Missouri State Section Director and FI
Reprinted from the July 2015 MUFON UFO Journal
Did the oval-shaped, metallic object move two miles closer to them in just a second, or are there two objects? That is the question the witnesses asked themselves regarding their Missouri sighting on June 8, 2014, in Case 57046.
Approximately an hour before sunset at 7:40 p.m. (CDT), it was the setting sun that was responsible for this UFO sighting and rare daytime photographs. The three witnesses, a mother and her two sons, were heading home, traveling southeast on I-270 toward the Jefferson Barracks Bridge – which connects Missouri to Illinois and spans the Mississippi River in south St. Louis County.
The mother was driving, with her son (age 14) in the passenger seat and her other son, age 10, in the backseat behind her. As they approached their exit to home (Exit 2—which is two miles from the bridge) they noticed the sun brightly reflecting off of a metallic object above the bridge and noticed that the object was moving unusually fast. From the passenger seat, her son took the first photograph of the object before the object went out of view.
The witnesses were not sure which, but within a second, either the first object quickly moved north-northeast and closer to them or the object now closer to them was a second object. They indicated that if it was the same object, it had traveled a considerable distance (two miles) in a very short amount of time. As they were exiting, her son placed his Apple iPod Touch, ME643LL/A on the dashboard and began taking photos of the object in their view – capturing 13 photographs within just three seconds.
The 13 photos were sent to Robert Powell, MUFON’s Director of Research for analysis.
Some excerpts and analysis from Robert’s investigation:
The calculation of the angular size of the object indicated: “This equates to an object that takes up about the same amount of sky as the full moon.”
Since the automobile was in motion when the photos were taken, it was to our advantage, because it helps rule out some things the object more than likely was not.
The report ruled out the possibility of the object being an insect: “Therefore the object could not have been an insect or any other one-inch sized object because it would have needed to be so close to the automobile that multiple photos of it could not have been taken. A small object would have shown up in only one photo before shifting over 90 degrees due to the car’s movement.”
The possibility of the object being a small bird or bat is also not likely: “A small bird or bat fits the size but would need to be flying parallel to the car in order to minimize the impact of the vector driven by the car’s 50 mph speed. This would require a bird or bat traveling parallel to the car and at a minimum of 30 mph. At a distance of 48 feet a bird or bat should be recognizable.”
The report also shed doubt on a large bird: “There are similar problems as just mentioned with an object 18 inches in size that is traveling at a distance of 143 feet from the car. Since the object’s angular size is fairly constant then an object at that distance range would need to maintain a roughly constant distance from the car as it flew. The only large birds native to Missouri and capable of reaching such speeds, visit this area during the winter and this occurred in June.”
The report concluded the feasible explanations include:
1. A Mexican free-tailed bat at 40-55 feet distance and diving at 60-70 mph.
2. Some type of new drone around one to two feet in size, oval-shaped, at 100 to 200 feet distance and capable of speeds of 80 to 110 mph.
3. A larger oval-shaped drone at about five feet in size, at a distance of 400-500 feet and capable of moving at speeds of 150 to 200 mph.
4. A small aircraft (20-30 feet) at a distance of 1,900-2,800 feet and traveling at 400 to 600 mph.
On February 26, 2015, Robert Powell contacted Antoine Cousyn, an analyst for IPACO in Quimperlé, France for photo authentication and analysis. The IPACO dedicated software has been developed to:
1. Assess the authenticity of the document (evidence of a fake)
2. Identify a spurious effect (no phenomenon outside the camera)
3. Perform measurements in order to identify a known phenomenon
4. Perform measurements in order to characterize an unidentified phenomenon
The photo analysis by Cousyn of IPACO concluded that the photos were authentic and had not been altered and:
Cousyn agreed with the basic parts of the Powell report and believes the object’s distance was somewhere between 70 to 2,300 feet.
Cousyn’s data indicated that the blur seen from the object was due to its movement and not the movement of the car or the camera-phone.
Cousyn’s data indicated that the object is traveling erratically and in a curved trajectory:
“The fact that this movement cannot be seen in some other pictures is possibly caused by what could be called an erratic movement, i.e. moving for example in a straight line on a transverse plane between photos #918 and #919 and in another axis more oriented towards the camera (the object then moving a little more away) in photos #922, #923 and #924. This strongly suggests a sort of sinusoidal or curved trajectory.”
Based on the witness testimony and the photo analysis data by Powell and Cousyn and based on the witness’s statement of the shiny metallic appearance that brightly reflected the sun, it appears that the object was some type of metallic craft. The object appears to be oval-shaped, traveling erratically with a curved trajectory. Since one would expect a drone to fly in more of a straight-line path if at high speed then this does not fit the normal expectation of a drone, unless there is a new type of oval-shaped drone that flies in a curved trajectory.
It is important to note that the sighting occurred approximately 30 miles southwest of Scott Air Force Base in Illinois and 200 miles east of Whiteman Air Force Base in Missouri. The event was classified as an Unknown UAV.