|Occurred : 10/26/2005 18:50 (Entered as : 10/26/2005 18:50)
Reported: 10/27/2005 7:55:05 AM 07:55
Location: I-495S/I-95S, VA
|Bright, white light moving horizontally/vertically visible from I-495/I-95S in Northern Virginia
Before I begin, I would like to qualify myself just a little. I am an experienced aviator with more than 12 years of flying experience. Over my flying career, I've seen several things most people would believe to be UFOs, but my experienced eye can immediately "debunk" (e.g. bright planet on the horizon, aircraft landing lights in clouds, etc.) What I saw last night is not easily "debunkable."
1) Date/Time: October 26, 2005, 1850-1930 E.S.T.
2) Witnesses: Myself, but there have to be others.
3) Weather: Clear skies with broken clouds at approximately 2000-6000 feet.
4) Narrative of Event: At 1850, I was traveling south on the "outer loop" of the Washington, D.C., Beltway (I-495) heading towards I-95 south. After passing the exit for US-50, a strange light configuration in the sky came into view on the right side of the highway (to the west or southwest) and it caught my attention.
I could clearly make out the lighting pattern of a helicopter and to the left of it were two white lights that were too far away from the helicopter to be attached to it but seemed to be keeping pace with it. The aviator in me immediately wondered if the helo was flying in formation with another aircraft, and if so that sure was a weird lighting configuration. The helicopter was moving towards the highway ahead of me at an altitude of about 1000 feet or so, and the two lights remained in perfect formation with it.
As I got closer to the helo (I was travelling at about 70 MPH), it was just crossing over the highway. I rolled down my window and could hear the sound of its rotor blades and could briefly see portions of the fuselage of the helo illuminated by ground lights and its own rotating beacon. It appeared to be a Blackhawk helo, but between watching the road and looking at it I couldn't make a positive identification.
What kept me focused on it was the two weird, white lights to the left of it. As it crossed over the highway just in front of me, I couldn't make any sense out of what the two white lights were. If they were attached to another aircraft there was no visible fuselage, and I continued to watch as the helo and the lights crossed the highway in perfect formation.
At the point when it was closest to me, I was able to discern that the two white lights were not part of an aircraft or the helo, but instead seemed to be just "floating" in the sky next to the helo in perfect formation. I then lost visual contact with helo and the white lights because of trees along the left (eastern) side of the road.
In my mind I thought, "Hmmm, they must have been hauling something underneath or trailing wires of some kind with safety lights so other aircraft wouldn't hit them. I put it out of my mind and focused my full attention on driving again. I noticed my speed had dropped to 55 while I was watching the helo and some cars had stacked up behind me.
I increased my speed back to 70 and kept driving. In my mind I just thought "Wow, that was kind of weird," and I more or less put it out of my mind.
A few minutes later (1855 or so), I was travelling SE on I-495, and when I was near the exit for 620 (Brook Hill Road) a new, bright, white light appeared in the sky to the right (SW of my position) of the road and immediately began to drop straight down.
Being an aviator who had just seen a helicopter, I immediately thought "Wow, they're dropping flares now, I wonder what's going on."
Keeping my eyes on the light, I watched as it dropped straight down with an increasing rate of speed. As I watched it fall I thought "Wow, that's pretty bright for a flare. If that's a helo's landing light, he's auto-rotating and he's going to crash!"
I then thought that perhaps it was a meteor burning up in the atmosphere, or perhaps I've just got a weird angle on an aircraft approaching Dulles airport from the south.
What I saw next is very difficult to explain in terms of my aviation experience.
After falling straight down for about 5-7 seconds at an increasingly fast rate of speed, the white light just stopped (on a dime) and became stationary in the sky. 12 years of aviation experience immediately told me that was no helicopter, and certainly not a flare. Meteors burn up and the light extinguishes. I couldn't explain how the light just stopped after dropping straight down vertically. The light remained stationary for quite some time.
As I drove on, I-495 got closer to I-95 south and I had intermittent visibilty with the bright, white light. During about a 10 second period of visibilty I was able to clearly discern that the light had started moving horizontally to the south. I-495 was now taking me SE to almost E, and I lost visual contact with the light.
It took me a few minutes to get to I-95S because of traffic and once I got onto I-95S, I checked the time and it was 1905. I was looking for the light after I got out from behind the sound barrier walls on the sides of the roads, and immediately regained visual contact with the light. It was now clearly moving horizontally to the south and would stop for short periods of time then continue moving.
The way it was moving didn't seem quite right for it to be a helo. It would go fast, then slow, then fast again. Sometimes it would drop straight down for a second or two, then continue moving horizontally. (A key point here: I never saw it move straight up!)
I was now travelling S-SW on I-95S and I scanned the horizon for aircraft. I could clearly make out 2 low flying helicopters. One was to my left (east) and another to my right (west). I could see other aircraft flying at much higher altitudes, but the prominent feature in the sky was the bright, white light to the SW of me.
Using my fist, I checked the distance from the ground to the horizon and made a note that the white light was about 15 degrees up from the horizon. It began to move south again and I wanted to follow it. I got off of I-95S and went west on Prince William parkway to try and follow the light.
The light then became stationary again. I knew there was a Wal-Mart nearby and that I could park and look at the light from there, so I went to the Wal-Mart parking lot at 1400 Worth Ave, Woodbridge, VA and got out of my truck to look at the light.
I keep a pair of binoculars in my truck (I'm a country boy) and I took them out to look at the light. I focused on the light which was stationary again and all I could make out was that it was white, bright, and fairly large. It remained stationary for so long I began to think that I must be just making something out of nothing. Perhaps it was just a bright planet or star on the horizon and the fact I was moving when I was watching/following it is what made me think it was moving.
I was about to just write it off as an overactive imagination when I looked at it again through the binoculars and it slowly moved horizontally out of my field of view. Thinking that perhaps it was me, I spread my legs shoulder width apart, stood firmly and regained the light in my field of view. I was not moving, IT WAS. It then dropped straight down out of my field of view, and when I regained it, it was stationary again.
At this point, it was almost 1930 and I had been drinking coffee during my drive. I had to go into Wal-Mart ((deleted)). I put the binoculars away and walked (at a fast pace) into Wal-Mart.
The light was visible in the sky to the SW the entire time I was walking in. What struck me as odd, was that no one was looking at it or noticing it, and having seen everything I had just seen I thought "Wow, there really could be UFO activity over a populated area and most average citizens wouldn't even notice!"
I went into Wal-Mart, used the restroom quickly, and when I came back out the light was no longer visible in the sky to the SW of Wal-Mart. I looked for it on the horizon but couldn't find it anywhere. I went back to my truck, got out my binoculars, and scanned the sky visually and with the binos waiting for it to reappear. While I was waiting for it to reappear, I noticed there were two aircraft flying high-enough that I couldnt' hear them and in a tight formation (that appeared to be military) flying SW.
The light never reappeared, and due to all the buildings and ground-based lights I realized I couldn't really see much anyway. I got in my truck and left at 1945.