|Occurred : 2/23/2016 18:15 (Entered as : 02/23/16 18:15)
Reported: 2/24/2016 12:00:53 PM 12:00
Location: Leander, TX
|Cigar-shaped object about the size of an airliner tracking slowly across the sky.
While attending my daughter’s soccer match at Leander High School in Leander, Texas (30 minutes north of downtown Austin) on the evening of February 23, 2016, something in the sky caught my eye around 6:15 p.m.. I was sitting about mid-field on the home side of the bleachers, which face northeast toward the away team side. A former private pilot years ago and growing up in an aviation family, I have always kept an eye on the sky and have a very good visual familiarity with planes of all sizes. I knew what I was tracking was not airplane at all.
I surmise the object was a little lower than normal airliner cruising altitude, somewhere between 20,000 to 25,000 feet above ground level. It did, however, appear to be about the size of an airliner, but there were no wings. Given this, I would say that the object was “cigar” shaped and rounded on both ends. It was also, in my estimate, not flying at airliner speed, approximately 500 mph. I would say that it was going only about 1/3 – 2/3 normal airline speed. It appeared to be white or metallic as an airliner appears, but again lower, slower, and with no contrail. It was tracking across the sky in a straight line traveling roughly north northeast to south southwest. I was able to watch it for two minutes or better before I lost it behind height of the bleachers.
That I know, no one else around me noticed the object. I didn’t mention it to anyone because I happened to be seated between away team parents that I don’t know.
I have seen weather balloons at high altitudes track across the sky in a very slow fashion, but they’re little what dots in the sky. Some I’m confident it wasn’t one of those.
To be honest I’ve never in all of my years of watching the skies seen anything like this – with one exception. In early April 2015, my youngest daughter and I went to an airshow at the little airport in Burnet, Texas, about an hour’s drive west from our home in Leander. At some point as little Pitts Special aerobatic light plane completed a round of stunts with smoke, I notice something not quite right in the sky. I would say this object was at or above normal airliner cruising altitude, approximately the size of an airliner, and tracking slowly. This object was white/metallic like an airliner, except the shape is what I can only describe as “bowtie.” Looking at Google Earth, I would say that this object was moving west to east as I was standing looking north down the runway.
In either case, I would definitely say neither object was a standard plane/airliner or any weather balloon that I’ve observed. They could possibly be drones or experimental aircraft. But my gut tells me that’s not the case.