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.

43 comments:

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...

Kevin:

From the website:

http://www.helistart.com/helicopters/Bell/205-1A__UH-1H__Huey

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...

@larry
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.
Agreed?

All the best,
Woody

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...

@Glenn
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...

@Kevin
"...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...

Albert
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...

@Anthony

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...

@David
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.

@Anthony
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...

David:

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...

Larry,

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

scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_06_3_auerbach.pdf

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.)

http://www.hpcc-space.de/publications/index.html

Heim Theory translations:

http://home.comcast.net/~djimgraham/INDEX.HTML

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.)

http://www.geoffreylandis.com/heim_theory.html

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

http://www.heim-theory.com/

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:

http://www.scribd.com/doc/83741770/Gravitational-Field-Propulsion-by-Droscher-Hauser

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

Earlier paper:

GUIDELINES FOR A SPACE PROPULSION DEVICE BASED ON HEIM'S QUANTUM THEORY, Walter Dröscher, Jochem Häuser, 2004

http://www.hpcc-space.com/publications/documents/aiaa2004-3700-a4.pdf

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.

Ron S. said...

Kevin, for almost 50 years I've read about Coyne's case. To me, it is one of the best. But I have a question that I never hear anybody address; I always hear that a "family of 5" pulled over to watch the event take place. Who were these people? How do we know about this family? Has anyone ever interviewed them? Seems like that would be a critical piece to the puzzle & yet it only get's mentioned in passing. I've never read any follow up on this family of eyewitnesses. Thank you.

KRandle said...

Ron S -

Jerry Clark, in his massive UFO Encyclopedia addressed this issue as did I in The UFO Dossier. The information you seek are in those two sources and provide additional information about this family and what they saw.

Parabunk said...


"In the end, this is a case that screams to be labeled as “unidentified” because there is no a valid explanation for it."

There is now:

https://parabunk.blogspot.com/2018/04/the-1973-coynemansfield-helicopter-ufo.html

The UFO was a refueling tanker that most likely tried to refuel wrong target.

KRandle said...

Parabunk -

Did you actually read the conclusion?

It said, "While I regard this case to be solved beyond reasonable doubt, it would be nice to have clear evidence of such tanker having been there, and it's identity. That I'm still missing."

That means there is no evidence that this solution is accurate. It is speculation based on nothing at all. I will note that it seems to me that he didn't talk to any Army helicopter pilots, which would have clarified some of the points. There is no way for the aircraft to climb with the collective fully down, other than to pull back on the cyclic, which would have raised the nose and bled off airspeed... that is something that everyone in the aircraft would have noticed.

He also wrote, "There probably are some former crew members of that tanker out there, who could tell their story. Would it still be possible to find documents of air traffic from that day, through the FOIA, for example? Would those be available for the 160th Air Refueling Group, which would probably be the most likely origin for that plane?"

That is very good idea, but something that should have been done before concluding that this was a refueling operation or something that involved aircraft configured for refueling. He has no evidence of this at all. which is not to say the evidence can't be found if it exists, only that he has not presented it.

So, my statement stands as not having been refuted...
"In the end, this is a case that screams to be labeled as “unidentified” because there is no a valid explanation for it."

Until there is some concrete evidence, the case remains as "unidentified," which is not the same thing as saying that it was an alien spacecraft.

Parabunk said...

I am the author of that blog, so I didn't just read but wrote that conclusion.

I can basically explain every detail of every witness testimony for that case, so even if there are no air traffic records left after 44+ years, it's nonetheless a full explanation for the events, and it's hardly too surprising if there was tanker activity in an area filled with military bases, including one for an Air Refueling Group, and especially at a time of a major military airlift operation. Also it's not too surprising if there was a misidentification of a refueling operation partner if a somewhat similar mistake led to a fatal accident just a year later.

As for the climb, I quoted a couple of highly relevant military pilots on that topic, one of them being Jezzi, the co-pilot of that very helicopter:

"I wasn't aware of the climb at all - and 1,000 fpm - it could have been less. It was not that much of a climb, that steep, that much acceleration. But the climbing is something that occurs somewhat easily in a helicopter if you're not paying attention. If you're flying the aircraft and thinking of something else. We were talking rapidly about what was happening. You get excited and you just go like this [demonstrates by raising left arm] and you're climbing. And going from 1,500 to 3,000 feet in two or three minutes is not going to be extraordinary. There are thermals that are so bad that you put your collective down and you're still climbing. I've had it happen to me."

So there's an actual army helicopter pilot who says he has actually experienced such a climb with the collective down. Shouldn't we trust him?

Then we have this account of the tests done by Don Eastman, who pioneered helicopter refueling:

"Eastman began by flying the H-3 behind the C-130 cargo ramp but quickly found out that because of the airplane’s tip vortices, the areas just aft of the vertical stabilizer and cargo ramp had a very strong downwash. Once in position in these areas, Eastman had a hard time controlling the H-3 and would enter a very quick descent. Sometimes the descent would reach 2000 feet per minute with very little control authority. After attempting this several times with the same results, Eastman decided to take a break. In order to collect his thoughts he moved the H-3 from directly aft of the C-130 to flying formation off of the left wing tip. Once in position on the wing tip, Eastman noticed that there was a significant power reduction for the H-3. For some reason it took roughly forty to fifty percent less power to maintain position when flying off of the wing than it did when flying directly behind the C-130.
...
It was this discovery that made helicopter aerial refueling possible. Originally it was thought that the power reduction was a result of a decrease in dynamic pressure, much like race cars use when drafting off of each other. However, Eastman later proved in a graduate school thesis that this power reduction was a result of the vortex effect from the C-130’s flaps reducing the helicopter’s induced power requirement. The upwash from the flaps increased the helicopter’s effective angle of attack, reducing the induced drag and requiring less power to maintain the speed needed to keep up with the C-130."

The helicopter would have ended up on such upwash area.

Those wingtip vortices are powerful enough that the safety intervals are measured in miles even for large planes, let alone small helicopters:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wake_turbulence#Hazard_avoidance

So I maintain that the incident has now been explained with an explanation that explains that climb among other details, even if that exact plane cannot be identified. It flew like a tanker, it had lights like a tanker, it performed turns like a tanker, and it is one of the very few airplane types that can be expected to come close to others on purpose.

KRandle said...

Sorry Parabunk -

Without some sort of evidence, you have not explained the case. You have presented an interesting theory, one that can be falsified, but you have not proven the case. You have written that it would be nice for clear evidence but it is beyond nice, it is a requirement. There are records out there and I have a copy of the official report made by the helicopter crew about the incident. It would have required follow up by the FAA... and if those records can't be located, then the unit history of the air refueling unit should still exist. It might tell us if any of their aircraft were airborne that night and in what areas they were operation.

I had asked if you had ever interviewed an Army Aviator about helicopter operations and given your response, I believe the answer is "No." The reason for such an interview would be to gain insight into such operations. Your suggestion that Jezzi had mentioned having by caught in a thermal in a collective down position makes me wonder, "Really? At night? In October? In Ohio?" I don't believe that those conditions are conducive to the creation of thermals.

As for the wingtip turbulence which might have contributed to the situation, I would ask are they encountered far enough away that the flight crew couldn't have recognized the aircraft as an aircraft on a night described as crisp, clear and moonless. And is there a reason to reject their claim that the object was only 500 feet above them at one point, which means they should have been able to recognize it as an aircraft... and I know you don't believe that this was some sort of coordinated effort by the rest of the helicopter crew and this unidentified refueling aircraft aircrew to play a perverted joke on the FGN.

I say that the incident has not been explained. If there was documentation of a refueling configured aircraft in the area at the time, then we might need to revisit this. But without someone providing the proper records, and I maintain that they should exist, especially since the helicopter crew filed a report about the incident, that should be the avenue of the search. It seems to me that you have provided an interesting theory, but you have provided no evidence that such is the case.

Parabunk said...

"Without some sort of evidence, you have not explained the case."

Where's the actual evidence anything was flying there? If we would apply the same kind of requirement for evidence, there wouldn't be a case to explain in the first place. Or what if the explanation for some case is a bird? Nobody has records of where birds have flown, so does it mean birds cannot be an explanation?

We only have witness testimonies, so in any case it's a question of which of those can be trusted and how they are to be interpreted. Classifying the case as something mysterious is just as much an interpretation of those statements.

That case obviously earned its place among the top UFO cases because of certain features, most significantly those lights, that climb, an object filling their windscreen, and the supposed extreme speeds, and to lesser extent compass and radio malfunctions, which have already been explained before. I have an explanation for all of those, which matches on a detailed level to the various witness testimonies, which are the only material we actually have to be explained. It's not proof with evidence, but it's a complete explanation.

But just as significantly, those same witness testimonies do not actually fit to the typical accounts that emphasize the mystery. Witnesses on the ground, with a better viewpoint from the outside, described how the object came from south and seemed to follow the path of the helicopter after the encounter, as only one of them even saw it moving after the encounter with (sideways-) speeds comparable to their car once they began driving away. So if we actually trust the witnesses, it's obvious the crew misperceived the direction and speeds.

Similarly the crew themselves described how they were actually still climbing after having watched the object fly to the horizon for some time (a couple of minutes according to Jezzi). Coyne himself stated having watched the altimeter climb another 300 feet after all that time. So it's similarly obvious there wasn't a sudden huge climb under the object in a couple of seconds, as Coyne had said in some interview, contradicting himself, and lacking any support from the ground witnesses. Jezzi explained how easily that can happen in a helicopter for various reasons.

As for the lights, the red and green perfectly match how standard plane navigation lights would have looked like at each step from each viewing direction of every witness. Several members of the crew stated in their interviews how the green color of that searchlight could be explained by their "greenhouse", and Jezzi noted he didn't even see the green. As for the object that supposedly filled their windscreen, Jezzi on the front seat didn't even see it at all. Coyne basically gave a good description of red and green navigation lights reflecting from wing surfaces. Given those differing viewpoints, it's pretty obvious they didn't actually see the object properly at any point.

So what even needs to be explained? Those witness testimonies already took away most of the supposed mysterious aspects, that made the case worth explaining in the first place. What's left is basically an object that had standard navigation lights and didn't show any extreme performance, but came close to a helicopter, after which the helicopter climbed during a couple of minutes in a position that would have been an upwash area if the object caused vortices behind it like a plane. As far as I know, there's only one actual explanation that fits all that.

Parabunk said...

"There are records out there and I have a copy of the official report made by the helicopter crew about the incident. It would have required follow up by the FAA... and if those records can't be located"

Why haven't those been located so far? Considering it's a high profile case that has been featured in a number of books and so on over the decades, it would be surprising if nobody had tried to ask those already.

"then the unit history of the air refueling unit should still exist. It might tell us if any of their aircraft were airborne that night and in what areas they were operation."

It would definitely be nice to know. Although that's not the only possibility for its origins, as there were a number of military bases nearby, and if it was somehow connected to that airlift operation, there might have been other temporary arrangements.

"I had asked if you had ever interviewed an Army Aviator about helicopter operations and given your response, I believe the answer is "No.""

That's correct.

"Your suggestion that Jezzi had mentioned having by caught in a thermal in a collective down position makes me wonder, "Really? At night? In October? In Ohio?" I don't believe that those conditions are conducive to the creation of thermals."

He described his actual experience how such an upwards airflow can cause a helicopter to climb collective down, which directly contradicted your claim that it can't happen "other than to pull back on the cyclic". He said it can, and that he has actually experienced it happen, even if the reason wasn't a thermal in that case but a similar upwards airflow caused by the plane.

"As for the wingtip turbulence which might have contributed to the situation, I would ask are they encountered far enough away that the flight crew couldn't have recognized the aircraft as an aircraft on a night described as crisp, clear and moonless. And is there a reason to reject their claim that the object was only 500 feet above them at one point, which means they should have been able to recognize it as an aircraft..."

Jezzi stated that "I never saw a body to it at all. I would say it was about 100 feet above us and maybe 500 feet to our front. Fairly close. The only thing I recall seeing was a white light, a very bright, intense white light on the aft portion of the object."

So there's an actual eyewitness who believed it was that close, yet couldn't even see the shape. If it only had those navigation lights at the wingtips and what was most likely a refueling pod light instead of the normal tail light, their descriptions what they could have actually seen at night sounds logical.

KRandle said...

Me: “"There are records out there and I have a copy of the official report made by the helicopter crew about the incident. It would have required follow up by the FAA... and if those records can't be located"

You: “Why haven't those been located so far? Considering it's a high profile case that has been featured in a number of books and so on over the decades, it would be surprising if nobody had tried to ask those already.”

My Response: I’m wondering why, since proposing your theory requires the presence of a refueling aircraft, you didn’t follow up on this yourself. Wouldn’t that have been a first step in confirming your theory rather than just throwing it out there for others to investigate? Isn’t it your responsibility to provide evidence in support of your theory rather than waiting for us to do it for you?

Me: “"then the unit history of the air refueling unit should still exist. It might tell us if any of their aircraft were airborne that night and in what areas they were operation."

You: “It would definitely be nice to know. Although that's not the only possibility for its origins, as there were a number of military bases nearby, and if it was somehow connected to that airlift operation, there might have been other temporary arrangements.”
My Response: But you don’t know because you didn’t look. The unit history was a single avenue of research. And since your theory requires a refueling aircraft, isn’t it possible that any other unit flying such aircraft would have coordinated that activity with the local unit?

Me: "I had asked if you had ever interviewed an Army Aviator about helicopter operations and given your response, I believe the answer is "No.""

You: That's correct.

Me: “"Your suggestion that Jezzi had mentioned having by caught in a thermal in a collective down position makes me wonder, "Really? At night? In October? In Ohio?" I don't believe that those conditions are conducive to the creation of thermals."

You: ““He described his actual experience how such an upwards airflow can cause a helicopter to climb collective down, which directly contradicted your claim that it can't happen "other than to pull back on the cyclic". He said it can, and that he has actually experienced it happen, even if the reason wasn't a thermal in that case but a similar upwards airflow caused by the plane.”

My Response: Actually, it isn’t because we don’t have the actual circumstances of Jezzi’s experience. If he was flying along, caught in a thermal, the first reaction would be to lower the collective, possibly pushing it all the way down. That climb would continue for moments until the aircraft caught up with the control movements. It wouldn’t be the same as the extended time that Coyne’s aircraft was in a climb with the collective fully down. I’m not sure why he didn’t roll the throttle off to the flight idle detent and kick the aircraft out of trim to arrest the climb. It would be nice to have Jezzi’s full experience documented to see if it did, in fact, mirror the events described in the case.

KRandle said...

Me: “"As for the wingtip turbulence which might have contributed to the situation, I would ask are they encountered far enough away that the flight crew couldn't have recognized the aircraft as an aircraft on a night described as crisp, clear and moonless. And is there a reason to reject their claim that the object was only 500 feet above them at one point, which means they should have been able to recognize it as an aircraft..."

You: “Jezzi stated that "I never saw a body to it at all. I would say it was about 100 feet above us and maybe 500 feet to our front. Fairly close. The only thing I recall seeing was a white light, a very bright, intense white light on the aft portion of the object."
My Response: Yes, and the other three crew members, including the senior pilot on board, the man in charge of the aircraft, reported an object, provided drawings of it including the placement of the lights on the object and a slight dome on it. Do we reject the majority of the witnesses because their testimony is in conflict with the refueling operation?

You: “So there's an actual eyewitness who believed it was that close, yet couldn't even see the shape. If it only had those navigation lights at the wingtips and what was most likely a refueling pod light instead of the normal tail light, their descriptions what they could have actually seen at night sounds logical.”
My Response: And there are three actual eyewitnesses who actually describe a craft and not a refueling aircraft. Do we just ignore what they had to say?

Me: "”Without some sort of evidence, you have not explained the case."

You: “Where's the actual evidence anything was flying there? If we would apply the same kind of requirement for evidence, there wouldn't be a case to explain in the first place. Or what if the explanation for some case is a bird? Nobody has records of where birds have flown, so does it mean birds cannot be an explanation?”

My Response: There are four eyewitnesses in the aircraft and another half dozen or so on the ground that saw something in the sky near the helicopter. The real question is what did they observe. We do know that it wasn’t a bird because no bird has bright lights attached to it, and there are many cases in which birds have been found to be the answer, but it is based on the investigation and the observations of those involved rather than pure speculation. Asking for documentation for a flight in the area at the time is not a completely unreasonable request.

You: “We only have witness testimonies, so in any case it's a question of which of those can be trusted and how they are to be interpreted. Classifying the case as something mysterious is just as much an interpretation of those statements.”
My Response: True, but we don’t know what they saw, which is why it is mysterious.

KRandle said...

You: “That case obviously earned its place among the top UFO cases because of certain features, most significantly those lights, that climb, an object filling their windscreen, and the supposed extreme speeds, and to lesser extent compass and radio malfunctions, which have already been explained before. I have an explanation for all of those, which matches on a detailed level to the various witness testimonies, which are the only material we actually have to be explained. It's not proof with evidence, but it's a complete explanation.”

My Response: Actually, you forgot the description of the object by the majority of the flight crew and while you have offered explanations, that does not equate to have properly explained all the features of the event. As a single example, we have agreed (I believe) that a thermal, at night, in October, in Ohio, is not a viable explanation. If there was no refueling aircraft in the vicinity, then the vortex given off by the aircraft is not a viable explanation. We are then back to that mysterious climb, which, at the moment is not explained… which is not to say that other information might allow us to do so, but you simply cannot offer an explanation that requires the invention of either thermals or turbulence without providing evidence that there was something there to cause it.

You: “But just as significantly, those same witness testimonies do not actually fit to the typical accounts that emphasize the mystery. Witnesses on the ground, with a better viewpoint from the outside, described how the object came from south and seemed to follow the path of the helicopter after the encounter, as only one of them even saw it moving after the encounter with (sideways-) speeds comparable to their car once they began driving away. So if we actually trust the witnesses, it's obvious the crew misperceived the direction and speeds.”

My Response: And yet, the aircrew, trained aircrew, would be in a better position to gauge the airspeed, size, and other elements of the sighting than those on the ground who were much farther away.

You: “Similarly the crew themselves described how they were actually still climbing after having watched the object fly to the horizon for some time (a couple of minutes according to Jezzi). Coyne himself stated having watched the altimeter climb another 300 feet after all that time. So it's similarly obvious there wasn't a sudden huge climb under the object in a couple of seconds, as Coyne had said in some interview, contradicting himself, and lacking any support from the ground witnesses. Jezzi explained how easily that can happen in a helicopter for various reasons.”

My Response: So, you reject Coyne by quoting some interview, and who was the far more experienced aviator, but accept Jezzi as providing more accurate information.

KRandle said...

You: “As for the lights, the red and green perfectly match how standard plane navigation lights would have looked like at each step from each viewing direction of every witness. Several members of the crew stated in their interviews how the green color of that searchlight could be explained by their "greenhouse", and Jezzi noted he didn't even see the green. As for the object that supposedly filled their windscreen, Jezzi on the front seat didn't even see it at all. Coyne basically gave a good description of red and green navigation lights reflecting from wing surfaces. Given those differing viewpoints, it's pretty obvious they didn't actually see the object properly at any point.”

My Response: Except, of course, for their descriptions of the object. And you must remember that the greenhouses are directly over the pilots’ heads, so that they would be looking straight up, rather than out of the windshield. You quoted Jezzi as saying that the object was 500 feet in front of them, meaning that they weren’t seeing it or the light through the greenhouse. Klass thought that there was a tinted area on the windshield and used that to suggest the reason the light looked green… but there is no tinted area on the windshield. So, given the configuration of the cockpit, the pilots’ positions and the placement of the greenhouse directly over the pilots’ heads, that explanation for the light looking green is rejected.

You: “So what even needs to be explained? Those witness testimonies already took away most of the supposed mysterious aspects, that made the case worth explaining in the first place. What's left is basically an object that had standard navigation lights and didn't show any extreme performance, but came close to a helicopter, after which the helicopter climbed during a couple of minutes in a position that would have been an upwash area if the object caused vortices behind it like a plane. As far as I know, there's only one actual explanation that fits all that.”

My Response: Except, of course, you haven’t put any refueling aircraft in that area of the helicopter. You have speculated that one could have been there. The configuration of the lights don’t conform precisely to the navigation lights on aircraft, you have a flight crew with a single exception who described an unconventional craft. If you could find records of the aircraft in the area, that would go a long way to solving the case. If you could find an FAA follow up to the close approach of that aircraft, and remember, the flight crew did file a report which should have required a response of some kind, that would go a long way to proving your theory.

Here’s where we are. You said that your theory solved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. You said that you had no evidence to back up the theory, that is, no records of any sort that put a refueling aircraft in the area. That seems to me to be reasonable doubt. If you had those records, we would certainly alter the course of the conversation but without them you have a theory that lacks the confirming evidence necessary.

My real objection here isn’t the offering of a theory, but of the statement that the case has been solved beyond a reasonable doubt. You can’t make such a bold statement without the evidence to base it up. If your solution is accurate, then that evidence should be out there. Even after all these years, there are avenues to be pursued, but you have admitted that you haven’t followed up on them. It doesn’t seem that you even attempted to find the records that would validate some of your theories and it seems that you have rejected certain testimonies that do not fit into those theories. A proper explanation will account for all the facts and will incorporate all the evidence, which is not to say that there won’t be discrepancies in the story. But you are required to cover the majority of the facts and the testimonies that seems to be lacking here.

Parabunk said...

"I’m wondering why, since proposing your theory requires the presence of a refueling aircraft, you didn’t follow up on this yourself. Wouldn’t that have been a first step in confirming your theory rather than just throwing it out there for others to investigate? Isn’t it your responsibility to provide evidence in support of your theory rather than waiting for us to do it for you?"

I didn't do this to sell books or anything, but for the fun of it after being challenged. For the same reason, it's not the most well-structured presentation, as I was writing and editing it while doing the research over a short period of time. I'm simply not that interested in trying to find out details of military bases and their operations in the 70s or the necessary FOIA processes and the associated long waits, or letting my response to that said challenge wait for that long, especially since I see the explanation being able to stand on its own even without that, and there's no guarantee such information even exists.

Furthermore, if that report by Coyne would have actually led to an investigation, shouldn't he have known and mentioned it somewhere? He even went to the UN to talk about it 5 years later, so obviously he was still interested in it at a time such investigation should have been ready.

"The unit history was a single avenue of research. And since your theory requires a refueling aircraft, isn’t it possible that any other unit flying such aircraft would have coordinated that activity with the local unit?"

Sure, it may have came from that unit, or was coordinating with that, or not. They either did record it accurately and retain the records, or not. Coyne wanted their part on record, some others probably not, as the incident shouldn't have happened. Making something that doesn't necessarily even exist a requirement for publishing an explanation isn't that fair, especially for a case that in itself doesn't have that kind of evidence to begin with.

"there are many cases in which birds have been found to be the answer, but it is based on the investigation and the observations of those involved rather than pure speculation."

And my investigation that is based and actually matches on a detailed level the observations of those involved is pure speculation because? Because I didn't do what most have done and pick just those parts that made a good story, but instead took into account how they all taken together revealed observational errors as well?

"You said that your theory solved the case beyond a reasonable doubt. You said that you had no evidence to back up the theory, that is, no records of any sort that put a refueling aircraft in the area. That seems to me to be reasonable doubt. If you had those records, we would certainly alter the course of the conversation but without them you have a theory that lacks the confirming evidence necessary."

Again, with those requirements, you have a very doubtful case without any evidence to begin with. There seems to be a common trend in ufology to require more evidence from mundane explanations than the original cases have, which explains why lists of best UFO cases are filled with those that already have well founded explanations.

If the case would have been a bit different, and the explanation would have been a bird or some still classified craft, such requirement couldn't even exist. It's only because the explanation happens to be a conventional craft that there is even the possibility of such records. In this case those records just might provide another way to confirm or discredit the explanation besides the evaluation based on the same standards and its explanatory power alone.

Parabunk said...

Once I had my initial idea of a tanker as the general explanation, and I had drawn a map of its expected path based on the witness testimonies, it seemed to predict several elements that were quite surprising to me at the time, like why it would make an U-turn like that and had certain configuration of lights. Only after that I found confirmation after confirmation, in the form of NATO refueling documents for example, that explained in detail why it should have done those exact things. It didn't take long before I realized I can actually read every detail of every witness testimony and visualize in my mind how all of those matched to a consistent explanation.

So for me it really didn't leave much doubt and it wasn't an explanation without confirmation but one that actually made confirmed predictions along the process to the point that I didn't find any detail that would have been missing from it. And at the same time, after 44+ years, there doesn't seem to be any competing explanation that would do that. If the challenge used to be explaining what could do something so "alien", now the challenge is to explain what would function like a tanker if it wasn't a tanker.

"Do we reject the majority of the witnesses because their testimony is in conflict with the refueling operation?"

No, we just don't reject the fact that observers are not always accurate, especially when they contradict each other. The parts they actually describe seeing in detail fit very nicely to a tanker. It's just the guesswork of dark unlit areas some of them made that doesn't fit.

"Actually, you forgot the description of the object by the majority of the flight crew"

Those contradicted each other, so I didn't forget them, I just took that into account. If one sees a flying saucer filling the windscreen, and another behind that same windscreen sees very little, the truth is likely somewhere in-between.

"you have a flight crew with a single exception who described an unconventional craft."

Again, they obviously didn't really see it properly, and we know how human imagination tries to fill in details, especially after being primed with thoughts of flying saucers just before. The part that Coyne was actually able to describe in detail were those navigation lights reflecting off the gray metallic structures at each end. Everything else was just "gray".

It's also noteworthy how that one exception (Jezzi) who told the least extreme version was also least scared, and more scared about their low fuel. Coyne seems to have panicked the most, and reportedly couldn't even sleep for 72 hours afterwards. He had the most extreme details and also contradicted himself on some accounts.

Others also had pretty conventional thoughts for several details, such as Yanacsek originally believing the red light was a plane and how that bright light "might have been a maneuverable spotlight". Coyne himself considered fighter jets as an explanation seriously enough that he later contacted Mansfield and checked that those were on the ground at the time.

"It wouldn’t be the same as the extended time that Coyne’s aircraft was in a climb with the collective fully down. I’m not sure why he didn’t roll the throttle off to the flight idle detent and kick the aircraft out of trim to arrest the climb. It would be nice to have Jezzi’s full experience documented to see if it did, in fact, mirror the events described in the case."

It would be similarly nice to know if Coyne actually behaved how he described. Jezzi at least had his doubts. Coyne doesn't sound like too good an aviator if he was actually trying to fly the helicopter to the ground for all that time (maybe a couple of minutes) after the object had already left, and they were just looking how the light receded, not even looking at the altimeter.

Parabunk said...

"we have agreed (I believe) that a thermal, at night, in October, in Ohio, is not a viable explanation. If there was no refueling aircraft in the vicinity, then the vortex given off by the aircraft is not a viable explanation. We are then back to that mysterious climb, which, at the moment is not explained… which is not to say that other information might allow us to do so, but you simply cannot offer an explanation that requires the invention of either thermals or turbulence without providing evidence that there was something there to cause it."

You seem to confuse things now. I haven't proposed thermals for that case, but Jezzi gave that as a scenario when such a climb has happened. You are now the one inventing stuff, like an object that would fly without causing turbulence behind it, or removing the whole object from the equation for making the climb mysterious again. But by your standards, it's as good as non-existing anyway, since there are no records to prove anything was there.

"And yet, the aircrew, trained aircrew, would be in a better position to gauge the airspeed, size, and other elements of the sighting than those on the ground who were much farther away."

No they wouldn't. Trying to estimate the speed and direction of a moving light is obviously easier from the ground level, close to the point where it happened and standing still, than more or less from the same level, with minimal reference points and while moving.

"So, you reject Coyne by quoting some interview, and who was the far more experienced aviator, but accept Jezzi as providing more accurate information."

No, I'm rejecting one statement Coyne made in the media that contradicts all the other witnesses and even himself. And while Coyne might have been more experienced aviator, his panicking and self-contradicting statements makes him a worse observer in my opinion.

"you must remember that the greenhouses are directly over the pilots’ heads, so that they would be looking straight up, rather than out of the windshield. You quoted Jezzi as saying that the object was 500 feet in front of them, meaning that they weren’t seeing it or the light through the greenhouse."

That searchlight incident happened when it actually was over them, which Jezzi didn't see, and he was talking about a later moment in that quote. Here's what Jezzi stated about that green light:

"Now, it was mentioned that there was a greenish light that colored the aircraft, that turned the Huey green for a moment as it went by. I didn't see that or sense it, and I think that since the cockpit has a greenhouse - a green Plexiglas roof - that was the effect we saw. There was conversation while it was happening that it was stopping over the helicopter, that it hovered, but I didn't see that. I hadn't caught sight of it yet."

Also note that those original interviewers seemingly confused some of the lights. There was that green navigation light visible when it came closer, then there was that momentary searchlight incident over the helicopter, and after it left there was that white refueling pod light. Jezzi seems to have seen only the last one while it was some distance in front of them.

"The configuration of the lights don’t conform precisely to the navigation lights on aircraft"

Those NATO instructions describe how only the wing navigation lights should be on (and tail off) and my blog had a video that shows the sort of bright refueling pod light at night that the crew described, so what's the problem?

"But you are required to cover the majority of the facts and the testimonies that seems to be lacking here."

Again, besides lacking those records, what am I missing?

Parabunk said...

"The unit history was a single avenue of research."

Here are some additional details based on my earlier research on why I believe those necessary FOIA requests would likely become time-consuming and require several attempts to various places with uncertain results. If you or some other reader already knows more about these and where the requests should be directed and how, it could provide at least a better starting point.

For what I understand, those requests would need to be directed to correct group/wing/squadron/whatever that would have been in charge of maintaining the relevant records, and I'm not that familiar on their internal arrangements and how the responsibilities of maintaining those records have changed over the years as the units have been rearranged and relocated.

That one refueling group was one of the logical possibilities for having flown tankers close to their base at the time, but it's certainly not the only one, especially since some of those tankers had double roles. They were operated at least by the Air Force, Air National Guard, Military Airlift Command and rescue and recovery squadrons. At least one plane was apparently performing helicopter refueling tests for Aeronautical Systems Division somewhere on the same month as the Coyne Incident. The nearby Wright-Patterson was apparently their main base, and also a significant hub during that Operation Nickel Grass at the time.

So if I want to know who was flying there, what exactly should I ask and from which places? For what I understand, those handling the requests would more or less just check their records with the parameters I give, and if I'm not able to name the correct locations that would have the records, my chances of results are not too good.

Then there's the possibility it was somehow connected to Nickel Grass with whatever temporary arrangements they happened to use for it. Here's for example a letter (the first one) by someone claiming to have flown an F-4 to Israel during those times:
http://www.airforcemag.com/MagazineArchive/Magazine%20Documents/2016/September%202016/0916letters.pdf

He explains how the pilots were told to get their passports, not to ask any questions, and start flying (with refueling over Oklahoma City) to a destination even they didn't know before they got there. It seems they were in a hurry and pretty secretive, so if they didn't even want to tell to those pilots where they were flying, would they have managed and recorded the support operations alongside the more usual ones? Especially if something like that would have led to potentially dangerous mishap.

There's also one other, maybe somewhat simpler avenue I am currently trying to pursue. That's the possible existence of an established refueling track at that location. If there was one, it should be easier to find out if that named track was operational at the time. So far I haven't been able to locate such information from the correct time period.

So the way I see it, I wouldn't currently have enough information to make the necessary requests for the records, and it would most likely take several attempts with who knows how long delays to hit the correct place with the right keywords, if there even is one that could still provide what was needed. For me that would basically be plenty of work and pain, with little to gain. Hence I'm currently more interested in seeing if anyone can find any real fault on my explanation as such, as that needs to be done anyway, and if it turns out those records do not exist anymore, that may also be all that can be done. In the best case this will need to renewed interest and visibility for the case in a way that someone who actually knows exactly what happened comes forward, and we get the full story.

KRandle said...

Parabunk -

I see where this is going around again, and have added a new post that might bring up some interesting insights.

However, I will note that while you boldly say that you have solved this case beyond a reasonable doubt, you then contradict yourself by saying that you have no evidence of the refueling aircraft in the area...

I note that your description of a refueling operation seems to suggest the same flight pattern as the UFO in question, that it not evidence that such is the case.

I will note that Jezzi's claim of thermals causing the aircraft to climb with the collective fully down isn't quite the same thing, and once the collective is fully down, such a climb would not have arrested immediately but it wouldn't have continued as long as that reported by the flight crew. I think Jezzi is reaching here, and you have already acknowledged that a thermal was not the cause of the climb.

I will note, that if you look at the disposition form filled on on November 23, 1973, you will see that Coyne reported that they contacted Mansfield Tower, got an immediate response but when the asked for traffic in the area, there was none. I find Klass' report of the experiment a little wanting given the circumstances of the flight.

In other words, while I find your theory intriguing, it is not the end all solution. Your reluctance to finish the investigation by following up with additional research to be somewhat disturbing. If you live in Ohio, it is something that could be easily done, and if you don't, more difficult but in today's world not as difficult as it once was. I'm not sure why you don't wish to find the documentation to prove your case.

You seem to believe that it is useless to try, but I'm reminded of what the old gold prospector said. "You might not expect to find the gold, but you have to look."

Anyway, I find that sometimes, when I throw these things out (meaning the newest post) others are inspired to see what they can find. We'll see if that works here. We both will learn something and maybe someone will find the documents that prove your theory.

Parabunk said...

"I see where this is going around again, and have added a new post that might bring up some interesting insights."

Great! Additional viewpoints and feedback are always welcome. That's the reason I initially added a comment on your blog in the first place.

"However, I will note that while you boldly say that you have solved this case beyond a reasonable doubt, you then contradict yourself by saying that you have no evidence of the refueling aircraft in the area..."

I don't see that as a contradiction, but just lack of certain type of confirmation. As I have been trying to say, that just happens to be the kind of solution for which records might exist, so in a way it's just a special case that could be confirmed or discredited with that kind of additional information. If it turns out those records do not exist, it can only be evaluated as it stands, and that's what we are currently doing and would need to do anyway, records or not.

"I note that your description of a refueling operation seems to suggest the same flight pattern as the UFO in question, that it not evidence that such is the case."

I guess eventually it's a case of this:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Duck_test

When there are enough similarities, and no discrepancies, we eventually reach a point when there's no reasonable doubt anymore. It's not the same as absolute certainty, and additional information may still change everything, as in pretty much everything, even on things that are currently taken as facts.

"I will note that Jezzi's claim of thermals causing the aircraft to climb with the collective fully down isn't quite the same thing, and once the collective is fully down, such a climb would not have arrested immediately but it wouldn't have continued as long as that reported by the flight crew. I think Jezzi is reaching here, and you have already acknowledged that a thermal was not the cause of the climb."

As I said, I haven't proposed thermals as an explanation at any point, and I'm not sure if Jezzi meant to do that either. It may have been meant as an example how prone helicopters are to such effects and even loss of control.

But like Jezzi, I'm still suspecting Coyne's description of what he actually did with the controls isn't necessarily accurate. He just sounds like a bad pilot if he actually did what he stated. That emergency dive is a reasonable action if one believes a collision is imminent, but when that threat was over, and they were just looking how the light was moving farther for maybe a couple of minutes, it doesn't really make sense if he had actually tried to fly the helicopter to the ground for all that time, without even looking at his altimeter. A professional pilot shouldn't do that, right?

"I will note, that if you look at the disposition form filled on on November 23, 1973, you will see that Coyne reported that they contacted Mansfield Tower, got an immediate response but when the asked for traffic in the area, there was none."

That form states:

"A radio call was initiated to Mansfield Tower who acknowledged the helicopter and was asked by CPT Coyne if there were any high performance aircraft flying in the vicinity of Mansfield Airport however there was no response received from the tower."

So he tried to ask about "high performance aircraft", which a tanker wouldn't really be, and got no response. Later he told Klass he considered an F-100 fighter as an explanation, and later checked Mansfield that their F-100s were all down. It seems he asked the wrong question again.

Parabunk said...

"Your reluctance to finish the investigation by following up with additional research to be somewhat disturbing. If you live in Ohio, it is something that could be easily done, and if you don't, more difficult but in today's world not as difficult as it once was."

I don't live in Ohio and I'm not familiar with all those military bases, their organizational structures, record keeping practices, FOIA processes and so on. So I'm not really in the best of positions to try to acquire that information and it would take me a lot of work to familiarize myself with all that would be needed, and I have no reason to expect any financial or other significant gains for all that work. I also don't have any emotional attachments to the Coyne Incident, and it has never been among my favorites. So why would I be so interested in using my time on it?

"I'm not sure why you don't wish to find the documentation to prove your case."

Of course I would like to find it, and I have tried to get closer to it, but there's just a limit how much searching and work I'm willing to do for it with little or no return, instead of using my time on something else.

"Anyway, I find that sometimes, when I throw these things out (meaning the newest post) others are inspired to see what they can find. We'll see if that works here. We both will learn something and maybe someone will find the documents that prove your theory."

I'm more than happy if someone who's in a better position to do it will search and find those documents.