Birmingham UFO Group Case Report
Author: Ian Jones
Release Date: 13/12/2022
Date of Sighting: Tuesday, 12th July 2022
Time of sighting: 2.50am
Place: Wildfell Road, Acocks Green, B27 7DY, Birmingham, England
The witness wishes to remain anonymous, so will be referred to as the observer.
Wildfell Road is a twisty road, joining the B4514 (Oulton Boulevard East) with Gospel Lane, both of which meet at the Warwick Road (A41). The property where the object was observed from is within the red line in the below map:
The observer’s description of the sighting:
“So, in the early hours of this morning, around 2.50am, I was on my way back to bed, I opened the curtains to allow more air flow as it's been hot. We live under the flight path of Birmingham International Airport and the window faces more or less the South East and the Airport is off to the left in an Eastern direction.
Upon opening the curtains there was a large white light in the East, I thought it might be Venus but it was way too large and there was cloud cover, no stars were visible. After watching for a few seconds my hubby woke up and just before he looked at it, it turned red and shot up and stopped. It looked like a red triangle, and it chased a smaller white light that may have been an aeroplane that moved off to the left, but it looked pale and fuzzy. It then moved back to the right and it was blinking in and out without moving.
We watched for a few minutes and it was moving left to right, still with the light fading in and out. It suddenly turned green and then moved quickly upwards in the sky, when it stopped it turned red and was triangled shaped again.
We watched for what seemed a long time until it eventually flashed and faded away. I don't know what this was, we have live here for 25 years and we have helicopters, planes etc. of all descriptions flying over us all the time. The object was a distance away but it must have been large as it disappeared behind the houses opposite us. This was nothing like I've seen before. It so strange and I can't explain it. I didn't get any pictures as my phone was downstairs.”
Here is a map showing the proximity of the sighting location to Birmingham International Airport:
The observer added two photos indicating where the light was seen and a dot to show the rough size. The first photograph, below, shows the view at night, with a white dot added to it to show approximately where the light was seen.
The observer added:
“The light was pure white and it moved slightly. But then it turned red and I could just make out a triangle shape. It followed another, smaller white that could have been an aeroplane as it looked like the airport flight path. It moved from left to right. Then suddenly turn green and shot upwards, stopped and turn red again. We watched it for what seemed ages, it disappeared behind the houses, came out and gradually faded out.
It was about the size of a 5p with my arm extended and it was low cloud cover so it was not Jupiter which was in sky around this time. I looked out the following morning at Jupiter and it was half the size of the object we saw.”
The second photograph, below, shows the same view during the day, again with a white dot added to show where the light was seen.
These photographs show that the view from the bedroom window is restricted by houses and tall trees. They do not have a clear view of the horizon and this means they can only see objects that are higher up in the sky.
The object they saw, as indicated on the photos, was probably about 45 degrees above the horizon.
Analysis of the Sighting
The information below is obtained from online sources.
Sky – Almost cloudless
Wind – From the SE at about 3-4 mph
Temperature – about 19 degrees Centigrade
Humidity about 70%
Overall, it was a warm, calm, fairly clear night. Therefore, there was no thunderstorm, or lightening in the area, which rules out ball lightening as an explanation.
The Moon had just set at 02.45, so was not visible by the time of the sighting.
Dawn was at 04.27, so it was still fairly dark.
Sunrise was later still, at 04.49, so there was no possibility of the sun’s rays being a factor in this sighting.
Venus was about 10 degrees above the NE horizon, so it was in a different direction to the observed lights. Also, the houses and trees in the near view from the window would have got in the way of seeing it at all.
Mars was about 27 degrees above the Eastern horizon, low visibility, but again it was probably blocked from view by the nearby houses/trees.
Jupiter was about 34 degrees above the SE horizon, good visibility, but small.
Saturn was over the Southern horizon, highest at 03.34 at 22 degrees, low magnitude, so not in the same direction as the object observed and again not easily seen.
The observer said there were no stars visible.
Overall, given the low altitude above the horizon of these planets, they would not have been easily seen in a built-up area as this is, because the nearby buildings and trees would obscure the view of them. Also, planets do not move around, or change colour, in the way the observed object did.
Birmingham Airport is about 5 Km away from Acocks Green, in an E/NE direction. The main runway is in a roughly NW-SE direction, which is at right-angles to the line of sight from Wildfell Road. Aircraft taking off, or coming in to land, would fly across the observer’s line of sight in a straight, slowly ascending, or descending line, either from the right to left, or left to right.
At 02.50 on a Tuesday there is not usually much air traffic around, in the early summer months. The 12th July is not yet the peak time for holiday flights, as schools do not break up for the summer holidays until two weeks later, the last week in July.
The two maps below show what aircraft were in the air at 02.50 and 02.57 that morning, which is the approximate time period for this sighting.
The reported size of the light seen is that of a 5p coin at arm’s length, which is quite big. However, it is not clear how far away the light was during the time it was seen. It was probably too big to be one of the aircraft described below.
The first map below, obtained via Flight Radar 24, shows that there is an aircraft flying towards the airport, approaching from over Coventry, which is some distance away on the far side of the airport from Acocks Green to the right. This could have been the other, pale, fuzzy while light that the observer saw at first near the main lighted object, especially if it was seen through some low, thin cloud.
It seems unlikely that this would be the main object that was seen if it was incoming from that direction, because it could not have been making such unusual aerial movements on its approach to landing.
The second map, below, shows that there was one aircraft in the Birmingham area at 02.57. It was approaching the airport from the north-west and was over the other side of Birmingham, around Erdington, which is to the left from the observer’s viewpoint.
This does not fit in with the description of what observed. Coming in from that direction it would have appeared to be getting larger in size and could not have been making the unusual movements she reports.
The airport can only monitor tracked aircraft. If aircraft and other craft do not have tracking available, or it is switched off, then they are effectively invisible to the airport radar systems.
The unusual movements of the light that was observed are not typical of aircraft, regardless of size, especially when they are so close to a major airport.
A helicopter is a possible candidate for what was seen. Helicopters are able to fly horizontally and then stop, hover, change direction, fly upwards and downwards. They have very bright white, red and green navigation lights on them. Red is on the left, green is on the right and white is at the front. There are also white lights on either side of the tail and a red one in the centre of the tail. Depending on the helicopter’s orientation, the most visible light will vary in colour.
It could have been a police helicopter engaged in a search pattern. This would have meant it flying first one way, for example right to left, at which time the red light would have been most obvious. Then, flying in the opposite direction, the green light would have been most obvious. So the object would appear to change colour. Flying towards the observer, the white light would be most visible. The lights either flash, or rotate, so it would look like they are blinking in and out. A police helicopter could well be out flying, doing this sort of thing, at that time of day.
However, helicopters do not usually appear triangular-shaped. Also, they are loud, especially at that time of the morning, so the observer would have been able to hear something, especially with it changing speed and height so often and given that it was a calm and clear night. There was no sign of a searchlight directed towards the ground. It would have been operating much closer to the airport, so that may be unusual, given the restricted use of airspace near there.
There was little wind at this time, so the speed of movement of the object does not suggest inflatable/drifting objects (for example lanterns, blimps, LED balloons) as an explanation. Neither does the way it made sudden direction changes horizontally and vertically, or the changes in speed, or how it appeared to change colour.
The very early time of day makes it less likely that the object was a drone. It would not be a commercial drone at that time. Individuals with drones would not find it easy to fly one in low-light conditions, because the onboard camera/s would not be able to see much in the dark and maintaining safe line if sight control of one would be difficult in a built-up area like Birmingham. Then, they do not change colour from white to green to red and back again; their lights do not flash, or blink. Also, it is illegal to fly the things anywhere near the airport.
If the main object observed was a drone, helicopter, or UAP (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena), and it did, initially, follow an aircraft towards the airport, it would be a near-miss concern for the aircraft involved. The pilot/s would have to report it. I have checked with the UK Airprox Board, which produces and publishes a report about such incidents it has referred to it. There were no such incident reports for this date, or any other, in July over Birmingham Airport.
I have checked in the local press for that period, but have not found any reports there of unusual lights in the sky.
It could be that what was seen was a helicopter, but it is not possible to be certain, because the light did not behave entirely in the way a helicopter might and it was close to the airport.
As it is not certain this is the explanation, it remains an unidentified aerial phenomenon (UAP).
It would be helpful to have any other reports linked to this sighting, because that would provide more evidence on which to make a proper, definitive conclusion about it.
Copyright Ian Jones 2022