NUFORC Sighting 14099

Occurred: 1986-09-18 16:00 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2000-09-13 00:00 Pacific
Duration: approx 3 minutes
No of observers: 1

Location: Owensboro, KY, USA

Shape: Cylinder
Characteristics: Aircraft nearby

"Baton-shaped" object moving end-over-end in clear afternoon sky.

It was in September of 1986 around the middle of the month, weekday, probably a Thursday between the hours of 1500 and 1800 CDT, most likely around 1600 to 1700 hrs. I was driving north within the city and stopped for a traffic signal. I looked up and saw what appeared to be something falling from the sky in a spiralling motion. I was naturally quite curious and when the signal allowed me to proceed, I crossed the intersection and pulled into a then vacant business drive access. I got out of the car and saw that the object was not falling but rather was moving in a southern direction by flipping end over end with a "scooting" motion between flips. The object was metallic in appearance, cylindrical in shape with a small sperical apperature at both ends, rather like a majorettes baton, except not as elongated in the shaft and the tips being slightly larger in proportion to the baton. I was intrigued by this motion and shape of the object and looked around to see if anyone else was observing this; though there was plenty of traffic, no one else seemed to notice. I then looked around in the sky and saw 2 jets travelling in the same southerly direction, but they were northeast of the object. The jets were in a "half-V" formation and seemed to be moving at a speed and course congruent to a "trailing" flight. The jets were at a fairly high altitude as they were quite small, but clear in appearance. As I recall, it was a clear day absent of clouds, so I cannot accurately guage the altitude of the object itself. However, as an ex-paratrooper I can safely say that it was not less than 2000 feet above the ground, but it could have been much higher as there was nothing in its immediate sky-space to relate it with, and it being an unfamiliar object, I had no mental reference of how large it actually would appear in relation to its distance. If it was at the same altitude as the jets then it would have been immense in size, however the jets were sufficiently far enough away from the object to prevent an! eyeball comparison. If this object had openings, lights or other "decorations" I did not see them, what I observed was what appeared to be a solid metallic object void of any rough texture, creases, etc. The motion as described before, was "graceful" in that it took approximately 3 seconds for the "rear" sphere to become the "front" one, in relation to its direction of movement. Then its "scooting" duration was about the same amount of time of 3 seconds, before it would engage another "flipping" motion. When it performed this "flip", it appeared that only the rear sphere changed altitude in relation to the ground, so that the front one remained on the same plane. There were no "dips" or gawky motions or changes in velocity, that I observed, by the object. As it began to fade from view in the south, I once again looked around to see if anyone else was watching this, to my disappointment, there was still no-one that I could see looking at this strange sight. When I reached my destination I used the phone to contact the local airport watchtower (ATC?) and inquired as to the object. The person to whom I spoke with related that they were not aware of this and that there had not been any other reports made of the object. I described the object to him and he stated that he had no idea what it was. He sounded neither surprised nor condescending, just matter-of-fact. I would be interested to know if you are aware of any reports which match the shape/motion criteria of this report. I was 32 years old at the time.

Posted 2000-09-17

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