(The Charlotte Observer) – As a 45-year pilot, Charles Cobb had never seen anything like the orange-tinged orb high in the North Carolina mountains sky on a sunny late morning in June.

The object was round and irregular, he said, and it would suddenly plummet tens of thousands of feet before soaring right back up, he said. Cobb, an 88-year-old Korean War combat veteran, spotted the mysterious object while sitting at Silver Creek Airport in Morganton, where he visits each day to check on the 1940 Piper Cub he keeps in a hangar.

Minutes ticked by as the object and its exhaust plume hovered 30,000 feet to 40,000 feet high “toward Table Rock,” Cobb said. He was referring to the plateaued peak northeast of Asheville that’s a popular tourist destination for its panoramic views of the surrounding Linville Gorge, as described by AshevilleTrails.com. Cobb said he finally pulled out his iPad and took photos of the flying object and its “opaque” center.

It was 11:18 a.m. June 12. “It was hard to tell the size,” he said, although he distinctly recalled the craft dropping at times to maybe 15,000 feet before shooting back up to at least 30,000 feet. The object vanished at one point when he happened to look down at his iPad, but it soon reappeared, he said. “The fact that it could zoom up almost out of sight” made this no ordinary object, he’s convinced. MORE

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