The term UFO has a way of stirring up speculation and controversy. Even though this bland acronym refers only to an airborne object who’s appearance hasn’t been explained yet – with no references whatsoever to “aliens” or “extra-terrestrials” – one cannot mention it without inspiring talk of little green men and massive conspiracies.
This has certainly been the reaction to a video that was recently released by the Committee for the Study of Anomalous Air Phenomena (CEFAA), the Chilean government agency responsible for investigating UFOs. Originally captured by a helicopter belonging to the Chilean navy two years ago, the release of this 10-minute video coincided with the conclusion of the Committee’s investigation into the anomaly.
Such is the procedure of the CEFAA whenever a UFO – or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) as they call them – comes to their attention. And once an investigation into the sighting is concluded, the details are released to the public. Interestingly, this particular encounter – which took place on November 11th, 2014, in the coastal region between San Antonio and Quinteros – had them stumped.
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According to their report, a Chilean navy helicopter (an Airbus Cougar AS-532, like the one pictured above) was conducting a daytime patrol when a technician aboard spotted an object flying in their airspace. The technician then directed the helicopter’s infrared camera towards it and began filming. As the CEFAA recently indicated on their website:
“At 1:52 pm, while filming the terrain, the technician observed a strange object flying to the left over the ocean. Soon both men observed it with the naked eye. They noticed that the velocity and the altitude of the object appeared to be about the same as the helicopter, and estimated that the object was approximately 35 to 40 miles (55-65 km) away. It was traveling W/NW, according to the Captain. The technician aimed the camera at the object immediately and zoomed in with the infra red (IR) for better clarity.”
Further details from the investigation revealed that the officers reported the sighting to the General Directorate of Civil Aviation (DGAC) in Santiago. The DGAC reported that no air traffic was authorized to be in the region, and that they could detect no trace of the object on their radar. They also confirmed that their attempts to communicate using the standard radio frequencies (which the helicopter crew had also attempted) yielded no response.
What was even more strange was the way the object appeared as two “hot spots”, which looked to be connected. In addition, on two occasions, the object threw off some kind of trail before finally disappearing into the clouds. According to the technician who filmed it, the plume of material appeared to be very hot, which was indicated from the footage that showed how the stream glowed bright in the infrared band.
Much like the object itself, the CEFAA investigation was hard-pressed to explain the appearance of these hot plumes:
“Some analysts have suggested the hypothesis that it is a medium-sized line aircraft and that the stelae of the detachable element may be the reserve water inside the apparatus, thrown by the crew. However, meteorology asserts that neither the altitude at which the object moved, nor the ambient temperature of that moment, allowed such a wake of condensation.”
After the encounter, the Chilean Navy submitted the footage to the CEFAA, which has spent the past two years looking into it. However, their investigation proved inconclusive. As General Ricardo Bermúdez, Director of CEFAA during the investigation, told Leslie Kean of the Huffington Post, “We do not know what it was, but we do know what it was not.”
In essence, they ruled that the anomalous object could not have been a military or civilian aircraft. They also ruled out the possibility that the clouds it emitted were caused by the expulsion of waste water, and that the object was too low to emit contrails. In the end, the CEFAA cataloged this object as an UAP, which is standard practice whenever a particular sighting merits that designation.
However, since the video went public, one UFO hoax-buster has come forward with what he believes to be a sound explanation for the sighting. According to Mick West, an administrator at Metabunk.org – a website dedicated to debunking unscientific theories – what was seen in the video was actually the result a four-engine airplane leaving flying out of Santiago and leaving aerodynamic contrails in its wake.
Using online flight records, West tracked down two flights that were in the same airspace at the time – LA330 (from Santiago to La Serena) and IB6830 (from Santiago to Madrid). After examining the flights GPS data and conducting a 3D analysis, West concluded that the four-engine IB6830 was the likeliest culprit. The thermal plumes were engine exhaust, and its failure to show up on radar was because the radar operators were looking in the wrong place.
As West explained in his write-up about the incident:
“At the time this was spotted (the very first sighting on the video, at 13:52:34) IB6830 was actually around 35 miles away. However it would very quickly get further away. By 13:57 IB6830 would be 65 miles away. This explain why it was not seen on radar (IB6830 was on radar, just not where they thought it was).”
In addition to being in exactly the right position (according to West), aerodynamic contrails explains the thermal flare and the two “thermal spotlights” on the object itself (see image above). Basically, the pilots were looking at the plane’s engine glow, which was caused by its two engines on either side of the fuselage glowing hot and giving the appearance of two connected hot spots.
As the plane climbed, its engine exhaust created hot trails that looked like plumes when viewed through an IR camera. Given the fact that the plane was at a higher altitude than originally reported, the presence of contrails would therefore be a possibility, which is something the CEFAA had ruled because the object was believed to be too close to the ground for those to form.
As William of Ockham famously said, “Among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected.” In this case, it would seem that West’s hypothesis accounts for all the knowns and unknowns in this case, and is therefore the correct one. In the coming weeks and months, the Chilean government may choose to revisit their ruling and reconsider designating this a UAP.
But in the meantime, UFO enthusiasts are likely to interpret this however they want. And many (not all) may indeed see this video as further confirmation that extra-terrestrials are already among us!
Cue the theme music from X-Files! And be sure to watch West’s video explaining his conclusions:
7 Replies to “Chilean Government Releases Declassified UFO Video”
Drone. Four rotors clearly visible on stalks, two IR hotspots = two of the motors viewed from the side.
For the love of god…. that is not a quadcopter, which is the proper name for the “drone” that you are referring to. Any idiot who owns one can tell you that a quadcopter would not look like that in the IR band. In fact, it would look much more like one blob as the electronics and the motors themselves do not ever get hot enough to appear pure black on a black hot monitor. My quadcopter’s electronics rarely get above 85F. The only thing that get’s really hot is the battery and that is only up to around 130 or 140F. Also, that object is MUCH larger than any quadcopter in existence given the large distance between the Chilean heli and the object.
The only earthly thing it “could” be is the airliner mentioned, however we run into a similar problem as you would be able to see the WHOLE PLANE in IR, not just the engines, as matter with a higher thermal energy will always spread that thermal energy into surrounding matter. Another issue with that hypotheses is the fact that you also would have aerodynamic drag on an aircraft, also heating up the skin of the aircraft. Modern IR systems and IR seeking missiles are more than sensitive enough to pick up even the slightest variation in IR emissions, thus they are without a doubt able to pick up on the IR emissions thrown off by any aircraft which will be encountering aerodynamic drag which once again, heats up the skin of the aircraft.
Another problem lies in with the theory of the gas cloud being exhaust from an aircraft. The exhaust leaving a jet engine will always be hot, and can always bee seen in the IR band until that exhaust cools down. You can even observe the heat thrown off by an engine with the naked eye by watching the exhaust out of a jet engine as the hot air causes the incoming light to bend/refract. IR cameras will undoubtedly be able to see hot exhaust and we have been using Air to Air missiles that specifically seek the exhaust from an aircraft since the early 60’s, and as technology grows we now have IR missiles that are sensitive enough to pick out aircraft from background IR emissions based on the heat cause by aerodynamic drag, as I have stated earlier. The IR camera should have been able to see that hot exhaust from the moment the object was spotted even at that range, not just the times that that gas was emitted.
You can also see the object when they switch the camera into the visible spectrum and you can also find more high quality photos elsewhere on the net, and it is OBVIOUS that this reflective object is neither a drone or an airliner.
One other idea to bust, is the idea that they spotted a jet aircraft that was above them. One problem with that is that the helicopter used, an Airbus AS532, has a ground surveillance system, which is the assumed method by which they captured the footage of this object. That surveillance system would be mounted on the bottom of the aircraft, specifically, I believe that it would be the pod underneath on the right hand side of the nose of the aircraft as seen in the picture above. The problem with that is that if the aircraft crew initially spotted the object on the left, and it was far above the flight level of the helicopter, then you would most likely not be able to view the object as it would, within a certain range, be far above the view of the camera in the first place, not to mention that the aircraft was travelling in a northerly direction, so the object was initially spotted to the left, out over the ocean or near it. Also, as indicated by the footage from the surveillance system, the aircraft is relatively level, and the camera is also relatively level, so in order for the object to be higher than the helicopter, it would have to have been way farther than the 65 miles as stated by this metabunk. in fact it would be hundreds of miles away. Also, at that range, a large commercial jet would also be much smaller than the object, even with high magnification, as even a Boeing 747 is around 230ft long that at 65 miles it would be extremely small as compared to this object. In fact, given the coloration of an A320, one would find it difficult to even spot the aircraft suggested, LA330, at 20 miles without the aid of a contrail.
Also, metabunk is using the Flight Tracker from Planefinder.net, and it is QUITE obvious, once you turn the video up to 1080p, that the maker of the video, I assume Mick West, has the date set to playback (upper right hand corner) to Sunday, January 8, 2017, 0856 in the morning, not Tuesday, November 11, 2014, 1352 in the afternoon. Even though the bottom number suggest that he is playing back data from 11/11/2014, the playback selector suggests a different story. While he may have the right UTC time for the event, he has the wrong day. It is also notable that I have went onto planefinder to see what was in the air on 1/8/2017 at 0856 local chile time (UTC-3), and there was absolutely nothing in the air around Santiago. I went back to 1:52PM local, and there was still nothing around Santiago. Whether that is a glitch or not remains to be seen.
On the date of the actual occurrence and at the proper UTC time of 16:50, Iberian flight IB6830, an airbus A340, is in it’s proper location and is far above the FL of the heli at around 20,000ft and continues to climb to 26,000 at around 17:01:01 UTC. Lantam LA330, a TWO ENGINED Airbus A320-233, takes off shortly after 16:52:00 UTC, and rapidly climbs to 5250ft. By 17:01:01, it is at 16,575ft. If the helicopter began recording the object at 16:52, it would have been recording BEFORE the LA330 even took off. The LA330 was also near Santiago airport, therefore it would have been obvious what it was anyway, and once again, would have been far too far away to be easily seen. Remember, the crew saw this thing with their naked eyes first, the atmosphere of the Earth also disrupts light waves to some degree which would make it damn near impossible to see anything 60 miles away unassisted, which is about the distance between San Antonio and Santiago. Even astronauts can not see aircraft flying below them in the Earth’s atmosphere except under the infinitesimally small chance that light is reflected in just the right way off of one (which to this date I have never came across reports of that happening), and they usually are around 100-250 miles above the surface. We also have mountains which could obstruct the view of LA330, which is also why I assume it climbed rapidly after takeoff. Shortly after, it climbs toward 26,000ft. I stopped watching the playback there.
With the helicopter moving, the relative location will change and thus it is also possible that this object was not even in the general direction of LA330’s flight path. Another thing is that the pilots would have undoubtedly contacted local ATC’s and radar stations for any information and I can assure you that they would have not forgot about the other aircraft in the vicinity. I can also assure you that they would have contacted those aircraft for info as well.
All in all, the explanation provided for the object is hollow, as the scientific method used to come to that explanation is flawed, there were far too many variables that were unaccounted for and far too little work was done to eliminate all possibilities. Chile already went through all the trouble for two whole years and even their people/scientists could not figure it out. I suggest that people should listen to the government instead as with all the time they spent, the obviously went through every possibility and still came up with it being unidentified, and trust me when I say that any nation’s military will take unidentified objects seriously. There is far more that I could continue to go into detail about, but at this point there isnt really a need to and it would only add to the wall of text.
Holy heck. JR just threw down like nobody’s business!
That might be the best Universe Today user comment that I’ve ever seen.
Putt-putt… UFO go zoom. Or was that Venus and misaligned len’s on the chin mounted/gets bumped FLIR unit? I see that as the most likely explanation. The FLIR units I worked on were very robust, but not totally robust.
Lens or sensor misalignment? Chinese binoculars?
I would agree that the metabunk explanation does not add up and is overly simplistic. I also trust that the Chilean military knows it’s equipment, local flight schedules and trajectories, and knows how to identify known flying objects with their equipment. And yet after 2 years they do not know what the heck this anomaly is. One thing that is consistent with such UFO sightings is that there has never been a persistent pattern to make sense out of them. So there is no threat. If there is alien intelligence behind them then they have made no attempt to communicate, so we should not be inclined to care about them, if that is what this represents.
I will just add another thought provoking comment on this. If you think that this UFO keeps military personnel up at night, you can bet on it. At best, and most probably, this is some kind of equipment misread, in which case it represents a safety hazard that left unaddressed could lead to an aviation mishap down the road. At worse this is an unexplained craft of some advanced nation/power whose intent unknown. As the military is tasked with the safety and security of the borders of its country, this anomaly cannot go unaddressed if that it possibly the case. So the fact that they threw their arms up about this and essentially asked for help to explain this is extraordinary.
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