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1988 - RAF Leeming - Orange Lights Sighting


Birmingham UFO Group Report
Author: Dave Hodrien
Originally forwarded by Richard Hall
Last Updated: 03/07/2011

It is not often that I get contacted by someone with a military background about something they encountered while in service. Military cases often have a certain aura of believability about them. This is due to the fact that most military personnel are trained observers and are familiar with conventional aircraft. Also they are often sworn to secrecy, meaning that they have more to lose than a normal civilian if they come forward with information.

In June 2011 I was contacted by a man who used to be an airman in the Royal Air Force and was stationed at RAF Leeming. Because he was no longer in the RAF he decided it was time to come forward with information regarding a UFO which he and his unit witnessed during or around 1988, when he was 17 years old.

Sighting Details

It was about 10.30pm and a clear night with only light cloud. Grant (real name undisclosed) was on patrol with his Mobile Reaction Force (MRF) unit. This patrol would entail driving around the base in a Land Rover, mostly looking for IRA or undercover journalists trying to expose security breaches.

They were at the South end of the runway. Suddenly one of Grants colleagues noticed two unusual flashing lights in the sky. He exclaimed "What the fuck is that?!" which of course got the attention of everyone else. The lights were yellow-orange in colour and seemed to be pulsing. They appeared to be about 30 feet apart from one another, and looked quite large in size. As it was dark it is unknown whether they were two separate objects or two lights on a single object. There were 5 people in the unit and all of them clearly saw these lights, which were completely stationary in the sky.

Photograph of RAF Leeming:



The lights appeared to be hovering over the Air Traffic Control tower, 3/4 of a mile North of their position, although Grant suspects this was just their own perception. They observed the lights for several minutes both from aboard and outside the Land Rover. After this they then moved to a better vantage point past the aircraft safety net. Grant's colleagues then contacted Air Traffic Control, but they said that they could not see the lights, nor was anything showing up on radar.

Aerial map of RAF Leeming showing estimated location of witnesses:



After the initial radio communication with Air Traffic Control, the batteries ran out. After having a cigarette they decided to drive to ATC to get some new batteries so that they could contact OiC to discuss the lights.

As they drove towards ATC the lights suddenly switched off. They arrived at ATC and collected some batteries, but when they spoke with the Officer in Charge (OiC) they were informed that they must have seen a reflection in the sky of the A1 motorway or a farmers vehicle. Nobody in the tower could confirm that they had seen the lights, but Grant’s unit were all convinced of what they had witnessed.

They decided to head to a bar at a local rugby club and spent the next 6 hours discussing and trying to rationalise what they had seen. They could not come up with an explanation so decided right there that they would never speak of the incident again in case it impacted negatively on their careers or status in the crew room and card school.

Sighting Analysis

This is a fascinating sighting because of the location, the number of witnesses ad their background. The fact that five individuals all saw the lights shows that they were clearly present in the sky. It was suggested to the witnesses that what they had seen was a reflection of the nearby motorway or a farming vehicle. However this seems very unlikely for a number of valid reasons. Firstly it was quite a clear night so there was very little cloud for anything to reflect off. The lights were completely stationary, if they had been a reflection of moving vehicles then it stands to reason that there would have been some movement detected in such a reflection. Above all though, the witnesses were not in an unusual location, this was their regular patrol route. So if the lights had been a reflection of the motorway or a farm vehicle residing in a nearby field then why would they not have been seen on many other occasions?

The lights could not have been down to Chinese lanterns as these would have drifted and changed position in the 15 minutes that they were witnessed for. Also lanterns tend to flicker at random not continuously pulse as Grant described. And we must not forget that this incident happened in 1988 - back then lanterns were not widely available.

They were certainly not a helicopter or other conventional aircraft. They were the wrong colour for this and the airmen would no doubt have recognised the lights as this. Also civilian aircraft were not allowed within 2 miles of the base, and if they did fly within the airspace they would have immediately been told to leave.

It is a mystery why Air Traffic Control could not see the lights. They would certainly have checked directly overhead, and up in the tower had a good view of the surrounding area. Perhaps the lights were hidden from view behind something from their position. The fact that they did not show up on radar could be another sign that they were something unusual. If they really were on a single object the size of a bus this would surely have showed up, so whatever it was appears to have been radar invisible.

Whatever the object was, it was odd enough to convince five airmen that it was something out of the ordinary. I would like to take this opportunity to thank “Grant” for coming forward with the details of this incident, which otherwise would probably have never been known about.

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2011

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