I take several little walks each day down by the river in the ‘Millennium Park’ beside Tivoli. Over our long hot summer the skies were a clear blue and always featured large four-engined jets heading from the US to Europe and vice versa. Even at forty or fifty-thousand feet you could still hear those jet engines on the ground and such flights are daily, 365.
Three of such aircraft were in the news this morning here. The incident happened last Friday both over and off the Kerry coast. There was a British Airways Boeing 787 flying from Montreal to Heathrow, a Virgin Airlines Boeing 747 from Orlando to Manchester and a third aircraft, a Norwegian Air 737 traveling from Stewart, New York, to Shannon. The BA pilot kicked off the conversation with Shannon by asking if there were military exercises taking place in the airspace through which her Boeing 787 was passing but there were no military exercises underway.
The dialog then went as follows:
“The pilot responded: “OK. It was moving so fast.”
The controller then asked: “Alongside you?”
The BA pilot described how the UFO came up along the left-hand side of the aircraft then rapidly veered to the North. She said it was a very bright light that “disappeared at very high speed.
She said they were “wondering” what it could be, that it did not seem to be on a collision course.” The pilot of a Virgin Airlines Boeing 747, call sign Virgin76, then joined the conversation and made reference to a meteor or another object re-entering the earth’s atmosphere and said there were “multiple objects following the same sort of trajectory”. He said they were very bright “where we were”. The other pilot of the 737 said the speed of the UFO was “astronomical, it was like Mach 2”, or twice the speed of sound.
The Irish Aviation Authority said that they were investigating the UFO incident but I suggest the horse has bolted. Years ago I heard a couple of comedians do a sketch that raised a smile. In a cockney accent one said, “An unidentified flying object landed in my garden last night”. A rich British voice then asked, “How do know it was an unidentified flying object?” The Cockney replied, ‘Cause it had UFO written on the side of it.’ Indeed!
Astrologers tell us that the number of planets in space runs to trillions and apparently by the use statistics, we have to also believe that there is a strong chance that many of them must be populated by ‘intelligent beings’. The story goes that some of these beings are very advanced and can build spaceships, (UFO’S), that appear to defy our laws of physics. Certainly there are hundreds of sightings around the world each year but skeptics dismiss them as nonsense. The more credible History Channel does periodically cast a skeptical eye over proceedings but even they have put up a web page listing the five of the most believable UFO sightings of the 21st century.
It was with that in mind and with tongue-in-cheek that my idle mind went spinning into the realms of speculation. I imagined that the Irish Aviation Authority issued a statement confirming these lights in the sky off Kerry were indeed UFO’s from another world. What would the likely Irish reaction to this be? For starters you could expect Shane Ross to ask the Gardai to investigate as to whether the pilots of those craft had alcohol taken, given their erratic driving style. The Irish branch of the #MeToo movement would want to know how these aliens treated their women. The Irish Cancer Society would demand a smoking ban on all UFO’s in Irish airspace because they would define them as workplaces. Alcohol Action Ireland would be sure to demand a price increase on all alcohol sold on UFO’s in our airspace and would further demand that no tax-free alcohol be available to any of them. Alien or not, they’d have to pay the full whack for their booze. Dr. Donal O’Shea would then put his oar in to suggest that obesity levels among young aliens has been shown to be shockingly high, pointing out that E.T. had a swollen stomach and had trouble even walking. The Government might announce a new Minister for Alien Affairs and a whole new Department to go with it. I could go on you know.
But the jury is out on the whole question of UFO’s and their occupants. Ryan Tubridy hasn’t had one of them on the Late Late Show for all of us to see and hear. None of them have been confirmed as captured by anyone human, (Roswell?), and the damned aliens haven’t attacked anyone or blown anything up. So it is down to circumstantial evidence or whether you believe in them or not. But there is another possible theory. Pilots in general and BA pilots in particular tend to be serious professionals who avoid even mentioning UFO incidences lest they appear unsound to their employers. So for any of their number to raise the issue on open radio with any ATC, they must have seen something unusual last Friday.
In 1964, Aer Lingus took delivery of its first jet, a Boeing 707, which at the time was the state of the art airliner. The 707 was about the pinnacle of air transport at that time. However, under a cloak of secrecy in 1964 the SR-71 Blackbird aircraft took its first flight too. It was and is the fastest aircraft in the skies but for years the US officially denied its existence. As a result, when commercial pilots saw something streaking across the skies in their vicinity going a walloping Mach 3, the first thought they had was other worldly. People at the time knew of nothing man made that could go that fast so it had to come from somewhere beyond. This simple mistaken identity actually suited the in-the-knows at the Pentagon because their secret weapon remained a secret.
But on December 17, 1903, Wilbur and Orville Wright made four brief flights at Kitty Hawk with their first powered aircraft. Sixty-one years after that we got the SR-71. So if something like an SR-71 Blackbird could be designed, tested and built all of 54 years ago, what do you imagine they have in the line of man made flying objects today that are highly secret and clandestine in operation. Those pilots off the Irish coast last Friday could have been buzzed by almost anything and in fact, when in doubt, blame the Russians. Why not? Apparently they are responsible for almost everything else and they are pretty handy around aircraft design too. Mind you, if you prefer, perhaps it was the little green men that mankind became obsessed with in the fifties and sixties. Some may ask though, why Ireland of all places. I can only suggest that these aliens are partial to the bit of craic so where else would they go? If they like a drop too sure we’re in clover, or should that be shamrock?
So you aliens off the Kerry coast last Friday, if you’re reading this, please drop by and give us a spin in yer wonder machine. If its the Yanks or the Russkies though, why don’t you fuck off and play with your toys somewhere else.