Sunday, February 1, 2015

Perth 2014 near-miss incident solved?

Hi all,

Near-miss:

Blog readers will recall that Melbourne based researcher, Paul Dean and I, recently published a full report on the near-miss between a Skippers Aviation aircraft and an "unknown object" at 9.13am local time on 19 March 2014, near Perth international airport (click here for the full technical report.)

The crew of that aircraft described the "unknown object" as a green coloured cylinder, that passed close by the aircraft, still going upwards from the aircraft's altitude of around 4,000 feet. The "unknown" had no observable wings; fins, or obvious method of propulsion.


Was it a rocket?

Paul Dean speculated that one possible explanation was that the "unknown" was a rocket fired from the ground. However, there was no way, on the available information, to substantiate this speculation.
That has now changed.


Air Services Australia incident report:

The recent Air Services Australia (ASA) response to Paul's Freedom of Information request (click here for details) contained thirteen incidents.

One of these, ATS-0118570, occurred at 1.20 zulu time, i.e. 9.20am local time on 4 January 2013. The ASA summary reads:

"XKI (DH8C) reported a foreign object of approximate size (1 metre) within close proximity (50ft) of the aircraft causing them to level out briefly as the object passed left hand side. The rocket like object (shaft) was observed to be attached to a parachute. Pilot reported observation at 6800 ft."


Where did this occur?
The ASA summary merely says Perth, TMA. TMA stands for Terminal Maneouvering Area or in other words near to Perth international airport. Who operates aircraft, registration VH-XKI? Skippers Aviation!


Similarities:

The similarities between the 2013 and 2014 incidents are obvious to me. It would be reasonable, based on the information we now have on these two incidents, to suggest that the 2013 incident was an observation at 6,800 feet, of a rocket, fired from the ground, on its way back to earth, attached to a parachute, and that the observation of 2014, at about 4,000 feet, was that of a rocket, fired from the ground, still going upwards.


2014 Australian Transport Safety Bureau report:

Why wouldn't the report released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau ( click here to read it) on the 2014 event not have mentioned the so similar 2013 event? Perhaps it was because the 2013 event was reported only to Air Services Australia, and the 2014 event was reported by the aircrew directly to the ATSB? This seems a reasonable suggestion, to me. However, you would think that someone at Skippers Aviation would have known about both incidents?

Well, now. Is a rocket fired from the ground ,the solution to the 19 March 2014 near-miss?

Air incident - Near Kununurra, Western Australia - 2009

Hi all,

A second incident from the material obtained by Melbourne researcher Paul Dean (click here) from Air Services Australia, happened in April 2009. A Sydney research associate of mine, who wishes to remain anonymous, and myself, provide the following "English" translation for blog readers.

"Airprox":

1. At 1.53 zulu time on Friday 10 April 2009, (9.53am WAT; or 11.23 CST), an Embraer 170 aircraft belonging to the Airnorth company (a regional airline based in Darwin, Northern Territory) was flying between Darwin, Northern Territory, and Kununurra, Western Australia, a distance of 237 nautical miles.

2. Flight number 332 was on descent to Kununurra at a height of about 9,000 feet when the crew reported an encounter with an "unknown aircraft" close enough to their plane to be described as an "airprox." An "airprox" is a situation in which the safety of the aircraft is deemed to have been compromised. The "unknown" was travelling in the opposite direction to flight 332.

3. Subsequent questioning of the crew found that the "unknown" was located about 3-4 nautical miles east of flight 332. The "unknown" activated flight 332's traffic collision avoidance system (TCAS) and TCAS provided a "resolution advisory", which is a suggestion for the pilot to either climb or descend to avoid a potential collision.

4. Flight 332 crew did not visually see the "unknown." Weather conditions at the time meant the crew of flight 332 were flying under visual meteorological conditions.

5. Flight 332 used its very high frequency radio to try and contact the "unknown." However, there was no response.

6. Air traffic surveillance is not available of this part of the Australian airspace, so the "unknown" was not able to be confirmed by air traffic controllers.

7. No flights matching the "unknown" were known to the air traffic surveillance system.

8. I checked the database of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau for a possible ATSB report on this incident, but failed to find any trace of such a report.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Air incident - Adelaide - 27 January 2014

Hi all,

Introduction:

In a recent post on his blog (click here), Melbourne researcher Paul Dean, reported on 13 pilot and air traffic control observations he obtained from Air Services Australia, (ASA) using the Freedom of Information Act. As I commented in my own blog post on this release (click here), many of these were of illuminated garbage-bags, chinese lanterns, and other such mundane objects. However, there were three which were more interesting, particularly an incident documented to have happened over Adelaide, South Australia in January 2014. Paul challenged us all to provide a "plain english" version of these events, rather than the technical language used in the ASA release. Here then is such a description of the Adelaide event.


Adelaide incident:

1. At about 9.45am central standard time, on the morning of the 27 January 2014, Tiger Airline flight number 484, from Melbourne to Adelaide, an Airbus 320, was inbound on the last leg of its journey. It was to land at the 05 Adelaide runway, following the Alexi 5 Victor Standard Arrival Route. Alexi is the name of a fixed reference ("waypoint") at latitude 35deg 39mins south and longitude 139deg 04mins south.

2. At some uncited point in its final approach, flight 484 reported traffic at its 12 o'clock position, 5 nautical miles (NM) distance, i.e. in front of the aircraft.

3. Adelaide approach reported there was no observed traffic in that vicinity.

4. Flight 484 then requested a turn onto heading 210 degrees. 484 then reported the traffic was now in their right 3 o'clock position, 2.5 NM away. It was apparently seen visually. 484 then advised that it was turning back for its visual standard approach to the runway.

5. 484 then asked Adelaide approach had they any traffic on radar at their 3 o'clock position at 4NM?

6. Adelaide approach replied that they had an Airbus 320 past the 3 o'clock position at 6.8NM. Adelaide approach asked 484 if this was the traffic 484 was referring to? 484 replied that they were not sure. They had their traffic showing at 2.5NM, same level.

7. Shortly after this a Jetstar aircraft flight 774, another Airbus 320, flying Melbourne to Adelaide reported that their traffic collision avoidance system showed "something" at the waypoint named BATIP, (latitude 35deg 00.4mins south, longitude 138deg 26.9 east) "hovering" at 2000 feet, then it disappeared.


Additional information:

At 9am that morning the Bureau of Meteorology observations for Adelaide airport were:

Temperature 27.4 deg C. Relative humidity 23%. Cloud cover zero. Wind direction north. Wind speed 9 km/hr. MSLP 1014.8.


Helpful diagrams:

1. A diagram showing standard arrival route Alexi 6 victor STAR into Adelaide airport runway 05, may be viewed at, click here. Note the waypoints marked Alexi and ANVAC.

2. A diagram overlaid on a map of Adelaide (click here) shows the route aircraft take to runway 05 using the Alexi route (the Air Services Australia website does not have an Alexi 5 victor STAR route on it). Note this route goes through the waypoint ANVAC (see diagram above). This second diagram also shows the location of waypoint BATIP where "something" was said to have "hovered." This waypoint is actually out over the ocean, off the coast of Adelaide.

I hope this "plain english" material will assist readers understand what happened that morning.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Air safety issues in Australia, and UAP


Introduction:

Since the 1950's, aircraft pilots in Australia have periodically reported observations of unidentified aerial phenomena  (UAP.)  My catalogue of the more interesting UAP reports from Australia ( click here) contains dozens of such reports, including the following two from 1997.

28 September 1997 Jacobs Well, Queensland 2359hrs
Pilot Rob Hill and passenger were flying between Brisbane and Lismore in a helicopter when they sighted an unusual object, with three lights on it, spaced evenly along its side. It tilted like an aircraft banking, and disappeared. Brisbane air traffic control advised him that there was no other traffic in the area. (The Northern Star newspaper, 3 October 1997.)

1 December 1997 Kangaroo Island, South Australia 2330hrs
Mr Kym Koch, flying at 4000 feet between Adelaide and Kingscote reported seeing an object low on the horizon. He described it as a very bright, round, orange coloured object at 20 degrees elevation. He was then contacted by Adelaide approach radar who told him they had received a report from Kangaroo Island Police about the same object. A police officer had been watching it for 9 minutes as it travelled westwards. It was also reported that it was detected by radar. (Channel 7 news, and Sunday Mail newspaper 7 December 1997.)


Observations versus air safety issues:

Most of the reports from pilots, are simply observations of something they considered unusual, similar to many such visual observations from the ground. However, a number of the reports represent a potential air safety issue, where they appears to be the possibility of a near-miss or a collision. Examples of this are:

19 March 2014 Perth, Western Australia 0913hrs
A Skippers aviation aircraft with passengers onboard was about to land at Perth international airport, when the crew sighted an approaching object. A green coloured, cylindrical object passed the aircraft at close range, after the command pilot changed course to avoid what he thought would be a collision. The full report on this event may be read here.

30 August 1975 Off Townsville, Queensland 1233z
The crew of a RAAF Neptune patrol aircraft were flying at 3000 feet. A group of three white/yellow lights approached the aircraft, and the pilot made a left turn to avoid what he believed to be an imminent mid-air collision. Click here to read my full report.


Australian aviation authorities:

In Australia there are three separate agencies involved at government level. These are:

1. Civil Aviation Safety Authority. Click here for their website.
2. Australian Transport Safety Bureau. For their website click here.
3. Air Services Australia. Click here to read about them.


2010 - who receives reports of possible UAP?

In 2010 I submitted Freedom of Information requests to all three agencies asking them for any documents they held on the subject of "unidentified flying objects." I received responses from all three agencies. CASA essentially said they held no such documents. The ATSB and ASA provided an amount of documentation. I reported on their responses in a series of blog posts,  ATSB click here; ASA click here.


2015 - ask again

This year, Melbourne colleague, Paul Dean, wrote to Air Services Australia under the FOI Act and asked them for documents concerning:

“….any incidences where flight crews have reported any:
 
1) Unusual, Unknown, or Unidentifiable Aircraft or Objects;
2) Suspected Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles;
3) Meteoric Events, fireballs and the like;
4) Especially unusual weather phenomenon;
 
which are held on ESIR or CIRRIS database(s)."

The ASA searched their database and retrieved 13 pilot and ATC reports, fitting Paul's request.


The documents:

Some of the ASA reports have mundane observations, for example:

ATS-0071534 26 October 2008 7:44 Canberra tower.

At approximately 0744 z, 3 large black objects were
observed rising from the vicinity of Mt Mugga,
ascending and drifting south. Probably home made
hot air ballons using black plastic and a flame
source at the base. 2 RPT acft on final RWY 35 were
advised about the objects and that tower
considered the objects to be far enough west of
final to not impinge on their approach to land. One
of the objects then caught fire and disappeared,
whilst the other 2 continued to climb and drift to
the south east across final for RWY 35. QFA805 was
vectored to the west of final for a rejoin from the
west to avoid the objects. Objects last sighted
about 6 nm to south east of Canberra around 3000 to
5000 feet

and:

ATS-0072538 4 December 2008 9:35 Cairns Tower
Unidentified lights, believed to be floating lanterns,
released from one of the beaches (assumed to be
Holloways or Machans Beaches) . 2 lots of 3
'lanterns' released 10 mins apart, and floated up
just east of final. Qld police notified. Qld police also
received public reports of same. All relevant
aircraft on final notified.


Three of the ASA observations are of more interest. These are:
 
ATS-0075593 10 April 2009 1:53 TOPS
ANO332 tracking DN‐KU on descent, reported an
'airprox' with an unknown aircraft approximately
opposite direction, at approximately A090.
Subsequent questioning of the crew elicited that
the aircraft was observed approximately 3‐4 NM
east of the flight planned track and followed on
TCAS, but there was no RA, nor was the aircraft
sighted. Weather conditions were VMC. ANO332
reported unable to raise the aircraft on VHF.ATS
surveillance is not available in this part of the
airspace so the report was unable to be
corroborated by ATC. No flights matching the aircraft 
were known to the ATS system.

ATS-0098025 26 September 2012 2:11 Sydney TMA
TGW581 reported a red cylindrical object passing
the aircraft in the opposite direction when climbing
through FL200 aproximately 20 nm miles south of
Sydney.

ATS-0126807 26 January 2014 23:19 Adelaide TMA
At 2315Z TGW484, inbound on the ALEXI 05V STAR
reported having traffic at 12 o'clock, 5NM. AAE
reported there was no observed traffic in that
vicinity. TGW484 then requested a turn onto
heading 210. TGW484 then reported the traffic in
their right, 3 o'clock 2.5 NM "visual", and were
turning back for the VSA. TGW484 then asked if
AAE had the traffic on radar, 3' o'clock at 4NM. AAE
replied they had an A320 past the 3 o'clock at
6.8NM. AAE confirmed whether that was the traffic
they had reported, which TGW reported they were
not sure, they had had traffic showing 2.5 NM
same level. Shortly after JST774 following TGW
reported TCAS showing something at BATIP,
"hovering" at A020, which then disappeared.

Paul has now submitted a further FOI request to ASA asking for any further documents they hold about three specific observations provided by them in response to Paul's initial FOI request. It will be interesting to see what emerges.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Cold case review - Moe, Victoria - My analysis


Introduction:

This is the fourth in a four part series of posts about the classic 15 February 1963 incident near Moe, Victoria. In this post I attempt an analysis of the observation.


Comments and analysis:

1. This is a very puzzling case. I have, for some reason, always had the impression that the event lasted some minutes. It is clear that it did not. At most it lasted 15 to 16 seconds (McDonald 1967). The only other estimate of duration available, is that when it hovered. Brew himself said, this phase lasted 4-5 seconds. (VFSRS 1963.) It is therefore  a short duration event.

2. The absolute size of the object is given by Brew as 25 feet by 9-10 feet. These estimates appear to have been made when the object was at its closest approach, estimated at 75 feet. An angular size of some 18 degrees is implied by these figures. This is equivalent to 36 full Moons side by side in the sky. However, these estimates of Brew's, may, or may not be accurate. Maybe it would be better to say that the more certain information is that the ratio of the object's diameter to its height (minus the top "antenna") was roughly 3 to 1.

3. The shape of the object, as shown in both the RAAF and VFSRS investigations, does not agree with the shape expected to be seen if the RAAF's tornado-like phenomenon suggestion is adopted. A tornado, in whatever form, would be expected to be taller than wider, shaped like a cone or rope shape.

4. The sound heard is another interesting aspect, variously described as  "swishing, burbling-type sound" (RAAF); "swishing" (VFSRS) and "diggerydoo" (McDonald.) Both Charles and Trevor report hearing this loud and unusual noise at the same time.

5. A further unusual aspect is the possible correlation of a headache to Brew when "gazing at the perspex canopy." (VFSRS).


Is the RAAF's explanation viable?

6. What then are we to think of the RAAF's suggested tornado-like phenomenon? At first glance, the reported structured object; the headache; the noise and the shape, all appear to disagree with this suggestion. The RAAF report states that the CSIRO meteorological people were in some agreement with such an explanation.

7. The fact that the object descended from the cloud base; was moving in the direction of the wind (as stated by Brew but different from the RAAF); and was rotating in part, anti-clockwise; and went back into the cloud base in a few seconds, at first had me thinking "funnel cloud."


Funnel cloud?

8. A "funnel cloud" is a funnel shaped cloud of condensed water dropletes associated with a rotating column of air. This funnel extends from the base of a cloud and does not reach the ground like a conventional tornado. Photographs of "funnel clouds" which I perused on the Internet reinforce the fact that the funnel is linked to the clouds and it does not detach from the cloud.

9. Brew described his object as descending from the clouds to a  height of 75-100 feet and then going back up into the clouds. His estimate of time for the stationary phase is 4-5 seconds.

10. Two hours later, the weather observer at Yallourn stated the type of clouds visible then and there were "Fracto-Stratus." "These low gray clouds are small, thin, unorganized tatters that typically condense in the moisture beneath nimbostratus or cumulonimbus clouds." (Click here). The bases of these clouds are usually found near the ground to around 6,500 feet." Funnel clouds are usually associated with cumulonimbus or cumulus clouds.

11. A check on the Internet revealed a general concensus that sounds associated with funnel clouds are "similar to buzzing bees, or a rushing waterfall-like sound, roaring sucking sound." (Click here.)


12. Points favouring a funnel cloud as an explantion for the object seen at Moe, are:

1. They form in similar weather to that reported at Moe.
2.They do rotate.
3. They do appear grey in colour.
4.They have associated sounds similar to that described by the Brews.
5. They are of short duration, seconds to minutes.
6. They move in the direction of the prevailing wind.
7. They are most likely during the summer months, e.g. February.
8. White or blue glows have been reported in association with them.


Points against a funnel cloud:

1. They do not detach themselves from their associated cloud base.
2. Their description in the literature, does not match that reported by Brew.

However, you can see why the tornado-like phenomenon appealed to both the CSIRO and the RAAF .


Another possible meteorological explanation?

13. Interestingly, my review of the meteorological information on tornados and tornado-like phenomenon revealed that there might be an even better fit for the object seen at Moe.

That is, a "gustnado", which is short for a gust front tornado. Gustnados were not know about in 1963.  The Australian Bureau of Meteorology describes them as follows:

"The gustnado has been accepted as a 'type of tornado' but is really a brief, intense vortex that forms on the leading edge of gust fronts. Scud and debris or dirt may be seen but a condensation funnel is usually absent. They will last from a few seconds to several minutes and are strong enough to cause minor damage. They are distinguished from a true tornado by their location under an advancing dark cloud bank, or shelf cloud ahead of the rain core. Although the air is rotating, this event is grouped more appropriately with straight-line winds (downbursts and microbursts)." (Click here.)  The BOM website has an interesting photograph,, which shows a gustnado, taken in Melbourne, Victoria. The gustnado, if tipped on its side would appear as a grey, rotating, discoid form. (Click here for photo.)

The column is not connected to, nor has it developed from the cloud like a tornado or a funnel cloud. A gustnado lasts for from seconds to a few minutes.Unlike a tornado the rotating column of air does not extend all the way to the cloud base. They may only extend to 10 to 100 metres  above the ground with no apparent connection to the cloud.

The Bureau of Meteorlogy's website Storm spotters Handbook says they have an anti-clockwise rotation. Like other funnels they may generate noise and light.


What did Brew see?

14. After reading all four posts in this series, which provides detailed information on the event, and the information provided on tornado-like phenomenon, you will have to make up your own mind what it was that Charles Brew saw on the morning of 15 February 1963.

Cold case review - Moe, Victoria - McDonald investigation


Introduction:

This is the third in a four part series of posts about the classic 15 February 1963 incident near Moe, Victoria. In this post I present details of the investigation conducted by the US researcher, James E McDonald.


James E McDonald.

James E McDonald interviewed Charles Brew and his son Trevor, in 1967 during a visit from America to Australia. Courtesy of Dr Michael Swords I obtained a copy of McDonald's handwritten notes. McDonald's handwriting is difficult to read , so I will simply summarise the relevant notes, in three categories. Firstly, points of information which agree with that given by either the RAAF or VFSRS investigations; then points of difference, and finally information which I did not come across in either of these investigations.

Points of agreement:

1. Object came down from the east.
2. It was raining heavily at the time.
3. It was not dark.
4. Colored tin top. Bottom flat. Top was glass, something transparent.
5. Took off to the west, uphill from shed.
6. Climbed out at 45 degrees.
7. Spun anti-clockwise from above.
8. Headache that day.

Points of difference:

1. Time was 0700.
2. Hovered 10 seconds at tree top height.
3. Dome was not completely clean. Murky. Frosty. Thinks may have seen figures. Head, shoulders - no movement, not small.

New information:

1. Trevor was at the south end of the shed, blocked view.
2. Drop in milk for a week or so.
3. For 6 months couldn't get them past the spot.
4. While hovering, revolved, but no rocking motion.
5. Saw no jets or flames.
6. More than a second per revolution.
7. Trevor - sound not like engine noise. Loud. Like a throwing stick. Magnificent sound. Pleasant.
8. Total time of sighting 15-16 seconds.
9. Came out of cloud base, perhaps half a mile away.
10. Trevor did not get a headache.

It should be noted that these notes were made nearly four years after the event, with whatever might have been the effect on Brew's memory, with the passage of that amount of time.

Although we do not have access to an investigation report by McDonald, we do have the text of a talk which McDonald gave to the Canadian Aeronautics and Space Institute Astronautics Symposium on 12 March 1968 titled "UFOs-An International Scientific Problem." This talk features a section on the Moe case.

"Case 10. Moe, Victoria, February 15, 1963.

To maintain a certain international tone, in keeping with the title of my remarks, I close with another interesting sighting made in a distant area. With the aid of the Melbourne VFSRS group, I was able to interview Australian farmer Charles Brew and his son Trevor last summer. They operate a small dairy farm east of Melbourne, near Moe, Victoria. My interview was carried out in the milking shed where Brew and his son Trevor were working at about 7am Feb 15, 1963 when an unusual object swooped down nearby.

It was already light on this summer morning, although rainclouds lay overhead. Trevor was working in a part of the milking shed where his view of the eastern sky was obscured and he did not see the object during its short duration passage nearby.

Charles Brew however, was standing in an opening, with a full view to the eastern sky when the object descended towards his shed and cattle-pens at an angle that he put at about 45 degrees. The object might be loosely described as a domed disc, estimated by Brew at 25 feet in diameter, gray in color except for a transparent dome on top. Around the circumference of the object he saw an array of scoop-like or bucket-like vanes or protruberances.

As the object swooped down, almost as if to land on the hillside nearby, the cattle and horses reacted in a violent panic which Brew described in his own words as unprecedented  It descended to an altitude that he judged to be 75-100 feet, as estimated by the height of a tree near its point of  minimal altitude. Then, after seeming to hover near the tree for a few seconds, it began a climb of roughly 45 degrees continuing on its westward course and passing into the cloud deck again.

The dome was not rotating, but the central section and  bottom section appeared to be rotating at about once a second, Brew judged. The spinning motion caused the protruberances (Brew thought) to generate the swishing noise, somewhat like a turbine noise, that was clearly audible not only to Brew but also to Trevor, located inside the shed and not far from a diesel unit powering the milking machines. The sound was even audible over the latter local noise sources, Trevor said.

 It took some time to recover the animals that had bolted, and those already inside the fenced area were strongly disturbed for some time. Brew stated to me that it was many days before any of his cattle would walk over the point of the hillside over which the object had momentarily hovered. Brew himself reported that an uncommon headache persisting for a number of hours after the incident, but whether this was fortuitous cannot be concluded.

Brew has been interviewed many times by Australian investigators without any reason being found to discount his unusual sighting. My reaction to Brew was similar.

It is unfortunate that the son was not in a position to confirm the sighting but he confirms the unusual sound ("like a diggerydoo" as Brew put it.) The object is similar in its general features and size to that seen by a witness I interviewed in New Zealand, Mrs Eileen Moreland. Her July 1959 observation, like Brew's, and like that of many other UFO witnesses is extremely difficult to explain in present-day scientific or technological terms."

In Michael Swords' digitised files, is a copy of the July 1963 APRO Bulletin report on the case. It has been annotated by McDonald in his own handwriting. In part, it reads:

"Berson regarded his story as beyond reproach, but stated in his analysis that the only (two words unable to be read) explanation was "some weather phenomenon" and this was taken up by RAAF as the explanation, and case was called 'closed.'"

Part four of this series will present my analysis of the incident.

Cold case review - Moe, Victoria - the VFSRS investigation



Introduction:

This is the second in a four part series of posts about the classic 15 February 1963 incident near Moe, Victoria. In this post I present details of the investigation conducted by the Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society.

A prime piece of original documentation, which few researchers have ever seen, is a transcript of a "Tape recorded interview with Mr Charles Brew by Mr Peter Norris, President, Victorian Flying Saucer Research Society."



 A snip of part of the VFSRS transcript.

It reads:

"Question. What time did you make the sighting, Mr Brew?
Answer. It would be about 10 past 7, it was. Yes, 10 past 7, definitely.

Q. What were you doing at the time?
A. We were milking and half way approximately half way through, I'd say.

Q. Yes , how did you first notice the object come down?
A. Well I was lookin' out over the cows as I referred to you a while ago and it came down very steeply out of the east, oh, I'd say at about 45 degrees.

Q. And what did the object look like when you first saw it? What were your reactions?
A. Well I thought it was a helicopter at first.

Q. What made you think that?
A. On account of it being round and I've naturally never, ever seen one of these turnouts before. That would be asking too much!

Q. Yes, and what did you see when the object came fairly close to you?
A. Oh well, I noticed first of all the colouring, and after that the top 2/3 when it came down and hovered, was stationary and the lower section was turning in an anti-clockwise direction - noticed that - and also as I pointed out, those scoop-like protrusions around the side which I think was making the noise-the swishing noise, that is.



The VFSRS sketch.

Q. And at this stage, how far was the object from you?
A. Oh, I'd say 75 feet away - perhaps a little further - and about the same distance up in the air.

Q. How did you calculate the height of the object?
A. Well I calculated the height by those trees. I'd say they were approximately 75 feet high. It might have been a shade higher that those, of course.

Q. Yes, that would be quite right I would say. Now once again, getting back to the general appearance of the object, can you describe the top point of the object?
A. Well, the top, the very top section, the dome section, that is, was sort of what we would call perspex or glass material or whatever you like but whatever that was, I couldn't say. The middle section, that is the middle section between the perspex and the part that was rotating, was sort of battleship grey and looked to me like some sort of metallic material. I couldn't say for sure, of course, and the bottom is I said, was rotating in an anti-clockwise direction. Well, I couldn't say what sort of material it was definitely made of but the Air Force chaps asked me that too. As near as I could say, it seemed something the same material as motor cars. Just by lookin' at it, you know.

Q. What was the size of the object?
A. Well I'd say as near as I could judge about 25 feet across - perhaps a little more - if anything a little more.

Q. Well what about the height?
A. Oh I'd say overall, about 9 feet as near as I could judge. Might have been a bit more of course it's hard to judge when you only see a thing for a few seconds, but I'd say 9 or 10 feet.

Q. You didn't actually seen anybody in it through what appeared to be a glass portion on the top. On the dome?
A. No, on a clear day you may have but as I said, it was raining heavy, and no, I can't honestly say I did see anybody although I was lookin' hard enough.

Q. Looking at the object from the underneath part, what could you see there?
A. Well when it was hovering, I could see the scoop-like protrusions, or whatever they were, which seemed to be making the swishing noise. After that, when it took off, it was the blueish or sort of pale blueish colour underneath. That's as near as I can tell you, as much as I can tell you really, about the lower section.

Q. And when it took off, what did you notice? Well first of all, of course it did hover, for some little time?
A. Well, I'd say for a space of 4 or 5 seconds, which is  not long I know.



The VFSRS sketch of the scene. 

Q. Yes, and then after that it took off, did it, and if so, at what speed would you calculate?
A. Oh well, we reckon, Trevor and I reckon, a jet would probably have to add up speed to match the speed.

Q. And it took off instantly?
A. Yes, flying from a flying start - you know, not a flying start but a standing start - and very fast and very steep.

Q. It went straight up did it?
A. I'll say it came in and went out at about the same angle at 45 degrees, as near as I can judge.

Q. Getting back to the appearance of the object. I think you said you noticed something on top of the dome?
A. Yes, it seemed to be an aerial sort of thing - I'd say about 5 or 6 feet long and it did seem to be either chrome or some lightish metal thing. Whether it was the aerial or not, I couldn't say. I was speaking to the other chap and he said it was.

Q. I know there were some cows and other stock in the yard at the time of the sighting, Mr Brew?
A. Yes, we had half done. We were half-way, half of them are milked out and the other half still had to go through.

Q. What was their reaction to the sighting?
A. Well, as I said to your other chap who was here, they done everything bar turn somersaults. They put in the paper that they did turn somersaults but that's carrying it a bit far! They certainly played up. I've never seen cows play up like that before and they never take any notice (quite happy before) of an ordinary jet. A jet can go over and they just take not notice at all but they really played up this day.

Q. Did you have anyone helping you milk the cows?
A. Yes, we had Trevor there and as I said, unfortunately he never seen it but he did hear it and he said "What was that?" and I said "A flying saucer" and he said "Don't be so and so silly, you know those things don't exist" or something to that effect and I said "Well this was a flying saucer, definitely." He said "Well it certainly moved off the mark, it travelled twice as fast as a jet." I said "Well it certainly went away fast, just like somebody had it on a blooming Yo-yo or something. Really went off with a bang."

Q. So he didn't hear it until it actually moved away and then of course, it was too late?
A. No, he didn't see it, unfortunately, but he certainly heard it go.

Q. Have you been interviewed by any representatives of the Government?
A. Yes, as I said the CSIRO were here and number one question as far as they were concerned - he asked me did I get a headache. I said "Well, it's strange that you should ask me that because I thought it was too ridiculous I would never have mentioned it. But I did get an awful headache just behind the eyes. I never suffer from headaches normally and I took a Bex and I went in but it didn't seem to have any effect. It just wore off itself towards night - took all day long to wear off.

Q. When did you first get the headache?
A. Oh when I was sort of gazing at the perspex canopy business I noticed it.

Q. It came on immediately, did it?
A. Yes, more or less. Yes. Yes.

Q. What did the CSIRO man say? Incidentally, do you know his name? What's his name?
A. Er, Mr Berson. Yes Mr Berson was his name.

Q. And what did he say about the headache?
A. "Well" he said, "that ties in with what our theory, we always had the impression that it was (what would you say?) he gave me the impression it was electromagnetic or something to that effect - that's beyond me - but he said that would more than likely cause the headache and it certainly took all day to get rid of it, anyhow. I know that.

Q. What else did the CSIRO do?
A. Well, as I said he took away samples of rock - they were very interested in that - because he said being a sort of an ironstone, it may have some attraction for it. And there is the reef as I said and it winds right though here and it came over that reef, more or less parallel with it.

Q. How long after the sighting occurred, did the CSIRO come down here?
A. They were here about 4 days after and the Air Force about a week or near the best part of a week after that.

Q.  Oh, the Air Force came down as well did they? Who came down from the Air Force?
A. Well Mr Murdoch was one of them, the only name I can recall.

Q.  Was he in uniform?
A. Yes, they were all in uniform.

Q. They were officers, were they?
A. Yes, I would say high officers, high ranking officers, anyhow.

Q. What did they do?
A. Well they photographed the surrounding country, that was the Baw Baws, Mt Macdonald. Long distance cameras and took light cloud and cloud plus, you know, how much blue was showing in the sky - all that sort of thing. It's a bit beyond me, some of the things they done but all those things.

Q. Did they have instruments?
A. Yes, they had the cameras and they tapping the rocks and took particular notice of the rock formation also. Don't know for what reason but they did. Yes, they said that after I drew them the sketch, that it was similar to other sightings to what had been seen in other countries. It tallied also exactly with what's been seen over there, but they didn't think it was quite as big as that. Yes, they said it was approximately, to the best of their knowledge, the lowest it had been and the best sighting.

Q. That was in Australia, was it?
A. Yes, from what I could gather, here.

Q. Did anyone else come down from the Government?
A. Yes, I had the Aeronautical expert from, I think liaison officer, I think that was the Sale Air Base. He asked similar questions and he wanted to know if there was any engine noise but we never heard any engine noise, not as we know engines today.

Q. To get back to the object itself, did you notice any light coming from the object itself at any time?
A. No. There was no light, no light in the dome business and no light underneath."

That is the end of the transcript.


CSIRO letter:

On 8 April 1963 Dr F A Berson of the Division of Meteorological Physics, CSIRO responded to a letter from the VFSRS,  which included:

"I visited Mr Brew in company of a friend of mine, but we did not take any rock sample. But I know that somebody else did."


My comments:

1. Given the data in the VFSRS transcript, at one point Brew states that the object was 75 feet away from him, and it was 25 feet in diameter. It is now possible to work out an estimate of angular size. An object of 25 feet across at 75 feet distance subtends an angle at the observer's eye of 18 degrees, which is equivalent to placing 36 full Moons side by side in the sky. This is a very large angular size indeed.

2. Trying to estimate a sense of the total duration of the event, we have Brew's three stages, initial descent, hovering point, and fast departure. Brew estimated it hovered for  4or 5 seconds, so we are left with a total duration for the event of greater than 4-5 seconds.

3. We can estimate its angular elevation at one point. Brew states that it was 75 feet away and about the same distance up in the air, ie 75 feet. Trigonometry shows that at this point, it was therefore at 45 degrees elevation from the ground. This appears to be at the point it hovered.

4. However, Brew did not state in which compass direction this point of hovering occurred. Can we work it out from the sketch of the property, assuming the traditional method of upwards being north? If so, then the point of hovering was to the north of Brew.

5. In my post about the sketch attached to the RAAF's report, I concluded that there was no way to be certain who actually drew that sketch (even though in the VFSRS transcript Brew says,  "they said that after I drew them the sketch..." but which sketch is this referring to?) and therefore no way to judge how accurately the RAAF sketch reflected the object Brew saw.

Now, looking at the sketch in the VFSRS material, are we any the wiser? Unfortunately, I don't think we are. The VFSRS sketch is not  signed "Drawn By Brew;" or "Drawn under the direction of Brew." It contains handwritten notes. The handwriting on the sketch appears the same as the handwriting on the sketch of the property, but again the sketch of the property is also not signed "Drawn by Brew" or "Drawn by Peter Norris." However, one clue is that the sketch of the property says in one place "Mr Brew's house." If Brew had done this sketch, you would imagine he would have used the phrase "My house." This suggests to me that neither the sketch of the object, nor the sketch of the property were drawn by Brew himself, but by others.

In summary, if Brew did not draw the VFSRS object sketch, I have to ask how accurately does it represent the actual object Brew saw?


Part three of this four part series will present the investigation by James E McDonald.