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sennabestever
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Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 4:59 pm

I searched the forum and also on google before adding this topic and couldn’t find anything on this.

Just flew Hong Kong to ORD on CX on the 18th and about 90 minutes north east of Japan we saw around 100 red and a few green lights spread out all over the ocean in the middle of nowhere? A lot of us were wondering what they were with people saying oil rigs and some fishing boats. There were just so many of them though!

Just curious if anyone can shed any light on what they are?

Thanks for any information
 
bradyj23
Posts: 100
Joined: Thu Apr 19, 2007 9:24 am

Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:08 pm

Honestly dont know but a wind farm is a possibility too. How spread out were the lights?
 
winGl3t
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:10 pm

Probably ships. Cargos and/or fishing. The red and green lights are for navigation.
Oil rigs can be spoted due to flames, not navigation lights.
 
qf002
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:16 pm

I imagine this is similar to what you saw?

Image

If so then they were squid fishers. The green light attracts them to the surface where they can easily be scooped up by the boats, I imagine the red lights were the boats themselves.
 
sennabestever
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 5:55 pm

They didn’t really look like the photo. They were just single lights spread out a couple of miles apart. Kind of looked like the red beacon on top of a radio tower only these weren’t flashing.
 
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c933103
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:20 pm

Oil drilling platform near Okhotsk Sea or Aleutian Islands? Reflection of lights from the aircraft itself? Polar light?
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rlwynn
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 6:38 pm

I remember reading a story about Air Mike and how when they would flash the lights all the boats would flash back because every boat thought the plane was flashing at them.
I can drive faster than you
 
cedarjet
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 7:36 pm

Cargo pilot Christiaan Van Heijst made news a few years back after photographing phenomenon similar to what you describe. Here is a description in his blog. He put out a coffee table book of aviation photography via Astral Horizon Press and there’s a whole chapter about it.

https://shop-theairlineboutique.co.uk/p ... 5th-dec-16
https://jpcvanheijst.com/red-lights-ove ... ugust-2014
fly Saha Air 707s daily from Tehran's downtown Mehrabad to Mashhad, Kish Island and Ahwaz
 
ryan78
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:13 pm

cedarjet wrote:
Cargo pilot Christiaan Van Heijst made news a few years back after photographing phenomenon similar to what you describe. Here is a description in his blog. He put out a coffee table book of aviation photography via Astral Horizon Press and there’s a whole chapter about it.

https://shop-theairlineboutique.co.uk/p ... 5th-dec-16
https://jpcvanheijst.com/red-lights-ove ... ugust-2014


Thanks for the link, that was a fascinating read! I might just have to pick up that book too.
 
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NYPECO
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:23 pm

cedarjet wrote:
Cargo pilot Christiaan Van Heijst made news a few years back after photographing phenomenon similar to what you describe. Here is a description in his blog. He put out a coffee table book of aviation photography via Astral Horizon Press and there’s a whole chapter about it.

https://shop-theairlineboutique.co.uk/p ... 5th-dec-16
https://jpcvanheijst.com/red-lights-ove ... ugust-2014


That's some crazy stuff!
 
Samrnpage
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:29 pm

interesting stuff this, probably explainable though, does anyone know?
 
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usxguy
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:47 pm

There are also a lot of buoys in the Pacific which would have a beacon on top - sometimes they are weather stations, marking reefs, measuring wave height/endurance (tsunami alert), etc...

From NOAA (US):

https://www.ndbc.noaa.gov/

Channel markers for ships will have a red light on one side, green on the other.
Last edited by usxguy on Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.
xx
 
bagoldex
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 8:48 pm

Single red and green lights would be the nav lights of ships. There's considerable cargo and fishing traffic in that part of the world.

https://www.marinetraffic.com/en/ais/ho ... 4.7/zoom:4
 
sw733
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:00 pm

Samrnpage wrote:
interesting stuff this, probably explainable though, does anyone know?

Everything is explainable, it just depends what security clearance you have :)
 
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Erebus
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:04 pm

Could they be shipping lane lights directing heavy traffic to and from a major port?

https://youtu.be/h16zyxiwDLY?t=31s
 
sennabestever
Topic Author
Posts: 48
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 9:42 pm

We saw ships earlier closer to the coast of Japan and they looked like ships because you could see their lights all the way along the boat. These were single beacon type lights about a mile or so apart and there were easily a hundred or so of them in almost a grid pattern. I wish I took a picture of it now. CX806 took a very southern path on the 18th if you look at FlightAware. Almost the same route they take to SFO or Vancouver on CX from Hong Kong. Would love to know what they were. They had pretty much every passenger on the left side of plane wondering what they were?
 
Trololzilla
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:46 pm

It sounds like an offshore wind farm. There's apparently a 100+ unit farm off the coast of Fukushima, and your flight passed fairly close to the area, so maybe you all saw that?
Last edited by Trololzilla on Wed Sep 19, 2018 10:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
 
WeatherPilot
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:03 pm

Is this your flight? https://flightaware.com/live/flight/CPA ... /VHHH/KORD

I would say you saw a bunch of fishing trawlers.
 
Utah744
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:34 pm

Typically on my flights from Japan to the US there was often a large fleet of Japanese fishing boats 600-800 miles off the coast. Hundreds of them following the schools of fish. I don't remember red and green lights but lots of white lights.
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texas145
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Wed Sep 19, 2018 11:58 pm

I agree with the others that they are fishing boats. I've seen them from the dark cockpit flying from Japan to PANC. I forget why they use either red or white lights, but I assume it depends on what they are trying to catch.
A clear conscience is a great pillow.
 
kraz911
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:08 am

Hello all,
Watching the science channel fishing shows, long line fishermen set out a long line of a heavy fishing line with baited hooks and they use the green chem lights at the hooks. The red indicates the end of the line when they retrieve the catch they know where the end is. I think it’s cheating but I’m not an ocean fisherman. If it’s a long swath of only green it may indicate a heavy vessel like a carrier or container ship churned up the algae in the water. Hope it helps...
 
sennabestever
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Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:43 am

WeatherPilot wrote:
Is this your flight? https://flightaware.com/live/flight/CPA ... /VHHH/KORD

I would say you saw a bunch of fishing trawlers.


Yep that’s the flight. I was just reading about the wind farm and I think that might be what it was. They just didn’t look like fishing boats... they were way to uniform.
 
mga707
Posts: 318
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Thu Sep 20, 2018 6:51 am

cedarjet wrote:
Cargo pilot Christiaan Van Heijst made news a few years back after photographing phenomenon similar to what you describe. Here is a description in his blog. He put out a coffee table book of aviation photography via Astral Horizon Press and there’s a whole chapter about it.

https://shop-theairlineboutique.co.uk/p ... 5th-dec-16
https://jpcvanheijst.com/red-lights-ove ... ugust-2014


I have that book--actually on my coffee table! The pictures of the unidentified lights he took are weird.
 
CosmicCruiser
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Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Thu Sep 20, 2018 12:02 pm

fishing boats. I have a similar photo
 
sennabestever
Topic Author
Posts: 48
Joined: Fri Jun 15, 2012 1:21 pm

Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Sat Sep 29, 2018 6:40 pm

Lot of flights taking the same routing today and yesterday. Wonder if anyone else saw the lights?
 
DALA350
Posts: 1
Joined: Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:17 am

Re: Red and green lights on ocean when flying over North Pacific

Thu Oct 18, 2018 7:22 am

Flew over a large fleet of boats -ALL with red light
(Bright) on each vessel last month... nothing mysterious- took numerous photos

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