The Salt Lake UFO sighting

matthew's picture

A local inventor named Daniel Geery was flying a "Hyper Blimp" -- a radio-controlled, electric-powered, aerobatic blimp of his own design -- when it lost power while flying in the eastern foothills over Salt Lake. It drifted for hours, flying low over downtown and generating numerous 911 calls before finally settling back into the foothills.

The fun thing, for me, about this event is that we just watched a video of the Hyper Blimp last month at my R/C aviation club meeting. It's an amazingly maneuverable beast, measuring about 30 feet long, yet capable of loops, rolls, spins, and other maneuvers normally out of reach of blimps. Quite cool. And on one hand, it's possible this may bring greater exposure to the sport of radio-controlled aviation. I grew up absolutely loving R/C and control-line aviation, but today most kids would rather play the Wii or XBox :)

On the other hand, I worry about possible prosecution for the blimp developer. Apparently, the blimp stayed below 400 feet above ground level the whole time (which makes sense, as you inflate a blimp to hold a certain altitude), thus staying out of the nearby Salt Lake airport airspace, and didn't do any damage to anything. I understand the "UFO" freaked a bunch of people out.

But can you criminally prosecute someone for frightening you?

Regardless, all the best to Daniel. I hope he may have many hours of fun flying future Hyper Blimps... but next time, dude, install a dedicated receiver pack rather than relying on voltage from your power pack to keep your receiver going. Perhaps you could come up with an emergency deflation device!