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Mystery as ‘top secret hypersonic 5,000mph US spy plane’ spotted flanked by two fighter jets flying near Britain

FLYING high over the North Sea, a mysterious “black triangle” shape flanked by two US fighter jets was spotted by an oil rig worker.

The sighting came as there was a flurry of reports of unusual aircraft, unexplained sonic booms, ear-splitting high-pitched shrieks and fast-moving radar dots around Britain.


Could the aircraft seen over Britain by the top secret US spy plane the Aurora?Credit: TIM SAMEDOV

For years during the late 80s and early 90s the British Isles seems to have been menaced by these shapes and sounds, with the reports often being branded as UFOs.

It is believed however some of the reports may have been glimpses of a long rumoured 5,000mph hypersonic US spy plane known as the “Aurora”.

And in a stroke of extraordinary luck, one of the most compelling accounts of the “black triangle” sightings came from highly trained aircraft spotter Chris Gibson.

He was working on the oil rig Galveston Key in August 1989 and was a trained member of the Royal Observer Corps (ROC), a civil defense unit set up to track and report aircraft over Britain.

And when his pal called him out onto the deck to look up into the sky, he witnessed the mysterious aircraft – something he had never seen before and has never seen again.

“I had no idea what this thing was,” Gibson told The Sun Online, speaking to us almost exactly 32 years to the day of his sighting over the North Sea around 60 miles off the coast of Norfolk.

“The guy I was working with went out on deck – probably to have a cup of tea or something – and he came straight back in and says ‘Chris, come and have a look at this’.”

“We went outside and he pointed up, I looked up – and he said ‘what’s going on there?’.”

“And I said, ‘well the big one is a KC-135, the two little ones to the side are F-111s and I don’t know what the one behind is’.”

Chris’s mate then turned to him and joked, “I thought you were an expect? Pffft, some expert”.

But despite his extensive training and more than a decade of experience with the ROC, the engineer simply did not recognise the mysterious shape.

“It was this perfect isosceles triangle in a refuelling position behind the tanker,” said Chris.

Chillingly, he said the thought crossed his mind “I don’t think we should be seeing this”.

And he after watching the craft heading West, he immediately headed inside and drew of sketch of the mysterious formation.

Chris then posted the sketch to another friend, Pete, in the ROC – who also didn’t have an explanation for the triangular plane.

“We started looking around to see what it could be, and at various times there are various rumours,” he said.

There was something special going on

Chris Gibson

Some two or three years later – Chris’s pal sent him a copy of an article from Jane’s Defence Weekly which featured a sketch of a concept aircraft with the same distinctive triangular shape.

“I just thought, ‘I think that’s what I’ve seen,” Chris told The Sun Online.

And he connected the dots further when he realised the tanker he spotted was likely KC-135Q – a special version of the plane designed for refuelling the Mach 3 capable SR-71 “Blackbird”.

He could tell the difference because the Q version of the plane had different turbofan engines.

The SR-71 was once a “Black Project” – a highly classified aircraft developed by Lockheed, the United States Air Force and NASA.

And so with this Q version of the tanker, Chris said he realised there was “something special going on”.

Chris then contacted Jane’s journalist Bill Sweetman – who has extensively researched the semi-mythical “Aurora”.

And he told the engineer that his “triangle” flying over the North Sea may have been one of these mysterious craft.

Chris Gibson provided The Sun Online with a sketch of the sighting from back in 1989


Chris Gibson provided The Sun Online with a sketch of the sighting from back in 1989Credit: Chris gibson
The Sun Online produced a mock-up of Chris's sighting featuring the two warplanes, tanker and the mysterious plane


The Sun Online produced a mock-up of Chris’s sighting featuring the two warplanes, tanker and the mysterious planeCredit: THE SUN/TIM SAMEDOV

Aurora has never been proven to exist – and the US has consistently denied they have engaged in such a black project.

But reports of high-speed radar blips and unexplained sounds have fuelled the legend around the plane.

Sweetman has gone on record saying that after extensive research he believes there is a $9billion budget black hole in US Air Force operations that could be a perfect fit for Aurora.

It has been suggested Aurora could travel eight times the speed of sound – more than 5,000mph – and could reach any point of the Earth’s surface in just three hours.

The plane would have been a successor to the SR-71 Blackbird.

It would have used a powerful ramjet engine to accelerate to incredible speeds – potentially flying across the Atlantic in just 20 minutes.

And graphic designer Tim Samedov provided The Sun Online with mock ups based on various reports of the plane.

It shows a sleek arrowhead design – just as Chris described – that looks like a cross between a SR-71 Blackbird and the F-117 Nighthawk.


Estimated to be around 81 foot long, the modern myth of Aurora has become intertwined with reports of strange sightings and sounds over Scotland and northern England.

And declassified documents reveal the UK government was concerned that the US may be flying such an aircraft in their airspace without permission.

“There is no knowledge in the MoD of a ‘black’ programme of this nature, although it would not surprise the relevant desk officers in the Air Staff and [Defence Intelligence Staff] if it did exist,” said documents handed to John Major’s defence secretary Tom King.

It has been speculated that RAF Machrihanish – which was used by the Americans during the Cold War – could have been a base for experimental plane.

The base was highly isolated on on the tip of Kintyre peninsula, with a 10,000ft long runway and was used as an emergency landing site for the space shuttle.

And in the 1960s, the base had been designated Naval Aviation Weapons Facility Machrihanish – with its mission to store “classified weapons”.

US forces moved out of the base in 1995.

Elsewhere, sources told The Scotsman in 1992 that an RAF air traffic controller detected an unexplained blip emerging from RAF Machrihanish.

Tim Samedov designed a mock up of the Aurora based on reports on the mythical plane


Tim Samedov designed a mock up of the Aurora based on reports on the mythical planeCredit: TIM SAMEDOV
The aircraft would have been able to hit 5,000mph


The aircraft would have been able to hit 5,000mphCredit: TIM SAMEDOV
It could have crossed the Atlantic in just 20 minutes


It could have crossed the Atlantic in just 20 minutesCredit: TIM SAMEDOV

The source recorded the object moving at three times the speed of sound – so the air traffic controller contacted the base.

He was allegedly told to forgot what he had witnessed and not mention it again.

And another separate report states a high speed blip was detected over the North Sea by a radar station at Prestwick.

It was reported to RAF Buchan, only for the base to deny all knowledge of the any aircraft in the area.

The article also reported other sources claiming to have heard an “unusual ear-splitting jet noise” being heard nine miles from Machrihanish.

“A mysterious, fast-moving shape in the sky has been scaring sheep in the Mull of Kintyre, ” reported The Sunday Telegraph in 1992.

And then at RAF Boscombe Down in Wiltshire something very strange occurred on September 26, 1994.

Locals reportedly heard a loud unusual “humming” noise and then spotted an unusually shaped aircraft sitting damaged on the runway covered in tarpaulins after a crash.

The wreck reportedly remained hidden in a hangar until September 28 when a US C-5 Galaxy craft – used to carry experimental aircraft – arrived and whisked the object away back to the states.

Sonic booms were also repeatedly heard around Scotland and never properly explained – and there are reports of the same occuring in Norway and Belgium.

Were these examples of the Aurora?

Whitehall denied any knowledge of top secret US aircraft being tested around the British Isles – with the sightings even being raised in the House of Commons and House of Lords.

On January 30, 1995, Lord Kennett asked in the House of Lords: “Whether it is the case that the secret US reconnaissance aircraft known as Aurora has been flying in British airspace?

Lord Henley replied: “The existence of any secret US aircraft known as “Aurora” would be for the United States Government to confirm.

“No authority has been given for any such aircraft to fly over the United Kingdom or to land in this country and we have no evidence to suggest that such an aircraft has.”

The sightings however were no restricted to Northern Europe, with reports in the states of unusual engine sounds and strange “donut shaped” contrails by members of the public.

Seismologists also detected sonic booms on their sensors consistent with a high speed aircraft decelerating as it moved from Nevada to California.

The data appeared to show the object travelling at speeds of up to Mach 5.

Chris told The Sun Online he doesn’t know if his sighting was a craft such as Aurora, simply saying “I don’t know what it is. I don’t jump to conclusions”.

And he said whatever the craft may be, he does always wonder whenever there is a change in the US government that they will finally reveal the mystery aircraft.

“But they don’t,” he added. “So that makes me think its an embarrassing waste of money and it didn’t work.”

And he believes the aircraft is now likely “buried in a hole in the desert somewhere”.

“It was interesting technology whatever it was”, added Chris.

The expert explained the aircraft likely would have been operating in the North Sea have flown over from the States at very high speed before being refuelled and heading back across the Atlantic.

He said: “If its a high speed aircraft they fly in straight lines very fast – you have to have a good distance to get them up to speed.”

Hypersonic technology has in the last few years become more prominent – with the US, Russia and China all openly pursuing ultra fast aircraft and missiles.

And some civilians applications are now also being considered, with some start-ups dreaming up passenger planes that could exceed Mach 5.

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Experimental aircraft have also once again ignited talk of UFOs – with US Congress questioning whether a flurry of sightings by the US military could be secret black tech or potentially mystery craft from Russia or China.

The Sun Online previously revealed a satellite photo from Area 51 that may show a never-before-seen experimental stealth bomber, the B-21 Raider.

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