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ALSACAT:

As its name suggests, ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

Case of the A35 highway, on February 27, 2009:

Case number:

ALSACAT-2009-02-27-HAUTRHINA35-1

Summary:

On November 8, 2012, "gelix" published his testimony on the UFO website "Réseau National Civil de Surveillance du Ciel" ("National Civilian Network of Sky Surveillance") (RNCSC).

He explained that on Friday, February 27, 2009, around 10:30 p.m., he left Mulhouse to reach Ribeauvillé, and thus drove on the A35 motorway. Having left the outskirts of Mulhouse, he saw in the distance in front of him to the North "like a quite bright star." He looked around, found that the sky was clear, since he saw the stars. The moon was not visible.

He quickly found that this "star" was weird. It was as if there were two very bright stars, like the star of the Shepherd, almost glued to the point that they could be confused as one at first. He found that as he was driving, he was getting closer, so it was not a star.

While continuing to approach, he saw at one moment on his right, about to the East, a brighter and more "white" light, but he could only see it twice between the trees and the embankments bordering the highway, and he did not see it anymore. He had not been able to see if this source of light was moving, since he had just caught a glimpse of it, but it was bright and it was not a star since it was no longer there later.

He continued, refocusing on the first light, noting that it was still in the same spot, though being closer. He continued on his way until he reached its level. The object was then about 50 - 100 meters to the left of his road, to the west, and at a height that he estimated at 50 meters. He says that the object was actually static, it did not move at all.

He was able to guess the mass of the object in the sky, but estimate of its size was difficult. He thinks it was about the order of a big car. He could not describe an exact shape, considering that it was not round but closer to the rectangle.

The object had two south-facing lights, the ones he had seen when he was leaving Mulhouse, but also less bright lights at the four corners, and a light in the center of the opposite side of the two main lights, which would be the back if we consider that the first two lights were in front of the object.

The two lights in the front were much brighter and bigger than the others, but they were not headlights lightening the ground. The other lights were like "position lights". Being color-blind, he cannot define their colors, but the lights in the front were less "white" than the others. All the lights were static, none were flashing.

He opened the glass of his vehicle to check for a possible noise but heard nothing but the sound of the air hissing on the car and its engine, which he says could very well have hidden the noise of a rotor or other engine at this distance.

After only a few seconds at its level, the object was visible in its rearview mirror. It would have been risky to stop in the middle of the night on the highway, so he drove on, peeping in his rearview mirror, observing the still static object, always in the same place. He took exit 31 (to Ensisheim) to turn around and get back on his way. There, he saw a plane flying at low altitude and quite quickly, faster than a passenger plane, but of comparable size, though he could not tell what kind of aircraft it was. This plane was coming from the Northeast, curving over the highway, and clearly heading towards the object he had observed.

He points out the presence of nearby Air Base 132 and thinks that the plane might very well have come from there.

Taking the exit 31, he lost sight of the plane and the object the time to cross the bridge and to return on the highway in the direction North-South this time. He then observed the plane with its flashing lights goin along the highway in the direction of the object. But he could not see the object anymore, explaining that since he had looked at the plane he had not been paying too much attention to the object.

He accelerated, but until exit 32 to Sausheim he saw only the plane, disappearing in the brightness of Mulhouse to the South Southeast.

He then turned around and did not observe anything on the way back to Ribeauvillé.

He added that under the object, there were only fields. He regretted not having his camera in the car, otherwise he would have stopped on the emergency lane to try to take a snapshot.

He had felt nothing special during the observation, but the next day he did the same route at about the same time to go home, and found the sky very different, darker, while the weather was the same, with a starry sky without a moon. He says he had not been under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.

He did not testify to the gendarmerie. He did a search on the Internet and in the local Press, but to no avail. He cannot explain the phenomenon. He doubted it was a helicopter, because there would be no reason for a helicopter to be in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night. When he was closest, it was almost certain that it was not a helicopter, as the shape and lights did not match to what can be seen on a helicopter flying at night, including flashing lights. He thought of a weather balloon, because the object actually seemed to float in the air, but the shape and the lights by their number or power and their setting, did not match according to him, although he specifies never having observed a weather balloon.

As the object was clearly visible from the highway, he thinks that other motorists must have seen it, the road traffic having been normal. He contacted the newspapers L'Alsace and Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace to find out if something similar had been reported to them; L'Alsace answered in the negative, Les Dernières Nouvelles d'Alsace did not answer.

He found a testimony with similarities to his own but for which the description of the object is not the same, he said - it is a testimony explainable as an airliner approaching the airport of Basel-Mulhouse 4 years earlier.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: February 27, 2009
Time: ~10:30 p.m.
Duration: 10 to 15 minutes.
First known report date: November 8, 2012
Reporting delay: 3 years.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Sausheim
Place: Between exit 31 and exit 32 on the A35 highway, UFO in the sky.
Latitude: 47.853
Longitude: 7.394
Uncertainty ratio: 500 m

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 0
Witness(es) ages: Adult.
Witness(es) types: Male.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: ?
Type of location: From car driving on highway, UFO in the sky.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes
UFO arrival observed: Yes
UFO departure observed: No
Entities: No
Photographs: No, no camera.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): Yes.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Probably not helicopter, nor weather balloon, unexplained.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Probable airliner in landing approach.

Sources:

[Ref. rn1:] "RESEAU NATIONAL CIVIL DE SURVEILLANCE DU CIEL":

02/27/2009 - 1030 p.m. - Haut-Rhin (68) - Object with its lights

Date: 02/27/2009

Hour: 10:30 p.m.

Location: Highway A35 (Haut-Rhin - 68)

Observer: gelix

Reported on: 03/05/2009

REPORT:

Quote:

Name or pseudonym: Gelix.

City: on the highway A35, South of Mulhouse, between exits 32 and 31 (traffic flow in the SOUTH => NORTH direction).

Department: Haut Rhin.

Region: Alsace.

Date of the observation: February 27, 2009.

Hour of the start of the observation: approximately 10:30 p.m..

Duration of the observation: 10 – 15 minutes.

Number of witnesses: I alone, but other people must have observed it from their vehicle on the highway.

Type of "phenomenon": Observation of a static object in flight and luminous (I think that thus it is called "UFO").

Full report of your observation:

Friday, February 27, 2009, I left Mulhouse about 10:30 p.m. to reach Ribeauvillé north.

So I used the A35. Once out of the vicinity of the town, I saw in the distance like a quite bright star in (the North). So I looked around and I noticed that the sky was clear, since we saw the stars. No moon however.

Soon enough I found that this "star" was odd:

It is as if it were two very bright stars (like the evening star approximately), but almost glued such that one could confuse them at first.

Advancing, I found that I approached the light source and therefore it was not a star.

While continuing to approach, I saw at one time on my right (east approximately) a brighter and more "white" light, but I could see it only twice between the trees and embankments bordering the highway before I saw it no more. I was unable to see whether this source of light moved, since I just had glimpses at it, but the light was bright and it was not a star, since I no longer saw it there afterwards.

So I continued, and I refocused on the first light I had seen. I found that it was still in the same location while being closer (since I was nearer).

So I continued to get closer until arriving at its level (see map).

The object was approximately 50 - 100 meters to the left of my road (West) and at an estimated height of 50 meters. The object was actually static... it was absolutely not moving.

When I was exactly at its level, I was able to guess the mass of the object in the sky... however it is difficult to estimate its size, however I would say it was like a large vehicle (type 4-wheel-drive or minivan... sorry for the risky comparative), but on the other hand, I am unable to describe the shape, it was not... not round like a saucer, it would be closer to a rectangle to give a rough definition.

The object was equipped with 2 lights directed towards the South (those I had seen since the exit of Mulhouse), but also less bright lights in the 4 corners and a light in the center of the opposite side of the 2 main lights (at the back if it is considered that the first 2 lights were in the front of the object).

The 2 lights at the front were much brighter and larger than the other, yet this was not headlights lighting up the floor. The other lights were like "parking lights". As of the colors, it would be hard to say because I'm color blind, though the lights in the front were less "white" than others. All the lights were static, none was blinking.

This moment lasted only a few seconds because I was on the highway by night, I did not stop, and after I had it in my rearview (I can confirm at this point that the other lights were less bright since I could not see the 2 at the "front", but the 3 at the "back").

So I continued my journey while glancing in my rear view mirror, always observing the static object, in the same place. I undertook to take exit 31 (Ensisheim) to turn around and retrace my steps. There I saw a plane flying at low altitude and relatively quickly (faster than a passenger aircraft, but of comparable size, and I cannot tell what kind of plane it was) coming from the Northeast, passing in a curve over the highway and clearly heading to the object I observed.

I specify for informational purposes only that close (very close proximity) is the Air Base 132 (see map) that is on the banns of the town of Meyenheim... and the plane could come from there. That's what I think.

So I took the exit, losing sight of the plane and the object I observed the time to cross the bridge and get back on the highway in the North-South direction this time.

I then observed the airplane (with its flashing lights) going along the motorway in the direction of the object... but I could not see the object, but after watching the plane the first time I no more paid much attention...

So I accelerated, but until exit 32 toward Sausheim I have observed only the plane, disappearing in the brightness of Mulhouse to the South East, but no trace of the object.

So I again made a U-turn at this place and I did not see anything anymore on the way back to Ribeauvillé.

I want to clarify that at the vertical of the object, there was nothing, just the fields! No houses, no roads (apart from the A50 motorway - 100 meters away). I regret not having had my camera in the car, or else I would have stopped on the emergency lane to try to take a picture (I also regret very much not having stopped to observe the object until its departure).

I also specify that when I went next to the object, I opened the window to see if I heard something... but nothing except the wind noise, and my engine very well could cover the noise of a rotor or engine at that distance.

I felt nothing special that night, but the next day (28 February), I followed again the same route around the same time to go home, and I found the sky was very different. It was darker, while weather conditions were the same, with a starry sky without Moon.

I specify of course that I was under the influence of no drugs or alcohol.

Finally, I looked on the Internet and in local newspapers if I found out more about this phenomenon, but so far I found nothing. Also, I did not report to the gendarmes.

I cannot explain this phenomenon. I thought about it and for a static object, I thought of:

- A helicopter, but what would a helicopter do in the middle of nowhere at night. Also, when I was the closest I'm pretty sure it was not a helicopter in shape... and the lights did not match to what we can be seen on a night flying helicopter (with 1 or 2 static lights and flashing lights).

- A weather balloon: actually, when I was the closest, the object seemed to really float in the air... but the shape, and the lights with their quantities and their seeting, did not correspond to this type of object (although I have never observed one).

I see no other explanation, and this is why I am contacting you. I remember that because of the position of the craft, I think there are other witnesses. One could hardly miss the object from the highway, especially from the South, but I do not see where and how to launch a call for witnesses.

Of course I remain available to answer any other questions.

Quote:

Following research done on your board (I had already searched and found nothing else), I found these two testimonies [actually one sighting, an airliner in landing approach] that are quite disturbing by their similarity and geographic proximity:

However the description of the object is not the same as what I saw.

Other news:

I contacted the two local newspapers by email (DNA and Alsace).

I just asked them if they had heard of any particular phenomena in the night of February 27 to 28 between Mulhouse and Colmar.

L'Alsace answered to me:

"Hello,

Sorry, but after asking around with colleagues who could have heard about it, nobody at the newspaper was informed of such a phenomenon.

cordially

Jean-Marie Stoerkel"

No news from DNA currently.

The next day, the witness adds:

I allowed myself to take 3D images posted by petit matthew in the post that I mentioned earlier and take them to stick with what I observed.

When I approached the object:

When I arrived at its level:

The form is given as an indication ... I put a gray variant because when I was close enough, I could see that there was something behind those lights... one saw that there was an object... but as I said before, impossible to describe the shape...

As of the size, it was pretty much it I think!

Discussion:

All this makes me think that it was an airliner. The features that coincide the least are: the absence of blinking lights, and the fact that this happens a little far from the Basel Mulhouse strip to already begin a landing approach.

However, I think it is the rather unusual fact of a plane so low at this distance of the strips (25 km) that actually makes the observation seem strange. Many of the Haut-Rhin residents, including myself, and almost all my friends, know that on the A35 further south, in the axis of the runway of the airport, one sees at night the approaching airliners seeming to be "motionless" for a surprising long time - it is a pretty striking effect, but it is an illusion; which can only be realized by clocking. This illusion works, there are a number of testimonies from the A35 near the airport which can be explained by approaching airliners.

Moreover, we can see here that this immobility is only apparent. Once the plane is at the witness' level, it does not stay there, it then appears in the rearview mirror. And I also note that sometimes the flashing lights are simply not seen. The witness says he is color-blind, so one cannot object that he should have seen colored lights - especially at night. I would add that even at close distance, these airliners do not let any noise be heard, the sounds of the engines, operating at low rate, are covered by that of the automobile and other automobiles - the witness is aware of that.

The motorist "went up north" on the A35 when he saw the UFO in front of him to the north, then reached his height, with the UFO on his left (red dot on the left of the blue line), then he saw it behind him in his rearview mirror. The witness continued and made a U-turn at exit 31, and returned to exit 32. BA 132 is 5 km northeast of exit 31. The UFO's course is that of an airliner going to land at the Euroairport of Basel-Mulhouse. The only moderately unusual thing here is that this approach seems rather early, usually airliners are low when closer to the runway to the south. The green line shows the portion of the A35, 16 km long, where approaching airliners most often cause such observations.

Evaluation:

Probable airliner in landing approach.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross March 18, 2018 Creation, [rn1].
1.0 Patrick Gross March 18, 2018 First published.

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This page was last updated on March 18, 2018.