Jumat, 04 Juni 2010


Flying saucers over Farnborough
In 1950 Stan Hubbard was an experienced test pilot based at the Royal Aircraft
Establishment at Farnborough, site of one of the aeronautical industry’s
most important annual events, the September air show. On the
morning of 15 August, a dry, clear summer’s day, Flight Lieutenant Hubbard
was walking along the airfield runway towards his quarters. He later
recalled his attention was attracted by what he described as ‘a strange distant
humming sound’. I had the chance to interview him in 2002 and he
remembered then how, turning to investigate, he saw in the direction of
Basingstoke an object that looked
‘for all the world like the edge-on view of a discus, the sort of discus we
used to throw at sports day in school …and it was rocking from side to
side very slightly …but maintaining a very straight approach.That was
something that has stuck in my mind very clearly, vividly, to this day.’17
As it approached the airfield the sound emanating from the object increased
in intensity to become ‘a heavy, dominant humming with an associated subdued
crackling-hissing…which reminded me strongly of the noise inside a
large active electrical power station.’ He continued:
‘It was light grey in colour, a bit like mother of pearl, but blurred. It was
obviously reflecting light because as it rocked it looked like a pan lid as
you rotate it, with segments of light rotating around.And I could see that
around the edge as it went overhead, it was a different colour, it had adefinite edge to it. And the whole of the edge was a mass of tiny crackling,
sparkling lights.And associated with that, there was a real impact of
a very strong ozone smell.
‘There were no windows or portholes or any other characteristics at
all. It was featureless, and the remarkable thing about it was there was no
sound of air movement…as the object was coming closer and then went
overhead I tried to estimate its size, altitude and speed, but with the
absence of any readily identifiable feature it was difficult to gauge these
factors with any confidence… I guessed that its height above ground
when first seen was probably between 700 and 1000 [ ft ] and since it
certainly seemed to maintain altitude throughout the period of my
observation, I guessed that it would have to be about 100 ft in diameter.
It must have been travelling very fast, perhaps as high as 500 to 900
Hubbard immediately reported this sighting to his commanding officer andsoon afterwards received a visit from members of theMinistry of Defence’s
Flying SaucerWorking Party, which had been established that same month
to look into the UFO mystery. Chaired by G.L.Turney, head of scientific
intelligence at the Admiralty, it included five intelligence officers, two of
whomwere scientists, the other three representing the intelligence branches
of the army, navy and RAF.Hubbard recalled the questions included:
‘“How high was it?” “How big was it?” “How fast was it?” “What was
it?”…and one question which I think reflects the tenor of the interview
was: “What do you suppose the object was, and where would it have
come from?” I replied simply that in my opinion it was not something
that had been designed and built on this Earth.Clearly, from the effect it
had on the team, it was the wrong answer.’
The working party’s visit to Farnborough would not be the last. On the
afternoon of 5 September 1950, just two weeks after Hubbard’s first observation,
he saw what he believes was the same object again.On this occasion
he was standing with five other serving RAF airmen on the watch-tower
waiting for a display by the Hawker P.1081 when he spotted the object in
the sky to the south of the airfield, towards Guildford. ‘I grabbed hold of the
chap next to me,’ he recalled, ‘and said: “Hey, what do you think that is?”
Pointing…and he shouted “My God! Go get a camera quick! Go get some
Hubbard and his colleagues then watched an incredible performance of aerobatics by what the official report describes as ‘a flat disc, light pearl in
colour [ and] about the size of a shirt button.’Hubbard described it as
‘fluttering, as though bordering on instability, in a hovering mode, the
object would swoop off in a slight dive at incredibly high speed and in
quite stable flight, then stop abruptly and go into another fluttering hover mode.This performance was repeated many times … and it appeared
that all this was taking place some eight to ten miles south of us over the
Farnham area.’
The UFO was under observation for some 10 minutes during which the little
crowd had swelled to more than a dozen RAF personnel. ‘They were
awestruck,’ Hubbard recalls, ‘but not one of them had a camera! I remember
one of them saying “Sorry Stan, I didn’t believe those first stories.” It
mademy day.’Within 24 hours they were all questioned by the Flying Saucer
Working Party. ‘We were not given their names and we were strictly warned
not to ask questions of them, nor make enquiries elsewhere in theMinistry’,
Hubbard said. ‘We were also warned not to discuss the
subject later, even amongst ourselves in private.’
Despite his misgivings Hubbard believed the assurance
given by theAirMinistry member of the teamthat
he ‘had never had a more reliable and authentic sighting
than ours.’ He was unaware of the outcome of this
investigation until he got to see a copy of the working party’s final report after its release in 2001. In its summary
of Hubbard’s initial sighting the report said there
was no doubt the experienced test pilot had honestly
described what he had seen,
‘but we find it impossible to believe that a most
unconventional aircraft, of exceptional speed, could have travelled at no
great altitude, in the middle of a fine summer morning, over a populous
and air-minded district like Farnborough, without attracting the attention
of more than one observer.’ (DEFE 44 /119 )
Accordingly, they concluded he was ‘the victim of an optical illusion, or that
he observed some quite normal type of aircraft and deceived himself about
its shape and speed.’The report then turned its attention to the second incident,
which they described as ‘an interesting example of one report influencing
another.’ Although Hubbard believed the objects he saw on both
occasions were identical, the authors felt this opinion was of little value.
While they had no doubt a flying object of some sort had been seen,
‘we again find it impossible to believe that an unconventional aircraft,
manoeuvring for some time over a populous area, could have failed to
attract the attention of other observers.We conclude that the officers in
fact saw some quite normal aircraft, manoeuvring at extreme visual
range, and were led by the previous report to believe it to be something
abnormal.’ (DEFE 44 /119 )
The working party were satisfied this solution was correct because of another example of misperception reported to them by the Air Ministry
member of their team,Wing Commander Myles Formby.Whilst on a rifle
The UFO was under observation
for some 10 minutes
during which the little crowd
had swelled to more than
a dozen RAF personnel.
‘They were awestruck,’
Hubbard recalls
range near Portsmouth he spotted what he at first thought was a ‘flying
saucer’ in the distance.
‘Visibility was good, there being a cloudless sky and bright sunshine.The
object was located and held by a telescope and gave the appearance of
being a circular shining disc moving on a regular flight path. It was only
after observation had been kept for severalminutes, and the altitude of the
object changed so that it did not reflect the sunlight to the observer’s eye,
that it was identified as being a perfectly normal aircraft.’ (DEFE 44 /119 )

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