A video appearing online recently purports to show a "mystery aircraft" in the distance as it passes over Lake Norman near Charlotte, North Carolina.
The footage, which is at times unreasonably shaky, seems to show a large, dark form moving slowly above Lake Norman in the distance. Unfortunately, the viewer is given a better perspective of the parking lot adjacent to the boat ramp than of the object, which only makes fleeting appearances--despite moving slowly--due to the poor camerawork.
Nonetheless, the footage has managed to gain traction online, after being picked up and featured on Drudge Report and The Daily Star, in addition to several YouTube channels. The footage as it originally appeared online can be seen below:
The footage was obtained by Jason Swing, who allegedly filmed the object with his Smartphone on May 29, according to Mark Price at the Charlotte Observer.
"Hey, this is a spacecraft," a man who appears to be Swing can be heard saying at the beginning of the video, before it shakily turns in the direction of what appears to be an object moving slowly over Lake Norman. Little can be discerned about the shape or size of the object, or the actual distance it might have been from the parking lot where Swing stood while filming it. At one point in the footage, Swing appears to call to someone nearby, seeking acknowledgment that they were able to see the object as well.
It is unclear if the footage was a hoax, or if it was merely intended as a prank (Swing is suspiciously nonchalant as he advises viewers about the "spacecraft" they are about to see at the video's outset). However, one commenter identified as MrBoomer13 pointed out that Swing's YouTube channel has featured videos of drones in the past, which might suggest that the object over Lake Norman--if real at all--had simply been a drone.
Others felt there was an even simpler explanation. Joe Browder commented that the object might have simply been a passenger plane:
"Nope. Just a passenger jet coming out of Charlotte Douglas Airport. Flying low (below the cloud deck) on northbound track from airport. See this all the time up there. Look at the tops of the trees and bushes each time the video shows the plane and you see that it is steadily moving left to right. Going to look like hovering and slow movement since it is about 4 miles away."
The Linville Gorge Wilderness, just two hours away near Linville, North Carolina, is home to purported earthlights that often appear after rainstorms. Known as the Brown Mountain Lights, on many occasions, the lights of distant aircraft flying out of Charlotte Douglas and other airports in the region can be mistaken for lights hovering over adjacent mountain ridges.
It remains unclear what, precisely (if anything) appears in Swain's video. Had the camera remained still for longer than short bursts of two-second intervals, perhaps more about the object could be discerned. Or for all we know, perhaps there was a legitimate object in the distance, which Swain either wasn't taking seriously enough to try and do a good job filming, or perhaps was just too excited to keep in-frame.
If you observe something unusual in the sky, some helpful tips that will improve the quality of your footage are as follows:
Sadly, if there actually were anything of interest in this footage, it's too shaky to be able to discern anything about it. Granted, it is worth noting that the engine noise of what appears to be a conventional commercial airliner can be plainly heard as the object passes over the lake. Hence, while our money would probably have to go with YouTuber Joe Browder and the "passenger jet" theory, the footage above nonetheless offers us a few great examples of what not to do while attempting to film what might be a UFO.
UPDATE: Inside Edition reports that the Goodyear Blimp company has stated that this was one of their aircraft operating in the area. According to a Goodyear spokesperson, "We don't want to get in the way of a good story, but that's definitely us." The company says it was covering a NASCAR race in the region at the time.