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article imageKansas residents mistake naval craft for UFO

article:316504:10::0
By JohnThomas Didymus     Dec 21, 2011 in Science
Residents of Cowley County, Kansas were treated a few days ago to the sight of what seemed a UFO being towed on a truck along the U.S. Highway 77. The craft covered by tarpaulin seemed to everyone the shape of a flying saucer.
It was a massive 30-foot object and law enforcement had to move roadside signs at a roundabout to allow the truck carrying it pass.
Space.com reports that the security that accompanied the movement of the mystery craft soon led to rumors of government discovery of a UFO spaceship. The rumors intensified when local Sheriff Don Read refused to divulge information about what lay under the tarpaulin. He said he was not allowed to, but his brief explanation only stoked the flames of UFO find speculations. He said the craft was recovered from a crash site.
Above Top Secret described the incident as reported by a local official who helped in moving the truck through Cowley County:
"For nearly an hour, officers helped maneuver the craft through Cowley County. The biggest thing that we had to deal with was down at the roundabout we had to remove a bunch of signs and markers because the load was so long it couldn't make the corner. Meanwhile, onlookers struggled to wipe the shock from their faces and the questions from their minds. What was that funny thing that was on that trailer that looked like something from somewhere else? said Root. So what in the world was it? Undersheriff Bill Mueller says it was an experimental aircraft from Northrop Grumman, possibly a new unmanned drone. It still has a way to go. Its final destination is Maryland."
And speculations soon ran high with people wondering why it was necessary to haul the craft using a truck if it belonged to the U.S. government. It had to be a UFO some argued. If it was a craft belonging to the military that crash landed, it would have been easier to cordon off the crash site and call engineers to get it repaired.
The authorities finally decided it was time to stop the rumors after YouTube videos and news casts on the media reported a strange craft.
Brooks Mckinney, senior manager of public relations at Northrop Grumman told reporters that the "UFO" really was an X-47B, an unmanned combat drone designed to operate from aircraft carriers.
Huffington Post explained:
"The odd piece of cargo is a flying machine, but experts say its origins are humanoid, not extraterrestrial, Defense Tech reports. In fact, it's one of two X-47B drones being shipped from California to Naval Air Station Patuxent River in Maryland, according to the military news website. The unmanned aerial vehicle, designed by Northrop Grumman, is intended to be launched from aircraft carriers. "
Space.com reports that the X-47B is a massive craft with a wingspan of 62 feet, and 30 feet when the wings are folded. The craft has length of nearly 40 feet and stands 10 feet high, running on three wheels. The Northrop Grumman spokesman said the craft was being transported to a Naval air station in Maryland when people saw it and began speculating about what it might be.
According to McKinney:
"We built two for the Navy, they were being tested at Edwards Air Force Base [in California]. One is on its way to Maryland, and the other will remain in California."
And in answer to the question why the craft was being hauled on a truck rather than simply flown to its destination, he said: "It's difficult to fly an unmanned drone through commercial airspace." McKinney said that for reasons of aviation security it could not be approved that a large aircraft without a human pilot fly in the country's airspace.
McKinney hoped that his explanation would be sufficient to douse rumors of an alien spaceship. He admits: "Clearly people are interested in what's going through town. It's unusual to see a shrink-wrapped aircraft, especially one with that shape."
article:316504:10::0
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