Saturday, May 10, 2014

WFAA: Amarillo Interceptors and the Flying Dorito


What's that in the sky over Amarillo?

"It was the strangest thing I've seen, as far as aviation," said Dean Musket, part of the motley crew of airplane buffs who sits down at an airport restaurant in this West Texas city and looks up.

"They are aviation junkies," waitress Erin Williamson said. "They love it."

And they are seeing things you can't see anywhere else.

Military aircraft cruise over Amarillo like sharks looking for baitfish.

"If you're flying east, west, or vice-versa across the United States, you're probably flying over Amarillo," Steve Douglass said.

A group that might be called the "interceptor club" watches everything military that flies over. But back in March, they spotted three craft they'd never seen before, about six miles up.

"We had captured something completely unique," Douglass said.

It was trianuglar, like a stealth bomber... but not a stealth bomber.

"The back edge was smooth like a Dorito," Douglass said. "It wasn't jagged."

A few weeks later, the same shape was snapped by another spotter in Kansas.

"This is when we first saw it flying in formation from the backside of the airport," said Douglass, who is something between an aircraft enthusiast and a fanatic.

He's sitting in what he jokingly calls "Kitch Com," a nook of his kitchen crammed with electronic gear to monitor aircraft traffic. He's got a special antenna to pick up satellite transmissions.

"On this side, it's my bunker, and on this side, it's my kitchen, which is microwave ovens and food," he said.

On the day the mystery planes were spotted, Douglass recorded air traffic controllers giving the aircraft a clear lane through the sky. The Air Force confirms nothing.

Now Douglass suspects the triangular shape may be a stealth transport. "You could put a dozen Navy SEALs in, fly them over Afghanistan or Pakistan or whatever-stan, and have them inserted in some way without an adversary being any the wiser," he said.

At the Old English Field House Diner, Erin Williamson has become part of the group.

"They're out here four or five days a week," she said. "They watch the planes; they take pictures; they'll let us know if there's an important or cool looking plane coming in."

The patches on the wall show all the military pilots who've stopped for lunch, along with a movie star or two.

On this day, six Air Force trainers landed; a special ops plane from a nearby airbase buzzed; three air force tankers passed at six miles high.

But no flying Dorito.


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