posted on Jul, 2 2011 @ 08:06 PM
One has to congratulate the MOD on managing to screw this case up almost to the point of making it useless to try and wade through the data.
I'd like to dispel some myths to begin with and then work from there.
It wasn't reported until the 1980s as a UFO incident
Rubbish..it was the talk of RAF mess's almost from the moment it happened and the talk was. Schaffner had been scrambled to intercept a UFO over the
North Sea and had vanished along with the plane he was flying.
The scuttlebutt soon moved onto that he had forced ditched in the North Sea after contact with a UFO and both he and his plane were still missing
After two months XS894 is found sitting on the floor of the North Sea canopy closed. Some talk says Schaffner is stills trapped in his seat but
*gone* when the wreck is raised others say Schaffner is nowhere to be seen.
At this point no-one in the RAF mess's are talking about any training mission as they know damn well there wasn't one and that this was a scramble
and intercept. What is more it was considered so urgent Schaffner took off after ignoring standard procedures. XS894 had been vectored to take off
powered up then powered down and it was usual for the Lightning to be thoroughly checked out and refuelled before another full power up. He certainly
wouldn't have been allowed to take off , in the condition the plane was in, for a routine training mission, let alone one that was designed to test a
pilot with 6000 hours+ on mach breaking jets to the limit.
The rumours of something not being quite right about the whole incident are fanned when air crash investigators find they are denied the usual time
and the air-frame is delivered to a non standard airfield for investigation. There are tales of missing instruments and Americans in civilian clothes
surrounding XS894 and denying the proper authorities the right to carry out a thorough investigation.
Now, for a moment consider this. The RAF is not your most, shall we say, revolutionary organisation. it's a wing of the British and NATO armed
forces. Yes, rumours abound no-one would deny that. However, rumours which verge on insubordination and rumours that could be considered as
propaganda, should they leak to the wrong people, are severely frowned upon and would be nipped in the bud. in this case the opposite is the case. At
every turn the talk inside the RAF is of something very strange and getting stranger by the week.
Newspapers at the time had picked up on the crash, which is itself interesting as. from memory the RAF lost 2 other Lightnings in 1970, including one
in the sea off the coast of Britain a couple of moinths prior to XS894's demise and yet nothing was ever thought to be untoward about those incidents
outside of the known issues with the Lightning. The MOD simply says nothing, standard procedure for the time and just plays it down as an unfortunate
However, at least one person and i believe now a total of 3 have come forward to say quite categorically that. They saw a stationary light over the
North Sea and either 1 or 2 Lightning aircraft seemingly going after it. I think one was a couple out walking their dog the other a lone witness the
one referred to in the newspaper clipping earlier in this thread.
Well my aircraft knowledge might not be up to Jane's standards however, as slow as the dear old Shackleton was, being a direct descendant of the
Lancaster and Manchester series of bombers, they can't hover . Ergo the eye witness accounts are completely at odds with the 2003 press release and
The rumour mill in the RAF, rather than being quietened over time actually becomes even more feverish when it is whispered that a British Air frame
XS894 has been shipped back to the USA by the Americans for unknown purposes where, to this day it still sits in some warehouse.
By this point, the RAF is leaking like a sieve and Ufologists are being told , pretty much, the story that came out later, with b very little
differences in details. That is interesting in itself as typically, rumours with no foundation become Chinese whispers where a ends up becoming z and
the initial story is lost altogether. Here, after 3-4 years the basic story and details therein, told by various RAF people, are the same whoever
hears the tale.
In the ensuing years some pretty much "heavyweights* in both the UFO field and the Aerospace journalistic field, become involved in trying to t piece
together what is fact and what is fiction about the crash. The MOD are asked, n several occasions to divvy up the crash report to put this one to bed
and are simply not forthcoming. In fact, at one point, the supposed documents have a 30 year extension added to them, denying them to the public until
well into the 21st century.
The truth is, the waters become ever more murky when an aerospace journalist with pretty high security clearance is told by his contacts. The crash
report has been deliberately shredded, you will never see it and the air frame itself has been buried in a warehouse in the USA. Believe me, these
sort of journalists don't get where they are by following UFO stories, as that would be seen as *unsafe hands*. If the guy is to be believed, then
something damned weird went on with XS894 and it wasn't some training exercise foul up.
By the early 90s the clamour to have this explained properly has reached point where Nick Pope becomes first involved, some 23 years after the
incident and probably, completely unaware of it as he didn't have an interest in UFOs til he joined that particular part of the ministry.
Neither is Pope aware that the source of the story and its' main proponent is not some Ufologist, rather and ex RAF Military Policeman who knows the
RAF inside out and was responsible for the security of nuclear weapons sites. Pope and his merry crew are shown a report by the MOD which satisfies
him it was an accident during a training exercise although, if memory serves me rightly it is at this point another 30 years is added to the length it
is to be kept secret.
Unfortunately for the MOD, it is around this point that the so called hoax tape appears. Under normal circumstances it wouldn't really be problem as,
the UFO field is relatively small and the press, and TV, by and large avoid the subject aside from its' chuckle value. Only, these are the days of
the nascent world wide web and the tape, finds millions of listeners world wide web, not just a few and the questions keep coming.
The presence of the tape changes the game in that. This is not just verbal sparring between the Ufologists and the MOD but a supposed, *factual* piece
of evidence that seems to show the MOD was actually lying through their teeth about XS894's fate. Quite obviously something has to be done so in 2003
the MOD relents and proffers up it's explanation for the events of that night in 1970 and new tape that is the "real tape" of Schaffner talking to
ground control. They announce the tape doing the rounds world wide is fake and that seems to be that, case solved. I freely admit here, I at the time
said, fair dos, this does seem to be the truth and I left my work on the crash and put the script for a documentary about it on the back burner.
Only it isn't quite that simple. See, what the newspapers and the likes of Nick Pope and David Clarke neglect to mention is the following. The RAF
press officer doesn't just say the tape is a hoax they qualify it by admitting a hoax perpetrated by RAF personnel from within the RAF. I am told
although I cannot confirm this that, the reason for this addition to the press release was because the original tape leaked wasn't on cassette tape
but on a reel to reel tape and was clearly marked and found to check out as genuine RAF tape of the period in question. Of course, no-one has seen
the actual supposed real tape, and i wouldn't hold out for ever doing so. I strongly suspect the answer will be. "oh it was digitised and the
original tape destroyed as we don't have the storage space" . All of which is damnably convenient for the RAF.
Now call me picky however, if i had personnel who were faking such important tapes using RAF material and then distributing through RAF channels to
the public. I'd be a tad miffed and I'd be after someone's butt for this. Only they weren't and haven't, even though they must know there can
only be say, 100 or so maximum, people who could have made this fake. The if one can fake a tape so well, who can honestly say the tape the RAF
finally released is the real one and not a fake cobbled together to support the cover story?
So who do you believe.? An ex RAF military Policeman who knows the story directly from people he served with and knows about the operational
procedures of the RAF and how they were broken that night. An aerospace journalist who, has decades of experience who says , the original report was
shredded and was never ever going to be released to the public. The independent eye witnesses whose testimony backs up the UFO story not the training
exercise? The one of two service personnel who spoke off record confirming the UFO story, 2 of which i spoke to when working on my script myself.
Do you believe the MOD and Nick Pope, who was 5 years old when it happened and some RAF press officer who was probably about 5 himself in 1970 and
hasn't the first clue about what really went on?
In other words, the only people to say it wasn't something strange are those who weren't there or were way too young to be in the RAF at the time.