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Author Topic: Plastic UFOs banned for being picked up on radar...
vtsquire
I Saw Three Shipments


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I heard this one a loooong time ago. More than 20 years ago, actually.

1. You can make "ufos" from plastic bags, framing from a kite and candles. (hot air raises a balloon)

2. They were banned because they got picked up on a military base's radar system causing a false alarm.

Anybody ever heard this one?

Posts: 65 | From: Vallejo, CA | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
diddy
Markdown, the Herald Angels Sing


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I doubt that they would be travelling fact enoughg to be picked up by rador nor would it be something large eenough to be picked up as anything that woould wareent investigation.

A large bird would have a better chance of being picked up and you cannot ban thhem....

It makes no logical sense.

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W.W.F.S.M.D?
But this image of Bush as some sort of Snidely Whiplash tying the fair maiden to the railroad tracks is beyond the pale. - Joe Bentley

Posts: 2311 | From: Minnnesota | Registered: Mar 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
TallGeekyGirl
O Read, O Read, The Manual


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You and I in a little toy shop
Buy a bag of balloons
With the money we've got
Set them free at the break of dawn
'Til one by one, they were gone
Back at base, bugs in the software
Flash the message
"Something's out there"
Floating in the summer sky
99 red balloons go by

99 red balloons
Floating in the summer sky
Panic bells, it's red alert
There's something here
From somewhere else
The war machine springs to life
Opens up one eager eye
Focusing it on the sky
Where 99 red balloons go by

99 Decision Street
99 ministers meet
To worry, worry, super-scurry
Call the troops out in a hurry
This is what we've waited for
This is it boys, this is war
The president is on the line
As 99 red balloons go by

99 Knights of the airway
Ride super-high-tech jet fighters
Everyone's a civil hero
Everyone's a Captain Kirk
With orders to identify
To clarify and classify
Scramble in the summer sky
As 99 red balloons go by

As 99 red balloons go by

99 dreams I have had
In every one a red balloon
It's all over and I'm standin' pretty
In this dust that was a city
If I could find a souvenier
Just to prove the world was here
And here is a red balloon
I think of you and let it go


Sorry ... teenage flashback ... [Big Grin]

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See, if I tell you about it, it won't be a mystery. It'll just be a fact, an ugly, moist fact, squatting on your brain like an octopus. And you don't want an octopus squatting on your brain, do you, son? -- Stan Smith, American Dad

Posts: 980 | From: Virginia | Registered: Dec 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
WulfBane
I'm Dreaming of a White Sale


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Well, I heard from a guy at work (yeah, I know, a "reliable" source) that after building said balloon, you take a shoe box and line the inside with aluminum foil. The result is effectively a light weight radar reflector on the inside of the box as the three perpendicular walls will result in a LARGE amount of the radar energy being reflected back at the source. This results in a significantly larger radar cross section than a normal object of the same size. (part of the idea behind the physical shape of 'stealth' aircraft is to significantly reduce the amount of radar energy that gets returned to the transmitter and instead deflect as much as they can away or absorb it)

And while I do work with radar related systems, I don't quite know the formulas involved or the equipment to test how big the actual radar cross section of a foil lined shoe box.

Of course, having a radar energy return is one thing. As already mentioned, the doplar shift would be next to nil due to relatively slow movement (unless you manage to get it to rise quickly even at a high altitude so the direction from the radar system is mostly up and sees a large portion of the velocity vector). So basically, to trigger a significant hit that doesn't get discounted by the false alarm reduction algorithms as a flock of birds or something else, that effective radar cross section would have to be fairly good.

Posts: 11 | From: Tucson, Arizona | Registered: Aug 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Troberg
Angels Wii Have Heard on High


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I agree with everything WulfBane said.

My guess is that they are banned, not for being radar visible, but for being fire hazards. In countries where these are common tradition, they frequently cause fires as something in the construction fails, the balloon ignites and the heat source falls to the ground.

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/Troberg

Posts: 4360 | From: Borlänge, Sweden | Registered: Nov 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Unusual Elfin Lights
Happy Xmas (Warranty Is Over)


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quote:
Originally posted by WulfBane:
Of course, having a radar energy return is one thing. As already mentioned, the doplar shift would be next to nil due to relatively slow movement (unless you manage to get it to rise quickly even at a high altitude so the direction from the radar system is mostly up and sees a large portion of the velocity vector). So basically, to trigger a significant hit that doesn't get discounted by the false alarm reduction algorithms as a flock of birds or something else, that effective radar cross section would have to be fairly good.

The doppler shift would be minimal, but it still would be recorded. I imagine that this would likely be taking place along the approach routes of military air stations.

As for the shoebox with tinfoil, that is perhaps the best homemade device for giving a radar return. I deal with radars (not aircraft ones) and the returns we are looking for come from small pieces of metal in the sky. Having a shoebox shine back at us would be easy pickings!

Posts: 2064 | From: New Brunswick, Canada | Registered: Aug 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
vtsquire
I Saw Three Shipments


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http://www.ncas.org/condon/text/case18.htm

http://www.overflite.com/

google answers nearly all my questions [Frown]

Posts: 65 | From: Vallejo, CA | Registered: May 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
Richard W
Ding Dong! Merrily on High Definition TV


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A story from October 2005:

Wedding lanterns spark UFO scare

quote:
The release of illuminated Thai lanterns over Leez Priory near Great Dunmow caused drivers on the M25 to pull over on the hard shoulder to look.

...

The Ministry of Defence told the BBC that there were no military exercises in the area at the time and air traffic control at Stansted Airport say nothing unusual showed up on the radar.

I was actually searching for a more recent BBC story from a few weeks ago, where the same thing had happened and the couple who let the lanterns out in their garden owned up after they heard the MoD were "investigating" (presumably because people had asked them about it), because they didn't want any time to be wasted. I couldn't find that story, but I think it was a different incident from this one.
Posts: 8725 | From: Ipswich - the UK's 9th Best Place to Sleep! | Registered: Feb 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
MaxKaladin
The First USA Noel


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Reminds me of a book I read as a kid. It was called "Mad Scientist's Club" or something like that. It has been decades since I read this (late 70s-early 80s) so I don't remember many details. One of the stories in the book involved the club making a fake UFO out of plastic bags over a bamboo frame using helium for lift. I don't recall anything about a radar reflector, but they did have a light inside that was rotating. They'd rigged a steering mechanism out of the parts from air guns and flew the thing near their town to set off a panic about UFOs or something. Like I said, I don't remember many details but the story in this book does have some similarity to this report.
Posts: 716 | From: San Antonio, TX | Registered: Jan 2006  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
NovaSS
I'll Be Home for After Christmas Sales


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I have built them ! You use 3 dry cleaning bags tapped side by side ( you cut the center one on both sides and the out side ones on one side to form one large bag help together with scotch tape)

Then build a hexagon shaped frame out of plastic straws with the bendable feature. Then you add cross members in the center , again out of straws

You then take one big candle and drip hot was in spots on the frame work and stick birthday candles on it before it dries.

It takes a couple people to launch , mostly to keep from setting the bag on fire.

We once got one air born with 64 birthday candles. We chased it in a car for 15- 20 minutes before it came down in a tree. The entire time it was in the air it was leaving a trail of " fireballs" as candles fell off. I dont think it ever got over 300 FT in the air.

Picked up on radar? NOPE, add tin foil? To heavy to get off the ground. LOOKS COOL AT NIGHT !!!

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Warlok
Little Sales Drummer Boy


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What I can't find is any reference to them being "banned," or illegal. Lots of fireworks and rocketry references, but nothing about slow moving open flames...?

Warlok

--------------------
Inconceivable

Posts: 2755 | From: Nebraska | Registered: Oct 2001  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a moderator
   

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