Apr 06, 2022 I Nick Redfern

The "Flying Triangle" UFO: From Here or Somewhere Else?

There’s no doubt that one of the biggest enigmas in the field of Ufology is that of what have become known as the Flying Triangles. Just in case there’s anyone, out there, in Ufology who hasn’t heard of them, well, they’re large, triangular in shape, almost always black in color, and are not too dissimilar in shape than the Stealth Fighters and Bombers that were reeled out in the latter part of the 1980s. The fact that the Flying Triangles look so close to our Stealth planes, has made more than a few Ufologists - and aircraft experts, too – strongly believe they are built by us and not by aliens. Is that really the case, however? Well, many aircraft experts will say they are ours and they’re hidden out at the likes of Area 51. Admittedly, all of that makes good sense. There is, though, something else – something that many people have overseen. Or, aren’t even aware of. It’s the fact that the Triangles have been around as back as the 1950s. Of course, there’s no way we were flying such advanced craft in the Fifties. So, does that mean the FTs are extraterrestrial, after all? Let’s see. It's not as simple as it seems.

UFOs and Secret Aircraft

In the early 1990s, rumors began to circulate among the aviation world that a highly secret, futuristic aircraft was being flown out of Nevada – and under distinctly covert circumstances. The reportedly large, black-colored, triangular-shaped aircraft which could fly at incredible speeds, could outmaneuver just about anything else on the planet. It was rumored to be known as the Aurora. Officially, at least, and according to the U.S. Government, the Aurora does not exist and has never existed. But, that was once said about Area 51, too. So, with that in mind, we need to tread cautiously when it comes to official proclamations of the controversial type. 

The story largely began – publicly, at least – in March 1990. That was when the well-respected magazine Aviation Week & Space Technology covered the story. They revealed that the term Aurora had appeared in the 1985 U.S. budget – and had possibly appeared by mistake, which makes sense if the program was so highly sensitive that its existence had to be denied at all costs. And talking of costs, it was rumored that around $455 million had been provided to those working out at Area 51 on secret, futuristic aircraft. AW&ST suspected that Aurora was a codename for multiple kinds of aircraft that were both radical in design and technology. Other investigators, though, concluded that Aurora referred to just one type of aircraft. AW&ST learned that by 1987 the budget had soared to in excess of two billion dollars. 

Bill Sweetman is one of the leading figures in the field of aviation and someone who took a deep interest in the Aurora saga. His books include F-22 Raptor, Inside the Stealth Bomber, and Soviet Air Power. And, then there is his 1993 book, Aurora: The Pentagon's Secret Hypersonic Spyplane. Of the Aurora, Sweetman says: “Does Aurora exist? Years of pursuit have led me to believe that, yes, Aurora is most likely in active development, spurred on by recent advances that have allowed technology to catch up with the ambition that launched the program a generation ago.” This was all very interesting for those who follow the world of exotic aircraft, such as Bill Sweetman and the staff of Aviation Wek and Space Technology – and it still is of interest to them. But, where was the evidence for the existence of Aurora? Was there any evidence? Yes, there was. And it came from a highly credible man with an impeccable background. His name: Chris Gibson. 

It was in the summer of 1989 that Gibson had what can accurately be termed the encounter of a lifetime. An engineer with an Honors degree in geology and someone who’s worked focused on oil-exploration, Gibson was also attached to the U.K.’s Royal Observer Corps. The work of the ROC – which closed down in December 1995, after seventy years of work to help protect the United Kingdom from attack – required its volunteers to keep a careful watch on the skies above and what was flying in those same skies, too. As luck – or fate - would have it, and at the time when the Aurora program may very well have been compromised, Gibson was working on an oil rig in the North Sea. The name of the rig was the Galveston Key. It was August 1989, specifically, when one of Gibson’s colleagues, a friend named Graeme Winton, who went to university with Gibson, excitedly told Gibson to come with him to the deck. There was something Winton needed to show him. A startled and amazed Gibson caught sight of something incredible in the skies above. A pair of General Dynamics’ F1-11 aircraft were shepherding a very strange-looking, completely black aircraft. And, a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker seemed to be fueling it. It was in the form of a triangle. For a moment or two, Gibson pondered on the possibility that what he and Winton were seeing was the F-117 stealth fighter. But, the design was clearly wrong. And the aircraft was significantly larger than the stealth fighter. Gibson knew this, as the four aircraft were not flying high; in fact, they were fairly low. Gibson was completely and utterly stumped by the strange appearance of the plane. It was something he had never seen before.

Gibson said: “We discussed what to do about it but decided that if it were reported through official channels, it would be at best rubbished, at worst lead to trouble. Having signed the [British Government’s] Official Secrets Act I didn’t want to jeopardize my position in the recognition team [of the Royal Observer Corps], so I kept my mouth shut.” Gibson did, however, contact Bill Sweetman, who found the encounter to be of extreme interest. Gibson added: “It is the only aircraft I have ever seen that I could not identify.” That the Aurora – which it almost certainly was – was seen over the North Sea, off the east coast of England, is intriguing, because a series of encounters of a near-identical kind were reported over mainland U.K. in March 1993. In between the time that Gibson had his encounter midway through 1989, the Aurora had a new nickname in the UFO research community: the Flying Triangle. Although, it’s important to note that more than a few researchers believed that the FTs were extraterrestrial in origin. Of one thing that pretty much everyone was in accord with, was that the Flying Triangles and the Aurora existed. But were/are they really ours or "theirs?" That question is the most important one, of all.

As many students of Ufology will be aware, the last couple of decades or so have seen a rise in reports of one particular type of UFO. It has become known as the Flying Triangle. The FTs are triangular in shape and very often black in color, hence the name, of course. They often emit a low humming noise, and have a trio of lights on their underside. They usually have rounded corners too, rather than sharply angled edges. While digging through a whole host of formerly classified files on UFOs at the National Archives at Kew, England in 1996, I came across a one-page report dated March 28, 1965 that, I confess, I almost overlooked. On closer inspection, however, I realized that it was potentially one of the most important UFO-related documents that I had ever come across. According to the Ministry of Defense paperwork, on the night in question a man saw at approximately 9:30 p.m. over moor-land near Richmond, North Yorkshire, England  something incredible: “Nine or ten objects – in close triangular formation each about 100ft long – orange illumination below – each triangular in shape with rounded corners, making low humming noise.”

The Black Triangles Are So Like Ours

Interestingly, the “rounded corners” and “low humming noise” are precisely what many witnesses to Flying Triangle-style UFO encounters are reporting today – in a world-wide capacity, no less. Recognizing the significance of all this, I made a photocopy of the document and set about locating the witness. Jeffrey Brown was his name. I introduced myself and explained that I had located at the National Archives a copy of the original report that dealt with his sighting all those years ago. It's fair to say that Brown was shocked, to say the least, to find that details of his long-gone encounter had been kept on file by the Ministry of Defense for more than thirty years. As Brown explained, on March 28, 1965 at approximately 9:30 p.m., he had been driving through the North Yorkshire moors. On approaching the village of Skeeby, Brown encountered something remarkable: “I saw this light. It was about one hundred feet from end-to-end, about one hundred feet above the moors and shaped like a huge triangle and white, milky-white in color. It kept coming towards me and then stopped about two hundred yards from me over the moors. It hovered for a while – nothing came out of it, but there was a light below it that just pulsated like a light bulb. There could have been quite a few lights on it but from a distance the light just looked like a glow. Then without a warning, it just took off at a speed that isn’t recognized. Good gracious, I thought, it must be a UFO!” Brown left the best part to the last: he said he soon saw approximately another ten vehicles in the sky. That is, until they all shot away.

As I see it, the Flying Triangles are not ours. I would be willing to believe they are ours if they had only surfaced since the 1980s. But, as the account of Jeffrey Brown shows, the vehicles he saw were flying around back in the mid-1960s. And I don’t believe we had our very own squadron of Triangles flying over the north of England that long ago. So, in conclusion, forget the “secret aircraft” angle. The Flying Triangles are from somewhere else. 

Nick Redfern

Nick Redfern works full time as a writer, lecturer, and journalist. He writes about a wide range of unsolved mysteries, including Bigfoot, UFOs, the Loch Ness Monster, alien encounters, and government conspiracies. Nick has written 41 books, writes for Mysterious Universe and has appeared on numerous television shows on the The History Channel, National Geographic Channel and SyFy Channel.

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