Video of two objects moving and hovering above downtown Minneapolis is kindling curiosity and sparking a debate online over what type of aircraft were involved and whether they were man-made.
The footage, which was posted to YouTube, was recorded on the evening of Aug. 9 in Loring Park using a Samsung Galaxy Note 2 phone. The man who shot the video wrote the following about what he witnessed:
Eyewitness: Source MUFON I was walking to downtown, from my place in uptown, via Loring Park. I spotted two objects hovering in the NE sky. At first I didn't pay much attention to them as I thought it was just helicopters perhaps. But then, one looked like it was sort of checking out the Basilica. I'm not sure how far away they were, so it may have just been a quirk of viewpoint and unrelated to the Basilica.
That struck me as interesting so I decided to record them with my Galaxy Note 2 phone. I also tried to get enough reference points in some of the shots to triangulate size if someone is interested in doing so. I'm not sure what the objects were. I'm inclined to think they were manmade. They weren't helicopters though, at least not normal sized ones, nor did they have the correct lights for that sort of vehicle. (Perhaps I'm mistaken?)
The objects themselves were dual colors. They looked like two square lights of some sort attached to one another, which you can't tell from the video due to the low quality. If I remember correctly the colors were a solid blue and green, but don't quote me on that... I can't recall for sure. In the video each object appears a different color versus each being a dual color.
Before I started to record, the second object had been hovering back and forth. It's the object you see hover up from the lower left in the video.
My feelings and reactions: Curiosity more than anything. Like I said, I think it was probably something of terrestrial origin and someone either testing out some kind of say, drone, or something, or putting on a show of some sort with RC craft. They kind of reminded me of those small automated drones from some of the universities you see videos of doing synchronized flying. That or perhaps small RC craft (but silent). At first I thought there might be some sort of propeller sound, but it was just downtown noise. As I made my way downtown, no one else seemed to have noticed anything. (It was busy downtown.)
How did I lose sight of the objects? See the video. They did their thing and then flew off. The second one looked like it had been landing or taking off before I started recording. It's hard to tell for sure though without a better idea of distance though.
So, what are they? FOX 9's Bill Keller contacted the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport and the FAA, but neither had any reports of sightings. Neither did law enforcement agencies, who added that they are a "long way" away from using any type of drone technology.
When asked whether the lights were true UFOs, Brian Taylor, director of the Uninhabited Aerial Vehicle Lab at the University of Minnesota, said simply, "Sure. It's unidentified."
Taylor told FOX 9 News the FAA only allows research groups to fly UAVs at specific places for specific reasons, so his lab wasn't behind the bewildering lights.
The man who took the video noted aloud that it was difficult to tell how far away the objects were, but as soon as Tanner Becken, of Hobby Warehouse, that's not uncommon for some of the quadcopters he sells.
"I guess I thought right away it was a quadcopter," he admitted. "Just the way the lights were and the way there moving around -- looks like the quad copters that fly."
Becken told FOX 9 News the store has sold about 40 of the high-tech aircraft in the past 6 months.
"It's hard to tell with these where they are," he continued. "If you're up 100 feet, it looks like it's a lot farther up than what it really is."
With powerful batteries, the choppers can stay airborne for about 15 minutes.
"The lights are just to be able to see it and orient it," Becken explained. "They're not specifically for night flying. They're more to tell direction during the day."
Yet, Becken said the most tell-tale sign that the lights are not of extraterrestrial origin could simply be the final motions.
"You can see them descend at the end of the video. Most UFOs would go up, you would think, not descend back down to the ground," he said.
The quadcopters cost about $1,600, but UAVs could have several civilian uses, especially in the agriculture industry. The FAA is expected to outline the rules of use by the end of 2015.
VIDEO OF UAVS IN MINNEAPOLIS: http://www.youtube.com/mndrone