Flying Officers Terry Johnson and Geoffrey Smythe.


Flying Officers Terry Johnson and Geoffrey Smythe.

In the late morning of 3rd November, 1953, Flying Officers Terry Johnson and Geoffrey Smythe  took off in a Vampire jet aircraft from West Malling R.A.F. base (Kent) on a routine reconnaissance mission of south-east England.

It was a clear autumn day and they soon reached an altitude of 20,000 feet when Terry Johnson was surprised to observe a very bright shiny object which resembled a “do-nut”.

He immediately alerted Geoffrey Smythe who was flying as radar operator and was extremely busy at the time. However, on looking up, Smythe was also shocked to see the bright object and could confirm a visual sighting. The object, however, did not appear on the vampire’s radar monitor. The object then moved at speed to the left hand side of the aircraft and then flew away.

The flying officers registered the event in their pilots’ logs and reported it on returning to base.

A local army radar team claimed that the object had appeared on their screens, in the correct place and at the right time.

The incident received a lot of attention from the media – Terry Johnson and Geoffrey Smythe being interviewed by the BBC Television News.

Geoffrey Smythe (2004) - can still clearly recall the incident.

A Vampire jet - as flown by Johnson and Smythe.

Terry Johnson (2004) - remembers sighting the shiny UFO.

Geoffrey Smythe talks about his sighting of the UFO.

Terry Johnson recalls the UFO sighting he experienced in 1953. Geoffrey Smythe reveals that he has changed his mind regarding UFOs during BBC interview.

Terry Johnson and Geoffrey Smythe being interviewed about their UFO sighting by the B.B.C.

"Flying Saucer day" - shown clearly in pilot's log.

click on picture for larger size

click on picture for larger size


1st Lieutenant Felix E. Moncia Jr.

On 23rd November 1953, an unidentified anomalous object was detected on Radar by Air Defense Command - the object was flying over Lake Superior. 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron (Madison, Wisconsin) was alerted and an F-89, piloted by Felix E. Moncia, was despatched to intercept the object.
As they approached the object, Moncia and his observer Lt. Robert Wilson, were seen to descend to 8,000 ft. by ground based radar observers, at which point both the F-89 and the unknown object disappeared from Radarscopes. No trace of either craft was ever found. The Air Force maintained that the "UFO" was, in fact, a Canadian Air Force C-47 and for some unknown reason the F-89 had crashed into Lake Michigan after turning away from the intercept. 
The flight plan of the C-47, however, did not leave Canadian air space and there is no evidence that the air craft deviated from its flight plan. Also, despite claims that Moncia had suffered from vertigo causing him to lose control, there has never been a satisfactory explanation for why both F-89 and the UFO disappeared from various radarscopes at exactly the same time.

Captain James Howard.

On 29th June 1954, a Boeing Stratocruiser (the Centaurus, flying at 19,000 feet, speed 230 knots) was flying from New York en route to Newfoundland when, over the sea off the coast of Labrador, a large "metallic" object emerged from a gap in the clouds - this object was circled by six smaller objects. The pilot, Captain James Howard, sketched the larger object which seemed to change form; however, in a BBC interview he finally described it as a large triangle. The co-pilot, Lee Boyd, contacted Ground Control and told them, "We are not alone". "We know", was the reply from Ground Control. "What is it?" Boyd asked. "We don't know but we have scrambled a Sabre from Goose Bay to investigate", - was Ground Control's response.
The UFO flew along with the stratocruiser at a distance of about 3 miles until the Sabre jet aircraft approached - at this the smaller UFOs lined up and, one by one, merged into the larger object. When the Sabre reached the UFO, it vanished.
The whole event was witnessed by the crew and 30 passengers.

Joseph Walker

Initially Joseph Walker was the first to announce a sighting - he told the National Conference on the Peaceful Uses of Space Research in 1962 that he had an aerial encounter with two disc-shaped objects the previous month. He had actually filmed the encounter.
In April 1962, NASA pilot, Joseph Walker, filmed five cylindrical and disc-shaped objects from his X-15 aircraft. Another test pilot reported an incident involving a formation of UFOs whilst flying at 314,000 feet.
NASA refused to reveal any evidence that might substantiate the pilots' claims - photographs or films were never released.

Graham Shepherd

Graham Shepherd [ below ] was a commercial pilot with B.A. (British Airways) for many years. Since his retirement he has decided to reveal his experiences with UFOs.
On the 22nd March 1967, Graham Shepherd was piloting an aircraft on a return flight from Gibraltar to London when the aircrew noticed a very bright star - twice as bright as any normal star or planet. The object became yet brighter and started to manoeuvre as though intelligently controlled; performing figures of eights and loops.
Shepherd contacted Bordeaux Radar (France) and who confirmed the presence of an unidentified object 10 miles to the west, on their screens.
In another instance, Graham Shepherd was flying from Scotland to London (Heathrow) in daylight. Just after crossing into England, he was alerted by Preston Radar Control that there was "unidentified opposite direction traffic "at 24,000 ft., approaching at very high speed. Shepherd was astonished to see a disk-shaped craft, similar to a shiny car hub cap, flying towards his aircraft. He estimated the object to be about 30ft. in diameter.
The UFO passed within a quarter of a mile, about 2-300 feet below Shepherd's aircraft and yet caused no shockwave. The aircrew and the observers at Preston Radar Control were completely puzzled.
Neither Graham Shepherd or Preston Radar Control submitted a "near-miss report" as everyone involved in the incident felt that something extremely strange had happened.
His decision to reveal his experiences have some anger as far as B.A. are concerned, writing to Graham Shepherd asking him not to relate details of his UFO encounters to anyone. Graham Shepherd - retired airline pilot who spoke out

 UFOs.Graphical representation of 
the UFO sighted by Graham Shepherd [above].

Graham Shepherd describes a UFO he sighted. [Audio] 


By Philip Mantle

This was taken in l982 when Alan Turner was the Senior Air Traffic Control Officer at RAF Lossiemouth. He is pictured on the right.
(Click for full sized image)

At the UFO DATA conference in October 2007 I met up with veteran UFO investigator David Beezer. I’ve known David for many years and he has regularly attended many of our public events. David wanted me to read a report he had received from a for RAF officer but on the day I simply did not have the time. David made me a copy of the report in question and I read it a day or two after the conference had finished.

The report came from a Mr. Alan Turner MBE and concerned a UFO observed on radar at RAF Sopley in the summer of l971. I subsequently contact Mr. Turner and have his permission to document the following. His report is published in full.

Alan Turner was aged twenty-five when he joined the Royal Air Force in l966 and was commissioned that year as an Air Traffic Control Officer. RAF Sopley was a wartime bunker, which had been converted into a joint military/civilian Air Traffic Control Radar Unit (ATCRU): it closed in l974 when both the civil and military ATC functions were transferred to West Drayton.

Alan Turner remained in the RAF eventually to command the Central ATC School from 1990 to 1992. In July 1995 he was discharged from the RAF in the rank of Wing Commander.

This is Alan Turner with his wife Diane at Buckingham Palace receiving his MBE in l984.
Alan Turner at a social function during his last appointment with the RAF in l994.

This is Alan Turner with his wife Diane at Buckingham Palace receiving his MBE in l984.


Alan Turner at a social function during his last appointment with the RAF in l994.

This is Wing Commanders Turner’s account of what he personally observed at RAF Sopley in the summer of l971 in full:

In the summer of 1971 I was the Duty Military Supervisor at RAF Sopley, which was a joint military/civil Air Traffic Control Radar Unit (ATCRU). It was a Tuesday afternoon but I cannot remember the exact date. The Duty Civil Supervisor drew my attention to a situation on radar the likes of which neither of us had ever encountered.

Emanating from a point some twenty nautical miles east of the eastern extremity of the Salisbury Plain Danger Area were a series of six or seven blips moving on a south-easterly track each being separated from the other by about six miles. At about forty miles from the point they appeared on radar they disappeared to be followed almost immediately by a replacement at the point of origin.

Click for larger view

Map of the area showing the track on the unidentified radar target. Map supplied by Alan Turner.
All photographs copyright Alan Turner MBE


I put the FPS 6 Height Finder onto some returns to discover that they were about 3000 feet when they came into radar cover and climbing extremely rapidly so that, by the time they disappeared from radar, they were in excess of 60,000 feet. To climb to such a height in only forty miles was beyond the ability of any fighter aircraft at the time.

The phenomenon was witnessed by four civil and six military controllers on duty at the time. I called Heathrow Radar to discover that they, also, wee seeing a similar picture. The same situation prevailed in the Fighter Control Operations Rooms at RAF Neatishead. The three units involved operated different radars from each other thus different frequencies were in use. The weather forecast from the south of England was calm and sunny. I called the Met Office to confirm the strength of the upper winds to find that they were also relatively calm and were about fifty degrees off the southeasterly track of the blips; they also confirmed that there were not Met balloons/probes airborne at the time.

The winds were not strong enough, nor in the right direction, to cause the blips to travel on their observed track especially at the speed they were travelling. It was estimated that they were doing around 250 knots, but it must be borne in mind that this was a lateral speed as seen on radar – they must have been travelling very much faster to climb over 50,000 feet in less than forty miles. Equally the weather was such that there were no ‘angels’ to affect the radar picture. “Angels” was a euphemism for, what were believed to be, ionozed pockets of air which, under very specific atmospheric conditions, were often seen on radar screens in those days: when seen, these ‘angels’ traveled extremely slowly simply drifting along haphazard tracks. In those days all radars were ‘raw’. That is to say that, whatever was within the coverage of the radar envelope and capable of bouncing (returning) the radar pulse back to the receiver, would be seen on the radar tube. Today’s radars are computerised thus such interference is processed out so as not to affect the picture.

Looking around for some other method of checking what was going on, I discovered that a controller had two Canberras on frequency returning from Germany. One of the pilots agreed to investigate so I assumed control of his aircraft and, having confirmed he was in good visual met conditions, I vectored him on to the blips keeping him regularly updated on their position relative to the Canberra. The aircraft was flying at around nineteen thousand feel and when it got within a mile or so of one particular blip, the pilot reported, in a very agitated voice, that his radar had picked something up heading down his port side by about a quarter of a mile and ‘climbing like the clappers’, it was on a reciprocal heading to the Canberra. The pilot admitted that neither he nor his navigator made any visual contact and confirmed that the weather conditions were such that they would have had no difficultly seeing something that close.

The whole episode lasted for twenty minutes or more before the blips stopped appearing. I impounded the R/T tapes and the Radar Video film and made appropriate entries in the log. Each person in the Ops Room who witnessed the incident was required to write a report. The Squadron Leader in charge of Operations collated the reports and informed higher authority. Within a couple of days I was interviewed in the Squadron Leader’s office by two men who were not identified to me. I, along with all the others in the Ops Room on the day in question, were told in no uncertain terms not to relate what we had seen until cleared to do so. About four years later I was serving at RAF Wattisham when the Station Commander asked to see me. I was told that he had a communication from the MoD about the incident at Sopley and that as ‘nothing could be confirmed’ the situation was such that doubt would be cast on anything I said about it. I took this to mean that I was no longer to remain silent.

I am at a loss to explain what I, and many other people, saw. In those days aircraft could not climb at such a rate. To be seen on displays by three different ground radars, plus the airborne radar in the Canberra, is also a mystery. The weather conditions were very definitely VMC or Visual Met Conditions; the aircraft was clear of cloud by at least a thousand feet vertically and with a forward visibility of at least five nautical miles.

Alan Turner MBE 10th November 2007.

In Mr. Turner’s letter to be dated 10th November 2007 he apologised for not remembering the exact date of the incident and believes that there are those out there that will use this to discredit his account. I’ll leave you with his final comments on the incident; “Please use the information in any way you see fit; I stand by what I saw because I know what I saw.”

Colleagues and I intend to submit a Freedom of Information request to the UK Ministry of Defence, and should we obtain any further information we will of course publish it due course.

Thanks must go to David Beezer for supplying the information and contact details and special thanks to Alan Turner MBE for allowing me to publish his account.

Philip Mantle is an international UFO researcher, author and broadcaster. He can be contacted via email at: philip@

All photographs copyright Alan Turner MBE and reproduced with his kind permission.

Captain Lawrence J. Coyne 

At 11-05P.M. on the night of October 18, 1973, Captain Lawrence J. Coyne, Staff Sergeant John Healy, Co-Pilot Arrigo Jezzi, and Crew Chief SSGT Robert Yanacsek, Army reservists, were returning from Columbus, Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio in an "H-1 Huey" helicopter. At a point southeast of the Mansfield, Ohio airport, flying at 2500 feet/heading of 030 degrees, Staff Sergeant Yanacsek noticed a red light on the eastern horizon at approximately 90 degrees to the Huey's flight path. 
After observing the object for 30 seconds, Yanacsek reported that the object appeared to be on a collision course with the Huey and was flying at a speed in excess of 600 knots. After observing the object himself, Captain Coyne took over the controls of the Huey, commencing a powered descent from 2500 feet to 1700 feet to avoid a collision. Captain Coyne radioed Mansfield Airport and asked if there were any high performance aircraft known to be in the area. However, the radio did not seem to be functioning on any frequency. The crew of the Huey were fully expecting to crash with the object, but instead it virtually stopped in mid air and hovered for a moment above the Huey, afterwards continuing to the west, turning to the north and speeding away after it passed Mansfield Airport (Ohio). 
Coyne later reported that the object slowed down from 600 miles per hour to 100 miles per hour (the speed of the Huey) and hover over it for a short length of time.
Co-pilot Jozzi described the object as cigar-shaped, metallic grey, with a dome on top.
Healy remarked:
"It as about 60 feet long, no portholes or intake openings could be seen. At first it was just showing a red light in the nose. Then a green spotlight at the back swept around and shone into our cabin. The helicopter's radio had gone dead as soon as Coyne had contacted Mansfield tower, and did not return to normal until ten minutes later, after the incident was over" 
Captain Coyne reported that, at the end of the incident, the altimeter showed that the Huey climbed at 100 feet per minute to 3500 feet although the controls were in the full down position. Coyne returned the helicopter to 2500 feet and proceeded to Cleveland, Ohio, where a formal report was made to the FAA Flight Service Station. 
The incident was witnessed by people on the ground - A woman and four children reported seeing the helicopter with an object shaped like a blimp and as big as a school bus hovering over it. They also noted that the object's green spotlight illuminated a significant area of the ground for a short time. Other ground witnesses also verified the events, including the brilliant green light from the UFO. 

The Kaikoura Incident.

On 21st December 1978, the crew of an Argosy cargo plane flying from Blenheim (South Island, New Zealand) to Dunedin made radar-visual contacts with UFOs - see The Controversial New Zealand Film on this site.

Gordon Cooper (Colonel)

Now retired, before becoming an astronaut Gordon Cooper [ right ] was a test pilot. Whilst in this capacity at Edwards Air Force Base, he sighted a saucer-shaped UFO actually land near a camera crew filming the installation of precision landing equipment. The UFO was captured on film which Cooper personally sent to Washington - he never heard about or saw the film again. 
Gordon Cooper describes the sighting and filming of a UFO.[ audio]



RAF officer breaks 37-year silence on UFO radar mystery

The following article was published in The Scotsman on 14th September 2008:

RAF officer breaks 37-year silence on UFO radar mystery

By Marc Horne

IT IS a close encounter of the official kind. A former RAF officer has claimed that UFOs are real and may have invaded UK airspace, branding official resistance to such theories as "stupid and arrogant".

Wing Commander Alan Turner MBE was sworn to secrecy after he tracked a series of unidentified objects soaring over southern England at incredible speeds.

But now the airman, who was honoured by the Queen for his years of distinguished service, has broken his silence and spoken publicly for the first time about his extraordinary experience. Turner, 64, a former head of air traffic control at RAF Lossiemouth, insists it is "stupid and arrogant" to rule out the existence of extra-terrestrials and is open to the suggestion that he witnessed craft from another world. But the Ministry of Defence stressed last night there were "realistic explanations" for such reports.

The incident, which has baffled and haunted Turner for decades, took place at RAF Sopley on the south-west coast of England in the summer of 1971.

At the time he was Duty Military Supervisor and had the responsibility of monitoring the skies on radar screens for potential Soviet incursions.

On the day in question, Turner and his 13 colleagues were alarmed by a sudden and unexpected development. He said: "I can clearly remember people shouting: 'What the hell is that?' I got to a console and people were loudly telling me to look to the east of Salisbury Plain. "Twenty miles east of the eastern extremity was a series of returns, or radar blips, which were appearing in that position.

There were five of them initially. Then six and then seven all following the same track. "They were tracking south-east, each exactly six to seven miles apart and moving at exactly the same speed. At about 40 miles from the point they appeared on radar, they disappeared, to be followed almost immediately by a replacement at the point of origin.

"The objects were about 3,000ft above ground level when they first appeared and climbed so rapidly that, by the time they

disappeared from radar they were in excess of 60,000ft. "To climb to such a height in only 40 miles was beyond the ability of almost any fighter aircraft at that time."

In a bid to solve the mystery Turner diverted an RAF Canberra jet, which was returning from West Germany, to intercept the intruders. "When the pilot got within a mile or so of one particular blip, he reported, in a very agitated voice, that his radar had picked up something on his port side that was 'climbing like the clappers'. Neither the pilot nor his navigator made any visual contact with whatever it was."

Within days, Turner was summoned into the Squadron Leader's office and questioned by two men, who wore civilian clothes and were not identified, about the incident.  "I, along with all the others who were in the room on that day, were told in no uncertain terms not to relate what we had seen until cleared to do so."

Turner, who was awarded the MBE in 1984 and retired from the force in 1995, has been assured that there were no training operations, classified or otherwise, going on at the time and there were no weather balloons or probes in the area.

"I have no idea what they were, but I certainly wouldn't rule out the possibility that they were UFOs. There is certainly a chance that we have been visited by extra-terrestrials," he said. "It is terribly arrogant and silly to think that we are alone in the universe."

He feels the time is right to end his silence and has accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at an international UFO conference in Pontefract, Yorkshire, next month.

"I have spoken to three ex-Air Force mates, who held senior positions, and they have seen similar things, but did not report them as they felt their personal integrity would be questioned. That is why I kept quiet for so long, but I know what I saw."