In spite of widespread “drone sightings” over Colorado and Nebraska, and now California and North Carolina, the FAA and up to 15 other agencies are unable to find any evidence they exist. What is described by alleged witnesses are not consumer quadcopters but large fixed wing aircraft supposedly flying 25 mile routes at night. For the past several weeks.
Years ago, lights in the night sky or plastic bags blowing during the day were frequently reported as “UFOs”. Today, any such item is promptly labeled a “drone” – like with UFOs, evidence is not required to generate mass hysteria and “action”. Today it is rare to hear of a UFO sighting! “Drones” are the new UFOs!
Younger people don’t know about the UFO hysteria of the past – but it translated into popular culture with Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and a host of movies featuring alien encounters.
Most people may be seeing actual manned aircraft and due to difficulties in estimating distances at night, are thinking these craft are closer (and thus smaller) than they actually are. People post blurry out of focus photos of lights in the sky online, which provide no clues at all.
Drone hobbyists say the media and the FAA regularly uses drone panic to enact strict regulations.
the Colorado Department of Public Safety flew an airplane over the area in question capable of detecting heat signatures below. After an almost five hour flight, they found nothing.
Most of the wildly publicized drone sightings or allegations of near misses and collisions did not exist. But such unfounded allegations have become a staple of journalism.
January 15th Update: State of Colorado concludes there is no evidence of criminal activity. Says they can confirm that many “sightings” were of stars, planets and toy quadcopters – but there is no evidence of a drone fleet overflying Colorado skies. It appears that mass hysteria took hold.
Last December we saw widely publicized photos of a collapsed nose cone on an Aeromexico plane that landed in Tijuana, Mexico. The media loudly blamed a drone strike. Months later, the investigation found the nose cone had collapsed due to issues related to a prior repair job on the nose cone. One year before, damage on another airliner was widely publicized as a drone hit – but turned out to have nothing to do with drones.
The BBC reported a British Airways flight collided with a drone inbound to Heathrow. It was subsequently determined to be a plastic bag blowing in the sky.
In New Zealand, a TV presenter claimed a drone hit his plane and cracked the wind shield; this was widely publicized there. Investigators determined that UV light degradation of the plastic wind shield had caused the collapse – no drones involved.
Gatwick Airport closure? The Sussex Police admitted the only confirmed drones flying over the airport were – wait for it – their own fleet of drones they had launched to search for the first alleged drone sightings. Their investigation was eventually ended without finding any culprit, only a theory that a disgruntled employee at the airport did it. There were 140,000+ passengers going through Gatwick the day of the initial sightings, 21,000+ employees, and a 24 x 7 stake out by police and media and installation of military tracking technology – and not a single person managed to get a photo of any drones other than police drones. The Sussex Police has over 40 officers trained as drone pilots. Frankly, the Sussex Police chief behaved as a jerk, arresting innocent people, not releasing them immediately when they had a confirmed alibi, flying his own drones over the airport without telling anyone, and then trying to justify his force’s incompetence – while whitewashing that the Sussex PD was flying their own drones over Gatwick.
A research lab posted a Youtube video of “drone” fired into a stationary aircraft wing, causing damage. Left out of this widely seen video (also on TV) was that (a) the velocity of the drone strike was greater than the maximum never exceed speed of the aircraft and the speed of the drone, combined, and (b) that it was not conducted in a wind tunnel and omitted the effects that a “bow wave” in front of the wing would have had on (and likely reducing) the impact effects.
Another video on Youtube showed the dramatic impact of a drone colliding with a Southwest Airline flight and sheering off a wing tip – but not revealed until days later, this very realistic video was computer generated graphics. The incident never happened.
Is it any surprise that the public – and politicians – have developed mass hysteria?
Mass hysteria can develop quickly – soon everyone sees monsters under their beds. And in the absence of any evidence, people demand the government take action against monsters under their beds. Sure enough, politicians step in and require that all monsters have beacon identification transponders attached to them so that in the future, we can identify each monster. Except the ones that ignore the requirement, of course …
Mass hysteria becomes its own form of propaganda messaging, generally using fear of the unknown to encourage people to take action. Peer pressure and Get-on-the-bandwagon comes in to play too – everyone else sees these things, why don’t you?
This is an amazing example of how fiction can lead to mass hysteria and government’s establishing new policies, rules and regulations against largely non-existent threats. This is a powerful example of propaganda messaging in action.