UK UFO Cases : 1997 Howden Moor UFO and the missing RAF Tornado

1990s UFO

Monday March 24th 1997. The spring evening in England was cold and crisp with clear skies. Not long after dark, around the Howden Moor area of the Peak District, a series of peculiar events were about to unfold. The Hale Bopp comet was visible in the skies and had attracted a number of serious and casual observers to venture out. People in the nearby Derbyshire and Yorkshire area reported hearing sonic booms, seeing bright flashes in the sky, low flying aircraft and lights throughout the night. There were some reports of a black, triangular UFO seen in the skies that night. It was later speculated that it was pursued by RAF Tornado jet fighters as part of an intercept mission to add to the mystery.

Reports of strange aircraft flying past and burning fireballs seen out on the moors were made to local police. A major search and rescue operation was launched and lasted long into the night, eventually being called off in the early afternoon the following day.

No military or civilian aircraft were reported missing and there were no casualties despite the noise and sightings the previous evening. The RAF denied any aircraft were flying at supersonic speed to cause a sonic boom in the area and that all their aircraft were accounted for. Questions eventually reached Parliament a year later.

It seems two sonic booms were recorded at 21:52 and 22:06 above the moors that night. With no meteorites recorded entering the atmosphere in the region the only other known explanation was supersonic aircraft. The RAF eventually admitted to exercises in the area but claimed all their aircraft were back at base by 9:30pm.

One individual, Max Burns, believes that the RAF was intercepting a black triangular UFO and lost a Tornado fighter in the chase. He thinks that the aircraft crashed in the Peak District, the co-pilot ejected, and the military ordered a cover up of the whole incident.

Beyond that he claims to have had a battle for credibility against set ups and attacks ,leading to his imprisonment for drugs offences, from Dr. David Clarke and Andy Roberts, fellow UFO investigators with a much more sceptical outlook.

Over a decade later Max Burns claimed to have found aircraft parts out on the moors which may be from a crashed RAF Tornado. If proven genuine could strengthen his convictions that there really was a massive military cover up in 1997 and could destroy the credibility of Messrs Clarke and Roberts. This story is yet to come to a conclusion but is discussed in more detail as a feature length case here.

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