Ryan Graves

F-18 Pilot, Ryan Graves Transcript: “I Imagine People That Have Been Following [UFOs] For A While Are Pretty Excited. 2018, 2019 Was Kind Of Their Year.”

9 Dec , 2019  

Transcript and comments by Joe Murgia – @ufojoe11 on Twitter.

For me, there’s nothing like hearing the voice of a person getting interviewed. Sometimes, that’s not possible for various reasons. But in this case, check out the audio from the interview that Kevin Rose (of The Kevin Rose Show podcast) conducted with F-18 pilot, Ryan Graves. Graves played a large role in the 2nd wave of media articles on the encounters (Gimbal, Go Fast and apparently, a lot more) that occurred off the East Coast and he was prominently featured in the doc-series on History, “Unidentified.”

Rose did an excellent job with the interview and asked some great questions and follow-ups. In various areas, I added some comments and questions that I have for Graves. As you’ll see, I’m trying to look at all angles here. If that bothers you, you should probably stop reading now.

Here’s the Apple Podcasts link:


Or you can just click here and that will take you to the his page on Apple Podcasts. Plus, there are lots of other options if you just Google, “Kevin Rose Show Podcast.”


Kevin Rose (KR): Hey everybody, Kevin Rose here. Welcome back to another episode of The Kevin Rose show. Really excited for today’s guest. We’re gonna be talking about UFOs, And I know this is a little out of band. It’s not my typical guest that I have on the show, but it is certainly something that I’m curious about and I have always called this podcast, a podcast for the curious. Things have changed though. UFOs, for me, were always this fun thing that I talked to friends about. I used to live in Las Vegas, Nevada. I used to work in the Nevada Test Site, which is about 50 miles outside of Las Vegas. The Nevada Test Site is a secure government facility that is about the size of Rhode Island. It’s most famous for having Area 51 embedded inside of the test site. The test site is actually broken up into a whole slew of different areas. I had a security clearance out there and I would drive every day in an unmarked bus out to the middle of the desert. And I would perform mostly networking tasks and maintenance on various types of computers. It would be my responsibility to provide hardware, also to provide connectivity between the areas. So I got to see a lot of really interesting and cool things. I never saw aliens, but I was always curious about the work that was being done out at Area 51. So like many of you, I would just click on these stories as they were coming up about UFOs and you know, more or less, just treat it as entertainment.

Something crazy, though, happened in the last year. The DoD, the Department of Defense has released official UFO Footage. And this is the very first time this has happened. It’s crazy that the government has actually come out and said, “We don’t know what this is. Here is footage taken by F-18 Super Hornets and we want the world to see it.” It came out and there was a series of New York Times articles about these pilots that were coming out and saying we have seen these things, we have engaged with these things, we have flown next to these things. The world needs to know about it. And at first when you hear something like that, at least I always think, well…what is it like, one pilot? Is it somebody there that is looking to write a book? Or, you know, what’s the reason behind all this? And in reading these articles, it’s crazy. It’s not just one pilot. It’s a handful of pilots. And more and more are coming out every few months to talk about these encounters. And so I did what any other proper geek would do is…I copied and paste the name of the pilot that was in the New York Times article. I did a Google search and I found his LinkedIn page. I reached out to him and he responded. And he actually said he had listened to the podcast before and so we kind of hit it off. And I was like, “Awesome. Would you come on my show and talk about your experience there?” And he agreed to it.

His name is Ryan Graves. He’s had over ten years in the Navy as an advanced fighter pilot and an advanced, Strike Fighter instructor. So think about it. Not only was he an advanced fighter pilot, he then graduated to actually teach new, incoming fighter pilots as well. He has over 250 day and night aircraft carrier landings, which is just insane. So this isn’t someone that is washing dishes on the aircraft carrier and heard a crazy story and is on the show to talk about it. This is as legit as it gets. And he has actually encountered these things. So I’m very thrilled and honored to have him on the show today. So let’s get into it. Let’s talk about your UFOs. This is Ryan Graves.

Ryan Graves on “Unidentified,” Season 1 Episode 4

So Ryan, thanks so much for being on the show. I’m really excited to chat with you about this. I think a great place to start would just be to get your history in the military.

Ryan Graves (RG): Yeah, absolutely. So I joined the Navy, the very beginning of 2009. From there I went on through OCS, through Officer Candidate School. Basically, boot camp for officers. And within a couple of years, I was flying F-18s off the east coast of Virginia Beach. And I did that until about 2018, when I got out after about 10 years.

KR: And then when did you move on to…you’re still with the Navy now, correct?

RG: No, I got out in June. So I’m a civilian now.

KR: Okay. And so what was…you retired as then, essentially you were still a fighter pilot. But you were also training pilots, were you not?

RG: Yeah. When I separated, I was in Meridian, Mississippi, and at that time, I was an advanced Strike Fighter Instructor, flying the T-45 Charlie.

T-45C Goshawk

So that’s the aircraft that our students will fly before they move on to the F-18 or other aircraft. But carrier-based fighters, typically. And I did that for about three years on my way out the door.

KR: How do you actually log this as someone talking to another military person? You talk about time in the air? Take-offs and landings? Like, how do you say how much experience you have here?

RG: That’s a fair question. I think kind of the go to answer for pretty much pilots worldwide would be how many hours do you have? I think guys in the military recognize that that doesn’t really paint the whole picture for you. So, you know, sometimes we’ll talk about different deployments you did. So, you know, if I was to answer those two questions, I’d say I have a little over 2000 hours. Pretty much all in fighters. And I went on two deployments. One on the USS Enterprise, its final deployment to the Middle East. And my final deployment in 2015 was on the USS Theodore Roosevelt in Iraq and Syria.

Atlantic Ocean – Aircraft from Carrier Air Wing 1 fly in formation over the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt during an airpower demonstration March 22, 2015

KR: Wow. Were you involved in any combat then? Or?

RG: Yeah, I was. They were both combat deployments. Afghanistan deployment was relatively quiet while we were there. However, we were the second carrier on station once all the ISIS stuff kicked off. So we were pretty busy then.

KR: So, what brought you to the forefront of media attention? What was the first thing that, you know, here…I guess it’s been about over the last year or so, that you were all of a sudden in the spotlight. What was that event?

RG: Yeah, it was a pretty quick change there. So, I would say it pretty much started, at least that process, when I actually saw the New York Times article. I believe came out in 2015? It actually might have been a couple years later (It was December 16th, 2017 ~Joe). And that was the first time they actually released video and images. And they immediately caught my eye because I was airborne when those videos and images were taken. I watched them debrief. I heard the voices on the radio and immediately knew who it was. And so it immediately garnered my interest and I reached out to some friends to confirm it. And that kind of sent me down the path.

KR: It must have been crazy, because…I guess internally, with your close friends and colleagues, you know that these videos exist, but you probably never thought they would see the light of day. Is that a fair statement?

RG: Yeah, absolutely. You know, we would talk about it, you know, all the time amongst ourselves. And it was just kind of one of those running things that, in our mind, no one really cared. From our perspective, a lot of pilots have, you know, relatively similar stories. And so I think that this conversation has actually been probably happening for a while. It’s just no one was really listening or giving it the attention that it deserves. And once someone did, it really opened up the floodgates.

KR: Why would the DoD come out and release official footage of these these flying…you don’t call them UFOs though? What do you call them exactly?

RG: I think that’s what the layman would view it as. It’s not what we immediately thought they were. But there’s been a lot of names thrown around. UAP. UAV. All the names. I think there’s a little rebranding process going on. And I don’t think they’ve 100% settled on a final answer. And I think it depends on who you ask.

KR: What do you do in the military…like, if you see something that’s unidentified, all right? You don’t say UFO?

RG: Yeah, I mean, when we first started seeing them, yeah, we didn’t call them UFOs. I mean, it was a process of kind of our realization of what these potentially were that basically took about six months for us to kind of exhaust all our potential options of what these could be. But, you know, first we just, you know, just one of those damn things that we’d see all the time. We didn’t want to put a label on it. I think everyone in the back of their mind, you know, was a little hesitant from dropping the U-word, you know? And potentially sounded a bit off in the ready room. It’s a community where people don’t like really sticking their necks out.

KR: Yeah, why is that? Is it just something where you’ll be kind of shamed or people will just call you crazy?

RG: It’s not that. It’s just a very reputational business, you know, and there’s no incentive to take that leap, you know? So if there’s no incentive, then, you know, all it is is pure risk for you. So it’s better not to even talk about it.

F/A-18 Super Hornet – Credit: Boeing

KR: When you say a reputational kind of business like, you mean, okay, you’re in charge of and you’ve been tasked with flying an F-18, which is a very expensive piece of machinery. You’re supposed to have a sound mind, obviously. What is the reputation that someone would say, oh, they’re going a little crazy or, you know, could you potentially be demoted? Like how does that…what’s the reputation risk?

RG: I think if someone truly thought you were mentally unstable, you would be taken off of flight status. Absolutely. I don’t think that was necessarily the fear here. I think it’s more of, you know, we operate in such a way that we have to study certain tactics and procedures, something we refer to as a standard operating procedure. And the concept when we go into a flight is that we all understand what everyone else is doing. And therefore, there’s a huge amount of trust that goes into flying, you know, these very complex missions, very dangerous missions. And if you lose that trust, it can severely challenge your ability to work with somebody.

KR: It could be a distraction in a way then, right? Like, it’s just like, why even bring that up when you’re so focused on other things?

RG: Exactly. And it’s a very dangerous job. And there’s, you know, we’re concerned about many different things. It wasn’t Independence Day where we looked out our window and you know, saw something crazy. It was something that slowly came to this realization that hey, this, you know, this probably isn’t something we’re doing. This could be a real issue.

KR: Talk to me about that very first time you heard about something. Did you see it? Did you hear about something? You said it took about six months for you to kind of figure out that this wasn’t normal. Why six months? What was the first encounter like?

RG: The way it worked was we didn’t start seeing these until we upgraded our radars from  APG-73 to the APG-79.

An APG-79 AESA Radar Active Electronically Scanned Array – Credit: Raytheon

And all that really means is that we basically had a generational jump and ability to look out and see what’s around us. So that process of installing those in the jet, we were actually the first squadron to upgrade our jets from older to new radar. We started seeing things on the radar. And we were seeing a lot of things that we had never seen before because we just had that much greater capability.

KR: When you say a lot of things, like, what are common things that you later identified as being normal that weren’t there before?

RG: Not necessarily that they weren’t there before. It’s just…we weren’t presented the information so readily. And we kind of had to work for it. But think, you know, like commercial airliners, you know, ground targets or ground objects that were moving, you know? Instead of us having to kind of actively like, go out and be like, all right, where is that thing? The information would basically just be presented to us all the time. So it was more information than we were used to.

KR: So is it fair to say that there’s some automation built into these systems and that they are kind of self tracking and self identifying objects?

RG: I wouldn’t say they’re identifying, I will say that it just provides us a larger scope with a much smaller delay…really is all I can get into. But the bottom line is that we are seeing a lot more stuff. And now some of this stuff was behaving unusually, when we noticed it. So things, that were essentially not moving – so fixed over location over the ocean at, you know, various altitudes. Which is unusual, right? Because even balloons or whatnot will drift with the wind. You wouldn’t expect a helicopter 30,000 feet, things like that. And also keep in mind that when we fly out of the ocean, we’re working in airspace that is very tightly scheduled. We work in certain blocks in that airspace. We communicate going in and out, so, you know who everyone is. You can identify what they’re flying essentially by, you can kind of look over on the radar and be like…oh yeah, they’re over there doing their mission. But to see stationary objects, or objects out there that are behaving, crossing borders and things like that, that you wouldn’t to be expecting, was pretty unusual.

So our first inclination was that, hey, okay, maybe there’s a small issue with our radar here, you know? The older radar would occasionally pick up, you know, exceptionally thick clouds, or potential radar reflections from vehicles on the ground. And so that was kind of the first place we went. I think, in the back of my mind, we knew that probably wasn’t realistic, based on the technology and the radar. But that’s, you know, when you’re busy flying and doing a lot of stuff and kind of flying on STEM power…when you see these things, that’s kind of the first thing that we thought. Just, you know, potentially it’s just some type of radar malfunction.

KR: And you’re probably thinking like, new device, new…potentially bugs, right? Is that kind of the thinking?

RG: Yeah. And we had similar things on the older radars, and they’re not necessarily bugs per se that you can just throw a few lines of code and fix. It’s just like, inherent with the technology we were using, essentially. The reality is the APG-79 doesn’t have those problems in the new radar. So, you know, we’ve kind of worked out that, in our brains, you know, over the course of time, when we’re seeing these things, we’re like, hey, you know, this isn’t really possible. But what really kind of solidified it for us was when we were within a certain range, we were able to actually pick one of the objects up on the…essentially, what we call the FLIR. It’s essentially an IR. An electro-optical camera. So for lack of better words, it provides us with heat energy from the object or actual visual camera of the object. And so people actually saw an object from the camera. And that kind of negated the fact that it would be some type of radar error, software error, to have a physical camera looking at it.

KR: Right. So now you’ve got two pieces of data. You’ve got this, this device or this thing that’s out there doing weird things, at weird altitudes that aren’t really supposed to be doing these things. And now you see…is there a heat signature coming off of these things?

RG: There is. So when we’re in the IR mode, there is a…I would call it a heat signature. But it’s not what you’re thinking. Typically they’d actually be colder than their surroundings. So when we look at it, it would show up as a cold object like some hot objects. And typically, when we’re looking through our FLIR at close distances, I mean, you can make out the skin of the aircraft. You can see the exhaust coming out of the back of the engine in pretty good detail. You know, you can look in and see the pilot waving at you if you’re close enough. When we looked at these objects, it essentially looked like someone was shining a flashlight right at our sensor. So it just looked like a bright spot, you know, which was very unusual.

KR: So you’re talking about a bright spot in the FLIR IR. Is that right?

RG: Yeah, and I’m probably mincing words a bit. It wasn’t necessarily that the object was bright. It’s that relative to the area around it, it was presenting a heat signature that was in a high contrast compared to the area around it.

KR: So when something is in high contrast like that, what does that mean exactly?

RG: It could mean it’s colder or hotter than the area around it, depending on the settings I set.

KR: Okay. And then how do you tell if something is cold or hot? How could you tell that it was…is that something that the FLIR IR does, is it tells you temperatures of objects?

RG: Just as so much as it will display a…it’s a black and white image. So if I have black hot, then the blacker it is, the hotter it is. If I white hot, the whiter it is, the hotter it is. So, in this scenario, if it was black hot, you know, everything would be kind of dark around it and the object, the IR energy I’d be receiving would be whiter.

KR: And you can flip that with like a switch of a button or push of a button, right?

RG: Yep.

KR: Okay, so this is weird now. So now, your kind of spidey senses are going off now. Was this something where you would have pilots come back and be like, “Okay, listen Ryan, I just saw some crazy shit like…” (LAUGHS)

RG: Pretty much, you know. Pretty much.

KR: Are you hearing stories, basically, first?

RG: Yeah, well, you know, here’s the thing though. So, when it’s on the radar and we think it’s a malfunction, it’s just another consideration. But when we have…we’ve now verified that there’s a physical object out there, it now becomes a major issue. These things are operating in our airspace, we’re conducting extremely advanced maneuvering and trying to do certain training missions. So to have objects kind of willy nilly out there, that are moving around or not moving around, or who knows what they’re going to do next. You know, it’s a very serious safety issue, you know? So people are kind of getting on the the pissed side more so than the fascinated side at this point, you know? Because at this point, now that we’ve kind of confirmed that there is something there, now it’s like, all right, so whose is it? Are we testing something out there that we shouldn’t, that someone shouldn’t be? You would never, ever expect someone to test a new drone or something like that out in these working areas. It’s way too congested. It’s way too dangerous. I mean, that’s a…a mid-air like that is a very serious consideration. And let’s not forget that these areas start about 10 miles off the coast and go out to…I don’t remember, maybe 180 miles, you know? And these things are at thirty thousand, forty thousand feet…surface level. So it wouldn’t be a commercial drone. They just don’t have the range for that.

KR: Yeah. When I worked the Nevada Test Site and when I was much younger, I was working out in the middle of nowhere. And I know that the government is very good. We would divide the test set up in the different areas and there would be locked off, quarantine areas where the government would do testing and no one was, I mean, when you’re doing top secret testing like that, you don’t even…you wouldn’t even risk being close to someone else, right? Like there’s no need to, right?

RG: We have places for that. And the coast of Virginia Beach is not one of them.

KG: Right. Exactly. That’s what I was getting at. So, had you seen them accelerate, yet? Had they started breaking laws where you’re like, no actual jet propulsion could do this.

RG: It’s not going to be a sexy answer, but I’ll give it to you in a minute. But you know, what we would typically see is them either at a complete standstill hover, some type of race track pattern, sometimes just kind of cruising east over the ocean, up and down, you know? Not super fast, usually about point six to point eight Mach (around 460-615 mph ~Joe). So maybe somewhere in the 230 knots (265 mph  ~Joe) to about 360 knots (31 mph ~Joe), right? So not like neck breaking speed. I’d occasionally look over and see one, you know, 1.1, 1.2 Mach (845 mph-920 mph ~Joe). But the thing is, is that they would be out there all day long, right? So, for me, that’s very interesting. For pilots, it’s very interesting. Because we understand better than anyone how limited we are in fuel, how much we can stay airborne, how long we can stay airborne when we’re maneuvering, tactically, you know, compared to more just straight and level flying, cruising around, nice and easy. So, the fact that these are out there all day, and doing things such as hovering, such as moving pretty, pretty quick, you know. It’s not like an efficient airspeed, especially supersonic, of course. I don’t…we don’t have an energy system that will provide that.

KR: And, is this something that you’re…back when you land on the ship, can the ship pick these objects up as well?

RG: I don’t have the answer to that question. So typically, on a normal flight, we’re not privy to what the radars in the ship are seeing. Perhaps they did, but that’s not something we know.

KR: You wouldn’t have access to that, essentially?

RG: Yeah. It’s just kind of, kind of segregated off on the ship. They’re doing their thing. We’re doing our thing.

(Joe’s Comment: I’m surprised Graves hasn’t reached out to any of the ship-based, radar operators and asked them what, if anything, they saw during these encounters. Thankfully, in the Tic Tac case, besides the testimony of several pilots, WSOs and sailors who were aboard the USS Nimitz and USS Princeton, we have various, on the record interviews with radar operator, Kevin Day.)

KR: How close would they get to you and the ship? Was it something where you could…because you had these IR sensors. You could see them there. You could see them on radar. How about visually, like actually looking out the window?

RG: Yeah, so that’s when things got really interesting. So, at this point, we weren’t actually around the ship that much because we hadn’t quite started getting ready for deployment. So we were still landing at Virginia Beach. But, you know, so we were doing these training missions and sometimes you have some downtime, where you’re just kind of transiting somewhere. And occasionally people would try to fly up to one of these things and check it out, you know? Trying to stay at a safe distance, but fly up to it.

KR: Were you one of those people or was it just like a buddy or something?

RG: Yeah, oh yeah, I tried. Yeah, I tried (both laugh).

KR: So when you saw them out there, were you just like, okay, I’m gonna go cruise up to this thing and see what’s up?

RG: Yeah, like, hey, you know, I gotta go reset thirty miles away, you know, at a max endurance profile, you know, it’s gonna take me eight minutes. And there’s one of these on the way. Let’s go, you know, take a little peek.

KR: Yeah. So what happened when you would zoom up to these things?

RG: So, as we were zooming up to these things, you know, we got our radar on it. We have a FLIR on it. All those sensors are sending information to our helmet, but in a little green circle, you know, as I look out into the world, it’s overlaying information over my eyes. And I’m seeing exactly where I should look, right? We’re getting closer and closer. And we basically merged with it, which means that from a radar operator’s perspective, say, on the shore or on the boat, we’re so close that they can no longer tell our radar signatures apart. So we merge with it. And you know, we merge all the time. That’s how we start our dog fights and things like that. So we do a lot of training. You know, looking at an aircraft as we’ve merged. Even though it takes, you know, a tenth of a second as we zip by at 800 miles, relative velocity. But we’d almost never see them, you know? And typically, what would result is, we think, you know, seeing in our helmet and then seeing where it was after, it was that it would change altitude, you know? As we’re getting close.

(Joe’s Comment: If these objects were on radar and FLIR for the ride out there, exactly when did they change altitude? Was any pilot or WSO ever looking at the radar or FLIR as they changed altitude? Did anybody ever see it change altitude, visually? When Graves/his colleagues merged (on radar) with an object but couldn’t see it visually, could they still see it on their radar and FLIR? He says they’d almost never see them. I assume he means visually? I’d like him to define “almost never.” And if some of his colleagues did see them visually, at a close range, what did they look like and what kind of maneuvers were they making? This is extremely important because right now, I’m giving consideration to the electronic warfare/radar spoofing theory as one possible explanation for some of these sightings. Even though I resisted it at first, my mind is open after reading numerous articles on “The Drive: The Warzone” which deal with technology that could explain some of these encounters. Or not. I just don’t know at this point. Tyler Rogoway, of “The Drive,” has tweeted that he’s planning on writing an article spelling out what he thinks is going on. I look forward to that because I still don’t understand all of this tech talk. But the fact that Graves says these guys weren’t able to see these things with their eyes is a bit of a red flag to me. On the other side (as you’ll see at the very end of this transcript), there supposedly exists evidence that, as far I know, cannot be explained by radar spoofing. )

RG: And it’s very easy to avoid a jet if you have the ability to just reposition vertically and things like that, right? Because we’re just zipping along so fast. We can’t just stop and turn and look in the other direction. But we actually did have a couple incidents. One of them, relatively famous now, is when a section of aircraft – two F-18s from my squadron, these two aircraft were flying about four hundred feet apart. And unbeknownst to them, prior, one of these things was in front of them. And they zipped right by, in between the section.

Scene from “Unidentified,” attempts to recreate this near miss incident…

KG: Hmmm. How far apart were they…their two aircrafts.

RG: About 400 feet.

KR: Okay, 400 feet. And they saw this thing go between the two, like cut the distance between them and just fly at the same altitude? So essentially, like eye-level?

RG: Yeah. At eye-level. Yep. I mean, within plus or minus fifteen feet, right? I don’t know exactly. But yeah, it went right between them. And, you know, they gained actual visual of it. And I remember when they came back into the ready room after, I was hanging out in there. And they come in, you know, and they still have their gear on, which is pretty rare. Because the first thing you wanna do if you’re wearing fifty pounds of gear, sweating in it, is go take it off when you get back. So I see them sitting there with a look of shock on their face. You know, it’s like, what the fuck happened? And he comes out. And he’s just like, “I almost hit one of those damn things.” And he was just flabbergasted that it had finally come to that point, you know, because that was kind of the fear that someone’s gonna hit one of these things. And he described it to us. He just described it as what looked like a dark silver or dark cube. And surrounding that cube was a sphere of some type. I mean, you could clearly see through it. You could tell there’s a sphere there. So, you know, was it translucent? I don’t necessarily know. Where the apex is of the cube, were essentially touching the inner surface, inner circumference of that sphere.

KR: Crazy.

RG: No propeller system. The first thing you think is balloon, right? Which is a pretty easy conclusion to get to. But then you kind of think back like, oh wait, these things are going like point eight Mach, you know?

KR: Right! No balloon’s doing that.

RG: So it’s very strange. No propeller system, no exhaust, you know, and we would see that on the FLIR, too. So we had already assumed there was no exhaust, there was no propeller, because we would have seen it. But we really honestly just didn’t know what to think of that point.

(Joe’s Comment: Graves said he didn’t think these objects (cube within a sphere), if they were balloons, could travel at .8 Mach. The only cube within a sphere he has spoken about appeared to be standing still or floating. Is there a pilot or WSO out there who saw a cube within a sphere visually and tracked it flying at .8 Mach or at a similar speed? Or, did someone track an object on their radar at .8 Mach, assume that it was a cube within a sphere, but never saw it visually?)

KR: How big was it?

RG: It’s very difficult to describe how big things are in the air, because there’s very little reference, right? You can look up at a cloud and be like, oh, that little puffer is gonna, you know, that plane right there is gonna fly through that tiny puffy cloud or behind it, and then it flies front of it. You realize that cloud is like forty miles long. It’s extremely difficult. You know, he threw some numbers out like twenty, thirty feet, but it’s hard to say with any accuracy how big it actually was.

(Joe’s comment: Is it possible, as Tyler Rogoway has suggested, that the cube within a translucent sphere was a radar reflector, carried by a balloon, that looked very similar to what Graves described?)

And for folks who hate debunker, Mick West, you may want to turn away. He posted another illustration of the cube within a sphere radar reflector, on the message board of his website. Is it just a coincidence? Have other pilots seen these cubes/spheres (with their eyes) traveling at hundreds of miles per hour? If so, then I think the radar reflector theory would be sunk.)


KR: And so did they circle back around to see what happened when? Because it split them. And then where did it go?

RG: So, here’s the thing too, right? Did it split them? Or did they split it? So it may not have actually, like, flown through them. They may have just flown through it. So no, they didn’t circle around. And that’s kind of one of the things, right, that people forget is that we’re out there for a very specific mission. And as much as people don’t want to talk about these things as a UFO or a UAP, you certainly aren’t going to cancel a mission for it and come back. You know, especially when you consider how much it costs to fly an F-18 for an hour and you just launched six of them to go do a mission.

KR: Yeah. What does it cost to fly an F-18 for an hour? I have no idea.

RG: I think it’s around fifty-five grand.

KR: Wow. Okay. So you’re getting in some basic…okay you set the stage. You’re getting in trouble if you call off a mission and your superior’s like…

RG: (Unintelligible) No one’s gonna think twice about having your back. But to describe something so unusual, I think is a risk that, you know, and I can’t speak for that pilot, but they continued on their mission. Whether it’s the right call or not, you know, it’s not not mine to say.

KR: Now when you saw these over the series of six months, was it always the same sphere-like cube thing? Or you just never got that close again to be able to tell? Were some of them bigger and smaller or you just couldn’t tell?

RG: I never personally saw one and I only know two people that visually saw it. It seemed like if you had your…so here’s something that I actually just thought of here now? When we would typically go out and try to find one of these things, we had our radar on it, we had our sensors on it. So, it was getting hit by, you know, a decent amount of radio frequencies, you know? In this particular case, when they flew through it? They didn’t know it was there so they didn’t have it on its radar. So it may have not had known it was there, either. But typically, if you’re going to try to find it, you typically weren’t able to see it.

(Joe’s Comment: So, when Graves said they would “almost never see them” and “typically weren’t able to see it,” from his words right there, we know that he only knows two people who have seen these objects with their eyes. Maybe other pilots or WSOs have seen them but we have yet to hear from them?)

KR: And when you say you were not able to see it, do you mean it drops off radar then? Or is it just?

RG: No, it’s still on the radar. It would just seem to move…

KR: It was visible.

RG: No, not necessarily visible. But it would just move altitude, you know? So if you’re cruising along, it’s like being on the highway, right? And if you see something at high level and it drops drops below you, you know, if you’re on a bridge, it’s out of your view, and you just can’t see it.  And when it’s stationary like that, you know, our turn radius is like four thousand feet. So it’s not like we can just zip back around super quick. Again, it’s not…this wasn’t our mission to go out there and like, examine what these things were. So, you would have an occasional run in and it [would] kind of blow your mind and you get back to the mission at hand.

KR: Right. But do you report these when you go back to base? Are you reporting this, writing this up?

RG: Well, there’s…and that was kind of part of the thing that I was angry about was that there was no actual method to report this, right? Like, who are you going to tell? I mean, you talk in the ready room. You’d probably be like, “Hey, Skipper,” you know, “I almost hit one of those damn things.” And, you know, where’s he going to go with it? You know, he may or may not pass it up. And that guy may or may not pass it up. Eventually, it’s going to get to a point where someone’s like, “I’ve got too much shit on my plate to deal with, whatever these few pilots are taking about,” you know? There’s no mechanism to have that actually happen. There is now, since all those came out. We could talk about that later if you want. But at the time, there wasn’t. And we did have one mechanism that we tried to utilize, which was the Naval Aviation Safety System. So, when we had that mid-air, the squadron safety officer submitted a near miss. We call it a hazard report. We said, “Hey, you know, it didn’t cause a mishap this time, but if this isn’t addressed, it may cause a serious issue in the future.” So they wrote it up, and they fired off the safety report into space there. And that’s really all we could do. Because at the time, we were still kind of worried that this was potentially some type of classified drone program. Although, you know, looking at it doesn’t really make sense if you actually think about it. But if it was, we didn’t want to just, you know, blow the lid off of it.

KR: Right. Did you ever see these at near sea level?

RG: Yeah, they’d go down to the surface.

KR: All the way down to surface?

RG: Umm hmm.

Pair of F/A-18 Super Hornets – Credit: Boeing

KR: Because that’s, you know, I’ve read other reports from other pilots, and there’s been interviews where talking about these actually, these going underwater as well. I didn’t know if you had seen anything like that?

RG: No, I haven’t. And, you know, it’s tough, right? Because it’s, it would be…it’s a pretty rare situation to have one of these things visual to begin with. But to actually…there’d be no mechanism to really know if it was entering the water. You know, I mean, it would be on the radar, and then it wouldn’t. Or, you know, if you actually were looking at it, you’d probably be able to tell. But you’d have to be down low and lucky enough to see one. So, it’s, you know, that kind of transitional area right there is very hard to judge what’s happening.

KR: Why do you think there wasn’t more interest in this? It seems like, from an outsider looking in, I would imagine you’re the military, you’re seeing all these objects appearing. I mean, wouldn’t they throw satellites on this to see what’s going on, to try and identify it? To try and take photos? It seems like a kind of lackluster of excitement around something that would sound, on paper, to be very exciting.

KR: I absolutely agree. You know, I really think it’s, it’s two things, right? I think it’s the same kind of attitude we had in the squadron where, we didn’t wanna look at it in the face. Because it’s very easy to, it’s much easier to just kind of go about your day, right? Instead of kind of really look at reality sometimes. Take a real hard look. And I think people just had more important things to do. And you know, it is, it’s the military, We have a lot of very important threats that we’re dealing with. So, something that may or may not even be real and you know, in some officer’s mind, it may not be high on their priority. And secondly, the stigma, the social stigma, right? So, there was no rebranding at this point. It was just UFO. And the social baggage that comes with that term is something that people did not want to engage with, in my opinion.

KR: And then when you saw this footage that’s come out from the DoD and you know, there’s been other footage, that’s been released…like, are you kind of looking at that and saying, “Yes, this is the same thing?”

RG: Not necessarily. So, you know, I’ve seen different footage and some looks similar. Some doesn’t. It’s hard to say. It’s an interesting issue to have multiple types. That’s something that interests me. And I don’t have an explanation for it. I wish I did. So, you know, we talked about how these things were happening all the time, right? It was happening so much that they actually filed a NOTAM, a notice to airmen. The base in Virginia Beach did. And a NOTAM is something a pilot will read before every flight and it will typically give you information such as, hey, this airspace is closed. Or the runway lights aren’t working. Things that you need to know for safety of flight, things like that, right? So what was very interesting was that they actually, this was happening so much, and our local command didn’t know what to do. So they just, they filed a NOTAM that was published every day to say there’s unknown vehicles in the airspace and to keep your eyes out. Which is remarkable to me, to think that, you know, that was, that was the best solution we could come up with at that time. And I applaud them for at least taking that step, you know? But if it was such an issue that we actually had to file a NOTAM on a daily basis to alert people that something could hit their aircraft, you’d think people would start paying attention sooner?

KR: Yeah, that’s insane. How often did you see something like that? Did you ever see another notice that was similar to that, that didn’t have to do with…I mean, it seems like a pretty odd thing to say in a briefing.

RG: I’ve never seen that before. And actually, never even saw those because I had left that area. I actually left for deployment by the time they had published that. So that continued after I left. But that seemed pretty remarkable to me. That was a very interesting step that, you know, it was almost a cry for help, right? It’s like, hey, this is all we can do, you know? I imagine they had probably reported it up the chain at that point, and just got nothing back. And so that’s all they could do. I think it’s, you know, kind of getting back to your original question of how I really got involved with this. We’re at a point where there’s some type of vehicles operating in our space that we don’t truly believe is ours – and when I say ours, I mean, the U.S. military’s – operating in our space, right? So it’s one of kind of two things at this point. It’s Earthbound, and it’s someone other than U.S. military’s. Or, it’s X, Y, or Z, you know. UFOs, or whatever you want to call them. One is obviously a much higher probability than the other. And if that’s the case, you know, if we do have, potentially, what we would call a red threat, you know, one of our traditional enemies that are using some type of perhaps new technology or hard to identify a technology, that is out there in our working areas, soaking up our waveforms from our radar and our sensors and our comms, watching our tactics on a daily basis? It’s a major, major intelligence failure to have these things out there. And because they look slightly different than what our average threat would look like, everyone wants to ignore it. So, you know, if we had, you know, a Chinese or Russian fighter jet flying around out there watching us, it would be a major deal. But because it looks slightly different, we want to ignore. And that was kind of my fear that, you know, we go into a major conflict and they already know all our moves. They know all our cards, because we didn’t want to acknowledge that someone was watching us the whole time.

KR: Right? I mean, I just can’t imagine a sphere with with a cube inside, to be Russian or Chinese technology. That just seems so…it’s such a drastic departure from what we know to be reality.

RG: I absolutely agree with you. But if you’re going to sell it to the Senate Armed Services Committee, the Senate Intelligence Committee, and the Pentagon, you know, which one do you think they’re more interested in?

KR: Well, I mean, there’s a good chance they already know what these things are, though. I mean, the fact that you’re seeing this now, I can’t be the first time, right? This has to have occurred over the years if this is something that’s alien. When you lay in bed at night, like, what does your gut tell you these things are? Do you do even…I know you probably are hesitant to make any claims in that space. But do you? Do you have a sense of what you think you saw?

RG: Well, you know, I am hesitant, and it’s not because I’m afraid to, you know, say the U word. To be like, yeah, it’s aliens. It’s a UFO. It’s a UAP. And I do recognize the probability that it’s owned by Russia or China or any of those other nations, are pretty low. But if we just start making assumptions about what they are, we’re not going to get to the bottom of it. We’re not going to force the issue by getting data and actually come to an answer, right? Because we have such a small world view, you know? It’s a big Universe. So to think that we can just, you know, guess one of two things, right, and just kind of exclude the unknowns, the unknown unknowns, I think is a fallacy that I’ve been personally trying to avoid and leave myself open to all options. Because, I agree, it’s highly, highly unlikely that it was a threat nation. But what if it was? You know? It’s still a pretty high probability that it could be that. If it is something from somewhere else, that analysis doesn’t go away just because we want to gather more evidence about it, right? So, the more we look into it, and we gather data…because, guess what? We have some of the best sensors in the world flying around, you know, in our tactical aircraft. That data, if we look at it, we can get an answer, you know? Whether it’s an answer that we expect or not, we’ll have to wait and see. But I don’t like drawing conclusions because, you know, there’s some very hard headed people in the military and the government and last thing I would want to do is start putting suggestions in their head that would cause them to not want to look into this and treat it seriously.

KR: And so what have you done, going forward, to kind of help there be a system where pilots can come forward and and make these claims or file these reports?

RG: Well, I think my main contribution was, one, bringing it to light in the first place. And when I say I’m bringing it to light, right? I’m not I’m not claiming credit for these videos. Yes, I was there. I didn’t take them. But this is a conversation that, you know, one of fifty or sixty or seventy pilots on the East Coast could have had. And I understand why they didn’t want to. I completely get that. But I’m hoping that by me coming out and talking about it, I gave them a little bit of leeway to come out and actually think about it seriously. So these people that have been seeing these things for a long time, you know, and not just in the past five, ten years, but…military pilots have been seeing stuff for a long time. I hope that I’m helping them, you know, helping give them a voice. And when I went to DC and met with two of the three branches of our government, you know, my perception was that they took it pretty seriously. And they were asking some hard questions to the superiors in the Navy that  were sitting across from me. And I think that is why we see that reporting system that was put in place by the Navy today.

KR: Yeah, what is the reporting system now that exists?

RG: I don’t know. It’s classified. The report is classified, but I do know it exists. And I do know from other encounters, or whatever we want to call them, that have happened recently, from some of my friends, that it seems to be working at very least.

KR: Where would one rent a boat and drive out to, if I wanted to see these things myself. Is it restricted space where I couldn’t get out there?

RG: No. You just have to get to Virginia Beach and basically head east and start praying. Because, you know, it’s…they’re hard to see when you know exactly where they are. So, looking up would be pretty tough.

KR: And there’s no consumer grade radar equipment that you could get to pick these things up?

RG: Not to my knowledge.

KR: That’s too bad.

RG: I’d like to jump back to your question about how there’s different objects, right? So I kind of skipped over part of the story. And that’s when we started our workups and we’re on the Theodore Roosevelt. And that’s actually where the video came from. What was very interesting about that situation was that the object you see in the video – I think they refer to as the Gimbal video – that was something we hadn’t seen before. So we hadn’t seen that before. But there’s another page on our display called the SA page, which situational awareness page, which fuses all our data from our sensor together and kind of gives us a God’s eye view of what’s happening around us.

And you can hear him in the video say, “Look at the SA page. There’s a whole fleet of them.” That’s what he’s referring to. And on the radar tapes, and on the SA page, you could see that there was about five to six. And if my memory serves me now, of the smaller objects that we were used to seeing. And they’re kind of flying in a wedge formation in front of that larger object. And then those turned around with some radius of turn and started flying in the opposite direction. And that large object, just kind of stopped and waited for those to kind of come back around. Then you see it kind of do that, that Gimbally shift, right? And then it started going back in the direction, following behind the wedge formation. So, you know, that was strange for us because we hadn’t seen that object before.

KR: Crazy.

RG: Because you can actually make out some structure on that, right? I mean, it looks like a top, almost. Whereas the other ones look like someone was shining a flashlight into our sensor.

(Joe’s comment: They were used to seeing the smaller objects. Were they always on the SA page or, once again, did they see them visually? How often did they see the smaller objects on the FLIR and if/when they did, is that when it looked like a flashlight shining into their sensor? Did it ever look any different?)

KR: Right? That’s the one that turned sideways, essentially?

RG: Umm hmm.

KR: Is it where you hear on the video…they say, look at it turn sideways or something like that?

RG: Yeah, it’s rotating, I think it was.

KR: Rotating. Yeah, it’s rotating.

RG: Yeah, so that was interesting. And I actually didn’t know this, right? Because there’s another video, Go Fast, that was actually taken the same day.

KR: Oh, really? Was that on the West Coast or no?

RG: That was East Coast. I didn’t know at the time, I think kind of…I think they might have brought the tapes back all at once. And, you know, the Gimbal video kind of got everyone’s attention, and we kind of ignored the other one, you know? But I didn’t notice until the Navy actually announced it that they were taken on the same day, which I thought was pretty interesting.

KR: Here’s the thing. Who has to…do you have any sense of who has to clear these videos to be publicly released?

RG: That’s not really my domain. One, there’s typically going to have to be a reason for it to be released, right? We don’t just scratch stuff and release it all the time. And then you got to take out things, usually like location and airspeed, stuff like that. There’s not a ton of information on the FLIR, which is why you will see a lot of FLIR footage but you’re not getting radar data, right? Because everything on there is important. So you typically see FLIR stuff but…

KR: When you say important, you mean it’s just classified?

RG: It’s classified, yeah. But, you know, I would understand why they’d never released the radar tapes. I’ve heard a few stories about how that stuff got released. You know, you start talking about Lue Elizondo and how that whole process went back and forth. And, you know, I’ve heard some rumors that maybe it wasn’t quite cleared for release, or maybe it was cleared for certain purposes, but not total public release. I don’t know the story on it. So I really can’t comment any more on how I think it was released. But it was.

KR: You know, I’m scratching my head thinking like, why would the government, why would the DoD say, okay, this is okay. Let’s let the entire world see this. Like it…

RG: Yeah. I think it’s important to remember that the DoD, the government, it’s not a singular word, right? So, I mean, there’s so many factions, there’s so many branches, there’s so many…it’s so segregated in some senses. You know, one office doesn’t talk to another, you know, and at the end of the day, it’s all made up of people. People that may have different opinions. It’s not the monolith that people think it is. There’s a lot of agencies, and I would have to believe that at some level and inside the Pentagon, someone thought this was important to release for whatever reason.

KR: Yeah, you have to wonder if like, these aren’t happening on a more frequent basis. And that’s why they’re trying to get some of that. The conspiracy theorist inside me says they’re trying to get the public aware of these things so it’s not as big a shock when we find out more information later. But you know, that’s just in my own head.

RG: Yeah, you know, I don’t know. It is very strange. You see all these weird snippets of information, right, like these kind of kind of wacky patents that the Navy is talking about and releasing this stuff. And it’s all kind of, it’s been a big year for…and I’m not like a Ufologist. This is all brand new to me. But I imagine people that have been following this for a while are pretty excited. 2018, 2019 was kind of their year.

KR: Well, you need to start your own charter boat company that leaves off of Virginia Beach, beach and heads east. Ryan’s UFO charters. I would definitely go with you on that one.

RG: They got a few cruise ships that head over there.

KR: Do they?

RG: Yeah. Just sit back and look up.

KR: Yeah, exactly. There was the Go Fast video, which I thought was interesting. Why were people so excited about that video?

RG: I think one of the reasons it’s just so exciting for people is because, you know, for the layman looking at aviation, the one thing that’s gonna kind of like really get them excited is speed. Right? They don’t they don’t understand the nuance of being able to be airborne all day, why that’s maybe more exciting. And I think, you know, that video, the object looks like it’s traveling fast, and it’s like a big red flag. Like, look at me, it’s exciting, you know? Versus, you know, a blur on a screen that slightly rotates, you know? Which maybe for a pilot is more interesting because we don’t have vehicles that just kind of rotate 90 degrees, you know? But, you know, something just kind of whizzing along the ocean, you know? I mean, we whiz along the ocean all the time. So, we see that pretty often. Now, we don’t see something that looks that that FLIR image would represent, but I think that’s why people kind of wanted to jump on that.

KR: Yeah, when you see that image of that UFO rotating 90 degrees, as someone that is trained in this field, like, that’s that’s impossible, right? Does that just blow your mind?

RG: It kind of does. I mean, you gotta remember, too…if I was in a jet and I just wanted to drop my wing ninety degrees, I could do that. But I’m also traveling at a certain airspeed where this thing was motionless, essentially, other than the spin. I mean, I guess if I really, really want to…you could probably do some experimenting with the helicopter, right? But it certainly didn’t look like a helicopter. People talked about it being exhaust, which I think, pretty much any pilot that spent any time looking through the FLIR is going to tell you this not an exhaust can. But it’s great for people that, you know, are professional debunkers because it doesn’t matter what the answer is. It matters if they can make it look similar to something that they can recognize. And that’s all the work they have to do. It’s kind of a lazy thing, in my opinion. I could I can show you a wolf and I can show you a dog. It doesn’t mean they’re the exact same animal.

KR: Did you ever see any exhaust come off of any of these?

RG: Nope.

KR: That’s insane.

RG: Yeah, you know, so…which isn’t super exciting for something that’s motionless. But something that’s motionless and then starts moving? You know, it’s always a combination of events that makes it the most interesting.

(Joe’s Comment: Was Gimbal motionless or was it moving? Or did it start out motionless and then start moving? Or does Graves consider the rotation as movement?)

RG: One thing I’m excited about is I had an article recently come out in the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. It’s a technical organization of engineers, scientists, astronauts, anyone really in the aerospace or astronaut field. I was very excited about that interview because I think those are the type of people that would need to take this seriously and treat it with the scientific rigor that it deserves. Instead of you know, the internet armchair group that doesn’t really understand what you’re looking at. But to have the scientific community looking at this in earnest, I think is a huge leap forward as far as what we’ve seen in the thirty years?

KR: So what can we do? I mean, if you think about the government’s not going to do anything here, so far, the Navy hasn’t done anything. Like, if we want to go out and start to study these things. I mean, it sounds like, you know, the what you’ve told me so far is that there is no commercial grade radar that we can go out and buy. Can’t go buy an APG-79, right?

RG: Not to my knowledge.

KR: Yeah, I don’t think so. So, you know, how can we even begin to identify a track? I mean, the second we had this conversation, I thought, I just need to put something on my roof right away, and like, open source this and like, try and figure out how we can start identifying these things.

RG: I mean, there might be there might be a clever engineer in Silicon Valley or the Boston area could come up with something. But you know, I think for the average person, if you really want answers from this, is to petition the people in charge of the government. It’s kind of a crowded space at the moment, but maybe things will calm down a little bit. As far as attention spans go. But really, you need people in the Senate and the Congress, Senate Armed Services Committee, Senate Intelligence Committee, to force the Pentagon, the Department of Defense, to take the data that either we’re already collecting and actually gather it and use it. Or, if they haven’t opened up other venues of information such as NORAD, even the FAA. I mean, we’re surrounded by radio frequencies and radars and all this technology that we use for ballistic missiles detection, underwater detection. All this information is pinging this stuff all the time, and it’s sitting there. So we probably already have the answers we need. We’re just not….there’s not somebody that has enough rank inside the government that is an active person – maybe Pentagon, maybe not – that can reach into NORAD’s pocket and take the data. That can reach into the FAA. That can reach into the Navy. The Navy looking at it as great, great first step, but they’ll never solve it on their own because the hurdle for them to reach over to NORAD and get their classified data is still too high. I mean someone with appropriate rank to be able to get all information.

KR: It just sounds impossible. Don’t you think it would be easier for the consumers to address this directly? Like maybe we just go get some amazing like Garmin, Garmin is like hiding, you know, commercial radars. Like hire some of those engineers and build it ourselves?

RG: I don’t think it’s outside the realm of possibility, to be perfectly honest. I’d buy one.

KR: Yes, so would I!

RG: But then you got to make them cheap enough that a lot of people can buy ’em, right? And then you need to combine that data. And it sounds actually like a great machine learning application.

KR: Right, exactly. That’s what I was thinking. Like, we just get several hundred of these hooked up or more. Thousands of them hooked up and networked and talking to each other and sharing data. It reminds me of those old, I don’t know if you remember SETI@Home project where you could download…

RG: Oh yeah. I used to do that!

KR: You’d get your computer just like, the screensaver or whatever, just like working on it in the idle time.

RG: Yeah, use it to heat my house.

(Joe’s Comment: This was my favorite part of the interview. If we can get this type of equipment/technology into the hands of a lot of civilians, it would be a game changer.  I could take a road trip and look over at the SA and ATFLIR (attached to a headlight) to see if I had any unknown company around me. Yes!!! Maybe in the near future, this could be a reality. Equipping private pilots with those types of gadgets would be a really interesting thing to try. )

KR: Yeah, exactly. My last question is, since you’ve gone public with all of this, have you had other pilots reach out to you? Has anyone reached out to you and said, “I have a story I want to share?”

RG: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

KR: Oh, you got to share one or two of those. You can do it anonymously. Is there anything cool?

RG: Yeah, so…I have been, a few people have reached out to me, you know? It’s a pretty small community. So it’s, it’s typically it’s people I’ve met before. I know one person that had an incident off the coast of Patuxent River, Maryland. So it’s actually Test Pilot School. He was on a testing range, executing a flight test, and he saw one of these things, you know? Right by his aircraft. Pretty darn close, too. He immediately knocked off the test and radio, and asked who else was working out there. And no one was. And they came back. He was the butt of a few jokes after describing what he saw. And this was after I had gone public, too, which was unfortunate to hear that some of the old timers are still poking fun. But he did end up getting a visit from some DoD officials to debrief on it. So, it seems like the reporting system is at least taking place. Whether it’s effective or not, I don’t know.

KR: Crazy. And did he explained to you what he actually saw.

RG: He said it looked very similar to what we had described. He said he couldn’t make out the cube. It looked like there potentially was something inside. But it looked like kind of like a translucent sphere, like we were seeing as well.

KR: Hmm. See, that to me says like, well, I’ll just say it. It sounds like alien drone. It doesn’t sound like…it doesn’t feel like a passenger ship as much as it feels like a scout or something, you know?

RG: Yeah. You know. But, you know…God, it’s so easy to anthropomorphize these things, right? And base it off of our technology level. I mean, can you imagine how much computing power will fit into, you know, a beach ball in 500 years? So, you know, who knows how intelligent a small system like that could be. I think, was it Kurzweil worked out that, you know, if you could computerize a, you know, a stone that could fit in your hand, every atom of it, you’d basically have a device smarter than the entire civilization of humanity, you know? If you could accurately store data and calculate using every atom? I mean, that’s that’s the end state, right? So if you think about what are on these systems, potentially, I mean, it’s limitless.

KR: Yeah. Just insane. Well, Ryan, thank you so much for being on the show. This is fascinating stuff. Are you gonna continue work in this field? I mean, now that you’re out of the military, is it something that you’re personally curious about? Or are you just, kind of like, this is a fun story and just something I want to help spread the word?

RG: I’ve been hesitant to engage with media. I’ve had the opportunity to be part of a few shows, host a few shows. But that’s not the direction I want to take with this, personally. Because I think it’s very easy to kind of turn this into a circus. with, you know, some of the media out there. So I’ve been pretty hesitant. I’ve been following along, I’ve been keeping in touch with a few officials of the government, I’ll say, that have been periodically checking in with me. And I’m following closely. But you know, it’s one of those things that, from the outside is extremely hard to break into. And being a civilian for the past six months, I’m back on the outside.

KR: Yeah. Do you report any other things? Like, do you have an active Twitter account or anything that we could follow to see what you’re seeing? Or is that just something you don’t do?

RG: I just don’t. No.

KR: Yeah. Well, you know, it just adds that much more credibility to your story. You know, it would be…it’s not like you’re writing a book or trying to monetize this in any way. And obviously, you spent so many years serving our military. So I want to thank you for that as well.

RG: Thank you.

(Joe’s comment: If Graves wrote a book and had anonymous interviews from the 50, 60 or 70 other folks (pilots and WSOs) he knows who have encountered these things, I’d read it and it wouldn’t affect his credibility one bit in my mind.)

KR: Thank you for being on the show. What a what a really, crazy, head trip all of this is.

RG: Yeah. It’s been a crazy few years, that’s for sure.

KR: I bet. All right, that’s it for this show. Please do me one last favor and head on over to where you found this podcast normally, in your favorite podcasting app or on the Apple Store and rate us five stars. That would really help us get recommended to more people and have better guests on the show. Take care.


Joe Comments:

From the May 2019, New York Times article featuring Graves and Lt. Danny Accoin:

Lieutenant Accoin said he interacted twice with the objects. The first time, after picking up the object on his radar, he set his plane to merge with it, flying 1,000 feet below it. He said he should have been able to see it with his helmet camera, but could not, even though his radar told him it was there.

Was his radar being spoofed? Is that why he saw it on radar but couldn’t see it with his FLIR camera or his eyes?

More from that article:

A few days later, Lieutenant Accoin said a training missile on his jet locked on the object and his infrared camera picked it up as well. “I knew I had it, I knew it was not a false hit,” he said. But still, “I could not pick it up visually.”

If his radar and FLIR camera had it, too, then that argues against that specific encounter being explained by spoofing.

If there was evidence (on the FLIR video or if they saw it with their eyes) that these objects stopped on a dime and then took off at a high rate of speed, once again, from my understanding of the capabilities of electronic warfare/spoofing, it would argue against that being the answer. Current technology can’t spoof the FLIR into making it see an object that isn’t there.

Back to the same NYT article:

What was strange, the pilots said, was that the video showed objects accelerating to hypersonic speed, making sudden stops and instantaneous turns — something beyond the physical limits of a human crew.

On video is the key. Do any military drones in existence make those kind of maneuvers? None that I’ve read about. I’d like to know what pilots said that and, of course, see those videos. That’s a huge and important piece of data/information.

What about the cube within a sphere, radar reflector that’s carried by a balloon, hypothesis that Rogoway suggested?  This is from the Aerospace America article that Graves mentioned in the Kevin Rose podcast.

There are problems with this hypothesis. If the object were indeed a balloon, we would have to accept that either the plane’s radar was not operating, the pilot did not heed it or his radar failed to detect a reflector whose expressed purpose was to make the balloon easy to spot. Also, there remain the other encounters in which pilots described (or their cockpit videos captured) maneuvers not expected from balloons or perhaps miniature airships.

Some people have suggested that these “alien” objects are purposely allowing themselves to be viewed in order to force our government into some sort of disclosure. If that’s the case, then why don’t they allow themselves to be seen visually when the pilots get up close? Why not let themselves be on full display in all their ufological glory? Makes no sense to me.

As was the case from the beginning, we need to see more FLIR videos. Especially the ones where these objects are reportedly making maneuvers that don’t match what we know about the capabilities of current technology. Data, data, data. I’m unconvinced that spoofing or radar reflectors are the answer but I’ll keep an open mind and consider the possibility that it might explain some of what was experienced on the East Coast. For now, IMO, some of these encounters remain unexplained.

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