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No. 96: Nov-Dec 1994

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Close Encounters With Unknown Missiles

In addition to all those alien-controlled UFOs in terrestrial airspace, human pilots sometimes encounter bizarre missiles or objects of enigmatic origin. C. Svahn and A. Liljegren have collected several intriguing cases. Here follows the so-called "Britannia Encounter":

"A few weeks later, on July 15 [1991], another Britannia Airways Boeing 737 on a holiday flight from Crete to Gatwick (London) had a similar encounter, this one at 5:45 p.m. Descending 15,000 feet, the copilot caught sight of a "small black lozenge-shaped object" some 500 meters ahead and above. The object was on a collision course, and within two seconds it passed the aircraft's wing at a distance of only 100 meters at less than 10 meters above the wing. The crew felt no impact or wake, and the passengers were not alerted. The pilot assessed the risk of collision as high.

When reported to London Air Traffic Control Center, the missile was picked up on radar moving away from the aircraft. It was moving at 100 mph in a southeasterly direction and was no known traffic since it had no transponder to identify it. Another aircraft was warned since the unknown target appeared to turn and head toward it, but the other aircraft saw nothing. The radar target, however, may have been a helicopter at a lower altitude.

"The sighted object was small, some 1.5 feet in diameter, smooth and round. A balloon, meteorological or toy, was suspected, but this does not conform with the radar reports of an object moving at 100 mph -- if that was the unknown object. The official report still regarded the unknown object as "untraced."

(Svahn, Clas, and Liljegren, Anders; "Close Encounters with Unknown Missiles," International UFO Reporter, 19: 11, July/August 1994.

From Science Frontiers #96, NOV-DEC 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987