|Occurred : 10/11/2014 19:44 (Entered as : 10/11/14 19:44)
Reported: 10/18/2014 7:01:55 PM 19:01
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
|String of Red Lights at Elevation, Spanning 40 Degrees, in the vicinity of the Allegheny County Airport.
We live in Pittsburgh west of the Allegheny County Airport (located in West Mifflin). My wife, walking the dog in our yard, noticed a string of uniformly spaced red lights at altitude (as one would expect a Life Flight helicopter to be) spanning at least 40 angular degrees. She called me to the yard, and I also observed them. I observed (at times using binoculars) that they appeared to be rising, in a spaced fashion, one after another, from a single point in the southeast and heading to the southwest. We estimated they were rising in the vicinity of the airport. One plane observed was perceived by us to be lingering in the area, but the plane, a commercial airliner or cargo plane, subsequently flew over our house, so the perception of lingering must have been due to a great initial distance and we observed it flying into the area. Towards the end of the event, we perceived helicopters to be flying in the area of the airport near the point we witnessed the lights ascending.
The lights were red, similar to radio tower lighting. The light to the southwest most point merely extinguished, and being distracted, but not seeing the others, they too apparently went out. My initial assessment is that they were some man made thing, such as "Sky Lanterns" lifted by balloon or the heat rising from a candle, but problems exist with this theory.
1. They were launched near the County Airport, which I would suppose to be forbidden for a legal launch, as interference to or confusion of air traffic may ensue.
2. To suppose that they were equipped with electrical power for lighting or being equipped with a candle should have provided the most recently launched light with the ability to travel from the southeast launch point to the southwest extinguish point before itself extinguishing, this clearly did not happen.
I returned to the house and alternately listened to a scanning radio for the police frequencies in my area of Pittsburgh and to Aircraft Frequencies collectively. Nothing was heard to indicate that any others had called to report this incident, nor were pilots, in their very brief communications, mentioning it.
I subsequently noted an establishment across the street from the County Airport as having a Grand Opening sign, but I'm not sure how old the sign is. I drove past the County Airport travelling to work, on following days, but did not notice anything to account for the lights. We perused the media for a hint of a man made cause, but found none. We found this reporting page as a result.