Alien or not, UFOs are zipping around in our skies and the US government has acknowledged as much. On June 25, the US Pentagon published the findings of its investigation into more than 100 unidentified aerial phenomena or UAPs – military jargon for UFOs. Many of these UFO sightings were made by US military personnel and have been leaked to the internet over the years.
One such sighting saw the light of day in 2016 and was only acknowledged by the Pentagon last year.
The video appeared to show US Navy pilots chasing down a “strange craft” off the US East Coast.
A pilot can be heard in the video yelling out: “What the f*** is that thing?”
The UFO stood out for its bizarre flight patterns, “glowing aura” and seeming disregard for the laws of physics.
Pilot Chad Underwood, who recorded the encounter from his Navy F-18 fighter jet, dubbed the UFO ‘Tic Tac’.
He went on record and said it was unlike anything he has ever seen in his life.
In 2019, the pilot told New York Magazine’s Intelligencer: “It was just behaving in ways that aren’t physically normal. That’s what caught my eye.
“Because, aircraft, whether they’re manned or unmanned, still have to obey the laws of physics.
“They have to have some source of lift, some source of propulsion.”
The Tic Tac, as far as he could tell, did none of that and soared from altitudes of many thousands of feet to just a few hundred “in like seconds”, which the pilot argued “is not possible”.
But Tic Tac is not the only UFO that has defied all conventions – it is one of many objects reported and recorded over the years.
To better understand just how truly incredible these objects are, a team of scientists has devised a tool calculating their speeds.
The so-called UFO Travel Calculator calculates UFO speeds by applying engineering and aeronautical principles to what very well may be “advanced technology”.
Hosted on the Omni Calculator Project, creator and mechanical engineer Rahul Singh Dhari told Express.co.uk many of these UFOs’ characteristics could not be replicated by our modern-day technology.
This does not mean the UFOs are alien; after all the Pentagon’s report found at least one sighting could be explained by a balloon.
However, Mr Dhari thinks UFOs can be taken much more seriously if we look at them through the lens of science and engineering.
He said: “This calculator considers the UFOs as flying objects of some advanced technology and takes it on from a design engineering perspective.
“Like with our modern aircraft, I have tried to design them from essential variables – like wing loading and thrust to weight ratio.
“Based on those parameters and certain assumptions, we can try to estimate their speeds.”
You can visit the UFO Travel Calculator here, to see for yourself how fast these objects travel.
Using the tool, you can pit one of many known UFO types against conventional propulsion systems like the RD-0146 rocket engine.
The flying saucer-shaped Tic Tac, for instance, is estimated to weigh more than 47,000 pounds (21,320kg) with a span of 44.6ft (13.6m).
Armed with a single engine of unknown origin, the spacecraft could hit speeds of more than 11,800mph.
At such speeds, a journey between London and San Francisco – 5,351 miles – would only last 27 minutes.
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For comparison, a regular passenger jet would take just under 11 hours to cover the trip.
A triangular-shaped UFO armed with a single mystery engine, on the other hand, is estimated to reach top speeds of 5,196mph.
This type of UFO would take approximately one hour to fly from London to San Francisco – 91 percent less time than a regular jet.
Mr Dhari created the UFO Travel Calculator with his colleague, mathematician Dr Anna Sczepanek.
A key takeaway from the project is that it would be nigh impossible to recreate these mystery craft and propulsion systems using the technology at our disposal.
According to Mr Dhari, there are “several reasons” such as health and safety as well the lack of powerful and sustainable engines.
He said: “I think the cost to develop and build something is steep given it needs a lot of new technologies from structural safety and propulsion standpoint – especially from a travel flights perspective: Imagine flying a much faster Concorde.
“The environmental impact also needs to be evaluated: the climate crisis becomes a massive factor before any project like this even takes off the drawing board.”
As far as the Pentagon report is concerned, Mr Dhari said it is was groundbreaking to see it published.
The publically released report only contained nine pages of a much more detailed and classified document.
But its arrival earlier this year was seen as a very big deal by people involved with the UFO community.
Even if the US intelligence agencies did not reveal the existence of aliens, some experts think it is telling they have not ruled it out either.
Mr Dhari and his colleagues, meanwhile, see the report as a good source of information and data for future research.
He said: “I find it intriguing to know what might come out of it.”