Sunday, May 26, 2013

Intrusions, radar contacts and kugelblitz

Hi all,

Thanks, once again to Melbourne researcher, Paul Dean, three more parts of the RAAF’s 35 part series of UAP files, has been digitised. These are file series A703, control symbol 580/1/1 parts 27, 29 and 33. What’s on these files?

Part 27 barcode 646586:

The file cover says this is a “Department of Air” file, titled “Reports on Flying Saucers and other aerial objects.” It is of 94 pages long in the digital version, with a date range of 1973-1973.

The file contains multiple RAAF UAP forms “Report on Unusual Aerial Sighting.” Each report on the file has a report form and a response letter from the RAAF signed by G J Odgers, the Director of Public Relations. By 1973, the RAAF’s Directorate of Air Force Intelligence (DAFI) took a back seat and the response letter to individuals reporting UAP was signed by the Director of {Public Relations) not a DAFI officer.

The explanations for the reports on this file range from “light aircraft,” to “meteor,” and “reflection of Sun from ice layers of cloud.” There are multiple observations of what must have been a spectacular meteor on 23 Jul 1973 seen from a wide area of the state of Victoria.

Part 29 barcode 646588:

Another “Department of Air” file, “Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects” this time 178 pages long. There are 15 sets of observations, all dated 1973. The explanations put forward include “Jupiter,” “meteor,” “Cosmos 330” and “Altona oil refinery flames.”

Intrusion of foreign aircraft?

One interesting sets of documents on the file starts with newspaper clippings titled “Mystery Planes” (The Sun-Herald 9 Sep 73) and “Red faces in ghost plane alert” (Sunday Mirror 9 Sep 73.)

The Sunday Mirror article’s text started with “Capital city airports around Australia were placed on alert yesterday morning when two unidentified flying objects crossed the north-west coast.”

A file note headed “Note of action re Central Australian sightings – Sep 73 “ told the official version of the story, which has not to date, received much attention.

“The clippings of f13a and 13b gave rise to an investigation without formal reporting system.

As a result of a ‘Black September’ scare emanating from AG Dept PM hours 7 Sep 73 DCA placed airfields in the north west of Australia on a watching alert for the early hours of 8 Sep. An observer in Derby reported a/c noise at 0416 DN time. This was almost definitely a QANTAS flight (QF676) which reported Derby six minutes later and thought to have given a rather careless position report. Significantly no a/c noise was heard at the time of the report.

At 0515 and 0545 (DN time), observers at Alice Springs reported high flying lights. They did not time the traverse (through an estimated 75 deg) but ‘guesstimated’ about a minute. Mt Stromlo observatory discounts the possibility of a meteorite shower. The lights appeared much higher than international aircraft in the area. Although satellite prediction charts are not available for the AS area, and hence we cannot confirm the assessment, the nature of the sightings strongly suggests satellite activity which would probably have gone unremarked but for our Black September friends.

Mr Barlow (Defence science) has been informed of the assessment.” This note was signed by K R Janson Gp Capt DAFI and dated 13 Sep 1973.

Another note, labeled “DAFI copy” attributes “the sighting reported over Derby and subsequently Alice Springs was a scheduled international flight enroute to Sydney. The second sighting at Alice Springs, some 30 minutes after the international aircraft, has been attributed to a space vehicle or debris…There is no evidence to suggest that Australian airspace has been violated by foreign aircraft.”

Part 33 barcode 646592:

The third “Department of Air” “Reports on flying saucers and other aerial objects” is a 213 page file. Like the previous two files, it contains multiple index cards, and response letters form the Director of Public relations. Explanations here, range from “meteor,” “space debris,” “Venus,” “Mars,” and “anomalous propagation.” Finally, there is a rare explanation for two sightings as “ball lightning.”

Ball lightning?

Police constable M J Harnett of Boddington police Station in Western Australia, in a self-typed report dated 3 Dec 1973 to RAAF base Pearce, described the events of the night of 20 Nov 1973.

Constable Harnett had responded to a UAP report by a local farmer Peter Stewart, of North Bannister. Mr Stewart’s separate report on file states that at 2145hrs local time, for 15 minutes, he had watched at 20 deg SW a “starry blue” coloured light which moved with a velocity “same as a car 400y doing 10mph.” It intermittently moved around in the same general area. “It was last observed in a NW direction “around level 150y.” The RAAF investigating officer wrote “Mr Stewart moved along the same route the following night and saw the same object. He was then fairly convinced he had seen a star.”

The constable’s statement told how he and a colleague had observed a “strange light which appeared to be following the Police Vehicle.” It was coloured amber, which changed to blue and back to amber frequently. It seemed to follow them for 2 miles, moved ahead of their vehicle, then stopped 1 mile in front. It then appeared to dim and go out, but reappeared very brightly in an area where there were no roads, and the terrain was very steep and rocky. The constable stated that it was not a star. The duration of their observation was about 6 minutes.

The RAAF Director of Public Relations wrote to the constable “…the investigating team believes that the most probable cause of your sighting was a phenomenon known as “ball lightning” or “kugelblitz.” Mr Stewart, meanwhile was informed by the RAAF that the most probable cause for his separate observation was “Venus.”

More ball lightning?

Mrs P Kelly of Revesby, New South Wales on 27 Dec 1973 was near The Entrance at about 2100 hrs local time. Passengers in her car told her they saw lights in the sky. She slowed the car and an “…object appeared to come over in our direction.” It looked like an “unfinished triangle” i.e. two lines of lights in an arrowhead formation. The top row was coloured lights and the bottom line were red lights. As it passed over the vehicle it showed red, blue and green lights “…in shapes, in front of the ‘v’ …” Mrs Kelly drove the car off at speed.

The RAAF investigating officer’s report noted that the weather was thunderstorms, with a violent thunderstorms at The Entrance at 2130hrs. The cloud base was at 6-7000 feet. Visibility was 4-8nm. Temperature was 24 deg C. This memo, signed by Flt Lt A F Blackburn stated in conclusion “Cause of the sighting was most likely a spectral breakdown of white lights into red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet lights, with a possible diffraction grating caused by ionization of the air.” The Director of Public Relations’ explanation was simpler “…probable cause was a phenomenon known as ball lightning.” My reading of the details of the case, suggests the real explanation was neither of the above!

Unusual radar observation:

The other interesting report on this file was from a weather observer, Leslie William Onley of Townsville, Queensland.

At 2050hrs local time on 4 Jan 1974 Mr Onley was using a meteorological radar, type 277F, at Garbutt aerodrome, Townsville. The weather at the time was overcast with rain in some areas. The duration of the observation was about 10 minutes. At bearing 280 deg he first observed a contact. To the question on the RAAF’s report form “What first attracted observer’s attention?” he answered “There are no signals in this area at 11 nautical miles/66000ft high. Aerial 85 to 90 deg elevation.”

“What were the bearing and elevation angles of nearest approach?” “By working slide rule P/B 500 yards at 85 deg and 4600  feet.”

To a question about height, he wrote “First sighted 66000ft descend to 4600 feet in ten minutes.” There were no stationary phases. To “Describe any deviations or maneuvers” he wrote “ Slight spin through north to 140 deg.” It was last observed at 85/90 deg el bearing 140 deg T.

“What was the manner of its disappearance?” “Heavy pulsing on all radar scanners plus ‘A’ scan blotted traced. Radar parked and turned down.”

“Do you know of any witnesses?” “Visual sighting by (2) two officers at met office at 0150am 5th.”

A hand written section by Onley states:

“Radar scan noted 40 deg arc from 90 deg down to 50 deg. This particular radar does not go over 90 deg elevation, azimuth arc measured 40 deg. Also clear cut signal. Dimension on “A” scan – range 2500 yards. Through target. First sighted 66000 ft tracked to 4600 ft with heavy pulsing on all scans blotted out signal, and radar was parked and rapidly turned down.”

The RAAF investigating officer typed:

“Mr Onley estimated the actual length of the echo was about 2,800 yards.

DCA  radar technicians suggested that the radar may have experienced a period of ‘heavy pulsing’ during the range wind down stage. Mr Onley is quite certain that this was not the case, and the radar has not displayed this type of malfunction since the unusual echo was sighted.”

Mr G J Davy, weather observer at Garrett, Townsville reported that at 0150hrs local time on 5 Jan 1974 for 5-10 minutes he had seen at 70 deg el and 310 deg az, two, line astern, pulsating white lights in the sky. They were last seen at 60 deg el 10 deg az disappearing behind clouds.

The official RAAF explanation as stated in a letter to the witnesses from the Director of Public Relations was that the radar observation was “…the effect of anomalous propagation…” while Mr Davey’s observation was “…the re-entry decay of one of the 3037 man made objects currently in space.” 

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