BUFORA
The British UFO Research Association
Investigations & Research since 1962
   Home            The NEW UFOS 2013

                                                                                                                 

                                                         The NEW UFOs:

 

                                                         

An overview of Drone and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles:



Unmanned Arial Vehicles or, Remotely Piloted Aircraft/ Vehicles and similar phrases all describe a multitude of variants in craft that require no human operation on board.


The military have used these for a very long time and the recent transport of one by low loader in the U.S.A.  caused a media stir amongst passing traffic as it made transit between airbases. This has inspired me to write further on these crafts, due to the significant increase in their sightings. Although some reports remain strange and unexplained in their behaviour, BUFORA has received a marked increase in the last two years in relation to these objects. They have either proven to be definitively U.A.V.s or at least highly probable as the cause of a significant number of some of these witnessed UFOs.


If this kind of technology was almost exclusively for military or other government use up until about fifteen years ago, it most certainly is not the case now. The first attempts at some kind of automatic piloting in the early to mid-twentieth century is well known in predicted flight plans and mechanisms attributed to German V rocket attacks in the second world war. Although prone to errors, many succeeded in getting close to targets but these were vary reliant on descent governed by fuel cessation measurements to achieve target drops.


Weather balloons and reconnaissance cameras have been employed with gas filled craft including dirigibles, which we know so well as a leading argument in the Roswell case. As silent runners, these have been responsible for countless UFO reports which continue to this day. Naturally, these examples are all craft that have various levels of unpredictable changes in direction, reliant on fuel supply or wind direction.


Then we reach the next level of technology in guided missiles and planes, including spacecraft launches, which become more exact in their trajectories and targets, this includes the ability to correct courses and keep them stable to achieve their target.


The guided missile and unpiloted spy planes have seen the most expenditure, if we account for the more recent reliance on global positioning satellites, allowing guidance over greater distances. The development of these throughout the 1980’s into a rapid expansion of a network of satellites was driven by the cold war and ‘Star Wars’ with some satellites planned to be fitted with sensory equipment disabling laser beams.


Satellites have been progressively populating in proliferation in the orbit of the earth, with new civilian networks for television, radio, meteorology and aviation support. It has to be remembered that there are many of these in orbit that have been able to save lives or safety, with regards to hurricane prediction and navigation during the most testing weather conditions. The long range cameras used by some satellites caused a media frenzy when the first pictures came through from space of an image of the text of a newspaper being read on the ground.


If surveillance could be this good in orbit, then back in normal air space the capacity for assistance in farming, street planning and geographical surveys into the 1990s would ultimately follow on from this space technology.


It is ironic that after we enter the new century, we have a police assistance aerial drone watching the crowds at a summer solstice event at Stonehenge, yet just a short distance from this monument this technology was instrumental in finding ground traces and depressions leading to definitive discovery of Woodhenge which predated the existing stone monument.


We have satellites as orbital surveillance, which have been the cause of thousands of UFO sightings, including the fully fitted solar panels making craft such as the International Space station the brightest non-planetary or star object in the sky.


On the ground level, the first planes to fly under a sense of true remote control were first experimented with from the first to second world wars but if we now add in the further development of radar and radio transmissions after this period, this is where the shapes of craft become far different from their manned-flight cousins.


As there is now not the need to keep a pilot supported and an oxygen supply and seating arrangements, the modern jet planes are now capable of being a multitude of different shapes and sizes, due to the power and weight ratios changing. The capability of rapid turns and sudden dives or rises that would cause various degrees of pilot fatigue or compromise is now cast aside in design constraints.


The most basic of shapes is the guided missile, no longer just a long range rocket for launching military or space programme payloads. We have seen the much smaller version of the mini-rocket in the shape of missiles originally launched from planes now needing no assisted vehicle and able to complete missions with completely self-guided or remotely controlled guidance systems. Many of these resemble rockets but with small wings and a small front window with forward guidance equipment or sensors and cameras elsewhere on the fuselage
 
.


In more recent times, the rocket shapes have been joined by remote airships, which can be down to the tiniest sizes and to improve manoeuvres, they have wing shapes built into the shape of the main blimp, almost giving the impression of a balloon derived plane that has an over-inflated fuselage.


These have been responsible for a lot of UFO sightings but as we know, there were many of the new expanded delta wing type of planes that moved on the Vulcan bomber outline to become more of a triangle shape which we know as the stealth bomber today. These were responsible for a considerable amount of UFO reports generally around the 1980’s and onwards, but  there are still many UFO reports that remain unsolved or inconclusive due to these triangles defying all conventional manoeuvres and markings/lights.


In a recent air show to attract new interest, we have seen the unmanned version of the stealth triangle shape, now much smaller and remotely or automatically controlled. These are the small cousins of the originals and may have the potential to cause sightings in the future for those not convinced that the craft was large enough to be a terrestrial stealth shape of the larger established variety.


The most striking change in unmanned vehicles in the last decade is the rise of affordability both military and civilian use. In rapid response to military situations, the faster jet and conventional engine planes will be afforded by allotted military expenditure, including drone helicopters.


In the last ten years, there have been massive rises in the propeller and battery cell version of the small engine helicopter versions. These have been responsible for a very marked rise in UFO reports. The power to weight ratio has seen a meeting in the middle of the model aircraft at the small scale and the conventional fuel helicopter or propeller plane at the other.


The weight ratio of these newer small UAPs is dealt with by stripping the frame down to very light tubular steel or plastic skeletons with a battery cell and camera mount in the centre of the frame. The most conventional frames are quadrilateral, with some varieties just having a central control unit, with four simple single rods coming out of the unit in an ‘X’ formation.


In either variety, the triangle or quad shapes at their end points house a rotor blade and these are optimised to work at different speeds to change altitude and direction, thus bypassing additional rudder mechanisms.
 
 


As these newer types of craft have kept weight to a minimum, they are joined by cameras, normally in a centrally housed glass or plastic dome. If we look at how little weight there is to a mobile phone and quality of sound, picture and live recording they are able to perform whilst weighing so little, it is no surprise to see this technology easily fitted to a very light framed multi-propeller unit. This has created a very light and strange looking object. Although they may not achieve the fast speed of a jet or conventional airliner, their ability to hover or suddenly dive or rise is not an issue, as g forces on a human occupant are not an operational issue.


The continuing development of battery technology and solar power efficiency have improved in leaps and bounds in the last two decades, these kinds of drones are able to remain in the air for ever increasing periods of times before requiring a recharge or maintenance checks. In the U.S.A.  in particular, they have been rather controversial in being used as hovering alternatives of cameras that were once used to CCTV monitor on the tops of buildings and street lamps. In the same way the U.K. had a wave of activity protesting against speed cameras and their vandalism, so we have seen signs of aversion to these airborne camera systems.  There will be civil liberty issues over privacy with these UAPs which have also seen the U.K.  become aware of the implications and debates over fair and intrusive use.


On the positive side, these mini-drones have been immensely useful for disaster assistance in earthquakes and other similar natural disasters; they have also been extremely valuable to archaeologists and climate study.


In crowd and security issues, the UAPs have assisted in monitoring safety at large events such as gatherings and events, to ensure crowds do not become concentrated and also provide rapid response to social disturbances that would not have been detected on the ground. In the case of many of these controversial or positive situations, the use of conventional piloted helicopters and planes would have been impossible on the grounds of conventional aircraft and personnel costs.


So where does this leave us in the UFO arena? There will be versions of these flying which may have the propeller units at the top side of the aerial unit, which means from the ground, a viewer may mostly see just the orb shape of the camera system. To those not used to seeing the quad-frame of these units, they will look extremely strange and their hovering and manoeuvring manners will certainly provoke curiosity or possible alarm.


As this kind of technology becomes lighter and cheaper to build, they have now made an appearance in models which are affordable to buy for the general public. These can be run solo but now even linked together in formations and the most recent development has seen them controlled by iPad and other handheld computer applications and control interfaces.


The non-civilian versions of these are not concerned with their aesthetic appearances, but with the public purchased versions, they have been embellished with all sorts of L.E.D. light effects and some with brighter lights, based on the balance of battery cell time and how much aerial time the purchaser would prefer. With programmes developed to allow these to fly in formation and interact with more than one operator, these may also provide some potential further UFO reports in future sightings.


What I have not attempted to write about is the vast amount of individual technical data of each of these summarised categories of UAP. It is purely to note that the very first of these, many decades ago, may have been responsible for UFO reports that pre-date BUFORA’s formation.


This short article is to alert investigators and researchers that according to our data, there is a marked rise in probable or definitive sightings that have seen the UAP. No longer exclusively the use of armed service but small and more affordable, these aerial units have become increasingly affordable and more common place in their use in more civil and urban deployment. It is also to note that the technology is becoming ever more affordable in use as a leisure pursuit and as an aid to scientific, safety and security applications. The UAP has definitely now made its way into our top twenty of UFO reports in the CE1 category to consider in some investigations. The UAPs now join with other recent IFO reports which include the now brightly shining International Space Station and sky lanterns as potential in identifying some sightings.


In many cases, the UAP will be quite obvious to identify but as with conventional planes, it only takes seeing some objects at strange angles and trajectories or in unusual circumstances which may generate a report.


This recent rise in UAP objects appearance and behaviour and its rapid and diverse development of shapes and types still leaves us with statistical data that remains; that approximately 95% of all UFO sightings are explainable by conventional events in the sky and on the ground. The remaining 5% continues to be researched by us onwards into our next half century.


For further research and images, just input ‘UAP’ or ‘drone’ to any search engine to see the continuing shapes and sizes that are in current or past development.


Matt Lyons
 
Copyright BUFORA 2013.