The lighter side of Flight International.

The visitors who never were

Disappointing news for UFO watchers from the US Department of Defense’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) which has – after a thorough and final review into so-called Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena (UAP) using a “rigorous scientific framework and a data-driven approach” – concluded that there is “no evidence confirming extra-terrestrial technologies”.

AARO’s 63-page report was produced following a review of almost 80 years of reports of sightings of what used to be called unidentified flying objects. It included analysis of what were, at the time, classified national security programmes.

“AARO has found no verifiable evidence that any UAP sighting has represented extraterrestrial activity,” acting director Tim Phillips told a 6 March Pentagon briefing.


Source: Shutterstock

Nothing to see here

“We assess that [such] claims… are largely the result of circular reporting in which a small group of individuals have repeated inaccurate claims they have heard from others over a period of several decades.”

So there you have it. An official report by a government agency denying that any part of the government has been involved in covering up UFOs – that should put a stop to all the conspiracy theories.


Not so green

European campaign group Transport & Environment is concerned about the pace of emission reductions.

It claims transport is decarbonising three times slower than the rest of the economy and warns mobility will comprise nearly half of European emissions by 2030.

Aviation still gets a bad rap, naturally, although aircraft and engine technology have improved considerably over the past 60 years.

Transport & Environment nevertheless chose to illustrate a recent press statement on business travel emissions with a stock photograph – ‘Plane in the Evening Sky’ by Oleg Ivanov – showing a Soviet-era Tupolev Tu-134 belching twin trails of soot.



Dust the job

“How was your day?”

“Oh, pretty uneventful. I did a bit of dusting around the place.”

The suspended aircraft at the Royal Air Force Museum Midlands in Cosford have just had their annual spring clean, carried out by a vertigo-immune specialist team who work their magic dangling in harnesses from the ceiling, 30m (100ft) in the air.

RAF Museum Midlands Hunter

Source: RAF Museum Midlands

You’ve missed a bit…

The museum’s spruced-up types include an Avro Vulcan, Douglas Dakota, English Electric Canberra and Lightning, Gloster Meteor and Javelin, Hawker Hunter and North American Sabre.


Captain Eric Moody

“Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We have a small problem. All four engines have stopped. We are doing our damnedest to get them under control. I trust you are not in too much distress.”

Thus the late Captain Eric Moody attempted to reassure terrified passengers aboard his British Airways Boeing 747-200 when it lost all power after flying through a volcanic ash cloud en route from Kuala Lumpur to Perth on 24 June 1982.

Using the glide ratio, Moody and his crew calculated they would stay airborne for about 23min, and began to discuss damage limitation scenarios – including ditching in the ocean, something never attempted on a 747.

However, as they were preparing to take the aircraft into the sea, they managed to restart engine number four, which bought them time by allowing Moody to slow the descent. Eventually all four Rolls-Royce RB211s came back to life and they were able to climb sufficiently to divert to Jakarta.

Moody, who has died peacefully aged 84, went down in history for his phlegmatic approach to the crisis, including what was described as his “masterpiece of understatement”.

A former colleague who once sat next to Moody – who by the 1990s had a career on the after-dinner speaker circuit – recalls: “Over the meal we exchanged introductions and he proceeded to give me the full unabridged story of the famous flight. Lovely guy. I’d have flown with him any day.”