The best book you never read ...

The best book you never read ...

My live aviation scanner feed.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Boxton Marathon Bombing remembered - communications from that day.

On this the anniversary of the Boston Marathon Bombing I thought I'd post this recording of the police/fire communications at the time of the bombing.

It's hard to listen to, but It's important to remember the absolute chaos inflicted on Boston, since time has the tendency to dull our minds to the terror two people inflicted on one of our great American cities.

But this recording isn't just about the bombing, it is a testament to the police, fire and emergency crews  who despite the incredible chaos  ran toward the explosions and not away from them. .

Huge respect goes out to our first responders, firemen and women and police who risk their lives daily so others might live.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

It's baaaaacck - Skyquakes rocking California.

Was that an earthquake, or an ordinary sonic boom, that rattled Southern California on Wednesday afternoon — or was it the return of Aurora, the nation’s long-rumored, never-confirmed, some-say-mythological super-secret, super-fast spy plane?
Whew. Steady now, X-Files folks.

First, here’s what The Times reported: About 1 p.m. Wednesday, folks from Malibu to Orange County felt what many assumed was an earthquake. For example, Scott Conner, who lives in Malibu, said the shaking was so intense that it almost toppled one of his computer monitors. “I thought it was the biggest quake I’ve ever been in…. This thing was big, big,” he said. “The whole house just lifted.”
Nope, said famed Caltech seismologist Kate Hutton. No earthquakes were reported in the area during that time. “It’s not an earthquake. It’s probably an offshore sonic boom,” Hutton said.

Correct, said the Navy, which confirmed that an aircraft flew faster than the speed of sound as part of an exercise with the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan about 50 miles off the coast.
Not so fast, said Malibu’s Conner, sticking to his quake story: “I’ve been around air force bases. I know what sonic booms are. There was no boom either,” Conner said.

Which is where I come in, me and my theory: Call it “the Aurora Anomaly” (I don’t know why, it just sounds cool).

READ THE REST HERE:,0,1377864.story#ixzz2ynImnMw2

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Flying triangles and B-2s over Amarillo. What's the USAF up to?

Ever since the images of three mystery aircraft that Dean Muskett and myself photographed near Amarillo were published, I have been deluged with requests for more information and images from the press and the general public.

The comments on various websites and forums have been interesting a well, ranging from the ridiculous, "It's the mother ship from Zeta II Reticuli) to the scoffers "Steve Douglass is a fraud and a phony) and to the educated, "I know aircraft and these are not B-2s." 

With the admission that Whiteman AFB had no B-2s flying that day and also (since the original article was published) that the Edwards B-2 test bird was also not flying, the mystery deepens. If they were admittedly not B-2s - what were they? 

Sorting through the hundreds of e-mails and comments I personally received, a pattern of sightings of these aircraft have emerged and I have a pretty good idea where they are based but it's something I'm not going to reveal until I have definitive proof.

And just when the hub-bub had slowed down, something interesting happened yesterday. At least two and possibly three times yesterday a 3 ship formation of B-2s flew over Amarillo.

One around 3 PM (which was witnessed and photographed by a friend of mine) and then again (by myself) while I was at my grandson's ball game. I even watched as they did a very wide turn,  went to the north with one of the B-2s coming over again flying the same track. Call sign monitored was "REAPR" flight.

So what is the Air Force up to? Why the sudden rash of B-2 overflights over my city? 

1 ship of REAPR flight turning to go over Amarillo again. He made a wide circle around 7:30 PM and followed the same track as before - but by the time he flew over it was too dark to photograph.

Is this some kind of nod to us Interceptors - that the schedulers at Whiteman slipped into their flight training planning to see if they'd be noticed? A sly joke? Or is it something else - are they conditioning us with so many B-2 overflights that other flights of the mystery aircraft will go unnoticed?
One ship of REAPR flight to the west of Amarillo, pulling a long contrail. Once he came over again it was too dark to get a pix even at 1600 ISO

As one of my friends remarked (his photo below) "Just saw another flight of B-2s heading east. That's more sightings in one day then I've had in the 2 1/2 years that I've lived here. I will say that's not a very nice trick to play on somebody. When I first looked up and saw them, they were just black triangles. Wasn't till I got my camera that I could tell they were B-2s. Got me all excited thinking maybe our mystery aircraft came back."

Photographed 4-8-2014

One thing was for sure, they were noticed and once again my phone was deluged with texts and calls alerting me to what I already knew that several billion dollars of B-2s were flying over Amarillo, something very unprecedented and not to mention very expensive.

"Mystery aircraft formation - photographed 3-10-14

That said, the overflight did provide a good reference to compare Dean and my mystery aircraft to. It's even clearer now the aircraft we photographed were not B-2s. The sweep angle (and as pointed out in the original post) the trailing edge are completely different from a B-2.

From personal observation it was also easier to gauge size. I'd say our mystery aircraft was about two-thirds the size of a B-2.

click to enlarge

In closing the mystery aircraft remains a mystery and I have a new quest to get better images from where I think it might be based. 

Soon I will publish the raw images for anyone to analyze, but until then only select images will be released as they are still being scrutinized by aviation and forensic photography experts. Below are a few enhanced frames that you can use to compare to the B-2 I photographed yesterday.

photographed 4-8-2014

Mystery aircraft CLICK TO ENLARGE

Again, inquiries have been made to Whiteman AFB Public Affairs office. Stay tuned for their reply. 

-Steve Douglass

UPDATE: I just received this reply, not quite as friendly as the last one.


Thanks for your query. For this and any future queries regarding this issue, as a matter of operational security, we will not discuss flight schedules and flight paths.


John M. Cooper
1st Lt, United States Air Force
Chief, Public Affairs, 509th Bomb Wing
Whiteman AFB, MO

UPDATE: Since the publication of this post I've received many photos showing the (what seems to me) elaborate display put on by Whiteman's B-2s over West Texas.

Apparently the very public show was witnessed by a lot of West Texans, the normally invisible bomber doing it's best to be seen by as many people as possible, pulling long contrails in the clear blue skies.

The display worthy of the Thunderbirds was seen from Roswell, New Mexico to Midland to Amarillo- the same apparent area where the mystery aircraft were spotted. 

Normally B-2 pilots do everything they can to avoid making contrails, but not in this case.
In conclusion B-2 pilots have the ability and the means to detect if they are producing a contrail. It's then just a simple matter of finding the altitude and humidity levels in the atmosphere where contrail formation can be managed. 

I'll let you draw your own conclusion why the B-2s obviously wanted to be seen over West Texas on 4-8-14.

-Steve Douglass

UPDATE: So let's do the math. LINK

Based on computations (for current published figures) to operate a single stealth bomber on training mission, considering fuel, maintenance, RAM upkeep, etc, it costs the American taxpayer on average $169,313.00 per hour to fly the B-2.

Considering that at least three B-2s were spotted over the Texas/New Mexico area for at least six hours, which does not account the trip back to Whiteman AFB (only loiter time over Texas) the USAF spent close to $4 million on their training sort'e, coincidentally through the same corridor that Dean, Ken and myself spotted the mystery aircraft.

If they had just given us the cash I'm sure we'd all be glad to recant and redact what we photographed.

PSS: Another REAPR flight of three B-2s flew over Amarillo today at around 3:00 PM.

(C) Todd Cason

More B-2 photos taken over Amarillo yesterday April, 11, 2014.

(C) R.B.

(C) R.B.

(C) R.B.

(C) R.B.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

NASA - leaked memo cutting ties with Russia's space program

From: O'Brien, Michael F (HQ-TA000) 
Sent: Wednesday, April 02, 2014 9:33 AM
To: [Deleted]
Cc:  [Deleted]
Subject: Suspension of NASA contact with Russian entities
Dear Colleagues,
Given Russia's ongoing violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity, until further notice, the U.S. Government has determined that all NASA contacts with Russian Government representatives are suspended, unless the activity has been specifically excepted.  

This suspension includes NASA travel to Russia and visits by Russian Government representatives to NASA facilities, bilateral meetings, email, and teleconferences or videoconferences.  At the present time, only operational International Space Station activities have been excepted.  In addition, multilateral meetings held outside of Russia that may include Russian participation are not precluded under the present guidance.  

If desired, our office will assist in communication with Russian entities regarding this suspension of activities.  Specific questions regarding the implementation of this guidance can be directed to Ms. Meredith McKay, 202.358.1240 or, in our office.
We remain in close contact with the Department of State and other U.S. Government departments and agencies.  If the situation changes, further guidance will be disseminated.
Michael F. O'Brien
Associate Administrator for International and Interagency Relations
National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Director of National Intelligence: NSA spied on Americans without warrants

Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. acknowledged that the National Security Agency has searched for Americans’ communications without warrants in massive databases that gather e-mails and phone calls of foreign targets.

Although recently declassified documents made clear that the NSA had conducted such searches, no senior intelligence official had previously acknowledged the practice. Clapper did so in a letter to Sen. Ron Wyden released Tuesday.

The program targets foreigners abroad for surveillance but captures potentially large volumes of the communications of Americans in contact with those foreigners. According to declassified court documents, the NSA harvests about 250 million Internet communications a year under the program.

The program, which does not require individual warrants for targets, is being challenged in federal court as unconstitutional. The government contends it does not need a warrant to perform queries within a database of communications it has collected lawfully.

“This is unacceptable,” Wyden (D-Ore.) and Sen. Mark Udall (D-Colo.) said in a statement. “It raises serious constitutional questions, and poses a real threat to the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans.”


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