I call it Electronic Fog. I have been researching this phenomenon since 1970. I have communicated with over 100 people that have experienced it. I have experienced it twice while flying my airplane. I can relate my research and what I experienced to the disappearance of the Malaysian plane.
The electronic fog is created in horizontal tunnels that form between thunderstorm cells. They are usually about two miles high and last for about 5 minutes. When they collapse they emit a puff of fog that can last for many hours after the storms have dissipated. The fog can drift all the way down to earth and on rare occasions an updraft can lift the fog to higher altitudes. If an aircraft flies through the electronic fog it can attach itself to the aircraft, similar to St. Elmo’s fire.
This may have happened to the Malaysian flight 370, as I will explain.
There have been other famous flights that have had similar experiences. In 1928 Charles Lindbergh was near Bimini when he encountered the electronic fog. He did not tell anyone about it for 42 years so it must have had an impact on his mind. He wrote about it in his last book just before he died because he thought it would be important for the world to know. His compass was spinning so he wasn’t sure of his heading. He flew as high as he could get, trying to get above the fog with no success. Then he flew just above the ocean trying to get under it with no success.
He flew for two hours until he was able to figure out which way was west by seeing that the right side of the fog was brighter because the sun was rising from the east. He then turned west and flew for another two hours. When he reached the coast of Florida the fog finally disappeared.
In 1945 five Navy bombers out of Ft. Lauderdale were flying in formation near Bimini when they encountered the electronic fog. They radioed Ft. Lauderdale tower at 3:30 PM they were not sure of their position—something was wrong. They were all unable to determine which way was west to head back to Florida. They each had a compass and one electronic navigational instrument, but apparently none of them were working properly. They made a series of turns and became totally disoriented. They kept flying for over six hours and finally ended up hundreds of miles from any land in the Atlantic Ocean where they were finally identified by radar. A huge search team could not find any remains of them.
Twenty-five years later, less one day, I was flying near Bimini when electronic fog attached itself to my aircraft. I radioed Miami radio at 3:30 PM that I wasn’t sure of my position—something was wrong. My compass was spinning and my three electronic navigational instruments were malfunctioning. I had entered a horizontal tunnel that was 10,000 feet high, about ten miles long, and 100 miles east of Miami. I was in the tunnel for about 20 seconds then the electronic fog attached itself to the airplane when I exited the tunnel.
When I contacted Miami Radar Center they were unable to contact us on radar even though we had just installed a new transponder. I slowed the plane and maintained the same heading, never turning. Three minutes after leaving the tunnel I reached Miami Beach, and the electronic fog electronically dissipated in about ten seconds. I looked back, expecting to see a fog bank, but there were only clear skies. All the instruments started working again so I flew back to our home airport. I landed 30 minutes ahead of time. Somehow I traveled 100 miles in only three minutes and 20 seconds.
In 1986, novelist Martin Caidin experienced one of the best documented encounters with electronic fog. He was a science fiction author who wrote over a hundred books, including several non-fiction tomes on aviation. He was flying a large twin engine Catalina PBY flying boat with six others on board, and all of them were pilots.
They departed Bermuda in clear weather heading to Jacksonville. Shortly after take off electronic fog attached itself to them in an instant. All of their electronic instruments went out, including their radios. Their whiskey compass was spinning. They tried to maintain their west heading by aiming away from the sunny side of the fog. They climbed up to 8,000 feet, but couldn’t get above it. They descended to sea level, but couldn’t get under it. They continued for three more hours and when they got close to the Florida shoreline the fog disappeared and skies were clear all around them.
Caidin wrote about this flight on three separate occasions. He knew they experienced something significant that could be dangerous for pilots. He said the flying boat was enveloped by an intense electromagnetic field that dumped the instruments and blanked out the electronic equipment. He said it was like flying inside a milk bottle. He never realized the milk bottle was attached to them.
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