Belgium UFO Flap

Of all the reports of UFO sightings, some of the most intriguing ones are those which come in flaps, or waves, have multiple witnesses, and photographs. One of the most heralded cases of this type was the Belgian flap which began in November of 1989. The events of November 29 would be documented by no less than 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 made not a sound as it slowly, fearlessly, 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.

This picture of a triangular craft over Belgium, was captured on video in April 1990.

This first startling sighting would evolve into a wave over the next several months. On two occasions, a pair of F-16 fighters chased the mysterious object, but to no avail. On March 30, 1990, a frantic call to military headquarters came from a Belgian national police Captain. He marveled at a giant triangle passing over, and simultaneously two ground radar stations were reporting an object of unknown origin on their screens. One of these bases was NATO controlled near the city of Glons, southeast of Brussels. After contacting other radar facilities, they learned that at least four other stations were also reporting the object on their screens. The object was moving across their screens slowly, and failed to send a transponder signal to identify itself.

Two F-16s were ordered to intercept and identify this phenomena, and one of the jet’s radars locked the object in. It appeared as a small diamond on the pilot’s screen. The pilot reported that only a few seconds after locking on the target, the object began to pick up speed, quickly moving out of radar range. An hour long chase ensued, during which time the F-16s picked up the strange craft’s signal two additional times, only to see it fade from view. The triangular craft seemed to be playing a cat and mouse game, and finally was lost in the night lights of Brussels. The pilots of the fighters reported that the UFO had made maneuvers at speeds beyond the capability of their technology, and once the radar showed the craft almost instantly drop from 10,000 to 500 feet in 5 seconds!

The extraordinary sightings continued for months as the triangular invader was witnessed more than 1,000 times, both day and night. The object dipped low enough to easily be seen with the naked eye, and the event became one of the biggest stories in the Belgian media. Another unusual occurrence associated with the Belgian flap was the inability to take a clear photograph of it. Many observers had their cameras ready, and took what they thought would be clear images, but when the film was developed, the image was blurred, and the craft’s outline was vague at best. This anomaly was addressed by physics professor Auguste Meessen, who was employed by the Catholic University at Louvin. Meessen’s investigation produced a theory that infrared light must be the reason that almost all the images were unclear. To put his theory to test, he exposed film to infrared, then photographed objects in regular light. The results were the same as the photographs of the triangle-shaped UFO.

Although it is difficult to see on the above map, the light blue dots show the path taken by the first triangular craft.

One good image was finally captured on video tape in April 1990. This image showed the underbelly of the craft with spotlights on the three corners. A still frame from this tape has been seen world-wide, and is a classic UFO photograph. The Belgium wave has obtained classic status in UFO lore. With over 1,000 witnesses, confirmed radar sightings, plane radar lock-ins, and military confirmations, the fact that an unknown craft moved across the country of Belgium cannot be denied. The case is also important for it’s unique information sharing. Civilian and Military officials were forthcoming with the reports, and set a model for others to follow in their pursuit to uncover the mystery behind the UFO enigma.

Belgium Military

The Belgium military had been on alert since November 1989, when numerous reports by the Gendarmerie (National police force) began pouring in daily telling of observations of UFOs above Belgium territory. It had started on the crazy night of November 29, 1989, during which 30 groups of witnesses, among them three police patrols, scattered over 800 square kilometers of territory between Liege and the German/Netherlands border, reported UFOs. All of the witnesses observed for hours a strange triangular object nearly silent, maneuvering at low speed and very low altitude, without creating the least amount of turbulence.

As do the world’s Air Forces, the Belgian military have at their disposal supersonic interceptor airplanes ready 24 hours a day to take off with five minutes notice. In this case we are talking about two F-16 single pilot fighters, armed with missiles. Headquarters was prudent and conservative. During the previous month the two planes have twice been sent in response to sightings but without results. The first time they saw nothing. The second instance was attributed to an advertising searchlight for a night club.

On the night of March 30th, one of the callers reporting a UFO was a Captain of the national police at Pinson, and Headquarters decided to make a serious effort to verify the reports. In addition to the visual sightings, two radar installations also saw the UFO. One radar is at Glons, southeast of Brussels, which is part of the NATO defense group, and one at Semmerzake, west of the Capitol, which controls the military and civilian traffic of the entire Belgian territory. The range of the two radars is 300 KM, which is more than enough to cover the area where the reports took place. In this region the land is fairly flat, rolling country without any prominent hills. The radar has a perfect view of all flying objects with an altitude above 200 meters over the ground. Nevertheless, Headquarters determined to do some very precise studies during the next 55 minutes to eliminate the possibility of prosaic explanations for the radar images. Excellent atmospheric conditions prevailed, and there was no possibility of false echoes due to temperature inversions.

This picture of a radar screen shows the unidentified triangular craft.

All military and civilian airplanes are equipped with a device called a transponder which permits their immediate identification on the radar screen in the form of a coded signal. The radar echo received on that night was like that of an airplane that was moving at very low speed, about 50 KPH, and frequently changing direction and altitude. But it did not send any identifying transponder signal.

Naturally, the Belgian Air Force can’t permit an unidentified object to fly over its territory. So at 0005 hours the order was given to the F-16s to take off and to find the intruder. The lead pilot concentrated on his radar screen, which at night is his best organ of vision. The F-16 is equipped with very sophisticated equipment, including chase radar, which is not fixed directly ahead of the airplane, but makes a wide search in an arc of 90 degrees left and right of the nose. Slightly behind the lead fighter, the wingman in the second F-16 followed the movements of the first jet, concentrating on maintaining contact with the center of coordination of the search.

Suddenly the two fighters spotted the intruder on their radar screens, appearing like a little bee dancing on the scope. Using their joy sticks like a video game, the pilots ordered the onboard computers to pursue the target. As soon as lock-on was achieved, the target appeared on the screen as a diamond shape, telling the pilots that from that moment on the F-16s will remain tracking the object automatically. On the screen is indicated the object’s position, distance and speed. The object was very close to the fighters.

On this portion of the video tape that Col. DeBrouwer has, in such an exceptional manner, allowed us to see, we can hear the radio exchange of the two pilots. The emotions of the pilots are clearly perceptible. "Look," the Colonel tells me stopping the VCR, and showing me the diamond shape on the screen, "At this stage in the chase in our military jargon it means a successful interception."

Then I said, in layman’s terms, what does a "successful interception" mean? He answered, "Our fighter planes are armed with automatically self-directed missiles. Once they are launched internal computers in the missiles intelligently guide the missiles to the target by themselves. Of course, in this case of the UFO there was no question of doing that. We only wanted to identify the intruder."

The pilot did not even have time to start this procedure, which requires the fighter’s radar to stay locked on for at least six seconds. But the object had speeded up from an initial velocity of 280 KPH to 1,800 KPH, while descending from 3,000 meters to 1,700 meters…in one second! This fantastic acceleration corresponds to 40 Gs. [A "G" is a unit of acceleration. One G is equivalent to the gravitational pull of the earth, 9.81 m/sec/sec.] It would cause immediate death to a human on board. The limit of what a pilot can take is about 8 Gs. And the trajectory of the object was extremely disconcerting. It arrived at 1,700 meters altitude, then it dove rapidly toward the ground at an altitude under 200 meters, and in doing so escaped from the radars of the fighters and ground units at Glons and Semmerzake. This maneuver took place over the suburbs of Brussels, which are so full of man-made lights that the pilots lost sight of the object beneath them.