Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mysterious missile launch most likely US Air Flight 808

Updated Network news and the internet were abuzz with the report and video by Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCBS of a reported missile launch late Monday afternoon -- around 5 PM. Both the Air Force and the Navy denied they had any missiles launches at the time. According to CBS News the Defense Department remains baffled.

"Nobody within the Department of Defense that we've reached out to has been able to explain what this contrail is, where it came from," Pentagon spokesman Col. Dave Lapan said. "So far, we've come up empty with any explanation." And they go on: The FAA told CBS News that they ran radar replays of a large area west of Los Angeles based on media reports of the location of a possible missile launch, but they did not reveal any fast moving unidentified targets in that area. The FAA also did not receive any reports of any unusual sightings from pilots in the area. The North American Aerospace Defense Command, or NORAD, issued a statement jointly with the U.S. Northern Command, or NORTHCOM, saying that the contrail was not the result of a foreign military launching a missile. It provided no further details.

A search for flights that could have left a contrail led me to US Air’s flight 808 from Honolulu to Phoenix. The flight took off from Honolulu at 10:06 AM HST, passed over Catalina Island at 5:03 PM PST and landed in Phoenix at 6:42 MST (5:42 PST). The flight entered the US just north of Camp Pendleton. It was at 37,000 ft and traveling at 582 mph.

The flight track is shown above (From FlightAware). Tracking data here (also from FlightAware) covers the time around 5:00 PM as the plane approached the California coast.

Time PST Lat. Long. -------Direction -KTS MPH -ALT

04:56PM- 33.04-119.1863° Northeast 487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
04:57PM- 33.10-119.0362° Northeast 487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
04:59PM- 33.17-118.8962° Northeast 487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
04:59PM- 33.23-118.7463° Northeast 487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:01PM- 33.30-118.5963° Northeast 487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:01PM- 33.36-118.4479° East ------487 560 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:02PM- 33.39-118.2680° East ----- 500 575 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:03PM- 33.41-118.0882° East ----- 506 582 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:04PM- 33.43-117.9181° East ------511 588 37,000 Los Angeles Center
05:06PM- 33.45-117.7482° East ------516 594 37,000 Los Angeles Center

It is extremely doubtful either NASA or the services would launch without a NOTAM closing the airspace. They didn't. If a missile were launched, NORAD would have satellite tracking of the boost phase. They don’t. It is highly doubtful a foreign country would be able to position itself and launch without detection. The only reasonable conclusion it was an aircraft contrail, most likely from Flight 808.

1 comment:

aruanan said...

Near the apogee of the flight, fire, not smoke was clearly visible. Whatever this was, it wasn't flying southwest. You cannot see fire from an engine from something west of you heading east, toward you. The engine, whether rocket or jet, would be pointing in the wrong direction