Hobby Group Points Out Biden’s Downed UFO Might Not Be Their Balloon

The hobby group that’s been speculated to have launched one of the balloons shot down by U.S. forces over the weekend said there’s a chance that it was not theirs.

The Northern Illinois Bottlecap Balloon Brigade (NIBBB), an amateur Pico balloon club, released a statement Friday addressing reports from this week that connected its group to a balloon shot down over the Yukon in Canada on Saturday. According to a report from Politico, the hobby group lost track of one of its balloons around the same time one of a similar description was shot down by the U.S. military.

The NIBBB said that while it did lose track of one of its Pico balloons on February 11 after it was last detected off the southwest corner of Alaska, the balloon could be “missing in action” for other reasons.

President Joe Biden on Thursday speaks at the White House regarding his administration’s response to recent unidentified flying objects. An Illinois-based hobby group on Friday said that there’s a chance one of the UFOs shot down by U.S. forces was not launched by the group.
Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty

According to the statement, the Hybrid Single-Particle Lagrangian Integrated Trajectory model from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used by the hobby group to predict the balloon’s path “is dependent on the quality of the inputs we provide and predicted weather information.”

“There are plenty of instances in our own experience where the model inaccurately predicted the path,” read Friday’s statement. “Therefore, using that model output as a sole means of asserting the balloon’s position at a point in time is not supported.”

The statement also pointed out that it is not “unusual” for the group to lose contact with one of its balloons for long periods of time, pointing out an instance where a Pico balloon took 30 days to send a transmission.

“As has been widely reported, no part of the object shot down by the U.S. Air Force jet over the Yukon territory has been recovered,” read the statement. “Until that happens and that object is confirmed to be an identifiable Pico balloon, any assertions or claims that our balloon was involved in that incident are not supported by facts.”

Pico balloons, or small mylar balloons, are used for measuring temperature, pressure and humidity in the atmosphere. According to the NIBBB website, the group, made up of young kids to adults, some of whom are licensed in amateur radio, launched its first balloon in September 2021.

The group has flown at least 25 balloons in total, with eight successfully traveling over the U.S. and a few that even left the country.

The balloon that the NIBBB lost track of last week had successfully traveled around the globe six times and was nearing the end of its “7th lap,” read Friday’s statement.

American forces have shot down four unidentified flying objects (UFOs) this month, beginning with a Chinese surveillance balloon that was destroyed after it crossed much of the continental U.S. on February 4.

Two other UFOs were brought down in addition to the rumored hobby balloon over the Yukon Territory. On February 10, a U.S. fighter jet shot down an object hovering over waters in Alaska, and another unidentified object was destroyed over Lake Huron February 12, reported The New York Times.

John Kirby, National Security Council spokesman, was asked about reports of the NIBBB balloon at a press briefing on Friday, telling reporters that he was aware of an article from Aviation Week that hypothesized a possible connection between the hobby group and the destroyed UFOs.

“We just can’t confirm those reports or what the remains of that balloon may actually end up being,” Kirby said at the briefing. “We haven’t recovered it, so it’s very difficult until you can get your hands on something to be able to tell.”

When asked if a possible connection to the hobby group prompted any reconsideration from the White House for its response to the UFOs, Kirby pushed reporters to “put yourself in [President Joe Biden‘s] shoes.”

“Certainly, in light of the Chinese spy balloon, and what was a very real, certainly very sizable and tangible security threat [and] surveillance threat to the United States,” Kirby said.

“So short answer to your question is, absolutely not,” he added.

Newsweek has contacted the NIBBB for additional comment.

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