A Preliminary Examination of the Flight Dynamics of Four Profiles of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, Commonly Associated with Aviation Safety Incidents as Reported by Pilots

 

info@narcap.org

 

October 2019

Copyright 2019 NARCAP.org All Rights Reserved

 

     Four profiles of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, that are commonly associated with aviation safety related UAP incidents, Balls of Light, Discs, Cylinders, and Spheres, are reported to fly with attitudes, movements, and velocities that appear inconsistent with and often exceed the capabilities of airplanes and known aerial phenomena. Pilot witnesses include words like “suddenly”, “instantaneously”, and “disappeared” to describe UAP movements that are faster than their eyes can visually track. These descriptions include sudden movements between points, angular changes of direction, “instantaneous” reversal of direction, extreme accelerations, sudden full stop/hover, and hovering. A preliminary examination of the physical descriptions of four profiles of UAP and their movements reveals common characteristics and flight dynamics as well as important differences with known aerial phenomena.  

The Definition of Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon or UAP

     “An Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon, UAP, is the visual stimulus that provokes a sighting report of an object or light seen in the sky, the appearance and/or flight dynamics of which do not suggest a logical, conventional flying object and which remains unidentified after close scrutiny of all available evidence by persons who are technically capable of making both a technical identification as well as a common sense identification, if one is possible.” (Haines, PP 13-22, 1980)

Flight Dynamics of UAP

     In Newtonian Mechanics, Dynamics refers to the study of forces involved in the movement of objects. Examining UAP flight dynamics is complicated by a lack of defining values like weight, velocity, distance, and duration. However, a preliminary examination of UAP movements and appearances reveals some specific understandings about the flight dynamics of UAP and lays the logical foundation for a deeper study.

     UAP/Balls of Light represent a significant portion of aviation safety related UAP reports. UAP/ Balls of light are coherent 360degree radiators and can maintain output, consistently or variably, for hours and throughout the duration of most incidents (AIAA Subcommittee on UFOs 1971). There are examples of concurrent failures of electrical systems during UAP incidents involving Balls of Light (Haines, Weinstein 2001). They can range in size from 15cm across to hundreds of meters across. There are many examples of UAP presenting as balls of light both in US and International case files.

     It is unclear whether UAP/Balls of Light are simply light forms, like a glowing plasma, or a light that is masking a solid object. Some UAP/objects have been seen becoming enveloped in a bright glow and no longer discernable as an object.

1.       UAP that present as Balls of Light have been described:

  • a.       Maintaining level flight at very slow speed

    b.      Executing sudden acceleration

    c.       Executing angular changes of direction

    d.      Executing 180degree reversal of direction

    e.       Executing sudden full stop/ Hover

    f.        Hovering

    g.       Complex maneuvers including curving or arcing turns or spiraling

      UAP/Objects, generally, present as simple, solid (based on cases involving radar reflection and other data), geometric forms that are variable in size, general shape, and external details. Discs, Cylindrical forms, Spheres, Triangles, Squares and Rectangles have been reported. There are other shapes that are reported less often. UAP/Objects can range in size from less than a meter to several hundred meters or more in size. Three UAP/ Objects most commonly reported by pilots, disc forms, cylindrical forms, and spherical forms, are discussed in detail.

1.       UAP presenting as disc forms have been described:

a.       Maintaining level flight at very slow speed

b.      Executing sudden acceleration

c.       Executing angular changes of directions

d.      Executing 180degree reversal of direction

e.       Executing sudden full stop/ Hover

f.        Hovering

g.       Complex maneuvers including curving or arcing turns or spiraling

h.      Maintaining level flight while continuously turning or spinning on the vertical access

i.         Maintaining level flight with no spin on the vertical access

j.         Level flight base or top forward (steep Pitch)

k.       Level flight edge on the horizontal axis

l.         Level flight edge on the vertical axis

 

2.       UAP presenting as Cylindrical forms have been described:

a.       Maintaining level flight at very slow speed

b.      Executing sudden acceleration

c.       Executing angular changes of direction

d.      Executing 180degree reversal of direction

e.       Executing sudden full stop/ hover

f.        Hovering

g.       Complex maneuvers including curving or arcing turns or spiraling

h.      Maintaining level flight end forward while rolling continuously

i.         Maintaining level flight end forward without roll, pitch, or yaw.

j.         Maintaining level flight while turning on the vertical axis

k.       Maintaining level flight while in a vertical attitude

l.         Maintaining level flight while broadside to the direction of travel

m.    Maintaining level flight while end on to the direction of travel

 

3.       UAP presenting as Spherical forms have been described:

a.       Maintaining level flight at very slow speed

b.      Executing sudden acceleration

c.       Executing angular changes of directions

d.      Executing 180degree reversal of direction

e.       Executing sudden full stop/ hover

f.        Hovering

g.       Complex maneuvers including curving or arcing turns or spiraling

Commonalties of Appearance and Movement

     The four UAP profiles discussed in this paper, Balls of Light, Discs, Cylinders, and Spheres, lack wings, lifting surfaces, and aerodynamic forms.

     Witnesses describe these three forms of UAP/Objects as solid and lacking thrust ports or openings relating to propulsion. Witnesses do not describe evidence of thrust like a visible blast, exhaust, engine noise. Most UAP reports describe the object or light as silent or emitting a low frequency hum.

     Absence of both aerodynamic form and a visible source of thrust (thrust ports, propellers, etc.) are defining characteristics of UAP profiles.

     Most profiles of UAP, lights and objects, are reported to fly with attitudes, movements, and velocities that are not consistent with and often exceed the performance of airplanes and known aerial phenomena.

     Specific UAP/Object profiles have individual characteristics of movement related to their shape however these four UAP profiles share the same flight dynamics. UAP /Balls of Light, Discs, Cylinders, and Spheres have been described:

a.       Maintaining level flight at very slow speed

b.      Executing sudden acceleration

c.       Executing angular changes of direction

d.      Executing 180degree reversal of direction

e.       Executing sudden full stop/ hover

f.        Hovering

g.       Complex maneuvers including curving or arcing turns or spiraling

 

Flight dynamics of Airplanes and Known Aerial Phenomena:

     “Flight” is accomplished in Nature and Technically thru three possible means:

1.       Ballistic Movement (i.e. artillery shells, bullets, arrows, flying squirrels, hand-thrown rocks, etc.)

2.       Aerostatic lift with Buoyancy (i.e. blimps, airships, balloons, etc.)

3.       Aerodynamic lift associated with propulsive thrust (i.e. airplanes, missiles, rockets, birds, insects, etc.)

     All three forms of flight are dependent on specific rules of physics that limit the scope and speed of possible movements. Ballistic movement is limited to a single trajectory that is adequately predicted and described by Newtonian physics. Aerostatic movement is limited by weather conditions, drag, resistance, and low air speed.

Flight Dynamics of Airplanes

     Airplanes fly because they have aerodynamic forms, exploit principles of fluid dynamics, and balance the forces of thrust, lift, drag, and gravity.

     Airplanes must fly around a curve to arrive at a new heading. To change directions airplanes must bank their wings, engage centripetal force against the center point of the arc, and maintain lift and thrust to complete the turn.

     Airplanes can rotate on three axis, wing-to-wing on the horizontal axis or Pitch, nose-to-tail on a horizontal axis or Roll, and nose left-to-right on a vertical axis or Yaw.

     An airplane is physically incapable of:

1.   Making angular changes of direction

2.   Suddenly, “instantaneously” Reversing direction 180degrees

3.   Coming to a sudden full stop/hover

4.   Executing complex and sudden maneuvers while in any attitude of pitch, roll, or yaw.

5.   Executing a sudden or “explosive” acceleration in any direction from a full stop/hover

6.   Maintaining level flight and continually rotating on its vertical axis thru 360 degrees of arc

7.   Maintaining level flight and continually rotating on its horizontal axis wing to wing.

8.   Maintaining level flight below stall speed.

     Flight, regardless of the method, is also limited by external conditions like atmospheric density, weather conditions, etc.

 

Comparison of UAP Flight Dynamics with Known Aerial Phenomena

     While we lack data to calculate mass, velocity, duration, and distance, we can examine the objects and their movements and arrive at some basic understandings.

Angular Changes of Direction - UAP are capable of angular changes of direction, even at high speed, without performing banking turns or visibly decelerating.

     Airplanes, bees, and missiles must make changes of direction with banking, curving turns while maintaining thrust and lift against the balancing forces of drag and gravity.

     UAP lack a visible source of thrust, have no aerodynamic form and are not limited to changing direction by flying around a turn.

     Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object in motion to any change in its velocity or its direction of motion.

  • ·     UAP experience no resistance to changes in direction. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

Sudden Full Stop - UAP can travel at a high velocity and execute a nearly instantaneous deceleration to a full stop/hover in midair (witnesses describe this as suddenly “appearing”, hovering at a full stop).

     An airplane that reduces thrust continues to be acted on by resistance, drag, and gravity causing it to experience a gradual deceleration. The balancing forces, factors, and laws continue working on the airplane regardless of the force of thrust.

Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object in motion to any change in its velocity or its direction of motion.

      There are no apparent outside forces and factors acting on the UAP to cause it to stop. It doesn’t reduce thrust and allow drag, gravity, and resistance to gradually decrease its velocity over time until it comes to a stop. It stops itself with a nearly instantaneous deceleration and no apparent resistance to changes in velocity or direction.

·         A UAP that executes a sudden full stop in and hover in mid-air from high speed experiences no resistance to changes in velocity. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

Sudden Extreme Acceleration – UAP perform seemingly instantaneous or “explosive” movements (witnesses often state that the UAP moved faster than they could visually track it).

     Aircraft, missiles, and birds, are able to gradually accelerate against the forces of drag and gravity by applying the force of thrust.  

     Newton’s Second Law of Motion states that acceleration is produced when an object is acted on by an unbalanced force. It can be observed that:

  • ·    UAP exhibit no visible source of thrust, lack aerodynamic form and, when accelerating, are not inhibited by the balancing forces of drag or gravity or environmental factors like atmospheric resistance. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

Sudden Reversal of Directions – UAP can execute apparently instantaneous reversals of direction. UAP have even been reported to move “instantaneously” between points that can be miles apart, seeming to simply disappear in one place and appear or re-appear in another (witnesses are not able to visually track the object in motion between stopping points).

     Newton’s first law of motion states that an object in motion will remain in motion until acted upon by an outside force. Inertia is the resistance of any physical object in motion to any change in its velocity or its direction of motion.  

  • ·     UAP in motion experience no resistance to instantaneous changes in velocity and direction of motion. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

Maintaining level flight at very slow speed - UAP can maintain level flight at very slow speeds, below the stall speeds of aircraft. UAP do not fly by exploiting propulsive thrust and aerodynamic form therefore they do not depend on airspeed (thrust) to maintain altitude (lift).

  • ·    UAP movements are not dependent on balancing forces of thrust and gravity, lift and drag.

Hovering - UAP can hover in place, often for long durations.

     UAP do not exhibit sources of thrust and do not have aerodynamic form.

     Helicopters, VTOL aircraft, hummingbirds, etc., balance the forces of thrust and lift against the force of gravity and hover in place.

  •      UAP that are hovering are offsetting the singular force of gravity without generating lift or obvious thrust.

Curving, Arcing, or Spiraling Changes of Direction UAP can perform curving, arcing, or spiraling movements. UAP do not have aerodynamic form or a visible source of thrust. UAP that are arcing, curving or spiraling are not creating thrust and aerodynamic lift to offset the forces of gravity and drag. They are not flying around an arc or spiral in the way an airplane does.

  • ·     UAP in motion experience no resistance to changes in direction. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

 

Conclusion

Similarities and Sources

  • ·     The four profiles of UAP reviewed in this paper share common characteristics and flight dynamics that are distinctly different from any aircraft or known aerial phenomena. It is reasonable to suspect that these UAP arise from a common principle, source or cause.

Flight Dynamics

  • ·     UAP are not “flying” in the sense of aerodynamic lift associated with propulsive thrust. UAP do not have aerodynamic form, do not generate lift, and are not dependent on balancing forces of thrust, lift, drag, gravity, and other factors like atmospheric resistance to perform movements.

  • ·      UAP are not affected by environmental forces and factors like drag, gravity, and atmospheric resistance.

  • ·       UAP experience no apparent resistance to changes in direction or velocity. Inertia is reduced, absent, or irrelevant.

 

     There is an assumption that an object and its movements are subject to all physical laws, forces, and factors, governing the environment in which it is observed. If this assumption is not true then movements will appear to be unusual and, upon examination, the expected influence of defining forces and environmental factors will be absent or appear in values that are inconsistent with known principles of flight and local physical laws.

     Theoretical physics offers some perspectives on how objects may be decoupled from local space-time. However, there is no definitive explanation for the movements of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAP.

 

References

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics 1971 UFO Encounter 1: Sample Case Selected by the UFO Subcommittee of the AIAA

Amimiya/NARCAP 2009 – A Review of Airplane Encounters with Spherical UAP in Japanese Airspace

Chola/NARCAP/2010 – Unidentified Spherical Objects in the Skies of Brazil

Ferguson/ NARCAP 2014 - Aviation Safety Reports Related by Argentine Pilots Concerning Unidentified Aerial Phenomena

Guzman, Salazar/NARCAP 2010 – Pilot and Ground Crew Sightings of Spheres from Mexico

Guzman, Salazar – OVNIs y la Aviacion Mexicana

Hill 1995 - Unconventional Flying Objects

Institute for Higher Studies for National Defense (France) and COMETA Association – UFOs and Defense: What Should We Prepare For?

Ledger/NARCAP 2009 – Two Pilot Witness Cases Described as Spheres in Canadian Airspace

Ministry of Defense of the United Kingdom 2006 – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, in UK Air Defense Zones

O’Hare Research Group/NARCAP 2007 – Report of an Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon and its Safety Implications at O’Hare International Airport on November 7, 2006

Rifk/NARCAP 2015 – A Review of Suspected Aviation Safety Encounters with UAP by Estonian Pilots in Estonian and Soviet Airspace

Roe/NARCAP 2010 Aviation Safety in America: Spherical UAP

Strand/Teodorani 2001-3 EMBLA Project, Hessdalen, Norway

United States Air Force 1947 Brigadier General Geo. Shulgen “Schulgen Memo”

United States Air Force Project Blue Book

Sphere Research Group/NARCAP 2010 Project Sphere

Weinstein/NARCAP 2010 – A Review of Airplane Encounters with Spherical UAP in French Airspace

Weinstein/ NARCAP 2012 - Aviation Safety and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: A Preliminary Study of 600 cases of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, Reported by Military and Civilian Pilots

Weinstein/NARCAP 2001 – Unidentified Aerial Phenomena – Eighty Years of Pilot Sightings: Catalog of Military, Airliner, Private Pilots Sightings from 1916 to 2000