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Aircraft - UFOs:

Are UFOs aircraft of our own planet that are misinterpreted and confused for extraterrestrial spaceships? It has been 50 years that some have thought so, other thought that it is not so, while serious UFO researchers know that the answer resides somewhere "sometimes" and "often" but is not at all "always." It seems possible to me, with a little bit of homework, to examine each candidate plane individually and to assess if that plane is suitable or not as an explanation of the entire UFO enigma or of some UFO reports or of no UFO reports. Here is one of these case-by-case examinations.

Boeing "Bird of Prey":

Facts about that airplane:

The Boeing news release in October 2002 states:

Boeing unveiled the Bird of Prey in a ceremony Friday, Oct. 18 in St. Louis. The Bird of Prey is a technology demonstrator that pioneered breakthrough low-observable technologies and revolutionized aircraft design, development and production.

Developed by the Boeing Phantom Works advanced research-and-development organization, the Bird of Prey was among the first to initiate the use of large, single-piece composite structures; low-cost, disposable tooling; and 3-D virtual reality design and assembly processes to ensure the aircraft was affordable as well as high-performing.


This project has been entirely financed by Boeing on its own funds, to a total cost of $67 million. It is only a technology demonstrator, the aircraft will not be used in a productive way, it will not be built large number. It is used to test new technologies, which, if they are efficient, will be used thereafter on other new aircraft. In the case of Bird of Prey, its construction technology is used for the X-45 UCAV (a pilotless aircraft).

This aircraft's speed is subsonic, its engine is a conventional Pratt & Whitney JT15D-5C turbofan, which propels it at a speed of 260 knots and a maximal altitude of 20,000 feet.

Its wingspan is 23 feet and its length 47 feet, it weighs up to 7,400 pounds.

There were 38 test and demonstration flights of this plane. The first of these flights took place in autumn of 1996.


Video: Bird of Prey in flight.

Above: Artist's impression © Boeing.

Above: Artist's impression © Boeing.

Above: Artist's impression © Boeing.

Above: Photograph of the plane when revealed in October 2002 © Boeing.

Above: Photograph of the plane on the tarmac in October 2002.

The Bird of Prey as a UFO?

As soon as the aircraft was introduced to the press in October 2002, some stated that UFOs are now explained.

But this is an aircraft that is:

Serious ufologists know since the beginning of the research on the phenomenon that people can confuse aircraft and UFOs. They know that perhaps 80 to 95 percent of UFO reports, particularly those by unqualified witnesses, correspond to a vast collection of commonplace explanations, some including unusual or little known aircraft.

They even know that the majority of the witnesses who observe a strange aerial phenomenon first think, when the sighting begins, that what they see must be some more or less strange and secret aircraft, and that it is only later in the sighting, when the supposed aircraft gets closer, or performs flight manoeuvers that modern physics considers impossible, or when the phenomenon lands, and sometimes when its occupants are seen, that the witness is forced to accept that what he observes is not an aircraft, even innovative.

Even better, there are UFO reports for which it is only much later than the witnesses understood that what they saw could not have been "the rumored new secret aircraft," or "something the Russians built." When the referred to new secret aircraft is actually revealed, sometimes years later, it becomes certain that the new secret aircraft is very below what they had observed.

To claim, each time that a new aircraft is announced, i.e. indeed several times every year for the last 50 years, that the UFO phenomenon has found its explanation, is simply an ignorant claim, ignorant of the data of the UFO problem, and even often ignorant of aeronautics data.

Indeed, the Bird of Prey is not particularly suitable as explanation of those UFO observations that are truly puzzling, unless the witness observed a UFO between 1996 and today, on a flight test area used by Boeing and was not qualified enough or lucid enough to realize that what he sees is a plane.

I have once again noted that as soon as Boeing revealed the Bird of Prey, many amateurs and also media sources uneducated about the UFO phenomenon and normally not involved at all in any UFO research effort have claimed that UFOs are explained. In particular, I have already seen suggestion that this 1996-born aircraft is the cause of the huge UFO flap over Belgium in 1989-1990. As normally these sources of information (aeronautics magazine and web sites, space news web sites, astronomy web sites) do not say anything at all about UFO reports and research, which is absolutely not their subject, I wonder whether a sociological fact is involved here: does the idea that the UFOS can exist distress so many people or groups that "do not believe in flying saucer nonsense," that they feel compelled to go "off topics" in their publications so as to reassure themselves about the inexistence of the UFOS? Do they do that to promote themselves as "the serious people" as opposed to the "ET/UFO believers?"

See also:

Other "secret aircraft" supposed to explain UFOs:

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This page was last updated on November 10, 2002.