Summary: Near crashes with passenger planes, high-speed chases with military aircraft... what is the truth behind the most popular type of UFO reported in recent years?
Near crashes with passenger planes, high-speed chases with military aircraft... what is the truth behind the most popular type of UFO reported in recent years?
UFO’s come in all shapes and sizes, but every now and then a particular shape seems to become particularly common. This has happened previously with disc-shaped and cigar-shaped objects, but is happening now with triangular shaped craft. This type of craft is sometimes called The Silent Vulcan, but is more usually referred to as The Flying Triangle.
As always, there are some variations in accounts from witnesses, but there are enough common features to suggest that one type of craft is involved. The Flying Triangle, is generally described as being over 100 metres in diameter, and as being black or grey in colour. The triangular shape s most apparent when viewed from below - in other words the craft is fairly flat and shaped like a slice of pizza.
A significant number of reports also talk of the object being wedge-shaped, or shaped like a boomerang. There are frequent reports of three lights mounted on the underside of these craft, with one light in each corner. some witnesses tell of a fourth light mounted in the centre of the craft, in between the more visible lights. The lights in the centre are generally described as being red, while the one in the centre is described as being white.
Of course, many UFO sightings occur at night, and in the case of the Flying Triangle, it is the lights that seem to be flying in a triangular formation that is often the first thing that attracts the attention. But, unlike aircraft lights, they do not flash.
The First Wave.
The first major wave of sightings involving the Flying Triangle occurred in the Hudson Valley area of New York State in March 1983. The witnesses reported ‘V-shaped’ UFO’s or ‘flying wings’. One witness said the craft was so huge that it filled the entire sky.
Over the next four years, hundreds of people in the Hudson Valley area claimed to have seen this craft.
But it was events in Belgium in 1990 that were to bring the Flying Triangle to world attention, and would result in one of the most spectacular and well documented UFO encounters of all time.
Since a wave of sightings that had occurred on 29th November 1989, Belgium had been experiencing a lot of UFO activity, with many good-quality reports being submitted by reliable witnesses. These included trained observers such as military personnel and members of the Belgian police force - the type of people who are less likely to misidentify a conventional object or phenomenon.
Many of the sightings spoke of a large, triangular-shaped object. As a result of this, the Belgian Air Force agreed to send jets up to investigate should a particularly interesting sighting occur.
On one rather embarrassing occasion, aircraft were sent up to investigate, only to find that the sightings had been generated by people seeing lights from a laser show. As a result, the Air Force decided that it would only send up aircraft if visual sightings were correlated by radar evidence. On the night of 30th March 1990, and in the early hours of the following day, this is precisely what happened.
The sightings were focussed on the Wavre region, and many of these reports spoke of three lights flying in perfect triangular formation. Many people clearly saw that these lights were on the underside of a huge, triangular-shaped craft. The object was picked up by two different ground radar bases, one operated by the Belgian Air Force, and one by NATO. As a result of this, orders were given to scramble two F-16 fighters kept on Quick Reaction Alert by the Belgian Air Force.
The fighters soon picked up the object on their radar, and then used their radar to lock on to the craft. But somehow the craft broke this lock on several occasions, and seemed to be able to move almost instantly from a hovering state to over a thousand kilometres per hour.
This evasive action suggests that the craft was under intelligent control, but the acceleration involved in the manoeuvres performed would have killed any human occupants. The Belgian Air Force was quizzed about these events, and co-operated with a Belgian UFO research team in carrying out a detailed investigation.
The Chief of Operations of the Belgian Air Staff, Colonel Wilfred De Brouwer, candidly admitted that they had assessed that the UFO was a solid, structured craft, which had carried out an unauthorized penetration of Belgian airspace. In view of the fact that military and political figures routinely deny the existence of UFO’s, this is quite an admission.
Three years later, the Flying Triangle put in another appearance, this time over Britain. Most of the sightings occurred in the early hours of 31st March 1993 and, perhaps because of the late hour, many of the witnesses were police officers on night patrol, and service personnel on guard duty around military bases.
The descriptions were uncannily similar to the Belgian sightings, with many people reporting three lights moving in perfect formation, while others who had a closer view reported that the lights marked the edges of a huge, triangular UFO.
A number of witnesses reported another characteristic which has frequently been reported in relation to the Flying Triangle - a low, humming sound that appears to come from the craft.
Two particular reports are especially noteworthy; the first was a sighting from RAF Cosford in Shropshire. In this case, an entire military guard patrol reported seeing the UFO pass directly over the base. They made frantic checks with duty Air Traffic Controllers, but drew a complete blank - there were no aircraft in the area.
The most sensational report submitted that night came from the Meteorological Officer at RAF Shawbury, which is only a few kilometres from RAF Cosford. Having heard about the UFO sighting at Cosford, he went outside to see if he could see anything.
To his absolute amazement, he saw a triangular-shaped craft heading straight for the base, emitting a low, humming sound. He estimated the size of the UFO to be little smaller than a Jumbo Jet. He then saw it fire a beam of light at the ground, which swept from side to side, as if looking for something. The light then went out, and the craft passed slowly over the base.
The Ministry of Defence launched a full investigation into the sightings in a desperate attempt to find an explanation. The Ministry of Defence had always maintained that UFO’s were ‘of no defence significance’, but were now facing a dilemma. There was no way in which they could continue to say that these vents were of no defence significance when numerous military witnesses had reported an unidentified triangular craft flying directly over two key military establishments.
The Ministry tried to tie the sightings in with some more mundane occurrence. Assuming that at least 90% of UFO sightings have conventional explanations, they ran a detailed series of checks, first looking for aircraft activity, airship flights or weather balloon launches. They even checked with the Royal Observatory at Greenwich to see if there might be an astronomical explanation, such as unusual meteorite activity, but all their investigations drew a blank.
One theory was that the lights in the sky were caused by the re-entry into earth’s atmosphere of a Russian rocket. But while this event might have explained a particular concentration of sightings of lights at high altitude seen at 1.10am, the UFO sightings had occurred over a period of about several hours. There was clearly no way in which sightings such as the one from RAF Shawbury could be explained like this, so this theory had to be eliminated.
It has been suggested that the Flying Triangle may be some sort of secret, prototype craft. For many years now, there have been rumours of a hypersonic replacement to the Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird, and it is alleged that this craft is called Aurora.
The Belgian Air Force has investigated the possibility that the triangle seen in 1990 was an American F-117 Stealth fighter, but had received categoric assurance that no American aircraft were involved.
It was always unlikely - secret aircraft are tested exclusively in approved ranges and danger areas, and would not fly into heavily defended airspace without proper diplomatic clearance. Otherwise, a diplomatic incident is risked, with the possibility that the aircraft may be intercepted, and the secret craft made public.
For similar reasons, the British Ministry of Defence rejected the idea that an American prototype aircraft was responsible. While governments are unable to provide an answer, were the real operators of the craft enjoying their confusion? There is an interesting connection between the sightings in Belgium and the UK: both waves of sightings occurred late at night on 30th March, and in the early hours of the next day. And if these UFO stories had been picked up by the national media, the stories would have appeared on.... April 1st. Who would pay much attention to a UFO story that had appeared on April Fool’s Day? Is this coincidence, an elaborate hoax, or a sign that the intelligence behind the craft has a sense of humour?