|Occurred : 2/18/2014 19:16 (Entered as : 02/18/14 19:16)
Reported: 2/18/2014 11:43:56 PM 23:43
Location: Tucson, AZ
|3 orange orbs size, distance, altitude unknown WSW of Picture Rocks, visible 30 secs, then blinked out.
At dusk, on February 18, 2014, at 19:16, local time, while out for my evening walk, I spotted 3 orange orbs, approximately 25 to 30 degrees above the horizon, to the west, south west of my position, roughly 6 miles south of Picture Rocks, AZ.
These lighted orange orbs were near my winter home, west of Tucson, AZ, and this was not my first sighting.
The 3 orange orbs first appeared by blinking on; first just one, then two, and then three, total. All 3 briefly became visible at the same time. First one would blink on, then another, and so on, then one would blink off then back on in random sequence etc. All three were totally silent, and left no visible smoke, plasma trail or contrail etc.
While visible, they appeared to have a very low ground speed, however, with no range or size information, I could not determine their exact speed, altitude or location. They were arranged in an approximate north/south line from my vantage point, looking west southwest toward the fading sunset, and they did not dart or zoom back and forth.
They were only in view for a few seconds, and I pulled out my cell phone to photograph them, but it was too dark. All three then blinked out within 30 seconds or so, and I noted the time as 19:16, on my cell phone.
Having occasionally seen these groups of reddish orange orbs at this location before, I attempted to take a photograph this time, because the sightings appear to be occurring more and more frequently, during the three years I have been wintering over here.
There is a lot of regular air traffic in this area, from SWA B-737's, AAL MD-80's, to CRJ 50 and 700 series commuter jets, plus a lot of G/A traffic going into TUS, and Ryan Airfield, located 10nm South and Marana Airport, about 11nm north.
I also spot numerous military aircraft over flying this area daily, including KC-135's, C-130's, F-16's, A-10's, Blackhawks and Cobra helicopters etc., mostly operating out of DM AFB or TUS.
Additionally, both my neighbor and I operate Hot Air balloons, (mine is a Balloon Works AX-8-B, 90,000 cubic feet) so I am quite familiar with the local traffic patterns, and most types of aircraft in this area.
I am also familiar with the difference in color spectrum between tungsten, XENON, HALOGEN, and LED landing lights, and or position/strobe lights, which these orange orbs were not.
Just prior to this sighting, there was a flight of two A-10 Warthogs, departing Davis Monthan AFB, on their routine evening patrol. I see them often, and can recognize them by their two distinctive white flashing strobes.
The A-10's were climbing away from my position, westbound, in loose formation, about 250 to 300 knots, at approximately 10,000 feet. As they disappeared to the west, the orbs appeared behind them, a few minutes later.
Shortly after the orbs briefly appeared, and then blinked out, I noticed a small single engine aircraft, southbound, approximately 5 to 10 miles west of my position, around 5 to 7 thousand feet. I could hear its single engine, and see its steady red position light, as well as its red anti-collision light flashing. Its ground speed appeared to be 80 to 110 kts but it was too dark to determine the specific type.
This aircraft may be the reason for the orbs blinking out, because it appeared to fly through the same area, shortly after the orbs disappeared. I continued watching for them to reappear, as I walked about two miles back home (approximately 15 min's) By then it was completely dark, and the objects did not reappear.
Over the past 3 years, I have seen these objects around half a dozen times, usually in groups of two to five objects, to the west of my home, mostly in the evening, or early morning hours, and generally low on the west southwest horizon, as opposed to overhead.
These internally lit, orange orbs were not parachute flares, balloons, helicopters, fixed wing jets or reciprocating G/A aircraft.
They were also not candle powered toy hot air balloons, which my neighbors launch in the evening, from time to time.
Having watched the Apollo-17 night launch in person, (DEC 1972), two shuttle launches, and one night shuttle reentry over the South Pacific, (Eileen Collins, Commander), plus a couple of Vandenburg, AFB night missile launches, I am certain these orbs were not chemical powered rockets, either lifting off or on reentry, or the space station.
Also they are not the Moon or Venus, Mars, Jupiter, or Sirius etc. (wrong color, wrong location) I can reasonably eliminate all the objects, planets, aircraft and vehicles that I have listed in this report, but I cannot identify what these orbs are.
After waiting a little over one hour, I called the hotline and made a verbal report to Peter Davenport around 20:42 local time.
I have not previously made a formal report, due to my position in professional aviation.
I have seen these orange orbs often enough to confirm they are not my imagination, and feel that my report should be made now, because the sightings appear to be happening more and more frequently.
If I were here full time, and had the time to spend looking, I feel that I could probably spot them fairly often in this area. (just my speculation) Because I am actively employed in a professional flying position, I must remain anonymous, however, I am more than willing to speak with an investigator.
Thanks for taking my report and I hope it is useful.
My background: ATP, I started flying early 1970's; 26,000 + hours. Worldwide. Aircraft ratings: B-707, B-727, B-737, B-747, B-757 B-767, B-777, DC-8, DC-10; F/E B-707, B-727, DC-10 Commercial Ratings: ASMEL & S, CFII, MEL, Rotorcraft, helicopter, glider, LTA, Hot Air Balloon; Approximately 100+ G/A aircraft of all types, including turbo-props.
Also fly large gasoline powered UAV and RC model planes, Extra 300, MX-2 Yak-54, SU-26 and electric RC helicopters and toy planes.