New Rocket and Airliner incident reported

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When NAR President Trip Barber says:

“There is no doubt that this event really happened...”

Guess what? There is no doubt this really happened. Trip is one of the most level-headed, be-sure-of-the-facts persons I have ever met. Clearly he has been presented with plenty of information by the FAA and FBI regarding this that he is sure this is for real.

I greatly admire Trip and all he has done, and continues to do, for rocketry. But, all we have heard are alleged statements from the pilots. And, that's definitely not enough reason to assume the reports are true. If more conclusive evidence has been found, it certainly hasn't been reported.

A rocket coming within 100 feet of an airliner flying at 11,000 feet would be an extraordinary occurance. For us to believe that it really happened, we need extraordinary evidence.

-- Roger
 
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Well, hopefully he's got evidence that he's not publishing widely (and who knows the reason for that...). I'm gonna set my ear back to the ground and try to keep the worms out of my head! :D
 
All we have is alleged statements from the pilots.
“Alleged statements”? Not coming into this too-closed-minded, are you? Those two words mean you imply you doubt they even gave statements.
A rocket coming within 100 feet of an airliner flying at 11,000 feet would be an extraordinary occurance.

Well, how close do you think that a rocket should come to an airliner, or any plane, before pilots have the right to be concerned about it? You think pilots WANT to report things like this because they love filing extra reports with the FAA and undergoing debriefing with FAA officials and probably the FBI?

Somebody launched a big rocket that came close enough for the pilots to be concerned it was getting too close to them. And you are quibbling over whether they estimated the distance pefectly?

Even if it was 1000 feet away, it was TOO CLOSE. If it was only “halfway to the plane” it was TOO CLOSE for THAT AREA. Because no rocket should have been ANYWHERE NEAR A PLANE, whether 100 feet, 1000 feet, or several thousand feet.

There was no waiver for flying HPR in that area. And even with a waiver, that does not give anyone free reign to launch when there are aircraft in the area. That fact is 100% true regardless of quibbling over coming within 100 feet or inaccurate news reports, or whatever.

- George Gassaway
 
“Alleged statements”? Not coming into this too-closed-minded, are you? Those two words mean you imply you doubt they even gave statements.

Of course, I have doubts. After last year's "incident," the Chronicle said that the pilots reported a "model rocket" soaring "past the cockpit." When they later published transcripts, we learned that the pilot simply asked the ATC if there was a rocket launch in the area.

Somebody launched a big rocket that came close enough for the pilots to be concerned it was getting too close to them. And you are quibbling over whether they estimated the distance pefectly?

Who's quibbling about distance? I'm suggesting that the possibly of a rocket being involved at all is so remote as to be dimissed.

-- Roger
 
Somebody launched a big rocket that came close enough for the pilots to be concerned it was getting too close to them.

That's an "extraordinary claim." If it were true, you'd have to assume a lot of things. Therefore, for me to believe the claim, I'd like to see some extraordinary evidence to back it up. Otherwise, I find it much easier to believe that the pilots were mistaken about what they reported (or are alleged to have reported).

But, the claim you've made isn't nearly as extraordinary as the claims made by Cindy Horswell in the Houston Chronicle articles. She's claiming that, a year ago, a "model rocket" flew past an airliner that was at 5000' feet. The model rocket soared past the cockpit window and continued leaving a thick exhaust trail. The aircraft was just seconds from colliding with the rocket.

Now, she's claiming that a rocket came within 100' of an airliner at 16,000' in altitude.

In both cases, there were no rockets found and no reports of any rockets being launched in the area.

These are very extraordinary claims. And, for me to accept them, I'd require extraordinary evidence. Eyewitness testimony from the pilots is not nearly enough.

Pilots have made mistakes identifying things they see. Military pilots have chased UFOs that didn't appear on radar - possibly chasing Venus. In the air, size and distance are hard to judge. And, optical illusions aboumd because of the unusual, and constantly changing, lighting.

In the 1960s and 1970s, UFO reports from pilots were common. Many described "flying saucers" as popularized by the account of a pilot that started the UFO craze. Now, in the post 9-11 world, a pilot seeing something unusual is likely to perceive it as a rocket or missile.

And, until some conclusive evidence it reported, that's all this is - another UFO story.

-- Roger
 
You are obsessing over whether a specific reporter got the facts 100% right or not. The reporters on something like this are given dribs and drabs of what the FAA and FBI allows them to have, unless the actual pilots have given a press conference or agreed to an interview, neither of which seems to be the case here.

By the logic that the reporting seems to have some problems, so you totally disbelieve that the pilots saw any rocket come near them and call it a “UFO Story”, then the Quickburst car wreck is a “UFO Story”. Because the news reports said there were “fireworks” in the trailer, so the reporting is not 100% right. Do you have 100% solid evidence in your possession that the Quickburst car wreck really happened? All I have seen is “alleged reports” of a so-called wreck on the rocket forums. No solid proof, so I guess the Quickburst wreck must be a UFO story, if that’s the logic you want to use.

And like it or not, “model rocket” from the report last year is too easily interchangeable with HPR type rockets by those outside of our hobby. Actually the general public does not know of the existence of HPR. So there is no point in obsessing over the technical accuracy of a report calling an HPR-sized (or HPR powered) rocket a “model rocket”. Or trying to say since the report called it a “model rocket”, that therefore it could not be anything bigger than what is technically a model rocket.

You do not find it very strange that pretty much the same area near Houston had the same sort of incident a year ago? But this time, someone on the ground saw something come down from the sky too? Last year seemed far-fetched, but now that it has happened, AGAIN, in the same area, well, the pilots are not making this stuff up, something is happening and it is somebody flying some HPR (or amateur) rocket without a waiver, coming close enough to an airliner for the pilots to be concerned it was going to get close to them (Again, I see no point in obsessing over a report of 100 feet or 1000 feet, or whatever distance, NO ROCKET SHOULD BE NEAR A PLANE!)

This is serious, it’s NOT a “UFO Story”.

- George Gassaway
 
A rocket coming within 100 feet of an airliner flying at 11,000 feet would be an extraordinary occurance. For us to believe that it really happened, we need extraordinary evidence.

-- Roger

Well, YOU may need extraordinary evidence, but unfortunately the two executive branch goverment agencies investigating the incident only need to show "probable cause" in order to take some sort of action. Who cares if the object came within 100 feet or 1000 feet.

Who's quibbling about distance? I'm suggesting that the possibly of a rocket being involved at all is so remote as to be dimissed.

-- Roger

Oh man!! Are you trying to tell me that it is impossible to intentionaly put an unguided rocket into a defined flightpath at a specific time??
 
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I am seriously wondering if this incident involved any "Model Aircraft Parts".

This is based upon the semi-toothless hillbillies who set up about a tenth of a mile away from our Model Rocket launch at Lucerne Dry Lake on May 31 and proceeded to launch all sorts of unusual rockets propelled by gen-yoo-eyne "Model Aircraft Parts". I even have one of the bits of exploded casings with the manufacturer's logo on it.

We were conducting a Model Rocket Launch and had no waiver. i did not investigate if they had a waiver, but I seriously doubt they could spell 'waiver'.

I think the only way to buy these "Model Aircraft Parts" is to get a note from your parole officer.

ROC conducts very legitimate HPR launches out there and I would think they would be concerned with folks flying HPR (or "HPMAP") without a waiver and jeopardizing their launch site should an incident occur.
 
George,

I'm not obsessing over mistakes by the reporter. I'm pointing that the only source of information we have on the subject has a history of reporting falsehoods, exagerations, and speculation.

The FAA and other authorities investigated last year's report and found no rocket.

Why should we expect things to be different this time?

-- Roger
 
George,

I'm not obsessing over mistakes by the reporter. I'm pointing that the only source of information we have on the subject has a history of reporting falsehoods, exagerations, and speculation.

The FAA and other authorities investigated last year's report and found no rocket.

Why should we expect things to be different this time?

-- Roger

DId you read the NAR President's message carefully from beginning to end without skipping any words?

The reporter is absolutely NOT the only source of info.
 
In the 1960s and 1970s, UFO reports from pilots were common. Many described "flying saucers" as popularized by the account of a pilot that started the UFO craze. Now, in the post 9-11 world, a pilot seeing something unusual is likely to perceive it as a rocket or missile.

And, until some conclusive evidence it reported, that's all this is - another UFO story.


Roger Smith, of course you want to make light of "UFO stories" because it suits your agenda. I think it's very important to understand why one promotes a particular view and when we do a little research on your name, what do we find? An alien!


RogerSmith.jpg
 
Well, YOU may need extraordinary evidence, but unfortunately the two executive branch goverment agencies investigating the incident only need to show "probable cause" in order to take some sort of action. Who cares if the object came within 100 feet or 1000 feet.

The point is that a rocket is unlikely to have been involved at all. It is improbable that a rocket came near that jetline. It's is likely that the pilots saw something and misidentified it as a rocket. Why would you jump to the conclusion that the least likely scenario is the correct one?

This is the principle behind Occam's Razor. It's the reason why, when we see some lights in the sky at night we assume it's an airplane, not a squadron of flying saucers from Venus.

Oh man!! Are you trying to tell me that it is impossible to intentionaly put an unguided rocket into a defined flightpath at a specific time??

No, I'm saying that it's much less likely to have happened than that the pilots made a mistake about what they thought they saw.

As far as how difficult it would be, see:

https://www.space-rockets.com/aircraft.html

In addition to it being very difficult to get the rocket near the aircraft, you'd also have to do it without anyone seeing you on the ground or reporting you doing it.

All that makes it highly improbably that a rocket was involved.

-- Roger
 
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Roger Smith, of course you want to make light of "UFO stories" because it suits your agenda. I think it's very important to understand why one promotes a particular view and when we do a little research on your name, what do we find? An alien!

Not to mention that "Snot" is a friend of mine:

DCP_0463.JPG


-- Roger
 
DId you read the NAR President's message carefully from beginning to end without skipping any words?

The reporter is absolutely NOT the only source of info.

Yes, I read it.

There's no new information in it and no attribution of the information.

-- Roger
 
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Yes, I read it.

There's no new information in it and not attribution of the information.

-- Roger

Randy E. Burke
Aviation Safety Inspector - Operations
FAA Houston FSDO
281-929-7013
Randy.E.Burke@...


A few days before this message, he posted that "Andy Eng and other leaders in the NAR section in Houston are meeting with an FAA
investigator on Wednesday and have lots of data to review with him. We'll see
where that takes us and do whatever is required after we understand better what
the angles are that the FAA is investigating and where they need information or
assistance.

Trip Barber
NAR President"

So, once you know that the big message from Trip was based upon the first-hand meeting with the FAA and has nothing to do with a reporter, are you still absolutely convinced that this is nonsense? He did not directly mention if the FBI was at this meeting, so I cannot comment on that.
 
So, once you know that the big message from Trip was based upon the first-hand meeting with the FAA and has nothing to do with a reporter, are you still absolutely convinced that this is nonsense? He did not directly mention if the FBI was at this meeting, so I cannot comment on that.

Again, that says nothing about what was discussed.

I understand why the FAA and FBI are investigating the report. As I said, it would be irresponsible for them not to do so. But, they investigated the last report and found no rocket.

Unless Trip was told something we haven't, its much too soon for him to have jumped to the conclusion that there is "no doubt" a rocket was involved.

-- Roger
 
Independently an observer on the ground a few minutes later phoned in a report of seeing a two-piece cylindrical object falling from the sky

Wonder if it was a UFO from outer space
 
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Just a note on the UFO angle...by definition, this is a UFO case. The pilots saw an unidentified flying object and now the FAA is attempting to identify it. UFO doesn't neccessarily mean aliens.
 
UFO doesn't neccessarily mean aliens.

Or rockets. :)

I brought up the UFO angle because it provides case histories of pilots misidentifying things they see in the air. In a famous case, a military pilot died chasing a UFO - which may have actually been Venus. One famous case involving pilots reporting UFOs turned out to be caused by shrimp boats which are brightly illuminated at night.

Cindy Horswell's latest article (okay, now I am obsessing) hints at a possible "UFO" explanation of this latest incident before stating, with no expressed doubt, that a hobby rocket was involved.

-- Roger
 
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Thats why I said from outer space (because its definitely aliens)
 
There's definitely a lack of sources at the moment, IMO. All I see are reports from rather questionable newspapers/channels, and an email from Trip. No offence to him, but it would be nice to know the sources which prompted that email. If it's just the word of the pilots and some random person on the phone, then IMO it could be anything.

People see what they want to see. How long would you see a rocket at apogee from the cockpit of an airliner, 5-10 seconds? Just long enough for someone to say "Hey, is that a rocket?!" "Where?" "There!" "Oh yeah.". The second pilot sees it for even less time, and because he already has the expectation of seeing a rocket, that's what he sees. 30-40 years ago it would've been a UFO. Two or three years ago, it might've been a bird with a mutated neck carrying avian flu from Asia! As for the "ground observer"...

All we have here is second/third hand information, for all we know it could've been anything (once again, IMO).

Phil
 
In the 14 years I was NAR President, I dealt with both reporters and law enforcement.

In either case, when my phone rang and there was either a reporter or a law enforcement official on the line, I paid a LOT of attention.

With reporters, like all human beings doing a job, they ranged from the fantastic to the idiotic. Bobby Block of the Wall Street Journal was, by far and away, one of the most professional and accurate individuals I've ever dealt with, regardless of the profession. The lady from the Denver Post, who asked me three times to spell my name, wrote it down properly every time and STILL misspelled it in the paper takes the cake for 'Idiot Reporter' title.

Law enforcement officials don't call you because they're stupid. They call because they've got credible evidence that a crime may have been committed, it's their job to pursue criminals, and it's in OUR interest that, when it comes to rockets, they do so, catch them, and prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law.

When I got these calls, and alerted NAR members as to their contents, I never did so to placate either reporters or law enforcement.

I did it because a hobby we enjoy, but about which most people don't give a rat's patooie, was threatened, members needed to know and understand those threats, and then act appropriately.

When rocketry organization leaders alert you to these kinds of problems, it's because YOUR hobby faces a threat.

Ignoring it, debating details about either the incident or who and how it was reported misses the point completely.

Start acting like your hobby is under attack (still) because it's still at risk, and we can lose everything a half century of hard work has built up.
 
While I can think of a dozen different scenarios for what could have happened close to Houston, for the moment the fact is, the president of NAR made a statement to NAR's members about a serious investigation and asked for their help and cooperation, where they were able to give it. That's all.

If evidence IS found that a rocket was flown too close to the plane for whatever reason, then hopefully the FBI will be able to find out who, what, when, where and why.

Until then, it IS a UFO investigation.

Verna
www.vernarockets.com
 
Start acting like your hobby is under attack (still) because it's still at risk, and we can lose everything a half century of hard work has built up.

But what can we actually do to stop these (alleged) incidents, besides helping law enforcement with their investigations? I can't see how we have the power to do it, short of the NAR buying some fast black cars and starting its own Rocket Police. ;)

Phil
 
But what can we actually do to stop these (alleged) incidents, besides helping law enforcement with their investigations? I can't see how we have the power to do it, short of the NAR buying some fast black cars and starting its own Rocket Police. ;)

Phil

Now THAT would be cool.
 
It recently ocurred to me recently that an airliner, when it's at such an angle that its wings are in line with the fuselage or in shadow, would look like a white rocket with triangular fins.

Around Houston, a large city and Continental hub, it would be likely that there was another aircraft in the area that might have been confused for a rocket, especially in the twilight at 8:00 pm.

-- Roger
 
It would probably be a good idea to keep the speculation down, given that is likely that all the information on this is most likely not public. If it isn't, we can assume there are good reasons why it isn't. Many federal agencies are staffed by very competent, very knowledgeable people, and they have access to tools that we don't. (Check out the NTSB presentation of the radar track of the geese that were run into by USAir 1549, for example in the investigator's hearing presentation (caution 4.5 MB Powerpoint File)). Sadly, our recent history with the "experts" in one federal agency may be coloring our expectations for all of them.

Events that appear a priori to be very unlikely do sometimes happen. Unlikely doesn't mean impossible. And heaven knows there are a lot of twits in the world.

For now, if you hear something relevant that's based on more than speculation, contact the investigator Trip referred us to. It's the most helpful thing we can do.
 
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Events that appear a priori to be very unlikely do sometimes happen. Unlikely doesn't mean impossible. And heaven knows there are a lot of twits in the world.

Certainly. But "possible" doesn't mean likely. It's possible that I will win the Florida Lottery next week, but it's not very likely. It's so unlikely that, until some evidence is available to the contrary, I won't quite my day job. :)

-- Roger
 
OMG!!!
It's the end of rocketry as we know it!!!
:jaw:
I had wondered if anyone would make fun of this situation by pulling that one out.

Well, you know what?

It d***** well COULD!

If this sort of thing keeps on happening, some branch of the government no doubt will try to do something about it.

- George Gassaway
 
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