Some observations. Firstly, the idea that this is an American aircraft so secret that 33 years later the public still don't know it exists being tested in a foreign country a very long way from the USA is just plain daft. A hypersonic aircraft must by definition have a top speed of at least Mach 5, so this thing should be capable of flying at 4,000 mph or more. If something zips by at that speed, you need to be awfully quick off the mark to snap even one photo, let alone five!

You could of course argue that it was being testflown at less than a tenth of its normal operating speed. But wouldn't that kind of baby-steps preliminary testing be done at somewhere like Area 51 rather than in a distant foreign country over public land in broad daylight accompanied by extremely noisy fighter planes? It's true that the area is thinly populated and Calvine is a tiny village, but it's only 100m from the A9, one of the three main roads to the North of Scotland.

Also, it frankly doesn't look like any kind of feasible aircraft. Unless that picture was taken at a moment when it happened to be swooping in a curve and its wings were pointed vertically, a possibility we can totally discount if it looks the same shape in the other pictures, it's either an aircraft designed to operate with its wings at an angle which entirely defeats the purpose of it having wings at all, or it has two sets of wings at 90º to each other, which apart from anything else would render it not so much "radar-invisible" as "very, very radar-visible indeed".

Now, if it was supposed to be a huge target of some kind being towed by another aircraft for training purposes (google "dart aerial gunnery target" for pictures of something similar), that I could accept. And since the towing cable may be thousands of feet long, the aircraft at the other end probably wouldn't be in the same picture. Though you'd think people would have noticed. And even if they somehow didn't, why would there be any secrecy about that?

But if we assume it's neither a secret weapon from this planet nor a spaceship from another one, and is in fact a small model suspended from the branch visible at the top of the picture, none of this is a problem. And since it doesn't look much like most classic UFOs (though as Wim van Utrecht points out, it does bear a suspiciously close resemblance to one particular UFO photo taken shortly before 1990 which is definitely a hoax), it's probable that rather than going to the trouble of crafting a purpose-built model spaceship, the hoaxer used some object he happened to already own.

Wim van Utrecht goes to great, and in my view, excessive lengths to demonstrate that it could have been a certain type of Christmas decoration. But why would a hoaxer choose something that had to be photographed from exactly the right angle for the illusion to work? Especially if the object has to be dangled on a string outdoors, where the slightest breeze will ruin the shot? Personally I'd pick something which looks equally convincing from any angle. So what might a Scotsman with an outdoor lifestyle have which is that shape?

Well, how about a fishing float? Many thousands of types of float currrently exist, and doubtless many thousands more have gone off the market since 1990, so I'm not going to waste my time attempting to find one absolutely identical to the object in the photo, but it's very easy to find plenty which are near-as-dammit. In particular, an X-shaped cross-section may be a silly configuration for an aircraft, but it's an excellent one for something which is meant to maintain a stable position while floating upright in water. And doesn't that appendage on the right, which I suppose you'd say was either a rocket nozzle or a ray-gun depending on which end is meant to be the front, look rather like a thing for tying a fishing line to?

The only problem with using a fishing float as an improvised extraterrestrial starship is that they tend to be brightly coloured in a way that says "small plastic thing" as opposed to be "huge metal thing". So for this method to work your casual snapshots would, somewhat unusually for the modern era, have to be in black and white. Just like the picture above.

Of course I could be wrong about the fishing float, just as Wim van Utrecht could be, and most likely is, wrong about the Christmas decoration. It might, for example, be an ornamental spearhead broken off a rusty old gate. But not being able to identify the exact item, which might be almost impossible if it happens to be something really obscure (there's still a certain amount of confusion as to what the famous Adamski flying saucer from Venus actually was, though the prevailing opinion seems to be that it was the upper part of a certain obsolete type of chicken brooder) doesn't invalidate the argument that the UFO is a small object suspended on a thread unless the evidence shows that this is intrinsically impossible, or at least unlikely.

Apart from the testimony of the witnesses, which they could simply have made up, the only real evidence that this picture genuinely shows a conventional aircraft in the same shot as a huge and extremely unconventional flying machine is purely circumstantial, and based on probability. Wim van Utrecht admits you'd have to be implausibly lucky to set up a pretend UFO dangling from a tree and then have a couple of RAF jets serendipitously turn up to improve the shot. Therefore he suggests that the Harriers were toys dangling from fishing rods, a conjecture you contemptuously dismiss as totally implausible compared to all other possible explanations, because the idea of more than two people being involved in a UFO hoax is less believable than the RAF covering up all those times they've been called out to cope with space invaders.

Could I suggest a third possibility? As a resident of Scotland who used to live in a fairly remote area sometimes used by the RAF for exercises - round about the same time as these photos were taken, as it happens, though not anywhere near Calvine - I know, as does anyone who has ever lived in such a place, that once the planes show up, they'll probably be doing their thing for several hours, most likely several days in a row. And since they want to avoid any chance of civilian casualties if there's an accident, they have flight-plans that avoid any clusters of human habitation bigger than a farm.

Therefore their movements are somewhat predictable. Sufficently so that if you see a couple of jets roaring over a piece of terrain some distance away, you can be fairly sure they'll overfly it several more times over the next few hours, and probably again tomorrow. No need for any fiddly business with wee toy planes on fishing rods; just suspend your flying saucer in front of a piece of sky recently vacated by the RAF and wait for them to come back again.

It is indeed a mistake to theorise before one is in full possession of the facts, though under the circumstances, quoting a fictional character invented by a man who for reasons totally unconnected with logic allowed himself to believe so much nonsense that he ended up falling for one of the silliest photographic hoaxes ever is perhaps not the best choice you could have made.

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I dont know about that object specifically. I see it as a triangulation process. The more "sublte evidence" the more I believe in it. I saw UAPs 2008 myself and I read some science back then – there was no technology publicly out there capable of what I have seen. It were about 8-12 light balls flying in the heavens. Back then, I did not even tell anybody because what would you expect from people to answer? Nowadays, fortunately, the times are shifting. I am very certain that there are these "effects" or phenomena, I dont know what they "suffice" to. I have not seen a UFO but as I have seen UAP I can imagine there are also UFOs and those are "metal-like" objects – so to out best knowledge they were created by somebody. The alternative would be that nature has grown them – what would be even harder to imagine than some (a) secretly hidden presence of earth (maybe originating from earth) or (b) some space-faring civilization. There would be some "weird" third option. Something to do with idealism and how the universe operates. Mix a bit Ludwig Boltzmann in it but then you land at solipsim. So, everything would just be your or mankinds imagination. I try to pick the most likely choice and that is either something like Atlantis or beings from another star system. From what I read there are over 200 space-faring civilizations known. I guess that this century mankind will meet those beings. But if it is 5 years or 80 I cannot know. And btw: There is one last option I forgot about: A hidden group of humans having this secret technology. But I rather give it to a "higher species" than other humans. Back then, they called them gods. Some called it "god". Whatever you name it. My best guess is that it is a higher intelligence of any kind.


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Gee, Clarke, you seem to be having a difficult time accepting the fact that the most likely explanation for all of this, at the time being, at least, is that the craft is genuinely anomalous, and probably put there by a higher intelligence, along with the fact that a conspiracy of people are trying to get you to believe that it is just a secret US government craft. You people need to get more open-minded.

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