|Occurred : 7/18/2008 03:15 (Entered as : 07/18/08 03:15)
Reported: 7/18/2008 3:52:33 AM 03:52
Location: Albuquerque, NM
|When first sighting the light it was moving unusually fast and changed course after a few minutes and then conducted erratic movements.
I woke up a 02:19 and made myself a cup of coffee and sat outside on the front patio enjoying the peace and quiet. From the patio which faces east I have a 180 degrees view.
At approximately 03:15 I was looking to the north and noticed a dull yellow/orange light moving from west to east across the Rio Puerco valley. I estimated that the aircraft/light was 6 to 8 miles away and moving much faster than the normal aircraft on approach to Albuquerque International Airport which is nearly due east 19.5 miles to the control tower. I am guessing that the altitude was 5000 AGL. This is only a guess.
I followed the object with the naked eye until it entered a low thin cloud. I was curious about the fast moving light so I got up out of my chair and search for the object. After a minute or so the object appeared out of the top of the cloud. At this point the light began to flash a very bright red and white strobe. The object headed west again and seemed to trace it's path back. I went into the house and got my 8x35 filed glasses and video camera.
I returned outside and followed the light with the field glasses. Then the light began to jump around. Up and down and left to right. At first I thought I might be moving the field glasses. There was a large star in the northeast that was in the field of view and it was not moving, so it was the object that was jumping around.
I went to the north patio to follow the light's westerly track. The light moved across the Rio Puerco valley at a rapid pace, but not beyond current F16 military aircraft capabilities which operate out of Kirkland Airbase (ABQ International).
At this point I tried to video the light, but the battery was dead. The valley is approximately 5 miles wide where the light made its westerly track and it took approximately 5 minutes to cross the valley. As the object crossed over the Rio Puerco River it began to jump around again. The erratic movements covered the entire field of view of my field glasses. Again I tried to make sure I wasn't moving the field glasses, but there were no stars visible in the west, northwest because of a slight cloud cover and the brightness of the moon high in the south, southwest, but I did use the edge of the western horizon as a reference point when possible. Same results the light was jumping around.
During the period of erratic movements the object was flashing a red and white strobe light similar to conventional aircraft. I followed the light/object for several more minutes as it seemed to pass over the north lava fields of Mt Taylor. At this point it was not moving oddly, but the red and white strobes continued and I returned into the house.
The temperature was approximately 70 degrees and there were clusters of thin clouds. Visibility was very good. Humidity was high for the Rio Puerco valley. A near full moon was high in the Southwest. Winds were from the north at 1 to 2 knots.
I am a former general aviation pilot and currently fly microlight aircraft (powered paramotors) and I trained pilots to fly powered paramotors for 9 years. I retired from training in 2007. I was an certified EAA instructor.