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Summer 1979/80 – Olton, Birmingham – Silver Cigar UFO Formation Sighting

Birmingham UFO Group Case Report

Release Date: 14/03/2023

Author: Dave Hodrien

In January 2023 I was contacted by a lady named Nina Scott via Facebook messenger. She wanted to discuss a couple of sightings she had experienced previously in her life. This report documents the first of these sightings, which took place in Olton, Birmingham.

Sighting Details

The incident happened on a bright and sunny afternoon in the summer of either 1979 or 1980 when Nina was 8 or 9 years old. At the time her mother worked at Olton Hollow, a line of shops which leads to the edge of Acocks Green. She and her mother had been doing some shopping in the area, and were now walking South East along Warwick Road towards where they lived.

Aerial map of Warwick Road indicating the position of the witnesses

Nina happened to look up into the sky and noticed a number of unusual objects. At a sharp angle of about 70 degrees, there were 7 identical looking disc-shaped objects lined up in a row. Each one was reflective silver in colour and cigar-shaped (at least from the angle they were viewing them). They appeared to be at very high altitude and were completely static. There was only wispy cloud at the time so they could be seen quite clearly.

Photograph of the sighting location

She pointed the objects out to her mother, and they both started to glance at them as they continued walking up Warwick Road. The objects certainly looked unusual and Nina is certain that they were solid objects in the sky, and were not a formation of aeroplanes or helicopters.

After watching them on and off for a number of minutes the objects were hidden from view behind a cloud. After the cloud passed by the witnesses expected the UFOs to still be present by they had vanished without trace.

Witness drawing of the UFOs with notes

Nina says that the memories of the incident have remained with her for over 40 years. It certainly seems to have made a lasting impression.

Sighting Analysis

This is an intriguing sighting due to the appearance and positioning of the objects. It seems improbable that they were an optical illusion in the sky caused by reflection of sunlight. The incident happened decades before drones were commercially available, so this cannot have been the explanation.

The sighting location is only two miles from Birmingham International Airport as shown on the below image.

Aerial map indicating the sighting location (A) and Birmingham International Airport (B)

Although distant planes at high altitude can sometimes appear as reflective cigar-shaped objects, and numerous planes could be have been flown in the formation observed, Nina is convinced that the UFOs were static in the sky as they walked up the road, meaning that this could not have been the explanation.

It would be less conceivable for distant helicopters to have the appearance of cigars, but not impossible. And perhaps coincidentally this formation decided to move off in the same direction as the cloud at precicely the same moment and speed, giving the appearance that they had vanished, although you may feel the odds of this are quite low. As the airport is situated North East of the sighting location, if a formation of helicopters had come from there, the witnesses would have been viewing them from a side on perspective.

That said, despite the proximity of the airport 360 Radar confirms that the area does not lie within an airway (recognised route which aircraft follow):

However it does unsurisingly confirm that the area does fall within controlled airspace, making it unlikely for the objects to have been privately flown aircraft:

If they were not aeroplanes, helicopters or drones what else could they have been? It’s unlikely that identical blimps would be flown in such large numbers one after the other. However a launch of a number of novelty balloons could conceivably take place. If caught in an air current these balloons could line up. Maybe from certain angles the objects were less reflective, and so were still present in the sky, but appeared to have vanished as the witnesses walked up the road and their angle of view shifted.

However you would also expect them to rotate rather than all be positioned horizontally. Also some movement via natural drift, even if quite slow, would still be expected. That said, this was quite a distant sighting, and the objects did not perform any manoeuvres which would indicate intelligence.

Due to the distance of the sighting, and apparent lack of movement, there are a number of possible mundane explanations that cannot be entirely ruled out. That said, neither can they be confirmed, so this sighting will likely remain a mystery.

As mentioned at the start of this report, Nina has had a second sighting much later in her life. To read the report on this incident click here

Copyright Dave Hodrien 2023



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