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ALSACAT:

ALSACAT is my comprehensive catalog of UFO sighting reports in Alsace, the region is the North-East of France, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ALSACAT catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file. A general index and thematic sub-catalogs give access to these Alsatian case files.

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Case of Petit-Landau, on December 12, 1980:

Case number:

ALSACAT-1980-12-12-PETITLANDAU-1

Summary:

A local Gendarmerie Nationale report, anonymized and published by GEIPAN in 2008, stated that on December 12, 1980, a woman came to their office to report that she had seen a "UFO."

She said that on December 12, 1980, around 5 a.m., she was going to work with her vehicle, traveling on a Departmental Road - the number of this road is censored, as well as the direction of travel. She was in the heart of a forest whose name has also been censored, but which for me is obviously the Hardt forest.

She then saw in her rear-view mirror a large oval-shaped orange light. She added:

"On either side of this shape I noticed a row of lights flashing and changing from green to red and blue. I then stopped my vehicle with the intention of explaining this phenomenon to myself. The oval shape had a dimension of 5 meters wide by 2 meters high."

"The idea came to my mind that it could be a U.F.O. so I decided to resume my journey."

For a few minutes and still in her rear-view mirror, she observed the phenomenon, which "disappeared" as she arrived at a crossroads - the situation of which was censored.

The Gendarmes questioned their colleagues from a neighboring brigade to find out whether other people had reported a UFO: this was not the case. Thinking of a plane in landing approach, they made contact with the Base Mulhouse airport, where no UFO had been reported either, and where they were informed that no plane had landed at the time of the observation.

All the geographical landmarks names in the report were censored; however, GEIPAN put the case at Petit-Landau, a village near the Hardt forest.

Data:

Temporal data:

Date: December 12, 1980
Time: 05:00 a.m.
Duration: Minutes.
First known report date: December 12, 1980
Reporting delay: Workday.

Geographical data:

Department: Haut-Rhin
City: Petit-Landau
Place: In car driving and stopping on road in the Hardt forest.
Latitude: 47.710
Longitude: 7.469
Uncertainty ratio: 10 km.

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1
Witness(es) ages: 40
Witness(es) types: Local working woman.

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: To the local Gendarmerie Nationale.
Type of location: Road in forest.
Visibility conditions: Night.
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: ?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
Entities: No.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled, frightened.
Witnesses interpretation: UFO.

Classifications:

Hynek: NL
ALSACAT: Possible plane, insufficient information.

Sources:

[Ref. gen1:] GENDARMERIE NATIONALE:

Scan.

GENDARMERIE NATIONALE

COMPANY OR SQUADRON
[-] of [-]
UNIT
Brigade of [-] of [-]

UNIT CODE
03549

REPORT Nr
2529/80

REPORT
OF
ADMINISTRATIVE
INFORMATION

12.12.80

PART Nr

SHEET Nr

PRECISE NATURE OF THE FACTS - REFERENCE

- Information reporting the appearance of a U.F.O.

- Witness: - G[-], A[-], spouse. L[-].

WE THE UNDERSIGNED F[-], J[-] Gendarme.

GIVEN THE ARTICLE(S) ./.

REPORT THE FOLLOWING OPERATIONS WE HAVE PERFORMED, ACTING IN UNIFORM AND IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE ORDERS OF OUR CHIEF.

TODAY December twelfth, nineteen eighty, at 6 p.m., at our offices appears G[-], A[-], wife L[-], residing at [-].

This person reports to have witnessed a somewhat unusual phenomenon.

This day around 5 a.m. she was traveling in her vehicle on the C.D. [=country road] [-] in the [-] direction. Looking in her rear view mirror she noticed the presence of an unusual object which was reflected. It was located about 300 meters and in the axis of the road in the middle of the forest of [-] before arriving at a place called [-].

Faced with this state of affairs G[-], A[-] spouse L[-] stopped her vehicle and for a few moments observed this phenomenon.

The unidentified flying object was oval in shape, 5 meters wide by 2 meters high, it emitted a fixed light of orange color. To either side of this dominant light was a row of flashing lights that changed colors from red or green to blue.

Not wishing to remain on the scene any longer, she took the wheel of her vehicle and resumed the direction of [-]. G[-], A[-] spouse L[-] noticed in her rearview mirror that this "U.F.O." followed her until the crossroads closed by the C.D. [-] and the road leading [-].

INVESTIGATION

At 4:05 p.m. we hear:

G[-], to [-], ep. L[-], [-] years old, worker, residing [-], rue de [-] [-], 3 children, of French nationality, who declares to us:

"This day 12.12.80, around 5 a.m. I was going to my work. I was driving my vehicle traveling on the C.D. [-] in the direction [-]. I was in the heart of the forest [-] and it was when I arrived not far from the place called [-] that I saw in my rear-view mirror a big light of oval shape and orange color. On each side of this shape I noticed a row of lights which flashed and changed from green to red and blue. I then stopped my vehicle with the intention of explaining this phenomenon to myself. The oval shape was 5 meters wide by 2 meters high.

CLOSING DATE
02/8/81.

Scan.

second sheet

./.

The idea that came to mind that it could be a U.F.O. I decided to continue my journey. For a few minutes and still in my rearview mirror, I saw this phenomenon which disappeared as I arrived at the crossroads formed by the C.D. [-] and the road leading [-].

12/12/80 at 6:35 p.m.

I have read the statement above, I persist in it and have nothing to change, add or subtract from it.

(Signed in the declarations book.)

- We reported the facts reported by this witness to our Deputy Brigade Commander. We contacted our Company Commander by telephone and informed him of the observed phenomenon.

- For information we got in touch with the brigade [-], nearby brigade. No eyewitness has come to their services to tell them that he would have seen this phenomenon.

- We asked the gendarmes on duty at the air Transports of [Bâle-Mulhouse airport] to carry out some checks with the airport services.

After a few moments the employees of the control tower let it be known that no phenomenon was seen, noticed or reported, this on the date and at the time indicated, above the forest of [-].

According to the description made by the witness of the facts, we are informed that it could be the passage of an airplane which explains the variation in the colors mentioned.

The approach procedure is always carried out in the sector of aircraft flying over the forest of [-].

At the present time however, no landing has been reported by the control tower.

To date, no other element has come to confirm the statements of the person who witnessed the facts.

We are closing these proceedings as they stand.

8/02/81
Gendarme F[-].

[Ref. spa1:] UFOLOGY GROUP "SPICA":

City Date and hour of observation General shape
Identification
General color
Hypothesis
Conclusion
ILLZACH Friday 12 December 1980 at 05h00 saucer, balloon de rugby (3D)
Unidentified
Several colors
None
Unsolved -lack of info

[Ref. gei1:] GROUPE D'ETUDES ET D'INFORMATIONS SUR LES PHENOMENES AEROSPATIAUX NON IDENTIFIES (G.E.I.P.A.N.):

PETIT-LANDAU (68) 12.12.1980

SUMMARY

observation of an oval-shaped object

DESCRIPTION

On December 12, 1980, around 5 a.m., a motorist saw an orange light in her rear view mirror. About 300m away in the forest, an oval-shaped object emits flashing lights changing from green to red and blue. The witness stops to observe. This shape is about 5m wide by 2m high. Impressed, the motorist leaves and sees the object disappear at a crossroads. No other information or testimony will be collected on this phenomenon for which we lack information.

WITNESS
START OF THE OBSERVATION 12/12/1980
AGE 40
GENRE F
REACTION Emotion - Curiosity, Interest - Active
CONDITION
ENVIRONMENT OCCUPATION OF THE GROUND Artificialized territories - Industrial or commercial areas and communication networks - Road and railway network and associated spaces Forests and half-natural terrains - Forests
WEATHER CONDITIONS Unknown
LOCAL DATE AND TIME 12/12/1980 5:00
REFERENCE FRAME Sky
START OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of appearance provoked by the witness
END OF THE OBSERVATION Conditions of disappearance provoked by the phenomenon
LOCALIZATION
NATURE OF THE OBSERVATION OR DESCRIPTIVE TERMS Phenomenon
CHARACTERISTIC OF THE OBSERVATION Single object
GLOBAL SHAPEE 3D - 2 symmetry axis - Ovoid
COLOR Orangeish, fire Multicolored
APPARENT SIZE 5 meters wide by 2 meters high
APPARENT SPEED Unknown
NOISE Unknown
EFFECT ON THE ENVIRONMENT Unknown - Not specified
NUMBER OF OBSERVED PHENOMENA only one

Note: this source was accompanied by the Gendarmerie report on this sighting, available above in [gen1].

Discussion:

Map.
Carte.

On the map below, I added a green line along the axis of the runway of the Basel-Mulhouse airport. Planes that land and take off there actually pass through this axis above the forest further north, which is the Hardt forest. I know, I saw them for decades, especially from the highway from Mulhouse to Basel passing almost in the axis of the strip for a good distance. A frequent illusion is to see their light "hover" for a time that is believed to be abnormally long, because planes are associated with speed.

Carte.

The explanation is not guaranteed; on the one hand there are some details of the report which do not completely tally, on the other hand, the report is not detailed enough, and finally, the report as a whole indicates a negative verification of plane landings by the gendarmes at the airport.

The 40-year-old woman is a resident of the area, circulating there to go to work. Normally everyone in the area is used to seeing planes approaching the area. This isn't an "unstoppable" argument, but it is an argument that weakens the plane's case.

We are told of an object "oval in shape, 5 meters wide by 2 meters high, it emitted a fixed light of orange color. On either side of this dominant light was a row of flashing lights whose colors went from red or green to blue."

Airliners lights can produce different shows depending on the angles, distance, weather, lighting or not of the landing lights etc. Sometimes it is a real "flying Christmas tree" up there.

Lumières d'avion.

Here, it doesn't necessarily fit. The "dominant" "solid orange" light would be the landing lights, if not for the orange color. We are told that on either side of this main light was "a row of flashing lights whose colors changed from red or green to blue". Wrong expression? Because on planes we have the green light at one wingtip, a red one at the other wingtip, but in no case do these lights change color...

Unfortunately, the gendarme did not ask the questions that should be asked, in particular:

Finally, I note that the gendarmes inquired about plane landings at the time of the observation, but not, formally, about takeoffs, at least, their report does not indicate an absence of takeoff.

They also did not inquire about possible traffic at the Habsheim airfield. It turns out that in the Hardt, around Petit-Landau, there is no departmental road oriented in the axis of the Basel Mulhouse airport runway, but that a small plane landing or taking off from the Habsheim airfield could very well have veered and found itself in the axis of the route taken by the witness.

Carte.

Above: at A, start of the main runway at Habsheim airfield. At B, a departmental road. If the witness lived in Petit Landau and went to work, this path is quite likely the one she took since the report tells us that she crossed the heart of the forest.

Evaluation:

Possible plane, insufficient information.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Authoring:

Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross August 1, 2022 Creation, [gen1], [spa1], [gei1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 1, 2022 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 1, 2022.