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Old 02-04-2016, 08:15 AM
 
Location: Planet Woof
3,179 posts, read 3,894,947 times
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I saw this last Friday while out in the parking lot of my apartments. There was a service technician standing with me as another witness. We could not believe what we were seeing!

It was an airplane hovering, not moving forward at all! We watched it for about 5 minutes and then it started very, very slowly to move sideways. The movement was almost imperceptible.

This was NOT an "optical illusion". We had rooftops and trees as points of reference and this plane was absolutely at a dead stop for 5 minutes or more.

Our expectation was that it was going to crash at any moment. I mean, how could a small aircraft just stay up in the air while not moving?

The plane looked like one of those old-fashioned propeller crop dusters with the wide, rounded wings. I did not see propellers, but it sounded like a prop plane. The color was a deep orange/tan color. I saw no lettering or markings of any kind on it.

As it slowly began to move sideways it moved into the glare of the sun and we lost sight of it.

I was baffled and somewhat freaked out. I checked the local news later to see if a plane had crashed in my area.

Went on-line and found that others had seen planes stop in mid-flight and been just as baffled.

How about you? Ever seen this? Any thoughts about it?
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:44 AM
 
Location: Maine
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How high was it? Any chance it might have been a balloon or kite with a picture of a plane on it?

What were current wind conditions? If you have a small plane trying to go 70 mph into a 70 mph headwind ... well, do the math.
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Old 02-04-2016, 09:51 AM
 
6,643 posts, read 7,372,963 times
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I saw something a little similar and scary last summer. It was a prop plane, a noisy one at that and flew about 8000 feet over my house and then silence. My wife yelped, I looked up and it was not moving and no sound. It hovered for less then a minute, restarted its motor and moved on.
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:04 AM
 
Location: occupied east coast
952 posts, read 2,147,789 times
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Ground speed.... Air speed.... not the same thing.

Consider a Cessna type aircraft....

Generally, they land at approx. 60 M.P.H..

Take that same plane and face it into a headwind of say 40 M.P.H.. (a very realistic wind speed at altitude).

Net effect is that Ground speed could be as little at 20 M.P.H. forward.

Air speed is above stall, Ground speed give the appearance of virtually standing still.

The aircraft thinks it is flying above minimum.

It gets more complicated than this... But my example should give you a good idea.

EDIT: Understand that "crop duster" might have a landing speed in the 40's or 50's M.P.H..
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Old 02-04-2016, 10:31 AM
 
12,253 posts, read 13,543,953 times
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Some of those home builts have pretty low stall speeds. Even single prop small planes can get pretty slow with flaps down. 40-50MPH stall speeds.


Get a nice headwind going and it's pretty possible to make a plane appear to hover in relation to the ground, meanwhile it's still chugging away in the air mass that is moving over the ground at higher speed.


I fly R/C airplanes and on windy days, I usually try to "hover" a plane by heading into the wind and slowing down so the plane doesn't appear to move.


Perfectly plausible scenario
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:42 PM
 
Location: Planet Woof
3,179 posts, read 3,894,947 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark S. View Post
How high was it? Any chance it might have been a balloon or kite with a picture of a plane on it?

What were current wind conditions? If you have a small plane trying to go 70 mph into a 70 mph headwind ... well, do the math.

No, it was definitely real. If I held my arm at length with a 2 inch toy plane it would be about that height.

I say "crop duster" because it was about that size and the wings were flat, wide, with rounded ends.

Obviously I know little about how to identify planes!

When it finally did get moving it was heading toward a small county airport about 5 miles away.

Darnedest thing I ever saw!
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Old 02-04-2016, 01:58 PM
 
Location: Greenville, SC
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Depends on the angle of travel as well as wind direction/speed as others have said. There are always several planes in the air here, since I'm southwest of O'Hare airport, and I've seen jets appear to be stationary for a few minutes until they change their angle of approach. Sometimes I'll think one is a planet until all of a sudden it starts to move.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:10 PM
 
Location: Heart of Dixie
12,445 posts, read 12,332,982 times
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This should be in the Aviation forum, as there's nothing uncommon or unusual about this event.
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Fargo ND
809 posts, read 781,097 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dirt Grinder View Post
This should be in the Aviation forum, as there's nothing uncommon or unusual about this event.
agreed, as a pilot I have done this many times

just point the nose into the strong headwind and match the airspeed to the wind velocity

voila
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Old 02-04-2016, 02:49 PM
 
Location: Planet Woof
3,179 posts, read 3,894,947 times
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I did google this topic and there were lots of comments from other similar sightings that perhaps these might be "ETs" masking as our aircraft. Hence my posting it here for discussion.

Your explanations seem plausible to me, though I am open to ET visitations in various forms. I feel pretty confident that this was NOT one of those. It's been very interesting to read your commentaries.
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