On March 13, 1997 the Phoenix Lights became a sensational UFO story, when bright, slowly-falling lights were seen in the sky across the Phoenix metropolitan area, and across much of southern Arizona. They were determined quite definitively to be flares dropped by A-10 Warthog aircraft, in a training exercise at the Barry Goldwater Range in southwest Arizona. This was actually the second UFO incident reported that evening across Arizona. The first incident, involving a V-shape of lights, may have been aircraft lights, but is in any case not relevant to this discussion. Some UFO promoters deliberately confuse the two, showing the video of the second incident (dramatic but easily explained) while describing the first (less certain identitfication, but no good photos or videos).
On the evening of Friday, Oct. 28, four bright lights in the sky were reported and photographed at a high school football game in Scottsdale, Arizona (Phoenix metropolitan area). The lights were shown by broadcaster Mark Mancuso on Accuweather. The video used to be at
http://www.accuweather.com/video/1805489410/ufo-sightings-in-scottsdale-ariz.asp , however that video has apparently been pulled (probably because it made Accuweather a laughingstock, and the broadcaster is now in the woodshed). However, as Ian Ridpath notes in a comment below, you can still find that video on the Accuweather website if you search for it another way: http://www.accuweather.com/video.asp?search=scottsdale
You can also see the "UFOs" in another video below:
It's not hard to see the similarity to the parachuting flares of the Phoenix lights. There was a lot of speculation that these might be flares attached to sky divers, but can we do better than just speculate?
Sometimes a little investigation goes a long way. SkyFOX helicopter pilot Rick Crabbs (Fox Channel 10 in Phoenix)said, "I was at the location where those skydivers were coming in ... Friday night, so that's exactly what happened -- there were some skydivers," he said. "And they did have pyrotechnics on their ankles. There were four of them, and if you look at the video, you can see four different lights."
The skydivers were at an event called the "Halloween Balloon Spooktacular" at the Salt River Fields. Looking at the schedule of activities for that event, we find:
•9:00pm Arizona Skyhawks performance with sky divers in lighted suits and pyrotechnics
The Arizona Skyhawks are indeed a professional skydiving team that sometimes uses pyrotechnics.
But for some "journalists," wild speculation is more gratifying than a little bit of actual research.