By Robert A. Vella

The following is a logical and empirical assessment of the U.S. Navy UFO sighting highlighted in recent new stories about the formerly secret Department of Defense (DoD) program known as the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.  I will offer no speculation.  Readers are welcome to do so if so inclined.

Date of sighting:         November 14, 2004.
Location of sighting:  Off the Pacific coasts of southern California and northern Mexico.
Type of sighting:         Visual, instrumental observation of unidentified flying objects.
Weather conditions:  Clear and sunny.

Description of sighting as reported by U.S. Navy pilot, Commander David Fravor (from the article linked above):

Fravor was the commanding officer of the A-41 Black Aces, a U.S. Navy strike fighter squadron of F/A-18 Hornet fighter planes doing an exercise some 60 to 100 miles off the coast between San Diego and Ensenada, Mexico, in advance of a deployment to the Persian Gulf for the Iraq War, he said.

An order came in for him to suspend the exercise and do some “real-world tasking,” about 60 miles west of their location, Fravor said. He said he was told by the command that there were some unidentified flying objects descending from 80,000 feet to 20,000 feet and disappearing; he said officials told him they had been tracking a couple dozen of these objects for a few weeks.

When they arrived closer to the point, they saw the object, flying around a patch of white water in the ocean below.

“A white Tic Tac, about the same size as a Hornet, 40 feet long with no wings,” Fravor described. “Just hanging close to the water.”

The object created no rotor wash — the visible air turbulence left by the blades of a helicopter — he said, and began to mirror the pilots as they pursued it, before it vanished.

“As I get closer, as my nose is starting to pull back up, it accelerates and it’s gone,” he said. “Faster than I’d ever seen anything in my life. We turn around, say let’s go see what’s in the water and there’s nothing. Just blue water.”


  • The “tracking” by command officials, reported by Fravor, is assumed to be radar tracking.
  • The tracking by command officials, reported by Fravor, of multiple objects over several weeks is assumed to identify the same general target location.

Empirical evidence:

  • Radar tracking.
  • Video recording.
  • Visual observation.

Circumstantial evidence:

  • Navy command officials apparently considered the tracking information important enough to warrant two separate flights of aircraft to investigate the targets.

Unreported evidence:

  • The radar-measured velocity (i.e. speed and direction), trajectory, and/or glide-path of the targets in descent from high altitude.
  • The radar-measured speed of the targets in relation to the investigating navy aircraft.


  • Unless the radar tracking, video recording, and visual observations can all be attributed to another phenomenon, the targets must be considered as actual physical objects.
  • Radar tracking of the targets at high altitude (i.e. stratosphere) is consistent with natural and artificial objects which entered Earth’s atmosphere from space, or with artificial objects which ascended to high altitude from Earth’s surface; and, is inconsistent with natural and artificial objects restricted to lower altitude (i.e. troposphere).
  • Based on current technology, and what is publicly acknowledged by national governments, the only artificial objects capable of reaching such high altitude are rockets (solid or liquid fueled), unpowered missiles (e.g. projectiles fired from powerful artillery weapons such as superguns) highly specialized jet aircraft (e.g. ramjets, scramjets, turbojets, turbofans, liquid air cycle engines, pre-cooled jet engines, pulse detonation engines), and specialized balloons.
  • The radar tracking, video recording, and visual observations of the targets are consistent with artificial objects (i.e. technology) and inconsistent with natural objects (e.g. meteoroids, small asteroids, cometary fragments).
  • The radar tracking, video recording, and visual observations of the targets are inconsistent with artificial objects deorbiting in an uncontrolled, unpowered manner (e.g. satellites, spacecraft debris).
  • The visually observed acceleration of the targets is inconsistent with any type of balloon.


  • The targets were almost certainly actual physical objects as opposed to unusual electromagnetic or atmospheric effects.
  • The targets were almost certainly artificial, meaning technologically constructed.
  • Technologies which could explain all the motion and flight characteristics of the targets are currently unknown to science and publicly unacknowledged by national governments.

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