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How This Airline Pilot’s UFO Sighting Led To A Bestselling Novel

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Ambush Audiobook Cover - How This Airline Pilot's UFO Sighting Led To A Bestselling Novel

Find out how this airline pilot’s UFO sighting led to a bestselling novel. Did you know I modeled the movements of the strange ship in the first scene of my bestselling sci-fi novel, Ambush, after the flight profile of a UFO I saw above Fort Hood, Texas? In this blog, I’ll lay out exactly what we saw and where. I’ll also tell you what it might have been and how that ties into my novel’s backstory.

This Airline Pilot’s UFO Sighting

I, along with several of my fellow Apache pilots, had the sighting on a dark, predawn morning. At the time, I was in First Cavalry Division’s 1-227th Aviation Regiment, and we had recently returned from the Middle East following Desert Storm. The sighting occurred about an hour before sunrise. We were doing stretching exercises in a parking lot along Fort Hood’s Motor Pool Road, preparing to start the morning’s PT (physical training). The eastern horizon hadn’t even begun to glow, and the moon had already set, so the sky was black, a cloudless, star-filled night.

We were seated in a semicircle oriented toward the base’s massive, live-fire impact area: a miles-wide no man’s land ringed by hundreds of firing ranges for everything from pistols to artillery cannons. The impact area was also where we performed live-fire exercises in our AH-64 Apache Attack Helicopters. Additionally—and this is highly germane to the significance of the sighting—military fighter jets regularly performed maneuvers over the impact area.

It all started when a fellow pilot peered up into the sky and asked, “What is that?” Following his gaze, we all looked up to see what he was talking about. Then we sat mesmerized for the next couple of minutes, watching a point in the sky cut a halting, zigzag pattern across the starfield. The object hung at an extremely high altitude. It glowed brightly, bathed in the light of a sun that hadn’t yet brightened the still-black eastern horizon. If not for its sporadic movements, I would have thought it a satellite of the variety you often see shortly before sunrise or after sunset. At the time, I recall thinking the thing must’ve been at an altitude of at least a hundred thousand feet. Having since flown jets at high altitude at the same time of night, I still believe that estimate accurate.

The object would hang motionlessly against the starfield for a moment and then dart across an appreciable swath of sky. Using Pythagorean theorem (A-squared + B-squared = C-squared), I’ve guesstimated those instantaneous jaunts as miles long. The only way I could describe the speed with which it moved would be to tell you to imagine that you shine the spot of a laser pointer at a wall across the room from you. Flick your wrist a few degrees and snap that red dot to another point on the wall, and you will see the kind of rapid, almost instantaneous movement that we saw the object executing.

After a couple of minutes, the apparent vehicle dropped to a lower altitude and passed out of the sun’s radiance. It disappeared. I exchanged silent looks with my fellow pilots, but none of us commented. Actually, we never spoke of it. Not then. Not later. I have no reason to believe that a report would have been received negatively, but as a military pilot with nothing less than my aviation career on the line, I figured why risk the possibility of being looked askance by a disapproving eye. I imagine it was the same for the others, but I don’t know. As I said, we never talked about it.

Anyone Else Seen Something Like This?

While I never discussed it then, I did, on occasion, discuss it with other pilots and individuals over the intervening years. Twice, I ran into highly intelligent, well-respected individuals who’d had similar sightings. One was the manager of an oil production facility in the Gulf of Mexico, and the other was a Canadian pilot I flew with in Africa. Both had seen a vehicle that moved exactly as I described above.

The oil company manager spoke of having seen an object silently hovering at treetop level. He approached to within a hundred yards of the thing before it darted away so fast its movement formed a blur across his vision. Then it was gone. He added that it had a ring of multicolored light filling the air around its equator (remember this part—there’s a tie-in later in the blog.)

The Canadian pilot’s sighting was not as close. His was more like mine except the movements he saw were even greater than what we witnessed above Fort Hood. He and I remain friends to this day. I’ll be posting a link to this blog on my Facebook Author Page, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he relates his sighting in the comments. 

What Was It?

I never jumped to aliens, and I still don’t believe that’s what we saw. Remember that thing I said about fighter jets above the impact area being germane to the story? Well, here it is. After some thought, I suspected not aliens but us, that the US government had developed a craft capable of maneuvering in a manner that violated physics as we know it. Either through assignment or habit, an Air Force pilot was testing a vehicle at high altitude above Fort Hood’s impact area, unaware that we could see it from ground level due to its being illuminated by the sun’s rays.

How Could Humanity Make That Technological Leap?

I wondered about that for some time. Then I read an article about an obscure German physicist, Burkhard Heim, who had introduced an alternative quantum theory, Heim’s Quantum Theory, or HQT, in the 1950s. He became an instant celebrity (in Germany) when he first presented his work. In the 1960s, Wernher von Braun, the famous German rocket scientist who fathered the United States’ rocket program, aka NASA, approached Heim about his work and asked whether his Saturn rockets were worthwhile.

How Does HQT Tie In?

Burkhard postulated that spinning an extremely powerful magnet in a sufficiently powerful electric field would generate an anti-gravity effect. He also thought it would emit light in the form of particles he called gravitophotons. (Remember the light emanating from the vehicle in the oil company manager’s sighting?) Additionally, Burkhard postulated that the anti-gravity bubble would isolate the vehicle’s inertia, giving the vessel and its occupants the ability to accelerate and stop instantaneously, without being crushed by G-forces. (Sound familiar?) For multiple reasons, his theory was never put to an experimental test. Primarily because the cost, scale, and technologies involved exceeded his abilities.

However, it wasn’t outside our government’s abilities. Here’s an excerpt from the Wikipedia page about Burkhard Heim:

“During the 1955 holiday week of Thanksgiving Day, the New York Herald Tribune, and The Miami Herald carried announcements about the completion of contractual arrangements between Burkhard Heim and Glenn L. Martin Company. Heim was to assist them with their gravity control propulsion project.”

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Glenn L. Martin Company is one of the entities that became Lockheed Martin. That’s the corporation that built practically every top-secret aircraft that ever graced a runway in the Air Force’s secret Groom Lake airbase, popularly known as Area Fifty-One.

How This Airline Pilot’s UFO Sighting Led To A Bestselling Novel

How does this former airline pilot’s UFO sighting tie into Ambush? What if Heim was right and if the scientists at Martin and Lockheed along with those in Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories tested his theory? What if the US Government already has a craft that flies using an HQT inspired drive? What if someone made all of this part of the backstory of his novel?

I’ve flown an additional 9000+ hours in helicopters and jets since that dark morning in 1992, but I never again saw anything move like that unidentified (to me) flying object. I still don’t know exactly what we saw in the sky above Fort Hood’s impact area. However, I think the scenario I put forth makes a good backstory for a fun, thought-provoking, science fiction tale.

You be the judge:

Ambush on Amazon

Ambush on Audible

Series Covers - How This Airline Pilot's UFO Sighting Led To A Bestselling Novel

PS: No, It Wasn’t The Autokinetic Effect.

A few people have suggested that we saw a visual illusion, the autokinetic effect. Also referred to as autokinesis, it’s a phenomenon of visual perception in which a stationary, small point of light in an otherwise dark or featureless environment appears to move, but I can tell you with certainty, this was not what we were experiencing. As military pilots, we were fully aware of this visual illusion. It can be particularly dangerous if you’re trying to land a helicopter at night by looking at a single point of light. It will appear to move around and trick you into thinking your aircraft is moving. We are trained to scan and find other points of reference to avoid this. In this case, the background stars were clearly visible. The point of light was moving against them in radical, instantaneous starts and stops.

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Solitude Makes Amazon Top 20 and Audible Top 10

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Solitude Makes Amazon Top 20 and Audible Top 10

Thank you for making the launch of the Multitude audiobook a resounding success. It’s been a boon to book one in the series. Assisted by the release of its sequel and helped along by an Audible Daily Deal, Solitude made the Amazon Top 20 and Audible Top 10, finishing the second week of April at #17 and #7 respectively. We even surpassed George R.R. Martin and J.K. Rowling for a time, this during the month when Game of Thrones is airing its final episodes on HBO. Thanks again for your support. Time for me to get back to writing. Have a great week.

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2014 Galveston Lone Star Motorcycle Rally

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IMG_3249

My ‘Choppers’

Many of my readers only know me as an author who flies ‘choppers’ for his day job, but you may not know I build and ride them, as well.

I finished the baby pictured above in June 2008. A few months later, she made her Galveston Lone Star Motorcycle Rally debut, and she’s still going strong in 2014. It’s almost time for this year’s rally. Look for Donna and me there November 7-9.

Save us a parking space … a really long parking space with plenty of turning room. That rake allows for the turning radius of a Mack truck … but it looks good doing it. Hey, I never said it was practical.

When you see that ten-foot-long yellow chopper with my beautiful wife, Donna, behind my ugly mug, give us a yell. If you can’t remember my name, just yell out, “Hey you, author!”

Hope to see you there.

Me and the Chopper on the Cover of the Houston Chronicle 2008 — Hurricane-Ike-Delayed Lone Star Rally

2008 Ike Delayed Lone Star Rally

Bike Stats:
Chasis: 2007 JSR Custom – Outrage
Suspension: Rear – None (Hardtail)
Front – American Suspension Inverted Forks
Wheels: Xtreme Machines – Burnt
330mm rear tire (WIDE)
Engine: Ultima 127 cubic inch El Bruto
HP – 140
Tq – 145 LB FT
Exhaust: Vance & Hines Big Radius

Parking a 10′ chopper can be a challenge.

 

 

 

 

 

The Night I Met Donna, My Beautiful Wife.

The Night I Met Donna, My Beautiful Wife.

Daytona Biketoberfest 2011 - First Place at the Broken Spoke Saloon

Daytona Biketoberfest 2011 – First Place at the Broken Spoke Saloon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Daytona Beach Biketoberfest 2011 - Main St.

Daytona Beach Biketoberfest 2011 – Main St.

Key West - 2012

Key West – 2012

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Key West - 2012

Key West – 2012

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Will We Find ET in the Next 20 Years?

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In a Popular Science article, SETI director Seth Shostak said he believes we’ll detect alien life in the next twenty years. He listed a few ways in which this may come about. Primarily, he believes that SETI’s improving technology and its anticipated ability to search a million star systems over the next twenty years provides the most likely avenue for success.

He also touched on the idea that an alien race might detect the radio signals we’ve been emitting for decades and send a reply. Minimizing the possibility, he pointed out that only a few tens of thousands of stars have been exposed to our transmissions.

If one employs conservative/pessimistic numbers in the Drake Equation, then life is probably too rare and scattered to expect a reply anytime in the next several thousand years. However, if you plug slightly more optimistic values into the equation, you see a galaxy teaming with life.

This later scenario presents exciting possibilities and is an area that warrants further consideration.

Given the relatively slow speed of light (relative to the size of the galaxy) only a tiny fraction of the Milky Way may know we exist. Arguably the most powerful unnatural radio signals humanity ever sent out were our above ground nuclear detonations. Restricted to 186,000 miles per second, that energy has blazed across the galaxy and covered a whopping 66 light-year radius in the intervening 66 years. That’s a bubble of information roughly 122 light-years across.

Big huh?

Not really, it’s only 3/100,000 of 1 % (0.000003%) of the galaxy.

Difficult to visualize? Imagine you shrunk the galaxy down to the volume of the Superdome. Now imagine you’re up in the nosebleed section. At that scale, picture a four-foot-wide beach ball at mid-field. That sphere, a few centimeters over a meter, would represent the 122 light-year bubble of stars exposed to the energy waves emitted from the planet in 1945. It’s unlikely anything outside of that beach ball even knows we exist.

Our galaxy is not as boxy as a stadium. The Superdome’s interior volume is roughly as tall as it is wide. At 100,000 light-years across and only 1,000 light-years thick, the width-to-height ratio of our galaxy is 100:1  Now picture that four-foot sphere from a mile away instead of the upper-deck. And remember that if you’re not in that bubble, all you hear from its center point is cosmic white noise.

Knowing how small the portion of the galaxy is that may know of our existence, consider this: every day that sphere’s radius grows, its surface grows exponentially. In other words, the potential pool of star systems learning of our existence is growing daily, and at an ever-increasing rate.

Complicating the issue is the time a reply would take to reach us. If a civilization decides to beam an instant reply, it will take just as long for us to receive it as our signal took to get to them.

What if 33 years ago—back when that bubble was the size of a basketball—a relatively advanced civilization in our galactic backyard received the signal and blasted a return message our way? We’ll receive it thirty-three years later (today). Therefore, any instant replies beamed in the last 32+ years are still en route.

And that is only if they decide to reply immediately. Considering the signal they received was a nuclear detonation, they may want to listen for a while. After a few decades of I Love Lucy, Gilligan’s Island, Cheers, Seinfeld, and Lost, they decide, ‘what-the-hell let’s say hello to our wacky neighbors.’

Side note: I often muse over the idea that somewhere there’s an alien race agonizing over who shot JR as they painfully wait for the next season of Dallas to reach their planet. Who knows, there may even be a cultural niche of Elvis Presley fans on some remote rock (there’s some bad news heading their way circa 1976).

People and politicians often ask, ‘Why should we spend money listening for aliens? It’s not like they’ll balance the federal budget for us.’ That’s tantamount to a five-year-old saying, ‘Why should I go to school? There’s nothing they can teach me.’ Setting aside man’s innate curiosity and our desire to answer the burning questions—Are we alone? Is there anybody out there?—there are more practical reasons to search.

In regards to social and scientific development, we are assuredly babes in the galactic woods. Any data gathered from alien contact would probably be more enlightening than Pythagoras’ Theorem. Spanning decades, it would be an inefficient discussion, but likely, we would be the prime beneficiary of that interaction. Thus, a tiny-tiny-tiny-minuscule investment (relative to GDP) lands us invaluable knowledge.

In Carl Sagan’s Contact, aliens send us blueprints for a wormhole generator. But saving that, what if they merely said, ‘Hello, here’s the perfect mouse trap’ or ‘free energy and the cure to world hunger’?

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Morpheus Takes Flight (kind of)

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So I’m minding my business, having a beer with my neighbor (Pilot Disclaimer: It was my week off) when I hear what sounds like a fighter jet doing a full throttle ground power check on the southeast corner of my block.

“What the hell?” I scream over the din.

“Morpheus,” he yells.

“Morpheus?” I queried back. “What, did I swallow the red pill?” (Pilot disclaimer: This is a reference to ‘The Matrix’ … not drug use.)

So he proceeds to tell me about this new lunar/planetary lander developed jointly by NASA and Armadillo Aerospace. They are doing tethered test of it in the field behind my house. For those that don’t know, my subdivision forms the northwest boundary of the Johnson Space Center (JSC). While the first word spoken from the surface of the moon was ‘Houston’, as in “Houston, the Eagle has landed,” JSC is not typically the home for rocket test. I return you to the fact that my house lies within 100 yards of NASA’s boundary and less than 900 yards from the site where the above photo was taken. Actually, the trees in the background of the picture and the video below are my subdivision.

“Cool!” I say to said friend. Because … it is! They are using eco-friendly methane based propellant and its size along with NASA’s safety protocols give me a warm fuzzy.

Hopefully I’ll be able to pull a lawn chair and cooler (Pilot disclaimer: filled with soda if it’s my week to fly) to the field’s edge for the untethered test.

Here’s a link to an article about it on Space.com.

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