|Occurred : 1/26/2008 18:41 (Entered as : 01/26/08 18:41)
Reported: 1/26/2009 11:36:00 PM 23:36
Location: Low Moor, VA
Duration:5 - 7 seconds
|Low, large, fast, maneuvering aircraft with strange glow and configuration over I-64W.
Was driving from Clifton Forge to Covington, Va. on I-64 W after getting off work and going to the grocery store.
Weather was overcast, just before a winter storm warning, with low, solid clouds, cold temperatures, and poor visibility. Sky was fully darkened.
Was driving due west on I-64 when I observed from the far left, an aircraft of some kind, which flew from left to right (very south to very north) over the interstate. The aircraft was approximately the same size as a typical fighter aircraft, but didn't have running lights. First off, there were no flashing lights at all (required by FAA), and also no solid wingtip lights, if there were any wings. Second, the aircraft had a distinctly large, bright, diffuse aft glow, orange to peach in color, oval in shape like a figure "8" laid on its side but not that precise. This gave the impression of what might be jet engines, but it didn't seem as bright or cherry-red as engines, and was more large and amorphous, less like two distinct circles, like you'd observe on a fighter aircraft at night. Also, there was a fore end glow, rather large but smaller than the aft end glow, also peach or orange in color but less bright, and either pointed-oval or cone-shaped, like a cockpit with the light on. It gave the impression of a structured craft with a general shape of a high aspect ratio cone, but the glowing features were not bright enough to illuminate wings or a fuselage of any kind.
The aircraft flew approximately over Alleghany Regional Hospital, perpendicular to the interstate, over the interstate, until it reached Valley Ridge Road in front of Alleghany High School, where it took a sharp turn westward, to follow Valey Ridge Road. It cut the turn rather abruptly, kind of "skidding" through the air and wobbling from left to right a couple of times to overcorrect its path to a straight line before proceeding due west to the right of I-64 along Valley Ridge Road toward Covington, where I lost it. When it cut the right-angle turn, the glow seemed to brighten, but that could have just been me getting a straight-on look at it's aft section.
What struck me was how low, large, fast and maneuverable it was. There is a mountain behind the high school, can't be more than 1,500 feet high. I saw this thing silhouetted against that mountain as it flew off, so it was definitely lower than the ridge. It looked like it had to hand a fast left to avoid smacking into the ridge. Approximately the size of a large jet fighter only larger, and very fast and maneuverable... I'd say the whole sighting lasted maybe 5-7 seconds. There had to be lots of people who saw this, it was over the interstate at a very busy time.
This could be related to some daylight sightings of Osprey aircraft operating in Lexington a few weeks ago. Could this have been an Osprey at night? I don't know. Somehow I don't think so, because if you saw this thing move, it moved more like a cruise missile or sophisticated UAV or something. Also, there was NO (and I mean absoluted ZERO) sound at all coming from this thing. That produced an eerie effect. After I lost it, I looked at my car radio and marked the time as 6:41 PM.
Anyone else who saw this, I'd appreciate your views. Thanks.
((NUFORC Note: Witness elects to remain totally anonymous; provides no contact information. PD))