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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

Old 3rd Feb 2022, 11:18
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Alleged UFO or UAP, 1990, Calvine, Scotland

​​​​​​I'm a researcher assisting Dr David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University.

On or around 4th August 1990, an unidentified, "diamond-shaped" aircraft was photographed flying beside a Harrier jump jet near Calvine, Scotland, having possibly used the Machrihanish U.S. air base.

The negatives were passed to the Daily Record newspaper (Scotland’s biggest tabloid) which quickly handed them to the Ministry of Defence. After being twice interviewed by the military, the photographer (likely a deer poacher) has never again come forward and his identity is unknown, the negatives have never been located (and have likely been destroyed), and the newspaper itself never ran the story (likely because the Daily Record's editor in 1990 was himself a member of what today is known as the Defence and Security Media Advisory Committee, the body which issues "do not publish" notices to the media).

The MoD conducted at least 2 investigations into the photos in both 1990 and 1992. Declassified letters written on 18th and 22nd December 1992 by the British Air Attaché in Washington D.C. state that the UK's Defence Intelligence Staff contacted the DIA & CIA, ‘to ask if the United States had anything flying off Machrihanish,’ and that the best of the 6 photos was to be taken to the USA in January 1993, ‘so that both intelligence communities can look at it together.'

Two witnesses have independently confirmed that a copy of the best of the 6 photos was blown-up to poster size and pinned to the wall in the Secretariat Air Staff office for several years in the early 1990s, but that a positive declaration of the craft’s identity was never made.

Twelve former RAF Harrier pilots from the period in question have also told us that they never heard of this incident during their careers, and that tallies with our belief that the Harrier was itself American and flying from Machrihanish.

The case files that the MoD saw fit to preserve and release are very limited and highly disorganised. They contain no negatives, no photos, no vu-foils, and no analysis reports related to this case, all of which at one time are known to have existed. What they do contain is a very low-resolution scan of a fax of a photocopy of part of just 1 of the 6 photos, plus a couple of pages of heavily redacted “minutes”. Moreover, in January 2020, the MoD contacted The National Archives and successfully arranged for the redactions in the file to remain in place until 2076.

If anyone therefore has any relevant information on this matter, Dr Clarke and I would be very grateful to hear from you.

Thank you.



















Last edited by Senior Pilot; 6th Feb 2022 at 07:33. Reason: Add images
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Old 5th Feb 2022, 07:32
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Good luck, Matthew. It sounds like an interesting story.

Based on my one visit to Macrihanish as supernumerary crew on a Lyneham C-130, you should probably talk to the Campbeltown fish merchants. When I was there, there were several transport aircraft of various sizes, picking up orders of fish, during their "practice diversions".

While waiting for our fish to arrive, the captain kept one engine running, rather than trust the APU, because he wasn't supposed to be there!
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Old 5th Feb 2022, 20:17
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Why would a deer poacher be carrying a camera?
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 06:24
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If the 'Harrier' was an AV-8 of the USMC, that would lead me to think that the accompanying mystery craft would have been of terrestrial origin and from the USA. Allegedly Macrihanish was used for other test-flights of the enigmatic Aurora spotted by that ex-observer corps chap on an oil-rig some time in the early-90's, so perhaps this was another such flight with an accompanying aircraft to muddy the radar returns should any ATC become overly interested.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 09:35
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Poaching

Thank you to everyone who replied. We understood initially that the men were out walking, but it was then suggested to us by a senior ex-military source that they had been poaching, hence the camera. They were out in the middle of nowhere on a remote, private, 90,000-acre deer reserve at dusk, having driven 13 miles to get there. The camera was to capture a shot of they bagged a prize, but they allegedly got more than they bargained for.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 09:43
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There were several other UFO sightings near Macrihanish in about 1989 and later but these were all triangular not diamond shaped.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 09:53
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Originally Posted by SpringHeeledJack View Post
llegedly Macrihanish was used for other test-flights of the enigmatic Aurora spotted by that ex-observer corps chap on an oil-rig some time in the early-90's, so perhaps this was another such flight with an accompanying aircraft to muddy the radar returns should any ATC become overly interested.
Yes, we agree this is a distinct possibility. The odd thing was, the chief witness described the Harrier overflying from south to north at high altitude the stationary, hovering UFO (and we use that term strictly in a literal non-alien sense), and then a few minutes later, presumably the same Harrier came from the north and circled the UFO several times before leaving again. The UFO then took off vertically (allegedly).
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 10:04
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Looking at the "photograph", I can't help but think F-117 - front looks very similar, perhaps with some form of shadowed condensation creating an illusion for the rear of the diamond? I note the text in the first image added by Senior Pilot says that it was "stationary" but it seems credible to me that the poachers, er, walkers have either got their story wrong or embellished it a bit. I mean, that's never happened before!
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 17:04
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I was shown an original print of this photo in the course of my duties around that time. As a UFO sceptic I was utterly gobsmacked. It wasn’t an F117 (and why would an F117 be at low level?) , or any aircraft revealed before or since. I had no explanation for it and have been a lot less sceptical since!

It was noted at the time that it was taken on a Saturday when, as we know, no routine FJ LL flying takes place.

Last edited by Timelord; 6th Feb 2022 at 17:42.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 17:46
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Well, the letter is genuine. Check out the spelling.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 18:19
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
I was shown an original print of this photo in the course of my duties around that time. As a UFO sceptic I was utterly gobsmacked. It wasn’t an F117 (and why would an F117 be at low level?) , or any aircraft revealed before or since. I had no explanation for it and have been a lot less sceptical since!

It was noted at the time that it was taken on a Saturday when, as we know, no routine FJ LL flying takes place.
Hi Timelord. Thank you so much for your post. I have messaged you directly through PPRuNe. Would you check your inbox, please? Thanks again.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 18:31
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Dr David Clarke has quite an interesting profile. It's not too difficult to see that his interest is serious but he's certainly not a ufologist. If you wish to delve deeper into this sort of thing I would recommend Michael Shermer's book as a primer.

They were out in the middle of nowhere on a remote, private, 90,000-acre deer reserve at dusk, having driven 13 miles to get there. The camera was to capture a shot of they bagged a prize, but they allegedly got more than they bargained for.
Poachers don't take photos.

YS
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 18:35
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Looking at the 'defensive lines to take' in the original post, reminds me of the classic Yes Minister series.
Any time they wanted to trash a report certain lines were taken. Some of the statements in the quote above look very familiar.....
Remember the Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets: it protects officials.
According to Sir Humphrey, try one or other of the following:
It leaves important questions unanswered;
Much of the evidence is inconclusive;
Certain findings are contradictory;
Some of the main findings have been questioned (if not, question them yourself)



Thinking back to air shows (remember those?). Every time a 'low observable' aircraft flew past it would have a couple of F15's in close escort. Maybe the same applied in the case above.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 19:06
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Originally Posted by Yellow Sun View Post
Poachers don't take photos.

YS
Well, I would be more than happy to hear from you if you were in some way involved and know otherwise, but on this point we have a senior former defence intelligence source who interviewed the witnesses at the time, and we're only repeating what he says they were doing. They initially told the RAF they were out walking, but who takes a camera out on a walk at 8.30pm?
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 20:14
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The most sus thing about all of this is US Harriers operating from RAF Machrihanish. I know there is/was a US presence there, however a US harrier det would have been recorded somewhere, either photographically or on paper. I see you posted the same thing on fightercontrol - someone there probably has logs.

The 'photo' looks pretty iffy. Would not trust it at all.

The shape vaguely resembles some projects which could have looked like 'pumpkin seeds' but they were for very fast applications.

The whole thing seems like a cover for a F-117 Det or the thing that supposedly worked with them. Visits of the F-117 to the UK are rumoured to have happened in this period and a little before. An F-117 attended Mildenhall Air Fete in 92, which I think is the first acknowledged public visit?
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 20:27
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Calvine - off the A9? Nowhere near Cambeltown. Speculation it was operating from there. there.
August 4, it would be light at 8.30 PM BST there. Returning from a walk with a camera would not be unusual.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 20:54
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Originally Posted by Timelord View Post
I was shown an original print of this photo in the course of my duties around that time. As a UFO sceptic I was utterly gobsmacked. It wasn’t an F117 (and why would an F117 be at low level?) , or any aircraft revealed before or since. I had no explanation for it and have been a lot less sceptical since!

It was noted at the time that it was taken on a Saturday when, as we know, no routine FJ LL flying takes place.
Hi Timelord,

For no reason I can fathom (I'm a newbie?), PPRuNe is allowing me to have just 1 message on the system, and that's for my inbox, outbox, etc. As I had sent you 1 message, I received an email saying it had refused to accept your 1 message to me. Very helpful.

Last edited by Matthew Illsley; 24th Feb 2022 at 14:59.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 20:56
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Never been to Machrihanish, but looking on gaggle earth, there's a town at one end of the runway, a golf course at the other, and plenty of housing dotted around the airfield, so I find it hard to believe that nobody has seen or heard anything strange going on there over the years.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 21:49
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Looks like a fake to me…


in fact, it looks like this is a colourised version mocked up by Nick Pope (the chap that thinks he is Mulder out of the X Files ). [Edit - Pope was an EO grade (now a D grade) in the MOD - equivalent to Flt Lt in RAF terms, ie. Not very senior).

Anyway, let’s look at the facts. The alleged photo was taken in Perthshire which is about 115 miles away from Machrihanish. The base is the other side of Glasgow airspace and so hardly a likely routing. There is no reason to use a crappy Harrier to intercept it either - it’s slow, in 1990 the Shar only had a crappy BLUE FOX radar and the USMC’s APG-65 AV-8Bs weren’t ready until 1993. Anyway, there were no Harriers on QRA back in 1990 - that would have been either F4 Phantoms or Tornado F3. Seeing as 4 Aug 90 was a Saturday then the only assets would have been the QRA intercept jets, the TANSOR tankers, the national standby helos and tactical air mobility aircraft and the various Air Cadet flying activities in Chipmunks and Ventures. No Harriers - in fact, given it was 1990 then the UK’s Harrier GR5s were not even combat capable due to wiring issues in the hard points (hence they didn’t go to Op GRANBY in the following months in 1990) and so that picture above shows a Harrier with tanks which is unlikely. It could be a RN SHar but then again, why send your slowest non-RADAR missile equipped interceptor when you have F4s and F3s that are way faster and more capable than the FRS1? RAF Leuchars with live armed F4s in 1990 is just 50 miles from Calvine, Pitlochry - they are on 10 minutes standby and could be there within 15 minutes of being scrambled from scratch. Also, the UK Low Flying System is normally closed at weekends to fast jet traffic.

Then there is the dubious story of the “Poachers”, how very convenient. It reminds me of the “Surgeon’s Photo” of the Loch Ness Monster. For years Nessie hunters swooned over the most likely photo of the ‘monster’ because it was taken by a respected Surgeon. The photo analysis folks said it was genuine and for years it was the goto picture of Nessie:



Well it was, right up to the point when the Surgeon’s family said it was actually a FAKE. It was a plasticine head stuck on a clockwork toy submarine!




There is so much that doesn’t quite add up about the 4 Aug 1990 story. I also find it hard to believe that someone from an intelligent alien race would be flying around the glens on a Saturday without dropping in to speak to the country’s leadership - they’ve come a long way for a mundane smash along the glens!! Again, it could be a trial aircraft, but why would you fly a test and evaluation aircraft around the glens of Pitlochry on a Saturday?

So sadly, using the Occam’s Razor theory then the most likely explanation is a fake. The photo analysis people couldn’t find evidence of tampering (like the Surgeon’s photo) and so they had a flap about in Town and the whole thing has become a legend in itself (just like the 1934 Surgeon’s photo of Nessie that was only revealed as a fake some 60 years later!).

Last edited by Lima Juliet; 6th Feb 2022 at 22:43.
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Old 6th Feb 2022, 21:57
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That is a fake. It’s a mocked up reproduction of the actual photo.
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