Black triangle (UFO)

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Drawing of the Phoenix Lights, an example of black triangle UFO sighting

Black triangles are a class of unidentified flying object (UFO) with certain common features which have reportedly been observed during the 20th and 21st centuries. Media reports of black triangles originally came from the United States and United Kingdom.[1]

Reports generally describe this class of UFOs as large, silent, black triangular objects hovering or slowly cruising at low altitudes over cities and highways. Sightings usually take place at night. These objects are often described as having pulsing colored lights that appear at each corner of the triangle.[2]

Black triangle UFOs have been claimed to be visible to radar. During the 1989-1990 Belgian UFO wave, two Belgian Air Force F-16s attempted to intercept an object detected by radar, but the pilots did not report seeing an object.

In 2000, a key conclusion of the Project Condign report was that no attempt should be made on the part of civilian or RAF Air Defence aircraft to outmaneuver these objects except to place them astern to mitigate the risk of collision.[3] This entire Belgian UFO wave, however, has been disputed by skeptics.[4][5]

UK Ministry of Defence Report Findings[edit]

UAP Formation of the Triangle Type[6]

Declassified research (subject to a Freedom of Information request) from the UK Ministry of Defence report Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) in the UK Air Defence Region,[7] code named Project Condign and released to the public in 2006, draws several conclusions as to the origin of "black triangle" UFO sightings. Their researchers conclude that "the majority, if not all, of the hitherto unexplained reports may well be due to atmospheric gaseous electrically charged buoyant plasmas" [8] which emit charged fields with the capability of inducing vivid hallucinations and psychological effects in witnesses and are "capable of being transported at enormous speeds under the influence and balance of electrical charges in the atmosphere." The researchers note that plasmas may be formed by more than one set of weather and electrically charged conditions, while "at least some" events are likely to be triggered by meteor re-entry in scenarios where meteors neither burn up completely nor impact, but rather break up in the atmosphere to form such a charged plasma. These plasma formations are also theorized to have the effect of refracting light between themselves, producing the appearance of a black polygonal shape with the lights at the corners caused by self-generated plasma coloration (similar to the Aurora Borealis).[2]

The report states: "Occasionally and perhaps exceptionally, it seems that a field with, as yet, undetermined characteristics, can exist between certain charged buoyant objects in loose formation, such that, depending on the viewing aspect, the intervening space between them forms an area (viewed as a shape, often triangular) from which the reflection of light does not occur. This is a key finding in the attribution of what have frequently been reported as black 'craft,' often triangular and even up to hundreds of feet in length." These plasma formations also have the effect through "magnetic, electric or electromagnetic (or even unknown field), appears to emanate from some of the buoyant charged masses. Local fields of this type have been medically proven to cause responses in the temporal lobes of the human brain. These result in the observer sustaining his or her own vivid, but mainly incorrect, description of what is experienced. This is suggested to be a key factor in influencing the more extreme reports found in the media and are clearly believed by the 'victims.'[9]

Recently un-redacted sections of the report state that Russian, former Soviet republic, and Chinese authorities have made a co-ordinated effort to understand the UAP topic and that Russian investigators have measured (or at least detected) 'fields' which are reported to have caused human effects when they are located close to the phenomena. According to the Ministry of Defence researchers, Russian scientists have connected their UAP work with plasmas and the wider potential use of plasmas and may have done "considerably more work (than is evident from open sources)" on military applications, for example using UAP-type radiated fields to affect humans, and the possibility of producing and launching plasmas as decoys.[10]

On March 30, 1993, multiple witnesses[example's importance?] across south-west and west England saw a large black triangle at low speeds. Analysis of the sightings by Nick Pope concluded that the object moved in a north-easterly course from Cornwall to Shropshire over a period of approximately 6 hours.

The sightings report clearly visible objects over densely populated areas and highways, mostly in the United States and Britain, but other parts of the world as well. A geographic distribution of U.S. sightings has been correlated by a currently inactive American-based investigative organization, the National Institute for Discovery Science, which led to a July 2002 report which suggested that the craft may belong to the U.S. Air Force;[11] however, a subsequent report in August 2004 by the same organization (NIDS) found that the rash of sightings did not conform to previous deployment of black project aircraft and that the objects' origins and agendas were unknown.[12]

Other sightings[edit]

1561 Nuremberg Celestial Phenomenon[edit]

The 1561 celestial phenomenon over Nuremberg was a mass sighting of unidentified flying objects or celestial phenomena over Nuremberg, Germany. A broadsheet news article by Hans Glaser on the event reports an aerial battle between various odd-shaped objects, including the appearance of “something like a black spear, very long and thick”. This may or may not be an early reference to the “black triangle” UFO.

Belgian sightings[edit]

The Belgian UFO wave began in November 1989. The events of 29 November were documented by over thirty different groups of witnesses, and three separate groups of police officers. All of the reports related a large object flying at low altitude. The craft was of a flat, triangular shape, with lights underneath. This giant craft did not make a sound as it slowly moved across the landscape of Belgium. There was free sharing of information as the Belgian populace tracked this craft as it moved from the town of Liege to the border of the Netherlands and Germany.[13]

In The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989–1992 – A Neglected Hypothesis, Renaud Leclet & co. discuss the fact that some sightings can be explained by helicopters. Most witnesses reported that the objects were silent. This report argues that the lack of noise could be due to the engine noise in the witnesses' automobiles, or strong natural wind blowing away from the witnesses.[4]

Phoenix Lights incident[edit]

One of the more famous appearances of these craft was during the event known as the "Phoenix Lights", where multiple unidentified objects, many of them black triangles, were spotted by the residents of Phoenix, Arizona and videotaped by both the local media and residents with camcorders across multiple evenings beginning on Thursday, March 13, 1997. Some lights drifted as low as 1000 feet and moved far too slowly for conventional aircraft and too silently for helicopters. Some of the lights appeared to group up in a giant "V" formation that lingered above the city for several minutes. Many residents reported one triangle to be over a mile wide that drifted slowly over their houses blocking out the stars of the night sky. Other reports indicated the craft were spotted flying away from Phoenix as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California.

An official report made by the Air Force about the incident concluded that the military had been testing flares launched from conventional aircraft during that time. Eyewitnesses confirmed military jets were scrambled from nearby Luke Air Force Base, but instead of launching flares, they were seen chasing after some of the objects.

The next few nights, in an attempt to recreate the incident, local pilots flew prop-planes over the city in a "V" formation, but the sounds of their engines were easily heard. The original lights made no sound. Flares were also deployed above Phoenix.

2000 – Southern Illinois incident[edit]

The "St. Clair Triangle", "UFO Over Illinois", "Southern Illinois UFO", or "Highland, Illinois UFO" sighting occurred on January 5, 2000 over the towns of Highland, Dupo, Lebanon, Shiloh, Summerfield, Millstadt, and O'Fallon, Illinois, beginning shortly after 4:00 am. Five on-duty police officers around these locales, along with various other eyewitnesses, sighted and reported a massive, silent, triangular craft operating at an unusual treetop level altitude and speeds. One of the police officers even managed to get a single, yet ambiguous polaroid photograph of the object.[14] The incident was examined in various television shows including the ABC special Seeing is Believing with Peter Jennings, an hour-long Discovery Channel special UFOs Over Illinois, an episode of the Syfy series Proof Positive and a half-hour-long independent documentary titled The Edge of Reality: Illinois UFO, January 5, 2000 by Darryl Barker Productions.

Sufjan Stevens sang about this incident in the song "Concerning the UFO Sighting Near Highland, Illinois" on his 2005 album Illinois.

2004–2006 – Tinley Park Lights[edit]

Three red lights hovered in a triangular formation were seen by several witnesses[example's importance?] in Tinley Park and Oak Forest, Illinois, on August 21, 2004, two months later on October 31, 2004, again on October 1, 2005, and once again on October 31, 2006. The lights were captured on video by some witnesses. According to some ufologists, the video evidence suggests that the lights kept the geometrical shape and moved as if they were attached to each other through a dark object. The incident was examined in a Dateline NBC episode on May 18, 2008, and in the episode "Invasion Illinois" of the television series UFO Hunters premiered on The History Channel on October 29, 2008.[15][16][17]

2014 – Kansas and Texas sightings[edit]

In February and March 2014, an aircraft matching the black triangle description was photographed multiple times over Kansas and Texas in daylight. In February 2014, an amateur photographer Jeff Templin snapped pictures of a triangular aircraft while photographing wildlife in Kansas.[18] On Mar 10, 2014, Steve Douglass and Dean Muskett photographed a triangular aircraft giving off a long contrail over Amarillo, Texas during daylight. Bill Sweetman, Graham Warwick, and Guy Norris of Aviation Week all agree that "the photos show something real."[19]

TR-3A Black Manta[edit]

The TR-3A Black Manta is the name of a surveillance aircraft of the United States Air Force[unreliable fringe source?], speculated to be developed under a black project. The only evidence for such an aircraft is based on several reported sightings of mysterious flying triangle aircraft over Antelope Valley, an area of desert in southern California. This stretch of desert draws people interested in potential "black project" aircraft, because it is close to several known military research and testing areas, such as Edwards Air Force Base in California, and United States Air Force Plant 42.[20]


The TR-3A was said to be a subsonic stealth spy plane with a flying wing design. It was alleged to have been used in the Gulf War to provide laser designation for Lockheed F-117 Nighthawk bombers, for targeting to use with laser-guided bombs. The TR-3 was claimed to have been manufactured by Northrop.[20]

In 1999, Edgar Fouché, a self-proclaimed former Area 51 employee,[21][22] described[example's importance?] an exotic tactical reconnaissance aircraft called the TR-3B Astra in a BBC documentary. The TR-3B was claimed to be a successor or cover for the TR-3A built by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works, which would also be a spaceplane of a new kind using a top-secret gravitational shielding engine called the magnetic field disruptor (MFD).[23] Besides being an unconfirmed claim, the physical description of the MFD engine is often said to be pseudoscientific and "impossible".[24]

How the TR-3 designation came up in publications is unclear. It is clearly not a continuation of the R-for-Reconnaissance series, since ER-2 (NASA designation for U-2 aircraft modified for Earth science studies) stood for "Earth Resources", not "Electronic Reconnaissance". It is, therefore possible that TR-3 is merely a corruption of Tier III, a name given to a cancelled large reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) flying wing designed around the time of alleged sightings of the Black Manta, circa 1988–1990. The Tier III Minus program that resulted in the unsuccessful Lockheed Martin RQ-3 DarkStar was a scaled-down derivative of the original Tier III.

TR prefix would also be fitting for Tactical Reconnaissance as opposed to Strategic Reconnaissance (SR) as in the SR-71.

Potential candidates for TR-3[edit]

Because there is little evidence to support TR-3's existence, only sightings and "experience" stories by real people and also the web discussions on it, it is possible that the mysterious flying wing sightings associated with Black Manta could be a technology demonstrator for a potential new-generation tactical reconnaissance aircraft.[20] This contention is supported by United States Air Force (USAF) sources in the late 1980s confirming that the United States had no short-term plans to develop a low-observable U-2 successor.[25]

Craft using an inertial mass reduction device A craft using an inertial mass reduction device comprises of an inner resonant cavity wall, an outer resonant cavity, and microwave emitters. The electrically charged outer resonant cavity wall and the electrically insulated inner resonant cavity wall form a resonant cavity. The microwave emitters create high frequency electromagnetic waves throughout the resonant cavity causing the resonant cavity to vibrate in an accelerated mode and create a local polarized vacuum outside the outer resonant cavity wall. This offical US Navy patent from 2016 is US10144532B2[26]

High frequency gravitational wave generator The official 2017 US Navy patent US10322827B2 is probably the engine of the above TR-3A/B-Black Manta-candidate from the other US Navy patent: a high frequency gravitational wave generator including a gas filled shell with an outer shell surface, microwave emitters, sound generators, and acoustic vibration resonant gas-filled cavities. The outer shell surface is electrically charged and vibrated by the microwave emitters to generate a first electromagnetic field. The acoustic vibration resonant gas-filled cavities each have a cavity surface that can be electrically charged and vibrated by acoustic energy from the sound generators such that a second electromagnetic field is generated. The two acoustic vibration resonant gas-filled cavities are able to counter spin relative to each other to provide stability, and propagating gravitational field fluctuations are generated when the second electromagnetic field propagates through the first electromagnetic field.[27]

Both patents end on "B2", probably a reference to the second version of TR-3B.


  1. ^ "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena in the UK Air Defense Region: Executive Summary" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-04-22. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  2. ^ a b "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), p. 7". 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  3. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), p. 11". 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  4. ^ a b "The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989–1992 – A Neglected Hypothesis" (PDF). Retrieved 9 January 2010.
  5. ^ Dunning, Brian (2016-09-27). "Skeptoid #538: The Belgian UFO Wave". Skeptoid. Retrieved 30 September 2016.
  6. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), p. 1". 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  7. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region". 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  8. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Volume 3 Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), p. 2" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  9. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), pp. 7–8". 2007-02-20. Archived from the original on 2011-09-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  10. ^ "UAP In the UK Air Defence Region: Volume 3 Executive Summary, Defence Intelligence Staff (2000), p. 3" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-09-13.
  11. ^ "David, L. 2004, Sept. "Flying Triangle" sightings on the rise, NBC News".
  12. ^ "NIDS Report August 2004". Archived from the original on 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2008-01-27.
  13. ^ "The Belgium UFO Wave". Archived from the original on 2014-08-24.
  14. ^ "January 5, 2000, St. Clair Co., Illinois Flying Triangle Case Analysis". Darryl Barker Productions. Retrieved 9 December 2015.
  15. ^ " Lights in sky over Tinley Park have UFO believers looking up". 17 February 2007. Archived from the original on 17 February 2007. Retrieved November 14, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  16. ^ Dekker, Julie. "Remembering the 'Tinley Park lights'". Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  17. ^ "Tinley Park UFO sightings — discuss". Retrieved November 14, 2017.
  18. ^ "Texas mystery aircraft also photographed over Kansas". Deep Blue Horizon Blogspot, 17 April 2014. Retrieved: 19 April 2014.
  19. ^ "Mystery Aircraft Over Texas". Aviation Week, 28 March 2014. Retrieved: 19 April 2014.
  20. ^ a b c Pope, Gregory T. "America's New Secret Aircraft". Popular Mechanics, Vol. 168, No. 12, December 1991. Archived from the original.
  21. ^ Edgar Fouché in "Riddle of the Skies", episode 2, BBC (1999).
  22. ^ Riddle of the Skies BBC documentary in the IMDB
  23. ^ Edgar Albert Fouche's Autobiography
  24. ^ TR-3B, Fouche and lies
  25. ^ "Stealth Recce". Aviation Week & Space Technology, November 28, 1988. p. 19.
  26. ^ Patent US10144532B2, US Navy. "Craft using an inertial mass reduction device".
  27. ^ Patent US10322827B2, US Navy. "High frequency gravitational wave generator".

Further reading[edit]

  • "TR-3A Evolved From Classified Prototypes, Based on Tactical Penetrator Concept" Aviation Week & Space Technology, June 10, 1991. p 20-21
  • “Triangular Recon Aircraft May be Supporting F-117A” AW&ST, June 10, 1991. p 20. William Scott
  • "America's New Secret Aircraft" Popular Mechanics, December 1991. p. 32-5. Gregory T. Pope
  • "Possible Black Aircraft Seen Flying In Formation with F-117As KC-135s." Aviation Week, March 9, 1992. p. 66–67
  • Popular Science, March 1993
  • "Stealth Watchers" Wired, Issue 2.02 February 1994. Phil Patton (article)
  • Google Patent Search, patent Des. 244,265, issued May 10, 1977 (description)
  • NBC Nightly News, August 6, 1997 segment showing U-2 with triangle on undercarriage (CIA, USAF)

External links[edit]