Near Miss in Birmingham Skies Among Dozens of Pilot UFO Reports
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Article by Bev Holder September 9, 2019 (stourbridgenews.co.uk)
• British pilots have reported dozens of “near misses” with UFOs in the skies over the United Kingdom. Investigations by the UK Airprox Board showed 36 such near misses involving aircraft and ‘unknown objects’ since May 2017 – with nearly a quarter of them involving a “high risk” of collision.
• On July 5, 2018 at around 9:30 am, the pilot of a small propeller aircraft reported a small “rectangle or elliptical object pass 500 to 1,000-ft below” the plane as he was cruising at around 16,000-ft about 10 nautical miles north of Birmingham. “There was no time to take any avoiding action.”
• The pilot of an Airbus A321 was flying at around 900-ft on final approach to Birmingham Airport “when he saw an object pass directly beneath the aircraft”. The pilot said that the object, which passed about 25 feet below the plane, “was either some sort of balloon or drone”. The Board listed this one as a category ‘A’ high risk of collision event.
• The Civil Aviation Authority says the vast majority of reports involved drones, model aircraft or balloons – although it is against the law to fly drones above 400-ft and close to airports.
• Nick Pope, who investigated UFO sightings for the Ministry of Defence in the 1990s, says the authorities may be “missing a trick by being too quick to blame drones”. Most unidentified objects were sighted at altitudes much higher than drones would typically or can legally be flown.
• The UK Airprox Board has a significant number of such accounts and there are numerous reports in the MoD’s UFO files. Pope says that, “In most cases, sightings turn out to be birds, weather balloons, plastic bags or bin liners, or Chinese lanterns, while some are indeed attributable to drones. However, other cases remain unexplained even after thorough investigation, and this is of concern.” “[I]t raises important defense, national security and – as we see here – air safety issues.”
• Dr David Clarke, from the Centre for Contemporary Legend at Sheffield Hallam University, is not convinced the sightings are of intergalactic spacecraft. “Things that are unexplained are likely to be natural phenomenon – not aliens from other planets.”
• David Taylor of the Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena believes we should be cautious about witness testimonies of strange objects in the sky. “The majority of all anomalous reports – I would say around 95 per cent – are explainable in rational terms, either with known phenomena (misidentification, drones, birds, military tests etc.) and currently little understood phenomena (ball lightning, earthquake lights etc).” But, Taylor says, “[W]e must resist the temptation to dismiss them all out of hand.”
A close encounter with a mystery object in the skies near Birmingham was among dozens of baffling near misses reported by pilots in UK airspace, a Newsquest data investigation has revealed.
Investigations carried out by the UK Airprox Board show 36 such near misses involving aircraft and ‘unknown objects’ have been reported in UK skies since May 2017 – and nearly a quarter involved a high risk of collision.
One of the reports tells how the pilot of a BE90 small propeller aircraft saw a “rectangle or elliptical object pass 500 to 1,000-ft below” the plane as he was cruising at around 16,000-ft about 10 nautical miles north of Birmingham.
The incident happened on July 5, 2018, at around 9.30am, and the report states the pilot estimated the object to be 50-100cm long and it was “either hovering or travelling in the opposite direction” but “he only saw it for about 2 seconds before it passed underneath the aircraft”.
The Board, which monitors close calls between aircraft and other objects in the skies such as drones and balloons, determined the risk of collision was low but the report stated: “There was no time to take any avoiding action.”
Another incident involving an ‘unknown object’ was listed as a category A high risk of collision event and the report says the pilot of an Airbus A321 was flying at around 900-ft on final approach to Birmingham Airport “when he saw an object pass directly beneath the aircraft”.
It says the reported separation between the aircraft and the unidentified object was just 25-ft vertically and it adds that the pilot “thought it was either some sort of balloon or drone”.
The Board concluded there had been a definite risk of collision but it was not able to ascertain whether the object was a drone or a balloon so it was listed as ‘unknown’.
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Airbus A321, Association for the Scientific Study of Anomalous Phenomena, Birmingham Airport, Centre for Contemporary Legend at Sheffield Hallam University, David Taylor, Dr. David Clarke, Drones, Ministry of Defence, Nick Pope, podcast, The Civil Aviation Authority, UK Airprox Board