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Britain's Forgotten Triangle UFO Flap of March 1997

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posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 07:25 AM

Twenty-five years long years ago a series of ‘flying triangular UFOs’ were seen over Great Britain. The incidents occurred in March of 1997 and coincided with certain events across the Atlantic.

The first incident involves reports of a triangle shaped UFO hovering above the then Home Secretary, Michael Howard’s house in Kent. A more substantial incident involves another ‘black triangle’ and reports of an aircraft crashing into moorlands in the English Peak District. Sonic booms were recorded in the area and a massive search and rescue operation launched afterwards. Details of these incidents were all recorded in the UFO files released by the UK MoD [Ministry of Defence] in 2010.

Triangle UFO above the UK Home Secretary’s House

Michael Howard was described by a colleague as having “something of the night about him”.

Howard was British Home Secretary on March 8th, 1997, when a large triangular UFO was seen hovering above his home near Folkestone Kent between 2:00 – 3:30. Eyewitnesses reported a "humming" object around the size of two passenger planes close to his house in Kent.

Ji Lane, 23 and Christopher Lee, 27, were two witnesses to the incident.

Mr Lane said: ''It was crazy - I was getting a drink in the kitchen when I saw these strange lights in the sky just over the field across the road from our house.''

Mr Lee added: ''It was a lot longer than a plane and moved incredibly quickly - I have no idea what it was and we were both left speechless.''

One report printed in a local paper from Sophie Wadleigh claimed: ''It was a large triangular shaped craft with bright lights running all around its edge..."

In May 1997 a question was even asked in the European Parliament about the case. But the European Commissioner, Neil Kinnock, was unable to provide an answer.

A Sniff of a Cover Up?

A neighbour of Howard, however, did report activity that they assumed were police and a search helicopter with its search beam pointing skywards (not at the ground) in the vicinity of the Home Secretary’s residence.
A group called “UFO Monitoring East Kent” (UFOMEK) was also investigating the case independently and wrote to various authorities including the Ministry of Defence concerning the case.

There was a strange twist in August of 1997 when UFOMEK claimed it was sent a bogus looking letter from an alleged RAF Wing Commander issuing a ‘conditional warning’. Telling them to back off as they had seen “Rapid Response military aircraft”.

The letter was reported to the MoD who advised it should be treated like any other unsolicited mail.

The RAF undertook investigations into the sighting. But the findings revealed nothing unusual, concluding that there was no threat to Mr. Howard. The report commented that inquiries had confirmed no unusual or unauthorized air activity, civil or military, was reported or observed in the area on that date in question.

In the late summer of 1997 elements of the UK media began to pick up on the story. Later pieces followed in The Daily Telegraph ,The Guardian and The Independent when the MoD released a batch of its UFO files to the National Archives.

Yet despite the excitement surrounding a senior politician involved in a UFO incident, the story just faded away again to nothing.

Author, Timothy Good believes that a security clampdown followed the incident and everything was hushed up. He did ask for a comment from Mr. Howard who stated;

“I was and remain completely unaware of any such incident”.

The various documents are available archived within the UK MOD UFO Files for posterity.

More Triangle UFO Sightings

On March 13th 1997, thousands of miles across the Atlantic Ocean, the infamous Phoenix Lights UFO incident occurred.

Meanwhile, back in the UK, MoD records also contain a sighting in Kingstanding, Birmingham, at 4am on March 18 1997. The witness reported seeing a 200ft triangle hover over his back garden. It left a 'silky white substance' on the garden trees, which he collected in a jam jar. Without saying what became of it!

Another major triangular UFO incident occurred 6 days later.

>>>continues below>>>

edit on 8/3/2022 by mirageman because: ...

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 07:26 AM

The Howden Moor, Sheffield UFO Incident

Monday March 24th 1997, was still early spring in England. was a cold, crisp night with clear skies. Not long after dark, around the Howden Moor area of the Peak District, a series of peculiar events were about to unfold.
The Hale Bopp comet was clearly visible in the skies when people in the nearby Derbyshire and Yorkshire area reported hearing sonic booms, seeing bright flashes in the sky, low flying aircraft and lights throughout the night. There were some reports of a black, triangular UFO seen in the skies that night. It was later speculated that it was pursued by RAF Tornado jet fighters as part of an intercept mission to add to the mystery.

Reports of strange aircraft flying past and burning fireballs seen out on the moors were made to local police. A major operation with over 40 police officers and 140 search & rescue volunteers taking part was launched. It lasted long into the night, eventually being called off in the early afternoon the following day.

No military or civilian aircraft were reported missing and there were no casualties despite the noise and sightings the previous evening. The RAF denied any aircraft were flying at supersonic speed to cause a sonic boom in the area and that all their aircraft were accounted for.

Two sonic booms were recorded at 21:52 and 22:06 in the UK that night. With no meteorites recorded entering the atmosphere in the region the only other known explanation was supersonic aircraft. The RAF eventually admitted to exercises in the area but pointed out that all aircraft were back at base by 9:30pm.

The matter was addressed in Parliament on 24th March 1998 by the MP for Hillsborough Sheffield, Helen Jackson.

Low Flying Training

Helen Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what complaints were received by the RAF concerning low-flying aircraft relating to 24 March 1997;
(2) if RAF/NATO military aircraft were engaged on an exercise over Northern England between 9.30 and 10.30 pm on 24 March 1997;
(3) for what reasons the RAF imposed an air exclusion zone around Howden reservoir on the morning of 25 March 1997;
(4) what reported sightings of UFOs were received from the (a) public and (b) police from the South Yorkshire/ Derbyshire area on 24 and 25 March 1997.

Mr. Spellar: A number of military aircraft were booked to carry out low flying training in northern England on the evening of 24 March 1997. The Ministry of Defence received 13 complaints about aircraft activity for that date from locations across the UK. No reported sightings of "UFOs" on 24 or 25 March 1997 were received by my Department. A Temporary Danger Area was established on 25 March, centred on Howden Reservoir, to allow an RAF Search and Rescue helicopter,

One individual, Max Burns asserted that the RAF was intercepting a black triangular UFO and lost a Tornado fighter in the chase. He thinks that the aircraft crashed in the Peak District, the co-pilot ejected,. and British military ordered a cover up of the whole incident. Beyond that Burns also claimed to have had a battle for credibility against set ups and attacks , leading to his imprisonment for drugs offences.

Many details of the case remain unresolved to this day.

The source of the sonic booms remains an unknown. With, the most likely cause being supersonic aircraft. At first the RAF and MoD denied any involvement in the incident. Then as the pressure grew, they changed their story, but would still not admit to having any aircraft in the air at the times the explosions were reported. Suspicion lies with a military cover-up of some sort.The mystery of what triggered the reports remains. Was it a meteor, an illegal drug operation, a secret military operation, a ghost plane, or a spacecraft of extraterrestrial origin?

Tragically, two days later with The Hale-Bopp comet at its closest point Earth, 39 members of the Heaven’s Gate Cult were found dead in a mass suicide. With some of the blame pointed at a 'deluded' guest on late night radio saying it was being followed by a huge alien spaceship.

Source : NYT Magazine

On the 28th March 1997 a triangular UFO was reported over Greater Manchester, UK. Described as “Dark black and a triangular shape. Small red light on the nose. Two white lights on the edges that were flashing.”

The following day on March 29th a further triangular UFO was seen, again in North West England, off the coastal town of Southport, Merseyside.


These mysterious triangle UFO sightings have been prevalent since the 80s and not limited to the USA and UK. This mini flap in early spring 1997 has never really been explained. The details of most reports are sadly sparse, and lacking any real useful data. Certainly nothing to draw any conclusions from at all. They may all therefore be unrelated.

The sightings over the Home Secretary's house were witnessed by only a handful of people. Was there a security incident that followed? Was it all covered up with denials? It's hard to say. There aren't actually many witnesses.

The mystery of what caused the sightings, sonic booms and a huge search and rescue operation in the Peak District remains as the most significant event in March 1997. If the UK Ministry of Defence really has no idea what caused them, then British airspace was compromised. So is there something being covered up?

A quarter of a century later, we are no closer to knowing.

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 08:27 AM
a reply to: mirageman
Yeah, I remember 1997 real well with the Phoenix Lights incident and was wondering if this object was seen anywhere else around the globe. I also remember seeing the Hale-Bopp comet. Then there was the Heavens Gate cult suicide incident. I was 24 at the time and thought what a strange time to be living in. You answered my question about the sightings on the other side of the globe. Star and flag for you.

Forgot to add: I still don't know why they cover these incidents up so much when allot people see objects they can't explain. I've seen triangular craft flying over lake Michigan maybe 15 or so years ago. It was flying very fast moving north to south. I can't remember if i reported it or not, but I've seen allot of strange things flying around in this area. I live around one of the points of the "Lake Michigan Triangle" in Manitowoc County in Wisconsin. This whole area is weird.
edit on 0842312022-03-08T08:42:40-06:00082America/ChicagoAmerica/Chicago08 by ditchweed because: cover ups and weird area

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 09:04 AM
a reply to: mirageman

So this Michael Howard observed this thing for 30 minutes.. without taken a single photograph.

And please do not give me the "I was paralyzed by fear and awe and I could not take my eyes of it"

You mofo is seeing perhaps the most important thing in modern science a extremely rare event that is prevised as fiction by most, and you did not think taken a picture would be a good idea ?? wtf

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 11:35 AM
a reply to: Spacespider

So this Michael Howard observed this thing for 30 minutes.. without taken a single photograph. And please do not give me the "I was paralyzed by fear and awe and I could not take my eyes of it"

I am puzzled as to why you even think Michael Howard saw a UFO????

It was supposedly over his home. But it's clearly stated in the thread that his only comment was to say. “I was and remain completely unaware of any such incident”.

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 12:05 PM
a reply to: mirageman

To be fair, we need to ascertain there was really a flap, and not just sightings of the same vehicle at different locations. However, for what we know, UK makes a good place to observe triangular aircrafts (actually, a triangular aircraft) which by no means are meant to be non-terrestrial.

I still remember the crash of the then-called Aurora at British experimental airbase at Boscombe Down, in Hampshire, in 1994. It seems three years later the aircraft was performing nominally enough to fly around UK from its home base there in Hampshire.

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 12:44 PM

originally posted by: mirageman

Eyewitnesses reported a "humming" object around the size of two passenger planes close to his house in Kent.

Excellent and entertaining thread. Thanks for sharing, MM.

Despite the lack of definitive answers and evidence, as usual in many cases, I always find it quite interesting when witnesses report specific patterns associated with UFOs, such as humming or hissing sounds, pendulum motion, color change etc.

(For reference, some of the patterns frequently reported in ufology can be found in this thread).

Again, thanks for another great post!

edit on 8-3-2022 by jeep3r because: text

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 01:54 PM
a reply to: Direne

The sightings may have been the same object or maybe not. There were rumours for a long time that a secret aircraft was being tested and flown by the US and possibly its close allies.

The above UK Restricted minute ‘Wrap Up of UAP Material’ dated 22 March 2000 clearly refers to photographs in a 'secret' UK MoD file of said aircraft.

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 02:34 PM
a reply to: mirageman

Thanks for another great thread about 'ole Blighty's UFO experiences towards the end of the 20th century. The late-70s and early-80s were a rather unique UFO 'flap' for us, featuring my favourite cases of all time, but the bizarre 1997 triangle flap is also fascinating, with the bonus of the Phoenix case occurring simultaneously - I assume it was coincidental!

Regarding the sighting near Michael Howard's house, tucked away in the newspaper article is the notion that both he and his colleagues were already aware of the object when first asked about it, despite the paucity of details in the original report about the object's exact location. Therefore, maybe a secret military aircraft really was the culprit, especially considering how quickly and simply the authorities dismissed it.

edit on 8-3-2022 by ConfusedBrit because: (no reason given)

posted on Mar, 8 2022 @ 03:04 PM
Can remember reading about the triangle hovering over Michael Howards house and the Sheffield ufo and object that supposed to crash on the Moors, definitely something was covered up there.
There was also a triangle flap in 98, some strange sightings in the north west and Yorkshire coast.

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 03:59 AM
a reply to: ConfusedBrit

I don't think we have enough information to say that the Phoenix Lights were in any way linked to what was going on across the pond over Britain. If it was military tech then there's a possibility because both country's work closely together in R&D.

As we know the CIA even admitted they've used UFO stories as a cover for such things.

In Britain a firm official denial from the Ministry of Defence, followed by "UFOs are of no defence significance" statement is usually enough to shut everyone up.

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 06:40 AM
Hey mirageman. This is a solid and enjoyable thread. I know this sounds lazy but do you know of any videos pertaining to this flap you can point me to? Would love to watch a documentary on this setif cases.

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 07:37 AM
a reply to: BASSPLYR

I don't know if anyone ever pieced these snippets together before from March 1997. Even though they are contained in the UK's UFO files.

The UFO over the Peak District and Sheffield (which is a large city) made the local news at the time.There's no doubt that an air exclusion zone was placed around Howden reservoir in the Peak District on the 25th March 1997 whilst a costly search and rescue exercise was undertaken.

There's no pictures or video from witnesses to my knowledge. 1998 was before the age of the smartphone and not many people carried video cameras after dark in the Spring.

But there is a much more conspiratorial version of events covered in this video, involving a supposed ejected Tornado pilot and meddling by various characters in a cover up. It's years since I watched it.

edit on 9/3/2022 by mirageman because: ...

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 08:04 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Yet that one is genuine. A Tornado Panavia crashed, indeed. There was a coverup, but for very good reasons. See, KSA (the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia) was about to sign a big contract to acquire Tornado's, and it was deemed necessary to avoid anyone from advertising the accident, which was due to a pernitious malfunction in the OBC of the Tornado, which led to a series of ECPs (Engineering Change Proposals) to solve the problem, somehing that cannot be done from day to night.

So yes, there was a Tornado crashing, and yes, there was the usual coverup:

Incident: Doncaster (UK), 1997. Event: RAF performs performance flight tests of Panavia Tornado aircraft within the qualification scheme related to the sale of 30 units to Saudi Arabia Air Force. Result: One RAF Panavia Tornado aircraft in low-altitude flight performance test crashes in a quarry near Doncaster. Reason for Classification: New Panavia Tornado units suffer from an on-board electronics pathology which, if revealed, will refrain KSA from signing the defense procurement contract. Recommendation: Take necessary steps to silence incident. Instruct agents to disseminate among the public the idea that RAF units were scrambled in pursue of a UFO over Sheffield.

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 12:42 PM
a reply to: Direne

The Tornado Crash near Doncaster was in 1999 not 1997. There was a full investigation and it's public knowledge that it happened.

There were no recorded RAF Tornadoes crashes in 1997. One suffered an engine fire departing the Falkland Islands. But that managed to land at Ascension Island and was transported back to Britain from there.
edit on 9/3/2022 by mirageman because: ...

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 01:40 PM
a reply to: mirageman

mirageman, there is no Tornado crash reported for 1997 because that is basically what a coverup is all about. The one you report is obviously not a coverup. It was just another Tornado downed by malfunctions, as it was the case with the 1997 one. The reason, as I stated, was because UK didn't want to miss the procurement contract with KSA.

Otherwise we can apply that logic to conclude that there was no UFO crash because no UFO crash was reported.

(you can browse through the 1997 newspapers to find out how important the procurement to KSA was for UK at the time, and you can also find news about the final decision KSA made about it. Anyway, it is a classic for the military to cover up and silence accidents of military systems when there is a potential procurement contract to provide those systems to a potential buyer; I'd would dare to say that, together with missiles reentries and launchs, test flights of experimental aircrafts, and demised military satellites, covered up accidents of systems during a procurement bid amounts to 99% of UFO sightings; hoaxes, pranks, and swamp gas accounts for the remaining 1%.)

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 01:53 PM
a reply to: Direne

I did say 'no recorded' crashes of a Tornado.

But then how and why would you say there was a crash and that this was a cover-up?

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 02:36 PM
These reports and triangle ufos in general are not the usual misty lights in the sky. They are, as I like to say, brick and mortar ufos we can’t deny.

One book I have been reading about ufos actually on the subject of triangle ufos concludes:

From the book:
Triangular UFOs: An Estimate of the Situation

These are craft of unknown origin. We appear to be confronted with something other than human technology, therefore the implications are profound. The objects may be spatial, temporal, or dimensional in origin. From a military perspective, given the volume of testimony and technological confirmation in some cases, attention must be given to this subset of UFO reports, if not the subject in general. Unknown aircraft of superior design and operation moving at will through secured airspaces and in proximity to military bases (e.g., Scott AFB) should be considered of importance to national security until proven otherwise. The default position military officials should maintain regarding this subject is one of vigilance. We should be on guard despite the fact the data suggests these objects do not appear to be overtly hostile in intent. However, in not knowing what their ultimate goal(s) may be, it cannot be assumed their past benign behaviors will always be status quo. The possibility exists for a change in their modus operandi at any time based on variables we can only imagine. Such a potential threat should mandate that contingency plans are in place on the part of our military. Futile though this may seem, given the apparent technological gap between us and this outside intelligence, defense strategies should be established. In conjunction with this, plans to maximize public education and minimize public panic should be an integral part of this contingency plan. Preemptive efforts might be considered to gradually acclimate the public to the reality of UFOs and their existence to minimize the potential damage done to the collective psyche were such a phenomenon to suddenly and overtly present itself. Conversely, the public position towards the subject on the part of government and military leaders should be one of disinterest. This is to avoid the potential fear that could be generated by any form of public endorsement or validation of the phenomenon, until such a time when hard facts and additional insights into the phenomenon are established. The subject cannot be acknowledged publicly until military leaders have a full understanding of what they are dealing with, in addition to the related sociological ramifications. In the interim, the policy should be to control the perception of the phenomenon, since the phenomenon itself cannot be managed. Recommendations: • Coordinate a centralized collection system of worldwide

posted on Mar, 9 2022 @ 02:54 PM
a reply to: mirageman

Oh! Because I know.

As a non-believer I assume I have the right to say I know what I didn't see or I know what you saw. Just kidding. Anyway, my point is there was no flap of non-terrestrial flying triangles in UK. There were scattered sightings of the experimental Aurora test flights, and certainly there were crashes of Tornados and other military aircrafts, plus I guess some atmospheric phenomena here and there.

But again, that's just my opinion.

posted on Mar, 10 2022 @ 04:50 AM
a reply to: Direne

The denial of any knowledge about the cause of sonic booms by the UK MoD seems to suggest a cover-up of military hardware rather than Et wanting to catch a glimpse of the England's green and pleasant land. And as eagle eyed CB said earlier regarding the UFO reported over Michael Howard's home...

... tucked away in the newspaper article is the notion that both he and his colleagues were already aware of the object when first asked about it, despite the paucity of details in the original report about the object's exact location. Therefore, maybe a secret military aircraft really was the culprit, especially considering how quickly and simply the authorities dismissed it.

But as the search and rescue operation failed to find anything and UFO culture isn't as rabid in the UK as it is across the pond (with the Phoenix Lights) the trail ran cold long ago.

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