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  • Writer's pictureSven Piper

The UFO Phenomenon - Part 1

Updated: 7 days ago

"Bird of Prey" from Boeing
"Bird of Prey" from Boeing (Copyright Boeing)

Most UFO appearances that cannot be attributed to natural phenomena occur in the vicinity of major military bases and are often military prototypes that are only presented to the public years later. In this part of our special, we want to take a closer look at the role of the military.

The most famous incident between the “unidentified flying object” and the military occurred in Roswell in July 1947. Farmer Mac Brazel discovered unusual debris on his land and reported it to the local sheriff, George Wilcox, on July 7.

What happened next is contradictory and no longer entirely comprehensible today. In any case, the pieces of debris found were collected by US military personnel. The press officer of the 509th Bomb Group in Roswell, Walter Haut — the only squadron with nuclear weapons in the world at the time [1] — spread the news that a 'flying saucer' had crashed and been recovered. On July 8, the Roswell Daily Record and other newspapers, including California's The Sacramento Bee, reported on their front pages. The Daily Record announced, 'RAAF Captures Flying Saucer On Ranch in Roswell Region - No Details of Flying Disk Are Revealed,' while The Sacramento Bee reported, 'Army Reveals It Has Flying Disc Found On Ranch In New Mexico.

This caused quite a stir and on the same day the press release was revoked by the commander, Colonel Blanchard. In the meantime, the wreckage was transported to Fort Worth in Texas and later to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for further investigation. [1] On the evening of July 8, 1947, Brigadier General Roger M. Ramey appeared before the press and announced that the debris was nothing more than the remains of a weather balloon.

However, on the same day, Air Force Headquarters telephoned the FBI in Dallas, which then wrote a memo and sent it to the FBI office in Cincinnati. The memo reported that the “flying disk” was recovered near Roswell, was hexagonal in shape, and the experts at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base did not believe it was a radar reflector from a weather balloon. [2]

That the object found resembles a high altitude weather balloon with a radar reflector, but that telephonic conversation between their office and Wright Field hat not borne out this belief.

FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover (1895-1972) did not believe in the balloon story and demanded full access to the recovered disk. He handwrote a memo to Clyde Tolsen (1900-1975), the Associate Director of the FBI, on July 15, 1947, adding the words:

"I would do it, but before agreeing to it, we must insist upon full access to disc recovered. For instance, in the La. case the army grabbed it and would not let us have it for cursory examination."
Handwritten note from J. Edgar Hoover
Handwritten note from J. Edgar Hoover

However, this event remained very quiet for 30 years before the book 'The Roswell Incident' by Charles Berlitz and William L. Moore was published in 1980, after which numerous eyewitnesses came forward with unbelievable stories. The story reached its peak in the mid-1990s, when numerous books addressing this event were published.

In 1994, public pressure became so great that New Mexico Congressman Steve Schiff demanded a full investigation. The Pentagon responded and published “The Roswell Report - Fact vs Fiction In The New Mexico Desert” in the same year, admitting for the first time that it hadn't told the truth and covered up the event. In fact, it was not a weather balloon, but the remains of a balloon from the MOGUL project, in which reflectors were to reach the tropo- or stratosphere with the help of balloons in order to detect shock waves from Soviet nuclear weapons tests. In 1995, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (an impartial investigative body of the United States Congress, similar to the Federal Audit Office) was entrusted with the investigation of the Roswell incident. The investigation report can be viewed on the GAO's official website. It states:

"In our search for records concerning the Roswell crash, we learned that some government records covering RAAF [Roswell Army Air Field] activities had been destroyed...."
"... in 1947 Army regulations required that air accident reports be maintained permanently."

This did not satisfy the public, which is why the Pentagon published a new report “The Roswell Report - Case Closed” in 1997. In it, the US military revealed another secret project that tested new parachutes between 1954 and 1959 and also used human-like dummies.

Regardless of the Air Force's publications, there are many people involved [3] who tell a different story and the vast majority of Americans are not convinced by the Pentagon's account. [4]

So how real is the UFO phenomenon?

As early as September 23, 1947, General Nathan Twining (1897-1982) wrote a memo to General George Schulgen saying:

"The phenomenon reported is something real and not visionary or fictitious."
"There are objects probably approximating the shape of a disc, of such appreciable size as to appear to be large as a man-made aircraft."

In February 1960, an article appeared in the New York Times that attracted greater attention. Roscoe H. Hillenkoeter (1897-1982), Vice Admiral and first Director of the CIA from 1947-1950, made it clear that there was much more to the UFO phenomenon than it officially appeared.

"Behind the scenes, high-ranking Air Force officers are soberly concerned about UFOs. But through official secrecy and ridicule, many citizens are led to believe the unknown flying objects are nonsense." [5]

The American flying ace Edward V. Rickenbacker (1890-1973), who was the most successful US fighter pilot in the First World War with 26 aerial victories, is quoted as saying:

“Too many reliable people have seen flying saucers. They don't all suffer from hallucinations.” [6]


Experimental prototypes

It is striking that many UFO sightings are made in the vicinity of military bases, with two places in the world appearing particularly frequently. Firstly, there have been numerous sightings in Plesezk, the northernmost cosmodrome of the former Soviet Union, from which satellites can also be launched into a polar orbit. This cosmodrome still serves as a launch complex today, from which over 1,500 rocket launches have now been carried out. Secondly, there is the 'Area 51' test site in the Nevada desert, which is the subject of numerous myths and legends. This is particularly relevant as many prototypes are tested here, which can also have an unusual design.

"Bird of Prey" (Copyright Boeing)
"Bird of Prey" (Copyright Boeing)

One of these aircraft with a “futuristic design” was presented to the public in October 2002 and received little attention in the media, wrongly so. It was a Boeing test aircraft with the name “Bird of Prey”. Just like its namesake from the TV series Star Trek, this aircraft has modern stealth characteristics and is practically invisible on radar. The other technical specifications of this aircraft are also impressive, even if Boeing was modest in the official press release:

"was revealed because the technologies and capabilities developed have become industry standards, and it is no longer necessary to conceal the aircraft's existence".

(Quelle: /

The “Brid of Prey” was developed by Boeing Phantom Works from 1992-1999 and consists mainly of a large, one-piece structure made of composite materials. The aircraft completed 38 test flights and has been on display at the Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio since July 2003. The project cost $67 million and the experience gained here is being incorporated into the X-45A unmanned combat aircraft.

Many UFO sightings, which are also reported by professional pilots and aviation engineers, can be traced back to new developments that even push the limits of physics.

Keyword: supercavitation

Until the collapse of the Soviet Union, supercavitation was considered extremely difficult mathematically and physically in Western science and describes an effect that occurs in water when an object moves at 50 m/s, and thus dissociates water into vapor, which forms a cavity and completely envelops an object (e.g. a torpedo).

But as early as 1977, after 10 years of development, the Soviet Navy secretly put the first rocket-propelled “Shkwal torpedoes” into operation, which “fly” under water at the speed of sound. This torpedo consists of a cylindrical hull containing a solid-fuel rocket engine and is surrounded by eight smaller launch rockets that bring the torpedo to supercavitation speed before the main engine is ignited. While the first generation could only move in a straight line, the current generation can also maneuver and keep the hull in the artificial bubble.

A similar effect was also used by Soviet aeronautical engineers at the end of the 1980s, because for a long time a “hypersonic” aircraft was not considered feasible, as the forces acting on the aircraft and its pilot at x times the speed of sound would be too great. Optimistic estimates assumed that it might one day be possible to fly at tens of times the speed of sound at high altitudes, where the air is extremely thin.

However, Soviet engineers discovered that by creating an artificial plasma field of ionized gas around an aircraft, the air resistance could be extremely reduced and the stresses and strains greatly lessened. In addition, this artificial plasma field leads to a delayed sonic boom. (For current research in plasma in aviation, consult the specialists at Jane's).

Another article by Jane's also deals with the topic of the so-called “black projects”, to which the Pentagon allocates an annual budget of around 5 billion dollars and which produced aircraft such as the SR-71 (Black Bird). This article also mentions a 'thunderbird' known for causing sensations since the early 1990s with its loud bangs that shattered windows and shook walls. This object has not yet been clearly identified. It has mostly appeared in less densely populated areas of the USA, home to larger military bases. This project is probably the “Aurora”, the unofficial successor to the legendary Black Bird spy plane.

Initially, only small local newspapers reported on these unidentified flying objects, but an incident occurred over California that caught the attention of the media. With a loud bang that could be heard throughout California, numerous seismographs recorded this event and from this data it was possible to reconstruct that the object was traveling at least 4-5 times the speed of sound, which is a speed record for a manned aircraft and experts suspect that Mach 6, or 6 times the speed of sound, is also possible for this flying object. A strange triangular-shaped aircraft has also been spotted over Scotland and other European countries, traveling at very high speeds.

Treacherous smoke signals

This flying object is also repeatedly associated with mysterious smoke signals in the sky, [7] because the exhaust trails point to a pulsed jet engine, which was already used in the German V1 during the Second World War. The unique contrail of these engines was also visible in the incident over California in 1992, which is why there is growing evidence that this was a secret hypersonic aircraft.

The interesting thing about these engines is that they contain no moving parts such as turbines and are accelerated by detonations of a gas mixture at short intervals.

Scramjet vs Ramjet

In addition to the pulsed-jet engine, there are also two other alternatives for hypersonic propulsion:

The idea of a ramjet engine is not new; as early as 1928, the Hungarian Albert Forno was granted a (German) patent for an engine that contained all the essential elements and concepts of the so-called ramjet engine. This engine is suitable for 3-6 times the speed of sound, but at a lower speed the compression of the incoming air is no longer great enough and at a higher speed the combustion chamber can overheat.

The Scramjet engine, on the other hand, is designed for speeds of up to 10 times the speed of sound and, thanks to such an engine, a NASA unmanned aerial vehicle reached 7 times the speed of sound off the Californian coast in 2002. However, this test device only flew hypersonically for a few seconds and then crashed into the Pacific in a controlled manner. Just like the pulsed jet engine, this propulsion system no longer uses any moving parts, but must be boosted by a conventional rocket engine.

The University of Queensland in Australia has also already gained initial experience with a scramjet engine.

French, Danish and British UFO files

In 2007, France published its UFO files, which are compiled by the Groupe d'études et d'informations sur les phénomènes aérospatiaux non identifiés (GEIPAN), a state and scientific institution that belongs to the French space agency CNES (similar to NASA in America).

A year later, Great Britain followed suit. But the British files from the Ministry of Defense (MoD) (note: link to the British National Archives, although there is a charge for downloading) also contained one or two surprises. For example, some readers were certainly surprised to read in the files on the Rendlesham Forest incident that there were allegedly “flying saucers” and “alien corpses” at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio. Furthermore, there is supposed to be a rapid reaction force there “to deal with aliens” (actually, something like this was only known from the popular PC game series X-COM and less from official documents of a nuclear power. The background involved an inquiry by Nick Pope about a UFO sighting in 1980. Squadron Leader and RAF Commander R. Rooney replied on July 8, 1992, stating that he had spoken to a historian from the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing, who compiled the information

The British MoD files report, among other things, on crashed flying saucers and alien corpses on a US military base
The British MoD files report, among other things, on crashed flying saucers and alien corpses on a US military base
"There is even an allegation that Senator Barry Goldwater attempted to gain entry to the base to examine UFO evidence but was refused by then commanding officer, General Curtis LeMay."

At least the story of Barry Goldwater (1909-1998), senator from Arizona and former Republican presidential candidate, can be verified. The following quote from him can be found on YouTube, in books and in the Rockefeller Report from 1995:

"The subject of UFOs is one that has interested me for some long time. About ten or twelve years ago, I made an effort to find out what was in the building at Wright Patterson Air Force Base where the information is stored that has been collected by the Air Force, and I was understandably denied the request. It is still classified about Top Secret."

Denmark was the next European country to follow in 2009, while other EU countries such as Spain [8] and Italy [9] also operate military UFO research programs and have made files available to the public on several occasions.

Formerly Secret Pentagon Research Program

In December 2017, the New York Times revealed a previously secret Pentagon UFO program that had spent $22 million on the Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP). According to the article, the phenomenon of unidentified flying objects was investigated over several years (2007-2012). A large part of the money is said to have gone to the company Bigelow Aerospace, which is a supplier to NASA, among others. The head of the company, Robert Bigelow, said on CBS “60 Minutes” that he was convinced that extraterrestrials exist and have visited Earth in UFOs. [10]

"The program collected parts and objects that it found in places where UFOs were allegedly sighted. It also investigated people who, according to their own statements, had come into contact with the objects.” [11]

The Pentagon videos

As part of the disclosure of the program, three videos were also released by the Pentagon. One video showed two Navy F-18 fighter jets, based on the USS Nimitz, tracking an unidentified object off the waters off San Diego in 2004.

The Washington Post wrote about the other video [12]:

"multiple pilots observing and discussing a strange, hovering, egg-shaped craft, apparently one of a “fleet” of such objects, according to cockpit audio."
"The videos, along with observations by pilots and radar operators, appear to provide evidence of the existence of aircraft far superior to anything possessed by the United States or its allies." 

In the wake of ongoing news coverage in the US and the development of a new US Navy directive on how American pilots should report encounters with UFOs, it has become known:

"the Department of the Navy takes these reports very seriously and continues to log sightings and fully investigate the accounts" [13]

[1] History Channel / ZDF History - Das Geheimnis von Roswell

[3] France 2 / ZDF Doku - Ungelöste Phänomene - Das UFO Rätsel




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