AN EXPLANATION IS ADVANCED!
Key information on the March 27th case was furnished when contact was made with a Sergeant at the SPRINGFIELD AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, in Springfield, Ohio.
Here is an assessment of the conversation:
The Sergeant, contacted by telephone at 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, March 27, 1997, stated that there were eight F-16s involved in air-to-air dogfight maneuvers the previous evening. The Sergeant had already been asked about UFO reports, as someone from Columbus had also called, after spotting a news report on this from a Columbus TV station.
It is a common practice to utilize flares as a defensive maneuver. When asked the practicality of this practice over residential neighborhood, the Sergeant held that it was not a big concern, since the flares don't hit the ground. Because of the rare clarity of the night, that's why so many people noticed the activity. The Sergeant stated that the maneuvers have been conducted there for at least 10 to 12 years, and this is the first time in his 26 years of experience that this was thought to be UFOs.
All of these operations are always conducted on Wednesday nights. The purposes for the maneuvers are "Night Intercepts" against other F-16s, are these routinely conducted engagements are mock dogfights between multiple planes from an elevation of 5,000 to 50,000 feet
The purpose for flares is to draw the sensor systems on the other airplanes and/or missiles to the heat of the flare, which has a brighter glow and heat signature than the plane engines. A heat-seeking missile locks on to this heat source and is lured away from its target by the diversionary flare. The flare is dispenced and the jet fighter is then plunged into an evasive roll or maneuver. This is a common practice which trains the pilot on how to incorporate a common defensive maneuver. "DROP AND ROLL." The combination of flare(s) and jet-engine vapor confuses untrained ground observers into thinking of ODD HAPPENINGS in the skies above.
The activity on March 26 was taking place over the restricted air corridor known as the BUCKEYE MOA (Military Operating Area) which covers a large area of Southern Ohio, and stretches from Wilmington to the lower corner of Adams County, and includes the cities of Bainbridge, Hillsboro and Peebles. The exercizes are conducted anywhere from 5,000 to 50,000 feet. At a higher altitude, the maneuvers wouldn't even be seen, according to the A.N.G. Sergeant.
Once every 3 months or so these exercises will be flying every Wednesday AND Thursday nights. At around twilight before dark, they practice bombing runs on the dam at Rocky Fork lake.
Next week (1st of April, 1997) they will be flying Wednesday and Thursday nights.
Springfield ANG schedules every aircraft that flies in area, F-16s from TOLEDO, FT. WAYNE and TERRE HAUTE (4 units) KC-135s from Columbus and Rickenbacker. The Sergeant said that this corridor does not test fly experimental aircraft.
This practice is routinely conducted in other parts of the country, and will also account for the reports in Arizona, which are of similar description to the March 26, 1997, March 12, 1997 and October 16, 1996 events from Ohio, which have been addressed in detail in previous investigations, and explained to the satisfaction of this writer.
|This page updated November, 1998|
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