Why The Manhattan Diamond Shaped UFO Is Not An Aerial Banner

As you may have read in my previous post,  A Diamond Shaped UFO Over Manhattan – September 17, 2011, I closed out case 32025 as an “Unknown”.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, MUFON’s Texas STAR Team (Strike Team Area Research) was also conducting an investigation into my case.  I found out about it when I read the article by Frank Coffman in the April, 2012 issue of the MUFON eJournal, titled “Part 3: Rectangular Object Identified: Three witnesses at different locations describe same object” (Coffman, 2012, pp.8-9).

The article states;

“Three sightings by different witnesses at different locations on different dates, all within a 90-day period prompted the investigator to contact Fletcher Gray.  As the Star Team Manager, and Chief Investigator for Texas, Gray is active in many cases and would be aware of any sighting trends or patterns.  On December 21, 2011, the details of the three gray rectangle sightings in Texas were given to the Chief Investigator who stated that the findings were very interesting and that there was still another report of a rectangle in New York City.

This examination proceeded unlike a typical MUFON case in that the only investigation conducted was for conclusive evidence that would identify the object as an advertising banner.” (ibid. p. 8).

Terry Hinson was the investigator assigned to this project.  Even though the article says that the New York City UFO was identified, there are several problems with the evidence submitted.

One thing that kept bothering me was the altitude of the object.  It just struck me as being too low for New York City especially in the area around Ground Zero.  I began searching for rules and regulations governing the airspace over the Lower Hudson River.  On line, I found a PDF from the Federal Aviation Administration titled “New York Class B Airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusion Special Flight Rules Area (SFRA)”.  https://www.faasafety.gov/files/gslac/courses/content/79/776/kneeboard.pdf.

The new rules were established in 2009 due to a mid air collision between a small plane and a sightseeing helicopter that killed nine people.  It created another corridor in the Hudson River Exclusion Area and tiered the air traffic by altitude according to the purpose of the flight. Flights going straight up and down the river, with very little change in altitude or direction, are required to maintain an altitude of 1,000 to 1,299 feet (Transient Operations).  Flights that frequently change direction and altitude (such as sightseeing helicopter tours) are required to fly at an altitude of up to 999 feet (Local Operations).  Pilots must also announce themselves at mandatory reporting points along the route.  The unknown object in the photo is about 40 feet above a building that is 577 feet tall, which puts it well below 1,000 feet.  This would not be the right altitude for the object because a banner being towed, would go right up the Hudson and not make many changes in course or altitude.  I now wanted to find out if these rules were enforced

I learned that the office that handles this in my area, is the New York City Flight Standards District Office (FSDO).  I told the person I was transferred to that I work for MUFON and that I was trying to determine if an object in a picture is a banner or something unknown.  I told him that I had read the document “New York Airspace Hudson River and East River Exclusion Special Flight Rules Area” and that I felt that the altitude of this object was too low and should be in the Transient Operations area and not the Local Operations area.  I asked him if the rules over the Hudson River were enforced.  He said that the rules are enforced and a banner would be towed at 1,000 feet or above.  However, before any of that could take place, there would have to be a waiver on file for banner towing.  http://fsims.faa.gov/PICDetail.aspx?docId=F65EDE952783C34F8525734F00766573

This is especially important because it would be flown through a “Special Flight Rules Area”.  He then checked and told me that there are no waivers for banner towing over the Hudson River on file.  I told him that the photograph was taken on September 17, 2011.  He then repeated what he had told me; there are no waivers for banner towing over the Hudson, not for September 17 or any other day.   Since a waiver on file is required this would mean that there have been no banners towed over the lower Hudson River, at least, since 2009 when the new rules were enacted.

Problems With the Photograph

There were also problems with the photograph supplied to Mr. Hinson by the aerial sign company, most notably of which was that the banner did not fly on the same day that the unidentified object was photographed.

Mr. Coffman writes underneath the photo of the banner; “Exhibit 7: Object above was sent to FI Terry Hinson by the aerial sign company for confirmation.  Information in the sign was blocked.” (ibid p. 9).

Not all the information in the sign was blacked out.  The word “NOW” in the photo struck me as odd.  The “O” looked more like a circle than the letter and, even in the black and white picture, I could tell that it was a different color than the other two letters in the word.  This suggested to me that it might be some sort of logo.  Now, I needed to find it online.

One of the ways to find it is to do a search on Google using the “Images” tab.  Since the photo in the journal is in black and white, I had to add different colors along with the words “circle logo”.  I started with primary colors.  If I found a picture that looked like it might be the one in the photo, I then went to the website, found the subject the logo is used for, and then added the words “aerial banner” to that subject.

After trying several colors with no luck, I then used “blue” with “circle logo” which led me to this page http://www.diabetesmine.com/2008/11/why-the-blue-circle.html

Then I added “diabetes” with “aerial banner” which gave me this page of search results https://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=diabetes+aerial+banner&bav=on.2,or.r_gc.r_pw.r_cp.r_qf.&biw=1280&bih=685&um=1&ie=UTF-8&tbm=isch&source=og&sa=N&tab=wi&ei=piogUc7lMNPU0gGh1oD4Aw

As you can see, a banner with that large word “NOW”, like the one in the MUFON Journal article, is a few rows down from the top.  When you click on that picture, it takes you to a flikr account http://www.flickr.com/photos/idf/6163011668/ .  The identity of this photograph of an aerial banner, as the one identified as the Unknown Object over Manhattan, can be confirmed in two ways.  1) The word “NOW” is the same style as the picture in the article and both show that the middle letter is a different color than the rest of it.  2) If you look slightly above the upper left corner of the aerial banner in the flikr account, you will see a black smudge.  There is the same smudge, in the same place, on the (mostly redacted) aerial banner photo in the journal article.

This aerial banner cannot be the same object as is in the UFO report submitted to MUFON.  If you look at the caption under the photo in the flikr account it says;

“…raising diabetes awareness with an aerial banner flying high over New York on the first day of the United Nations High-Level Summit on Noncommunicable Diseases (NCDs).  19-20 September 2011”

This banner was flown on September 19, 2011.  The Unknown Object was photographed over Manhattan on September 17, 2011, two days before the aerial banner.  There cannot be any confusion about the dates because the observation deck at the New Museum is only open on weekends.  September 17 was a Saturday, September 19 was a Monday.

The aerial banner is not the Unknown Object over Manhattan.

Summary

There is no waiver on file for flying any banner over the Hudson River, which is required by the FAA.  The waiver is very important in this case because that area of the Hudson River has been designated a Special Flight Rules Area.

The photo of the aerial banner that was supplied to STAR Team Investigator, Terry Hinson, was traced to a flikr account held by the International Diabetes Federation.  This was done through the diabetes logo that was left in the picture in the MUFON Journal.

The picture of the aerial banner was submitted as evidence to identify the Unknown Object as an aerial banner.  This however, is not the case.  The aerial banner was flown on Monday, September 19, 2011.  The photo of the Unknown Object was taken on Saturday, September 17, 2011, two days before the banner was flown.  The aerial banner and the Unknown Object are not the same object.

As I wrote in my previous post, analysis of the photos of the Unknown Object do not show any signs of tow ropes or lettering on the object.

This object is not an aerial banner.  It remains “Unidentified”.

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4 thoughts on “Why The Manhattan Diamond Shaped UFO Is Not An Aerial Banner

  1. Excellent work Lillian,
    This again is proof that some of the investigators in MUFON are either frightened they may be wrong( if they say UFO) or they come from a debunkers perspective and make a safe determination that does not include all of the facts as reported. This to me is shameful. Most of the witnesses that come forward are not of the UFO community and MUFONs allegiance should be to make sure we are not undermining their report just to look objective. There are many cases like this especially if they get some media time. This frustrates the hell out of some of the members. I was friends with someone who has passed on and he was a MUFON state director. He described some of their directors meetings as a “Bonfire Of The Vanities” The main reason I wrote my article is what happened to me in presenting evidence. If you remember I had presented evidence about an object filmed that was claimed by those in MUFON as a blimp (Ceasor’s case). There was a great deal of arguing back and forth that it was a blimp. By the time I was able to contact the people who flew blimps over the stadium and found no blimps were in the air that day. The debate was over and those facts made no difference.
    Sometime a simple solution is not a simple solution when facts about the case are ignored by the investigators. I started a non-commercial blog after that hoping to pick apart some of the bad investigations by MUFON debunkers.
    Don’t get me wrong I love MUFON that doesn’t mean I love all their investigation and all of their investigators.
    Joe Capp
    UFO Media Matters
    Non-Commercial Blog

  2. Excellent investigative work, Lillian. And you write so ~well~, I must say. Kind-of-off-topic: I would not disassociate myself from MUFON over this kind of thing. There will always be disagreements and mistakes, and a certain residue of shadiness, in ufology. It’s better to stay and fight. The fact is, there’s really no viable substitute for MUFON on the horizon. In view of MUFON’s long track record and the measure of MSM visibility it has achieved, the fight’s worth it.

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