Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Defense Department Says Mysterious California Contrails Wasn't Produced By Military Missile; UPDATE: Did Blogger Solve Mystery?

The US military has ruled out that the contrails seen off the California coast weren't produced by one of their missiles, but they can't say what exactly did produce the plume.
More than a day after a CBS camera caught video of an unidentified projectile leaving a condensation trail off the California coast, the situation remains a mystery, with the Defense Department insisting that it was not a missile.

The Pentagon is still not sure what that was in the sky off the coast of California -- except that it was not a missile fired by the U.S. or some other country, reports CBS News Pentagon correspondent David Martin.

The video of what looks for all the world like the contrail of a missile was shot Monday evening by KCBS cameraman Gil Leyvas from a news helicopter over Los Angeles.

"I saw a big plume coming up, rising from looked like beyond the horizon and it continued to grow," Leyvas said.

He zoomed his camera in and stayed on it for about 10 minutes. To him it looked like an incoming missile.

They figure it was either an amateur rocket or aircraft contrails. ABC News says that there are no indications that this was a foreign military weapon system either. The FAA says that they didn't catch anything on their radar tapes, and the military says that they didn't schedule or inadvertently launch missiles in the vicinity.

The NY Post reports that a blogger may have solved the mystery by noting that one of two flights were in the vicinity of the suspect contrails. It was either an America West or UPS flight.
Liem Bahneman on Wednesday pinpointed America West flight 808 as the likely cause -- backing up an explanation offered by a senior military official to Fox News Channel that the contrail caught on video by a news helicopter “was more likely caused by an airplane than anything else."

Bahneman wonders if he is the first to call it: "I did a lot of extrapolation of what flights could be at the right position (off the coast) at the right altitude (for contrail formation) and came down to two possibilities: UPS flight 902 (UPS902) or America West flight 808 (AWE808)."
The Post gets the flight information wrong. Bahneman says that it was US Airways flight 808. The flight originates in Phoenix and ends in Honolulu.

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