By Leonard David
Senior space writer
Updated: 9:27 p.m. ET Sept. 8, 2004
They have become legendary in UFO circles. Huge, silent-running “Flying Triangles” have been seen by ground observers creeping through the sky low and slow near cities, and quietly cruising over highways.
The National Institute for Discovery Science, or NIDS, has cataloged the Triangle sightings, sifting through and combining databases to take a hard look at the mystery craft. Based in Las Vegas, NIDS is a privately funded science institute with a strong research focusing on aerial phenomena. The results of their study have just been released, and lead to some unnerving, puzzling conclusions.
The study points out: “The United States is currently experiencing a wave of Flying Triangle sightings that may have intensified in the 1990s, especially towards the latter part of the 1990s. The wave continues. The Flying Triangles are being openly deployed over and near population centers, including in the vicinity of major interstate highways.”
A key NIDS conclusion is that the actions of these triangular craft do not conform to previous patterns of covert deployment of unacknowledged aircraft. Furthermore, “neither the agenda nor the origin of the Flying Triangles are currently known.”
The years 1990-2004 have seen an intense wave of Flying Triangle aircraft, the study observes. Sifting through reports by hundreds of eyewitnesses, the NIDS assessment states that the behavior of the vehicles “does not appear consistent with the covert deployment of an advanced DoD [U.S. Department of the Defense] aircraft.”
Rather, it is consistent with (a) the routine and open deployment of an unacknowledged advanced Defense Department aircraft or (b) the routine and open deployment of an aircraft owned and operated by personnel outside the Defense Department, suggests the NIDS study.
“The implications of the latter possibility are disturbing, especially during the post-9/11 era when the United States airspace is extremely heavily guarded and monitored,” the NIDS study explains. “In support of option (a), there is much greater need for surveillance in the United States in the post-9/11 era, and it is certainly conceivable that deployment of low-altitude surveillance platforms is routine and open.”
‘Open, even brazen’
According to Colm Kelleher, NIDS’ administrator, the newly completed quasi-“meta-analysis” of Flying Triangles melds three major databases, from NIDS, the Mutual UFO Network and independent researcher Larry Hatch, the creator and owner of one of the world's largest and most comprehensive UFO databases.
Kelleher said the analysis indicates that deployment of Flying Triangles is open, not covert, and involves low-flying, brightly lit aircraft routinely deployed over populated areas including cities and interstate highways.
“However, I cannot say whether these are U.S. Air Force aircraft. We simply don't know,” Kelleher told Space.com. “But it does not appear to be consistent with the covert patterns of deployment we saw with the F-117 and B-2 prior to their acknowledgement. This is open, even brazen.”
For example, a perfunctory look at the how past military stealth aircraft programs were kept from the public eye — although they eventually came to light — is different from the patterns for the Flying Triangles.
Prior to acknowledgement of the F-117 and B-2 aircraft, only rare nighttime sightings occurred in the sparsely populated sections of Nevada, California and a few other states. Flying at low altitude over populated areas was rarely reported for the F-117 or B-2.
“In contrast, the Flying Triangle deployment, especially during the 1990s, appears more consistent with the open and public operation of these aircraft,” the study explains. The trend of open deployment of the Flying Triangles is not consistent with secret operation of an advanced military aircraft.
No attempt to hide:
The database-driven study of the Flying Triangle shows the following patterns:
Sightings take place near cities and on Interstate highways.
They are seen at low altitude in plain sight of eyewitnesses.
They fly at extremely low speed or hover in plain sight of eyewitnesses.
The vehicles sometime fly with easily noticeable bright lights — either blinding white lights,
or “bright disco lights” that usually flash combinations of red, green or blue.
The NIDS study emphasizes that the flying of these vehicles may be more in harmony with an attempt to display or to be noticed. There appears to be little or no attempt to hide. That finding has led to a modification of an earlier NIDS hypothesis that the Triangles are covertly deployed Defense Department aircraft.
While it is too early to dismiss the previously published NIDS correlation between Triangle sightings and a subset of U.S. Air Force bases, the apparent association with centers of population may point away from a covert program. “Rather, it is consistent with routine and open deployment of an advanced aircraft,” the NIDS study concludes.
Clustered on both coasts:
During the ensuing years (2000-2004), NIDS received hundreds of reports from people in the United States and Canada reporting large triangular aircraft, often silent and often flying at very low altitude and at low air speed. In many cases, the objects were brightly lit. NIDS files also include reports of Flying Triangles from remote areas.
In mid-2004, NIDS reviewed its database that contains the locations of the Triangle sightings in the United States. The sightings of Triangles appear primarily adjacent to population centers and along interstate highways, with sightings clustered on both coasts.
NIDS has amassed almost 400 separate sightings of triangular/boomerang/wedge-shaped objects. Many of these craft are brightly lit, low-flying, and traveling at unexpectedly low air speeds.
In earlier reports, NIDS outlined a tentative correlation between reported sightings of Triangles and the locations of Air Mobility Command and Air Force Materiel Command bases in the United States.
Like a ‘Star Trek’ uncloaking:
According to ground observers, the features of a Black Triangle are indeed impressive.
For example, the NIDS study includes the observation of a person in Port Washington, Wis., who encountered a large object that flew over her home at an estimated altitude of 500 feet (150 meters) in October 1998. Her eyeing of the clear starry night was interrupted as the craft came into her field of view.
“Suddenly this monstrosity came out of the ‘blue,’ just like a Star Trek 'uncloaking', no kidding ... so quiet I couldn’t believe it and so huge ... no more than 500 feet or so up, and big enough to take up my field of sky vision,” she reported.
Crude mathematics, the witness recounted, would make the vessel about 200 feet wide and 250 feet long (60 by 75 meters).
In wrapping up its look at the burgeoning number of Flying Triangle sightings in the United States, NIDS also took into account the work of writers and researchers delving into the topic both in the United States and abroad.
Those analyses fall into two camps: One says the Triangles are human-made, while the other says they are not.
“In 2004 it is extremely difficult to distinguish between these two possibilities, since the former option overlaps heavily with legitimate national security concerns, while in the absence of much more physical evidence, the latter option is not testable,” the NIDS assessment concludes.
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