Background: On January 26,2014 two UFO sightings occurred in the Spokane Valley. (This is the Eastern part of Spokane, WA area.) A video was taken of a bright object that dropped another object. This object was sighted to the south. The exact time of this sighting is not known. The sighting (and video) is believed to have been between 6:10 and 6:45 PM PST. This sighting was reported to MUFON. Another sighting was reported at around 6:15 PM PST. This sighting location was about one mile SE of where the video was taken. The witnesses at the second location saw a large orange light to the East of their location. They viewed the light through binoculars. This sighting was reported to UFOS Northwest.
At the request of James Clarkson who is the director of MUFON for Washington State I requested radar data from the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration for the local Spokane Airport and the U.S. Air Force (long range radar data). Data was received from the FAA about one month after the request was made. The U.S. Air Force has denied my request for data. If time permits, this denial may be appealed.
The radar data received was somewhat unusual in that much of the primary (non-aircraft) returns had been filtered. Filtered data probably included ground targets (traffic), birds, weather and radar angels. This actually made analysis easier.
The map below shows the location of unknown radar returns and of two commercial aircraft that passed through the area near the times of the sightings. The commercial aircraft were both flying over 30,000 feet so they would not have seen the object.
The locations of possible UFO radar returns is consistent with the directions observed by both groups of witnesses. The video was taken of objects to the south which is consistent with the radar map which shows possible unknown returns about 6 miles to the south. The second group of witnesses saw a large orange object to the east. The above map shows possible unknown returns to the east-northeast of the second witness location.
An enlargement of the area to the south of the video location is shown in the map below. The map shows that an object was tracked moving to the south at 190 MPH and then 131 MPH. At the south location (last recorded radar movement) several targets appeared at the same time. The time of the map below is between 6:10 and 6:11 PM PST.
The map below is a zoomed look at the returns to the east-northeast of the second witness location. The time of the map is 6:01 PM PST. The map shows multiple targets that occurred at the same time. This is similar to the pattern of targets to the south of the video location. (See above map.)
Discussion of Sightings and Radar Maps
1. The direction of radar detects of both sets of unknown returns is consistent with witness observations. However, the times may not be coincident with the times that both groups of witnesses saw the objects. The video was thought to have been taken between 6:15 PM and 6:45 PM. The radar detects to the south were between 6:10 and 6:11 PM. In the second location the time of the sighting was at 6:15 PM. The radar returns to the east-northeast were at 6:01 PM which is nearly 15 minutes earlier.
2. The cloud ceiling was fairly low (1,200 feet) on the night and times of the sightings. Assuming that the video was taken of the returns on the above maps the object would have been about 840 feet in diameter given that the object was dime sized at arm’s length and was nearly 6 miles away (per radar returns). However, this scenario is not likely because the object would have been only a little over 2 degrees above the horizon. Clearly when observing the video footage the object was much higher in the sky. These computations were based on the fact that the cloud heights were 1,200 feet and that the object was right at the base of the clouds.
3. The pattern of radar returns both to the south and east-northeast are unusual. The returns show a radar track followed by the appearance of multiple returns at the end of each track. This is somewhat consistent with the fact that the video footage shows an object that eventually ejected another object.
4. The only consistency between the radar returns and witness observations is in the direction. The times and distances are not entirely consistent. (The distance is nearly 6 miles for the returns to south. The distance of the radar returns to the east-northeast is more consistent with witness observations as it is approximately 1.5 miles.) One can allow for possible errors in the witness reported times, but one has to be careful to not make the observations fit the radar data.
5. In conclusion the radar map does show some unusual returns in general directions where witnesses saw UFO activity, but the times and distances are not consistent between radar and witness observations. Of course the radar returns may not be a real object and could possibly be due to other causes (radar angels, weather, anomalous propagation, etc.).