|Occurred : 8/3/2013 05:15 (Entered as : 08/03/13 05:15)
Reported: 8/4/2013 7:39:21 AM 07:39
Location: Panoche (near; on I-5), CA
|I-5 in California, two conical craft in flight formation, one steady white and one blinking white
First UFO sighting in my life. I'm an 18 wheel truck driver, 15 years experience trucking. 55 years old this month. Eagle Scout, top of my class in high school, 4 year Engineering degree (1976-1980), private pilot's license when I was in college, and ex-airline mechanic (A & P mechanic). I love aviation, I love aircraft, you can't put me on too many commercial flights, that's how much I love air travel, and I know a whole lot about aircraft and flying.
I'm using web site "drivei5.com", the northbound exit guide, for reference right now. Spent the night in the sleeper berth of my tractor-trailer at exit 334, west side of Interstate 5 in front of the Best Western. Today is Saturday, 8/3/13. Went to slept last night (Friday, 8/2/13) around 7 p.m. I had been awake and working since 3:30 a.m. Friday morning, and by the time I finished dinner at the Chinese restaurant named Oriental Express, I was dead tired. Finished dinner, got in my tractor, put myself Off Duty on the HOS (Hours of Service, federal truck driving regulations) computer at 6:32 p.m., and was fast asleep by 7 p.m. I awoke this morning before my alarm clock, and I hit the road at 4:32 a.m. immediately after my 10 hour HOS break. I was driving northbound on I-5 in my tractor-trailer during the entire time of both sightings, speed set by cruise control at around 57 mph. The sighting happened between 5:10 a.m. and 5:15 a.m. That's a rough estimate: ! I was a little taken and preoccupied with the sighting, so it might have taken a minute or two after the sighting ended before I had the presence of mind to look at the clock, which said 5:15. I passed the Firebaugh Rest Area, which is mile marker 386, right at 5:30 a.m., which means I was 15 miles short of the rest area when I saw the clock reading 5:15 a few moments after the sighting ended. Working backwards, I must have been driving somewhere near the stretch of freeway between mile marker 365 and 370 during the sighting. It was before first light, so it was still dark out. I don't remember where the moon was or what phase it's in, you can look that up. I don't remember seeing moonlight. It was dark except for vehicle lights and the lights of towns down in the valley.
First sighting: At first I saw three lights in a straight line, off to my left out the driver door window, and I thought it was a reflection. I moved my head back and forth, but the "reflection" didn't move against the background outside, so I knew it was outside the truck. I don't remember if the lights had any shape, but they were white, like LED white. Duration was in the seconds, definitely less than 10-15 seconds total. I thought I had hallucinated something, or seen a reflection. What happened next, though, made it clear I probably hadn't hallucinated.
Second sighting: That straight line of 3 lights disappeared very quickly, but it had drawn my attention to the left side of the freeway. Normally, as a driver, I would just be looking ahead, and checking my mirrors for cars coming up behind me. Next thing I remember, and it must have happened fairly quickly after the first sighting, best guesstimate 5-15 seconds later, I saw what looked like two distinct white lighted vehicles emerge from near the ground to my left heading from left to right across the freeway in front of me. Distance away from me maybe a few hundred yards, a quarter mile, something like that. Altitude started at ground level, which on the left side of the freeway is hilly and uneven, to anywhere from eye level to maybe the top of a telephone pole when they crossed the freeway in front of me. The ground slopes down to the east as it heads into the valley. The ground to the west of the freeway, to my left because I was heading northbound, is hilly and ! gets higher in elevation the more west you go. So their AGL altitude increased the entire duration of the sighting. However, the entire sighting was at my eye level or a little above my eye level, easily visible to me through the windshield. My windshield in this 2011 Freightliner is a single piece of glass with no divider in the middle. Honestly, the entire show of the second sighting couldn't have been more perfectly designed for my viewing pleasure.
I knew right away they were UFOs, something I'd never seen before. Definitely not a crop duster or any other kind of aircraft. Movement was way, way, way too smooth and straight to be a crop duster. Besides, no crop duster works at night. It was completely dark. They have to see what they're doing at those low altitudes, because they can't seed a field or spray a field with pesticide unless they can see the field they're dusting. Also, even if they were just out flying for fun, they'd fly into a power line or other ground-based obstacle and kill themselves at those low altitudes. Plus I might have heard the engine at that short distance. Crop dusters have very old, antiquated, and extremely loud radial engines, relics of the 1940s, all the WW2 airplanes had them. If you've ever heard a WW2 airplane, you know how loud those engines are. Raucously loud. I couldn't hear any sound above the noise my tractor was making as I was driving.
The two vehicles, that's what they seemed to be, were identical in size and shape, something like the shape of a Hershey's Kiss, completely symmetrical and sort of cone shaped, but not perfectly conical. There was a shoulder in the close-to-conical shape. The UFOs were heading left to right, west to east. Both UFOs were the identical color and brightness, again a white like a white LED. The only difference between the two craft (if that's what they were, "craft"): the UFO trailing in the flight formation was steady white. The UFO leading in the flight formation was flashing on and off rapidly. It wasn't a regular flash pattern, it was some kind of irregular flash pattern. So the lead craft was "strobing," or blinking on and off rapidly in an irregular pattern, and the trailing craft was steady light. During the entire sighting, I don't recall either craft getting lighter or dimmer. Just the same steady brightness for each of them. The UFOs never ! changed speed, altitude, or direction, as far as I could tell. If they changed direction at all, it was so gradual that I couldn't recognize it. The brightness of the UFO trailing in the flight formation was a steady light that never changed at all, either.
The 2 UFOs crossed the freeway in front of me and I realized as they got further away from me that they weren't heading due east, they were heading northeast. So from my vantage point, they were moving slowly to the right as they got further and further away from me, basically in a line that allowed me to watch them for a long time, minutes. The elevation stayed constant, so they were just a telephone pole's height higher than my elevation during their entire trip across the valley. I would wild guess the speed at between 50 and 100 mph, but that's purely a wild guess, I don't know how to estimate speed that well. It was easy to watch them, even as they passed right in front of me, and especially easy as they traveled further and further away. I didn't have to jerk my eyes or my head or anything like that. It took several minutes, at least, maybe longer, for them to fade away into the distance. I didn't have the presence of mind to look at a clock until after the show! was all over and they had disappeared into the distance. By the time they faded away, they had to have been miles away, best guess 3 to 5 miles since they weren't that large. All UFOs were identical in size, maybe 5-15 feet tall and roughly as wide as they were tall.
The two craft were formation flying, or so it looked, so I suppose the lights could have been attached to one craft, but I never saw any backlighting or evidence that they were part of one single craft. They were at elevation and didn't cross over anything that would have allowed me to identify a shape or a solid object connecting the lights to each other. The sky was completely dark, so they might have been part of one craft, but if you put me under oath and told me to swear to tell the truth, I would say I was looking at two separate flying craft.
As they receded into the distance, heading northeast out across the valley, something unusual happened. When the two UFOs were off in the distance, guesstimating a mile or more, suddenly the right-hand, or leading, UFO (the blinking one) disappeared, and instantaneously an identical blinking UFO appeared on the left of the steady white UFO, still leading/ahead of the steadily lit UFO. So it looked for all the world as if the blinking UFO had disappeared on the right side of the trailing UFO and reappeared instantaneously to the left of the trailing UFO.
At distance, if someone had seen the UFOs for the first time, a casual observer with no aviation experience might have thought they were the lights on an aircraft. However, to this experienced aviation observer, the blinking UFO looked nothing like an actual aircraft strobe light. It was a nearly conical, Hershey's kiss shaped object/craft that was blinking in an unusual way, not like an actual aircraft wingtip strobe light. A true aircraft anti-collision wingtip strobe light doesn't have a size or shape. A true strobe is far too bright to look at directly in front of you. Also, that close to the ground, a true strobe would light up the ground around it and would even light up and reflect off the structure which it was attached to and a part of. The leading UFO was blinking on and off rapidly, but not lighting up anything in the vicinity. I looked directly at it with no pain or difficulty. So even at a distance, it looked nothing like any aircraft or aircraft strobe ! I have ever seen, because it wasn't a strobe light.
Remember, I replaced and operations checked anti-collision strobe lights on commercial aircraft. I know what they look like and how they act. At short distances, those lights will blind you. They're incredibly bright and painful to look at from close distances. They will light up the entire area when you turn them on at night. These UFOs were easy to look at the entire time, never too bright to look straight at them even when they were close to me. The lead UFO was blinking on and off rapidly, nearly as rapidly as a wingtip strobe, in a vaguely similar irregular pattern, but the wrong size, plus it had shape which a strobe light does not, and the wrong blinking pattern. To me the lead UFO looked for all the world like it was attempting to imitate an aircraft wingtip strobe, but doing an exceptionally poor job of it because it wasn't bright enough or blinding enough, not to mention that the blink pattern was all wrong. In short, the size and shape of the steady light,! and the size, shape and blink pattern of the light that was blinking, were unique and were something I have never seen before.
The two UFOs looked for all the world like two very small craft flying in perfect formation, from the time they left the ground until they faded from view in the distance, even when one UFO disappeared and was replaced by an exact duplicate in a different location relative to the steadily lit craft.
Next, what was going on in my head and in my life. I have read that people sometimes have unusual mental and emotional experiences. Nothing particularly strange or unique happened to me psychologically or emotionally. I was curious and delighted to actually see UFOs. I wasn't fearful. I didn't feel spooked or anything. Nor did I feel elated, or inspired, or anything like that. There was no telepathy or strange voices in my head, there was no experience of "lost time," nothing like that. I felt like I was fully conscious and fully myself the entire time, my normal self basically, before, during and after the sighting. I don't recall anything unusual happening in the hours or days before or after the sighting that I would link to the sighting.
However, I should say I am having an unusual week for me. I have been driving trucks for over 15 years, being a grunt delivery driver, and just this week the nature of my relationship with my career has been changing dramatically. All I've ever been is an employee. I've never supervised people. I've never felt qualified, or competent, or confident enough to supervise other people. Just in the past day or two, I've realized that I want to be in transportation management. It has been dawning on me slowly this week that I want to start leading and managing from the front of the pack, instead of the middle of the pack, so to speak. I don't want to "manage" or lead from below anymore, and I want to be acknowledged for my extensive experience and skills in transportation. For the first time in my life, I want to be a manager, and I feel ready to supervise people. It's a very, very new experience for me, and I am feeling more powerful and confident in myself righ! t now, this day, this moment, than ever before in my life. SO the timing of this sighting is synchronized with the timing of me changing drastically what I want to do for work and my confidence level in myself professionally.