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Did a SR-71 Investigate a Northern Ireland "Hoax"?

YOWUSA.COM, 11-April-01
Rachel Gilmore

On February 13, 2001, at least a dozen residents of County Fermanagh, in Northern Ireland looked on as a mysterious object crashed from above into Benaughlin Mountain, near Kinawley.  British Army Helicopters conducted a search of the area using infrared sensing equipment.  Although the search was deemed unsuccessful, security around the area remained tight and nothing further was officially reported. 

Northern Ireland SightingThe account was eventually dismissed as a hoax. But is that "hoax" story the truth or is it a concoction to allow for more thorough "top secret" investigation using such reconnaissance aircraft as the SR-71 "Blackbird" or a replacement?  If so, that "hoax" could actually be a precursor to a potential threat from space.

Sighting Reported Over Northern Ireland

When a government uses the word "hoax" within a few days of a sighting with multiple credible witnesses, it rings bells for Internet Netizens like Jacco van der Worp who filed a report on the recent sighting over Northern Ireland.

YOWUSA.COM, March 7, 2001
Impact Over Northern Ireland -- Hoax or Government Cover-up?

Airports reported that no planes had gone missing; every single airplane had been accounted for. That effectively ruled out any commercial airplane, surely. But it left the non-commercial airplanes, or the military plane, or perhaps an impact from outside. Yes, meteors.

The theory stated in Jacco's article is that Mr. Paul McCaffrey, an eyewitness to the initial event, may have seen a meteor fall toward the mountainside.  Mr. McCaffrey saw what was described as a dot with flames trailing behind that was falling directly toward the mountain. 

More Sighting Reports From Northern Ireland

A few weeks ago, YOWUSA received two eyewitness accounts of additional activity over Northern Ireland.  The behavior of the object or objects seen was totally unlike that of the object involved in the original crash.  Instead, the behavior, as described by these two eyewitnesses, resembled that of a "UFO."

Eyewitness Report By: Patrick Maguire

Date of Report

On or about March 15, 2001

Date of sighting

Early March, 2001

Time of sighting

Late Evening/Night

Location of Witness

Suburbs north of Dublin Ireland

Facing Direction of
Initial Sighting

Northeast, almost directly overhead

Initial Direction
of Object Travel


Flight Pattern

Described as upside-down, backward lower-case "k"

Speed of Object

Supersonic or Hypersonic


None remembered

Notes: It was described as a light that at first looked like a dim satellite just visible to the unaided human eye.

Before a drastic acceleration and disappearance, it was traveling at an easy to follow smooth speed as if it was definitely a satellite.

The landing lights on high flying supersonic or hypersonic aircraft would have been turned off as it reached its cruising speed and altitude, causing the craft to seem to disappear even on a cloudless night.

It then traced the "k" pattern and disappeared much like the "going to warp" effect in the later Star Trek series' and films.

A common speed of light effect used in popular science fiction movies and television programs like Star Trek, would make craft appear to stretch out lengthwise while accelerating, then return to normal size just as it crossed the "warp threshold."

Eyewitness Report By:  Patrick Hayes

Date of Report

On or about March 15, 2001

Date of sighting

Early March, 2001

Time of sighting

2255 hours (10:55 PM) local and UTC time

Location of Witness

Reading, Berkshire, England

Facing Direction of
Initial Sighting

Directly above witness

Initial Direction
of Object Travel


Flight Pattern

Similar to lower case "k" described in Maguire sighting report above.

Speed of Object

Supersonic or Hypersonic


None mentioned

Notes: The object was a reddish color, as large as Saturn but not too bright.  Upon completing the flight pattern, the object disappeared.

Alien Craft or Earthly Neighbor?

The lower case "k" image appears to be a standard mapping pattern, perhaps made by reconnaissance aircraft such as the SR-71 "Blackbird" and those craft created to follow it.

The SR-71 was a Top Secret "Black Project" for many years, and so was not supposed to exist.  For this reason, many who observed its unusual behavior frequently reported it as a "UFO."

During this time (December, 1972 to December, 1974), I lived near an SR-71 base and would occasionally see the aircraft as a tiny, black object taking off toward the west from a point about 20 miles northeast of my home.   

It was not uncommon for the SR-71 to appear to stop in midair for just under a minute, and then suddenly made a sharp left turn.  From there, it would throttle up its engines, and then climb steeply as it accelerated.  Within moments, it would disappear, leaving in its wake only a thundering double or triple sonic boom. 

During nighttime takeoffs, the shape of the SR-71 was all but invisible due to the radar absorbing flat black paint that covered its fuselage.  During night flights, the only thing visible from the ground would be the aircraft's landing lights. 

A most unusual flight characteristic of this craft was its ability to expand upon acceleration and contract as it slowed.  The SR-71 was designed to expand and contract as temperatures changed with its speed.  This in part could explain the aircraft's tendency to appear as though it was stretching.  

The recent "UFO" sightings above Northern Ireland rang true with what I'd personally observed during the black operations days of the SR-71.   With that in mind, I decided to conduct some research on the SR-71 and its reconnaissance capabilities.

Why the SR-71?

The SR-71 was one of two reconnaissance craft designated "Blackbird."  Both were designed by Lockheed Skunk Works in the early 1960's in direct response to Russia's capture of an American U-2 spy plane and its pilot, Francis Gary Powers.  The first was the A-11, of which only three fully functional craft were made.  The last SR-71 to roll off the assembly line brought the U.S. complement to a total of 31.


During its nearly 30-year-long reconnaissance career, the SR-71 proved to be nearly indestructible.  Only one plane was lost, due to fire while the craft was on the ground.  In the air, the SR-71 was undefeated.  Surface-to-air missiles launched at it would explode harmlessly as far as a mile behind the craft.


The SR-71 Executive Handbook was written by Bill Majors (Lockheed ADP) and produced by Lockheed Martin Skunk Works Corporation.  Information was obtained from that handbook to show how the SR-71 Blackbird was used in mapping missions.

Global Capability

The SR-71 has never been shot down or lost in a hostile situation, thanks to its Mach 3+ cruise speed and its 85,000 foot cruising altitude.  Operational mission range can extend to well over 12,000 nautical miles.  It can perform in almost any reconnaissance role.

The SR-71 is an exceptional aircraft, with exceptional capabilities. The following is a summary of the information currently available on the Internet.

SR-71 Blackbirds
SR-71 Executive Handbook
Global Capability

Range (cruise conditions)

Single-legged missions, without aerial refueling, have a range of about 2,000 nautical miles.  With aerial refueling, range between refuelings varies between 2,000 and 2,200 nautical miles. 

Intelligence Data Collected

The type of coverage is determined by the sensor systems for specific missions. 


The airplane can access virtually any target area, collect intelligence data and return safely. 

Crisis Response

Because of its speed, range and invulnerability, with the right basing and mission planning the airplane can be over any crisis area at the time intelligence data is needed.

SR-71 Reconnaissance Capability

The SR-71 was built for supersonic, high-altitude reconnaissance.  Its shape, color and flight capabilities were designed to throw off even the best detection equipment of the time.  Yet its sensors could detect lines on a parking lot from its 80,000 to 85,000 ft. cruising altitude.  It could detect objects as far as 100 nautical miles to either side of the flight path as clearly as if they were on the flight path. It also "knew" when surface-to-air missiles were taking aim at it, and from where. 

This excerpt lists the sensor systems used on the SR-71. 

Reconnaissance Capability


Provides day/night, all-weather, large-area synoptic coverage. 

Mission Systems

Installed as modular kits.  Tailored for specific missions. 

Sensor Systems
and Products

Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS-1): High-resolution radar imagery.

Electronic Reconnaissance System (EMR): Precise characteristics and locations of ELINT (emitter) signals.

Optical Bar Camera (OBC): High-resolution panoramic photography.

Technical Objective Camera (TEOC): Very-high-resolution photography of designated areas.

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