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23 de Enero 2006

Flying Car? Not Really

[UPDATE 23-November-2006: Google updated the aerial photography for this area and the "flying car" is no longer there. This rules out some of the theories in the comments that it was a permanent structure.]

flying car  in Google EarthThose guys at The Register have done it again. Someone sent them an interesting Google Earth placemark which shows a satellite photo of what appears to be a flying car near a parking lot in near Perth, Australia. The Register, in their usual sensational journalistic style, have written a story which hypes the idea this is a flying car, and doesn't bother to speculate on alternatives.

There's no question this satellite photo described with the "Flying Car" title certainly looks like a flying car. However, if I described the photo as "Black car parked next to white car in parking lot", what do you see? Here's the placemark of the location in Google Earth.

I have written about other visual anomalies before. Sometimes its just a matter of how you look at a picture.

Like this story? Digg it!

Enviado por FrankTaylor at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 10:38 AM

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  • Comentarios

    It is certainly 2 cars, a white and a black ...

    Enviado por: Allan at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 11:17 AM

    A balloon in a shape of a car to indicate the location of the car park ?

    Enviado por: pincenin françois at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 12:14 PM

    Could it possibly be a roadside stand/shed? The black portion doesn't look like a car to me, but rather the shadow of the roof. Just a thought.

    Enviado por: B. Miller at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 12:29 PM

    Good post! This reminds me of when I was young, on summer vacation, on Prince Edward Island in Canada. There was a race track that had a car hoisted up on a sign to advertise the races, and then I found it in google earth! Here's a link to the kmz..... this may explain the flying car in your post:

    Enviado por: Godwept at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 01:04 PM

    I'm thinking that its one of those "signs" used to indicate car sales or car mechanic's shops in which an old car is mounted on a tall pole. I've not seen that for some years, but I have seen it. It would certainly look like a floating or flying car from a satellite or aerial photography perspective.

    Enviado por: Mike Mahaffie at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 01:13 PM

    If you look at the angle of the shadows of the trees in the surroundings, you will tell that if the black shape were indeed the shadow of the car, it would not coincide with the angle of the surronding shadows. Logical thinking gets the answer.

    Enviado por: Starcraper at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 03:31 PM

    Dear Google Earth,
    When will you focus on the African continent and deliver us some high res photos of the major cities. The national geographic sites leave us all wanting more. Please focus on Accra, Ghana and Lagos, Nigeria for starters. Thank you.

    Enviado por: Justin Daining at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 03:39 PM

    The black object certainly looks like a shadow - doesn't have the structure that the other cars do. And it's in the right direction from the light object to be a shadow of it judging by the angle of the other shadows. But as it's so far from the white object then the white thing must be elevated.

    This Is Point Walter Reserve, a public park so I doubt it's some kind of commercial sign for an auto business. Perhaps some kind of balloon or kite??

    Enviado por: Tillerman at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 06:57 PM

    But, it looks to me like two blurry cars are parked within rectangular white markers on the ground.
    I'm dull though ;-)

    Enviado por: Petit at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 08:30 PM

    You do know the article at The Register is a joke right?

    Enviado por: Craig at 23 de Enero 2006 a las 10:22 PM

    It's definitely a flying car.....c'mon guys! Where's your sense of adventure?

    Enviado por: Mrs. Manick at 24 de Enero 2006 a las 10:01 AM

    I'd love to see someone show me how the angle is not right for it to be a shadow. It's fine. Especially if you grant that the car is elevated.

    Also, it's odd to me that this "black car" does not reflect any sunlight at all, unlike the black cars in the parking lot to the northeast.

    Enviado por: Keith T. at 24 de Enero 2006 a las 05:02 PM

    Clearly many of you are Muggles.
    It IS a flying car.

    Harry and Ron are on holiday.

    Enviado por: Sybil at 24 de Enero 2006 a las 08:56 PM

    Something in the Register is a joke? What??



    Enviado por: Surfer Dude at 27 de Enero 2006 a las 04:01 PM

    There is only one problem I see with the two car theory. That is: If I look at all the cars in the parking lot, I can clearly make out a shadow area attached to each car. They ALL cast shadows.

    Why does the "flying" car show NO shadow attached to it like EVERY other car does???

    Enviado por: Bobby T. at 28 de Enero 2006 a las 02:57 AM

    not 2 cars
    1. several other black car in the adjacent lot show curves by the bending of the sunlight and show light spots where light relects off the surface. The black object in question shows NO light reflection.

    2. Why are these two cars parked in this direction (angular) outside of a lot with many open spaces?

    Enviado por: grendel at 1 de Febrero 2006 a las 12:11 AM

    I'm not saying it's a flying car ... but the "white car - black car" idea fails scrutiny.

    As most have mentioned.

    1. If it's a black car, where's the white car's shadow? All the other cars have shadows.

    2. If it's a black car, where's the reflected glints of sunlight present in other cars? I know ... it's a STEALTH car that is SO black it absorbs ALL of the light, so you don't so much see the car, as NOT see anything.

    3. The direction of the "black car" is correct to be the shadow of the white car, if you compare it to other objects casting shadows in the area.

    I don't have a plausible explanation, but the "Flying car" theory is improbable, and the "white car / black car" theory is problematic.

    I'm inclined to beleive there's some photographic anomaly in play here. We need an expert in satellite photography to chip in to get to the bottom of this.

    Enviado por: Fred at 1 de Febrero 2006 a las 11:53 AM

    The shadow of the white car is very much present, and it is consistent with the white car being on the ground. GE texture maps the photo to a 3D sphere model of the Earth, so there is just a touch of distortion. If you scale up the Google Local version of this picture the shadow of the white car is quite clear.

    The black car is at a different angle, so the sun doesn't glint off the windows. Also, I believe the black car is actually a small pickup, so there is no back window visible from this angle. Also, the black "truck" has a shadow as well, which alters it's shape a little making it look different.

    Enviado por: Frank Taylor at 1 de Febrero 2006 a las 01:52 PM

    Everyone else is probably bored with this but I've only just seen it. As someone who lives about 5km away, here's my two cents worth...unlikely that cars are parked there; there's plenty of parking in the actual carpark.(You could park there if you didn't mind a bit of rough ground, but why would you bother?) Best theory I've heard, though I'm not 100%, is that it's a kite surfer; this area is used a lot by kitesurfers.

    Enviado por: jolly roger at 3 de Febrero 2006 a las 03:46 AM

    if you look right beside the shadow you can see the faint white line of the sign that is casting it..

    Enviado por: dink at 6 de Febrero 2006 a las 01:47 AM

    it doesn't match with al the other shadows.. just check really close .. picture yourself where the sun would be of the shadow from the 'flying car' and then check the shadows of the trees.. it is not the same direction!

    Enviado por: Jason at 10 de Marzo 2006 a las 09:34 AM


    The kite surf idea really makes sense. If you look north in the sand strip you will see other kite surfs in the shore. Maybe the guy was oppening his Kite surf in the parking lot...

    Enviado por: Zimmermann at 17 de Marzo 2006 a las 09:19 AM

    omg wat is that did anyone c that image as a flyin car i think it is a flyin car

    Enviado por: lexi at 25 de Marzo 2006 a las 10:51 PM

    It's a billboard people

    Enviado por: Morder at 31 de Marzo 2006 a las 12:05 PM

    Hey guys!

    I know what this flying car is:
    It is just a advertising board on two very small
    bars, and the bars are to small, that you can see them. All in all it looks like a flying car.

    Additionally the pictures are maybe 1 or 2 years old, and the advertising board could be removed yet. In my country (Germany) there was a big diskusion about the "flying car", with like 400 peoples and maybe 100 professors!

    I hope that you all could understand my english....

    Greets from germany!

    Enviado por: jisc at 17 de Julio 2006 a las 04:47 AM

    This is clearly just another hoax on the part of the MIB to distract us from the really important research of the high-def 2006 Digital Globe images of Area 51!

    Enviado por: Shane at 31 de Julio 2006 a las 06:48 PM

    It looks a lot like a portable water tank that's used on construction sites.

    Enviado por: Michael at 23 de Septiembre 2006 a las 07:00 PM

    it is NOT 2 cars parked next to each other, it is one of those things where people can sit down and wait for the bus... i know someone that lives by there, and that is what he told me it was

    Enviado por: bob at 24 de Septiembre 2006 a las 12:04 PM

    i found more "flying cars"in baghdad its just 2 cars with black cars next to it, just zoom to the baghdad former republican palace and go to the left until you see a parking lot there are alot of flying cars for the mob:P

    Enviado por: wout at 25 de Septiembre 2006 a las 08:28 AM

    Great now its one of those "things where people can sit and wait for the bus".... a flying bus maybe...I am surprised no one said it was a UFO. (oh thats only in the USA)
    Actually I think the flying thingie (balloon) makes sense

    Enviado por: Paulo at 25 de Septiembre 2006 a las 12:36 PM

    This picture makes me question again, "how can educated people be so simple-minded?"
    The angle of shadow says its from the white car, yet the proximity of the shadow says the car is elevated.... so that means there's an anomaly??? and that we need an expert in satellite photos??? Shake your frikkin' heads.
    The guy who vacationed in P.E.I., Canada has it right, it's a car elevated as a display...now stop making everything so damn complicated!!!

    Enviado por: Dennis at 30 de Septiembre 2006 a las 10:41 AM

    I live near there. I'm going to clear this up right now. It's actually this flying car. I can't belive no one figured it out.

    Enviado por: phil at 30 de Septiembre 2006 a las 04:18 PM

    It could be a car on a pole! Wow what a concept. There is a "flying car" a couple hours from my house. It is infact, a car on a pole. I would show you on GE but It's noon so you see no shadow.

    Enviado por: Antonio at 30 de Septiembre 2006 a las 09:28 PM

    It is actually a "kite" from a kite surfer. In perth (where I live) this is a common spot for them to rig up and head out onto the river. Not sure why this person is in the carpark though, maybe learning to fly the kite ?

    Enviado por: Dan at 1 de Octubre 2006 a las 06:30 AM

    All of you who say its a car on a pole, explain why would you have a car on a pole on this location.... those of you who say its a kite, explain why such a huge kite would be flown so far away from the ideal place to fly such a big kite?

    Enviado por: Paulo at 2 de Octubre 2006 a las 12:44 PM

    It is a water supply tank used to fill our dust control tanker. We were working on the south end of the road.

    Enviado por: mark at 9 de Octubre 2006 a las 05:36 PM

    The guys on CSI (TV series) can enlarge a small photograph so that it is possible to see the time on a dead guy watch, 3 miles away.after it was run over by a track. Id like to see them enhance this photo LOL

    Enviado por: Paulo at 16 de Octubre 2006 a las 01:00 PM

    Although I am from Sydney, I have been to this location. Sadly, this is NOT a flying car (I wish! You're all so funny!), and no this is NOT a large sign with a ballon (these are almost no existant in Perth) even a marketing student would not place one anywhere near this low volume location.

    You can see the black image has no detail and it has no shadow, it is flat. It is consistant with all the shadows and it IS actually the shadow of the white car.

    You have to understand the lack of restraint in Perth drivers as you do with the incredible timing of Googles snap shot.

    If you look at the roadway, it's pretty clear this is a car that has come round the northly corner (travelling south) way too fast, lost it, corrected it and lost it again sliding sideways before flipping the car as it hit the grass which is like a gutter on this spot.

    This is a common thing, specially with P plate drivers (provisional 1st year licence holders). Perth drivers are amoung the worst in the western world and most get their licence from the mornings ceral box.

    If you can ident the date of the photo & cross reference it with a local newspaper I belt you find out whose in the drivers seat. All from a Google image! Coooool!!!

    Enviado por: Hereward at 26 de Noviembre 2006 a las 12:51 AM

    I think that it is the car of "return to the futur 2"! Certainly, why not!

    Enviado por: samo29 at 26 de Noviembre 2006 a las 09:32 AM

    So Hereward, you are actually stating that it is indeed a flying Car?(although for a brief moment) And it is in fact a recent driver who ran off the road? Well then fortunate for him the trees had been cut down in that exact location. I suppose other bad drivers meet frequently over there. Hope to here from you soon

    Enviado por: Paulo at 1 de Diciembre 2006 a las 11:35 AM

    I think it's a square shaped billboard which the car is parked next to...
    The shadow is from the billboard, and the reason that you don't see it in the updated version is because either there was no sun or it was taken at a different time of the day...

    Enviado por: sebas at 8 de Diciembre 2006 a las 06:54 AM

    Come on people. Ok all you European/North American etc etc. Listen to the people who live there!!! There is no billboard/structure there.
    The guy who said it is a mobile tank for refilling dust suppression trucks has nailed it.
    Or the Harry and Ron theory. But their car is blue.....
    One of the two!

    Enviado por: Shockerz at 14 de Marzo 2007 a las 03:02 PM

    PEOPLE its a JOKE!!!!!

    Enviado por: Fernando Jose at 25 de Marzo 2007 a las 01:14 AM

    Oh god. Already the Harry Potter Fans are attacking.
    Anyways, when I first saw this I thought that a pole or something could be underneath the car to rise it off the ground to cast a shadow like that. But the "black car being parked next to the white" is pretty logical too.

    Enviado por: Kry-Chan at 25 de Marzo 2007 a las 01:20 PM

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