Ain't we got fun?
|By Billy Cox|
The “loud” noises noted by dozens of eyewitnesses to a nighttime bogey that grounded or diverted air traffic at Germany’s Bremen airport in January should’ve been a dead giveaway for a conventional aircraft. But in an increasingly familiar scenario, the media milked the UFO angle for more than two weeks until, finally, German authorities settled on a culprit for the potentially dangerous incursion — a small remotely-piloted airplane. These incidents — unauthorized intrusions into busy air corridors and the overheated speculation that follows — are on the rise, and we’d all better get used to it.
According to an analysis released in October by the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, more than 300 companies worldwide have generated roughly 1,000 different drone systems currently in flight or under development, some 20 American colleges are engaged in drone projects, and in six years, industry watchers predict U.S. skyways will be criss-crossed by 30,000 of these unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAV. For NARCAP founder and report author Richard Haines, these emerging technologies and their exotic profiles pose multiple dilemmas, from air traffic safety to distinguishing drones from what he classifies as unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), which most people refer to as UFOs.
Haines, retired Chief of the Space Human Factors Office of NASA’s Ames Research Center, digs deep into the pre-drone era case files, many from formal government reports, to establish the baseline for legitimate UAP. “Whatever they are,” he writes, “they are objectively real, having been photographed, detected by radar, infra-red and multi-spectral sensors, touched, smelled, and seen by many hundreds of thousands of highly qualified people over many centuries ... The flight characteristics of many UAP have also been noted by many past researchers as being extremely non-aerodynamic. Their means of propulsion have not yet been discovered ... The great majority of them depart from the witness’s location by rising vertically or at a steep angle and also rapidly. This cannot be said for most UAV.”
Haines provides an extensive photo sampling of the latest UAP configurations on the market and on the drawing boards. It’s a dazzling and motley crew, many pushed to the limits of maneuverability and stealth by corporate and government investors. The paradox of the growing fascination with UAV potential isn’t lost on Haines, who quotes Peter Singer, the top troubleshooter for Brookings Institution’s Center for 21st Century Security and Intelligence. Drones, declares Singer, represent a “game-changing technology, akin to gunpowder, the steam engine, the atomic bomb – opening up possibilities that were fiction a generation earlier . . .”.
Wonders Haines: “If this is true for UAV today, could the same thing be said about UAP?”
“Can any current UAV accelerate almost instantaneously, hover silently, turn sharp corners, or leave a luminous trail behind them?” he continues. “Can any currently flying UAV cause airplane compasses to deviate or other electronic systems to malfunction when flying near an airplane? Can they keep pace with high performance air force jets and perform corkscrew flight maneuvers around the jets or even be visible in one moment and invisible in the next? If the answer to these questions is found to be yes then much serious, non-instrumented UAP field research will have come to an end and ultimately will result only in frustration.”
Whether or not somebody with deep pockets decides to spring for professional instrumented field research, this much is certain — we’ll all need to brace for the hell-broth of near-miss reports headed our way, probably sooner than later. If the reports are reliable, drone fans are set to concoct “the biggest prank in history” this month by unleashing torrents of UAV and their flashing LED lights into the night skies. “The goal,” according to one article, “is maximum panic — and to cause an ‘apocalypse’ in the media.”
That shouldn’t be too hard. Time well spent. Lucky us.
Continue Reading . . .
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