CASE /COMPUTER REF: 51/77/78/126-193.
A TRUE UFO? - THE CASE OF THE SILENT VULCAN
Re-counting the Unusual Leicestershire UFO Events of
A True UFO? Or Was This Widely Seen Aerial Object An Early Spy plane Prototype?
A Full Report By
Mark Brown and Graham Hall.
By Jeff Lord,
The Leicestershire UFO Research Society
Unidentified Flying Objects were reported widely throughout the Leicestershire region during the 1970s, and certainly some sceptics would still probably argue that local people were seeing things, even though the evidence for the existence of these phenomena is extremely overwhelming. 1978 in particular, showed a marked increase in sightings of aerial unknowns, not just in Leicestershire, but also the rest of the United Kingdom, and indeed, the entire Globe.
However, even though explanations for the vast majority of sightings have eventually been found, one important Leicestershire UFO case from October, 1978, has simply refused to go away, with the object involved, to this day, never being positively identified, and the extremely unusual multi-witness case, remaining a total mystery.
The UFO involved was witnessed by hundreds of witnesses over a wide area of the Leicestershire (and north Warwickshire) regions, on the evening of October 23rd., 1978, and was described as a dark, triangular-shaped craft, totally silent, which had the ability to hover for lengthy periods of time, before moving off at an exceptional speed. The appearance of the UFO was extremely noticeable in the clear dusk sky due not only to its low height (2,000 feet), and also its size, which was described by everyone involved as enormous, or twice the size of a Jumbo Jet, but also due to the fact that the object carried three extremely brilliant main white-yellow lights, appearing totally different to normal aircraft lighting systems, with the craft being visible for over 14 miles.
Several UFO Researchers of the period, including Mr. Graham Hall, who remains the current sightings co-ordinator of the Leicestershire UFO Research Society, which originally formed in 1971, investigated the baffling case, calling it simply - The Case of the Silent Vulcan, a title given to the case at the time by Graham due to many of the witnesses describing the object as looking like a large Vulcan bomber, but, however, completely silent. A title given, that in later years, apparently caught on, with the phrase Silent Vulcan being automatically used by several other researchers to describe this particular type of unidentified flying object (or a similar craft) as it began to be witnessed over many other areas of the U.K.
For over three hours, between 6:30 and 9:30 p.m., the strange object intermittently circled and hovered over the Region before it finally vanished from the area.
East Midlands Airport baffled
Air Traffic Control at East Midlands Airport were later interviewed by LUFORS itself, and other assisting LUFOIN groups concerning the event, and also admitted that they too were completely baffled by the UFO, which, even though it had even also been witnessed flying throughout at below 2,500 feet within the airports flight corridor by both crew and passengers of an inbound Maltese flight into East Midlands, (1) the strange aircrafts large image did not in fact appear on any of the airports sophisticated radar systems, which later also gave rise to the un-proven theory that very early Stealth technology was being used by the strange, 1978 craft which would have prevented any radar lock being made. Suggestions were later made therefore that the UFO could have been in fact, an early, prototype of an experimental spy aircraft. such as the later developed TR-3A aircraft, perhaps undergoing a test flight for example, from a nearby USAF U.K. base. However, it was, and is still basic policy for airports such as East Midlands, to be informed officially by the R.A.F. of any test flights of any such aircraft in their immediate vicinity, the inherent dangers to the public during such tests being obvious. But, as regards the October 23rd, 1978 event, according to airport controllers, such information was never forthcoming, which added a further air of mystery to the case.
Movie film evidence
Besides the many recorded witness statements concerning the sighting, another important piece of visual evidence, was the capture of the objects image on 8 mm movie film, which was taken by a Burbage witness on the grounds of the Hastings High School, where his family were caretakers at the time.
The Kodak footage, which was filmed on daylight colour film, was immediately copied and examined by experts, and clearly shows the UFO approaching the camera head-on and at a very low-level.
Although it only lasts for just over 30 seconds, the film has always remained a vital piece of evidence regarding this particular, aerial event.
(1); Flight 706 Maltese Airlines - Inbound - Scheduled to land at East Midlands Airport - 19:30 Hours.
THE CASE OF THE SILENT VULCAN
Monday, October 23rd., 1978. 18:00 Hours onwards.
South Leicestershire/North Warwickshire
By Graham Hall
This intriguing case occurred in late October 1978, and involved many witnesses. I remember that in those days, sightings of localised delta-shaped UFOs were rare and investigators were completely taken by surprise by the event. No-one at that time had any idea whatsoever that the stage was being set for the future of Global ufology insomuch as the World was soon to be flooded with flying triangle sightings.
Locally, that magnificent aircraft the Avro Vulcan, stationed at nearby Bitteswell, was originally blamed for the sightings, and many of the witness statements repeated themselves by stating that the witnessed object looked like a Vulcan bomber in silhouette with a bright light at each corner. The problem being of course, that the sighted object was absolutely silent, an emphasised factor commented on by almost all of the witnesses. If the object had been a Vulcan Bomber, we were avidly informed by aviation experts at the time, then it would assuredly have been heard, and at the height that the object was flying, it would have been heard indoors, even with the windows closed.
This being evident therefore, and, as we were, and still are, in the habit of giving our case histories titles, all this talk of silent aircraft led me to name the case at the time, what I considered to be a more than appropriate title. I called it simply the Silent Vulcan case, with the first generally published version, released in 1982, bearing that name.
By Mark Brown
The events of October 23rd., 1978 saw one of the largest known public responses to an article about localised flying objects since our records began.
In the first instance however, only a small number of reports filtered through to investigators in Leicester and Hinckley. Instead, many of the witnesses to the evenings events, who wished to contact someone about their sighting, rang the local newspapers, and on the evening of October 24th., 1978 the Nuneaton Tribune ran an article entitled Did you see a UFO ? This was followed by similar articles in the Burton Daily Mail, Coalville and Ashby times, the Loughborough Echo, Leicester Mercury and the Hinckley Times.(See Items 19 to 22: 1978 Press Report Log).
Needless to say, the media showed great interest in such an apparent large UFO event and because of this, certain details of the sightings were released prior to investigators obtaining statements. There was concern that this may have had some influence on the witnesses descriptions given later. To try and avoid this factor, the prime objective by investigators, once they learned of the situation, was speed of investigation in order to try and reduce the effects of this mass publicity. The result of this attitude was that all witness interviews were completed within 10 days.
The interview results were quite outstanding, and it was now obvious at this stage that the object, whatever it was, has made quite an impression on the minds of the public, and had been widely seen.
The main body of witnesses appear to have been situated in Hinckley and nearby Nuneaton (Warwickshire), with almost as large a concentration in the city of Leicester and its suburbs. Later checks failed to reveal any witnesses in Nottinghamshire or Lincolnshire, and no known Lincolnshire newspaper articles concerning the sighting were traced. No further data on the sightings could be acquired from these areas.
Sightings appear to have commenced at 18:00 hours and concluded at 24:46 hours with a total of 67 documented, separately reported incidents occurring during that time period. The peak of the activity came within a 30 minute period from 18:30 to 19:00 hours, during which, 55 of the 67 reports occurred.
These sightings span an area between Nuneaton and Whitwick, - to - Burton-on-Trent and Kibworth. In all, an area of approximately 425 square miles.
The same, or similar object was seen by hundreds of witnesses, including many aircraft pilots, flying low over China on the same date as the Leicestershire, (and others) sightings. It was also visible on radar.
Only two days earlier, on October 21st., 1978, the pilot of a light aircraft, whilst flying over the coast of New Zealand witnessed an almost identical craft hovering above his Cessna plane. It was also visible on radar. Within minutes of radioing his report of the UFO to ground controllers, both he, and his plane vanished from the radar screen and were never seen or heard of again. To this day, pilote Frederick Valentich and his Cessna aircraft are still classed as missing without trace.
See also:Oct. 21, 1978; Bass Strait, Australia (NICAP report).
WITNESS STATEMENTS REGARDING THE UNKNOWN AERIAL OBJECT WITNESSED ON OCTOBER 23rd., 1978, ABOVE LEICESTERSHIRE AND NORTH WARWICKSHIRE
Report 1.Mr. J. S,A447 - Ashby Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire.SK427 024.18:00 Hours.
I was coming along Ashby Road in my car at about 6p.m.. on Monday night. I was leaving the Cadeby turn when I saw a mass of very bright lights in the sky travelling towards me. Their outline was delta shaped. I went along for about another 500 yards looking up into the sky. I was so interested that I stopped the car in a lay by to get out for a better look. I stared at it for a while then it disappeared faster than the eye could see. In fact it disappeared so fast that I wondered if I had imagined it, although I knew I hadnt.
I was travelling home and I was between Littlethorpe and Cosby at 6.20 p.m. when I noticed 3 white lights travelling towards me. I thought at first it was an aeroplane going to land at Castle Donnington with its landing lights on, as it got nearer the lights got very bright and formed a triangle. This in itself seemed an unusual formation. I slowed down to view it more safely, and realised there were no other lights as on normal aircraft, wingtips and tail etc. I stopped my car and opened the windows as it got closer. I could see the shape as a black silhouette, it was like a Vulcan bomber, triangular shaped with a light on each point and large. The other strange thing was that I heard no noise at all, no sound of engines etc. After it passed, the lights were no longer visible and it disappeared from my view into the dark. I have never seen the like before and that includes 3 years in the R.A.F. when I saw aircraft day and night.
Report 3. Mrs. M. S.Bosworth Park, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. SK 409 027. 18:30 Hours.
My daughter and I were walking the dogs in the park when we saw the UFO. We did not see it appear, so we did not know how long it had been there. It was bright and shining and stayed in the same place all the time we saw it.
Statement 3 (B). Mrs. M. S. (June 1981 Statement).
I cannot quite remember what time it was, but I think it was round about 7 p.m. We had taken the dogs for a walk across Bosworth Park. When we reached the car park, there this thing sat overhead. It did not appear to be very high up.
I do not know how long it had been there for we heard no noise at all. It did not move at all, and no sound came from it. We stood looking at it for about 10 minutes, then my daughter said she was feeling afraid of it, as it was so large. As we went towards Bosworth, I could see it still sitting there, then all at once, it was gone. We heard afterwards that it was seen racing across the sky towards Measham. I now wish that we had waited just that little while longer as I would have loved to have seen it moving.
Report 4.Mr. D. S. Greenmoor Rd, Burbage, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 434 933. 18:30 Hours.
We were walking down my friends house when I saw the lights in the sky. First of all it went up and down, then from side to side and one of my friends ran in to get a camera. We watched it move off at a fast rate, a lot faster than any plane Ive seen. As it went there was a blue light underneath. When my friend came out again it was gone. It wasnt dark but just going dark. It was about 6.30 p.m on the corner of Greenmoor Road.
Report 5. Mrs. K. W,Monmouth Gardens, Lindley Park, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SP 344 915. 18:30 Hours.
I was sitting at home watching T.V. In my top window I saw a large light that was going on and off. I fetched my two children who were scared. The object seem to be moving, it was very large. I went outside and didnt hear any engine noise. I watched for a few minutes and then the lights seemed to go off and the object disappeared.
Report 6. Mr. S.Atholl Crescent, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SP 344 907. 18:30 Hours.
On 23rd., October 1978, prior to putting my car in the garage, I was talking to a neighbour and we both saw an object in the sky. It had a number of bright lights which dimmed, then became brighter. The object was moving slow and seemed lower than an aircraft.
Report 7.Mrs. Jayne D, Leicester Road, Measham, Leicestershire. SK 366 143. 18:30 Hours.
The object approached from the south-west. It looked like a star to begin with and gradually got brighter and larger as it approached us. It was approximately 4 to 6 inches in diameter at arms length with 3 lights, the middle one being like a searchlight with a powerful beam. It moved slowly and took almost half a hour to pass overhead. As it moved over and headed towards Castle Donnington, we lost sight of it as the lights faded out of view. There was no noise at all. Our Alsatian dog was whining and barking furiously as the object passed over.
Report 8. Mrs. G. W,Leicester Road, Measham, Leicestershire. SK 366 143. 18:30 Hours.
It was about 6.30pm. We were called outside by our friend and we looked up into the sky. We thought it was a plane but as we looked it was sort of round and had three beams of light. First they were on white then turned to red. It was about one and a half inches long at arms length and was going very slowly, then, as it reached the front of the house it was going faster - it seemed to be coming from Tamworth and heading for Castle Donnington.
Report 9. Mr. R.,Western Avenue, Ravenstone, Leicestershire. SK 445 196. 18:30 Hours.
I was feeding my livestock down the garden when I noticed three bright lights in the sky. After about 2 minutes I returned into the house and when I came back out again I saw three lights in a triangle shape to only two lights and a red, and green, (or blue). I then watched it disappear all of a sudden.
Report 10. Mr. & Mrs. E. C,Leighton Crescent, Elmesthope, Leicestershire. SP 469 971.18:40 Hours.
As we looked at the object it appeared as one lighted mass, its movements were as if it was hovering or pulsating upwards at first, then coming down. It then remained static for a few minutes. The object began to move towards us slowly gradually accelerating. There was however, no noise at all from the craft.
Report 11, Mr. K,Lychgate Lane, Burbage, Leicestershire. SP 442 925. 18:40 Hours.
I saw bright white lights, one either side of the object and two smaller lights that could have been red. It was night time but I definitely got the impression of a large triangle.
Report 12.Mr. R. M, Forresters Road, Burbage, Leicestershire. SP 442 923. 18:40 Hours.
Being ex-RAF I would have said that the object was a Vulcan Bomber flying south to north on the flight path used by East Midlands airport. However, the object was stationery in sight for approximately three minutes. Imagine a Vulcan bomber with bright lights on each wing tip and two very bright landing lights in the centre. It then moved towards us and overhead gather speed. When overhead I could see what looked like a red navigation light in the centre and another white light where the tailplane would be. THERE WAS NO NOISE !(emphasis by witness). I rushed to the front of our bungalow, (taking a few seconds), but it had completely vanished.
Statement 12 (B).Mr. R. M. June, 1981.
Firstly, I am ex RAF and still an active member of the Duxford Aviation Society restoring aircraft.
The night in question I was looking out of my kitchen window after dark when I saw these three lights.,(I add at this point that we are the flight path for East Midlands airport) that I thought was another aircraft coming over. However, a short time after I noticed the lights were still there, so I went straight outside. At first I thought it to be a VULCAN AIRCRAFT (emphasis by witness) and realised that the lights were stationary. (No shape was visible but I could imagine it to be a Vulcan). I must have watched for two minutes and then rushed to get my binoculars out of the car which was close to hand. Before I had time to focus, the lights suddenly moved forwards at speed in a northerly direction without noise. The houses then hid it from view.
I assure you that there was NO NOISE (emphasis by witness) and a Harrier Jet could not clear the distance from HOVER TO SPEED (emphasis by witness) in the time and without noise. I often think of this and keep looking out but cannot find a single solution.
P.S. If you find an answer, I would be pleased to know.
Report 13. Mrs. M. R., Gadsby Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SP 369 913. 18:40 Hours.
I saw three bright lights in a line. It came down Whitestone Way and went towards Atherstone. About 10 minutes later a plane passed over.
Report 14.Miss A. F. School Walk, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SP 372 910. 18:40 Hours.
I saw three lights in the shape of a saucer. It hovered then began to move, not very fast but you could follow it. As it faded the light on top seemed to be underneath it.
Report 15. Mr. & Master B.Cosby Road, Broughton Astley, Leicestershire. SP 671 963. 18:40 Hours.
We first saw white lights in the sky from the south-east, we then went to investigate and stood in the garden for about three minutes. It came towards us and we could see that it was something that we hadnt seen before. It then stopped still in the sky for about fifteen seconds. There was no noise from any engines at all. We could see the white light at the front, and four green lights around it. We could see it very clearly because it was not very high, and it was a clear night. It disappeared at about 7.45 p.m., heading slowly north-west.
Report 16. Mr. M. S.Gillam Butts, Countesthorpe, Leicestershire. SP 572 964. 18:40 Hours.
I was driving from Blaby to Countesthorpe along Winchester Road, at approximately 6.40 p.m., on Monday, 23rd., 1978. As I passed the entrance to Countesthorpe College, I saw directly in front of me in the sky at approximately 20 degrees to the horizontal, a white cigar-shaped light. I kept this in view and then turned left into Station Road, Countesthorpe. (This is a ninety-degree turn). I then kept this light in view and it appeared to be travelling in the same direction as me. I turned again and the light was now visible directly through my windscreen and appeared as three spotlights in a Delta shape at approximately 50-60 degrees to the horizon. I stopped my van and got out. The lights had disappeared and there was no sound of aircraft of any type. The night was clear.
Report 17. Mr. A. C,Red Deeps, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SP 368 908. 18:45 Hours.
My Daughter called me out to see this UFO. She and a friend had watched it come from in the distance (south) as a bright stationary light. When I saw it, it was moving from right to left. The appearance was three lights in Delta formation with one of the lights leading the other two. I could make out no solid shape but had the impression of a Delta-shaped object. In my foreground was a sodium streetlamp, the object passed in front. I looked away, then at some time it must have turned 180 degrees, because when I looked again they were moving to my right. I then clearly saw the three lights turn through 180 degrees to go left, (approximately north again). After a few moments they were enveloped by cloud.
Report 18. Mr. T. I.William Street, Nuneaton,Warwickshire. SP 372 922. 18:45 Hours.
The object moved south-north overhead. There were three bright lights at the front.. When it had passed overhead, the white lights disappeared and a green/blue light was visible underneath. It was completely silent and moved at about the speed of a low flying aircraft.
Report 19.Mrs. C. M, Torridon Way, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 418 945. 18:45 Hours.
The object moved south to north overhead. There were three bright lights at the front. When it had passed overhead the white lights disappeared and a green/blue light was visible underneath. It was completely silent and moved about the speed of a low flying aircraft.
Report 20. Mrs. M. M,Saint Catherines Close, Burbage, Leicestershire. SP 443 925. 18:45 Hours.
I went to the back door and saw a very bright light in the sky. It was low down and in the south towards Burbage village. At first, I thought it was a bright star. I fetched my Husband and Daughter to have a look and we realised that it was slowly moving towards us. There was no sound, so it was not as there was no light visible from the back. We could not see its shape, either due to the light, or because it blended in with the night sky.
Report 21. Mrs. D. M,Lochmore Drive, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 422 948. 18:45 Hours.
We saw what we first thought to be an aircraft but later when we got out of the van, we realised that it couldnt be because it was moving too slow. We saw three big, very bright lights, with the outer two much bigger than the centre one. The lights moved very slowly across the sky making no sound that we could hear. This, and the slowness of speed, made us think that it was very high up, yet the lights were too big and seemed near. We watched it for about ten minutes and then it disappeared behind a cloud.
Report 22. Mrs. G,Cedar Road, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. SP 468 975.18:45 Hours.
I was riding my bicycle down Ash Road, towards Cedar Road, when I saw a horizontal line of three white lights in the sky over Elmsthorpe. The lights were bright
and quite close together. There was no area of darkness between the lights. The centre one was very slightly raised. The lights were either stationary, or moving very slowly. There was no sound.
Report 23. Mr. C. A,Park Road, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. SP 462 971. 18:45 Hours.
My Son and I were walking down a public footpath when my Son said look Dad, a flying saucer. I looked up and said I think youre right Son. We stopped and watched it for quite a while, trying to figure out what it was. It was silent until we walked by a high walk which stopped the breeze, and we heard a low thunder-like sound.
Report 24.Mrs. J. V. W, Elmesthorpe Lane, Earl Shilton. SP 456 968. 18:45 Hours.
I was hanging my washing out, it was just getting dark, when I saw the three bright lights in the sky. It was Delta - shaped. I called my next door neighbour, but there was no reply.
Report 25. Mr. P.Beaumont Avenue, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 417 934. 18:45 Hours.
On the date and time in question I was sitting watching TV when my Wife called me outside and pointed to an object in the sky to the right of the rear of our house coming from approximately the direction of Lutterworth. It was a very large object just above the low cloud with very large bright lights approximately four in a row. It was making no noise at all. We followed the object coming towards us. I fetched my binoculars and by this time the object had passed overhead, still noiseless. Through the binoculars the object had four lights underneath and one red light in the centre, with a thin long light at the front of the object, just in font of the red one I followed it until it had gone into low cloud.
Report 26. Mrs. M. C,Coronation Road, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. SP 468 989. 18:45 Hours.
I was about to draw the curtains and I noticed what I thought to be a very bright star rising over the house opposite. As it appeared to be rising very quickly I called my Husband to come and look. We then went outside. As the light came closer, we saw that there were three bright lights in a horizontal line, they were white.
Report 27. Mrs. E.Hastings High School, Burbage, Leicestershire. SP 437 934. 18:45 Hours.
I left the school around 6.45 p.m., on Monday, 23rd., October, 1978. I walked towards our house which is in the grounds, my two grandchildren came to meet me. As we walked up the side of the house, in front of us in the sky was a reddish-orange light. We watched it for a few minutes then I called my Husband and Sons out of the house to look at it. We watched it for about five minutes, then I went across to the school to ask the Deputy Headmaster, (who gives lessons in astronomy), I thought that if it was a star he would be able to explain it. He was talking to the headmaster and I asked him if he would come outside and have a look. When we got outside and looked towards where the light had been, it had gone. On looking down the field due south, we could see three bright lights coming towards us. My youngest Son came over to us asked Mr. Goodman what it was. He didnt know. It then came nearer to us and it looked to me, head on, very much the shape of a Vulcan bomber, or a half circle. As it went right over us, it looked to have a dull, red light underneath it. We thought it was a plane, but as it went over, there was no sound whatsoever, also, there were no navigation lights on it. As we turned around to look at it, but it was completely black at the back and we could see nothing. It was travelling south to north but not on a flight path. After we got back in the house we rang LUFOIN at Leicester to report it. After talking about it and saying that it looked from the front very much like a V. Bomber, I rang up Bitteswell where the V. Bomber that comes over is stationed, and asked them if it had been up in the last hour and a half and they said no, if it had, we definitely would have heard it.
Statement 27 (B)Mrs. E. June, 1981.
When the object was seen, it was stationary, and was like a star but was an orange - red colour. This first drew my attention to it.
(condensed), As we walked up the side of the house, in front of us in the sky was a reddish-orange light. I went to fetch the school Headmaster. When we looked towards where the light had been, it had gone. Then, on looking down the field due south, we could see three bright lights coming towards us.
Report 28.Mr. H. T, (on behalf of witnesses). Outlands Drive, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 418 942. 18:45 Hours.
On Monday, 23rd., October, 1978, at approximately 7. 07 p.m., my Son Mark, aged 8 years, ran into the house with three friends, to tell me he had just seen a UFO. I must admit to taking little notice at the time, however, I noticed a report of a sighting in the Tuesday edition of the Nuneaton Evening Tribune, and that evening, I questioned Mark further. Whilst I was talking to him, two of his friends, Lee and Paul B, called for him to play outside. My Wife asked them in, and before they, or Mark, had time to discuss the matter together, we separated them and asked them to draw what they had seen in the sky on the previous evening. That same evening, I asked John M, to make a drawing to also make a drawing, and this he did, in his own home, and without having seen the other children or their drawings. I appreciate that the said drawings may include some imagination, but what struck me was the similarity, particularly as Mark made two drawings, which co-ordinated with both Lee and Pauls on the one hand, and Johns on the other.
Report 29.Mr. R. P. N, Applebee Road, Burbage, Leicestershire. SP 438 954. 18:45 Hours.
I was sitting at home when I noticed a bright light. First I thought it was a firework, but it got brighter and nearer. I then went outside and as it got nearer I could see that it wasnt one bright light, but two lights similar to two powerful car headlights. Because of the intensity of the lights I was unable to make out any clear shape. It wasnt making any noise at all. After watching it for about a minute or so I then went in home and thought nothing more about it until I read the Hinckley Times on Friday.
Report 30.Mrs. M. A. P. O. Carlton, Nuneaton, Warwickshire. SK 395 050. 18:45 Hours.
I saw an object which I first thought was a large aircraft, because it had three lights on and my first thought was that it had landing lights on, then I realised that the centre light would cover the whole of the cockpit. The other two lights were set back, and at this point I had stopped my car and got out.
I realised that the object was stationary, so I stood and watched. There was no sound. Suddenly, it started to move in my direction very slowly, and I stood and waited until it was above me and I felt that there were windows of some sort around it. At this point I felt afraid, so I got back into my car and drove away.
Report 31.Mr. J. A. J, Lancaster Avenue, Market Bosworth, Leicestershire. SK 406 032. 18:45 Hours.
Whilst travelling towards Newbold Vernon, in my car, I noticed a bright star-like object low in the sky. It soon became apparent that it was moving towards me. As it came overhead, I could see that it was a large, triangular shape, with enormous powerful lights at its three extremities. It appeared to move quite slowly, and there was a pinkish glow underneath the object which lit up and outlined the shape quite definitely.
Report 32.Mr. B. P. K, South Street, Ellistown, Leicestershire. SK 445 112. 18:45 Hours.
I saw two bright lights in the sky at about 6.45 p.m. It hovered in the sky then moved slowly changing colours as it went. From white to red, to green, and then sped away.
Report 33. Mr. P. J. B.Barden, Coalville, Leicestershire. SK 441 155. 18:45 Hours.
On the 23rd., October 1978, at approximately 6.45 p.m., I was looking out of the window with my Daughter, when I noticed what I thought to be an aircraft with landing lights on, approaching. There were three lights which were very bright and in line abreast. My Wife, who was putting our two year-old daughter to bed had also noticed the lights approaching and, as I opened the lounge window, she opened the bedroom window. She asked me what it was and I gave her my opinion that it was an aircraft with landing lights on.
Report 34. Mr. A. E. D, Laud Close, Ibstock, Leics. SK 406 098. 18:45 Hours.
I was sitting in our car in the drive at home when my Wife came out from the house and pointed to the sky. I looked upwards and saw three bright lights, the centre one slightly larger than the outer ones, all in line abreast and on the same level. As they went over, a small red light was seen under the middle, very dim and distant. The bright ones lost size as they went by, but the red was visible until it disappeared into the distance.
Report 35. Mr. N. S,Baker Avenue, Ashby. SK 345 158. 18:45 Hours.
We left Js house to go to his car, when a bright object was sighted in the sky coming towards Ashby from Measham. Upon watching for a minute, there were three discernable lights which threw forwards a strong beam. Shortly afterwards, after approximately one minute, the main lights went out and left three very small lights which were visible, one green and one white. Then we heard the slight sound of an engine and just got into the car and drove off.
Report 36.Miss P. J. T, Desford Road, Thurlaston, SP 498 994. Leicester. 18:45 Hours.
As we were walking our dogs in a field, the object appeared from our left, apparently from Croft over the M69 motorway, travelling from our left to right. It appeared to be at the height a private plane would fly, but was cruising along very slowly, almost hovering, with three main headlights on the front. As the object was directly overhead, no definite shape could really be seen, no lights underneath, and absolutely no noise. As the object travelled over the village, and headed towards Desford, it appeared to vanish.
Report 37. Mr. B. G,Mallard Avenue, Nuneaton, Warwickshie. SP 332 925. 18:45 Hours.
NOTE: Mr. G. is an amateur meteorologist, and is used to seeing many types of aerial phenomena. His statement is a technical one, and has proved to be very helpful to the investigation.
Initial sighting at 6.46 p.m., from Haunchwood Road, junction of Westbury Road, at angle 12 degrees south of east declination 15 degrees.
Three bright lights in a triangle form with point light leading with a deduced heading 5-10 degrees east of north. No discernable shape surrounding the lights. Last seen as lights fading at an angle 10 degrees declination at 10 degrees east of north. Estimated height 3-4,000 feet. Weather conditions were fairly clear and still with light cloud. For a short period lights disappeared behind low cloud. (15-20 seconds). Observation made by myself and six scouts. Not thought to be aircraft as no navigation lights showing or seen and were specifically looked for. Also no recognisable sounds were heard.
Report 38.Mr. S. G. B, John Street, Enderby, Leicestershire. SP 536 991. 18:50 Hours.
I was taking my bean sticks down in the garden even though it was dark. I saw this bright light coming from the south travelling northwards. I thought it was a plane flying very low because of its bright light, also the light was not winking as they do at night. By the time it had nearly reached over head there was no sound at all, although I still thought it was a plane.. When I looked again, expecting it to be overhead, it had disappeared completely, it was then that I thought it must be something different from a plane. If the light had carried on instead of disappearing, I probably would not have thought anything of it.
Report 39. Mr. P. L. H,Hinckley Road, Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire. SP 486 945. 18:50 Hours.
I was sitting down looking out of the window and I saw a triangular object flying at great speed. It had three lights (white), and a bit of red. No sound.
I saw no central illumination, just three lights in a V - .
Report 40. Mr. J. S. F,Equity Road, Earl Shilton, Leicestershire. SP 467 976. 18:50 Hours.
Witnesses first saw the object as a blurred white light, which got nearer and then visually changed into four lights, the centre one of which was red.
Report 41. Mrs. L. J. C,Hinckley Road, Stoney Stanton, Leicestershire. SP 486 944. 18:50 Hours.
Delta-shaped object with three bright lights, size of a Vulcan Bomber, almost stationary but moving slowly. No sound.
Report 42. Master N. C,Peterfield Road, Whitwick, Leicestershire. 18:50 Hours.
I was playing with my friend outside his house in Peterfield Road, when we saw an object in the sky circling over the area of Meadow Lane. The object was yellow in appearance, with three red lights on top. The lights appeared to be separate from the object as if they were mounted on brackets. The lights were almost as nearby streetlamps. From the side, the object was wider at the top than the bottom, and seemed to have a wide flange around the bottom. I am not sure, but there may have been a red stripe around the body about a third of the way up. We watched the object circling for about a minute, and then it flew off towards the south-east at high speed until it disappeared into the distance. The object made a soft, humming sound.
Report 43.Mr. G. C, Hogarth Road,Whitwick, Leicestershire. 18:50 Hours.
I was about to get into my car which was parked outside my house, when I noticed three very bright lights in the sky. I was not sure whether it was a plane or a UFO. But certain things came to my attention which were; that the lights were in a triangular formation, much brighter than anything I have seen in the sky before. I also noticed that there was no sound at all from the object. The object was travelling at roughly the same altitude and speed as an average aircraft which would be landing at Castle Donnington airport, which is approximately 10 - 15 miles away. But this craft was not on the same flight path.
Report 44. Mr. J. I. J.Stanley Road, Market Bosworth, Warwickshire. SK 408 031. 18:55 Hours.
I left my house en-route for evening classes in Leicester. Having crossed the A447 Hinckley-Ibstock Road, on the B582, when I observed from the offside front window of my car, an unusual configuration of lights travelling roughly north. By the time I arrived at the junction, the object had passed out of sight over the roof of my car. Having turned right onto the B582, I glanced back over my right shoulder, but saw nothing of the object. During my sighting, I eased off the accelerator in order to detect noise from a probable low flying aircraft which I thought could have been on a flight path to East Midlands airport, but detected nothing. I opened my side window but wind noise could have masked any other noise. This event made me curious, but I am sceptical of UFOs. The configuration observed was six moving white lights in a double vee formation. I considered it to be a Vulcan bomber in size.
Report 45.Mr. D. M. Leicester Road, Ibstock, Leicestershire. SK 409 103. 18:55 Hours.
As I went out of home to go to the doctors, I looked up across the brickworks, and saw a very bright group of lights in the sky coming towards me. It was travelling very slowly. It was vee-shaped, with very bright rows of lights on the side, they shone very brightly on the side facing me. I could not hear the engines going or any noise at all. All the lights were pointing forwards.
Report 46. Mr. A. T, Newall,Bretby Park, Burton-on-Trent. 18:55 Hours.
While out walking in Bretby Park, I saw an object in the sky coming from the south, which had three bright white lights. At first it seemed to hover, and then it moved off at speed, going north towards Derby, and the white lights appeared to change to red.
Report 47.Mr. A. P, Springfield Road, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 428 427. 19:00 Hours.
I was out walking the dog down Hurst Road at approximately 7.00 p.m., when I noticed a cluster of 3 - 4 lights in the sky in a south, south-west direction. The lights were quite bright in an irregular pattern, and appeared to move in a limited area in various directions. There was no noise associated with it. As I walked along Southfield Road, the lights were hidden behind factory buildings.
Report 48. Mr. & Mrs. M. B,Watling Street, Hinckley, Leicestershire. SP 394 936. 19:00 Hours.
We were outside our house on the A5, when we noticed a big, faint, star-like object in the distance. My Wife remarked that it appeared to be coming towards us. As it approached, it seemed to be made up of three very bright lights. Then, as it reached us, almost overhead, the middle light was blotted out by the body of the object. The underneath appeared red with black criss-cross lines. As it moved away into the distance, only two lights were visible. Eventually, it faded away into the distance.
Report 49.Mrs J. S. S. Park Road, Sapcote, Leicestershire. SP 488 936. 19:00 Hours.
I saw three distinct very round brilliant lights, that seemed to be suspended in the air. I wound the car window down and looked again and the object had completely disappeared. There was no sound.
Report 50. Mr. R.. A. P,Harborough Road, Oadby, Leicestershire. SK 627 004. 19:00 Hours.
Living near the Leicester airport, there are always various aircraft around, also aircraft from East Midlands pass over and onto the flight path for Bitteswell. I first noticed an illumination in the sky. I didnt take too much notice of the exact time. Some time after first noticing this light, I noticed that it had moved very slowly, it certainly wasnt a fixed wing aircraft. I thought it must have been a helicopter doing some special flight, being on the main A6 road traffic was fairly heavy at this time and no sound of engines could be heard. It may have been a gas balloon for it was very slow, or even Goodyear type balloon. I would say it was flying at 1,500/2,000 feet. Looking out again some fifteen minutes later, It was in the north, north-west, and appeared to be travelling more north west onto a west direction.
Report 51. Mr. D. M,Worthington Lane, Newbold Coleorton, Near Leicester. 19:00 Hours.
The three witnesses involved were out on the street when they saw an object in the sky. At first they thought it was a plane but there was no sound, and its shape and lights were very different. The lights had a big beam of light at the front. They stood watching it, then it stopped over their heads. They got scared, and hid behind a car, then the object moved off. The object was Delta-shaped with a light in each corner.
Report 52. Mr. D. M. P,Leicester Road, Wigston Fields, Leicester. SP 604 997. 19:00 Hours.
We were walking home after playing football, when we saw something strange in the sky. The four of us looked up and we agreed that the object was not an aeroplane or helicopter. The object at that time was in the west and was moving slowly towards us, after a few minutes, it started to hover above the Wigston area. It hovered for about seven or eight minutes then moved off slowly. Then, about five minutes later, it shot off towards the stars at an unbelievable speed. It looked like two large lights which were white and joined by a glow.
Report 53. Mrs. W. L.Highfields Street, Coalville, Leicestershire. 19:00 Hours.
At about 7 p.m., I was in the front bedroom of my house, when I saw through the window, an object which appeared as a mass of bright lights in the sky. I opened the window for a clearer view, and then I observed the object as three bright lights in a triangular formation, the centre light slightly above the other two. On top of the object, I saw a structure with the appearance of a curved arm, which appeared to be lit by one of the lights. Each light had the appearance of a bright electric light bulb. The lights did not flicker, and I estimate the overall size of the object as being similar to an average sized living room. When I first saw the object, it was south-east of my location heading slowly in a westerly direction from Hugglescote to Ravenstone. It appeared to hover for about a minute over Highfields Street, and then moved on towards Ravenstone. I ran downstairs and out into my back garden, but saw nothing more of the object. The object made no sound and I saw no lights of any other colour, other than mentioned. At the time of this sighting, it was dark, the weather was fine, but the sky was covered by cloud, and there was no wind.
Report 54. Mr. A. G, Miss S. B.Kingsway, Braunstone, Leicestershire. SK 555 016. 19:15 Hours.
We were on Kingsway North, when we heard a buzzing noise. We looked up into the sky and saw this red object. We watched this object for about ten minutes, and during this time, the object moved in a northerly direction, stopped, and then disappeared.
Report 55.Mr. F. B, Beverley Avenue,Leicester. SK 598 062. 20:10 Hours.
On Monday night, at approximately 8.05 p.m., I was walking on the left hand side of Beverly Avenue, going towards Glendon Street. I noticed between two houses in Glendon Street at about rooftop height. I saw three very bright objects like stars, the light of each intermingled with the adjacent one. As I neared Glendon Street, the object was obscured by a tall tree near to one of the houses. On returning, I re-checked as I came back down Beverly Avenue at about 8.15 p.m. By this time, the object had disappeared.
Report 56 Mr. S.,Aldeby Close, Narborough, Leicestershire. SP 552 989. 20:15 Hours.
I was getting wood for Bonfire Night, and I sat down to rest and looked up through the trees for more wood, and saw six or seven lights together moving slowly across the sky. It was travelling east. When it went over the wood, I went and had a look at it. Then it stopped over a field next to the woods, but it was hovering, we could see the shape of it, but the object itself was dull. The lights were going round and round it, then all of a sudden, it shot off into the sky so fast that we couldnt see it.
Report 57. Mr. N. D.,Cotswold Avenue, Cosby, Leicester. SP547 951. 20:20 Hours.
It was a cigar - shaped dark object with a strong orange light at the rear and a weaker light at the front. I heard a humming noise, and watched it through binoculars for about a minute.
Report 58. Mr. & Mrs. W,Dunton Street, Woodgate, Leicester. SK 578 054. 20:45 Hours.
We were walking our dogs near to the Kenning Fuel Supplies Depot. Looking to our left at the skyline of the city centre, we saw a red light which moved and seemed to hover , disappearing behind tall buildings, and then re-appearing moving from left to right., then downwards out of sight, then reappearing and moving sideways again.
Report 59. Mr. & Mrs. D, S.,The Crescent, Leicester. SP 576 986. 20:45 Hours.
I went outside to open the drive gates to let my Husband in. He asked me not to go back inside but to look at an object in the sky which was straight ahead of us and not moving, we watched it for about 1 and a half to 2 minutes. I then noticed it slightly moving to the left, and gradually getting smaller and picking up speed, which wasnt very fast. I then went to fetch a pair of binoculars, my Husband followed me, and we both watched it from the bedroom window, which we opened wide. It was gradually moving to our left and getting smaller all the time. It then disappeared behind some trees and buildings which were on our left. As it got further away, it wasnt so red.
Report 60. Miss S. B,Leicester Road, Glen Parva, Leicestershire. SK 548 068. 20:50 Hours.
I was walking to the driveway of my house towards the main Leicester/Lutterworth road, when I noticed an unusually bright light in the sky. I thought at first that this was a planet, but on looking closer saw that the object appeared to be much larger than any of the planets that can be seen with the naked eye. I watched the object for about five minutes, it did not move at all. It was at an angle of thirty degrees from the horizon, and was an orange/red colour. The object was still visible when I left to fetch some binoculars, but when I returned ten minutes later, it had gone.
Report 61. Masters O. G, D. I, D. N,Bridge Way,Glen Parva, Leicester. SP 568 987. 21:00 Hours.
We were on our bikes going towards Whetstone, when we noticed a triangular shape of lights in the sky. We stopped at Whetstone bridge, and observed it for a while. The colours of the lights were green, red and white, which made the shape of a triangle. As it moved over us, it changed into one big red light, and then moved off into the distance.
Report 62.Mr. F. T, Welford Road, Kibworth. SP 662 979. 23:45 Hours.
I saw a large, round white light moving very fast. I watched for about four seconds, before it went out like a light being switched off.
WITNESS COPY DRAWINGS OF THE UNKNOWN AERIAL OBJECT WITNESSED ON OCTOBER 23rd., 1978, ABOVE LEICESTERSHIRE AND NORTH WARWICKSHIRE
TheAvro Vulcan B2
Description: Long-range medium bomber witha crew of five. All-metal stressed- skin construction. Makers designation, Type 698.
Manufacturers: A. V. Roe & Co. Ltd., Manchester.
Power Plant: Four 17,000-lb. Thrust Bristol Siddeley Olympus 201 or 22,000 lb. Olympus 301.
Dimensions: Span, 111 ft. 0 1n. Length, 99 ft. 11 in. (105ft. 6in. With refuelling probe). Height, 27ft. 1 in. Wing area, 3,964 sq. ft.
Weights: Loaded, 200,000 lb. approx.
Performance: Maximum speed Mach - 0.94 (620
m.p.h.) at 55,000 ft. Service ceiling, 60,000 ft. - approx. Range, 4,600 miles; increased to 5,750 miles with one in-flight refuelling.
Armament: No defensive guns. Conventional (21 x 1,000lb bombs) or nuclear bomb-load carried internally or provision for one Blue Steel stand-off bomb.
Data analysis results
October 23rd., 1978
Was one object responsible for all
of the reported incidents?
The duration of this mass sighting was almost four hours. If the same object had caused all of these sightings, then one would expect a fairly even distribution of witnesses across this time span, (allowing for population density fluctuations).
The collated data however, shows that this is not the case and that 58 of the recorded incidents occurred in the time span 18:00 to 19:15 hours. A further examination shows that the predominant sighting time falls between 18:40, and 19:00 hours. This, in itself, may indicate that later reports were not of the same object that caused the earlier, (majority), sightings. The sightings which did occur later in the evening on this date, appear to come from two Leicester groupings. This does not seem to reflect a pattern concerning a single objects flight path. If these later sighting reports were of one, main sighting stimulus, then that stimulus to provide such variation, must have changed its flight path at some point.
We also have the many different flight directions given by the witnesses with regard to the peak data. Due to this, speculation also arises concerning the possibility that the object may have doubled back on its original flight path, or continuously altered its course. The problem being however, that if these changes did actually occur, not much of the sighting evidence provides us with the actual viewing of this procedure whilst the object was in view of the witnesses.
Another thing that does appear strange is, when viewing the timescale involved regarding the peak data, is the wide area from which the witnesses are drawn. The time factor suggests that witnesses separated by distances of up to 14 miles, I.e. Hinckley and Coalville, were seeing almost simultaneously what appears to be the same object.
Analysis suggests that this object, was travelling at a very low altitude. (I.e. Approximately 2,000 to 2,500 feet). This altitude is substantiated by the fact that cloud cover over the Midlands for the night in question, was of thestrato-cumulus type, and at a height of approximately 2,500 - 3,000 feet, with the object described in certain cases as entering into it at times. Therefore, because of this fact, and the wide witness distribution, there may be justifiable reason to believe that more than one object was involved in the sightings.
However, if this was the case, then a secondary object would have to have been in reasonable close proximity of the first object in order to satisfy the majority of the data.
There are individual cases in our study data that tend to support this hypothesis, and it would seem that we could quite possibly be looking at a scenario where at least two identical objects were involved. Having viewed global data from later years regarding this type of phenomena, where two craft have been seen quite clearly operating in close proximity of each other, it is now our belief that this may have been the case with the Leicestershire sightings also.
As the object passed over the countryside, a number of attempts were made to capture its characteristics on film. These attempts failed in the main, because the equipment or film used were not of the correct types needed for after dark photography. The cases where photographs were actually exposed were case numbers 4, 10, and 28. All of these exposed frames were processed by LUFORS, and examination has shown that no detail was recorded on them. All three of the above mentioned cases contain witnesses who attempted to photograph the object using 100ASA film, and small automatic cameras such as the Kodak Instamatic. None of the witnesses used fast film or cameras with variable aperture, exposure, or shutter speed settings.
A successful attempt however, was made by the primary witness in case 31, (Mr. E.) to actually film the object. Mr. E. had just loaded hisSuper 8 cine camera with film the previous day, and, on seeing the object slowly approaching his vantage point, he immediately fetched this. At first, the intention was not necessarily to expose any film, but simply to use the cameras zoom facility to observe the object as an enlarged image. The witnesss mind changed however, and he began filming, assuming at the same time though, that due to the loaded film being of a daylight type, that his attempt would perhaps be unsuccessful.
Mr. Es own feelings and actions during this period are here reproduced;
Statement, by Mr. Terence E. Dated June 21st., 1981;
When first seen, the object was very much like a bright star, and then after a minute or so, the object started to grow larger. As it came closer, when the object was approximately Ύ miles away, I used the 24mm. Zoom lens on my super 8 movie camera to enlarge the image. I then decided to film the object for what turned out to be approximately thirty seconds, at the full 24mm., (the camera was loaded with daylight film, (Kodak), and still had the daylight orange filter in place, which I had used the previous day, and forgotten that it was still in place, otherwise, I would have removed it. Looking at the object through the camera lens, I could just make out what looked like the leading edges of an aircrafts wings, but they seemed much too thick. As the aircraft passed overhead, there was no sound at all, the object was very low, and would have been very easy to hear any engines. Also, when overhead, there was no sign of any navigation lights or cabin lighting.
Mr. Es camera was aö Bell & Howell type 674x1, with an F1.3 - 8.5mm. Zoom lens fitted. The film used, was new colour Kodak Daylight. At the time of filming, the cameras focal length was set to infinity, and was used in a hand-held manner.
The approximate footage shot was three feet, this represents thirty seconds of film. The film shows the object in three distinct phases, although these phases may have been partially caused through visibility defiances, rather them being actual differences.
The object appears as an indistinct circular mass of yellow/white light. This lasts for approximately eight seconds, and gives the impression of the objects progression towards the cameraman.
After this initial eight second period, the mass of light appears to separate, (presumably due to diminishing distances), into three white/yellow lights, the centre one of which appearing slightly advanced, or raised from the other, outer two.
The second phase lasts fifteen seconds before the centre light appears to go out. This appearance of going out, happens quite suddenly, with no apparent dimming beforehand, and leaves just two white/yellow lights visible, with the object itself silhouetted against the darkening skies.
Is there any possibility at all that the reported object was a military or civilian aircraft?
That the case cause may have been due to civil aircraft seems unlikely, as the only air traffic that crosses certain villages mentioned in the data are; inter-airport flights from either Birmingham or Coventry to the East Midlands airport, aircraft making their approach run into that airport, or, light aircraft from the various Leicestershire air clubs. In order to try and prove any of these eventualities, the following checks were made;East Midlands Airport .
An airport spokesman, when asked to comment on the October 23rd., 1978 sightings said that he knew of no authorised aircraft travelling approximately south to north at approximately 18:45 hours on the date in question. The only aircraft to land there had arrived at 18:15 hours, and that was an air-liner. When asked if anything unusual had been recorded on East Midlands airport radar systems for the date and time in question, he stated that nothing unusual had been recorded, and that the airport had received no unidentified air traffic or UFO reports whatsoever.
In view of the reported shape of the object, and because some of the witnesses described it as such, efforts were made to find out whether an RAF Vulcan bomber was in the area at the time of the sightings. An article appeared in the Burton Daily Mail which suggested that it was, and claimed that one of their reporters had spoken to an RAF spokesman at a Midlands Vulcan base who had confirmed this. However, when efforts were made to find the reporter, no-one seemed to remember who had written the article. The reason for our trying to locate the reporter was that we had spoken to Adjutants of RAF stations Waddington, Wittering and Cottesmore, and British Aerospace Bitteswell, (where a test Vulcan is based), in order to ascertain just this fact.
All of the stations mentioned claimed not to have had Vulcans up on the night in question.
If the object had have been a Vulcan, and the RAF did not want to disclose this to us, why tell the press? In order to verify whether or not a Military aircraft was in proximity to the sighting area on the date in question, we spoke to East Midlands Airport about the air lane priorities situation. We met the Senior Air Traffic Controller for EMA, and asked him about the events of 23rd. October 1978. He remembered the night as he was on duty, and was later amazed by the press coverage of what was for him, a quiet night. Our conversation with ATC brought forth a wealth of information.
The first items of interest are that East Midlands Airport does not contact all radar identified targets, as these will include traffic not bound for this particular airport. Instead, EMA only contacts by radio air traffic entering their control zone. Once this is done, the target is identified by its flight number. Tape recordings are made of the R.T. transmissions, but no video recordings are made of the radar traces. Civil air staff do not sign the Official Secrets Act, but do have a UFO report procedure, although senior controller, Mr. C has never seen this used during his 12 years service with the airport.
Commenting further on the October 23rd. Sightings, Mr, C said that the reported object(s)? behaved as though it was heading for EMA, yet they had no unusual traffic for that night.
If not the Vulcan - then what?
Discounting the Vulcan because of its apparent absence, and lack of a favourable comparison with the witnessed object, there does not appear to be many other aircraft officially flying at that time of a delta shape which could fall into the sighting description.
The smaller delta winged strike aircraft would have proven to be far harder to see at night, and the apparent slow object speed would have proven impractical, if not impossible. Also, aircraft such as the Harrier or Phantom, do not fit the reported object size estimates. It is believed that this object was not a military aircraft, and though of course this cannot be proven, a conventional military aircraft should not have been over the sighting area for the date mentioned. Therefore, whilst the cause is not likely to have been a military aircraft, it cannot definitely be ruled out.
Was the sighting caused by lighter than air craft?
This possibility caused a certain amount of consternation among the investigators, because whoever we asked , we received the same answer, almost every local balloon club that we spoke to said that they wouldnt fly at night and definitely over the Coalville area, where there were so many over head power lines, and so much light aircraft traffic to and from the East Midlands airport. However, checks were still pressed forward in an attempt to determine the whereabouts at the time of the sighting of the Goodyear airshipEuropa but these were eventually dropped when it was ascertained that Europa was in France during October 1978, and was unlikely to travel at night because of navigational difficulties. This virtually ruled out lighter than air craft, and, as hang gliders and micro light aircraft were not around in abundance, it is felt that this area of enquiry has been ruled out.
Could a low piece of space debris entering the atmosphere have caused the sightings?
This option may have proven to be a reasonable area to speculate on as regards a sighting cause, especially if, a piece of large, distant debris had entered giving the impression of a slow, low trajectory. However, this was soon ruled out after consultation of LUFOIN satellite tables, these were kindly supplied by the Royal Aircraft Establishment, Farnborough. They show that there were two re-entries on the night of October 23rd., 1978, although both of these were too far south to be seen from the United Kingdom.
Was the sighting caused by military aircraft?
When asked if the object could have been a military aircraft, Mr. C replied that prior permission must be obtained by the Royal Air Force before a civil flight area is used by them, and he then assured us that no such permission was requested for the night in question.
Asked to comment on the objects apparent altitude and speed, as estimated from the witness statements, Mr. C said that at an altitude of 2,500 - 3,500 feet, any large aircraft should have been audible, and that a Vulcan would have been heard indoors by someone watching the television at normal sound levels. He also added that even throttled right down, a Vulcan Bomber should still have been heard. Mr. C ended the conversation by saying that he would be interested in the outcome of our case, and that he had absolutely no idea what kind of aircraft could have behaved in the manner as described by witnesses of the event.
Lastly, before leaving the A.T.C. offices, we mentioned the anonymous claims concerning the inbound Maltese Flight.
Regarding this particular sighting, Mr. C said that he would attempt to find out some information regarding this flight if possible, in particular the flight number, the pilots name the charter company etc. and get back in touch with our organisation as soon as was possible.
True to his word, shortly afterwards, Mr. C contacted our H.Q. to informed us that he had indeed identified the discussed flight, which turned out to be flight number 706, run by Air Malta, which arrived at East Midlands Airport at 19:26 Hours.
The pilots name remains unknown, and it is felt that any further attempt to acquire information on this flight is unlikely to succeed due to the age of the case.
Where did the craft go?
If the object was a military aircraft and, although it headed towards East Midlands Airport, but did not fly over it, where then, did it go?
On June 20th., 1982, Central Television screened a programme entitled;617 - Last Days of The Vulcan Squadron.
The programme centred around 617 Squadron, (of Dam - busters fame), based at Scampton. It covered the last few days of operational duties before the squadron was disbanded, and its crews sent for training on the Tornado aircraft which would eventually reconstitute the squadron.
During the programme, a crew was shown planning the last Vulcan flight from Scampton. Part of the conversation involved the squadrons Commanding Officer, Flight Lieutenant Charles Bakewell, who made the following comments;
We cannot fly above cities and towns, and must try to avoid civil air traffic zones. It is very difficult to plot a course that will allow us to fly in a straight line for more than ten miles.
Could this statement provide an indication of where a speculative military aircraft went to? If such an aircraft flew south, south east, to north, north west, keeping to this course until aboveAshby-de-la-Zouch, and then veered slightly more to the west, theoretically, it could then avoid the EMA control zone, pass over the northern outskirts of Burton-upon-Trent, and then head out over open countryside towards Ashbourne. The only problem with this theory of course, is the virtual lack of substantial number of reports from the Burton-on-Trent/Ashbourne areas. If this theory had any credence at all, then presumably, under the already known circumstances surrounding the case, those reports would surely have been evident.
Another interesting factor to emerge from the programme, was the information regarding navigational lighting positions on the Vulcan aircraft itself. These were spaced and coloured. As is noticeable, these patterns appear different to those described by witnesses.
Could the sighting have been caused by an experimental test aircraft?
The actual cause of this report, after a thorough examination of our gathered evidence, remains undetermined, and may quite probably never be known for certain. A much sought after satisfactory explanation in natural terms, unfortunately does not lend itself easily.
The characteristics described by witnesses appear to suggest that the object(s) seen was/were not normal, conventional aircraft, and yet there has been no known communication made between Military and civil air authorities to suggest that it/they was/were a special craft, for example, a test vehicle of some kind.
There could have been an urgent need to transport/test/use one or more of these old aircraft, or indeed a new prototype, from one to another RAF/USAF base, with the whole operation being necessarily kept above top secret, hence the discussed lack of communication with East Midlands Air Traffic Control.
It is known, that the Royal Air Force also experiment with forms of aircraft that never reach production status. However, would the RAF for example, consciously fly test aircraft over the Leicestershire/Warwickshire border, safe in the knowledge that no-one would be harmed should anything go wrong? - surely this just would not be allowed to happen! The random scattering of villages around the sighting areas is fairly dense, as was later discovered when in July 1981, aHawker Siddeley mail plane of the Dan-Air line crashed, narrowly missing the village of Nailstone.
This near disaster was only averted by the sacrifice of the crew staying with their aircraft. (A large cargo door was later blamed for the crash).
Could it be then, if we are allowed to speculate on this occasion, that for total security reasons, the public were being deliberately misinformed at that time regarding just how advanced the manufacture of experimental spy aircraft had become by the late 1970s, and what so many people saw over Leicestershire, due to this factor, was a totally unknown, classified, top secret aircraft, perhaps an early Dark Star Prototype, but a slightly larger version than the Tier III, complete with extra-brilliant llights, providing anti-collision safety, secretly launched from one of Great Britains Royal Air Force or United States Air Force bases of that period, for example, nearby RAF Alconbury in Cambridgeshire, with less likely hood of detection by foreign spy satellite systems if operated within a common air-lane near a large airport in the central British Isles, mixing its radar image (if any!) with that of conventional air liners etc?
If this was the case however, someone would surely have appropriately informed the authorities at East Midlands Airport of such a move. Also, if the sighting was caused by the transport of an unusual aircraft, how could so many witnesses be taken in by it?
The total silence of the October 23rd., 1978 object however, as described by the vast majority of the witnesses, is more difficult to explain. Any of the aforementioned aircraft would have been producing engine noise during any conducted tests in this Country.
Silent Vulcan - Final conclusions
The inescapable point out of all this saga however, is that although three years had passed since the event took place, the witnesses involved remember their sightings with a frightening clarity, and 55%, after being re-interviewed, stuck to their original statements, giving virtually identical information to add to their individual files. Surely if there were any doubts, sub-conscious or otherwise, concerning the credibility of their original statements, this clarity would not exist. Also, the attained movie footage of the object is excellent testimony that witnesses only told investigators the facts as they were known. There is no evidence whatsoever of over exaggeration regarding this unusual aerial event.
Also, from the gathered evidence, there appears to be an element of strangeness concerning the objects performance, speed, altitude, lighting patterns and the described lack of engine sound etc.
Perhaps the answer lies in the minds of the witnesses. Certainly, 1978 was a very active period for UFO reports, and one would have great problems in trying to define just exactly how many of those reports were media inspired. The filmClose Encounters of the Third Kind, which was on general release at the time, could perhaps have some significance here. An artificial effect could have been produced which induced a kind of UFO/Spaceship syndrome, an effect that may have clouded the sub-conscious minds of the public causing them to easily misinterpret unusual natural events, such as war games conducted during this period by the Military, using advanced experimental aircraft. The Stealth aspect of such aircraft could also explain why the object(s) did not appear on East Midlands airport radar systems.
Therefore, we have no more checks to make, and conclude our report by agreeing with the majority of the witnesses by stating that the October 23rd., 1978 aerial object was indeed something out of the ordinary, and that it (or indeed they), cannot definitely be identified without, we believe, perhaps greater access to Military flight records etc.
BELOW: Same Date Global Reports, UFODNA Data, October 23, 1978.Verona, New York, USA. 20:40 - Kansu Province, China. Night - Pescara, Italy.
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