|Occurred : 8/4/2003 14:30 (Entered as : 08/04/03 14:30)
Reported: 8/5/2003 4:29:09 AM 04:29
Location: Banbury (near) (UK/England),
|Strange, vaguely discernible 'structure' seen flying directly overhead at an airfield near Banbury, UK
I am a glider pilot in the UK, and the following, which may be of interest to you, is a slightly amended and expanded form of a posting I made on a glider pilots' online discussion group yesterday: On Sunday 3rd August at about 1430 I was standing at the launch point at Shenington Airfield (near Banbury, Oxfordshire, England) when I noticed a small object passing overhead, downwind, directly above and in line with our E-W runway. At first I thought it was a tiny feather drifting with the wind a few feet above my head, but on looking again I realised it was much higher, moving in a straight line and at a steady speed. Not knowing the actual size of the object it was difficult to gauge its altitude against a clear blue sky; I would hazard a guess at somewhere between 3000 and 4000 feet, but that could be way out. The object was white, but with a slightly wispy, almost transluscent appearance which gave it a somewhat indistinct outline, hence my initial reaction that it was a feather. I could however just make out a definite structure, the best description I can offer being that it was basically rectangular in overall planform, and consisted of what might have been a lattice of booms, which gave it an appearance rather reminiscent of an old-fashioned TV aerial. Seen from a long distance this would explain why it looked rather vague and wispy. It was moving assymetrically, ie set at a slight angle in relation to its direction of travel, which was from west to east. It had every appearance of steady and purposeful foward motion, and remained observable as a white speck receding into the distance for a short time after it had passed overhead.
There may well be a perfectly simple and reasonable explanation for what this object was, but at the moment my only choice is to regard it as a UFO, by which I imply nothing more than an object, apparently flying, which I was unable to identify.
After I filed my first report on our glider pilots' discussion group, another glider pilot, who that afternoon had landed in a field some 30 miles to the east of my position, reported that he and his retrieve crew had also seen the same object. They too were unable to identify it.
((FOLLOW-UP COMMUNICATION WITH WITNESS))
I will certainly email the guy who corroborated my sighting and suggest that he and his crew each file a report.
As for the wind, at ground level it was very light, averaging about 5kts I would say, and was blowing down the E-W runway with a little right-to-left crosswind component, so I would say somewhere around
280-285 degrees. The object I observed was coming pretty well directly parallel to the runway, and almost overhead of it - I had to crane my neck quite a bit to watch it when it was abreast of me.
Unfortunately I don't know what the wind at altitude was; I was down to be launchpoint controller that day and had to resign myself to spending most of the day on the ground, so only had time for one very
quick local thermalling flight to1800 feet, then it was out with the brakes and back down again. I suppose it's possible that the object I saw was drifting with the upper wind, but with allowance for wind
deflection I would have thought its course would have diverged more markedly from that of the surface wind if that had been so.
Furthermore, its smooth and deliberate progress across the sky was highly suggestive of something that was being propelled and/or under intelligent control - directly or remotely. Given what appeared on
the face of it to be (as far as I could make it out), a somewhat unaerodynamic structure, I would have also expected it to have shown at least some signs of instability if simply being blown by the wind.
I might also mention that in the past couple of weeks there have been other reports of UFO sightings in this part of England. Very near to where the other pilot landed his glider there have been reports in
the local press of people having seen strange objects in the sky, see
I live some 50 miles to the SE from Shenington, and our local paper also carried a report of some people in the next town to me having seen some strange lights hovering in the sky.
I hope this helps.
Warm regards ((name deleted))
Perhaps I should just clarify something regarding the wind direction though - I had described the runway as 'E-W' in my reply, because as the runway in use this was the direction of take off and landing. The object I observed was travelling pretty well directly W-E, ie downwind on a heading of approximately 90 degrees true, and only with a small divergence from the *surface* wind blowing from 280-285 degrees.
Given the effects of wind deflection I would have expected it to have been a bit more divergent from this if it was travelling with the wind at altitude.
I have suggested to the other pilot that observed this object that he and his companions also file reports to you.
Best wishes ((name deleted))
I understand there is now an explanation for the strange object I saw last week. I was told there was a news report about it. I've been trying to trace further information from the BBC website but have not
come up with anything yet. You may well have sources you know that you can plug into to find out more particulars. If I find out anything I will let you know, hope you can do the same and we'll see who gets there first!