NUFORC Sighting 173814

Occurred: 2022-11-09 20:15 Local - Approximate
Reported: 2023-01-09 12:55 Pacific
Duration: ~30 minutes
No of observers: 2

Location: Arrival into Eugene, OR, OR, USA
Location details: In flight over eastern Oregon while working UAL flight 1303 DEN - EUG

Shape: Light
Characteristics: Lights on object

Sighting of one to two extremely bright maneuvering lights at extreme distance and elevation.

This is the second sighting I'm reporting. Different location, type, and duration from the first.

The second occasion was while working UAL Flt 1303/Nov 09, 2022, DEN-EUG (Eugene, OR). We were over Eastern OR, and both my FO and I saw a single source light that appeared to phase into view, and somewhat bright (between the brightness of Venus and an average star). It lasted for a few seconds then disappeared (phased out). We witnessed the same type of light appear and disappear, that at times would move in a semi-circular pattern, or travel up or down, and/or left or right. Sometimes it was a bit dimmer, then it would be a bit brighter. There would be a couple of minutes or so between the lights appearing, and each appearance would last multiple seconds, sometimes 20 - 30 seconds. A couple of times, there were two different light sources behaving in the same fashion. Once again, in no way was it Starlink or the ISS, as the general position relative to the background stars remained the same. Those sightings lasted about 30 minutes or so, up until we were well into the descent. At the time, I thought it was possible that it could have been F-15s from either the Portland, OR ANG or Kingsley Field ANG (Klamath Falls, OR) doing night training off the Oregon coast. I don’t believe that was the case anymore, which I’ll explain later.

I don't believe that these light sources were F-15s (or any other fighters) doing night training. I talked at length with a friend and fellow UAL pilot who's a former F-15 pilot about this, asking him about night training BFM tactics. His basic answer is, they never did night air combat maneuvering training involving daytime fighter tactics for obvious safety reasons. The only type of night training they would do consisted of straight on intercepts, followed by 180 degree turns to remain in the training area. Simply stated, they don't do the types of maneuvers that these lights were performing. Also, as I pointed out in the third sighting I had, the lights I saw must have been at an extremely high altitude, perhaps well over 75,000 to 100,000’ MSL (Mean Sea Level), which is higher than current generation fighters have the capability to routinely fly and perform training. Based on my rough estimation of the distance between our position and the light’s position, they would have been travelling at great height and speeds and maneuvering in a fashion that, based on my understanding, even the F-22 can’t accomplish at high altitudes.

Posted 2023-03-06

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