|Occurred : 8/12/2001 21:05 (Entered as : 12 Aug 01 21:05)
Reported: 8/13/2001 23:31
Location: Las Vegas (Close to AZ/CA border), NV
|Randomly flashing red and green lights at night. No visible body even when illuminated by lightning. Saw from commercial airliner.
I was on a SW airline flight from San Jose to Phoenix, ~35,000 ft and 500 knots. I don't know the exact location because the plane flew futher west than usual to avoid a thunderstorm. We were over CA 15 minutes before because I recognized all of the city lights from the San Jauquin valley. Then everything went black, so I assumed we went far enough east to be in Nevada. I was looking at the lightning going mostly cloud to cloud in a 50 mile wide thunderhead to the east at about 40,000 feet. Then I saw red and green lights fly at a 90 degree angle to the plane (I was on the left side of the plane, and it was flying east. I assume we were flying south). It was flying at about 20,000 ft. I watched it for a few seconds, and didn't think much of it until I noticed how fast it was going. I spent four years in the Air Force, so I just thought it was a fighter. It was going at least 1,000 mph, because it was going at least twice as fast as other airliners going perpendicular to the one I was in. I always get a window seat and I spend most of my flying time looking out the window. Then I noticed that the lights were not flashing periodically like a plane, but randomly. Sometimes there were more than one red, and the lights didn't stay on for the same durations either. It actually looked like the whole aircraft was either red or green because I could not see an aircraft body unless it emitting either the red or green, even when lightning lit up the sky, which it did at least once. I watched it intensely. After about five seconds, it did a u-turn (changed its bearing by 170 degrees to about 280) in less than 100 milliseconds. Not only are there no planes that can do that, that stunt would have instantly killed anyone in the aircraft because of the g-forces. Then after about one-two seconds of heading almost straight toward the plane, but still 15,000 feet lower, it headed straight up to about 25,000 feet in less than one second. I figure one mile per second is 3,600 mph, straight up. Then it changed course and he! aded NE and disappeared into the thunderhead in less than one second, at a speed more then twice before. It seemed to be seeking out the lightning. In other words, If I was in an aircraft with that much capability, and I wanted to be hit by lightning, that's the exact flight path I would have took, assuming that I was coming from the west. About five minutes later, I asked the stewardess to ask the pilot if they saw anything on radar back then. They said no other aircraft in the vicinity for longer than that. After we landed, I told the pilot and he didn't seem to care and told me to report it to the FAA if i wanted to. That's all folks.