According to Dantonio, he suggested to National Geographic while doing a job for them that he could "create a functional UFO that we can actually fly." He had had previous experience in building working models used for creating special effects for the History Channel and Learning Channel.
The "UFO" he built was a 4-foot circumference and x-shaped device with a motorized propeller at each end of it and several big circles of lights beyond the propellers. According to Dantonio, the idea was to "try and build a vehicle that would be big enough to be seen from a great distance, but small enough such that I wouldn't need exorbitant power requirements to get it up into the air."
The quadcopter was flown from a big field behind a mall in Winsted, Conn. full of shoppers. He did three separate nine-minute flights. The craft was flown vertically up and then round before it was dropped down to a lower altitude and the lights turned off. The craft was then flown up 800 feet into the air very fast and lights turned on again.
From the perspective of the unwary crowd at the nearby mall, the last maneuver seemed like the craft had suddenly vanished into thin air and reappeared at another spot. The quadcopter looked like a glowing blue-green flying saucer moving up and down and back and forth in the manner UFO eyewitness accounts often describe.
The National Geographic filmed the reaction of the crowd. Most shoppers stopped in their tracks and starred with dropped jaws at the sight of the "UFO."
Dantonio thinks there is need for public education on how to distinguish UFO hoaxes contrived by existing technology from sightings that may be genuine. Dantonio said, "We wanted to hit that UFO myth and show how it can be accomplished with technology." He thinks his quadcopter illustrates the salient features of hoaxes and concludes: "The more people are educated, that's the way we're going to find a real UFO someday."
But a critic of the demonstration on Educating Humanity
website named Richard, has criticized National Geographic's attempt at "educating people" about UFOs as weak. Richard says: "...this is weak attempt to explain the UFO phenomena, I am posting it just to let you know it is on the way! Virtually everyone knows that these hoaxes are out there and with the advent of CGI it is now more prevalent than ever before but it certainly does not explain many sightings have deemed to be real or the classic UFO cases."
Richard may be right in saying that the demonstration is too limited in scope to cover the wide variations in reported UFO sightings, but he fails, however, to buttress his argument by giving examples of sightings "deemed to be real or the classic UFO cases."