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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > May > May 10

Re: UK F-15 UFO Incident - Shough

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Wed, 9 May 2007 16:37:03 +0100
Fwd Date: Thu, 10 May 2007 07:24:00 -0400
Subject: Re: UK F-15 UFO Incident - Shough

>From: Don Ledger <dledger.nul>
>To: ufoupdates.nul
>Date: Tue, 08 May 2007 14:28:35 -0300
>Subject: Re: UK F-15 UFO Incident

>>From: Nick Pope <nick.nul>
>>To: UFO UpDates <ufoupdates.nul>
>>Date: Tue, 8 May 2007 01:46:35 +0100
>>Subject: F-15 UFO Incident

>>On January 12 2007 two USAF F-15 aircraft encountered an
>>unidentified object that was tracked on radar over the UK.

>>There's probably a prosaic explanation for this one, but it
>>certainly got British ufologists excited. Here's the
>>information on the MoD's website:

>>Response to incident involving USAF F15 aircraft
>>(29-03-2007-111736-002) PDF [23.9 KB]

>>Service Police Report PDF [71.0 KB]


>Hi Nick,

>This is one of those annoying incidents that has potential then
>you find you have a grapefruit to soccerball sized object
>drifting around between 17,000 and 18,000 feet with enough
>section for the aircraft's radar [but only the one F-15
>apparently] to lock onto it.

Hi Don

Actually both planes got radar lock on it. The wingman's lock
occurs towards the end of the clip after two earlier locks (at
least) by GATOR. As he makes his pass you can hear him saying
"clean . . . clean" and then "locked!" followed by "bullseye"
and the range and bearing to the target. He subsequently gets a
visual but like his partner is not able to identify the object.

>Seems a bit off for the RAF pilot to suggest that it was a
>that had fallen off a weather balloon since the thing remained
>at the same altitude long enough for his F-15 to make three
>passes at it.

As I suggested on another list, the pilot's (USAF, not RAF) idea
of a piece fallen off a balloon might well have been no more
than the sort of notion you would come up with if pressed for an
opinion. "If you had to come up with an explanation, what would
you say?" It doesn't necessarily mean that the pilot(s) believed
it, and in fact the evidence of the audio is that they were
puzzled at the time.

>What's curious about it is that it remained 'apparently'
>stationary in one area for several minutes, long enough to
>initate and carry out three passes under the object. The F-15's
>turbulance should have had the thing bouncing around the sky.

Quite, given they got close enough to this grapefruit-sized
"rock" to attempt visual identification by size and shape. And
4.5 mins minimum of essentially neutral buoyancy is a bit odd to
say the least. I can only think of a small collapsed pilot
balloon, partially deflated into a baggy shape with just enough
remnant buoyancy to keep it lofted, maybe helped by an
updraught. But what balloon of that sort has the radar cross-
section to give solid auto-locks at ranges up to 15 miles?
Conversely, if it was a "piece" of some unidentified kind that
fell off the instrument package of a larger balloon (say) then
it could have had metallic components that would help the RCS,
but then it should fall thousands of feet during the event. A
partially-deflated balloon _and_ an instrument package then. But
so small? And how come the package - probably about equal in
size, at least, for any realistic instruments - is not visible
hanging below this little collapsed envelope? It would have to
be wrapped up inside it somehow, which just doesn't add up.

>Not sure how the A/C Cmdr knew that it was drifting with the
>wind when he was travelling at 300 knots [346 mph].

I'm not sure about this either. The radar appears to be able to
deduct the aircraft intercept vector to estimate true ground
speeds, and these are given as from 30 to 80 knots at various
times, but I can't help feeling a bit sceptical that the
pilot(s) determined the direction of this motion in relation to
the wind whilst screaming in at 300 knots (at least - GATOR
*slows down* to this when getting close and advises that "I'm
not going to go below 300 knots"). Over the course of the whole
incident the reported object speed would take it a few miles, so
maybe they knew their positions quite accurately and were able
to determine that the centre-of-gravity of the "dogfight" had
drifted several miles since the first contact? Maybe they later
matched this with the weather for 18,000 ft and GATOR based his
reported "with the wind" estimate on this? On the other hand, it
could just be that the words of the RAF interviewer that it was
reportedly "drifting with the wind" are based on a stament that
it seemed to be drifting at about the _speed_ of the wind. Who

>The report doesn't mention the pilot's description
>[on tape] of the object which he said looked like a rock.
>Additionally one always needs to be careful when told about
>anomalies on radar that suddenly appear in one sector of the
>ATC's screen as being some quirk of the radar itself suddenly
>being untrustworthy while the controller is still working
>traffic on another sector of the screen, whether it be military
>or commercial traffic carrying 200 plus passengers. The rush to
>condemn the returns from none transponder traffic as radar
>quirks while the lives of hundreds of people are in the hands
>of these same returns strikes me as opportunistic and frankly
>silly. The radio or H.A.M. radio operator that picked up on
>this deserves some credit for being right about the incident.

Maybe I'm misinterpreting you but you seem to suggest that an
ATC ground radar contact is being discounted. I'm not aware of
any evidence for a ground radar contact other than the original
anonymous story that London area military ATC had tasked the F-
15s with investigating. This is denied in the MoD report.
Although strictly speaking the report does not specifically deny
that LAATC might have contacted the F-15s in a merely advisory
capacity, the denial is supported by the separate statement that
MoD do not know the location of the incident. At least that
means there is no record, anyway.

So I do agree with you that this is an odd one and a frustrating
one, that is certainly not solved. On the other hand it isn't
strong enough to bear much weight as it stands and I doubt it'll
ever be resolved or become a classic unless the pilots are found
or a USAF report surfaces.

Martin Shough

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