Abilene Reflector Chronicle
In the days following the downing of an alleged Chinese spy balloon, the US military shot down three more objects flying over North America.
President Joe Biden recently said that the intelligence community’s current assessment is that the three unidentified flying objects were “most likely balloons related to private companies, recreational or research institutions that study the weather or conduct other scientific research.” “.
The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade reported on Feb. 15 that a Pico balloon they had launched and was tracking disappeared over the Yukon Territory around the same location and time a U.S. F-22 shot down one of the UFOs.
According to aviationweek.com, Pico balloons are approximately 3 feet in diameter before being launched. As they ascend to altitudes of 20,000-50,000 feet, they expand up to 2-3 times in size and achieve neutral buoyancy, allowing them to float at a roughly constant altitude. Wind currents then push them through the atmosphere. Some can go around the world several times before bursting or falling. They are tracked with HF and VHF/UHF radio links.
The UFOs shot down this month represent only a fraction of the thousands people report seeing in America each year. Cheryl Costa, an Air Force and Navy veteran who retired after 32 years in the aerospace industry, co-authored with Linda Miller Costa, “UFO Sightings Desk Reference: United States of America 2001-2020.” The books are a series that includes data on reported sightings for all 50 states detailed down to zip codes, counties, towns and cities.
In the 20 years covered by their research, there were 167,632 eyewitness reports of UFOs, a number Costa says falls well short of actual sightings.
“Approximately 16.74 percent of American adults say they have seen a UFO,” Costa said. “Only one in 257 people report what they see.”
According to their data, Kansans reported 1,498 UFO sightings from 2001 to 2020, which ranks the state 34th in the nation. Reports came from 92 of the state’s 105 counties, 270 of 630 municipalities, and 259 of the state’s 667 ZIP codes.
Johnson, Sedgwick, Wyandotte, Shawnee and Douglas counties; and Wichita, Overland Park, Topeka, Kansas City and Lawrence topped the state for reporting.
Eight reports came from Dickinson County. Six were from Abilene and two from Herington. Of those in Abilene one was described as a dirigible shape, one was changing, two were circles, one was a rectangle and one was a triangle. From Herington, one was described as a flash, the other as a light.
Statewide, at the start of the data period, the number of sightings rose from 35 in 2001 to 131 in 2012 before starting to decline for a few years. In 2018 there were 52 reports, the following years saw another increase with more than double the reports in 2020 with 116.
“There’s something else going on because all of a sudden… there seems to be an uptick in things clearly visible, by a lot of people, in the sky,” he said.
However, this is nothing new. Reports of UFOs have been around since earliest recorded history.
“I look at them like galactic nannies,” Costa said. “They have always been with us. They have always taught us. They also seem to protect us from predatory species out there. On April 14, 1561 in Neurenberg, Germany, they saw what we would call a Star Wars battle taking place over the city.
A similar sighting was reported a few years later in Basel, Switzerland. UFOs are also depicted in medieval paintings, the Bible and carved into a 40,000-year-old stone in China, Costa said.
His data shows that while UFOs are reported worldwide, areas in Central America, such as Kansas, appear to be flyover country. Major drivers of the reports include population, temperate climate, and hours of darkness. Across the country, reports are increasing near areas with large bodies of water and toxic ecosystems.
“Coal fields and oil fields, stripped mining areas – they seem to be interested in those areas,” he said. “They don’t hang around power plants and are sensitive to geological faults.”
Read more about Costa’s research and the data “UFO Sightings Desk Reference: United States of America 2001 – 2020” and “UFOs in Kansas and Where to Find Them” are both available on Amazon.