I stand bone-picked.
Just want to pick a bone with Craig here as relates to my being right about kites possibility at Chatwick and Aethewoof and Nick Pope wrong. Heavy-duty winching gear is not necessary for tethered balloons or kites, and in fact I have never seen it used to bring in large kites. All that is necessary is a tie-off point [stakes, vehicle, tree, etcetera] with a loop/ring/carabiner attached through which the flying line is passed. The spare line can be on a reel or coiled in baskets or whatever. To lauch, a couple hundred feet of line is walked out with-the-wind, the kite then attached, and the kite is tossed into the air where the wind takes it up and it stops rising when the line goes taught to the tie-off. Additional line is let out as needed and controlled by putting the flying line in a bite on the ring. To get these bad boys down, walkers using heavy gloves and/or jackets grab the line at the tie-off and with the line held either under an arm -potentially dangerous- or firmly in hand they walk toward the kite as they slide their hands/armpits along the line. We call this oddly enough, "walking down a kite".
I read about “walking down” kites at Gomberk Kites’s FAQ page, shortly after finding this excellent kite sales and information site while searching for info on Conyne kites after your first post about them. (I’m glad to know this name for a “triangular box with empty middle and wings outboard” design, as it’s a design that came to be one of my favorites ca. 1980, when during a period where I was homeless but not carless, nearly moneyless, but had a lots of string, paper, and thin hardwood sticks, so made and flew a lot of kites)
In my defense, I’ve never seen the technique used, likely because most of my kite flying has been from either small clearings and towers on hilltops in West Virginia, or mid- and southern US Atlantic cost beaches, neither of which have many nice clear paths that lend themselves to it – nor many or very organized kite flyers.
I’ve just did a little google maps/Earthing along the same lines, with agree, it looks doable, with some difficulty.
If you bother to look at my Google Earth® screen markups in earlier posts, you see there is plenty of room for this manuever at the location of the UFO sighting. Oh, and... Ooops! I mean .
Given the reported 4-5 nm from airport heading 260°, the two saucers were at 51°10′23″N 0°04′00″W, over the Home Park Golf Center grounds (About 10 km from the Church of Scientology property at 51°6′19.99″N 0°01′36.55″W, Saint Hill Manor near East Grintead claimed by the Sun article) The reported about 1100’ AGL gives a kite line length between about 1200’ (if the kites and string were very low drag, nearly overhead) to much longer, perhaps 3000’. Winds were reported at 230°, about the same as the 777’s heading. From this, it looks to me like walking it down would have crossed Brickhouse Ln, a 2-lane road lines with big trees and hedges, several plowed fields edged by more trees (and though I can't see them, likely fences), and so on.
I imagine you can walk down a big kite, working around trees and over fences, hedges and lightly traveled roads, but if I was doing it, I’d use a winch, especially if I was trying to hoax an alien spaceship sighting, as I think you’d likely attract some unwanted neighborly attention with all the crossing of fields, fences, roads and fairways a walk down would involve.
That might be a hard question to which to get a simple answer. Horizon of all kinds are line-of-sight geometric functions of observer height, distance to target, and curvature and local variations in the Earth’s surface, so the basic data for Gatwick’s ATC radar would be “how tall’s your radar dish, and what’s its angle?” Radar is further complicated because it’s interpreted by computers to filter out noise from ground signals and ignore small targets, like birds, and lock on to fast moving targets, like planes. I’d say the best data we’re likely to get specific to objects like the disk in the airprox report is in the airprox report: a primary target corresponding to one of the disks was appeared in one screen update, then disappeared, when the object was at a visually estimated hight of 1100 to 1200 ft. above the ground at a distance of 4 to 5 nm.
Can you tell me what the radar horizon is for the Gatwick airport? That is, at
what elevation is an aircraft there under the radar?
Inquiring with Gatwick Customer Enquiry a good idea, though – at worst, they’ll ignore you, at best, you’ll get a reply from a real, professional radar expert.
Nick Pope makes his living giving talks and selling books to UFO-ologists at many kinds (the continuum of these folks is wide, from diagnosed schizophrenics to unconventional religionists to scientifically literate SETI enthusiasts), so I doubt he’d want to stir up ill will by suing one for misquoting him.
Meantime, I got to thinking that if Aethelwulf isn't really intimate with Nick Pope, then Nick Pope might consider it libel for Aethelwulf to say Nick said something he didn't say. Not to worry because again I'm not a piker so I wrote Nick Pope myself, apprised him of the situation, and invited him to join our forum to set the record straight. Got mail?
If anyone hasn’t already, I recommend reading Nick Pope’s wikipedia article and official website. Compared to many well-know alien visitation proponents, he seems to me a pretty well-grounded and reasonable person, with practically peerless experience in official government UFO programs. As best I’ve been able to digest, his main message of late is to caution UFO investigators of all kinds from relying too much on radar data, noting that a spacecraft capable of traveling a great distance to visit earth might well be able to control radio reflections from its surface – that is, that they might be effectively radar stealthy. He also strongly condemns many conspiracy theories on the grounds that they are racist or anti-government, including [url=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/9/11_Truth_movement]“9/11 truthers” and "we didn't go to the moon"-ers
At the risk of being branded a cultural bigot, I think that, among UFO folks, Nick Pope is “one of the good ones.” It would be a blast if he'd join us at hypography - though professional in these sorts of discussions that he is, we might be a bit small in our audience reach for him.