In this video on X from February there is a flaming apparition in the sky over downtown Charlotte, North Carolina that looks like the Spruce Goose on fire. It does not look fake to me, but I cannot rule out that possibility.

Here is a still image from an article in the Mirror which was actually, like me, wondering what it was (they really should ask on aviation SE!):

Flaming apparition

It does not look like a regularly operating plane. But it is too low for space debris and actually changes course after a few seconds.

I tried to find information about a burning plane but didn't see any; partly because burning plane hits currently are heavily dominated by the Tokyo incident.

Therefore the question: What the heck are we looking at?


3 Answers 3


It is the pyrotechnic Bandit Fly Team flying over the Carolina Hurricanes Stadium in North Carolina on 18 February 2023.

Bandit Fly Team

There are a large number of videos online of the event, including one from the Bandits themselves, which also shows the rather spectacular view from inside the cockpit.

However, there are an even larger number of videos speculating on alien origins, which even made the press (UK).

  • $\begingroup$ Good find even though my original question was terribly vague. Through the link to the X video in the Mirror article you link to I was able to provide more information which I included in the question. $\endgroup$ Commented Jan 31 at 15:42
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    $\begingroup$ If this is Charlotte, in all likelihood, it is the Carolina Panthers NFL stadium. The Carolina Hurricanes are an NHL team and are based in an enclosed arena in Raleigh, North Carolina. $\endgroup$
    – Tom Walker
    Commented Jan 31 at 17:01
  • $\begingroup$ You got some of the details wrong here. Please see my answer. I am willing to delete my answer if you update yours. $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Commented Feb 1 at 5:44
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    $\begingroup$ @TomWalker: The NHL does a few open-air stadium games each year. In 2023 they did one in Raleigh. The stadium in question was Carter-Finley Stadium, home of the North Carolina State football team. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 1 at 12:55
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    $\begingroup$ @TooTea I felt it would be rude. Fixing typos is one thing, but in my experience people get touchy if you change their answer on a fundamental level. $\endgroup$
    – MJ713
    Commented Feb 1 at 13:57

This was indeed a pyrotechnic display by the Bandit Flight Team, as Party Ark's answer states, and it was a flyover for a hockey game. But that answer gets the city, date, and hockey team wrong.

Per the Charlotte Observer's article about your linked video, the Bandits did this flyover for the Queen City Outdoor Classic in Charlotte, North Carolina on January 13th, 2024. This was an AFL (i.e. minor-league) hockey match between the Charlotte Checkers and the Rochester Americans. The ice rink was, as the name suggests, outdoors.

  • $\begingroup$ Oh, interesting. The article is pretty convincing, in particular because it shows exactly the video I was looking at. I'll let your answer sit for a while and see whether Party reacts, as per your suggestion. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 1 at 8:13
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks for the clarification - however, the Bandits' own video I linked to was posted in November 2023, so this clearly wasn't the only occasion this might have been seen. I imagine when they do this night flying it all looks very similar anyway. $\endgroup$
    – Party Ark
    Commented Feb 1 at 15:08

Since the question is about a specific video, I think it can be stated pretty conclusively that the first answer is correct that it was a Bandit Flight Team flyover, with the second answer giving the correct date and location.

The YouTube video originally linked to was posted on January 23rd, 2024. The posting on X that was subsequently linked to was posted on January 21st, 2024 although it is not stated when the video was taken.

As mentioned the Bandit Flight Team had a scheduled flyover of a hockey game to be held at Truist Field in downtown Charlotte, North Carolina on January 13th, 2024 at 7:00 pm EST.

FlightRadar24 on that day shows one of the Bandit Flight Team aircraft, a Van's Aircraft RV-8A registration N592MB, making a flyover of Truist Field on January 13th, 2024 at 7:17 pm EST (12:17 UTC January 14th) at an altitude of 1,925 feet.

N592 MB flyover

With the flight path through downtown generally following 3rd street.

N592MB flight path

This seems to be the only aircraft in the formation that was broadcasting ADS-B data at the time.

Using landmarks in the video, it can be confirmed that the vehicle taking the video was travelling northbound towards downtown on 4th street. The video is taken as the car travels about 1/10th of a mile, the video concludes as the vehicle reaches North Kings Drive.

North Kings Drive, Charlotte NC

This view is consistent with the path of the aircraft seen in the video. The vehicle path is shown in red in the map below.

Vehicle path through downtown

In this screenshot from a video on the Bandit Flight Team website, N592MB is the airplane at the bottom of the photo.

N592MB in formation

  • $\begingroup$ Good job. I could have thought of that. $\endgroup$ Commented Feb 4 at 23:19

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