January 16, 2020
Well, not really.
WHAT they are is not at all unidentified. They are Radio Controlled drones. However, these are flying in what are described as large formations and have attracted the attention of the authorities, to such an extent that 9 days ago the newly formed Colorado drone task force instituted a search for a hypothetical command vehicle.
This was rescinded 3 days later but the drones continue to fly in formations...at night, one nearly colliding with an air ambulance.
The government has announced almost simultaneously that they haven't been able to confirm the drones exist and that the FAA needs new and intrusive powers to monitor every drone in the country to deal with this burgeoning threat*.
More recently on the heels of those two government assessments, the drones continue to be reported, In some cases, the drones are being described as being as big as cars, which, if true** means that this is a much more impressive phenomenon and potentially worrying give the numbers involved and the formation flying.
Here at Brickmuppet Blog, the running theory has been that this was a combination of kids being kids, ranchers patrolling their property, and business doing their business in a way that hasn't been a thing until the last decade or so. When a bunch of reports of unexpected new things flying are combined this could have resulted in peoples perfectly reasonable pattern spotting tendencies resulting in alarm. In this case the"perpetrators" are all blissfully unaware of the pandemonium that they're causing. However, the large numbers of reports of drone formations mean that there may well be something more substantive going on**.
Other possibilities besides mass hysteria include some small company testing out new drone rigs, (a big company like Amazon would have someone who watched the news and would have filed the proper FAA paperwork). The large number of such sightings indicate that if they are all connected (not at all certain) that there is an extensive training/testing program going on. It could be a secret Air-Force or Army program. It could be something as benign ad a bunch of students trying to practice a drone aerobatics demonstration. On the more sinister side of the spectrum there could be criminal activity such as drug running (though that is unlikely to involve formation flying) or terrorists testing out formation flying and ground attack methods in anticipation of an upcoming attack. Al-Qaeda and ISIS have both used drones to attack civilian and military targets, but this is an awful lot of testing and training in plain sight with no civilian deaths to show for it.
At this point (assuming the press reports and video footage are in proper context...a big assumption nowadays) it looks like there's SOMETHING going on here. It's just unclear what.
* Hat tip Pete, I had not seen this anywhere else
**some skepticism is warranted : the devices are being observed at night, and this report of the being car sized is from The Sun.
Posted by: Wonderduck at Fri Jan 17 00:47:56 2020 (cTMj+)
Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at Fri Jan 17 00:52:25 2020 (LZ7Bg)
the drones crossed all of Nebraska and came to Omaha
Given that the were first noticed in Wyoming, names that come to mind are Cheyenne Mountain, Peterson, Warren, and Air Combat Command in Offut near Omaha. No one would have noticed anything near Malmstrom or Minot. If they show up near Whitman, get ready to duck and cover.
Posted by: The Brickmuppet at Fri Jan 17 06:58:41 2020 (5iiQK)
Posted by: Pixy Misa at Fri Jan 17 08:24:55 2020 (PiXy!)
If it were something like a mapping company/USGS testing out new mapping functions, we'd know about it, I think.
I think my money is either on "industrial espionage" or "secret military activity."
It is kind of creepy, though I think "creepy stuff happening that you never really hear the explanation for" is just a thing now.
Posted by: fillyjonk at Fri Jan 17 10:26:38 2020 (o5UlT)
Posted by: Ben at Sat Jan 18 09:48:37 2020 (osxtX)
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