NUFORC Sighting 119721

Occurred: 2015-06-23 00:22 Local
Reported: 2015-06-23 16:11 Pacific
Duration: 1-2 minute
No of observers: 1

Location: La Grande, OR, USA

Shape: Light
Characteristics: Lights on object

Intense white light moving down the Grande Ronde River canyon near La Grande, Oregon.

As I was traveling eastbound on I-84, just west of La Grande, Oregon, I observed an intense white light traveling slowly down the Grande Ronde River canyon in a NNW direction toward Pendleton, Oregon. It was approximately 1000-1500ft AGL. I was able to determine that it was airborne, and not on the ridgeline above the canyon.

As it came towards me, I was watching it intently and I thought it was actually a series of 4 closely spaced intense white lights, as if it were mounted on a light bar, but as it approached, the beam became so intense, while directed toward the ground, that I reflexively looked away to shield my eyes from the light. As i looked back up, it passed above the roofline of the cab and I lost sight of it.

If this was an aircraft, it was operating in violation of FAA regulations, as it had no navigation lights visible. I would estimate the speed to be comparable to a helicopter, which it may well have been. The Army reserve has a helicopter unit in Pendleton, I believe, but they are required to fly with nav. lights on at night. It's possible it was a utility company helicopter working on a powerline or something, but why no navigation lights?


All aircraft are required, under the Federal Aviation Regulations, to have red and green navigation lights, and they may have other red or white lights, either solid or intermittent. PD

Posted 2015-06-24

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