View Full Version : Mysterious echoes seen on weather radar

25th May 2004, 14:17
Another thread on Tech Log queried the showing of dry hail on weather radar. My question is about strange unexplained echoes that crews may have seen during cruise.

For example in an F28 cruising at 29,000ft clear night over NSW a tiny return appeared on the 30 mile scale below our level and apparently stationary. No way was it a ground return.

We looked outside as the return grew closer and then "followed" it with the tilt control until it passed underneath beyond tilt angle.

The return was exceedingly bright and although it was a long time ago, I recall that each time the curser beam "hit" the blip, it sent a flash of brilliance along the curser line from object to aircraft position on the screen. It was so unusual that we asked a dead heading crew member to quickly come from the cabin to witness the sight. ATC advised that there were no aircraft in the area. End of that story.

This time in a 737 cruising between Hong Kong and U-Tapao and approaching the Vietnam coast we saw a similar small intense echo ahead around 35 miles if I recall. Clear dark night, no obvious cloud and again we tracked the echo which was stationary with the tilt control until we lost it below. Other pilots who were experienced in this area thought it may have been the remnants of "Window" - small strips of reflective tape floating in the atmosphere.
Weather balloons, maybe in both cases?