Nov 23, 2016
6:50pm i was in my car, turning onto a street in woodbury heights, nj, when i saw what i thought was a helicopter on approach to phl, at about 500-1000 ft agl. a second aircraft came zipping up from behind. i thought they were going to crash a few hundred yards away. the second aircraft, quickly decelerating, dove to the left under the first one, back to the right, back to the left again, like a fighter jet, and then made a sharp right bank under it and quickly disappeared towards woodbury. i suppose a helicopter pilot might be able to make those sweeping movements, but i don’t think it could bugout and disappear that quickly. i do not believe that a plane could fly that slow and do that. thirdly, you’d have to be an idiot to perform that maneuver so close together over such a populated area.
it was fairly dark, all i could see was the large white light (acft #1) and a wing-shaped line of lights, about the length of a commuter plane’s wings (acft #2). this line of bright lights was on the rear of the craft, larger than your normal navigation lights and in the wrong configuration for any registered aircraft that i am aware of. there was five evenly spaced lights of similar size: white – green – white – red – white. normally, you would see red on the left wingtip and green on the right and i have not seen lights like that shinning from the back of any plane or helicopter i know.
i got into the house less than 1 minute later and ran to an upper window. i could not see the acft #2, trees block the view. acft #1 was still visible a mile or so away and appeared to have stopped. i dragged my husband and son out to see the light, but that is all you could see. it was too far off and indiscernible from a large light such as venus. it was cold and i did not stay outside to watch it disappear.
i’m wondering if anyone knows of any aircraft like i described or if a near miss was reported. i live about 5 miles from phl, on approach to runway 35; we see a lot of planes and helicopters.