Newly released British UFO files cover 1987 to 1993 and are arranged in seven downloadable PDF files. But Dr. David Clark, an expert in UFO history with the British National Archives, has offered a quick tour of significant sightings and a video.
The most recent downloadable files are here - and below the video on this page is a "cheat sheet" to what Dr. Clark believe are the more interesting cases.
P2 – 9
Investigation papers into a report of a UFO near Belfast Airport in December 1989 (see also DEFE 31/179, pages 209 – 217)
p38 – 39
Reports by an anonymous female who claimed to have been approached by a man whilst walking her dog one evening in November 1989. The man told her that he was from another planet, and that “crop circles” had been caused by others like him who had travelled to earth. “One of our more unusual UFO reports” noted a covering letter from RAF Wattisham to MoD and Norfolk police.
A project to produce a computerised database of UFO reports (see p432) is halted when the head of the MoD?s Secretariat (Air Staff) senses a potential public relations disaster, should the existence of the project leak to the press.
A helicopter crew reported a close encounter with a “very bright flashing red light” on the night of 21 February 1988. The UFO appeared to be 200 – 300 yards long, with red and white lights and appeared to “swerve to miss the helicopter” as it descended. No location is specified in the report.
p429 – 431
A re-fuelling exercise over the Midlands is mistaken for reports of a sightings of as UFO as “big as a football field.”
Details about a project to produce a computerised database of UFO reports, the main purpose of which is to supply information in the event of relevant Parliamentary questions to ministers (further information at p224 of this file)
p157 – 158
Defensive press lines are prepared by the MoD after colour photographs of a large diamond-shaped UFO hovering over Calvine (Scotland) are sent to the Daily Record in Glasgow. Details of this sighting, which has remained a secret until now, was dubbed by one former official as “one of the most intriguing [UFO] cases in the MoD?s files” (for further information see
p183 and p197
The MoD UFO desk asks MoD Security to carry out background checks on two „persistent correspondents? who have been plaguing desk officers with letters and tape-recording phone conversations with officials.
p209 – 217
Investigation papers into a report of a UFO near Belfast Airport in December 1989 (see also DEFE 24/1938 p2-9)
DEFE 31/180 (10.5 Mb)
In 1992, an illuminated airship advertising the Ford Mondeo caused a large number of UFO sighting reports when it flew over central London at night (see also DEFE 31/181 p73)
p37 – 38
Image (poor quality photocopy) of a large diamond-shaped UFO hovering over Calvine (Scotland) and what was later identified as a Harrier.
p55 – 57
Further investigation papers about the sighting of a large diamond-shaped UFO over Calvine (Scotland). Here the task sheet notes that "sensitivity of material suggests very special handling" (see also p37 – 38, and DEFE 31/179 p157 – 158)
p67 – 69
UFO report made to Scottish air traffic controllers by an airline captain flying over the North Atlantic on 4 January 1992. Report was assessed as sounding "like some form of meteorological phenomena".
Burning white lights, flames and rumbling sounds reported by dozens of people over Wales and Hereford in December 1991 were traced to a USAF pilot who jettisoned fuel that was ignited by the aircraft's afterburner.
p111 – 112
Intelligence summary of sightings in Kazakhstan dated October 1991.
A RAF pilot and his student flying at 2,000ft near Cranwell (Lincolnshire) on 11 September 1991 saw a “possible missile” shoot up to 25,000ft and appear to explode. An investigation was undertaken involving RAF and civilian police, and checks were made on radar.
Following the report that six RAF Tornado jets were overtaken by a UFO during an exercise over Germany (see p180 – 182 for the report) UFOlogists who enquired about the incident were advised to contact the Dutch Air Force.
p180 – 182
The crews of six RAF Tornado jets reported being overtaken by a giant UFO, whilst flying over Germany during an exercise controlled by Dutch radar on 5 November 1990. The pilots believed that this could have been a test flight for the then top-secret USAF Stealth Fighter. Their brief report and internal discussion can be found here (further details p157). It later emerged that the pilots had actually seen burning debris from a Soviet rocket body, used to launch a satellite into orbit.
46 – 72
Numerous reports of moving lights in the sky over South-Western England and South Wales in the early hours of 31 March 1993. These are later traced to the re-entry of a Russian Cosmos rocket body which burned-up, decaying over the North Atlantic (sketches at p61)
In 1992 an illuminated airship advertising the Ford Mondeo caused a large number of UFO reports when it flew at night over central London (see also DEFE 31/180 p12)
Article from The Scotsman about alleged sightings of US spy planes over Scotland (see also p136 – 137, p152 – 155 and p 288 - 289)
Two air traffic controllers at Heathrow filed a report describing a black inverted boomerang shaped UFO seen from the control tower on the morning of 17 December 1992 (see p281 – 282 for reports of a similar sighting in Lincolnshire a week earlier)
p136 – 137
Article in Jane's Defence Weekly about alleged sightings of US spy planes over Scotland (see also p123, p152 – 155 and p288 – 289)
p152 – 155
Article from Quest (UFO magazine) about alleged sightings of US spy planes over Scotland (see also p123, p136 – 137 and p288 – 289)
p178 – 180
In November 1992 a Brighton man reported seeing a brightly-lit UFO shaped like a "squashed rugby ball" hovering above his house. Through the windows in the side, he saw two men wearing beige uniforms – when one of them spotted him the lights went out and the UFO moved out to sea. An RAF note reads: "Caller sounded genuine enough and his main concern seemed to be that he didn't want to talk too much about the craft if it was 'on of ours that we wanted to keep secret'".
p187 – 190
Copies of newspaper stories and correspondence from the public following a story in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph in 1992 alleging that Captain William Schaffner (USAF exchange pilot), who had died during an exercise in 1970, had in fact been involved in a secret operation to intercept UFOs over the North Sea (see also p210 – 268; a full copy of the RAF Board of Inquiry report into the fatal crash, which does not mention UFOs, is at DEFE 31/181 p240 – 246).
p210 – 268
Copies of newspaper stories and correspondence from the public following a story in the Grimsby Evening Telegraph in 1992 alleging that Captain William Schaffner (USAF exchange pilot), who had died during an exercise in 1970, had in fact been involved in a secret operation to intercept UFOs over the North Sea (see also p181 – 197;
a full copy of the RAF Board of Inquiry report into the fatal crash, which does not mention UFOs, is at DEFE 31/181 p240 – 246).
p281 – 282
Numerous witnesses in Louth, Lincolnshire, reported seeing three lights which appeared to be attached to a large, triangular shaped craft on 9 December 1992. The UFO hovered, turned on its axis and then shot off upwards at an estimated speed of 500mph (see p128 from this file for reports of a similar sighting at Heathrow a week later).
p288 – 289
Glasgow Herald article about alleged sightings of US spy planes over Scotland, which includes a note: "another [newspaper article] for your growing collection... attention is really focussing on this now, notwithstanding a recent USAF 'denial briefing'. This is bound to prompt further questions and Parliamentary interest."
Near-miss reported by the crew of a Britannia Airlines 737 with an object travelling at Mach 3, near the island of Elba off the Italian coast (1 May 1992).