• Home
  • USS Princeton

Tag: USS Princeton

Navy Pilot Who Filmed the ‘Tic Tac’ UFO: ‘It Wasn’t Behaving by the Normal Laws of Physics’

 

Article by Matthew Phelan                          December 19, 2019                            (nymag.com)

• In 2017, the New York Times released a 2004 Navy jet video of a UFO over the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of San Diego as the USS Nimitz carrier group was performing military exercises. Now, the pilot of the F/A-18 Super Hornet who took the infamous video, and who first described it as a “Tic Tac” UFO, Chad Underwood, has come forward for the first time in an interview with New York Magazine’s ‘Intelligencer’.

• Here is the account by Underwood: On November 10, 2004, radar operator Kevin Day reported seeing odd, slow-moving objects flying in groups of five to ten off of San Clemente Island, west of the San Diego coast. At 28,000 feet and traveling 138 miles per hour, they were too high to be birds. The objects would zoom from 60,000 feet to hovering 50 feet above the ocean without producing a sonic boom. Radar operators with the USS Princeton spent two weeks trying to figure out what the objects were.

• Underwood’s commanding officer, David Fravor, eventually made visual confirmation of one of the objects midair during a flight-training exercise. An hour later, Fravor returned and informed Underwood of the mysterious UFO out there. On a second flight to the object’s coordinates, Underwood made his infrared recording of the ‘FLIR1’, aka “Tic Tac UFO – a 40-foot-long, white, oblong shaped craft without exhaust or conventional propulsion, even as it made a surprising dart leftward at the end of the video.

• A former fighter pilot who served on the Nimitz in 2004, who spoke on condition of anonymity, recalled an exhilarating group screening of the FLIR1 video inside the Nimitz’s intelligence center. “There weren’t really a lot of skeptics in that room,” the former pilot said. “We all wanted to fly it.”

• Marine Hornet squadron commander, Lieutenant Colonel “Cheeks” Kurth, was one of the pilots who witnessed the Tic Tac UFO, but has remained silent about the incident. He did, however, take a job as a program manager at Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies in Las Vegas, whose owner Robert Bigelow has been a well-known funder of UFO and paranormal research for decades.

• Underwood says he is glad that Dave Fravor told the story on the Joe Rogan Experience podcast. “That day, Dave Fravor was landing at the same time I was getting my gear on, and we crossed paths just after he’d seen (the UFO).” Underwood told Fravor that the Princeton’s radar was “picking up a specific object that they wanted us to hunt.” Once in the air, “all of a sudden, I got this blip on my radar. …It looked like a ‘Tic Tac’ out there in the sky.”

• “It was inside of 20 miles. You’re not going to see it with your own eyes until probably 10 miles, and then you’re not going to be able to visually track it until you’re probably inside of 5 miles, which is where Dave Fravor saw it.” At that point Underwood was tracking it on the FLIR radar, and making sure that the videotape was on.

• “The thing that stood out to me the most,” said Underwood, “was how erratic it was behaving . …[I]ts changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before… in ways that aren’t physically normal. … They have to have some source of lift, some source of propulsion. The Tic Tac was not doing that. It was going from like 50,000 feet to, you know, a hundred feet in like seconds, which is not possible.” “The video shows a source of heat, but the normal signatures of an exhaust plume were not there. There was no sign of propulsion.”

• “[T]his was not a weather balloon — because a balloon, it just ascends and floats from low to high altitude; it doesn’t behave erratically. I mean, it’s just a damn balloon. So that was out of the question.” “It wasn’t — to the best of my knowledge — a cruise missile or any other kind of test aircraft that we possibly may have not known about, just because of the way it was behaving.”

• Once he landed back on the carrier, Underwood saw one of his buddies from a sister squadron and they put the video tapes into the playback machine in the intelligence center. “Those little video cuts— that you see of my FLIR recording — were taken there at the intelligence center,” said Underwood.

• “[P]robably within about 20 minutes or so, I spoke to someone that I assume was from NORAD. I described it exactly as I just told you. I didn’t get debriefed.” Normally “we would get debriefed on it, …and, basically, ‘This is what you saw. Don’t talk about it.’ That never happened, which leads me to think that it was not a government project.” “I’ve got top-secret clearance with a ton of special-project clearances.” But “if it was a government project, I did not (have a) need to know.”

• “I’ve never said that this is what I think it was or speculate as to what I think it was. That’s not my job. But I saw something. And it was also seen, via eyeballs, by both my commanding officer, Dave Fravor, and the Marine Corps Hornet squadron commanding officer who was out there as well.” “It’s funny, seeing your boss’s name and face on the news.” “[E]verything that Dave has put out there in the interviews is absolutely, 100 percent, exactly what happened on that day. And we’re still good friends to this day.”

• “I’ll let the nerds… do the math on what it was likely to be. I just happened to be the person that brought back the video.”

 

In the 15 years since Chad Underwood recorded a bizarre and erratic UFO — now called “the Tic Tac,” a name Underwood himself came up with — from the infrared camera on the left wing of his F/A-18 Super Hornet, he’s become a flight instructor, a civilian employee in the aerospace industry, and a father. But he has not yet spoken publicly about what he saw that day, even now, two years after his video made the front page of the New York Times. As he explained before speaking with Intelligencer, Underwood has mostly wanted to avoid having his name “attached to the ‘little green men’ crazies that are out there.”

                       Chad Underwood

The story of the Tic Tac begins around November 10, 2004, when radar operator Kevin Day first reported seeing odd and slow-moving objects flying in groups of five to ten off of San Clemente Island, west of the San Diego coast. At an elevation of 28,000 feet, moving at a speed of approximately 120 knots (about 138 miles per hour), the clusters were too high to be birds, too slow to be conventional aircraft, and were not traveling on any established flight path, at least according to Day.

In a military report made public by KLAS-TV in Las Vegas, Day would later observe that the objects “exhibited ballistic-missile characteristics” as they zoomed from 60,000 feet to 50 feet above the Pacific Ocean, alarmingly without producing sonic booms. All told, radar operators with the Princeton spent about two weeks attempting to figure out what the objects were, a process that included having the ship’s radar system shut down and recalibrated to make sure that the mysterious radar returns were not not false positives, or “ghost tracks.”

Eventually, David Fravor, commanding officer of the Black Aces, made visual confirmation of one of the objects midair during a flight-training exercise. An hour later, Underwood made his infrared recording on a second flight. “That day,” Underwood recalls, “Dave Fravor was like, ‘Hey, dude. BOLO.’ Like, be on the lookout for just something weird. I can’t remember the exact terms that he used. I didn’t really think much about it at the time. But once I was able to acquire it on the radar and on the FLIR [forward-looking infrared camera], that’s kind of where things — I wouldn’t say ‘went sideways’ — but things were just different.”

The footage appears to depict what Fravor had identified as a 40-foot-long, white, oblong shape (hence “Tic Tac”), hovering somewhere between 15,000 and 24,000 feet in midair and exhibiting no notable exhaust from conventional propulsion sources, even as it makes a surprising dart leftward in the video’s final moments. Of the three UFO incidents captured by U.S. Navy airmen via infrared gun-camera pods, Underwood’s footage remains unique for its lack of cross talk between the pilots — a fact that has led to some speculation about its authenticity. But “there wasn’t anything on it that was protected,” Underwood’s retired former commanding officer Dave Fravor told Intelligencer. The missing audio, he says, “just didn’t make the copy that was taken from the storage drive.”

A former fighter pilot who served on the Nimitz in 2004, who spoke to Intelligencer on condition of anonymity, recalled an exhilarating group screening of the FLIR1 video inside the Nimitz’s Carrier Vehicle Intelligence Center (CVIC): “Debriefs were usually pro forma in the CVIC, but this one in particular was so odd,” the former pilot said. “There weren’t really a lot of skeptics in that room.” Years later, Fravor told ABC News that he didn’t know what the Tic Tac was, but that “it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it.” In the CVIC that day, the anonymous pilot told Intelligencer, “We all had that. We all wanted to fly it.”

Of the many people to have spotted or recorded the objects, a handful, like Fravor or Princeton’s (retired) Chief Master-at-Arms Sean Cahill, who reported seeing what appeared to be another grouping of the objects from the missile cruiser’s deck, have spoken to journalists or documentarians. Others have not: Lieutenant Colonel “Cheeks” Kurth, a Marine Hornet squadron commanding officer who was also asked to intercept the Tic Tac, still has not done an on-the-record interview. (Three years after the sighting, however, Kurth did take a job as a program manager at Bigelow Advanced Aerospace Space Studies in Las Vegas, whose owner Robert Bigelow has been a well-known private funder of UFO and paranormal research for decades. It was during this same period that Bigelow became a military contractor working on the Pentagon’s once-secret UFO investigation program, the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program.)

Underwood now joins Fravor, Cahill, and others, in speaking about his experience with the Tic Tac. This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

The Tic Tac UFO Witnesses

Listen to “e173 The Tic Tac UFO Witnesses” on Spreaker.

Article by Tim McMillan                          November 12, 2019                           (popularmechanics.com)

Popular Mechanics magazine and website recently assembled five former sailors who served with the USS Nimitz carrier group and witnessed first hand the Navy’s November 2004 encounter with ‘tic tac’-shaped UFOs, one hundred miles off of the coast of San Diego. Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, P.J. Hughes, Ryan Weigelt, and Kevin Day were all featured in the documentary film The Nimitz Encounters.

• In November 2004, Gary Voorhis was a Petty Officer 3rd Class on the USS Princeton guided missile cruiser on a routine training exercise. Voorhis was a six year veteran having served two combat tours. They were getting the “kinks out” of the ship’s new Spy-1 Bravo radar system. Voorhis was told by radar techs that they were getting “ghost tracks” and “clutter” on the radars. As a system technician, Voorhis was concerned about a possible malfunction. The air control systems were re-calibrated. But the ghost tracks were only clearer. Said Voorhis, “Sometimes they’d be at an altitude of 80,000 or 60,000 feet. Other times they’d be around 30,000 feet… Their radar cross sections didn’t match any known aircraft. …No squawk, no “IFF” (Identification Friend or Foe).”

• Kevin Day was the Princeton’s Combat Information Center Operations Specialist Senior Chief. It was his job to protect the airspace around the strike group. Day noticed strange radar tracks near San Clemente Island. But they were appearing in “groups of five to ten at a time and they were pretty closely spaced to each other,” said Day. “[They] were 28,000 feet going a hundred knots tracking south.” Ryan Weigelt remembers Senior Chief Day’s name being called over the comms.

• In the meantime, Voorhis was watching the highly precise radar returns. He would plot the UAP’s position, run up to the bridge, grab a pair of heavily magnified binoculars, and could faintly see the UAPs hovering there in broad daylight. [T]hen all of a sudden,” says Voorhis, “in an instant, they’d dart off to another direction and stop again.” “At night, they’d give off a kind of a phosphorus glow and were a little easier to see than in the day.”

• By November 14th, the strange returns had been continuously showing up for close to a week. With an air defense exercise scheduled for that morning, Day convinced his commanding officer to let him direct aircraft to attempt an intercept of these anomalous radar returns. Squadron Commander David Fravor was sent to engage with what Fravor would later describe as “an elongated egg or a ‘Tic Tac’ shaped” flying object, 46 feet long.

• Voorhis, Day, and the rest of the Princeton listened to the live comm chatter, as the UAPs effortlessly evaded the two fighter jets by demonstrating “an advanced acceleration, aerodynamic, and propulsion capability.” Outmaneuvered, Fravor and his wingman returned to the USS Nimitz. Another F/A-18 was sent to the intercept point. Lieutenant Chad Underwood would record the infamous “tic tac” video which would be released by ‘To the Stars Academy of Arts & Science’ and the New York Times in December 2017.

• While delivering supplies to the ship’s Signal Exploitation Space, former Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Turner happened to see a video display of the tic tac object which was not part of the brief video released to the public. (see FLIR1 video below)  Said Turner, “This thing was going berserk… It made a maneuver, like they were chasing it straight on,… then this thing stopped turning, just gone. In an instant. The video you see now, that’s just a small snippet in the beginning of the whole video. But this thing, it was so much more than what you see in this video.” Weigelt and Voorhis confirmed that the video they watched was far longer – 10 minutes – and clearer than the released version.

• Petty Officer Patrick “PJ” Hughes job on the Nimitz carrier was to secure inside a safe the hard drive data recorders from the airborne early-warning aircraft, the E-2 Hawkeye, which contains the plane’s operational software and recorded data that the aircrew sees during flight. He was unaware that the Hawkeye had encountered the tic tac UFOs. Hughes was visited by his commanding officer and two unknown individuals who ordered him to give them the data recordings for the AEGIS system, and then they left. He was told that the ship’s advanced Combat Engagement Center along with the optical drives with all the radio communications had been wiped clean. Voorhis remarked, “They even told me to erase everything that’s in the shop—even the blank tapes.”

• Weigel reports that the two unknown individuals wearing generic flight suits also visited the USS Princeton, went to the Admirals Quarters and posted a guard at the door. Pilot David Fravor has acknowledged that his squadron’s video tapes of the “Tic Tac” intercept had mysteriously vanished. But he never saw any ‘unidentified’ personnel removing data recorders and conducting an investigation, and he himself was never interviewed. Fravor calls all of that “bullshit”.

• The enlisted witnesses were disappointed to hear Fravor suggest some of their accounts are inaccurate. They all stand by their experiences, and also support Fravor’s account. Paco Chierici, a former F-14 pilot and the person credited with first sharing the news of the Nimitz UAP encounter in a 2015 Fighter Sweep article, had this to say: “The combination of those aviators, the Princeton Aegis Radar operators, and the E-2 crew convinced me beyond a doubt of the veracity of the story.” “I know those people and how that world works. There is no way it could have been fabricated or misinterpreted.”

Popular Mechanics was able to locate a previously unknown witness who was with the Nimitz carrier group in 2004, but asked to remain anonymous. He says he was an Operations Specialist aboard the USS Princeton. Says this witness, “What really made this incident alarming was when a Blackhawk helicopter landed on our ship and took all our information from the top secret rooms.” “We were all pretty shocked and it was an unspoken rule not to talk about it because we had secret clearances and didn’t want to jeopardize our careers.”

• Since none of the witnesses or pilots involved say they were ever interviewed at the time, it appears the most significant concern for the ‘two unknown individuals’ who showed up after the incident was the ship’s electronic data. Nick Cook, the former aviation editor for Jane’s Defense Weekly, says there are a number of reasons why personnel might have boarded ships and seized electronic data. “It could mean it was sensitive information.” But in Cook’s opinion it is unlikely this was some sort of classified test or exercise. Says Cook, “It would be so against the norm of my experience with how the black world conducts testing.” Cook also says that it’s possible, but not likely, that the “Tic Tac” was some type of classified drone. “I searched for 10 years, and never found any compelling evidence that the type of technology exists.” “In the balance of probabilities, I don’t think it’s ‘ours’.”

• This is a portion of the Executive Summary filed on the Nimitz encounter.

 

 

The five men share an easy rapport with each other, playfully ribbing one another while also communicating a deep sense of mutual respect. It’s clear they all share the bond of having once served in the armed forces. Yet for Gary Voorhis, Jason Turner, P.J. Hughes, Ryan Weigelt, and Kevin Day—assembled together (right) in a private group chat by Popular Mechanics—something much bigger ties them together beyond simply serving in the U.S. Navy.

These men also share a connection of being witnesses to one of the most compelling UFO cases in modern history: the Nimitz UFO Encounters, an event that the Navy recently confirmed indeed involved “unidentified aerial phenomena.”

Largely overshadowed by a grainy black-and-white video, and a former Topgun fighter pilot eyewitness, these veterans offer new and intriguing details on what occurred with the Navy’s Strike Carrier Group-11 as it sailed roughly 100 miles off the Southern California coast in 2004—details that a former career intelligence agent who investigated the Nimitz Encounter while at the Pentagon can neither confirm, deny, or even discuss with Popular Mechanics.

Ultimately, these five men—the “other” Nimitz witnesses—could be key to understanding an event that a leading aviation defense expert says “likely wasn’t ours.”
So whose was it?

                  image of “tic tac” ufo

THE INTERCEPT

Stationed on the USS Princeton, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, as the Nimitz carrier group went underway in early November 2004 for a routine training exercise, this would be the last time former Petty Officer 3rd Class Gary Voorhis would set sail aboard a Navy vessel.

Having already done almost six years in the Navy, including two combat tours, Voorhis was ready to transition to life outside the world of passionless grey metal hulls and vast leavening seas.

“The group was going to be deploying in a few months and there was a bunch of new systems, like the Spy-1 Bravo radar,” Voorhis tells Popular Mechanics. “It was really about getting all the kinks out.”

While chatting with some of the Princeton’s radar techs, Voorhis says he heard they were getting “ghost tracks” and “clutter” on the radars. For Voorhis, the Princeton’s only system technician for the state-of-the-art Cooperative Engagement Capability (CEC) and AEGIS Combat System, news of these systems possibly malfunctioning was especially concerning.

Fearing the ship’s brand new AN/SPY-1B passive radar system was malfunctioning, Voorhis says the air control systems were taken down and recalibrated in an effort to clear out—what’s assumed to be false radar returns.

“Once we finished all the recalibration and brought it back up, the tracks were actually sharper and clearer,” Voorhis says. “Sometimes they’d be at an altitude of 80,000 or 60,000 feet. Other times they’d be around 30,000 feet, going like 100 knots. Their radar cross sections didn’t match any known aircraft; they were 100 percent red. No squawk, no IFF (Identification Friend or Foe).”

Sitting in the Princeton’s Combat Information Center (CIC), Operations Specialist Senior Chief Kevin Day was tasked with the critical role of protecting the airspace around the strike group. “My job was to man the radars and ID everything that flew in the skies,” Day said in the documentary film The Nimitz Encounters.

On or around November 10, 2004, roughly 100 miles off the coast of San Diego, Day began noticing strange radar tracks near the area of San Clemente Island. “The reason why I say they’re weird [is] because they were appearing in groups of five to 10 at a time and they were pretty closely spaced to each other. And there were 28,000 feet going a hundred knots tracking south,” Day said in the documentary.

In another YouTube clip, Ryan Weigelt, the former Leading Petty Officer and power plant specialist for the SH-60B “Seahawk” helicopter, recalled the tone aboard the missile cruise at the time.

“Senior Chief Day, his name, was being called over the comms, no bullshit, every two minutes.” Weigelt said. “I recall hearing something, like a big, real-world scenario was going on, but I just didn’t really understand.”

While Day and the Princeton’s air traffic controllers continued to monitor the strange radar returns, Voorhis says he began to take the opportunity to use the ship’s advanced tracking systems to catch a glimpse of whatever these objects were.

“When they’d show up on radar,” Voorhis says, “I’d get the relative bearing and then run up to the bridge and look through a pair of heavily magnified binoculars in the direction the returns were coming from.” Describing what he saw during the daytime, Voorhis says the objects were too far off to make out any distinguishing features, however, he could clearly see something moving erratically in the distance.

“I couldn’t make out details, but they’d just be hovering there, then all of a sudden, in an instant, they’d dart off to another direction and stop again,” Voorhis says. “At night, they’d give off a kind of a phosphorus glow and were a little easier to see than in the day.”

 

2:45 minute “FLIR1” video of “Tic Tac” UFO off of San Diego in 2004 (‘To The Stars Academy’ YouTube)  

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

Clearer USS Nimitz UFO Footage ‘Showed It Had Legs’

Listen to “e160 Clearer USS Nimitz UFO Footage ‘Showed It Had Legs’” on Spreaker.

Article by Simon Green                   October 25, 2019                   (dailystar.co.uk)

• Jason Turner (pictured above) was a Petty Officer on the USS Princeton in the USS Nimitz carrier group when fighter jets from Nimitz encountered a ‘tic tac’ UFO off the coast of San Diego in 2004. Cockpit footage of the encounter was released in 2017. Despite being grainy, the video has gone on to become one of the most widely-cited clips that conspiracy theorists use to prove the existence of UFOs. (see 2:45 minute video below) Turner says that he has seen a much clearer, unreleased version of the ‘tic tac’ UFO video which shows the craft having legs protruding from it.

• “The quality [of the unreleased video] was very clear,” Turner told Dave Beaty of The Nimitz Encounters YouTube channel. “What the [fuzzy and grainy] video you see now is just a small snippet. You’re seeing small turns left and right but this thing is so much more than what you see in this video.” “It was always really clear but what you see now is, hardly identifiable.” (see 15:09 minute video of Beaty’s interview with Jason Turner below)

• Turner goes on to describe the UFO: “The shape of it [was odd] as it had some protruding objects at the bottom of it. I couldn’t tell if they were curled back or straight down because I was a good five or ten feet from the feed.” “But there were definitely legs on it. It was oblong, like a tic-tac.”

• Turner says that he had “never seen anything like it”. “[I]f there are things that are far superior to us and our capabilities… It puts everybody at risk – our military, our people, our homeland.” Several other witnesses of the UFO have come out since the initial revelations in 2017.

[Editor’s Note]   See also this previous ExoArticle “Secretive Officials ‘Boarded US Navy Ship and Took Equipment'” (October 23, 2019) wherein Lead Petty Officer Ryan Weigelt on the USS Princeton revealed that soon after the mysterious tic tac UFO was spotted by the Navy fighter jets, a group of US Air Force personnel landed on his ship to retrieve secret information from grounded helicopters.

Also, see “Navy pilot who chased USS Nimitz UFO says there are tapes of encounter ‘missing'” (Daily Star, Nov 6, 2019) wherein Navy pilot Commander David Fravor, who saw the ‘tic tac’ UFO, told the ‘Fighter Pilot Podcast’ that after the pilots’ encounter with the ‘tic tac’ UFO, “We copied the (radar) tapes and wrapped them up… They were put in a safe on the Princeton.” Now, “All the radar tapes from the Princeton are missing and they can’t find (them).” ”Also, someone at the ‘archives’ told Fravor “someone has taken that page from the logbook.”

 

A US Navy officer who witnessed the USS Nimitz UFO encounter has revealed the object had mysterious legs protruding from it, in a clearer video not released to the public.

Jason Turner was a Petty Officer on the USS Princeton when fighter jets from nearby ship USS Nimitz encountered a strange object off the coast of San Diego, California, US, in 2004.

Footage of the incident was released in 2017 and showed how the tic-tac-shaped “craft” was able to pull off otherworldly manoeuvres.

Despite being grainy, the video has gone on to become one of the most widely-cited clips that conspiracy theorists use to prove the existence of UFOs.

But Jason has now said there is an even clearer video out there which shows the craft in a whole new light.

“What the video you see now is just a small snippet,” he told Dave Beaty of The Nimitz Encounters.

“You’re seeing small turns left and right but this thing is so much more than what you see in this video.

 

15:09 minute video of Jason Turner re: the ‘Tic Tac’ UFO incident (The Nimitz Encounters YouTube)


2:45 minute Navy video of ‘Tic Tac’ UFO taken November 2004 (‘To The Stars Academy’ YouTube)

READ ENTIRE ARTICLE

 

FAIR USE NOTICE: This page contains copyrighted material the use of which has not been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. ExoNews.org distributes this material for the purpose of news reporting, educational research, comment and criticism, constituting Fair Use under 17 U.S.C § 107. Please contact the Editor at ExoNews with any copyright issue.

  • 1
  • 2
  • 4

Copyright © 2019 Exopolitics Institute News Service. All Rights Reserved.