UFOs On Radar: Correlation Between UFO Sightings and Physical Objects?
By Micah Hanks
Recently on The Gralien Report, we featured a segment which discussed a number of UFO incidents in which police responded to reports in their vicinity, and having not only viewed unidentified flying objects themselves, but described the observation and tracking of these objects.
Among the reports we featured were two incidents from 1994, one of which occurred in Trumbull County, Ohio; another occurred in Holland County, Michigan, which presented both visual reports of an object (associated with 911 calls made to law enforcement on the night in question), as well as radar data correlated with the objects and their descriptions.
Following the live broadcast, one of our listeners wrote to us (who we will identify here as “G.D.”), with additional information pertaining to the radar data relating to the Holland County incident.
Regarding that UFO audio, the FAA doesn’t have height finding radar. What the FAA does is pings a transponder in the aircraft, and then the aircraft reports it’s height on the honor system. Should the transponder be turned off, all that is detected is location. (Think back to the 9/11 attacks.)
Regarding Matt’s comment about the height of the aircraft, to be at say 30kft AGL, you need to be IFR (instrument flight rule) rated, unless you are over a SUA (special use airspace). Not to mention you also need a pressurized cabin. I forget the transition altitude, but either 10kft MSL to maybe 13kft MSL. (I don’t fly, so the exact number would be a research project). There are plenty of airplanes flying between 3kft to 5kft AGL. They fly under Visual Flight Rules (VFR). You can fly VFR at night, so the “V” is debatable.
Now there are Joint Surveillance Sites (JSS) that have both military and FAA radar. The idea is you have a nice hill somewhere, and it makes little sense for the FAA and the DoD to find/operate separate facilities. The DoD is not the trusting kind, so they have height finding capability. (Recall the FAA depends on the honor system for altitude.) I have no idea if the FAA can use the DoD radar, but I would bet not.
In areas where secret aircraft are tested, the Air Traffic Control (ATC) is run by the DoD. Nellis AFB for example. That way they don’t have to worry about what the air traffic controllers “see” since they are military and thus cleared. You can see photos of air traffic controllers at Nellis Control wearing camo in the tower. Edwards AFB ATC is called “Sport”. I don’t recall China Lake’s, but these civilian aircraft don’t have a lot of freedom in the southwest desert. They fly narrow spaces between SUAs.
While I’m at it, there are Military Operating Areas (MOA). Civilians can fly in a MOA (pronounced Moe-Ah) at their own risk. Much of the area east of the Nellis range is MOA.
With a number of UFO incidents, the aircraft in question appear to traverse airspace, both civilian and military, in a manner that oversteps regulation. While remaining a discussion of debate among skeptics and the pro-UFO camps over the years, the famous Phoenix Lights incident seemed to involve a large aircraft (triangular, by most accounts) that passed directly through the airspace of Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport. Air Traffic Control did not note the presence of such a large aircraft at the time of the incident, which begs the question as to whether it possessed a transponder that was operative at the time.
In September 2016, it was reported that a pair of former radar operators who were on duty at the time of the famous RAF Bentwaters UFO incident in 1980 near Suffolk, UK, observed an object which they tracked as it apparently traversed 120 miles in just eight seconds.
Jim Carey and Ike Barker said the object was observed on their radar roughly in conjunction with the ground reports offered by Deputy Base Commander Lt Col Charles Halt and a handful of other USAF personnel over the course of several evenings. The majority of the on-base witness testimony involved observations of strange flashing lights that were observed moving through the nearby Rendlesham Forest.
Many years prior to the Rendlesham forest incident on the evenings of August 13th and 14th, 1956, RAF Bentwaters was the site of an even more prominent radar visual UFO incident, which involved several other airbases in the region.
The Lakenheath-Bentwaters Incident was a series of radar and visual contacts with UFOs that took place over airbases in eastern England on the night of 13–14 August 1956, involving both RAF and USAF personnel. The University of Colorado UFO Project, widely held as delivering an effective death nail to the serious study of UFOs as far back as 1968, famously reported of the incident that, “although conventional or natural explanations certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high.”
While some view radar visual UFO incidents to be among the most credible cases in modern times, many UFO skeptics over the years, most notably Phillip J. Klass, have argued that explanations for the objects appearing on radar include false radar returns, as well as the simple misidentification of meteorological or astronomical phenomena.
To end on a hopeful note, in instances where radar traces match the visual record of objects seen within a given timeframe and vicinity, one would hope that having both sets of data, at least in circumstances where visual conditions are favorable, might lend credence to the idea that physical objects were indeed present, at least in some of the better UFO reports involving radar over the years.