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06/10/2012 - The Radleys, Birmingham – Black Sphere Sighting

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Author: Dave Hodrien

Last Updated: 11/10/2012


Early on the evening of 6th October 2012, a UFO incident occurred in The Radleys, Birmingham which was witnessed by my friend Chris who was at the time on his way over to my house on a bus. This was confirmed by a second witness the following day, after the first draft of this report was posted on the BUFOG website. It is clear that not only did the incident take place, but that the object was observed by a police helicopter from Birmingham International Airport. Planes were also being re-directed by the airport while the object was present in the area.

This report contains up-to-date information on this case, and will be updated with any further developments as they come to light. It includes E-Mail transcripts from the airport and details of a phone call with the police.

First Witness Sighting Details

On the evening of 6th October 2012 my friend Chris had plans to come across to my house in Solihull for a few hours. He set off from his home in Chelmsley Wood and walked to the bus stop on Moorend Avenue. It was a pleasant and still evening with only light cloud cover. As he reached the bus stop he noticed a distant helicopter in the sky to the South West West in the direction of The Radleys. He got on the 71 bus that travels close past to where I live.

Photograph from Moorend Avenue with the approximate position of the helicopter marked:

The bus headed to the West until it was on Garretts Green Lane. By now it was around 6.20 pm and the sun was just starting to set. Chris was sitting on the left side of the bus and staring out of the window. As the bus travelled towards a small roundabout, he noticed the same helicopter he had seen earlier on hovering in the sky to the South East. He realised it was a police helicopter, one that is often seen patrolling the area. However directly below it he saw what appeared to be a small black coloured sphere.

Photograph ofthe location on Garretts Green where the UFO was first spotted, with the helicopter and object drawn on top:

The object was completely motionless. It appeared to be about twice the size of a basketball. He initially assumed that it was something hanging from the base of the helicopter. However Chris has a good knowledge of aircraft and was aware that this type of helicopter does not come equipped with a winch. There was nothing between the helicopter and the object, and something did not feel right about this explanation.

Chris kept his eye on the object and the helicopter as the bus made its way along Garretts Green. It then turned onto Sheldon Heath Road. A short distance along this the bus pulled up at a bus stop. The UFO was now a little closer now, and Chris could see that it was not directly under the helicopter but just close to it. So at this point he realised it was definitely not something attached to the helicopter and hanging from it.

Photograph from the bus stop on Sheldon Heath Road with the helicopter and object drawn on top:

The bus continued on its route and still there was no sign of any movement from the sphere, it was completely motionless. As the bus approached The Radleys pub Chris got his closest view of the sphere. It was still quite small in size, but the police helicopter nearby appeared to be watching it. Up until this point the UFO had been completely stationary in the air. As the bus pulle away from the stop the object appeared to briefly move slowly towards the helicopter before stopping again. The helicopter then appeared to back off a short distance, before it too continued to hover. However Chris stated that he cannot be certain this was not an optical illusion caused by the movement of the bus.

Photograph from further down Sheldon Heath Road with the helicopter and object drawn on top:

Chris also noticed a man down on the pavement of the island. He appeared to be standing and looking up in the direction of the object and helicopter. It is this man, who also happens to be named Chris, who got in touch with me after reading the initial report on the site! You can read his testimony below.

Aerial map of the area showing the location where Chris first spotted the UFO and helicopter (A), the estimated positions of the UFO (B) and helicopter (C), and Birmingham International Airport (D):

As soon as Chris arrived at my house he told me about what he had just witnessed. We immediately drove back out to the island near to The Radleys pub and parked up. The police helicopter was still present, but the sphere was nowhere to be seen, much to our disappointment. The helicopter was moving around the area and certainly appeared to be searching for something.

Photograph I took of the helicopter still patrolling the area, pointing in the direction of where the UFO had been situated:

Whether coincidence or not, while we watched the helicopter, it did stop and hover pointing in the direction where the sphere had been situated.

Second Witness Sighting Details

As was mentioned earlier, my friend Chris saw someone standing by the roundabout at The Radleys looking up in the direction of the UFO and helicopter. This individual got in touch with me on Sunday 7th October to confirm that he too had seen the object, and had witnessed events for much longer than Chris had. Below is his testimony in his own words:

"Regarding this incident, I was the man he saw by the bus stop. The helicopter had been searching a large area of the estate for about 1 hr before I left the house to go the the shops. As I approached Garretts Green Lane the helicopter stopped above my head and edged forwards at a slow pace, that's when I saw the sphere. It was much larger than a football and pure black.

I watched the object along with the police for around 40 minutes, the helicopter approached a few times then backed off, all this time I noticed no movement at all from the object. The helicopter must have become low on fuel as suddenly it flew away in the direction of its base. At this point I decided that I would go to the shop and kept glancing back. Just before I entered the shop I looked and it was gone.

After coming out of the shop, I went back to where I had been standing and looked long and hard but no sign of it, then the helicopter returned to the spot and also began searching. After searching the local sky, the helicopter lowered as if to land on the parkland, at a height of about 50 ft it hovered and rotated as if searching the park. The nest place it searched was the street next to the park, then it began an ever widening search of the sky. This went on for about a half hour before the helicopter left the area.

All the time this was happening, no planes took off or landed and the ones approaching to land were going back into the sky. This is part of the airport landing approach path."

As the witness actually watched the helicopter until it left the area for good, this means that he must have actually still been present when myself and Chris returned to the roundabout.

Birmingham International Airport Correspondance

I first got in touch with Birmingham International Airport on the evening of 7th October. My first E-Mail focused on the re-directed air traffic and whether anything was picked up on radar:

"Good morning,

I believe that the area known as The Radleys to the North West West of the airport lies directly in the landing/take off flight path. On the evening of Saturday 6th October 2012 at around 5.30 pm and for at least an hour, aircraft on approach to the airport appeared to be re-directed away from The Radleys, and no planes were observed taking off and travelling over the area. Please can you confirm any of the following:

- Whether the landing/take off flight path for the airport does pass over The Radleys.

- Whether this area was set to "off limits" for aircraft for any period of time on Saturday evening.

- The reason or reasons why this was done.

- Whether anything unusual was picked up on radar by air traffic control in the vicinity of The Radleys during this time.

If you are not able to answer these questions, please re-direct this E-Mail as appropriate.

I hope to hear from you soon,

Dave Hodrien"

During the following day I received a response from the Birmingham International Airport Environmental Impacts Specialist. It reads as follows:

"Dear Dave

Thank you for your email.

As you may know, Birmingham Airport has one runway which operates in two directions: Runway 15 and Runway 33. The direction of operations is dependent upon meteorological conditions. When Runway 15 is in use aircraft will land from the North and depart to the South. When Runway 33 is in use the aircraft will land from the South and depart to the North. As The Radleys is directly to the North of the airfield it will be overflown by arrivals or departure, depending on the runway direction in use.

On the evening of the 6th October a kite was reported as potentially being in the area to the North of the airfield and therefore, as a precaution, aircraft were temporarily arriving and departing from the South only. This was a very unusual occurrence and operations are now back to normal.

I trust this answers your query