|Occurred : 7/18/2009 20:00 (Entered as : 07/18/2009 20:00)
Reported: 8/6/2009 1:09:46 AM 01:09
Location: Yakima, WA
|Triangular aircraft seen from Divide Ridge
A friend and I were camped at the far western end of Divide Ridge.
(Western end of NFR 1020.) 46° 33' 25.95" N 121° 11' 47.53" W This is the former site of a fire lookout tower and has an unobstructed view facing west. Elevation of the site is about 6500 feet. This is accessible by 4 wheel drive or ATV from Tampico Washington about twenty miles to the east. (Yakima is 30 miles to the east) We had seen occasional air traffic throught the day, the latest being a C-17 overflying the area from west to east at approximately 1900.
I was preparing dinner around when my friend asked me to identify an “airplane” he was watching. He pointed out a dark colored triangular flying wing with a span of about 25 feet and a depth of around 6 feet. When it was pointed out to me it was coming toward us from the west (traveling west to east) at more or less our altitude. It approached our position eventually overflying us at an altitude of about 500 feet AGL and made a rather leisurely turn to the north and continued along the ridge line eventually moving out of sight in the general direction of Rimrock lake which we could just barley see about ten miles to our north. Through the whole encounter its speed remained quite low. I estimate it was moving about 50mph. My impression was of more or less highway speed. If I'm correct this is most likely too slow for aerodynamic lift.
We passed the night uneventfully and returned home the next day.
I at first assumed this was an unmanned aircraft but it had no marking or visible control surfaces. When it turned it did not visibly bank. Even from directly underneath it was completely silent and its surface showed no visible details of any kind, no jet exhaust, no intakes, no landing gear doors. When it was approaching I got a decent look at it through binoculars and saw no obvious intakes anywhere.
In my opinion it exceeds the state of the art, and I have no idea what would posses anyone to operate such a craft in that time and place unless they are trying to be seen. thus my decision to report it here.
Description: Dark colored triangle.
L: about 15 feet W: about 25 feet H: about 6 feet Speed about 50mph Thicker at the front than at the back (airfoil shaped) No marking or visible means of propulsion.
No sign of control surfaces.