V i s i t o r   r e s p o n s e s 

R e :   E r n a g e   -   D e c e m b e r   1 1 ,   1 9 8 9   
 Received : 10/27/07  Estimates of size and distance - 1   Roger PAQUAY   

According to your web site, when the craft turned and moved in the direction of the witnesses, it was at a distance of 1 km (0.62 mile or 3,280 feet), a distance that can be measured on the scaled map....  read more 

 Received : 04/20/08  Helicopter noise - 1   Martin SHOUGH   

In this case, an Army officer, Lt. Col. AMOND [now retired], and his wife, stopped their car on what Wim [VAN UTRECHT] describes as a "lonely road" and wound down the window with "ears pricked" to try and detect any sound from an object of evidently large angular size showing details of lit "panels" or windows as well as various other separate lights which circled apparently nearby for up to 8 minutes.....  read more 

 Received : 05/13/08  Helicopter noise - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

It is correct that an inversion will refract sound towards the surface, and the recommendation to avoid flying in an inversion makes sense therefore. But the inference that flying above the top of an inversion will have the inverse effect of abnormally refracting sound upward is unwarranted I think.....  read more 

 Received : 05/17/08  Helicopter noise - 3   Martin SHOUGH   

Re the Ernage case in particular and silent helicopters in general, I looked a bit further into the sound propagation question and helicopter noise sources. Perhaps this will help us decide the merits of the theory. Anyway I've collected some information for future reference - and just because it's interesting.....  read more 

 Received : 05/26/08  Estimates of size and distance - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

I'd like to point out that Mr. PAQUAY treats Lt. Col. AMOND's "2x moon diameter" light as relating to the angular size of a light source, when clearly this should be treated as an impression of the circle of glare (overloaded retina) caused by this "huge" and "brilliant" light shining into the witness's face......  read more 

 Received : 06/05/08  A response from the prime witness   André AMOND, Col. (Ret.)   

I would like to correct the approach of Mr. PAQUAY who claims that the observation of the "spotlight" was made while the craft was 1,000 m from my observation point. This is COMPLETELY WRONG.......  read more 

 Received : 06/17/08  Estimates of size and distance - 3   Roger PAQUAY   

In his response, dated June 5, 2008, Col. AMOND claims that my distance estimation of 1,000 m for the phase during which the craft turned towards him is completely false and that the real distance at that moment was 100 to 200 m. He also disputes my calculations and qualifies them as unscientific.......  read more 

 Received : 06/22/08  Not a helicopter - 1   Wilfried DE BROUWER, Maj. Gen. (Ret.)   

The Belgian airspace is surveyed by four powerful radars, two military and two civilian, which are all interlinked, i.e. any duty controller can select the image of any of these radars at any one time. All radar registrations are recorded and these recordings are kept during a well determined period......  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Witness reliability - 1   Jean-Michel ABRASSART   

A little comment about the strawman argument at the end of Wilfried DE BROUWER's email......  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Witness reliability - 2   Grégory GUTIEREZ   

In my opinion, the important information in DE BROUWER's e-mail is not in his last paragraph about the reliability of Col. AMOND. Of course human testimony is not always reliable, but Jean-Michel ABRASSART tends to say that it's NEVER reliable. I think he pushes his argument too far here, turning it into some kind of indisputable doctrine.....  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Plasma stealth chopper - 1   Jean-Pierre PHARABOD   

Now I am beginning to wonder : how could it be that the four Belgian radars did not detect these objects in the sky which were neither aircraft nor helicopters...  read more 

 Received : 06/23/08  Not a helicopter - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

Gen. DE BROUWER's first-hand testimony confirms not only that no helicopter should have been flying (as previously reported by Col. AMOND) but that, in point of fact, no illicit helicopter or other aircraft was detected by radars covering the area....  read more 

 Received : 06/26/08  Plasma stealth chopper - 2 / Map confusion   Prof. Auguste MEESSEN   

I will try to contribute to this debate by sharing with you that I have the following documents concerning the Ernage case....  read more 

 Received : 07/02/08  Recapitulating   Martin SHOUGH   

Re your reply to Prof. MEESSEN, you're right, the statement about flight plans in the Defence Minister's reply to the Parliamentary question is different from what we understood Gen. DE BROUWER to say....  read more 

 Received : 07/03/08  Estimates of size and distance - 4   Martin SHOUGH   

Thanks for Mr. PAQUAY's follow-up. I was not (as Mr. PAQUAY believes) suggesting that Col. AMOND was "dazzled" to explain a large image. As he says, an "overloaded retina" is not a very good explanation. Rather I was suggesting that the impression of the size of the light owed much to another common intra-ocular effect, a diffraction corona, vide:

"when a brilliant light is shone straight into your face it is scarcely possible to estimate the size of the source inside the glare halo or so-called ciliary corona. This glare is due to coronal diffraction caused by particles in the fluid of the eye and produces a disc of brilliance that is actually composed of a dense array of radial spectra. It can be measured. Experiments with a small halogen lamp (filament 1.8 x 1.0-mm) located 4 meters from the subject against a black background found that the mean reported ciliary corona diameter for a range of eye conditions was 8 degrees".

The average intensity of the corona is less than the core intensity of the source, reducing radially. It is not necessary to assume a disabling saturation of photoreceptors over a large area of retina, even if some afterimage would not be at all surprising.

More generally I would like to insist that we are only talking about subjective impressions, and I don't consider that "twice the size of the moon" can be taken too seriously, partly for the reasons which Mr. PAQUAY sets out - angular estimates are routinely exaggerated and the mental calibrations involved in comparing exaggerated subjective impressions of two dissimilar visual objects not present simultaneously in the same field of view are difficult to work out - to say the least!

Yes, gross overestimation of the moon diameter in memory is the norm; so when someone says an object is twice the size of how they think the moon ought to look they are actually factoring into their report an underestimate of the true angular size, because in fact it might have been many times the true angular size of the moon. But the relationships between perceived angular size and perceived physical size/distance in cue-reduced conditions are I think very subtle, reflecting many factors including mental set, and have inter-dependent values rather than being fixed factors plugged into a linear "calculation". One can also argue in this vein that if Col. AMOND thought the object was much closer than it really was, then his estimate of intrinsic brightness (far brighter than a familiar helicopter searchlight in comparable circumstances) is too conservative. How does this play into his impression of angular size?

It's true the moon was available in the opposite part of the sky for indirect calibration, rather like the train windows; but honestly I see no solid ground under this sort of exercise. It seems safest just to say that it was "a huge light" that seemed (to an "expert witness") far too big and bright to be on a conventional aircraft, but acknowledge that the subjectivity can't be removed.

Strathconon, Scotland


 Received : 07/06/08  Not a helicopter - 3   Wilfried DE BROUWER, Maj. Gen. (Ret.)   

Allow me to clarify a few points. 1. Your statement: "A helicopter is perfectly capable of executing such a manoeuvre". The report of André AMOND suggests that the object was making a tight turn with a considerable angle of bank (45 degrees?) at very slow speed (20-30 km/h?)....  read more 

 Received : 07/14/08  Helicopters noise - 4 / Banking angles - 1   Joe McGONAGLE   

I don't claim to have the detailed aeronautical experience of General DE BROUWER, but during my own military service, I did have some exposure to helicopters as a passenger and as an observer from the ground.....  read more 

 Received : 07/14/08  Helicopters noise - 5 / Banking angles - 2   Martin SHOUGH   

Thanks for your input Joe. Yes, clearly it can happen that when the conditions for sound propagation and other witness circumstances are unfavourable people can fail to hear helicopters......  read more 

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