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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 7/23/2004 21:45 (Entered as : 07/23/1904 21:45)
Reported: 7/31/2004 10:51:14 AM 10:51
Posted: 8/11/2004
Location: San Joaquin Valley, CA
Shape: Light
Duration:30 minutes
Several lights spotted along I-5, maybe helicopters but they flew low over crops, changed their light set ups, and flew real radical.

I was riding with a friend Friday night, driving from San Diego, California, to the San Jose area up near San Francisco. We were driving through the San Joanquin Valley area when I started to spot some lights in the sky off to the East side of the highway. What caught my attention was that I saw 4 white lights rise up, almost in a straight line, then angle off, turn, and seem to dim. Then the aircraft apparently turned to face the highway again and I saw the four lights level off and look real bright. It looked like a plane coming into land at an airport. I watched it land, but right after it came in close to the ground, it turned, and rose straight up off the ground again vertically. That's what made me think it was a helicopter.

I thought it was strange and mentioned it to my friend. I looked back over my shoulder to watch it some more and it continued making odd ariel manuevers. We kept driving, however. I thought that would be it, but we kept driving, and further up, I spotted it again. This time I was able to point it out to my friend. Just like before, these lights made the same odd pattern. They rose up in a straight line, banks, and flew around over more crops.

I don't know how many their were, but I spotted three at one time, so, I know it wasn't the same aircraft, and I saw at least one land. This luckily happened closer to the highway than the other lights and I could make out more. There was a flashing light at the top of the aircraft, which, everything about it seemed to say helicopter to me, but I couldn't see it's shape, just lights. When this helicopter landed, it was facing a vehicle that was parked in a field at the edge of some tall crop. The vehicle had lights on, maybe a door open with interior lights on as well, but I couldn't see anyone. The helicopter sat there on the ground for a bit, then lifted back up, circled, and then turned on a spotlight. It actually flashed across the highway for a moment as he began flying over the crops again.

All this occurred between Kettleman City and Los Banos along the I-5. I saw more of this towards Kettleman City than Los Banos. The number of lights and their frequency tapered off as we drove further north.

Now, I know that these aren't exactly black triangles I'm reporting and I'm not native to that area, but this just seemed really odd to me. Is this normal for the San Joanquin Valley? It's just crops out there, no really large townsthat I could see. I find it hard to believe that each farmer out there has his own private helicopter to crop his fields with at night, and I doubt I watched a half dozen police helicopter look for someone.

What did I see? Is there some explanation for this? Maybe someone who lives in the area can help me out.