Occurred: 2005-07-15 22:00:00 Local
Location: Nampa, ID, USA
Shape: Other
Duration: 30 mins
No of observers: 1
Reported: 2005-07-16 16:12:10 Pacific
Posted: 2005-09-02 00:00:00
Characteristics: Lights on object, Changed Color, Aircraft nearby

July 2005 Meridian "field lights" -- night flights of cropdusters?

I live south of Nampa, Idaho -- a community near the recent July 2005 sightings of bright lights over fields in Meridian. I have an educated guess (?) as to what those folks saw, because I saw a similar thing in the fields around my house at about 10 p.m. on July 15.

At about 10 p.m., I went to the sliding glass door of the master bedroom to let my dog out onto the patio. The back of my house, patio, and long backyard face west. I heard a plane flying low overhead, which is not unusual because I am between the Nampa Municipal airport and the Owyhee Mtns to the south/southwest; lots of folks like to take small planes from that airport and sightsee. I thought maybe it was someone returning late from a trip into the Owyhees; at this point, it's mostly dark, with just a hint of pinkish sunset left to the northwest of us, toward Nampa and Caldwell. (Idaho daylight and sunsets are long in the summer.) I was surprised to see a plane just RIGHT THERE, heading south along Track Road, arced in a sharp curve and obviously making a U-turn back toward the north (back toward Deer Flat Rd). When the plane was facing me head-on (the plane was now facing east, toward Meridian/Boise), I saw that across the front of the plane there were 3 round, bright white lights, along with a very small colored light on each wing tip. (I believe one was green and one was red, although on subsequent passes/turns, I also saw blue wing-tip lights -- guess FAA regulations dictate which lights have to shine depending on what motion you are performing?) As the daughter of a retired pilot/cropduster, I realized it was a cropdusting plane. (Although I admit I did not realize you could operate them after dark -- thought it was a safety hazard.) I watched as the pilot crossed Deer Flat Rd -- the pilot then popped on a bank of REALLY bright white (almost pale yellowish) lights on the underside of the plane. When I say really bright, I mean bright enough that I could see not only the tops of the onion plants he was spraying in that dark field, but the mist of the chemical coming out of the spray jets.

I watched for several minutes as he swooped low to the ground and arced and turned and popped his various sets of lights on and off while he dusted the field -- quite a skilled pilot in a nimble plane.

I was amused to think that it reminded me of some scenes in Close Encounters with the craft zooming down the road and thought, "Well, if you weren't close enough to hear the engine, you'd think it was a UFO!" Then I got to thinking about the Meridian reports I'd read earlier that week... At that point, I grabbed a notebook and tried to sketch out the lights in order to compare it to the report I'd read on the NUFORC site. After a couple minutes, I thought about getting the camera, but by the time I'd located it, realized I needed the flash, went back in and located the flash, then went back out to the patio, the plane had changed fields and was spraying fields west of Track Road toward Powerline (where it dead-ends at Star Pass Ridge). That was a somewhat eerie sight, seeing those lights pop on and off from behind one of the rare stands of trees in the area.

When I came back to the NUFORC site today, I see that the Meridian reports are front-and-center and that the folks are going to be on the Coast-to-Coast AM show soon. Now, I obviously can't swear for certain that this is what those folks saw in Meridian around the first of the month, but there are lots of fields and agricultural operations in the western edge of Meridian/eastern edge of Nampa (the garage farms haven't taken over all of it, yet!), and it IS cropdusting season (apparently even at night). And if they had burning eyes, it could be from the poison the plane was spraying on the crops. Plus, one witness' drawing DID describe the object as having a "plane" shape.

So that's just my information to offer as a possible explanation of what might be an IFO instead of a UFO. Please note, if relevant, that I am a MUFON member.

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