How many UFOs are actually drones? Probably lots.

Overblown drone: UK media mystified by Moscow protest UFO

A UFO spying on Muscovites protesting against parliamentary election fraud? Apparently so – at least that was the best explanation some British news outlets could give to the latest technical solutions in use among Russian bloggers.

­“An ‘unidentified flying object’…spotted above Moscow during an anti-government protest.”

“Hundreds of pro-democracy protesters…witnessed the ‘UFO’ hover above them on Saturday.”

The drone camera, aka “the Moscow UFO”, was launched by the Ridus news agency – an independent community of “civilian journalists”, as they tend to call themselves, which is becoming increasingly popular among Russian bloggers, with anyone potentially being able to contribute to their news reports.

Credit: @unexplainedmys on Twitter

A few weeks ago, I wondered out loud on Facebook how many UFOs these days are actually drones? And here we have one. I’m psychic! No, it’s just that since we’ve had things that fly, they have been mistaken for something they are not or people can’t (or won’t) recognize them for what they are. Now, these objects are becoming more maneuverable and more prevalent. We now have another probable explanation for an unidentified flying object – a spy drone. Kinda cool… unless they shoot at you.

It’s interesting that from below, it actually does look circular with a tentacle hanging down. You’re brain fills in the gaps to see what you want to see.

Credit: RT

  5 comments for “How many UFOs are actually drones? Probably lots.

  1. PJ
    December 13, 2011 at 6:11 PM

    The UFO community is fully aware of drones–they just think aliens and secret government agencies are operating them. I must admit, I find the latter pretty plausible.

  2. PJ
    December 13, 2011 at 6:15 PM

    exhibit a:

    exhibit b:

    simply google “alien drone tv” for video.

  3. spookyparadigm
    December 13, 2011 at 6:58 PM

    I’m a skeptic, but I actually think a lot of sightings aren’t drones. They aren’t that common yet, and most of them aren’t terribly different from airplanes except in their ability to loiter. The one here looks tiny, and the only mystery about it is caused by the Daily Mail purposely picking an image that hides how small it is to amp the “UFO” look. Being the Daily Mail, this is not surprising.

    All too often I think we skeptics like to cite stuff like experimental airplanes or drones as the source of UFO reports. In some cases, they are, no question. But I think those are a small number of cases. But it allows a polite out, being able to say something that won’t make the viewer sound stupid (ie, you mistook an airplane). Even though we’re not trying to make the person reporting a UFO look stupid. People generally just don’t buy the argument that mistaken observations are quite common, and that the atmosphere (emotionally/intellectually, I don’t mean the actual atmosphere) of a “sighting” can make a huge difference in perception. I remember Susan Blackmore years ago making that argument in the case of lake monsters, how the atmosphere of glacial lakes, especially one where a monster is said to lurk, increases the likelihood we’ll honestly misinterpret something outside our normal experience.

    This doesn’t explain every sighting. I don’t think anyone or even few set of explanations can. But I do think we have to be careful not to offer up swamp gas style explanations that provide an implausible but material explanation, when the explanation is more likely an entirely understandable but emotionally problematic non-material one.

  4. Massachusetts
    December 16, 2011 at 7:22 PM

    There are a lot of hobbyists who fly remote controlled model airplanes, which has been a hobby for many decades now. Some of these craft are way-out in design.

    I saw a UFO show recently where they sent up a home-made RCA that pretty much looked like a saucer, illuminated around the edges and sent up at night (it looked pretty cool and they filmed reactions from ordinary citizens who were freaking out.)

    They made the point that there’s lots of off the shelf technology for building very creative, custom-designed model aircraft, that can look like a wide variety of things (your creativity is the limit.)

    So, if you include these hobby craft in the drone family, then this would greatly increase the number of possible sightings.

    Also, I’ve heard that the military doesn’t like the “drone” moniker, preferring “Remotely Piloted Aircraft,” or words to that effect.

  5. Massachusetts
    December 16, 2011 at 7:41 PM

    Also, there’s the whole category of ultra light experimental aircraft that probably contribute to the phenomenon.

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