MYSTERY WIRE — What kind of aircraft can travel, not only through the atmosphere, but also through water at high speeds? Scientists who’ve analyzed thermal images of a flying object recorded in Puerto Rico are trying to figure out what could have done this.

A team of analysts working with the SCU, the Scientific Coalition for UAP Studies, a private group of scientists, military analysts, and investigators produced a report analyzing the incident.

It is a comprehensive review of thermal, visual, and sensor data related to an unusual series of events in and around the Aguadilla, Puerto Rico airport in April 2013.

Rich Hoffman (Photo:

Rich Hoffman, one of the co-founders of SCU, a 26-year systems analyst for the U.S. Army, says the case information and thermal images originated with a pilot who works for the department of homeland security.

When Mystery Wire asked Hoffman in a recent interview about the video, Hoffman said, “They tried to pass it up their food chain, if you would, up to Homeland Security while the Homeland Security said ‘well, we don’t look into this stuff, you know, you pass it down.’ They also attempted to go up to the Air Force intelligence and Air Force intelligence.”

The research showed the pilots were told these agencies don’t do anything with UFOs anymore.

“They (the pilots) wanted (the video) to be scientifically looked at, not UFO related, because again, the stigma that goes along with UFOs,” Hoffman said. “So we pull the team together. And we just got together and said, well, we’re gonna, you know, what do you want us to do? Sign a NDA (non-disclosure agreement). And yeah, and by the way, they have done background checks on us to actually see that we could actually come in and work on this very well. And we passed that. And we basically honored the fact that we’re not going to talk about the witness’s name. And we’re not going to give that but we wanted to do this scientifically.”

Rich Hoffman has a long history in UFOlogy, but also works for the military. In a wide-ranging interview with Mystery Wire Hoffam described how he got into UFOlogy and how he balances it with his real job. Hoffman also talks about how the Aguadilla UFO incident led to a massive investigation with the SCU.

The SCU spent two years analyzing 7,027 frames recorded in the three minute and 54 second video.

Since the SCU first published its report in 2015 by Chris Clarke, alternate theories have been proposed. UFO debunkers allege the object was a Chinese lantern sent aloft by a nearby hotel.

Two other, more detailed analyses, propose that a Mylar balloon could explain some of what is seen in the thermal images.

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Hoffman and his colleagues published detailed responses to the critics, arguing that any counter theory must explain the full sequence of events, not just bits and pieces.

While talking with Mystery Wire, Hoffman compared the Aguadilla UFO to the famous tic tac incident, a 2004 encounter off the coast of Southern California involving the USS Nimitz carrier group.

Mystery Wire asked Hoffman for his conclusion on his research, to which he replied, “Well, what flies like this, what splits into two, which has this color temperature, or this temperature range that we’re talking about?

“Obviously, we looked at it and there’s one bit in the beginning of it, it looks like a tumbling bloom, but you don’t know. And that’s how we look at it in the visual range. And the thermal range, it could be completely different. That could be the temperature changing around. Did it look like it had any kind of an indication of a propulsion system? Because guess what, the wind speeds at the altitude that this thing was at was everywhere from 15 to 18 miles an hour heading from the north, east, to the southwest. And this object was moving around into the wind. Okay, well, looking again for propulsion, didn’t see any propulsion systems. And then we said, ‘could it be a balloon?’ And what does that blowing look like in thermal?

“We actually have a friend of ours, we reached out to Dave Walsh, who was a FLIR technician and he even had the Wescam camera. And he went out and literally took pictures of a balloon, a Mylar balloon type thing, and what it looked like in just a very small like four mile-per-hour when, and he had a tie-down, and this thing was going like crazy every which direction. And the thermal match was not there at all. And by the way, have you ever heard of a balloon splitting? Well, you know, you get where I’m going, right? So we then said, well, could it be a bird? You know, well, let’s go look. We have pictures of birds in thermal as well done, you know. So you keep going down the list of all the things that could potentially be. And one thing is that you know, how many things split into two identical pieces?”

Below you will see the official conclusion written into the report:

Read the Aguadilla Report Now (opens in new tab)

During Rich Hoffman’s interview with Mystery Wire, he went into great detail about what the Aguadilla case proves about UFO investigations, he analyzes the Tic Tac UFO, discusses what the Russians and Chinese might be studying, and talks about Ted Phillips and the investigation of UFO trace cases.