Extraordinary claims. Ordinary investigations.

“UFO” fleet menaces east London? Nah

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bethnalflypastA FLEET of UFOs in formation has been photographed — on Google. The nine silver spheres hover above a row of shops, including a Coral bookies, on the internet giant’s new Street View service. … Yesterday baffled ufologist Nick Pope said he was “very excited” by the image, which he labelled “truly fascinating”. He added: “It appears to show nine objects flying in near perfect formation. About the only thing I know that can do this is the Red Arrows — and it’s not them.” Mr Pope, who used to investigate sightings for the Ministry of Defence, said: “I’ve run through the list of possibilities that normally explain these things, but I can’t find an answer.” 
Obvious source: The Sun, Google unearthly.

Well, Nick Pope should probably try harder. User “Lord feldon” at the Snopes message board seems to have found the answer:

“I’m going with the military formation idea. A line directly from Buckingham Palace down the Mall projected out to the East goes to the Northwest of the area in question, which is the way the picture was looking. I can’t find anything giving a date, but it looks like it could be June. In 2008, a formation of Tornado GR4 fighters in that shape was in the flypast. (3:19) There were no Red Arrows in the flypast last year, which would explain why no records of them being in the area could be found. (Assuming the "ufologist" even tried to research it.)
Edit: One bus in the area has an ad for Hancock starring Will Smith, premiering on July 2nd. It premiered in 2008, so I’m more certain this was taken on June 14th, 2008, during the flypast after Trooping the Colour.
Edit2: There’s also a bus advertising a Harrod’s sale from June to July 2008.”

A very nice piece of “ordinary” investigation. Indeed you can find more images of the RAF Trooping of the Colour 2008 here, as well as a video below.

And if you look again at the Google Street View above (that’s an embedded viewer, you can look around and zoom in), many people in the street are looking at the sky. They are probably watching the very nice display. From the earthly Royal Air Force. [via Google Discovery]

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UPDATE: As Lafayette has pointed in the comments below, he took a shot of the formation in Queen Victoria Street, London (click for the original):


Joe McGonagle also suggested another video of the Trooping of the Colour which shows the formation of nine aircraft. Click to watch (it’s halfway on):


I think the case could hardly be any more closed. [Thanks Lafayette, Joe!]

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Posted in Skepticism,UFOs | 7 comments

7 Comments so far

  1. Brett April 4th, 2009 1:49 am

    In fact, in the street view you can even see one man on the corner opposite holding up his camera phone to take a picture. Odd how his UFO snap never made the Sun …

  2. Les liens du dimanche #18 | ufofu April 5th, 2009 5:44 am

    […] Nick Pope manque de sérieux sur ce coup là, les OVNIs vus sur Google Street View ne sont surement que des avions en formation. […]

  3. Lafayette April 6th, 2009 11:45 am

    Tried posting this before, but I think it failed.

    Here’s a shot I took on the day in question, while ironically enough at the anti-CoS demo on Queen Victoria Street, London.

  4. tom April 9th, 2009 7:25 pm

    It’s Nick Pope’s sort of credulous gabbling that turned me from someone with a genuine interest and some belief in this sort of thing to a skeptic. Look at website showing the ‘best’ ufo photos, they are generally insubstantial, too blurry to show anything good, birds, bugs, lack of familiarity with how cameras work, or hoaxes.

    “It looks like a flight of planes but I couldn’t find them in a quick search” does NOT mean “LOOK, ALIEN SPACECRAFT”.

  5. Eric Downing May 8th, 2009 7:10 pm

    A close friend of mine told me that was sitting in the backyard and he heard this massive plane fly over, but he said he was startled by it as the noise was just roared out of nowhere, baffled by what he saw he kept looking at the sky after it happened, because there’s no way a plane that size could have just materialised without a gradual increase in engine noise as it got closer and closer from a distance. To his astonishment there was another one but higher up that was just there. When he told me this I thought ‘oh no good friend of mine is losing it’ and he continued saying that before this happened he had noticed a strange sounding aeroplane that he thought was flying over his house every 5 minutes with a very high pitched engine noise. I did admit that I had heard the plane myself but planes appearing out of thin air-come on.

    He also told me that on a sunny day this plane noise is every 2-5 minutes, on a moderate day its every 5 minutes and on a cloudy day much less frequent like the clouds were preventing the sound like the way an obstacle would block a torch beam shining at a wall.

    Now I had noticed this plane with a high-pitched engine sound and when I noticed the frequency of this sound as its so irritating I decided to really take a close look at this plane myself.

    It was a beautiful day, around a week ago in April, the sky was blue and there were clouds but decent sized spaces between them exposing the blue sky above all ruined by the high-pitched sound of this plane. When someone tells you something like he told me, you think naw, but you look anyway like when someone tells you something tastes bad and they say ‘try it’ and you do and it tastes bad, its like natural curiosity so I looked at the sky and waited for it to make another pass. To my absolute shock and amazement I saw it but it was just there in the sky, it didn’t come from anywhere, it was just there like someone put it there …this is the only way I can describe it. Then I saw something even more bizarre after a few minutes, another one appeared around the same location but it was different in colour although both were similar in having one engine beneath both wings. They flew over our Road and Sandhurst Road heading in an Easterly direction then it turned over I think Fordel Road or Arngask Road and headed westerly towards London.

    I sat down for along time trying to rationalise what I saw with my own eyes and asked family if they heard the noise and everyone agrees with the noise but I’m very reluctant to say what I saw.

    Someone once told me that the way someone makes you feel is a good indication of that persons feelings towards you, therefore the person\s behind this technology which it has to be are negative as the sound and frequency is highly negative. I’m a firm believer that if something has a design, there has to be a designer, all things have a design therefore the designer is immensely powerful, I don’t want to be in their shoes when the designer asks them why they used the materials he designed for evil because they are evil, whoever they are-exceedingly uncaring. This is noise weapon technology

    All you need is some time-lapse equipment and you got em because this stuff is happening here in Catford. I would do it right now but I haven’t got the money.

    ‘If all this is true then why didn’t he include his name, address or email address-this guys hiding something’ you might think and my answer to that is…these people are clever in that they want to offload as much negativity towards people as possible without getting into trouble for it, so you need to be clever lest they turn round and mark one as mentally ill. They’re very clever but they haven’t got long left, that I do know.

  6. […] Nick Pope has already termed it “a genuine mystery”, as in previous cases the explanation here may be very mundane. Not a bird, not a plane but…Let’s take a look first […]

  7. […] similar questions were raised at forgetomori  (in 2009) ” UFO fleet menaceseast London?nah ” among other […]

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