15 November 2007

Most definitely not the tinfoil hat brigade

A panel of retired pilots and aviation officials risked possible ridicule by sharing their personal stories of close encounters with unidentified flying objects. They urged the US government to reopen its investigation into extra-terrestrial spacecraft.

Among the incidents discussed at a recent gathering in Washington DC was an alleged sighting of a triangular-shaped flying machine with unfamiliar markings near the former US air base at RAF Woodbridge in Suffolk in 1980. (Rendlesham Forest?) "Nothing in my training prepared me for what we were witnessing," James Penniston, a retired US Air Force pilot, told the panel. He said the UFO, with "blue and yellow lights swirling around the exterior", was "warm to the touch and felt like metal". Finally, "it shot off at an unbelievable speed" in front of 80 witnesses. "In my log book, I wrote 'speed: impossible'," Mr Penniston added.

Jean-Claude Duboc, a former Air France pilot, recalled spotting "a huge flying disc" about 1,000ft (305m) across which left no image on his radar as he flew over Paris in broad daylight in January 1994. He said the object started to become transparent and, within 10 to 20 seconds, had vanished without a trace.

Fife Symington, a former governor of Arizona, said that it was time for the US government to reopen Project Blue Book, the US Air Force inquiry into 12,500 UFO reports, which was abandoned as a "waste of time" in 1969. "Incidents like these are not going to go away," he said. "We want the government to stop perpetuating the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth, conventional terms."

Talk of flying saucers resurfaced in the US media a few weeks ago when one of the Democratic presidential hopefuls, Dennis Kucinich, claimed during a televised debate that he had seen one. His comments may not have been total political suicide – two former US presidents, Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter, each spoke early in their careers of encounters with UFOs.


Anonymous said...

The thing about UFOs is to understand that that is all that they are: unidentified flying objects. Logically you proceed to identify them as best you can. Some of them are undoubtedly classified military experiments and others are optical illusions caused by atmospheric conditions, but you make the effort because they could be someone else's classified experimental aircraft, and you don't want to be unpleasantly surprised.

The US F-117 Nighthawk stealth fighter was around for years before anyone saw pictures of it, and it certainly was responsible for UFO reports.

Unidentified means only that.

Siani said...

I always tend to take notice of UFO reports by pilots, police officers, etc. The crazies annoy me, as they tarnish the reputations of rational people who are seeking rational answers. As Bryan says, a UFO literally is just a flying object that the witness is unable to identify. It doesn't make it an alien spacecraft. That said, if we're sending probes out into space, if there's intelligent life elsewhere in the universe, what's to say they're not doing the same? I believe there's life elsewhere in the universe, but I've yet to be persuaded that we're being visited by aliens. Then again, it might explain the presence of people like Michael Portillo and David Cameron on this planet ...

jams o donnell said...

Excatly Bryan. The vast majority have mundane explanations. Most of the rest may be due to not well known aerial phenomena. And then of course there is the stuff funded by the "black budget". It would be nice to think some have an extra terrestrial origin but I very much doubt it.

I have no doubt that teh galaxy is teeming with life, a lot of it far less stupid than us! John Redwood was proof positive of alien infiltration. I take issue with those who think he was vulcan He was a Romulan if there ever was one!