Analysis of
Digital
Video
Aerial
Event of
October
23, 2004 at
Osaka
Japan
Richard F. Haines
Chief Scientist and
William Puckett
Research Associate
National Aviation
Reporting Center On
Anomalous
Phenomena April
2007
PART
1,
[part
2]
[part 3]
Abstract
This paper summarizes the results of analyses of a video taken on October 23, 2004 approximately 50
km ESE of Itami International Airport, Osaka., Japan at about 1730 hrs by Mr. K. Amamiya while using
a hand-held, Hi-8 digital camera. He was recording the over-flight of a commercial jet aircraft enroute to
the airport. Unexpectedly a small, intense, yellow-orange-white silent light (hereafter referred to as
unidentified aerial phenomena – UAP) appeared in the lower right-hand corner of the camera's digital
display but was not seen visually. It traveled on an apparently linear path toward the upper left of the
display at a relatively constant angular rate of travel; it remained visible for three minutes and then faded
out. We discovered that: (1) the UAP was nearer to the camera than the aircraft, (2) the UAP was at least
as intense as the wing tip lights on the B777-300 aircraft and did not appear to fluctuate in intensity to any
great degree, (3) the calculated average height of the UAP was on the order of five feet and its image size
tended to increase slightly during the first five seconds of the video, (4) the calculated angular velocity of
the UAP was about 1.25 deg/sec. during the early part of the video, (5) it is likely that the UAP was
emitting radiation in the near infrared since it was not visible to the naked eye, (6) the number of UAP
imaged varied from one to three, and (7) the aircraft involved most likely was Japan Airlines flight 1521
from Tokyo. The real significance of this case lies in its aviation safety potential since no such unidentified
object or energetic phenomenon should be flying in the vicinity of commercial air lanes. If this phenomenon
was visible it might have been seen by the pilots causing some unplanned emergency operation or other
disruptive response. This UAP remains unidentified at this time.
Background
Information
Whenever an airborne object flies near an airplane or an airport
and cannot be identified or communicated with it constitutes a
potential threat to flight safety. The UAP in the present instance
was within the controlled air space of two airports: Kansai and
Itami International Airports , at Osaka , Japan . The UAP that was
captured on digital video was very nearly on the approach path to
runway 32 at Itami airport. Flight crews who cannot identify or
communicate with any nearby object may react to their presence in
inappropriate ways. A collision is possible in such instances. As
will be seen, it is not likely that the flight crew onboard the jet
airplane saw the present UAP that approached them from their
right-rear direction.
On November 16, 2004 the first author received an e-mail from Mr. Kiyoshi Amamiya (K.A.) in
Japan with four attached jpeg (compressed) digital images. One of them showed a two-engine jet
airplane seen against an evenly illuminated sky with a small orange-white object near its left wingtip.
The other images were enlargements of this UAP that consisted of two small, self-luminous objects
near each other. Nine initial questions were sent to K.A. the same day. A package was received from
him on December 2, 2004 containing a Hi-8 video cassette and a 3” by 4” color print of the
airplane and UAP. A request was then sent to all National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous
Phenomena (NARCAP) Research Associates on December 6, 2004 requesting their possible
assistance; William Puckett replied the next day; he possessed needed hardware as well as valuable
technical expertise as a professional meteorologist. Several other NARCAP Research Associates also
indicated interest in seeing the tape and providing further assistance.
The second author was sent the video
tape and immediately transferred it to a
VHS analog tape for viewing and also to
a CD for other analyses. A list of thirty
more questions was sent to K.A. on
December 14, 2004 . By December 22,
2004 the available UAP and airplane
images had been measured in various
ways as described below and the
witness provided answers to all thirty
questions as well as other useful
information.
Local Geographic,
Meteorological, and
Related Features
This video event took place very near the town of Tenri City,
about fifty km ESE of Itami airport (see footnote 1). Mr. K.A.
stood in a farm field to take this video (Figure; photo taken early
in 2005). The region is flat with low hills generally rising to the
east and west. Note also that in this recreation the camera's line
of sight was elevated approximately ten degrees arc above the
local horizon to capture the passing airplane. Figure 2 illustrates
both the witness's location and the approximate flight path of the
jet airplane arriving from Tokyo . Mr. K.A. said that he began
video taping the jet airplane on a magnetic bearing of about 220
deg and finished taping along a bearing of about 260 deg arc (see
footnote 2).
Airplane's Flight Path . Mr. K.A. provided us with official
flight path data he obtained from his country's aviation
officials. The airplane, identified as one arriving from
Tokyo (see footnote 3), used two final navigation beacons
called VHF Omni-Directional Range (VOR); they were Â
“Ise” and “Yamato” found on aviation charts. Only
Yamato is shown in Figure 2. Established on a heading of
276 deg. and approaching Yamato VOR from Ise farther
east, the jet turned 48 degrees right to a final heading of
324 deg that ended at the airport runway. This afforded an
almost straight-in approach to runway 320 as shown in
Figure 2.
Figure 1. Mr.
Kiyoshi Amamiya
Recreating Video
Sequence
at Original
Site
Figure 2. Chart of
Approximate
Flight Path of
B-777 Jet,
Japan
Airlines
Flight 1521
The airport surface is at an
altitude of fifty feet above sea
level at (Lat. 34.7855N; Long
135.4382 E.). Both of its
runways are parallel and
oriented 140 and 320 degrees
magnetic. Runway 32 right is
shortest and is normally used by
narrow body aircraft and 32 left
by wide body aircraft because
of its length and also noise
abatement requirements.
Overview of UAP Video Imagery : Figure 3 shows the jet aircraft at
time 00:08 (all values are elapsed time (ET) in minutes: seconds from
start of video). Over the course of the next twenty eight (28) seconds the
airplane did not change its aspect angle (shape) significantly. It only
diminished in overall angular size (by approximately 4 %). This is
consistent with an airplane travelling diagonally away from the camera on
a linear path that lies approximately forty (40) degrees behind the side
(elevation) view. This finding is significant in that it shows that the
airplane had already completed most (or all) of its right-hand turn at the
Yamato VOR (see Figure 2 and Figure 6) and was flying on the final
324 deg. approach radial from Itami airport. Figure 4 shows a Japan
Airlines B777-300 in flight.
Overview of UAP Video Imagery : Figure 3 shows the jet aircraft at
time 00:08 (all values are elapsed time (ET) in minutes: seconds from
start of video). Over the course of the next twenty eight (28) seconds the
airplane did not change its aspect angle (shape) significantly. It only
diminished in overall angular size (by approximately 4 %). This is
consistent with an airplane travelling diagonally away from the camera on
a linear path that lies approximately forty (40) degrees behind the side
(elevation) view. This finding is significant in that it shows that the
airplane had already completed most (or all) of its right-hand turn at the
Yamato VOR (see Figure 2 and Figure 6) and was flying on the final
324 deg. approach radial from Itami airport. Figure 4 shows a Japan
Airlines B777-300 in flight.
The witness aimed his video camera at
the UAP soon after it passed the
airplane. This caused the jet to appear
to leave the visual field rapidly. The
evenly illuminated sky made it difficult
to discern the airplane's fuselage
markings and also prevented any
meaningful analysis of camera motion
after the airplane had left the frame.
Only UAP motion relative to the
moving airplane could be determined
with any precision.
Figure 3.
Video
Frame of
JAL aircraft
Near Start
of Video
37sec_frame28.jpg
Figure 4.
Japan
Airlines
B777 in flight
Weather and Astronomical
Information . The
meteorological conditions
at Osaka 's Itami
International Airport
[Latitude: 34.785528
Degrees North; Longitude:
135.4382 22 Degrees
East; Elevation: 50 Ft (15
m) ASL ; Time zone: UTC
+ 9] for: 17:30 hrs. Japan
Standard Time were:
Temperature: 63 Degrees
F
Dew point: 46 Degrees F
Relative Humidity: 55%
Wind: 030 Degrees
(NNE) at 6 mph
Wind at
5,000 Ft: 060
Degrees
(ENE) at 10
knots (11.5
mph)
Sky: Scattered
Cloud (1/4 to
1/2 cloud
cover)
Ceiling:
Unlimited (No
ceiling)
No significant
weather
observed
(visibility 7 miles)
The area was under the influence of a high
pressure system. This assessment is based
on the 850 millibar (MB) chart (Figure 5).
A solid arrow points to Osaka . This chart
is for 1200 UTC on Saturday 23 October,
2004 and shows the entire northern
hemisphere with the north pole at the
center and ten degree latitude circles. It
shows that the 850 MB pressure [height of
1,590 meters (5,215 feet)] was located
near Osaka and was the highest in the
region.
Figure 5. 850
Millibar Pressure
Gradients for
Northern
Hemisphere
Other Information
: Sunrise : 06:10
JST ; Sunset:
17:13 JST : Civil
Twilight: 17:39 :
JST ; Nautical
Twilight: 18:09
JST ; Moonrise:
14:42 JST ;
Moonset: 00:28
JST ; Moon
phase 67%.
The sun had set at 1713 hrs JST on October 23, 2004 (at Osaka ). The time
recorded on the video was 1730 hrs. Later Mr. K.A. discovered a six minute error in
the camera's time setting such that the actual time of the incident was 1724. He also
stated that the sky was clear with no rain, fog, or mist present and winds very light
when he took the video; he said “… about thirty minutes had passed, after sunset.
” (see footnote 4) The Moon was in the SE sky (132 degrees azimuth) at an
elevation of approximately 23 degrees at the time. If the witness' s assertion is correct
concerning the azimuth angles through which he aimed his camera the UAP could not
have been the Moon. The UAP was also angularly smaller and more intense than the
Moon. No bright planets were visible. Mercury had just set (1737 JST ) and Neptune
and Uranus, both very faint, were located in the southeastern sky.
The above information is
consistent with the
homogeneously
illuminated sky seen in
the video; i.e., there are
no useful spatially fixed
details with which to
determine objective
motion either of the UAP
or camera.
General Information about the Airplane : The airplane was positively identified
by its outline shape as a B777-300: 73.79 m (242.09 ft.) long with a wing span
of 60.93 m (199.8 ft.) and tail height of 18.52 m. (60.7 ft.) (see footnote 5) Its
fuselage is painted white with the large, dark, block letters JAL (cf. Fig. 4).
Video image analyses showed the presence of the large but very faint block
letters of JAL's logo located one third of the distance between the nose of the
fuselage and the wing's insertion into the fuselage. The airplane was very likely
Japan Airlines flight 1521 scheduled to land at Itami at 1730 from Tokyo 's
Haneda Airport 278 miles away. A second possibility could be flight 1520
scheduled to land at 1735, also from Tokyo . Edges of the solid red vertical
stabilizer of all JAL aircraft was not discernible in this darkly shaded video
image.

It should be noted that because the aircraft was generally flying obliquely away
from the camera's position (Fig. 6) neither its length or wing-span
measurements from these photographs are accurate. If the horizontal angles on
Figure 2 are approximately correct then the airplane's longitudinal axis would
have been rotated through an angle of about 130 deg arc as is illustrated near
time 00.39 in Fig. 6. The present measurements are only to indicate the relative
change in image size over time.
__________________________________________________________________________
Footnotes:
1. Since
September 1994
all international
flights to Osaka
land at Kansai
Airport forty km
SW of Osaka in
Osaka Bay .
Further airport
details are found
at:
www2s.biglobe.ne.jp/~ito-nori/j_airline/jal_dom.html
2. At our request Mr. K.A.
returned to the original site and
obtained these bearings using a
type HB-3 High Eye Point,
Compass Glass accurate to
about 0.5 degree arc. Of
course the bearing angles he
provided are only rough
estimates because this was a
reconstruction from memory
and without any fixed object
present in the sky.
3. Itami Airport serves eight airlines. However, it was
discovered that the jet airplane in the video was a
Japan Airlines B777 and that flight 1521 was
scheduled to land at 1730 hrs (when the video was
taken). cf.
www.jal.co.jp/en/inter/time/dom/09/hndosa.html
4. Correspondence
received January 31,
2005 . Video frame
times are cited here.
5. www.geocities.com/Cape
Canaveral/Lab/8803/tech_wb.htm . This dimension is
measured from the ground with the fuselage level and
supported on its landing gear.
technical
report index
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TR9 part 3
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