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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

Old 8th Feb 2022, 14:52
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Originally Posted by Ewan Whosearmy View Post
Hi Matthew

You are presumably aware that some years ago the MoD released/declassified a UFO report in which the only major redaction was one entry on a list of possible US aircraft that could be mistaken for extra terrestrial craft. From memory, the list included the SR-71 and F-117.

You are also presumably aware that there are RAF aircrew who have seen unidentified aircraft (not aliens) in UK airspace, at least one of whom mentions it in his autobiography.

It might be helpful to FOIA for the redacted identity of the aircraft in the report. This might have absolutely nothing to do with do with the Calvine incident, but as others have indicated, there is much we don't know about "black" aerospace programmes from that time, and a 'worldly' explanation is much more likely that an 'other-worldy' one.
Hi Ewan,

Thanks for replying.

1. I think you are referring to the Condign Report. If so, I understand that information is being withheld from it in accordance with Section 26 (Defence), Section 27 (International Relations), and Section 40 (Personal Information) of the FOIA. In 2021, I did request (via FOI) access to certain sections of it, but the MoD said it had lost all unredacted copies of it (despite at one point having had several of them). I was then made aware that in 2018, the MoD said they had a complete copy of the report and that they should have sent it to the National Archives in 2020, so I went back to the MoD. I'm currently awaiting their reply...

2. I do know of several aircrew who say have seen unidentified aircraft (not aliens) in UK airspace, but most are quite dated sightings. I'm not sure which autobiography you are referring to. If you would clarify that, and/or you know of recent versions, I would be very keen to hear about them, please. I can be messaged through PPRuNe or via email. My address is on this thread. Thank you.
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 15:05
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
Still a few about - 237 OCU at Lossie had some two seaters and there was a mix of two and single seaters at A&AEE/ETPS/RAE.
The former could make sense given the alleged location, the latter if said craft was indeed some experimental vehicle.

Matthew - maybe another line of enquiry worth pursuing?
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Old 8th Feb 2022, 15:58
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Two hours after contributing to this thread I found myself on the A9 south passing a sign to Calvine. Beautiful flying day but nothing to see! There were indeed Hunters at Lossiemouth in 1990 but I would have thought that operating them on a Saturday night would have attracted a lot of comment. I knew most of the Hunter qualified Lossiemouth pilots at that time and never heard any mention of this incident, but then, if there is anything to it maybe I wouldn’t have.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 12:48
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Roger Beazley

Hello,

If anyone has a direct method of contacting Roger Beazley CBE, I would be very grateful if they might share it with me via DM or email.

Thanks

https://www.linkedin.com/in/roger-be...-afc-98b18b14/
https://radaris.co.uk/p/Roger/Beazley/
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 14:41
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Originally Posted by dead_pan View Post
The former could make sense given the alleged location, the latter if said craft was indeed some experimental vehicle.

Matthew - maybe another line of enquiry worth pursuing?
Thank you again to everyone who has commented and/or messaged me privately.

Just as an update, and having collated a few suggestions, it seems that:

1. Many people are doubting Nick Pope's (and the MoD Loose Minute's) claims about the aircraft in the photocopied picture actually being a Harrier.
2. It is being suggested that it might have been a Hunter, although few of either aircraft were flown on weekends in 1990.
3. It is being suggested that Machrihanish is an unlikely site for the chase aircraft to have been based.
4. It is being suggested that I look instead at:

A&AEE = Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.
ETPS = Empire Test Pilots School at MoD Boscombe Down in Wiltshire.
RAE = Royal Aerospace Establishment (as it was then called in 1990), based at at RAE Farnborough in Hampshire and/or RAE Bedford in Bedfordshire.
237 OCU = Operational Conversion Unit: No 237 OCU, based at Wyton, Cambridgeshire (but which was at Lossiemouth in 1990?).
RAF West Freugh (now MoD West Freugh)

Lossiemouth to Calvine, as the crow flies, is 70 miles straight over the Cairngorms national park (i.e. almost no one there to see anything).
Machrihanish to Calvine, as the crow flies, is 114 miles straight over the Firth of Clyde and Loch Lomond national park (i.e. again, almost no one there to see anything).
West Freugh to Calvine, as the crow flies, is 139 miles straight over Paisley/Glasgow.

(Incidentally, the MoD messaged me today to say that there are no extant unredacted copies of the Condign Report, so we'll never know what was behind the redactions.)
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 15:18
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August, that area, there would have been enough people about at that time of year to have seen something. The areas are popular with the hiking fraternity and tourists at that time of year. Also, why fly something like that in broad daylight? Sunset would have been around 21:20 and it would not have been properly dark until gone 22:00.

Most airfields have spotters - anything like that leaving an airfield risks being noticed. Enlarging the image provided, I'm pretty sure the ac in the picture is a Harrier, not a Hunter. I would put a pint on it anyway.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 15:27
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Originally Posted by Ninthace View Post
August, that area, there would have been enough people about at that time of year to have seen something. The areas are popular with the hiking fraternity and tourists at that time of year. Also, why fly something like that in broad daylight? Sunset would have been around 21:20 and it would not have been properly dark until gone 22:00.

Most airfields have spotters - anything like that leaving an airfield risks being noticed. Enlarging the image provided, I'm pretty sure the ac in the picture is a Harrier, not a Hunter. I would put a pint on it anyway.
Thanks, Ninthace.

No one has really questioned the Harrier's identity before tbh (which is not to come down on either side of whether it was or wasn't one). The MoD, for example, has always claimed it's a Harrier in the picture(s), but it has also always denied having any Harriers in the air on that day/time. We've sourced formerly classified Operations Records Books (ORBs) from August 1990 for Harrier Squadrons 1, 3, 4, 233, 800, 801, and 899, but none of them give any indication that anyone flew in Scotland in that period. (Of course, that doesn't mean that someone in a Harrier wasn't vectored in from somewhere else.) Oddly enough, we're also yet to find any Harrier pilots who have even heard of the story before we ask them about it.

FWIW, the hand-written report indicates the witness to have said that the diamond-shaped craft 'ascend[ed] vertically upwards at high speed', so if that's true, it may not have flown to or from any recognised airfield, although given it's alleged size, it would logically have needed to at some point (perhaps in darkness).



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Old 9th Feb 2022, 15:56
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Were there even any Harriers airborne that day from any location according the the ORBs?

No mention of any noise from the object?

Edit to add: 233 Sqn - are you sure? According to what I can find, they disbanded in 1964. I think you mean 233 OCU

Edit to further add. 800 and 801 operated the Sea Harrier and the Harrier in the pictures looks more like a blunt Harrier.

That means your prime RAF suspects for the Harrier were 3(F) and IV(AC) Sqns and they were based in Germany at the time or the OCU at Wittering.

Last edited by Ninthace; 9th Feb 2022 at 16:20.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 16:12
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Oddly enough, we're also yet to find any Harrier pilots who have even heard of the story before we ask them about it.

Shouldn't that tell you something?
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 16:43
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Originally Posted by Ninthace View Post
Most airfields have spotters - anything like that leaving an airfield risks being noticed. Enlarging the image provided, I'm pretty sure the ac in the picture is a Harrier, not a Hunter. I would put a pint on it anyway.
The one that never did was West Freugh - they were soon chased by the security.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 16:47
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Originally Posted by Ninthace View Post
Were there even any Harriers airborne that day from any location according the the ORBs?

No mention of any noise from the object?

Edit to add: 233 Sqn - are you sure? According to what I can find, they disbanded in 1964. I think you mean 233 OCU

Edit to further add. 800 and 801 operated the Sea Harrier and the Harrier in the pictures looks more like a blunt Harrier.

That means your prime RAF suspects for the Harrier were 3(F) and IV(AC) Sqns and they were based in Germany at the time or the OCU at Wittering.
It doesn't cover those aircraft operated by the experimental establishments nor BAE, which would seem far more likely for a Saturday night.
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 20:10
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Originally Posted by Davef68 View Post
It doesn't cover those aircraft operated by the experimental establishments nor BAE, which would seem far more likely for a Saturday night.
Were any of them they operating Harriers in 1990, especially on a Saturday evening?
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Old 9th Feb 2022, 20:41
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233 OCU started flying the Harrier GR5 at Wittering in 1988. 1(F) Sqn shortly after in 1989. The Strike Attack OEU IN 1987 from RAF Boscombe Down. Pretty likely that Harrier GR5 was flying in and around West Freugh as they were struggling with the GR5ís weapon systems and hard points around this time. It was the main reason why it didnít go to Op GRANBY for 1990/91.

Of course, West Freugh has its very own UFO incident from 1957: https://ekladata.com/6OxHJh2L0whv-4I...westfreugh.pdf
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 09:06
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JARIC Contacts?

Hi All,

Thanks again for the info. To try and respond to several comments:

1. Re: noise at Calvine, we have a first-hand account from a directly involved source contemporaneous with the incident itself. The source told us that the witness was specifically asked what noise the diamond-shaped craft made, both when it was allegedly hovering and when it took off vertically. The source says that the witness was categorical: "It didn't make any noise at all." Nick Pope, in his book, claims to have learned years later that the craft made a ‘weird humming noise,’ but our source says that is definitely not what the witness said.

2. Yes, I did mean 233 OCU. That was my error. We were told by a former RAF Harrier pilot (flying in 1990) that in that year, 1 Squadron and 233 OCU were the only 2 Harrier units flying in the UK from RAF Wittering. Of course, others did come back for various reasons, including low-level flying.

3. Re: Harriers in August 1990, there's a good article here outlining several of the squadrons' activities: https://www.uapmedia.uk/articles/calvineupdate

4. To date, I believe we have not found any official record of any Harriers over Scotland in August 1990. I believe the closest we've found a unit to have come to Scotland in 1990 was three GR.3s from No.4 Sqn which went to RAF Chivenor at the start of the month and which did sorties over Wales. (EDIT: We assume there must have been some Harriers flying in Scotland, but proving it is another matter.)

5. Strike Attack Operational Evaluation Unit remains an unknown. I have FOI requests in with MoD and TNA asking what, if any, records are held. We also knew that 800/801 operated Sea Harriers, but we just wanted to be thorough in looking at every possibility for which records exist.

6. Re: Haraka's points, [1] We are attempting to establish the provenance of the evidence in having these conversations. Yes, we agree that we don't know if the evidence is wholly genuine. But we disagree that that means we shouldn't try to investigate. [2] Re: the lack of knowledge on the part of 12 former Harrier pilots, we really don't know what it means. We've found 12 who've not known anything. Is that a lot? We don't know how many there were in 1990 in total. We've also only got the MoD's word for it that the aeroplane in the photo was a Harrier and that it was seen on the date in question, plus the MoD destroyed everything else it ever possessed. We also don't know if the assumed Harrier pilot(s) at Calvine in 1990 ever told anyone about what he/they had seen, or if they were flying from experimental bases, for the Americans, or for BAe. If he/they have never spoken out, the lack of knowledge on the part of other mainstream RAF Harrier pilots is understandable. We certainly do know, though, that colour and black-and-white photos did exist and were seen by multiple people up to at least 1998, including several members of PPRuNe.

7. I have received messages regarding West Freugh as a likely site of operations and BAe (or other private, arms-length, aviation companies) as a likely source of the Harrier(s) and/or the diamond. If that was truly the case, we have few to any options, as BAe et al aren't "FOIAable".

8. Presently, one of the biggest issues for me is that we are yet to find anyone who worked at JARIC in 1990. I'd be extremely keen to talk to anyone who was there. If anyone has any contacts, I'd be very grateful if they'd privately let me know.

Thank you.

Last edited by Matthew Illsley; 10th Feb 2022 at 09:30.
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 10:21
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Re: noise at Calvine, we have a first-hand account from a directly involved source contemporaneous with the incident itself. The source told us that the witness was specifically asked what noise the diamond-shaped craft made, both when it was allegedly hovering and when it took off vertically. The source says that the witness was categorical: "It didn't make any noise at all." Nick Pope, in his book, claims to have learned years later that the craft made a ‘weird humming noise,’ but our source says that is definitely not what the witness said.
If there was a Harrier anywhere near at the time, what else are you likely to hear?

We seem to have two choices here - that the object was 'secret project' operating from a secluded research establishment like West Freugh, in which case a regular squadron Harrier would seem highly unlikely. If it was - what was it doing flying around on a Saturday evening in daylight at low level in central Scotland. Surely more likely places to go and play. It's almost like they wanted to draw attention to themselves.

If it wasn't a 'secret project' and is genuinely an unknown object the time and place become less relevant, but there is still the issue of why a Harrier is there - surely one of the last things you'd send to have a look (availability/speed/radar)?
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 11:08
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Originally Posted by SWBKCB View Post
If there was a Harrier anywhere near at the time, what else are you likely to hear?

We seem to have two choices here - that the object was 'secret project' operating from a secluded research establishment like West Freugh, in which case a regular squadron Harrier would seem highly unlikely. If it was - what was it doing flying around on a Saturday evening in daylight at low level in central Scotland. Surely more likely places to go and play. It's almost like they wanted to draw attention to themselves.

If it wasn't a 'secret project' and is genuinely an unknown object the time and place become less relevant, but there is still the issue of why a Harrier is there - surely one of the last things you'd send to have a look (availability/speed/radar)?
Hi SWBKCB,

Thanks for replying.

1. According to the account from the source we have, the witnesses parked at Calvine and then followed a public footpath. They walked over some moorland, entered a copse of trees, climbed a fence onto more open moorland, spotted the diamond craft, leapt back over into the trees and hid. After a moment or two, they re-emerged and the craft was still there just hovering. After a couple of minutes, a Harrier overflew at mid-to-high altitude, apparently returned a couple of minutes later, circled the diamond several times and was photographed doing so, flew off, and then the diamond itself took off vertically. From that account, you can see that there are several periods during which the Harrier wasn't present, hence the witnesses (if honest and accurate) could have "heard" that the diamond wasn't making any noise (if that isn't too contradictory).

2. I concur with your assessment given what we think we "know". For me, the odds of a truly unknown craft appearing over rural Scotland, then randomly being overflown by a Harrier, then circled by the same or another Harrier, seem long (not impossible, of course, but unlikely). If it wasn't a hoax, and despite acknowledging objections to the alleged hovering and silent operation, a secret test would seem to be the "best fit" at the moment. We have been told by a very senior ex-military source that the "several" photos are "definitely NOT a hoax", and that other photos in the set of 6 show two Harriers, one British and one American, which again would fit with this theory (if true and accurate).

3. With regard to, "flying around on a Saturday evening in daylight at low level in central Scotland. Surely more likely places to go and play. It's almost like they wanted to draw attention to themselves," we do only have one alleged witness (there were 2 men walking there apparently, but only 1 is named in the file, only 1 sent the photos in, and only 1 was interviewed), so despite the general area being a popular place for hiking (which in places it is), it's basically in the 1,748 sq mi Cairngorms national park, it's extremely rural, very isolated, and has a lowest-low population density, so, to me at least, the lack of any other sightings isn't that unreasonable. One can only speculate, but if it was secret tech, a temporary mechanical, propulsion, communication, or navigational issue that forced the aircraft down to low level for a few minutes wouldn't seem unreasonable.

Thanks again.

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Old 10th Feb 2022, 11:34
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Originally Posted by Matthew Illsley View Post
3. With regard to, "flying around on a Saturday evening in daylight at low level in central Scotland. Surely more likely places to go and play. It's almost like they wanted to draw attention to themselves," we do only have one alleged witness (there were 2 men walking there apparently, but only 1 is named in the file, only 1 sent the photos in, and only 1 was interviewed), so despite the general area being a popular place for hiking (which in places it is), it's basically in the 1,748 sq mi Cairngorms national park, it's extremely rural, very isolated, and has a lowest-low population density, so, to me at least, the lack of any other sightings isn't that unreasonable. One can only speculate, but if it was secret tech, a temporary mechanical, propulsion, communication, or navigational issue that forced the aircraft down to low level for a few minutes wouldn't seem unreasonable.
I live fairly close by and spend a lot of time in the hills around there. Some of the most popular hills in Scotland are in the area just N of Pitlochry/ Calvine, and at that time of year, on a Saturday evening the area is packed with tourists and hillwalkers, even that late in the evening. There are one or two genuinely remote and unfrequented areas of the Scottish highlands, but the Cairngorms NP / A9 belt are most definitely not in this category. The idea that an event like that could have just a single witness seems highly improbable/ incredible to me. Couple that with the fact that 1. the photographer has remained anonymous 2. they contacted a tabloid newspaper (presumably with the intention of selling the photos) and 3.the newspaper chose not to publish, seem to point in one direction only.
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 12:07
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For what it is worth - probably very, very little - close to Pitlochry is Glen Tilt which amongst the low level aviation fraternity is known as "Star Wars Valley" (not to be confused with Star Wars Canyon in Death Valley),back in the 90's it would probably have seen low level traffic, at least during the week, so perhaps it is not inconceivable that an aircraft could have been spotted there.

Alchad

PS for my money - definitely a harrier in the photo.
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 12:11
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Official Secrets Act (OSA)

Originally Posted by chevvron View Post
Then you will know that he wasn't operating the 'UFO desk' like people try to make out but was just a glorified clerical officer who filed things.
I still have a photocopy of the list of duties carried out in that section but I can't reveal it because of the OSA.
Hello,

I've just been re-reading the thread.

With regard to comments re: the Official Secrets Act or OSA, and being very mindful of not wanting to cause any offence or coming across as flippant, I understand that any release of material must be considered "damaging" for prosecution under OSA to take place, that the length of time between an "unauthorised or unlawful disclosure" and the event or situation it relates to is a significant factor in whether to prosecute, and that there's less than 1 prosecution per year under OSA as per https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk...ings/cbp-7422/. When one also considers the cases listed in the Commons document, the punishments seem very slight and very few for anyone except obvious spies clearly endangering national security and others clearly risking others' lives and limbs, e.g.

In July 2007, a senior civilian worker at Scotland Yard was jailed for eight months for leaking information about a planned al-Qaeda attack on the West, but that was on a charge of "wilful misconduct in public office", not for breaching the Official Secrets Act.
Also in 2007/8, a Cabinet Office official was fined £2,500 under the Official Secrets Act after he left classified papers relating to al-Qaeda and Iraq on a train.

Thus, one might argue that someone showing us a 1990 list of duties or a 1990 photo of an unidentified aircraft that they perhaps shouldn't strictly have kept, especially after the passage of 32 years, wouldn't seem to be particularly "damaging" (though, again, I appreciate others might feel differently). We also don't ask people to send us stuff or tell us things if they themselves feel it's a breach of OSA or of loyalty, and we understand many ex-military people still feel bound "in conscience" even after retiring.

As an addendum, it was also pointed out to me that attempted prosecution would be "all but impossible" in this instance because if someone did, say, have a copy of any of the 6 photos, they sent them to me, and the state found out, not only would the "damage" to national security be essentially nil (How would a clearer photo be any more damaging than the photocopy, for example?), but instigating prosecution would in itself confirm the truth of the story, which is what the government has been at pains to prevent all these years (e.g. with the MoD always claiming that the incident was "of no defence significance").

Thanks
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Old 10th Feb 2022, 12:42
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We still have the issue of one, possibly two, Harriers stooging around the highlands late on a Saturday afternoon in August with no audit trail for where they might have come from. What evidence is there beyond the declaration of the anonymous photographer, that the picture was take at the date and time in question? For example, does the weather in the picture tally with the weather at the time? Is the light angle right for the time of day? The pictures I have seen have two very different backgrounds, has the site of either been physically identified?

The idea of Harriers themselves is interesting - why that type? As has been suggested, it not the best type for a chase aircraft and certainly not a QRA type. Moreover, there is no evidence to suggest they were just passing. Nothing seems to stack up and that diamond does not look like it belongs in the picture.

As to the lack of an MOD paper trail, I would read nothing sinister into that. Files are culled all the time and sent for destruction when they no longer serve any function. The files deemed worthy of retention are sent to long term storage but they undergo further culling to conserve shelf space.
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