Strange Doings At The Circle K

Airline pilots have a little more time available to look around outside than most people do.  And we work in the sky. As a result we’re more likely to see unusual things  than most people are.  Thus, a lot of what we see isn’t really that unusual. There just aren’t many observers there to see it, except us.

Also we’re  in a position that requires us to at least not usually appear to be completely nuts. So a lot of what could be considered a UFO goes unreported.  At least for a while.

Don’t get me all wrong here, I think it would be hilarious if  there happened to be “creatures from another world”  whizzing around in violation of physical laws and FAA regulations.  It just ain’t likely.

Some things that are pretty neat are mirages, usually from temperature inversions. These are the same thing that causes a highway to shimmer like a lake in the summer time. A similiar rapid change in temperature and air density between two stable layers of air can bend light and cause a lensing effect.  

When the sun is at a low angle (near sunrise or sunset) things from over the visual horizon can sometimes be seen.  Stuff like this usually can’t be identified but it usually isn’t a flying object in the first place.

Another common source of UFO sightings is sunlight projecting a reflection from inside the cockpit onto the inside of the windscreen (pilot talk for windshield). This will usually look like little shiny formations of space ships that zip around at about a million miles an hour when you lean forward to get a better look.

It’s especially fun if your own tie-tack is the source of the reflection and the other pilot sees it too. Especially if you can keep him from saying anything stupid about it on the radio.

What about all the times people report something and the Air Force scrambles jets to intercept and chase something? First of all except for a brief period after 9-11 the Air Force would pretty much need to call somebody at home and ask them to come out to the airport and give chase.

And those guys really like to chase stuff, always have. Its what they would rather do than sit around on government furniture waiting for the Russians. So when they do get to go chase something it’s a lot like throwing a stick for a Labrador. Even if there is no stick.  

The recent UFO sightings in Texas are a hoot. If these are beings from another planet looking for examples of intelligent life it might a few more visits.

Happy Landings


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