|Occurred : 5/30/2008 20:30 (Entered as : 05/30/08 20:30)
Reported: 8/16/2011 6:26:08 PM 18:26
Location: Pensacola, FL
Duration:3 minutes (approx)
|Amber lights in formation (flying disk?) over I-10, headed towards Escambia Bay.
It was May 30, 2008, when my wife and I were driving back home after eating at a restaurant downtown. We were on I-10 eastbound, driving 70-ish, in abnormally non-existent traffic for a Friday night. When we were a couple of miles past the Davis Hwy interchange, I noticed a light twin airplane passing overhead and to my left (north of highway), going south, low in altitude (200-300 ft) presumably for landing (as we could see landing lights and gear extended). This isn't unusual, the traffic patterns frequently pass over for that particular runway. But, a bright ring of 10 or more amber lights behind/beside the plane startled me, thinking someone just launched a ring-shaped fireworks display in dangerously close proximity to this landing plane.
As the plane continued, apparently ignorant of these lights, the mystery lights seemed to shut off, and disappear rather quickly. I quickly asked my wife if she had seen these "fireworks," as she was in the front passenger seat of our jeep wrangler. She said she had not, but as I started to describe the lights (8-12 in number) as we continued down the road, they reappeared, as if they "turned on" with a switch, still to my left, above the trees, but at least 1000-2000ft (east) from where I saw it last. It seemed as though whatever it was, it was moving at least 80+ mph, since it reappeared slightly ahead of us, and we were going E @ 70 mph. My wife saw it this time, and agreed it did look like fireworks (in shape and color), only to watch it disappear seconds later again, instantly. We were now a little confused, knowing it was not a plane, blimp, flares, or a mobile fireworks platform.
As we continued east, and are struggling to say anything further, it reappears again, instantly, and it is now apparent that these lights (8-12, unsure of number) must be fixed to a solid object, and are flashing at an interval of a couple seconds on (all of them), and then off simultaneously for a couple seconds. It was apparently tracking to the east-south-east, heading towards the bay and beyond. As the interstate curves to the north approaching Scenic Highway, the object crossed over the lanes, and because of its altitude and direction, my wife thought it would hit the Ramada Inn. It passed over though, still blinking its amber lights rhythmically, and we followed it on the off-ramp to Scenic Hwy. When we got to the traffic light, my wife frantically pleaded that we go south on Scenic and follow it. I just sat and stared as it continued east-southeast over the bay, apparently unable to speak or drive, or follow my wife's instructions. She asked me several more times, and! I instead turned North to go home. I don't know why I didn't follow it, I wished that I had, but something majorly psychological was computing in my brain, and refusing to accept what we knew we just saw. I had never seen a ufo before, but my life has not been the same since.
I am glad that my wife saw it as well, otherwise I would think I was crazy. We went home and drew independent pictures, and the only variance was our perspective, while I saw a complete ring, she saw something closer to that of an omega/horse-shoe/open ring. The color was the same in both of our perspectives, somewhere between orange and yellow, amber would be the best word in my opinion. The distance/size was nearly impossible to perceive, it could have been 30 feet above, 300 feet above, or 3000 feet above. The limiting factors were the trees it passed over, the plane it did not collide with, and the high cloud ceiling. In my opinion, it would seem as though it were close to 300 feet in altitude, considering it cleared the trees, and seemed to follow the path of the interstate. If it were at that distance, I would estimate it's size to be 50-100 feet in "diameter", but that's only an estimation based on estimated height. The light twin airplane seen at the beginning of the! sighting was estimated nearly 200-300 feet ( could have been even 500 feet ) in altitude, and with my life experience around planes/airports/military air stations, I can safely assume that the wingspan of the plane was 20-30 feet tops. The ring was nearly twice the size of the plane when they were in "close" proximity to each other, but I don't have experience around such phenomenon to know what normal is for size or distance.
We could not hear a sound, but our Jeep is noisy on the freeway. By comparison, the airplane was audible and sounded like a turboprop (it may have been a reciprocating prop w/ 3-blade engines, however, not really sure at the glance we had in those conditions), and was briefly and typically heard as it passed overhead. We don't know what the environmental conditions for wind were, windows were up and the temperature was unknown as well (A/C was probably on), there were no visible stars or moon, cloud ceiling was high enough not to reflect billboard lights or other urban lighting that is typical in the area. When we rolled to a stop at the offramp traffic light, the road noise diminshed and no sound was perceived as the ring of lights continued east over the bay.
I have considered and reconsidered repeatedly what it was or was not, and can only say what it was not based on several key facts. 1) It was not a satellite, I have seen hundreds in my lifetime, none of them were amber, or traveling in coordinated groups/formation. 2) It was not meteor or comet, I have seen hundreds of either in my lifetime, including several meteor showers and eye-visible comets, they do not remain in formation over 3 miles and flash off and on repeatedly. 3) It was not military flares, I have seen those on t.v. and other videos, I am fairly certain they would not be dropped over the interstate or next to civilian aircraft on approach to landing, not to mention the residential areas that surrounded the freeway. There are many bases nearby, both air force and navy, and Eglin's expanse seems like a more logical testing site for such activities as flare drops. 4) I don't believe it was a blimp, the size could match, but the lights (we frequently see the Tostit! o's and Goodyear blimps at night and day flying to KPNS) and speed (over 70 MPH) seem unreasonable. 5) I don't think it was a civilian aircraft due to the other air traffic's close proximity, and there were no typical light patterns (no strobes, nav lights, or anti-collision lights), and I have never seen a disc shaped plane (I think the government mothballed most 50 years ago for various reasons). 6) The only other rational reason is bunk as well, if it was a 'top-secret' military aircraft, I think the above mentioned location (interstate 10, densely residential NE Pensacola, planes landing at the same time) would have blown the cover of a black project. Again, with nearby expanses of unpopulated testing grounds like Eglin AFB and others, I don't see why a secret aircraft would fly directly over I-10 or get dangerously close to other landing airplanes, that is not very inconspicuous, or top secret either. That leaves ball lightning or swamp gas, and I have never heard of s! uch phenomenon appearing as our sighting did. But I am not an ! expert.
I grew up in the area, my father was a Navy pilot and flight instructor, and my time in Civil Air Patrol years ago has provided experience around many civilian and military airplanes. We do not have photos, or video, I think even if we had such equipment at the time, we were too dumbfounded to even use such devices. I will send in drawings/renderings that have been made since. Not much help but a picture says a thousand words.