Bentwaters - Lakenheath incident
|Date:||August 13, 1956|
|Appearance:||Bright lights and radar returns|
|Summary:||Sighting over 5 hours. Radar and visual.|
On the night of August 13-14, 1956, radar operators at the military bases Bentwaters and Lakenheath in the east of England repeatedly tracked objects which displayed high speed, as well as rapid changes of speed and direction. Two jet interceptors were sent up, and were able to see and track them. According to official U.S. Air Force reports, the sightings could not be explained by radar malfunction or by unusual weather. The observations extended over five hours.
Intelligently operated UFO's are visiting sites housing nuclear weaponry, just as in the 1980 Rendlesham Forest incident.
This reveals a connection between nuclear activity and UFO sightings. At 21:30, Airman 2nd Class John Vaccare of the U.S. Air Force at RAF Bentwaters, tracked a UFO on his Ground Controlled Approach radar as it flew 40-50 miles (65 to 80 km) in 30 seconds, i.e. 4800 to 6000 mph (7500 to 9500 km/h). A few minutes later Vaccare reported that a group of 12 to 15 unidentified targets was tracked from 8 miles southwest of Bentwaters to 40 miles northeast.
At 22:00, an unidentified target was tracked from Bentwaters as it covered 55 miles (90 km) in just 16 seconds. This works out to over 12000 mph (19000 km/h). Someone in the Bentwaters control tower reported seeing a bright light passing over the field from east to west at about 4000 feet. At about the same time, the pilot of a C-47 twin-engine military transport plane over Bentwaters said: "A bright light streaked under my aircraft travelling east to west at terrific speed."
Soon after, radars at Bentwaters and RAF Lakenheath reported a stationary object that suddenly made several abrupt changes of direction without appearing to slow for its turns.
Ground personnel at Lakenheath made visual sightings of several luminous objects, including two which arrived and made a sharp change in course. The angular size of these objects was compared to that of a golf ball at arms length.
Around 23:30, two De Havilland Venom interceptors were scrambled. According to the U.S. Air Force UFO report:
"Pilot advised he had a bright white light in sight and would investigate. At 13 miles west he reported loss of target and white light. Lakenheath (radar) vectored him to a target 10 miles east of Lakenheath and pilot advised that target was on his radar and was 'locking on.' Pilot then reported he had lost target on his radar."
"Lakenheath GCA reports that as the Venom passed the target on radar, the target began a tail chase of the friendly fighter. Radar requested pilot acknowledge this chase. Pilot acknowledged and stated he would try to circle and get behind the target. Pilot advised he was unable to 'shake' the target off his tail and requested assistance."
The Condon Committee included the case in its analysis. Aside from the Blue Book file, it was able to obtain a teleprinter message, from the 3910th Air Base Group to Air Defence Command. The message describes the events, including the 'chase' episode. Conclusions of he Committee:
"Visual mirage at Bentwaters seems to be out of the question because of the combined ground and airborne observations; the C47 pilot apparently saw the UFO below him. The visual objects do not seem to have been meteors; statements by the observers that meteors were numerous imply that they were able to differentiate the UFO from the meteors.
This is the most puzzling and unusual case in the radar-visual files. The apparently rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin as the most probable explanation of this sighting."