The National Archives of Australia have just released to me, file series J63 control symbol 5/40/Air Part 3 titled "Reports on Unusual Aerial Sightings." The file originated with the RAAF Base Townsville, and the date range is 1974-1979. There are dozens of low value reports on the file. However, two reports are of great interest.
The crew of a RAAF Neptune aircraft sighted a set of three unusual nocturnal lights on the night of 30 Aug 1975 as they flew back to Townsville from seawards. The aircraft was from 10 Squadron RAAF Base Townsville. The pilot was 29 year old Flight Lieutenant P A Ware, and the co-pilot 23 year old Flying Officer C A Hyde. At the time of the encounter the aircraft was at position 115nm ENE of Mackay, Queensland.
The co-pilot's written report read:
"I was the co-pilot of a Neptune aircraft transiting up the Queensland coast on the 30 Aug 75. The aircraft was at 3000 feet flying straight and level. The weather was scattered cloud with occasional rain showers. At 1233z the captain, FLTLT Ware, drew my attention to a group of lights. They were readily identified and consisted of three lights grouped as shown in the following diagram. The lights appeared to be the size of one of the planets, eg Venus, but not as bright.
They were white/yellow lights and shone steadily. They appeared to be level with the aircraft and moving on a course of 080 deg (approx) with a high angular velocity. A diagram of their apparent movement is contained at the bottom of the page.
The captain commenced a left turn believing a mid-air collision to be imminent. The lights passed down the starboard side of the aircraft. As the lights approached the two o'clock position relative to the aircraft they disappeared as if they were switched out or flew into very heavy cloud. The lights changed position gradually till they were in the following position when they disappeared. Duration of the observation was approx 10-15 seconds."
The pilot's report read:
"1. On 30 AUG 75 I was the captain of a Neptune aircraft which was returning to Townsville from seawards. Weather at the time was sky clear above and some cloud (CU/SC). I was in the left pilot seat.
2. At 301233z, aircraft heading 290 deg M position 20 36S 151 10E, I saw three white lights, two in the same horizontal plane and one positioned halfway between and above the plane (see fig 1.)
The lights were about the same intensity as average stars, and were moving horizontally just above the horizon (the horizon was visible as the horizontal limit of visible stars.)
3. When just sighted the lights appeared to be at the aircraft height, 12.30 relative to the aircraft and moving left to right. My first reaction was to exclaim 'look' and the co-pilot immediately confirmed the sighting.
4. The lights continued to move to the right of the aircraft, and to close the aircraft. At that point I banked left and commenced climbing as the lights passed down the starboard side of the aircraft. The lights appeared to disappear into cloud abeam the aircraft.
5. My assessment of the movement of the object was
a. On the horizontal plane; and
b. Initially at an angular velocity of 20 degrees per second accelerating as they passed down the starboard side of the aircraft."
The RAAF's investigating officer wrote in his report "Nil radar traces noted by 10SQN aircraft radar operator." Then, "Both men are reliable and trained observers." This officer sent off his report to headquarters.
Light leaves traces?
On 23 Mar 1975 at about 10.30pm while travelling back home, five people in a road vehicle sighted a strange light in amongst the timber on the side of the Mt Flora to Dingo Beef road, North Queensland. The location of the event was 22 22S 148 30E.
After passing the location where the light had been sighted the driver turned the car around for another look, when there was a loud bang heard. As others in the car were panicking at the unusual event, the driver decided to travel home but first passed by the scene again. They stopped to look. The driver's account was:
"The first set of lights were about 3 feet above ground level. These lights were flashing on and off. Their colour was a very dull white but you couldn't see anything above the lights except for the bluish green saucer type light.
"This light was not (?) big light. It was ring approx ring. In the centre of the light it was black. This black circle was about four inches wide. The bluish green part of the light was about 12 to 18 inches across. The length of the object seemed to be about ten feet long. We could not see all of the bottom lights..."
The occupants of the car then travelled along the road and came across a camp occupied by Main Road workers. Alerting these men to the event, a mixed group of the original witnesses and these men went back to the site, but when they arrived there was nothing unusual to be seen.
What make this sighting of interest to us, is that the driver, Mr M R Kreher of Batheaston Station reported the event to the Department of Transport in Mackay and also to the Nebo police. Both the Police and the RAAF conducted an excellent investigation and their detailed reports with photographs of the site and possible traces are available on the file for us to study. The RAAF investigator found a gravel storage pit at the site of the event, with several traces. There were three oval shaped area, one roughly circular and one rectangular. The file also contains RAAF report forms completed by three of the witnesses; and a statement by P L Curley, of the Nebo police.
Read the file for yourself:
1. Go to http://www.naa.gov.au
2. Click on search the collection.
3. Click on begin your search.
4. Click on RecordSearch advanced search.
5. Click on the green items box.
6. In the series number box type J63.
7. In the control symbol box type 5/40/Air part 3
8. Up comes the file.
9. Click on the digitised image icon to read a copy of the file.