MUFON Aerial Surveillance Team
MUFON Connecticut is part of the MAST program, which is run out of MUFON Florida. Below is a description provided by them on MAST operations.
The basic MAST operation will have three levels
Spotter or Level 1 Positions
A spotter need not be a member of MUFON but must register as a MAST volunteer.
Spotter positions may be mobile and actively participating in a MAST operation or may be listed as “on call”. Spotters will assist in the tracking of unknown targets as they pass from sector to sector or state to state.
Spotter or Level 2 Positions
A level 2 position must be under the direction of a MUFON Field Investigator. Level 2 positions will be stationary. Level 2 positions must have the capability to detect unknown targets and do preliminary identification.
Command or Level 3 Positions
The level 3 position must have all the capabilities of a level 2 position.
The level 3 position must be operated under the direction of a MUFON field investigator.
The level 3 position must be capable of communicating directly with all positions under it’s control regardless of their location around the globe. This communication may be verbal or written but must be constantly active. Regardless of the operating area there will be only one level 3 position in operation. In voice or text communication the level 3 station will be designated as “MAST CC” (Control Center). Before the commencement of any multi-unit operation one level 2 position will be chosen as the backup CC. In the event that the primary MAST CC goes off the air the backup location will assume command of the operation until the primary can resume operation.
The mission of MAST is the detection, identification, and tracking of unknown objects in the sky. This tracking may be on a local, state wide, or national level. To attain this goal volunteers should follow this guideline.
- MAST observers at all levels must be familiar with the airspace over their particular location.
- The approximate distance from horizon to horizon at your location.
- Local flight paths that intersect your AO (Area of Operation) can be found on FlightRadar 24.
- If you are close to an airport take time to learn the final approach paths that aircraft utilize.
- Local aviation weather will be useful for determining the local ceiling, or cloud height in your area before an operation.
- Note the apparent size of low flying aircraft near your location. This information will help you when you gauge the apparent size of an unknown.
- All volunteers and positions will be located in a particular grid square. If you are a stationary level 1 observer your grid location was provided when you signed up. It is important that you know you grid location.
- MAST will utilize the international grid square system used by Amateur Radio operators around the world. Each of the grid squares in this system contain a number of sub squares which can pinpoint any location on the planet. The grid square locater can be found on line athttp://www.levinecentral.com/ham/grid_square.php .
- All observers must know the compass points in the sky as looking up.
Methods of communication between different MAST positions will only be limited by the availability, or lack thereof.
- Cell phones, Skype, Google, and twitter are all forms of communication that will work.
- Amateur radios utilizing statewide repeater systems will be utilized as available.
- International Skyscan operations may also involve the use of HF (High Frequency long range) Amateur radio nets.
- One of the computers at a level 3 position should be dedicated to communication.
- MAST communication nets will be controlled by the Level 3 CC location.
- Due to the fact that most MAST operations will be conducted over a large area we will utilize UTC for our time keeping. UTC also known as Zulu or GMT can easily be determined by comparing your local time to the current UTC, then subtracting or adding the hours. If your on Eastern Daylight time you add 4 hours. If your local time is 1:00PM, the UTC is 5:00PM. If your operating a level 2 or 3 location a small inexpensive digital clock set to UTC would be handy.