Strange Craft May Be Energy Systems Monitoring Drone
The more recent drone sightings at Capitola, CA, Sequoia National Forest, CA and Birmingham, AL may be an energy systems monitoring drone

Regarding the Capitola, Central California, Lake Tahoe, Sequoia National Forest and Birmingham sightings, a few of us find it possible now that this unknown craft could be an energy systems monitoring drone, which is currently being utilized for right-of-way lands.

May 2007, Capitola, California, Photo by Rajman

What was discovered was an old patent filed almost 20 years ago on November 9, 1987 showing that such a drone was in the works. The patent was consequently issued on April 4, 1989. The background given for this invention is as follows.


Inventor: Mr. Roosevelt A. Fernandes, Liverpool, New York

Description of Invention:

The present invention relates to a system and method of monitoring physical features of high voltage electrical conductors and/or environmental features along the power corridor through which the conductors extend. More specifically, the invention relates to a power line monitoring system and method utilizing a Remotely Piloted Drone (hereafter "RPD") which is flown along the power corridor and carries one or more pieces of equipment which provide observance and/or measurement of conductor and/or environmental features.

In the transmission of electrical power, high voltage conductors are supported on a succession of towers along a power corridor, often extending through geographically remote areas. It is necessary to inspect on a regular basis the physical condition of both the power lines and the corridor through which they extend. For example, the following features are normally monitored at periodic intervals: the condition of the conductor (pitting, fraying, etc.); identification of poor splices; inspection of cracked insulators; location of critical, thermally limiting transmission line segments; tower condition; identification of gas emissions; storm damage inspection; inspection of tree growth; and other right-of-way obstacles.


1. The right to pass over property owned by another party.

2. The path or thoroughfare on which such passage is made.

3. The strip of land over which facilities such as highways, railroads, or power lines are built.

Note that the acronym RPD (Remotely Piloted Drone) is currently termed an RPV (Remotely Piloted Vehicle).

Within this patent are 27 patent claims and a description at the RPD’s conception. Those can be found at the source address below. However, keep in mind while reading that 20 years is a very long time when it comes to advances in such technology so you have to consider that such a patent would have gone through many new-generations over those 20 years. Not only would this patent have gone through many new-generations but over 20 years this patent has probably even changed hands and by now could have very well been acquired by a facet of the United States Government.

Because our reliance on energy is so great, our vulnerability to an interruption in its supply is also great. Included among U.S. energy systems are extensive networks of electric generating facilities and transmission lines, natural gas pipelines, oil refineries and pipelines, coal mines, repeater stations and transport. The present method of monitoring thousands of miles of any energy system is inadequate. Surveillance technologies developed for defense and intelligence agencies may be useful in defending against terrorist attacks, as well as against simple right-of-way encroachments.

Today, disrupted systems due to terrorism are sitting at the forefront at Homeland Security and it is no secret that Homeland Security has been requesting drones since their conception since this information is all over the Internet. Consequently, such drones will be common place in the very near future if they aren’t already.

We found Mr. Smith's sighting to be authentic based on his frustration once accused of photoshopping the photo (digital manipulation). To read his most recent email I could tell that he didn't have a clue as to what photoshopping was and instead was up in arms and decided to give up on the UFO community since it appears to have let him down. Mr. Smith’s photo actually gave us more insight since without it, we would not have had seen the multiple power line occurrences. It was only when we saw Mr. Smith’s photo did we begin to look in a different direction.

Since Mr. Fernandes’ drone was designed to fly along power corridors, we find it very coincidental that many of our photos presented were taken at proximity to power lines. In regard to the drone witnessed in the Sequoia National Forest, Chad’s drone and Rajman’s drone, these appear to be one of the same.

Chad’s drone was never pictured near power lines however Rajman’s drone is that of Chad’s drone, which was shot in very close proximity to the power lines. And, certainly power lines traverse a forest as numerous as those in the desert. It would be nice to know if both Chad and the woman from Lake Tahoe know whether or not their sightings were anywhere near power lines.

In regard to the sighting explained by Shirley P., we find it too coincidental that the 'unusual craft' is doing pretty much what the Sequoia National Park Forest Service employee stated, which was, "I'm told it's some kind of a communications device that's supposed to help the park service monitor the area for potential problems-stuff like fires and such." Not to mention that the forest service employee has obviously seen it around previous to his conversation with Shirley but yet the forest service claims that they are not privy to such a drone. At that point, this just tells us that somebody has a secret and they do not want people to know what they are or who they belong to.

A UFO Casebook forum member contacted the State of California Park Forestry Service and asked them if they were familiar with such a drone. As well, he supplied a photo of the unusual craft in question. Here was their very short response.

“There are no science or research projects at Sequoia National Park involving craft like these, and no one I spoke with has any knowledge of it.”

Thank you for your interest in Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks.

The Staff of Interpretation and Cultural Resources

Everyone is expecting to find an image on the Internet of the unusual craft outside of the ones that have been posted over the past 23 days. Research and development of such drones would be managed through the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy as well as coordinated by the industry groups mentioned previously. Our government would never have posted such an image on the Internet due to its nature. I can think of many reasons why they wouldn't but I can't think of one reason why they would. Besides that, bots and crawlers from search engines cannot access those types of websites and access images so no images would have ever been found, which we believe is why nobody can find any.

Our government was once very secretive about our drone capabilities; however they have more recently decided to make our UAV's public instead, and for good reason. The psychology there is probably that the opposition thinks twice before planning any type of attack, well knowing our capabilities however this RPV does not fall into that category or way of thinking. Quite the contrary since they would not want anyone to be too awful privy of its existence since it’s application would be used on our soil or in our airspace.

What do we make of the sound and what is the drone's power source?

In regard to what the craft sounded like, there were two reports available. This is a compilation of Chad and Lake Tahoe’s claim. “Sometimes there is a very slight hum that sounds kind of mechanical, almost like when you are near very large power lines. But it is nothing loud like a jet engine; it is very quiet for the most part. Like I said, it sounds like power lines if you get close enough to it.” “It didn't make any noise except for a very, very faint sound that is hard to describe but sounded like something vibrating. We both heard the sound although just barely.”

As you will find when you read on, we believe that what the witnesses heard were the power lines themselves and the sound the actual drone was making as it was recharging itself, for lack of a better word.

In regard to the energy used to power this drone, we discovered another patent filed on February 6, 2004, regarding devices such as those mounted to a drone, which are coupled to high voltage transmission lines where they obtain power themselves directly from the line and to be used to power the drone. A common component of all these devices relates to the power supply energy source means for generating the comparatively lower voltage required for operation of the device. The following is a description of this patent and the source information follows this article.


Inventors: Gunn, Colin N., Lightbody, Simon H. Forth, J. Bradford Hancock, Martin A. and Hyatt, Geoffrey T.

Description of Invention:

Devices that couple to high voltage transmission lines obtain power themselves using the body capacitance of an element of the devices. The devices generate a comparatively lower voltage from the current flowing between the high voltage line and the element of the device that generates the body capacitance. The devices can be used to operate sensors that monitor the transmission lines or parameters of the power distribution system, such as current, line temperature, vibration, and the like.

The devices can also be used as indicators, such as aircraft warning lights, information signs, etc. In addition, the devices can operate as RF transmission/reception or repeater devices, radar devices, mesh networking nodes, video/audio surveillance, sound emitting devices for scaring animals, drones that traverse the power line, etc. Because the devices operate in response to line voltage rather than current, the devices are reliable even in low current conditions.

Please understand that neither of the patents above necessarily belong to the drones in question. These are simply the best examples that we could find, which explain what a power line monitoring drone would look like and it's function.

Recently, a member of the UFO Casebook forum mentioned that the body of the drone appeared to be made from ceramic. Ceramics are used for both capacitors and insulators on power lines. Since a capacitor's function is to store electricity, or electrical energy, then the circular part of this drone (the body) would be the storage area for the electrical energy.

What about the other parts of the craft?

Much of this is assumption so everyone is welcome to give us your own input.

Figure A questionable

Figure B possibly a stabilizer or balance used to offset the weight of C, D and E.

Figures C, D and E possibly keeps the drone from becoming entangled in the power lines as the drone moves up along the power line itself.

Why does the craft seemingly have an unusual text on its underside?

We simply believe that they do not want people to know who the drone belongs to. Imagine a terrorist taking a picture of the underside of let's say Chad's drone. Then they take a closer look at the text on their photo. Like us they would probably start to wonder if it's an authentic alien craft instead because even they can't figure out what language that is. Besides that, there is a lot of psychology behind not knowing something. It leaves one guessing instead of thinking about taking it down and destroying it.

What would we expect the government to put on the craft, Property of the United States Government or the Department of Defense or maybe the Department of Energy? Taking into consideration the costs of such a drone, and the numbers of those who have no respect for the American tax dollar and have a ‘shoot them out of the sky’ mentality, I imagine they would have preferred to put absolutely nothing on it but that would make one inquisitive and want more answers.

Based on photographic evidence from various areas of the United States; and the similarities exhibited in the shape, dynamics and ability of this craft to stay airborne; and with very little information that is currently available on the public domain, we concur and are of the opinion that this machine is operational as an remotely piloted drone vehicle (RPV) being used to surveillance power line and right-of-way corridors; perhaps as part of our homeland security operations or perhaps simply a maintenance monitor drone for the power company.

Eileen Nesbitt, UFO Casebook Investigator

P. Smith, UFO Casebook Investigator

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Source & References:

Sources and References:

Patent Storm

Monitoring system for power lines and right-of-way using remotely piloted drone

Free Patents Online

Body capacitance electric field powered device for high voltage lines

Mr. Smith, Birmingham, Alabama sighting

Archived UFO Articles and News Items, 2007

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