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.

With regard to the latter, this statement does not seem to be based on anything solid nor does Mr. AMOND present any evidence of it. As such, his opinion has no place in a scientific debate and is to be considered an ad hominem attack. In a scientific discussion, one can refute a statement by using solid arguments and scientific reasoning, not by unproven assertions. Considering his educational background as an engineer, Mr. AMOND knows very well that my calculations are not in dispute. Moreover, they initiated from data provided by himself shortly after the sighting. To claim now that the sighting occurred from a distance between 100 and 200 m is in total contradiction with the early data.

Considering the following two elements taken from Col. AMOND's statements, the calculations themselves cannot be disputed:

1. The spotlight had an apparent diameter of two times the diameter of the Moon.

2. The distance of 1,000 m was measured on a map drawn by Mr. AMOND shortly after the incident and published in Inforespace [the map-drawing mentioned by Mr. PAQUAY is the one that was also used for the map we included in our article. Later correspondence revealed that this map was not made by Mr. AMOND but by the SOBEPS investigator who interviewed Mr. AMOND - WVT]. This distance of 1,000 m equals the distance between Col. AMOND's point of observation and the centre of the circle executed by the object. I was able to verify this distance through comparison with another map, received from Col. AMOND on February 29, 2008, and for which map he specified that the side of one square measured 1,620 m. So I stick to this distance of 1,000 m, which corresponds logically to the phase where the craft turned toward him (note that during the second part of the turn, the spotlight was no longer directed towards the witnesses).

Ernage The map of the sighting location that served as a model for the illustration in our article and on which Mr. PAQUAY based his calculations. The map was published on p. 92 of Vague d’OVNI sur la Belgique and carries the indication "Figure 2.21". The black circle with the dot in the centre marks the spot where Col. AMOND parked his car. The black arrow shows the investigator’s representation of the path followed by the unknown object. Azimuth bearings are given but are barely visible on this print.

On May 26, 2008, Mr. Martin SHOUGH posted an attempted explanation for the excessive size of the spotlight on the EuroUFO list. He suggested that the diameter of two times the Moon's diameter was due to the blinding effect of a brilliant light shining into the witnesses' face. This "circle of glare (overloaded retina)" is believed to be the cause of the observed diameter.

This explanation does not satisfy me because :

1. The eye pupil reacts immediately to a brilliant or blinding light by reducing its diameter to at least one tenth of its initial diameter.

2. In a letter to the Cabinet of the Minister of Defense the lieutenant-colonel stated: "only an enormous spot of white light was visible now, bigger than the spotlight of a big aircraft carrier.

3. If Col. AMOND had been blinded by this brilliant light, he would not have been able to see clearly for 20 to 30 seconds, nor would he have been able to discern the three white lights and the red light which appeared immediately thereafter. Moreover, he never mentioned having been blinded.

4. In an e-mail I received from Col. AMOND on March 1, 2008, he stated : "The windows of the UFO had the same apparent size as the vertical size of the train carriages passing on the railway behind me when I stopped at my point of observation". He further added: "Luminous panels: white, light yellow. Light of the gyroscope or pulsing lamp: red. The colour of the three lights in a triangular configuration was white. The light of the big halo seen face on: white, non-directive, not blinding".

Another hypothesis could be put forward to explain this amazing result of an 18 m diameter spotlight. That explanation is the following : most observers typically overestimate the angular size of the Moon in the sky and this often with a factor of 20 to 50 and more. When you randomly ask someone to name an object that they believe would just cover the Moon when held at arm's length, the answer can be quite surprising. I quote a few examples: "a circle with a diameter of 10 cm" (20 times the Moon), "a CD" (12 cm across, i.e. 24 times the Moon) and "a soccer ball". In most people's minds, the Moon occupies a much more important amount of space on the celestial sphere than in reality. I persuaded a few of my acquaintances to test the experience themselves. They were amazed to find that an object about half a centimetre across suffices to cover the Moon. This overestimation of the Moon's size on the celestial dome is of course reflected in the overestimation of sizes of other objects that are compared to the Moon's diameter. Did Col. AMOND overestimate the size of the Moon and the craft? A number of elements in the lieutenant-colonel's statements and in the CLAV simulation [the computer animation made by the Centre Laique de l'Audiovisuel - WVT] converge to that interpretation. Let's study them in more depth.

In his e-mail of March 1, 2008, Col. AMOND writes : "The windows of the UFO had the same apparent size as the vertical size of the train carriages that passed on the railway behind me when I stopped at my point of observation".

According to a map sent to me by Mr. AMOND on February 28, 2008, the railway is 872 m away from the spot where the witnesses were. The height of a carriage is 4 m from the rails up. So one can calculate the angle b under which it should be visible at that distance. We get tg b = 4/872 = 0.004587, so b = 0.2628°, i.e. half the apparent diameter of the lunar disc, whereas considering the angular size of the windows on the simulation, if one agrees to their size being 1/3 of that of the trees, tg b = 2.86/3 or 0.954°, i.e. about two times the Moon.

In a mail dated March 28, 2008, I asked Col. AMOND the following question : "The spotlight seen face on, and which is said to have been twice the Moon's diameter, was it bigger or smaller than the triangle formed by the three lights, and to which extend?". By mail of March 29, 2008, the colonel replied as follows : "Triangle much bigger : 5 to 10 times".

So the apparent size of the spotlight (halo) is therefore comprised between 1 and 2 m, whereas comparison to the Moon's diameter yielded 18 m.

These different elements confirm an overestimation of the apparent diameter of the Moon and therefore also of the craft. This overestimation is automatically accompanied with an impression of closeness resulting in the underestimation of distances. In these conditions, impressions of speed and movement are falsified by the observer's conviction that he is dealing with an object at close range. In other words, there is confusion between apparent speed and real speed. This results in descriptions of movements, such as extremely tight turns, that would normally be impossible for man-made craft, but not when the observed objects are situated at their real distance. The absence of sound and the impossibility to see a structure behind the lights, also plead in favour of a greater distance, even more so since the Moon was shining at that moment.

So far my attempt at an explanation.

Waremme, Belgium
[Edited and translated from French by WVT.]


 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....  read more 

 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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