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Fwd = Why Some Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers Dont See UAP

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  • Frits Westra
    UAP are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.FritsForwarded by: fwestra@hetnet.nl URL: http://www.narcap.org/references/Jim%20McClenahen.doc
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 5, 2002
      UAP are Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.


      Forwarded by: fwestra@...
      URL: http://www.narcap.org/references/Jim%20McClenahen.doc
      Original Date: Fri, 4 Jan 2002 01:28:15 +0100

      ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================

      Why Some Pilots and Air Traffic Controllers Dont See UAP

      James McClenahen
      Air Traffic Control Specialist (ret.) NARCAP Technical Specialist

      NARCAP headquarters received an interesting report concerning a
      UAP sighting on August 1, 2001 near Chicago's O'Hare airport at
      2015 local time. A cylindrically shaped self-luminous,
      orange/gold colored object without wings or tail was seen
      between O'Hare and Midway airports and appeared to fly faster
      than other jet aircraft seen at the same time but at similar
      altitudes. It allegedly slowed down as a B-757 commercial
      aircraft took off to the west from Midway and then accelerated
      out of sight to the NE. Both past the witnesses location in
      clear view. Since this part of the nation handles some of the
      highest air traffic density in the country there is extensive
      radar coverage available to help maintain traffic separation.
      The airport control towers at these airports also afford
      excellent 360 degree visibility for tens of miles in good
      visibility conditions. We asked our ATC specialist, Jim
      McClenahen to comment on this interesting case. Here are his
      surprising comments.


      Nice to hear from you. My first take on this is that it would
      be like finding a needle in the haystack but would be worth a
      try. The reason I say this, the controllers and cockpit crews
      in the Chicago terminal area are extremely busy. There is so
      much information being passed between controllers and cockpit
      crews due to traffic volume which requires everyone to really
      pay attention to all details, so, when something like this
      happens the chances of the controllers or cockpit crews
      experiencing it are slim.

      I will try to find a contact source in the tower, but we have
      somewhat of a blind spot, because of the complexity of the
      airspace. Example, the report made reference of a B 757
      departing Midway, the cockpit crew of this flight was in the
      middle of departing, climbing, cleaning up the aircraft for
      initial climb, and making a radio change to departure control
      (Chicago TRACON). My point is, this crew is busy and on top of
      that they are listening for any traffic and watching their TCAS
      for traffic too!

      The B727 mentioned was probably on Chicago Approach talking to
      either a feeder controller or the final controller, being set
      up for the runway complex the flight to land on. The report
      indicates the weather was VFR and it is a good possibility the
      approaches in use were ILS and Visuals. This means the cockpit
      crew was also extremely busy. Not only were they setting up the
      aircraft for landing, they were probably looking for traffic
      they were following so they could conduct the visual approach.
      They were also watching for other traffic and monitoring their
      TCAS equipment while expecting a frequency change to the tower
      once they completed setting up for the visual.

      In addition, the approach controller would not really have time
      to observe anything unusual on the radar (ASR-9, which is a
      digital presentation). If that controller was busy, he would be
      watching only the aircraft he was working. This holds true for
      the tower controllers as well. When they get more traffic to
      handle, they concentrate on the aircraft they are working. They
      focus out surrounding items that are not important to them.

      I hope this makes sense to you and please ask questions or if
      you want. I can call you and discuss this further on the
      phone. I would guess if anyone saw anything from the tower, it
      would be someone not directly working aircraft such as a
      supervisor, a coordinator, or traffic management specialist,
      maybe even a person working flight data/clearance delivery.
      Of course this is just a guess based on my experience.

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