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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 9/6/2001 05:50 (Entered as : 09/06/01 05:50)
Reported: 9/6/2001 16:19
Posted: 10/12/2001
Location: Leesburg, VA
Shape: Cigar
Duration:5 minutes
Large aircraft was ascending and emitted bright white trail of smoke that stayed luminated for 45 minutes.

Wittnessed "large airplane" that was flying from south to north over Virginia State Route 7 at a height above the road as if it had just "taken off" from the Dulles International Airport. I was traveling in a vehicle east on 7 and it looked like a large airplane "climbing" gradually.I would describe it as a fat,lit cigar. Front was dark & tapered like a big, fat cigar, back orange cylindrical glow & bright white trail of smoke in backwards "S" shape. Time was 5:50 AM & I watched it "ascend" slowly by until I turned onto the Dulles Greenway at Leesburg, Virginia. Did not think anything of it really at the time. I thought the sun was coming up & hitting the smoke so that it illuminated it bright white. It wasn't until the radio announcer on Station 94.7 FM broadcasted that the phones were ringing off the hook with people calling about what the "white fireworks" were in the eastern sky. Then as I got closer to Washington, DC (time 6:15 AM)and tuned to 1500 AM on the radio that calls were coming in from all over asking them what the great white streak was in the eastern sky. That's when I began thinking about a few peculiararities I had not thought while watching it fly over. 1) very large 2) bright white smoke & the sun had not risen yet AND when it did it was orange not white 3) don't usually see orange glow at rear of plane, except what I would describe as having seen on "rear end" shots of the US Space Shuttle Columbia landing on the runway in Texas! 4) how'd the plane emit a backwards "S" on takeoff? a plane of that size couldn't make a dip that tightly 5) the "white smoke" stayed around almost 45 full minutes without dissipating or expanding or thinning at all

((NUFORC Note: We suspect the witnesses observed the object that was reported by the U. S. Space Command, Peterson AFB, Colorado Springs, CO, as a re-entering Soviet rocket shell. Many reports. PD))