Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Estimating Flight Characteristics of Anomalous Unidentified Aerial Vehicles

Version 1 : Received: 21 August 2019 / Approved: 22 August 2019 / Online: 22 August 2019 (11:50:30 CEST)

How to cite: Knuth, K.H.; Powell, R.M.; Reali, P.A. Estimating Flight Characteristics of Anomalous Unidentified Aerial Vehicles. Preprints 2019, 2019080233 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201908.0233.v1). Knuth, K.H.; Powell, R.M.; Reali, P.A. Estimating Flight Characteristics of Anomalous Unidentified Aerial Vehicles. Preprints 2019, 2019080233 (doi: 10.20944/preprints201908.0233.v1).


A number of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) encountered by military, commercial, and civilian aircraft have been reported to be structured craft that exhibit 'impossible' flight characteristics. We consider a handful of well-documented encounters, including the 2004 encounters with the Nimitz Carrier Group off the coast of California, and estimate lower bounds on the accelerations exhibited by the craft during the observed maneuvers. Estimated accelerations range from almost 100g to 1000s of g's with no observed air disturbance, no sonic booms, and no evidence of excessive heat commensurate with even the minimal estimated energies. In accordance with observations, the estimated parameters describing the behavior of these craft are both anomalous and surprising. The extreme estimated flight characteristics reveal that these observations are either fabricated or seriously in error, or that these craft exhibit technology far more advanced than any known craft on Earth. In many cases, the number and quality of witnesses, the variety of roles they played in the encounters, and the equipment used to track and record the craft favor the latter hypothesis that these are indeed technologically advanced craft. The observed flight characteristics of these craft are consistent with the flight characteristics required for interstellar travel. That is, if these observed accelerations were sustainable in space, then these craft could easily reach relativistic speeds within a matter of minutes to hours and cover interstellar distances in a matter of days to weeks, proper time.

Subject Areas

UAP; UAV; UFO; Nimitz; TicTac; JAL1628

Comments (7)

Comment 1
Received: 27 August 2019
Commenter: George Franklin Dodge III
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Thank You for helping to add some actual science t a topic that frankly isn't studied nearly enough.
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Comment 2
Received: 17 September 2019
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: The analysis of the Nimitz ATFLIR video in 1.4.3 is built on the wrong assumption that the ATFLIR’s ‘gaze’ does not move relative to the object.

You can see the angle of the ATFLIR ‘gaze’ in the ATFLIR display: the ATFLIR ‘gaze’ moves steadily from right to left while it is locked on the object. This means that the object is slowly moving right to left with respect to the jet, even if the ATFLIR keeps it locked in the center of the display which means we see no movement in the display at all.

When the ATFLIR lock is broken, it suddenly stops gazing at the object while the object continues its right-to-left movement. This causes an illusion of sudden acceleration on the ATFLIR display, which looks even more dramatic due to a zoom change halfway the object’s drift out of the ATFLIR field-of-view.

The angular velocity of the right-to-left movement of the object can be computed from the data on the ATFLIR display, so it is possible to predict the time it takes for the object to drift out of the display when the ATFLIR suddenly stops looking straight at it. This time [i]exactly[/i] matches the time in the video. A detailed analysis with a graph can be found here: .

Conclusion: The slow right-to-left movement of the object throughout the whole ATFLIR video is the only real movement there is. There is no indication of any acceleration.
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Response 1 to Comment 2
Received: 18 September 2019
Commenter: Peter Reali
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: I am one of the cited author's of the paper.
Comment: The analysis of the acceleration of the object is based on when the camera loses lock and is based on an analysis of the size of the object which has been testified by several witnesses that say the object was the Tic-TAc and about the size of an F18. By knowing the field of view of the flir camera it is possible to then calculate the acceleration of the object after it loses lock with respect to the plane. This is detailed in the report. metabunk is incorrect in its analysis and has not studied the video in detail nor the actual specification of the camera.
Response 2 to Comment 2
Received: 18 September 2019
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: A response to Peter Reali:

The Metabunk analysis is straightforward and only requires the FOV of the ATFLIR. For the FOV, Metabunk used exactly the same values as you (0,7 in NAR at 1x magnification, 0,35 in NAR at 2x magnification). The rest is simply a matter of plotting the object’s angle over time (the object’s angle is shown in the ATFLIR display) and extrapolating this graph using the ATFLIR FOV for the last 32 frames when the ATFLIR stops following it.

The graphs of the last 32 frames in the article under review basically show a linear movement, no acceleration. The small flat part of the graph for the first few frames are due to the ATFLIR shortly trying to regain lock when the lock is broken. The curves in the article under review lend themselves for a linear kinematic fit, yet in your kinematic formulas for the first 16 frames you did not include a velocity, only acceleration. This will automatically lead to a huge acceleration value as a mathematical artifact. The graphs, however, clearly show no such acceleration.
Response 3 to Comment 2
Received: 18 September 2019
Commenter: Peter Reali
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: I am one of the secondary cited authors
Comment: The link you provided goes to a response from a Kaen who is a member of the group, that has a graph with no units on the horizontal or vertical axis and no details at how he arrived at the graph so I can't verify the analysis. If he wishes to debunk he needs to show some details of his analysis so it can be verified. Further I looked at this site several months ago before there were 13 pages of comments. Mike West site owner make the claim that the object is 50 to 100 miles away but it can be determined by the known size of an F18 or E2 Hawkeye and the field of view of the camera that if it were one of these planes it would be 20 to 30 miles away. Now the field of view is equivalent to a telescope of probably greater than 30x resolving power so it would easily be able to resolve the aerodynamics structures of the aircraft as that is what these devices are designed for. Further the video examines the last second of the video and many of the other comments talk about other parts of the video that are not relevant to this analysis. If the last few seconds of the video are examined the angle indicators of the Flir are not changing indicating that the flir camera is not slewing to follow the object. Further the idea that flir camera was turned off, if it occurred would show a change in operational status of the device on the flir screen and this does not occur. If the object were a plane as it turned to move left its aspect ration would change and be visible due to the long fuselage and tail becoming visible, the same for a missile.
To lose lock under these conditions would require a hefty acceleration as the flir servo has the capability of locking on very fast accelerating object. The SCU has talked to technicians who have used this system to track missiles taking off and they do not lose lock with relatively high accelerations but not up to 80 to 90 g s as the analysis here and a separate report by the SCU shows in the link below. The object does not significantly change shape in any way during this portion of the video. If the plane were turning right it would have to bank and the angles of the axis on the screen would change to reflect this. The fact that during the the last second that the magnification goes from 1X to 2X is taken into account by halving the distance estimates during this portion of the video.
The SCU: [ ] began studying this incident a year before the incident became public by the NY times release and has interviewed the major witnesses and checked the Deck logs of Nimitz to verify all the statements about time and location. The interviews are pretty consistent on the major facts. During the encounter the military clears all civilian aircraft and it was known form the logs and interviews that the only objects up there were F18's and E2 Hawkeys. The idea that the WSO turned off the Flir camera [ who's testimony contradicts this is not factual and shows a lack of research on Kaen's part.] The metabunk site itself is not a scientifically based organization. If you are seriously interested in this incident they I would recommend you reading the extensive analysis of the incident on the SCU site given above where if focuses on three main extraordinary trajectory reported about the object. This report is a survey of 3 historical incidents with physical evidence and covers on a small section of the SCU report using a different analysis. The SCU analysis while similar uses a slightly different approach but arrives at virtually the same reported accelerations. 40 to 100g's all of them would kill a pilot and disintegrate any know aircraft. Respectfully, if you are going to review the paper above for errors you need to go through the paper and point out specific arguments about where the analysis is wrong and not refer to someone else's analysis that has no details about how they arrived at their conclusions.
Response 4 to Comment 2
Received: 18 September 2019
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Models (20) - (23) use the following kinematics for either the full 32 frames or the first 16 of the 32 frames:

x = 1/2.a.t^2 + x0

This is wrong. The model should be:

x = 1/2.a.t^2 + v0.t + x0
where v0 is the velocity of the object in the first frame.

Velocity v0 can be computed from the angular displacement of the object over time in the part of the video where the ATFLIR is still locked on the object. It is 0,27 degrees per second.

Figure 6 in your article shows the object traverses half the FOV in NAR mode at 2x magnification in 1 second.
That is an angular velocity of 0,175 degrees per second, very close to the initial velocity v0.

If you make the plot, it becomes even clearer that the object simply continues its contant speed with respect to the jet:

Comment 3
Received: 17 September 2019
Commenter: T L Trevaskis
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: This article gives good backing to the argument I have been making for several years now--ie, that recent observations, unlike the grainy black-and-white amateur stills of 50 years ago, are based on calculable aeronautics made by professionals using very sophisticated equipment.

I don't know, anymore than anyone else does, what these objects are. But I'm glad to be finding more and more reports and analyses that indicate something is taking place, and is not just leaps of fantastic imagination.

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