This has been a very active few days… My website, Twitter, Facebook and even this blog have had record breaking activity. It has been impossible to keep up with it. I have gotten hits and inquiries from all over the world. I knew when I went public with these images, it was going to be very active. Well… I think that was an understatement.
Here is a little history and my reasoning for declaring the Skunk Bay Missile Crisis over.
When I first saw that image, there was no doubt about it in my mind… That was one big missile launch. That’s why I waited for 24 hours before going public. Cliff Mass and I shared several emails before he posted his blog. As the day progressed, there were no reports of anybody else seeing it or hearing it. That is a big, important fact. A missile of that size would make a lot of noise. But, the image was so compelling, I really could not completely let go of the theory. I study these images every day… Thousands and thousands of these images and have never seen anything like this. But with no reports of anybody hearing it, I parked it in my mind as a mystery, rather than a fact. Theories about it being a plane I discounted because they were not in the field of view of my cameras and I see thousands of planes fly over and they don’t look like this image at all. Tyler Rogoway, an aviation specialist did a lot of research and found it matched an Airlift NW helicopter path perfectly. But, I still could not buy into it. Helicopters fly over all the time and they have never looked like that. The conspiracy theories were rampant, but I could not get on board with them either…. I kept this thing parked as a mystery. This morning I contacted Air Lift NW to find out if the Nav lights on the helicopter were different in any way. I got a fairly quick response back from them after they talked with the pilot. Here is the text:
"They were transiting from Bremerton to Bellingham on a standard instrument flight plan, flying in the clouds with night vision goggles. The search light was retracted flush under the nose, but did not switch off and was facing straight down."
So, the path of the helicopter matches perfectly and now that I know the searchlight was in a locked down position and still on, it makes sense now.
I know my cameras very well. This was a unique situation that would have resulted in exactly this type of image. I never thought it would be solved like this…. What an adventure.
I know that many folks will vehemently disagree with this assessment, much as I did in the beginning. I hope they do continue to keep searching for another explanation, but in this case, I am 99% convinced this is the real solution. I will always leave that 1% open out there because I love a good mystery….. :)
Cliff Mass does a great job of giving the details in his blog this afternoon: