Those also tend to be white with surfaces resembling given descriptions. And since they are light, subject to winds, and can be either powered or tethered, their motion could look rather erratic or ping-pong like, as reported. And they can of course "hover" or "hold like a Harrier".
Balloons alone are also "stealthy" against the radar, which is why they (at least in civilian use) are commonly required to carry some sort of radar re_ector. Such combination (possibly launched from a submarine) has also been proposed as an explanation for the "sphere encasing a cube" type of UFO that was mentioned in a recent NYT article, as well as for the reported radar detections in the Nimitz incident.
A CRS Report for Congress, dated some 4 months before the incident, states that contemporary interest is growing in using airships (such as blimps and aerostats) for numerous missions, and lists the then current uses, which include for example 25-feet long vehicle launched REAP aerostats (which are not quite tic tac shaped, as they have large tail structures). But it doesn't mention anything in use by submarines. A Naval Research Advisory Committee presentation dated about a year after recommends developing new aerostat/airship capabilities for navy uses (including for surveillance, electronic warface, communications relays), but also states there are no currently active LTA (lighter than air) navy programs.
But then again, the world of nuclear submarines is shrouded in secrecy. Here's oneexample from UK's Royal Navy on how balloons and subs can make strange looking
Our next adventure involved towing a large, hydrogen-[lled barrage balloon with a radar reaector attached. This enabled scientists from the Admiralty Underwater Weapons Establishment to track us with an experimental, long- range sonar [tted in the frigate HMS Verulam. Our range whilst underwater was measured by radar reaections from the balloon. The balloon was attached to an Oropesa aoat, a torpedo-like body that 'aew' horizontally in the water like an aquatic kite. It was used in minesweeping for spreading towed cables. This was bizarre. Imagine a submarine on the surface being pursued by a torpedo with an airship hovering overhead. Then imagine the submarine dived. The viewer would see only an airship being towed by a small torpedo.
We were then refused permission to bring our balloon into Faslane on explosive safety grounds but could not simply release it as it would have risen to high altitude, been a further hazard to aircraft and its radar reaector could have been picked up on the Fylingdales Early Warning System and be classed either as an Unidenti[ed Flying Object or an incoming Soviet ballistic missile.
But surely the reported maneuvers and extreme performance excludes something so simple and slow? Or does it?
Let's get back to the aforementioned estimates and equations between distance,velocity and size. Fravor has described how the tic tac was about the size of a Sghter jet, some 46 feet, and how it mirrored his movements when they were circling each other, and then took off extremely fast when he tried to cut through the middle of that circle.
But when we look at the statements by the other pilots, and other documents, the descriptions differ. According to the Navy event log:
CAPSULE (ALT 4K FT AT COURSE 300) PASSED UNDER FAST EAGLE 110 (ALT 16KFT). FAST EAGLE 110 BEGAN TURN TO ACQUIRE CAPSULE. WHILE 110 WAS DESCENDING AND TURNING, CAPSULE BEGAN CLIMBING AND TURNED INSIDE OF FAST EAGLE’S TURN RADIUS. PILOT ESTIMATED THAT CAPSULE ACHIEVED 600-700 KTS. FAST EAGLE 110 COULD NOT KEEP UP WITH THE RATE OF TURN AND THE GAIN OF ALTITUDE BY THE CAPSULE. 110 LOST VISUAL ID OF CAPSULE IN HAZE. LAST VISUAL CONTACT HAD CAPSULE AT 14KFT HEADING DUE EAST.
Fravor stated in the Fighter Pilot podcast that his WSO did the debrief, so that log might be (at least partially) based on his comments.
Source of the TTSA Pilot Report opined the object was 30-40 feet in length and traveled at 300 to 500 knots in a straight line. She didn't describe Fravor having circled it, or it
having mirrored Fravor, but instead it tumbling into non-sensical angles (whatever that means) and Fravor conducting some evasive moves.
The Executive report also notes Fravor's WSO's report differed from Fravor, as he reported the object traveling level at approximately 500-1000 feet at approximately 500 knots.
Such differences in those descriptions hint at the pilots interpreting parallax effects differently, even within the same plane, which wouldn't be surprising given the event reportedly happened over a calm and hence mostly featureless ocean, with few if any reference points.
They had the aforementioned diNcult task of needing to estimate size, velocity and distance of an unknown and unfamiliar object at the same time, without the help of instruments since they couldn't lock on it. And it seems their estimates differed. Of those, size is of particular interest here, especially since estimates differ close to a factor of two.
It would be understandable that Fravor estimated it to be similar in size to a Sghter jet, even if it wasn't, as that was a familiar size and one he just expected to encounter during the canceled exercise. But what would it mean if it was actually only about half of that, as estimated in that event log? Would he had similarly estimated the distance to be
twice too long, according to that aforementioned relationship between distance and size? It would mean that, when they were circling, the object wasn't actually mirroring them, but was only half-way there, which would put it to the center of that circle. Maybe it was actually just rising higher, or even stationary.
And when he tried to cut the circle, and the tic tac supposedly took off in an instant, maybe it just happened to be closer than he thought, and he simply passed by it at great speed, and lost it from sight (or it burst or de_ated). Those estimated straight line speeds of 500 knots or so could have similarly resulted from interpreting it to low and fast, like with Go Fast, when in reality it was much closer and high up.
Similar arguments could also apply to other possibilities, such as (possibly classiSed) weapons or drones, which could have contributed more to the movements by their own power. But a balloon of some sort would explain that shape and level of stealth more easily.
Could it be something so simple? Maybe. The point is that currently available information and factoring in common estimation errors and discrepancies between the
sources seems to leave enough room for something like that. And when we consider probabilities, and how it seems unlikely there is some classiSed craft that was able to do everything just as described, observational errors combined with something more mundane is much more probable than actual aliens, especially since we have plenty of conSrmed earlier examples of the former, none of the latter.
What this story needs badly is additional information, and it seems that can only come from the four people who had the visual encounter, or from someone who knows what that sub was doing.
So where does that leave us? None of the videos show anything that would defy conventional explanations, and the claims TTSA has made about them hold no water. The most glaring example of obviously false information is the altitude claim regarding the Go Fast footage, and so far there's no indication either the TTSA or the team behind the new UnidentiSed History Channel series, which repeats the same claims without any sort of critical examination, are going to admit that. I know that at least former TTSA advisor Garry Nolan has admitted that error, but that hasn't led to any changes on their site and he has also already resigned.
If those videos are evidence of anything, they are evidence of how easily pilots, UFO
investigators, and so called experts are mislead. There's of course nothing new in that.
There's a strong correlation between the lifetime of a UFO case and availability of information. Thanks to the rarely available combination of video footage and distance information, the Go Fast footage lost all of its mystery on the very day it was released, whereas on the other end of the spectrum the still unexplained visual part of the Nimitz encounter has no footage and some possibly decisive information is unavailable due to the secrecy surrounding radar systems and submarine operations. As well as for the reluctance of some of the participants to be interviewed, and the lack of properly conducted interviews that would concentrate on gathering detailed data, instead of aiming to reinforce certain beliefs.
It also doesn't help that the UFO community in general just wants to believe, instead of honestly trying to Snd the truth. People tend to ignore the ever so revealing discrepancies in witness testimonies and documents, while emphasizing and exaggerating the less credible mysterious aspects, or simply inventing new details out of thin air. Which is why these cases can usually only be solved by looking at the original sources, as the retellings are more than likely to just mislead.
If and when the remaining Nimitz encounter is explained, it's pretty much certain it will be done by a skeptic/debunker, as they are basically the only people who even try to do that. "Just believing" has never advanced our understanding about anything, quite to the contrary, especially since it so commonly means refusal to accept negative results and hostility towards such progress. An unsolved mystery may be a good story, but a solved one is one more step towards the truth, whatever it may be. I'll choose the latter over the former any time.
Nick Pope has said:
You know the skeptics have to be right every single day. The believers only need to be right once. And this is the ultimate game changer.
Which is a good example how believers like him are fooling themselves. If we ever Snd irrefutable proof of aliens, we all win. At least, if it's more like E.T. and less like Independence Day. But in the meanwhile, skeptics are the only ones who score all the time, since they are the ones who even play this game correctly. And their success is also a win for us all, even if it leads to new disappointments, since we actually learn something, and can get rid on false information and beliefs. That's progress.