we realized that this was not one object, it was five or more, with one light in back trailing slightly. The lights moved slowly to the south.”

Dr. Bradley Evans, near Casa Grande, AZ:

“I had no sense at all that this was a solid object. I could see background stars between the lights. In an instant the lights were directly overhead (the car’s moon roof was open).

While our car was traveling at about 63 miles per hour, and the lights apparently moving south and east, they seemed to hold directly overhead for about five to 10 minutes, still holding formation. We could hear no aircraft engine noise whatsoever. I thought this was odd since the lights seemed to be at about 1800 feet. I could see stars immediately around the lights and within the formation itself."

Stacey Roads (and family), also near Casa Grande, AZ:

The object was huge, an immense black shape. It came over the freeway, using I-10 as a map of some sort. We were under its shadow for over two minutes and we were traveling 80 miles per hour in the opposite direction.

It was a huge triangular metal mass, with three lights far apart, and seams of metal on the underside. It was only a few thousand feet off the ground and this thing blotted out the stars. This thing was so big you could land planes on it. I could have held open a newspaper to the sky and not been able to block out the object. Like in the movie Independence Day, that’s how big the thing was.

I couldn’t focus my camera to fit it all in, so I didn’t get a shot of it. It was headed for Tucson. All five of us are in agreement the thing was not from this planet.”

As you can see, there are ample witnesses that saw the formation, and also saw that it was separate objects with stars visible around and through the formation.

I've added Stacy's report above to show that even though some people could see that the formation was separate lights from separate aircraft, other witnesses at the same exact time on the same exact route thought they saw a solid object.

This is likely due to a phenomena known as Illusory Contours, which can cause the human eye to create outlines from a pattern.

For example, in the following image, not only does there appear to be a circle in the middle, but staring at the image long enough will cause an outline of a cirle to appear at the outer perimeter of the lines:

Those witnesses who thought they saw a solid craft were mistaken, and likely only imagined an outline of a single large craft where none existed.

There's ample evidence in the form of witness testimony and video/images proving that the vee formation was a squadron of aircraft returning to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base. And that the string of lights seen later that evening was flares dropped during a routine military exercise on the other side of the Sierra Estrella Mountain Range.

Edit for Clarity - Same Interstate, Same Lights, Different Witnesses, Different Reports

I want to reiterate a point that might have been missed. The last two eyewitness accounts I've included above, from Dr. Bradley Evans and Stacey Roads, were both traveling on I-10, both near Casa Grande, both seeing the same lights.

Dr. Evans says he could see stars around and through the lights with no sense that it was a solid object. Yet Miss Roads claims to have seen a solid object that blocked the stars.

This brings us to the Unreliabilty of Witness Reports, along with the "Illusory Contours" phenomena.

All available evidence suggests that the light formation was military planes, likely A-10's, heading to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base near Tuscon. There is zero evidence to suggest that a massive, single large craft flew over Arizona that some witnesses think they saw.

Sources for some of the above material:

edit on 25-1-2015 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:46 PM
Thank you for the thourogh report. I appreciate your work.

All the witnesses said that the lights were silent. I'm curious why that would be so?
Were the planes a special kind - you said to "hold on to" the squarish wings...does this relate?



posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:46 PM
Double post... Mobile phone... Sorry.

edit on 24-1-2015 by AboveBoard because: (no reason given)

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:50 PM
Why do i get the feeling that im not hearing all sides of this story...

as far as i remember, many witnesses would beg to differ your version of events.

edit on 2015-01-24T16:52:15-06:00201501bpm3101pm1531 by combatmaster because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:58 PM

originally posted by: AboveBoard
All the witnesses said that the lights were silent. I'm curious why that would be so?

The A-10 is the quietest jet aircraft that the Air Force uses. With the planes being thousands of feet in the air, they will be almost completely silent. Especially with any sort of ground noise.

originally posted by: combatmaster
as far as i remember, many witnesses would beg to differ your version of events.

You must have missed my second and third post above. Check it out.

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 04:59 PM
a reply to: combatmaster

Including the government officials, said it was "other worldly". So yeah I tend to believe that this was not flairs.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:00 PM
a reply to: _BoneZ_

Good work _BoneZ_ and well put together thread

I hadn't seen the first event images before but I think you've put that one to bed , now there is no doubt in my mind that both parts of the nights reported sightings were terrestrial in origin and a case of wishful thinking rather than ET visitation.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:01 PM

originally posted by: kurthall
a reply to: combatmaster

Including the government officials, said it was "other worldly". So yeah I tend to believe that this was not flairs.

But that would be their opinion, not a fact. The Air Force, as well as independent researchers, have already proven the second event was flares.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:04 PM
a reply to: _BoneZ_

Another set of questions. Was Operation Snowbird classified? Or was it the type of plane that was classified? Why didn't the military help out and just openly explain the plane formation? Instead, please correct me if I'm wrong here, they only mentioned the flares as an explanation, which fell short due to the timing and location, and overall path of the planes across Arizona. Did you find the reason for that?


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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:09 PM
a reply to: _BoneZ_

What about all of the witnesses who also said it was "a solid object that blocked out the stars" flairs do not block stars out. This includes one of my friends who witnessed the event.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:14 PM
a reply to: kurthall

My third post explains that those who thought they saw a solid object were mistaken and why.

My post includes two people near the same area at the same time seeing the same lights. One person says they could see the stars, they other said the object was solid. See my post as to why the people who claim it was solid were mistaken.

edit on 24-1-2015 by _BoneZ_ because: (no reason given)

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:18 PM
a reply to: AboveBoard

Operation Snowbird is not classified, hence the advertisement-ish video I included above.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the military does not have to explain itself, it's operations, or answer to anyone outside of D.C. So, they're not going to just come out and say "hey, that was our formation up there".

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:21 PM
Good luck dear one. It was the real deal.

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:24 PM
Hmm, nice try but i'll take the reports of the people who were actually there over your youtube/wikipedia research.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:31 PM
a large ufo with lights on it dropping behind the mountian would look the same as flares (yes and visa versa), all the mountain day/night comparison shows is that whatever the lights were they didnt blink off they went behind the mountain, be it flares or ufo.

"Authorized to speak publicly, Lt. Col. Ed Jones, a Maryland Air National Guard pilot, did confirm that he was one of the four pilots that dropped flares during that training exercise on the night of March 13, 1997. "

is thas the only witness for the second? you provide 8 witnesses for the first event.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:35 PM
a reply to: CallYourBluff

So what you're saying is you prefer to believe the people who were there that say it was a solid craft over the people who were there that say they were independent lights , cherry picking to support your belief.

The provided evidence would seem to counter that belief.

posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:39 PM
a reply to: gortex

I think some people are just skimming over the evidence, instead of actually reading and taking in everything that is available.

There's more out there, but this was sort of compressed to give the facts in a nutshell.

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posted on Jan, 24 2015 @ 05:42 PM
a reply to: _BoneZ_

The reason I asked was because there was an intense reaction to people seeing these lights. So much so that there was the ill-received press conference with the fake captured alien so that people would make light of it. If the military was willing to say "flares" they could have also said "planes." I suppose they could be tight lipped if they wanted to, but if the program and the plane were not classified, there doesn't seem to be much reason for their silence.

I'm also curious, if Operation Snowbird was a longstanding and regular event, why this sort of sighting didn't happen all the time. What made this particular flight of these particular planes so unique as to cause such a mass "sighting?"

I want to be clear - I'm genuinely curious here and I don't have a problem if it was planes and not something else. Some of your research is new to me and greatly appreciated!


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