“The AH-64 was literally at treetop level or even a little below,
and this guy was in my Louisville, Kentucky, neighborhood doing what
we call ‘nap-of-the-Earth,’ which means following the contour of the
Earth to evade radar, a military technique in enemy territory.”
- U. S. Army veteran, after unexplained booms
reported January 7-8, 2013, throughout Tri-State region
of NW Kentucky, SW Indiana and SE Illinois
AH-64 Apache Longbow military
attack helicopter. Image courtesy U. S. Army.
March 1, 2013 Louisville, Kentucky - Over the past two years, Earthfiles has reported about many boom mysteries throughout the United States often followed by low-flying helicopters that seem to be in search mode. Two dramatic recent examples of low, searching military helicopters a few days after loud, unexplained booms both occurred mid-January 2013, in Louisville, Kentucky, and Cedar Hills, Utah.
Unexplained loud booms occurred on almost the same dates
in the time period of January 7 - 10, 2013, in the Tri-State region of
southwestern Indiana, southeastern Illinois and northwestern Kentucky
where Louisville, KY is marked by the red map pointer, and 1,600 miles
west in Cedar Hills, Utah (red circle).
Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois Tri-State Booms
January 7 - 8, 2013, Followed by Low Flying Helicopter Over Louisville Houses
Unexplained booms heard Monday, January 7, and Tuesday,
January 8, 2013, over the Tri-State region of Indiana, Illinois
and Kentucky. See: 012513 Earthfiles.
Play MP3 interview.
“Peter Jones,” Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) now medically discharged from U. S. Army, Louisville, Kentucky: “I haven't personally heard any mysterious booms or crashes of light in my experience that was unexplainable. However, I live about 20 miles from Fort Knox as the crow flies and we do see a lot of military activity. I grew up in the area, so before the Armor School left Fort Knox and went to Fort Benning, you knew when they were out in the field training because 20 to 30 miles away, you could still hear these tanks and artillery weapons being utilized.
BUT YOU HAVE HEARD ABOUT ALL OF THESE UNEXPLAINED AND MYSTERIOUS BOOMS THAT HAVE BEEN REPORTED EVEN IN KENTUCKY AND YOUR AREA OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS AND ALL OVER THE UNITED STATES?
I have. Certainly, I'm an avid Coast to Coast listener.
IN THE CONTEXT OF YOUR HEARING ABOUT UNEXPLAINED MYSTERIOUS BOOMS IN MY REPORTING AT EARTHFILES AND COAST OVER THE PAST TWO YEARS, CAN YOU PLEASE TALK ABOUT THE RECENT INCIDENT THAT LEFT YOU WONDERING WHAT WAS HAPPENING?
I live in a residential area of the suburbs of Louisville, Kentucky.
Louisville is the largest city in Kentucky with a population of about 740,000.
Twenty miles southwest is Fort Knox, the U. S. Army's Human Resources
and Cadet Command. Adjacent to the Army base is the U. S. Bullion Depository,
used to store 4,578 metric tons of the U. S. official gold reserves.
I was coming home from a clinical day at the local hospital between 1 and 3 PM in the afternoon. I pulled into my driveway and I got out to enter my home and heard the very distinct thump of rotor wash from a military aircraft. I grew up with a father, who is an avid aircraft enthusiast and a trained air traffic controller, so any time we saw aircraft coming overhead, he'd be like, 'OK, what kind of aircraft is that? This is how you identify it?'
So I can discern between helicopters that say a news agency uses, that police use or flight care use and this was military. So I looked up and thought, 'That's really loud, louder than normal!' Because we occasionally have military aircraft flying overhead in transit from one location to the next, but this was unusual and different this time. And as I was looking up, I caught some movement out of the corner of my eye and I turned to look at it. It was the main rotor structure of an AH-64 Apache helicopter and I could only see the main rotor because as he banked in a turn, his rotors were coming over the top of the trees and the ridge line of the homes as he banked.
So this means he was very low and he wasn't far away on the horizon because the size of the rotor that I saw, that part of the fuselage that I saw, was very large.
It was literally at tree level or just a little below, and this guy was in my neighborhood doing what we call ‘nap-of-the-Earth,’ which means following the contour of the Earth to evade radar. That's a military technique in enemy territory. And the first thing I thought, ‘That guy is doing nap-of-the-Earth in the neighborhood. He's showing off - he must live here.’ But as I watched, he maintained this search pattern back and forth, back and forth, slowly banking in a kind of circuitous pattern slowly moving off to the northeast.
[ Editor's Note:Nap-of-the-earth (NOE) is a type of very low-altitude flight course used by military aircraft to avoid enemy detection and attack in a high-threat environment. During NOE flight, geographical features are used as cover, which is below enemy radar coverage. NOE is also known as “flying under the radar.”]
SO YOU WERE RECOGNIZING A PATTERN THAT YOU ARE FAMILIAR WITH FROM A MILITARY OPERATION THAT WOULD BE TRYING TO AVOID RADAR, BUT AT THE SAME TIME SEARCHING FOR SOMETHING THAT FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW WOULD HAVE TO BE INVISIBLE?
Yes, that's correct. When I was actually stationed at Fort Bragg, NC, and we were out in the field doing training, we were always surrounded by these Apache, Kiowa and Black Hawk helicopters where these pilots were doing training at the same time as we were and in the same location and they would come in the very same manner flying over terrain features coming in low, hitting the ground, raising up constantly all day long flying in and out over a military installation in a designated training area for that function - NOT over a residential area.
IS IT LEGAL UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES FOR ANY OF OUR MILITARY OPERATIONS TO BE FLYING AT TREETOP LEVEL OR BELOW TREETOP LEVEL OVER ANY RESIDENTIAL AREA OF THE UNITED STATES?
To the best of my understanding, the FAA has a precedence set of what's called a 500-foot-ceiling for any aircraft outside of what I think is called a Class A airspace, which is over your major airports where they are actually coming into land where you cannot break that 500-foot-ceiling and come below that. And if that's correct, that goes for military, civilian or whatever. This guy was clearly violating that regulation and was well below that hard ceiling.
FAA Regulation 91.119 Minimum Safe Altitudes
for Aircraft: General
“The fact that this Apache helicopter was so low doing these maneuvers -
no matter how long you've been flying in that manner or how good a pilot
that you are, there is always a very high risk, especially in a residential area
where there are power lines and all kinds of overhead obstructions -
a collision or accident causing this aircraft to come down on those houses.”
HOW LONG DO YOU THINK THAT THE LOW FLYING APACHE IN A GRID PATTERN WENT ON?
I stood there for a good 15 minutes watching this guy and there towards the end of him flying off into the distance in that pattern, he never got any higher. He maintained that grid pattern until I could not see or hear him. It was a good 15 minutes and right as he was about to fly off, I thought, 'I need to get my phone out and take a picture of this.' Unfortunately, I was unable to get a picture or video of it and I was looking around to see if anyone else had seen it. But no one else was out. It was mid-afternoon and everybody is at work.
DID YOU TRY TO CALL EITHER FORT KNOX OR THE LOCAL NATIONAL GUARD TO SEE IF THEY WOULD HAVE ANY EXPLANATION FOR WHY A LARGE MILITARY HELICOPTER WOULD BE FLYING AT OR BELOW TREETOP LEVEL IN YOUR NEIGHBORHOOD?
Well, initially I thought that I need to check into this, that I need to call somebody. If they were doing something out there like training or if they were doing something that was supposed to be under the radar, no pun intended, then they would not relate that fact to me. So my neighbor is actually an infantry commander for a unit there in Fort Knox and I talked with him about it. He was baffled by the situation.
AND BAFFLED MEANS THAT HE HAD NO UNDERSTANDING OF WHY AND HAD NO CONTEXT IN HIS MILITARY CAREER FOR EXPLAINING SUCH LOW LEVEL HELICOPTER FLIGHT OVER A KENTUCKY HOME RESIDENCE FOR AT LEAST FIFTEEN MINUTES?
That's correct. You know, here's an individual who has had multiple combat theaters, infantry commander - we're talking infantry officer - who has higher than secret clearance, who is privy to a multitude of training exercises including close air support and he had never heard of anything like that being utilized - or even the need to utilize training over a residential area. The only time we would need to train over a residential area is if we were going to be fighting in a residential area.
DID THE TWO OF YOU SPECULATE AS MILITARY PEOPLE AS TO WHY THIS WOULD BE HAPPENING?
My neighbor - I think he thought that it was someone showing off to somebody and if his commander finds out, he'll be in a lot of trouble. I myself speculated to him and related to him these other incidents around the nation that I'd heard about from Earthfiles and Coast to Coast. At that point, he didn't have anything to say. He was just blown away and really didn't know why in the world we would be flying over residential areas.
The fact that this Apache helicopter was so low doing these maneuvers - no matter how long you've been flying in that manner or how good a pilot that you are, there is always a very high risk - especially in a residential area where there are power lines and all kinds of overhead obstructions - a collision or an accident causing this aircraft to come down on those houses. And when a helicopter comes down, it doesn't glide down. It doesn't have a gliding surface. They have rotors that are constantly fighting to keep it in the air. When those stop spinning, that aircraft is going to fall out of the sky. This guy was doing this over residential areas. If he loses his lift over those rotor surfaces at any point, he's going to fall out of the sky and into these homes. And that's pretty significant. That's why we have defined areas to train with those type of aircraft.
I personally feel that it was more a training type mission, but there's also the chance that there was some unseen or unknown threat that they were trying to engage or locate. That's the only reason why they would use that type of activity, either trying to evade some kind of radar to sneak up on a target or object so they can engage that target or object - or just training to do that. But I don't understand why we would do it in a residential area.
We've just had conflict in residential areas in Iraq, and yet we didn't have them training in America over residential locations to do those type of missions. We have places at Fort Knox, Fort Campbell, Fort Bragg, Fort Benning that look like mock cities, mock villages. When you go in, they have everything from sewer systems to lighting, all of your transportation type things are located - I mean, it looks like you are in Iraq. So if that's the case, why don't we utilize those to train over - especially when it's so dangerous to use those type of aircraft in that (low flying) manner over a residential area.
So I personally believe this most likely was a training event, but training for what? You train like you fight. You fight like you trained. So it scares me to think, 'Hey, NDAA (National Defense Authorization Act) was just recently passed with the stipulation still included that the military has authority to operate in our cities and in our homes and in our towns. And now here they are flying in these (low) manners injuriously around our homes. I mean, that's how I feel that this is a part of - I believe it's training for something coming up that they anticipate. It's real scary to think about.”
Cedar Hills, Utah: Booms January 8 - 10, 2013,
Followed by Low Flying Helicopters
Temple at map marker in American Fork near Cedar Hills
at the foot of Mt. Timpanogos a thousand feet higher than Provo (lower right circle)
and about 40 miles southeast of Salt Lake City. Above and below, the bright pink
circle 15 miles northwest of the temple and Cedar Hills at Bluffdale is the site
of the million square foot National Security Agency's Utah Data Center
scheduled to go on line by Fall 2013 to gather all digital and other transmissions
in the United States and around the world that the NSA deems necessary.
The UDC will be the largest spy operation ever built by humans.
At his home in Cedar Hills, a small suburb 15 miles northwest of Provo, 35-year-old James Brown was caring for his new-born son and 2-year-old toddler - while his wife, Amy, worked at a local elementary school. The couple moved there three years ago and had never heard or seen anything as strange as the booms that repeated from Tuesday, January 8 to Thursday, January 1, day and night, plus bright flashes of light on the nights of January 8 and January 9, followed by more booms on January 10th.
A week later when I interviewed Jim for Earthfiles, Coast and Dreamland radio [See 020113 Earthfiles], Jim was disturbed by low-flying helicopters in his neighborhood, similar to what Peter Jones described in Louisville, Kentucky. Here is Jim Brown's emailed report to me in late January 2013 about what happened near his house in Cedar Hills, Utah.
I was a witness to anomalous activities on January the 8th to 10th, involving various unknown audible and tangible booms accompanied by rumbles and light activity. The weekend afterward, I was interviewed over the phone by Linda Moulton Howe, Reporter and Editor, Earthfiles.com. Then the very next morning began several days of abnormal helicopter activity in and around my neighborhood.
This activity persisted for several days. A helicopter would fly very low to the ground, less then 200 to 300 feet over the homes in the neighborhood moving at a very fast pace. Often the flight pattern would consist of circling the neighborhood and then leaving the vicinity, only to return minutes later, with a search-type of pattern over the adjacent mountainside directly east of our neighborhood. The helicopter search techniques appeared to be extremely aggressive, reminiscent of a military-style search and rescue tactic. Flying over an area and then looping back and diving on a location, pulling up and hovering at treetop level for 5-10 seconds. This action of diving on a location was repeated around 15 times over areas of the mountainside that would appear to be void anything worth watching besides snow, cedars and some wildlife.
On two occasions while observing this from my front yard, I also noticed a second helicopter at very high altitude slowly circling as if monitoring from above. It was too high to be heard or identified. The helicopter that was performing the low level maneuvers was at times very close to me and I was comfortably able to study its appearance. It was black without any markings - nothing written or artistic. It had completely blacked out windows as well. It is a medium-sized helicopter, with a large engine compartment on top. It had what appeared to be an addition to its belly that was white-shaped similar to a dull hull of a boat with a mount in the center that appeared to be a 2-foot-circular encasing distinctive to what I have seen Search and Rescue helicopters use for infrared camera mounts. The difference on the camera mount was that is was directly in the center of the hull, whereas similar mounts I have seen in the past on Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement, and Wildlife Management helicopters would have the mounts on the nose, or off of the side of the skid. The helicopter had skids, an oval-shaped nose, and a swept back rear rotor with the fin at about a 45-degree angle.
I went to the internet and spent some hours searching through helicopter identification charts thinking I would fairly easily be able to identify the make and model of the aircraft, but surprisingly I've had a very hard time being able to do so. I have found several helicopter types that have similarities, but to my dismay I have not been able to identify that helicopter as of yet.
Since the above January 2013 events, the mysterious, unexplained booms have persisted in several different parts of the United States.
February 27, 2013 - More Unexplained Booms
in Tucson and San Diego.
— Email from Tucson, Arizona, Feb. 27: I live NW of Tucson and for the past couple months we've been experiencing very strange "booms". I don't know how else to explain them. We just had another tonight. I could feel the whole house shake - it was unlike anything I've experienced. There was a low rumble along with it. It felt like 3 or 4 waves of rumbling. My husband had one happen earlier today - but it was much more violent, shorter in duration and he could feel the percussion impact like an explosion had gone off very close by. I called friends who live a couple miles away to see if they experienced it too - and they did. They have witnessed two incidents this week (I don't think they were home when the one happened earlier today). I did call 911 and they said their phone was ringing off the hook and they said they had no idea what was going on and would get back to me. Wanted you to know because this is completely freaking me out.
— Email from San Diego, California, Feb. 27:Just wanted to report that there was a loud boom heard all over San Diego, Calif. at 10:00 AM Feb 27, 2013. Loud enough to rattle windows. Authorities have no explanation. Military state that they heard it also and that there were no training sessions going on at the time.
February 26th Another Unexplained Loud Boom -
This One in Charleston, West Virginia.
022613 Email to Earthfiles from L. C., Charleston, WV, Tuesday night: “I heard this boom this evening, and evidently so did a lot of other people. It was short and loud and very immediate, by which I mean I thought my son, who was upstairs at the time, had knocked over a chest of drawers - or the tree trimmers, who had been working outside, had cut a tree down on the building or something. It vibrated the building. It startled me and I jumped up to look outside – there was nothing going on at all, and my son was sleeping upstairs.”
Calls to Kanawha County, West Virginia, 911 dispatchers started at 5:30 PM EST,
February 26, 2013. People reported feeling their buildings shake, including the
WOWK 13-TV newsroom in Charleston.
February 20, 2013 - Part 2: Unexplained Loud Booms
and Light Flashes Persist in U. S. Click for report.
“I had just laid down in bed at about 12:30 AM in my Walker, Michigan, home... As I was laying there, it was as if in a flash it was noon on a bright summer day. I jumped up and just as I pulled the shade, it was as if
someone hit the floor below me with a 20 lb. sledgehammer.”
- Resident in Walker, West Michigan
February 16, 2013 - Part 1: More Earth-Shaking Booms in Morristown, TN and “Shock Wave” Booms in San Manuel, AZ. Click for report.
“After the first boom, two military helicopters showed up a couple
of days after and repeatedly for the next four or five days after that.”
- Samuel Lopez, Geology Mining Tech, San Manuel, Arizona
Galiuro Mountains in Graham County, Arizona,
near San Manuel and northeast of Tucson.
“I can't point to any cause and that's concerning.
You think it would show up on a seismograph somewhere.”
- Tony Cox, Morristown City Administrator
Near 4 PM on Tuesday, February 12, 2013, dozens of
Morristown, Tennessee, residents called Hamblen County 911
to report the sound of “a large blast and the Earth shaking.”
The wall above cracked and was photographed by Knoxville's NBC
Channel 10 WBIR-TV. The USGS had no record of seismic activity then.
“I watched the pilot maneuver his AH-64 Apache helicopter
in a very tight, low, banking circuitous pattern over the neighborhood
for the next 15 minutes going up and down over houses from street to street.”
- Fort Knox, Kentucky resident after January 9, 2013, loud booms
in southern Indiana and Illinois and northwestern Kentucky
The Romeo Observer, Bruce, Michigan, north
of Detroit on Wednesday, January 23, 2013, Page 8-A.
“At this point, nobody seems to know.
The geologists say it's not in the ground. The Air Force says
it's not in the air. The astronomers say it's not from space.
So we're running out of options.”
- Jeffrey Braun, Ph.D., Physicist, Univ. of Evansville, Indiana
January 25, 2013 - Mystery Booms in Tennessee.
“It sounded like a hand grenade going off underground,
then you could feel the ground vibrate."
- Jimmy Standifer, Hamblen County Deputy Sheriff
Morristown, Hamblen County, Tennessee,
is 48 miles northeast of Knoxville.
On Wednesday, January 23, 2013, between 1:00 and 3:30 AM Central, many West Morristown, Tennessee, residents called 911 to report “loud booms.” In some cases, people said it sounded “like someone was breaking into my home.” Hamblen County Sheriff Deputies could not find the source of the booms and other noises. The only working hypothesis now is that perhaps a cave beneath the Meadows subdivision collapsed. But no one knows for certain what happened and the U. S. Geological Survey has no data of seismic activity at the time. Click for Jan. 25 Updated Earthfiles report.
If any Earthfiles viewer has more firsthand information about the source of the mysterious, unexplained booms, light flashes and unusual military helicopter search activity around the United States, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org. All requests for confidentiality are honored.
For further information about the unexplained booms, light flashes and unusual military helicopter activity, please click these reports and see the Earthfiles Archive list below:
• 02/20/2013 — Part 2: Unexplained Loud Booms & Light Flashes Persist in U. S.
• 02/16/2013 — Part 1: More Earth-Shaking Booms in Morristown, Tennessee and “Shock Wave” Booms in San Manuel, Arizona
• 02/06/2013 — Viewer Emails about Boom Mystery
• 02/01/2013 — Mysterious Booms and Light Flashes Across U. S.
• 01/25/2013 — Updated: Unexplained Loud Booms Persist in United States
• 01/11/2013 — Part 1: Could Computer-Interfaced Communication with Other Realms Be Linked to Strange, Unexplained Booms?
• 01/11/2013 — Part 2: Could Computer-Interfaced Communication with Other Realms Be Linked to Strange, Unexplained Booms?
• 01/11/2013 — Part 3: Could Computer-Interfaced Communication with Other Realms Be Linked to Strange, Unexplained Booms?
• 01/05/2013 — 26 Hours Before 7.5 Quake, Unexplained Rumbling Boom in Southcentral Alaska
• 12/08/2012 — What's Causing Mysterious Lights, Loud Booms and Strange Hum in Narragansett Bay, Rhode Island?
• 10/17/2012 — Loud Boom and 3-D Radar of Mysterious Aerial Object in NW Louisiana
• 08/26/2012 — Updated: More Unexplained Boom Sounds from Sweden to Calif: What's Happening Now in Sacramento? And What Happened August 21st In Oakland, California?
• 05/30/2012 — Updated: Mysterious Booms Heard May 27 and May 28 in Four West Michigan Counties
• 05/10/2012 — Mysterious Horn and Boom Sounds Still Being Heard
• 05/01/2012 — More Unexplained Booms in Boston and Beyond
• 04/26/2012 — Updated: Mysterious, Persistent Booms Throughout North America and England
• 04/22/2012 — Huge Boom Heard in Central California and Northwestern Nevada - Did Meteorite Hit?
• 04/08/2012 — Part 3: Confusion About North American Booms and Man-Made Quakes
• 03/30/2012 — Part 1: Updated 033021 with boom recordings - Mysterious Rattling Booms Expand from Clintonville to Montello, Wisconsin and Beyond.
• 03/30/2012 — Updated with boom audio Part 2: Boom Phenomenon in Several States and Canada
• 03/20/2012 — Two Nights of Mysterious Rattling Booms in Clintonville, WI
• 03/15/2012 — Updated 031512 - High Strangeness Email: Unidentified Aerial Craft, Strange Sounds and Door-Rattling Booms
• 03/01/2012 — Updated 030112: Solar CMEs Hitting Earth's Magnetic Fields - Do They Make Strange, Loud Sounds?
• 02/28/2012 — Strange Sounds in Washington State
• 02/23/2012 — Updated Feb. 23: Eerie, Strange Sounds Heard in Tennessee and Kansas
• 02/04/2012 — Video of Kiev-like Strange Sound in Amarillo, Texas: What Happened?
• 02/02/2012 — Updated: Earthfiles Email About Mysterious “Chorus of Trumpets” and Other Strange Sounds
• 11/13/2011 — Updated: More Loud Booms in Virginia and Missouri; More Quakes in Oklahoma
• 10/27/2011 — More Mysterious Hum Reports from North America to China
• 10/04/2011 — Updated: What Are Strange “Hums” That Keep People Awake?
• 10/03/2011 — Part 1: Viewer Letters About Strange, Loud Booms
• 06/07/2011 — What Are the Mysterious Booms?
• 05/13/2011 — More Viewer Letters About Mysterious Booms
• 05/11/2011 — Updated Reprints: Earthfiles Viewers Reports of Strange, Loud Booms
• 02/08/2011 — More Reports of Strange Booms and Aerial Lights
• 01/29/2011 — Earthfiles Viewers Reports of Strange, Loud Booms