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

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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

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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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Why Do We Think We Know It All?

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FacebooktwitterlinkedinrssinstagramFacebooktwitterlinkedinrssinstagramAs a science fiction writer I try to root my stories in the possible. However, if taken to the extreme of Hard-Science Fiction stories become quite limited. To be sure many an author has produced quite fascinating stories within those limitations, Sir Arthur C. Clarke high among them.

I regularly see reviews and forum comments about various books and subjects in which said commentators make disparaging remarks about authors who have spaceships that magically travel faster than light, communicate faster than light, or somehow violate physics as we know it.

As I said in the beginning of this article, I try to root my stories within the possible, but having the imagination of … well, a writer I imagine that we may not know everything there is to know about the universe.

I do understand that E=MC2 ties space and time together so that you can’t change one part without affecting the other. But we humans who:

  • Don’t know how many dimensions or forces form our universe.
  • What dark energy is.
  • What dark matter is (or if either exist)
  • Why the universe expanded at superluminal (Faster Than Light – FTL) speeds for a time after the big bang
  • Why its expansion is accelerating today

somehow feel certain that FTL travel, communication, or anything else is impossible.

To me it’s as arrogant and assuming as those in the 1800s that said speeds over 100mph would kill you and those in the early 1900s that said travel faster than the speed of sound was a feat man would never accomplish.

Before I present my fictional workarounds (to call them theoretical would make me the biggest pompous ass of all) let me first say that I’m not a physicist, hell I didn’t even stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night. So there are likely glaring holes in my fictional workarounds. Also, as an author I generally chose not to put my readers to sleep so these are ideas that, for the most part, do not get explained ad nauseum in my books. Till today they merely floated around in the back of my mind as a self-defense mechanism. They allow me tell myself: “I’m anchoring my tale in the possible.”

The basis for my workarounds: I believe three areas that we as a society are just starting to nibble at, three areas that, once figured out, will either lock us into our piece of the galaxy, or open up the universe to us are:

* Dark Energy:

Its apparent anti-gravity effect. Can it be manipulated?

*Undiscovered Forces:

For every force in the known universe there is an associated particle, either known i.e.: Electromagnetism – Photon, Weak Force – Intermediate Vector Bosons, Strong Force – Gluon … and so on; or hypothesized i.e.:  Mass – Higgs Boson (aka God Particle), Gravity – Graviton … and so on.

CERN’s Large Hadron Collider and the US’ Tevatron have recently hinted at as yet unknown forces. Who knows how many underlying forces may exist and how they might be manipulated.

Electricity and magnetism are two sides of the same coin; Yin and Yang if you will. Manipulate one and you generate the other and vice versa. What if some new force or a new manifestation of an existing force, i.e.: electricity and magnetism, rises from the data and turns out to be the Yin of gravity’s Yang. In that scenario just as you can manipulate magnetism to generate positive and negative electricity, you could manipulate the new force or manifestation of gravity to generate positive or negative gravity.

* Extra Dimensions:

If we fully understand them and how they tie into the underlying fabric of space-time could they open up the potential for my book’s fictional FTL Parallel-Space travel? (again, see Heim’s Quantum Theory)

What about using extra dimensions for communication. Theoretical physicists postulate the existence of additional dimensions beyond the three spatial and one temporal that we perceive. They tell us these dimensions, existing near the Plank level (the smallest theoretical size), have no size in our universe, but are like curled up dimensions existing adjacent to our dimensions throughout the entire universe.

Now suppose an advanced race, has decoded the mysteries of the universe, i.e.: they’ve unified Quantum Mechanics and Special Relativity, they’ve unified gravity and electromagnetism (see Heim’s Quantum Theory), and even taught cats and dogs to live together in perfect harmony. Employing their mastery of the universe they learn how to expand one of those curled up dimensions just enough to accept an energy state. That energy state (say, half of a quantum pair) could then be manipulated to convey a signal, creating a data-stream.

This extra-dimensional dimension has no size other than that created through their manipulations. So this data would have nowhere to travel, but it could be accessed from anywhere in the universe … who says you couldn’t have instantaneous communication across the universe? (at least fictionally)

In Conclusion (Finally)

Once again, I’m not a physicist and I’m sure there are plenty of theories that would rule out most if not all of my fictional workarounds.

The region between proven facts and the waterfalls at the edge of the universe (here there be dragons) is the realm of science fiction and fantasy. While I like to think my work leans away from said falls and dragons, I’m okay if it takes literary license from time to time. The truest measures are my reader’s opinions, and their willingness to suspend their disbelief whilst they roam my universe.Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2011 Dean Cole

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Anti-Gravity . . . What If?

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I’ve always been a huge admirer of the works of the late Sir Arthur C. Clarke. One of my favorite aspects of his writing lies in his use of real world, or at least theoretical, physics in his storylines. He never went off into flights of fancy with plotlines that could only happen in a magical universe. (Disclaimer: that doesn’t mean I don’t love Star Wars. Like every other red-blooded American male that came of age in the late seventies, I too am a big fan of the ‘Force’.)

I tried to emulate his approach in my novel. In the book I tie the physics of the UFO encountered in the first scene with an obscure but very exciting branch of theoretical physics known as Heim’s Quantum Theory, or HQT.

In the 1950s, 60s and 70s Burkhard Heim, a German self-taught theoretical physicist developed his unified field theory (HQT). Now before your eyes glaze over let me tell you the exciting part. If proved viable, HQT opens the door to gravity manipulation and faster than light (FTL) travel.

In 1957 he became an instant celebrity (in Germany) when he first presented his work. In the 1960’s Wernher von Braun, the famous German rocket scientist (think: father of the United States’ rocket program, aka NASA) approached Heim about his work and asked whether his Saturn rockets were worthwhile.

In a 1964 letter, relativity theorist Pascual Jordan, a member of the Nobel committee, told Heim his plan was so important “its successful experimental treatment would without doubt make the researcher a candidate for the Nobel prize.”

For multiple reasons his theory was never put to an experimental test. Primarily because the cost, scale and technologies involved exceeded his abilities.

This leads back to my book. Without giving away too much of the plot, it asks the question:

  • What if Heim was right?
  • What if the boys in Los Alamos and Sandia National Laboratories tested it?
  • What if the US Government already has craft that fly using an HQT inspired drive?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we have a fleet of faster than light anti-gravity ships. But it might make for interesting fiction…Digiprove sealCopyright secured by Digiprove © 2013-2015 Dean Cole

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