Tuesday, August 05, 2014

The Coyne Helicopter UFO Case

I have been working on a new book and so I have been reviewing some interesting older cases. One of those is the Coyne case in which the flight crew of an Army Reserve UH-1H helicopter spotted a UFO which might have caused a radio outage and then a sudden, mysterious climb when Captain Lawrence Coyne had entered a descent to avoid a collision.

Briefly, they were returning to their home station in Cleveland, Ohio, when Sergeant John Healy, seated in the left rear spotted an object or a red light off the left side of the aircraft. He thought it was brighter than the red navigation lights on an aircraft and he could see none of the other aircraft lights required by the FAA. This light disappeared behind the helicopter and Healy thought nothing more about it.

A few moments later, Specialist Five (E-5) Robert Yanacsek, seated in the right rear, saw a red light on the eastern horizon. He, at first, thought it was a red warning light on a radio tower, but the light wasn’t blinking and it seemed to be pacing the aircraft. Finally it seemed to turn so that it was coming toward the helicopter and when it did, he mentioned it to the pilot. Coyne glanced out the right window and also believed the light was coming at them.

Coyne took the controls of the aircraft and believing the object might be on a collision course, pushed down the collective (or technically, the collective pitch, that is a lever on the left side of the seat of the pilot or co-pilot) which changes the pitch of the rotor blades so that the aircraft will gain or lose altitude. He eventually pushed it all the way down to the stop. Believing that he was not descending fast enough, he pushed the cyclic (think of the yoke on an airplane) forward so that he would be descending faster.

At this point Coyne looked up and said the object was covering the front of the windshield. Coyne said that there was a red light at the front of the object, a green light that seemed to reflect off the rear of the object, and a green light, like a searchlight coming from the rear.

The object hovered there for what seemed like a long time and then took off toward the northwest. They could see the light at the rear of the aircraft was bright white. Coyne looked at the altimeter and realized they were at 3500 feet. Coyne said the collective was still full down and he couldn’t explain the ascent. Coyne then pulled up on the collective (which, of course, the opposite of what he should have done to stop an ascent but then the collective was full down so he couldn’t have pushed it any lower anyway) and at 3800 feet, they felt a bump and the climb ceased.

Philip Klass, when he heard about the case decided to take a look at it. He was on a television show with Healy, and he recorded another show that aired the next night that featured Coyne. Klass, in his book UFO’s Explained, wrote, “As I studied the transcript of my tape recording [of Coyne on the Dick Cavett Show] my attention began to focus on the possibility that the UFO might have been a bright meteor-fireball.”

He then spends a great deal of time reporting on his search for a record of a meteor at the time and place in question but failed. True, not every meteor is reported, but this one would have been spectacular enough that someone else should have seen it. No one did and no reports were filed. But that’s okay, because Klass is hung up on the meteor explanation and cited examples of many people being fooled by fireballs, miscalculating the distance to them, their altitude, their shape and the length of time they are visible, and some other UFO cases that were explained by fireballs which is all irrelevant here.

Klass mentions nothing of Healy’s sighting of the red object that was seen out the left side of the aircraft and that slide to the rear. If it was the same object, then clearly it wasn’t a meteor and Klass’ explanation fails at that point.

He mentions that the cockpit was bathed in green light as the object passed overhead and reports that there are two Plexiglas panels set above the pilots’ heads and these are tinted green. We called them, cleverly, the greenhouses, but they are directly over the pilots and are not part of the windshield. Klass seems to have confused these green tinted areas for something on the windshield much as cars used to have a green tint at the top of the windshield. The crew was not looking through the greenhouses and the light was not coming through them. Besides, the crew described other colored lights on the object which they were watching through the windshield.

Klass admits that the climb is the “real puzzler.” He discussed it with Dave Brown, an “experienced pilot with some hours in a helicopter [which tells me nothing and I wonder if those hours are as a pilot and if there are very many of them]. Brown suggested that perhaps the pilot or co-pilot might unconsciously have pulled back on the collective and or cyclic-pitch control(s) as he leaned back in his seat to view the luminous object overhead.”

Well, the co-pilot, Lieutenant Arrigo Jezzi would never have done that. How do I know? Because Coyne, Jezzi and I had all gone through the same flight training, though not at the same time. Had Jezzi felt the aircraft was in danger and he needed to take over the controls, he would have put his hands on them and said, “I’ve got it.”

Coyne would have relinquished control taking his hands off and said, “You’ve got it.”

This was done so that the pilots wouldn’t be fighting each other for control. In similar circumstances, meaning one of us in the cockpit saw something the other didn’t that might endanger the aircraft, this is what we did, and that includes combat assaults under fire, which can easily be as stressful as seeing a UFO. We followed the ritual even at times like that, so, we know that Jezzi didn’t take over control.

Could leaning back in the seat, trying to see the UFO above have caused Coyne to pull up on the collective (as opposed to have pulled back as Klass suggests)? Not really given the way the controls are configured. Could he have pulled back on the cyclic in such a circumstance? Maybe, but there would have been other consequences to that action, including a slowing of the airspeed and a change in the orientation of the cockpit. Or, in other words, that would have been noticed. Besides, given the circumstances, it is more likely that Coyne would have pushed the cyclic forward as he attempted to see the object, which would have increased the rate of descent.

Klass, continues his speculation about all of this, based on the information he has collected, some of which he fails to report, and he concludes, “…we should all be grateful for the instinctive, if unconscious, reactions of pilot Coyne or co-pilot Jezzi in pulling their helicopter out of its steep descent barely four hundred feet about the ground.”

So Klass has solved the case by creating a meteor where none was reported, ignoring the flight of the light when it doesn’t conform to his ideas, misunderstanding the configuration of the cockpit controls that doesn’t fit his belief and his failure to understand the flight procedures of Army helicopter pilots. His analysis is badly flawed and his speculations are not driven by facts.

Oh, and he does mention the report from someone on the ground who might have seen the UFO, but he never found him and for our purposes as well as those of Klass that witness does not exist. There are two other witnesses who saw the UFO from the ground and they have provided statements about what they saw corroborating, after a fashion, the sighting by Coyne and his crew.

In the end, this is a case that screams to be labeled as “unidentified” because there is no a valid explanation for it. Klass was simply wrong in his analysis and his speculations should be ignored because of his manipulation of the evidence and his lack of understanding of the flight characteristics of the helicopter. There is no easy solution here and sometimes that is about all that can be said about a case.


Jim Robinson said...

Apparently Klass didn't understand the flight characteristics of meteors either. They never change direction or hover. Furthermore, they are never visible for more than a few seconds at most.

Frank Stalter said...

This case is a favorite of Professor Peter Sturrock.

Anthony Mugan said...

It certainly is an interesting case. The 'acceleration' ( in the technical sense) of the helicopter upwards, against the force being applied by the helicopter itself, is very interesting indeed - arguably consistent with the 'acceleration field' or 'metric engineering' ideas of Hill and Puthoff respectively about how these things might be operating.

There appear to be very few strong cases in which possible or probable effects like this are apparent though, which is troubling in terms of the overall theory...although there are some (Cornet detected some inverse Doppler shifts back in the 80's and the landing trace at Trans-en-Provence for example could be interpreted in the same way if the witness description is correct and it didn't actually touch down).
Overall though such relativistic effects seem very rare outside close encounter cases. Am I missing something...?

starman said...

I recall this was in October 1973; why wasn't the date indicated?

Larry said...


From the website:


the max rate of climb of a Huey UH-1H is 1,800 feet/minute.

Coyne’s quote from the Nov. 4, 1973 edition of the Mansfield News Journal is:

“I had made no attempt to pull up.... All controls were set for a 20 degree dive. Yet we had climbed from 1,700 to 3,500 feet with no power in a couple of seconds with no g-forces or other noticeable strains.”

He claims to have climbed 1,800 feet in "a couple of seconds". That's 30 times as much power as a Huey could put out, regardless of what someone was doing with the controls.

And then, of course there was the absence of g-forces. It seems to me the Coyne case is not only “unidentified” it’s starting to move up the “strangeness” scale.

KRandle said...

Starman -

No reason not to mention the date... it was October 18, 1973.

albertguitar.com said...

It's an interesting problem. Assuming a final velocity of 900 ft/s, that would be 14g, noticeable :). I guess the final velocity would be zero, at 3500 ft, so now the acceleration (and velocity) needs to stop at 3500 ft, implying a variable acceleration rate. If acceleration peaks at midpoint (2600 ft), then velocity goes from 0 to 900 ft/s to 0, in 2 sec, or about 28 g at midpoint. I don't know how a human body (or a Huey airframe) reacts to 28 g accel. in a sitting position, straight up, but I would imagine one wouldn't walk away from that one.

At that time (of night?), could a pilot _visually_ determine such an altitude change?

Was the altimeter a barometric type?

I gotta go...

Woody said...

Klass may have been ignorant of several things relevant to the case, but he knew full well that alternatives must be at least mentioned when faced with a UFO report. He knew the fallibility of human perception and memory. He knew the ease at which people, as reliable as they may feel/seem, could fool themselves.
Having read your descriptions, Kevin, I agree on the curious nature of this report, but like you, I cannot dismiss the value of a good skeptic, even if it is just to make the report more approachable in real terms. Because a good skeptic is important just to raise possibilities, the rejection of which, allows us to truly appreciate how curious and unexplainable a report may be.

All the best,

Glenn said...

That's rubbish, Woody. There is no value whatsoever in Klass' ramblings.

"Alternatives must be at least mentioned" -- well, no, not when they're not even remotely feasible. A meteor that changes direction and hovers? Come on. What does that add to the discussion? Absolutely nothing.

-- Glenn

KRandle said...

Larry -

The specifications of an aircraft are not absolute. The max rate of climb, for example, is varible depending on the specific aircraft, the conditions and the load. One aricraft, given the way it was manufactured (which means the tolerances given are not as tight as in another aircraft) will change the operating parameters. One might out perform another because of this... not to mention the skill of the pilot.

And, for the pilot, there are ways to defeat these specs... which isn't always a smart thing, but then, in a combat enviroment, there are times when it is necessary to put the aircraft into conditions that are not part of the specs...

Or, in other words, a UH-1H might well climb at a rate higher than 1800 feet per minute.

Woody -

Healthly skeptism is a good thing. Inventing answers without a shred of evidence is something else again. My point was the Klass did not understand the operating procedures in the cockpit of the helicopter which negated part of his explanation. My point was that Klass, without any evidence whatsoever, decided that a meteor or bolide might account for the sighting and then filled his pages with irrelevant discussion of others who had mistaken meteors for something else much closer. Or, in other words, I applied skeptism to Klass' explanation and rejected it because there were no facts to support it.

albertguitar.com said...

For the uninformed, I'd say it actually detracts from the discussion. Most folks don't cotton to BS, even from 'experts'.

I find it hard to accept that any skepti-bunker actually believes his own drivel. Promoting BS puts them in the class of politicians and used car salesmen...and some of my best friends are used car salesmen :)

I gotta go...

albertguitar.com said...

"...a UH-1H might well climb at a rate higher than 1800 feet per minute...."

It's irrelevant. In order to travel 1800 feet in 2 seconds, you _will_ pull 28G at midpoint. That's a rate of climb of 900 ft/sec, or 54,000 ft/min.

Only UFOs can do that :)

I reiterate:

*At that time (of night?), could a pilot _visually_ determine such an altitude change?

*Was the altimeter a barometric type?

His altitude change measures about 2 inches of mercury, which is a lot, considering that hurricanes and typhoons can change the barometric pressure only 4 in/Hg.

If, in fact, he experience an 1800 foot altitude change in 2 seconds, then something is wrong here. I don't have a problem with gravitational shielding, but eliminating/reducing inertia is quite another issue.

Can someone point out a good link so I can read about this case (and save me having to wade through tons of BS)?

I gotta go...

Anthony Mugan said...

If rpeople like The late Paul Hill or Hal Puthoff are on the right track with how these things operate then the description given by Captain Coyne fits in very well.
In their models the UFO is modifying the space-time metric in its vicinity. In those models we are not talking about gravitational shielding or reduction in inertia, but rather modification to the metric so that the movement occurrs without feeling excess g.
My worries with that model include the lack of strong cases which show such effects. CE4 events are full of effects that could be interpreted as relativistic, but you think it would show up more often in high reliability cases.

albertguitar.com said...


I know Puthoff has done some significant work in physics. My personal choice for a physical model of the universe was proposed by Don Hotson in IE Magazine, 2002. (See http://www.infinite-energy.com/iemagazine/issue86/hotson.html)

So far, no one has explained how the 'space-time' metric is altered, when 'space' is a vacuum consisting of nothing, according to the Standard Model.

Hotson shows that inertia is an inherent property of matter. Is it possible to alter it? Anything is possible, not not always probable.

This is why I look for other explanations, like local changes in air pressure affecting the altimeter.

I'm not disputing the evidence, just trying to explain it without resorting to magic.

I gotta go...

David Rudiak said...

Assume the helicopter and crew actually rapidly rose without feeling any g-forces. This would be the equivalent of "falling up" or being in free-fall upwards rather than downwards, what we normally experience in a falling elevator or orbiting space capsule.

An artificial attractive gravitational field from the UFO ("tractor beam") above the observers could cause "falling up", i.e., both helicopter and crew are accelerated upward at the same rate by the field, hence no sense of acceleration or feeling any forces.

The only theory I'm aware of that predicts such an artificial gravitational attractive force (and a corresponding repulsive one) is Heim-Droscher theory. Allegedly when magnetic fields are extremely strong and rotated, this leads to the production of two new particles in the theory called graviphotinos which generate the attractive and repulsive gravitational forces.

Droscher back in 2006 also claimed the theory predicted that a the same extreme rotating magnetic field could cause a craft to slip into another dimension and effectively travel faster than light. (even more controversial)

The theory is also the only theory-of-everything that accurately predicts the rest masses of many subatomic particles as well as the quantum mechanical fine-structure constant.

But apparently there are problems, which I hope can be solved with some tweaking, thus bringing H/D theory into the mainstream. Though never stated in discussion of H/D theory, Heim (the classic German mad scientist) was obviously trying to explain the physics of UFOs along with creating a unified theory.

Anthony Mugan said...

Albert... The vacuum doesn't consist of nothing in the standard model... Far from it!
I'm not saying Puthoff is on the right track, but this case may be consistent with that model, but I have concerns about it.

albertguitar.com said...

You mentioned free fall and earth orbit. In earth orbit, the force of gravity is balanced by the 'angular momentum' of the orbitee. In free fall, the acceleration of the body matches the acceleration of gravity. However, inertia is an inherent property of matter. It is 'independent' of gravity, i.e., in a gravity-free environment, you still have inertia. When the helicopter is on earth, the force of gravity is still active, but there is no motion. When it's flying, its rotor is constantly applying force to the air, to balance gravity. Now the situation is more complicated. Reducing gravity will also reduce air pressure, thus reducing lift, so more lift would be required. But there's less gravity, so how do we calculate the resulting upward motion?

I don't disallow the possibility of 'gravitational shielding', but AFAIK, the 'shield' must be between the objects. However, any change in gravity has to result in inertial effects, because there's going to be a change in motion. Once you get balance, you will no longer feel them.

I don't think the case is strong enough to warrant the examination of new theories trying to explain it. It's unusual, but still anecdotal.

As far as the vacuum goes, quantum theory has really made life difficult for the SM proponents who still try to rationalize their 'space-time' view.

@David, Anthony, etc.
I really wish you would read about the Hotson/Dirac Theory, cited above. It is simple, elegant, and intuitive. It explains this stuff better than I, and
explains gravitation, inertia, the structure of the vacuum, electro-magnetism, and a dozen other phenomena, many of which have had no explanations.

I'm certain you will find ideas and concepts that can help resolve most of your questions about this case.

I gotta go...

Larry said...


Any chance you could provide a pointer to the Heim-Droscher theory?

I always like to collect UFO propulsion theories. Based on your brief summary, it looks like they're proposing a mechanism by which virtual particles are pulled out of the "empty" Dirac sea (which gives albertguitar such heartburn) and makes them real.

Anthony Mugan said...

There isn't much that is peer reviewed on Heim theory. There is a paper by Auerbach and von Ludwiger in 1992 in the JSE (vol 6.3) which reviews it. More recently someone called John Reed has done quite a lot in it, but mostly posted on physics forums...his opinion varies over time but most recently he appears to be of the view that it doesn't work with particles discovered since Heim's work.

Not peer reviewed though....

Dave said...

If the pilots didn't feel any acceleration, then they were feeling the usual 1 g; which would lead them to think they were flying level.

Inertia and gravity may be the same thing, or two sides of the same coin. Certainly Einstein thought they were equivalent in his elevator thought experiments.

If we postulate that there are numerous visitors to our fair planet, it follows that there may be numerous types of propulsion. Some may be using micro black holes to create their own gravitational field. The effect of such fields would be a pull towards the object, as seen in a handful of cases. Trees bending towards a craft; water being piled up in a conical mass below craft, and bending of light rays toward the object are documented examples of such effects.

Robert Schroeder wrote a book called "Solving the UFO Enigma", which discusses in some detail how such a drive might work, based on current physics. He also drew on material found at arXiv.org forums. Bone up on your math; you'll need it.

Besides documenting the effects noted above, he walks the reader through some advanced math and makes some predictions about observing certain high-energy phenomena and Kaluza-Klein particles, given proper instrumentation.

The concept involves partially entering the bulk, which is a space between our brane and a quantum brane close to us, that allows gravitons (which are only positive), to be directed towards the quantum brane, which in turn attracts gravitons orders of magnitude more strongly than ours.

By partially projecting their craft into the bulk, inertia/gravity is cancelled locally. One benefit is that travel from star to star, say to Alpha Centauri 4.3 LY away, is accomplished in a week or so.

Do read his book, I don't think I explained it very well. It's been a few years since I have read it.

David Rudiak said...


Don’t claim to understand most of Heim theory, but very intriguing from the layman descriptions of it. Makes me think that it might pan out with much more work as a theory of everything. Basically quantizes space into tiny "metron" areas (which gets rid of infinities) and everything (matter, photons, gravity, charge, mass) emerges as distortions of the metronic vacuum space. Current version requires 12 dimensions, where emergent properties of the metronic lattice 12-space are projected into our familiar 3 space, which we see as matter, energy, etc.

1992 Journal of Scientific Exploration paper by Auerbach and von Ludiger


Abstract: Heim's theory is defined in a 6-dimensional world, in 2 dimensions of which events take place that organize processes in the 3 dimensions of our experience. A very small natural constant, called a "metron", is derived, representing the smallest area that can exist in nature. This leads to the conclusion that space must be composed of a 6-dimensional geometric lattice of very small cells bounded on all sides by metrons. The existence of metrons requires our usual infinitesimal calculus to be replaced by one of finite areas. The unperturbed lattice represents empty vacuum. Local deformations of the lattice indicate the presence of something other than empty space. If the deformation is of the right form and complexity it acquires the property of mass and inertia. Elementary particles are complex dynamical systems of locally confined interacting lattice distortions. Thus, the theory geometricizes the world by viewing it as a huge assemblage of very small geometric deformations of a 6-dimensional lattice in vacuum. The theory also has significant consequences for cosmology.

[The consequences for cosmology are predictions of dark energy or Einstein’s quintessance (Gravity becomes weakly repulsive at large distances, and goes to zero at even greater ones, defining the size of the Universe), a different explanation for cosmological red-shift (linked to Heim’s repulsive Gravity, thus no need for a Big Bang expansion to explain it), a non-Big Bang theory for the origins of the Universe (the Universe started at about 1 meter size—also corresponding to the original size of the metron--and was in a very slow state of expansion long before matter began to “crystallize” out of the vacuum and form the very recent Universe we live in), and a solution to the low entropy problem for the origin of the Universe (since matter originates as lattice distortions of the vacuum which become significant only as the metron shrinks in to very small size and the Universe expands--the Universe was totally devoid of matter until only recently, or zero entropy to begin with].

List of publications by Droscher and Hauser extending Heim theory and applications to advanced space propulsion science: (As I understand it, Droscher helped Heim expand theory to 12 dimensions, which Droscher and Hauser claim also predict production of new gravity/antigravity particles called graviphotons that emerge with sufficiently strong, rotating magnetic fields. Even more controversial claim is the ability to also slip into a parallel space and travel faster than light using same strong, rotating magnetic field.)


Heim Theory translations:


Discussion of Heim theory and physicist John Reed’s changing opinions on it. (First Reed thought Heim’s equations for particle mass were “cooked” by surreptiously inserting known masses, then he changed his mind and decided they could indeed be derived from the basic theory. Last word is Reed thinks there is something to it.)


Website devoted to Heim theory, including the particle mass formulas:


Anthony Mugan said...

I think we need to be careful with this...
In an ideal situation it would be possible to present a model of UFO propulsion from within mainstream physics. As we can not build a UFO at present (whatever some people think) we may need to look towards the limits of our current understanding to gain insights and clues as to what may be going on (a sort of inverted anthropic reasoning - they can do x, y and z, so a b and c might be true, and if they are we can predict d etc).

Heim's theory may well have deserved rather more attention than it received. There are similarities in approach, such as quantization of space-time and the assumption of higher dimensionality, to current thinking but the devil is always in the detail and it would need a real specialist to look at it and provide a clear view on if it could be worth considering further.

Beyond noting that John Reed in his most recent (that I have found) comment, from 2011, states that the Heim theory does not correctly predict the mass of Tau Lepton or other recently discovered particles, and he therefore considers it falsified, and further noting that this is definitely not peer reviewed I don't think I can comment one way or the other.

Given the general problem this subject has with credibility I'm wary of going too far beyond the current mainstream, other than to look for predictions that can be tested. The relativistic effects predicted by some theories are a case in point...but I don't see many examples in the literature that are consistent with that outside CE4 cases. The Coyne case is a major exception...

David Rudiak said...

Again, I'm not qualified to comment on the validity or not of Heim theory. I don't feel Reed's latest dismissal of Heim theory for failing to predict the tau lepton mass is necessarily the last word or proves the whole theory has been falsified.

Is this a fatal flaw, the result of the basic premises of the theory being flawed, or is it something that can be fixed with more work? Physicists have been working on Supersymmetry for about the last 40 years, trying to fix flaws along the way. No theory of everything (TOE) is without flaws. Even the mainstream Standard Model has problems. E.g., it predicts magnetic monopoles, but none have have clearly found despite 70 years of searching. Fatal flaw, or do monopoles "hide" out somewhere that we don't have easy access to?

Heim theory does make other predictions, and generally seems to be extremely accurate in predicting many subatomic particle masses (absolutely unique about all TOEs). It also makes cosmological predictions that might be tested as well.

I got into this discussion of Heim theory because of the more recent predictions of Heim's successors, Droscher and Hauser, about the production of new gravity/antigravity-like particles (graviphotons). This might explain many UFO observations, such as "tractor-beam"-like cases (Coyne?) and anti-gravity, inertial-less field propulsion. More controversial is the prediction of a parallel space-time that can be slipped into with superluminal travel. These would require (according to prediction) magnetic fields only about an order of magnitude greater than what can routinely be produced today with superconductors.

If Heim theory were basically correct, this seemed to be the best hope of any current theories of physics for explaining UFO physics, and also indicated that we weren't too far removed from being capable of accomplishing the same things in the near future.

Abstract of 2009 presentation, "Gravitational Field Propulsion", Dröscher, Jochem Häuser:


They note here that other current TOEs do not hold promise forabreakthrough space propulsion.

Earlier paper:



Anthony Mugan said...

Just come accross a site called gravity modification. com ( link from Jack Sarfatti's Stardrive site in today's science news) which, rather serendipitously contains a lot of recent material, including some peer reviewed papers by people like Modanese, Robertson etc.
definitely not mainstream but interesting...and they make a valid point that SUSY models are struggling a bit at the moment.
Anyway, just for information for anyone wanting to follow that side of things up.