Unknown aircraft landing at night - TTR April 16, 2024 01:07AM

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Message posted by Michal n01_b4_flash Rokita (Member since 01/29/2012) on July 05, 2024 at 8:53:53 PST:

Hello Team,

preparing to my next visit in the range I decided to look into my pictures collection again as since my latest postings I was able to learn some new image&graphic and post-production skills.

As you may remember, during my last trip to the US I decided to focus mainly on TTR and explore new viewspot to the north from the field. This was the first time ever I spotted at Tonopah at night. Calm, fresh and coldy night with TTR being not so far away. Magical and beautiful in its entirity. Short intervals of naps BUT... with one of them being interrupted by something landing at Runway 32 at the base. A short snippet of my April's report:

"...I was never able to watch Tonopah base at night to that day. Although exhausted by long sleepless hours, with much less success I was able to stay awake (or at least some parts of the night) with short breaks for quick nap(s). It was midnight when I decided to move from the front passenger seat to the back seat of my Rubicon. GRRRR.... it's so cold. Well, I decided to fall asleep as fast as possible for the morning to come faster. It's not so easy to fall into deep sleep if you know you are there alone with no one around that could help you and keep watch (even considering there is base personnel just a few miles away, it would take me several hours to get to the perimeter on foot; let's say 2-2.5 hours of lonely walk). Keeping that in mind I was able to take short 'intervals' of naps before waking up just to sleep again for several minutes. This happened several times and on one occasion, a particular interesting occasion, I woke up and looked to the base just to spot a VERY bright light on approach to the base. It was coming in to land on Runway 32. It was a relatively slow approach, the aircraft made no sound, had no anti-collision or nav lights, barely from a distance it looked like just single ball of light from the front landing gear. It smoothly touched down on the TTR runway and rolled to the end of it. This is where an interesting thing happened. Immediately after the aircraft turned from the runway to taxiway Echo(E) the landing light disappeared and at this time it was just a guessing game where the aircraft was and where it was going. It was pretty obvious it was coming to the Delta ramp area but I was unable to judge the exact location. I was even trying to zoom in to find at least a small shadow or any kind of reflection/absorption or anything to track it but I was unable to! The rest of the night was quiet and the only other arrivals were the first JANETS early in the morning."

I always have my camera at the ready but lightning conditions at night are, as you may deducate yourself, poor to say the least. Anyway, I shot an image of the unknown aircraft just after it exited the runway for Taxiway Echo(E) thinking I may be able to do something with it in post-production. Well yes, although I tried it already after I came back to Europe, it all failed to me in the end as I just had no enough knowledge and skills to do anything with the image.

Since that time I learned some new, rather interesting and promising functions and techniques to work with an image in post-production. I decided to give it a try with the April's trip unknown aircraft photo and I cordially invite you to see the results of my latest work:




Back then when I saw it landing at the base I thought the aircraft was fighter-sized but now it seems it was much smaller? UAV maybe?

On the other hand, the blurry shape of the aircraft on the given pictures in question reminds me a shape of F-117A stealth fighter pretty much(especially if we agree that we see the front section, wings on its sides and something that looks like vertical tailfin in the back[?])

Not much here to be honest and these pictures are far from being any sort of evidence but I was just happy with results of my post-production and decided to post them over here with a hope that someone will be able to give any suggestions or ideas of what it might have been. Of course discussion is welcome, as always!

P.S If it was just one of F-117s, then, why there was no navigation lights all over the aircraft and no lights of any sort beside the very, very bright landing gear light that disappeared just before the aircraft left the runway? Makes me think...

Warmest regards,
Michal "n01_b4_flash" Rokita
Dreamland Resort Team Member - Field Investigator and Photographer.

Attached link: Unknown aircraft at TTR - April 16, 2024 01:07AM


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