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Profile Information

Name: chris chick
Gender: Male
Hometown: Between Mt. Rainier and McKenna Wa.
Home country: Hanging in there but just barely
Current location: I am right here! (location subject to change depending on the weather).
Member since: Thu May 19, 2005, 07:43 PM
Number of posts: 10,557

About Me

I am a fulltime chaperone to an aging pit-bull. She loves pigs-ears purchased from Stewerts Meat Market, long walks anywhere, feeding time and tummy rubs. We both enjoy disc golf, (golf with baskets instead of holes and fancy frisbees instead of golf balls), but for entirely different reasons. Fortunately for all she never acquired a taste for frisbees but she is a sucker for thrown rope-toys and balls. Her goal in life is to see an end to the nuisance that causes some toys to squeak when pressed by her chaperone. After the squeak has been eliminated, the toy is safe to be played with by anyone else because regardless of price it holds no further interest for her. Lastly: that is my real last name which means I can get away with calling myself a card carrying chick!

Journal Archives

Questions regarding military aircraft/aircraft manuevers

I live quite near Joint Base Lewis McChord and I am somewhat familiar with what they have flying around us typically. A couple of nights ago I watched something not so typical for over an hour that I am curious about. I looked a bit online and came up with no answers so maybe one of you may know what was going on.

I live in a very rural part of Pierce county Washington, mostly cattle pastures, forests and swamps. April 10th around 10pm I was on the back deck when I noticed four bright red flashing lights very low on my horizon moving from south to north. These red lights were most likely attached to 2 military aircraft. I am used to seeing military aircraft doing their thing all around my home at any given time but this was different.

The first big difference being that instead of the normal night time running lights I always see on all aircraft, (military and civilian) each of these aircraft had only the 2 and they were flashing bright red-no other color, just red. My guess is that the lights were arranged on the lower nose and upper tail areas of each aircraft, not on the wings which seemed pretty odd too.

The second difference was that these two aircraft remained extremely low. If I were to guess, these guys stayed well under 500 feet and more likely only a 100 foot in altitude throughout their maneuver which from my point of view looked to be barely above our treetops. They stayed that low throughout the hour or so that I observed them. I did break out the binoculars to see if I could tell what they were but I saw nothing to add to what I could see with just my eyes. The actual body or silhouette of these aircraft was indiscernible to me because it was a dark night with only the two flashing red 'running lights' being all that I could see.

They flew a somewhat oval course which I estimate to be 10-15 miles in length and 3-4 miles wide repeating that route about every 10 minutes. (No I could not see the entire course because of how low they were but I could see enough to get that estimate). Only when they were close, likely less than a half mile, could I hear them. They sounded sorta like our large cargo/transport jets that are based here but I should have been able to hear them approaching long before I did. I watched them do this for about an hour before going back inside to bed.

Today at a local restaurant I overheard and joined into a conversation with a couple who had also witnessed this. They claimed that the aircraft repeatedly flew low directly over their home. When we compared what we saw they pretty much agreed with everything I reported here but added that the aircraft was silent except when it was overhead, then they could hear and actually feel it rumble by. They are husband and wife, he said that the noise was unusual enough for him to get out of bed to go have a look, she said the rumble was louder than her TV. He claimed they looked like our Stealth Bombers, definitely a flying wing shape, and they flew far lower than anything normally flying over his home.

The Stealth Bomber does not have a rear stabilizer nor a tail section yet the rear red light I saw on both aircraft had to have been mounted atop something about that high. You can visualize the red lights placed about under the nose and atop the rear stabilizer of a C-17 Globemaster, (which ARE based here), to get an idea of how these lights were spaced. Furthermore the Stealth Bomber is not based here so we rarely see them at all.

If I had to hazard a guess I would discount what I heard at the restaurant and say that these were 2 C-17s doing some sort of maneuvers in my area. I can also rationalize that my eyes deceived me somewhat in that they must have been further away than what I estimated. This would explain why they appeared low and why I could not hear them until they drew closer and they DID sound like C-17s at a distance. (Truly my eyes tell me these 2 guys repeatedly came far closer than what my hazarded guess here is).

Soooo... why the 2 red lights per aircraft and why didn't they have any other lights turned on? Was this some kind of new military aircraft or were these two just the aircraft that are normally flying around here but doing some kind of maneuver that we don't regularly see. I guess my real question is: What was THAT all about?

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