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About that C-17 above Snyderville Basin Thursday…

Courtesy Rick Warner

Locals got an impromptu airshow Thursday afternoon when what looked like a C-17 military aircraft circled low overhead. But where in the world did it come from?

An aircraft closely resembling a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III circled the Snyderville Basin Thursday afternoon.

Jeremy Ranch resident Sharon Salmon was one of several residents who got their phones out to capture the spectacle. She said she heard the craft before she saw it, some time around 3:40 p.m.

The massive C-17 is primarily used to transport troops and equipment and is affectionately known as the “Moose,” so it was surely right at home in the Wasatch back.

The nickname comes from the sound pressure vents make while the plane refuels—it sounds like a female moose’s mating call.

Hill Air Force Base in Ogden said it didn’t have any C-17s takeoff on Thursday. Roland R. Wright Air National Guard Base told KPCW it doesn’t have any C-17s at all.

Courtesy Sharon Salmon / Jeremy Ranch

Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas didn’t know if the plane was theirs, but could not confirm one way or another in time for this report.

So where’d the Moose come from? There is one candidate.

The online flight tracker ADS-B.NL, which archives military aircraft data from the more general flight tracker ADS-B Exchange, shows one C-17 was in the area Thursday.

That plane, call sign SWORD11, took off from Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho. Records show it came south and made it as far east as Vernal, in Uintah County, before coming back across the Wasatch Mountains.

Click here to see SWORD11’s archived tracker information. The flightpath and timing line up with eyewitness accounts.

Mountain Home Air Force Base did not respond in time for this report. Until it confirms one way or another, that C-17 still counts as an unidentified flying object.

Courtesy Sharon Salmon
Jeremy Ranch

This is a developing story.

Corrected: March 10, 2023 at 9:02 PM MST
A previous version of this article incorrectly said the plane's call sign was STORM11—it's SWORD11.

A previous version of this article said SWORD11's flightpath corresponded to eyewitness accounts, but not the timing. KPCW listener Neil Fisher pointed out that because ADS-B.NL is Netherlands-based, its time stamps are eight hours ahead. That puts SWORD11's departure time from Idaho around 3 p.m., in line with eyewitness reports.

The U.F.O. was most likely SWORD11.