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The UFO Files
The Belgian Triangle
March 30, 1990

On March 30, 1990, citizens of the city of Brussels spotted what appeared to be a large black triangular craft hovering silently over the city for several minutes. Local police officials arrived on the scene and reported observing the object as it appeared to hover over apartment buildings. One officer reported that the object released a red glowing disk of light from its center which flew down to the ground and darted around several buildings before disappearing.

SOURCE: Wikipedia Black triangle (UFO)


Belgian UFO wave

The Belgian UFO wave refers to a series of sightings of triangular UFOs in Belgium, which lasted from 29 November 1989 to April 1990.
The sightings

The Belgian UFO wave peaked with the events of the night of 30/31 March 1990. On that night unknown objects were tracked on radar, photographed, and were sighted by an estimated 13,500 people on the ground – 2,600 of whom filed written statements describing in detail what they had seen.[1] Following the incident the Belgian air force released a report detailing the events of that night.

At around 23:00 on 30 March the supervisor for the Control Reporting Center (CRC) at Glons received reports that three unusual lights were seen moving towards Thorembais-Gembloux which lies to the South-East of Brussels. The lights were reported to be brighter than stars, changing color between red, green and yellow, and appeared to be fixed at the vertices of an equilateral triangle. At this point Glons CRC requested the Wavre gendarmerie send a patrol to confirm the sighting.

Approximately 10 minutes later a second set of lights was sighted moving towards the first triangle. By around 23:30 the Wavre gendarmerie had confirmed the initial sightings and Glons CRC had been able to observe the phenomenon on radar. During this time the second set of lights, after some erratic manoeuvres, had also formed themselves into a smaller triangle. After tracking the targets and after receiving a second radar confirmation from the Traffic Center Control at Semmerzake, Glons CRC gave the order to scramble two F-16 fighters from Beauvechain Air Base shortly before midnight. Throughout this time the phenomenon was still clearly visible from the ground, with witnesses describing the whole formation as maintaining their relative positions while moving slowly across the sky. Witnesses also reported two dimmer lights towards the municipality of Eghezee displaying similar erratic movements to the second set of lights.

Over the next hour the two scrambled F-16s attempted nine separate interceptions of the targets. On three occasions they managed to obtain a radar lock for a few seconds but each time the targets changed position and speed so rapidly that the lock was broken. During the first radar lock, the target accelerated from 240 km/h to over 1,770 km/h while changing altitude from 2,700 m to 1,500 m, then up to 3,350 m before descending to almost ground level – the first descent of more than 900 m taking less than two seconds. Similar manoeuvres were observed during both subsequent radar locks. On no occasion were the F-16 pilots able to make visual contact with the targets and at no point, despite the speeds involved, was there any indication of a sonic boom. Moreover, narrator Robert Stack added in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries, the sudden changes in acceleration and deceleration would have been fatal to one or more human pilots.

During this time, ground witnesses broadly corroborate the information obtained by radar. They described seeing the smaller triangle completely disappear from sight at one point, while the larger triangle moved upwards very rapidly as the F-16s flew past. After 00:30 radar contact became much more sporadic and the final confirmed lock took place at 00:40. This final lock was once again broken by an acceleration from around 160 km/h to 1,120 km/h after which the radar of the F-16s and those at Glons and Semmerzake all lost contact. Following several further unconfirmed contacts the F-16s eventually returned to base shortly after 01:00.

The final details of the sighting were provided by the members of the Wavre gendarmerie who had been sent to confirm the original report. They describe four lights now being arranged in a square formation, all making short jerky movements, before gradually losing their luminosity and disappearing in four separate directions at around 01:30.[2]


A supposed black triangle, 15 June 1990, Wallonia, Belgium. Claimed to have been taken during the UFO wave, though released thirteen years later.Wallonia, Belgium, Europe. Source - Author J.S. Henrardi

In April 1990, a photo was taken of a triangular object upon which 3 lights are visible at each corner. Some people claim it to be an important UFO picture. Others are more sceptical, claiming that the photograph is a hoax[3]

Sceptics say there is no background in the photograph and that there is no element which would allow the calculation of the object's size or distance from the camera. Wim van Utrecht, a Belgian sceptic, has reproduced a copy of the photograph with devices. A computer graphics simulation method[4] to reproduce the photograph was developed by a Belgian mathematician, Thierry Veyt at The University of Liège Laboratory of Astrophysics, wherein the apparent "shake" motion, that results in the lights of the craft appearing blurred or out of focus in the photograph contradicts eye-witness statements. This, along with the anonymity of the photographer and fact that the image was not produced publicly until 4 months after the alleged event brings the authenticity of the image into question.[5]

Skeptical explanations

In The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989–1992 – A Neglected Hypothesis, Renaud Leclet & co. discuss the fact that some sightings can be explained by helicopters. Most witnesses reported that the objects were silent. This report argues that the lack of noise could be due to the engine noise in the witnesses' automobiles, or strong natural wind blowing in the direction of a witness, combined with the wind due to driving a vehicle.[6]


UFOs above Belgium, written by John van Waterschoot, mathematician, economist and professor at the University of Leuven. Published by Lannoo.

Vague OVNI sur la Belgique (UFO wave over Belgium), written by the defunct SOBEPS organisation.

See also

  1. "'Sunday Express' article on Belgium UFO". Sunday Express. 17 September 1995
  2. "Report concerning the observation of UFOs in the night from March 30 to March 31, 1990 -"
  3. Pierre Magain et Marc Remy, Les OVNI : un sujet de recherche? , Physicalia Magazine, Vol. 15, n°4, pp. 311–318.
  4. Original paper given to the french newspaper Le Soir Illustré and reproduced by "Les repas ufologiques parisiens" a french ufo association Le flou de bougé de la photo de petit-rechain par la calcul matriciel - [PDF]Archived]
  5. Le Soir Illustré, Jean-Marc Veszely, Ovni: la retraite à cinquante ans ? belgian newspaper interviewing a mathematician about Ufos and the "photograph of Petit-Rechain"
  6. "The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989–1992 – A Neglected Hypothesis" - [PDF]Archived]
Related Links: Source: Wikipedia Belgian UFO Wave
While the Belgium UFO wave was real enough, it seems that the famous photo was a hoax after all. There are several photos but upon inspection they are all altered versions of the one

Controversial Belgian UFO Image Confirmed a Hoax after Two Decades
By Monami Thakur on July 28 2011

In April 1990, a photograph of a triangular shaped hovering UFO by an eighteen year old man named Patrick became one of the most sensational photographs that perplexed even scientists at NASA.

After almost two decades, the mystery of the photograph was finally resolved as the man behind the hoax admitted the picture was a fake.

In a TV interview, one of the forgers admitted that the UFO was made of polystyrene and then photographed.

This Belgian UFO incident is closely related with a period in the country when there were several reports of triangular UFO sightings by the public. Coined as the Belgian UFO Wave, the events lasted from November 1989 to April 1990.

"You can do a lot with a little; we managed to trick everyone with a piece of polystyrene. We made the model with polystyrene, we painted it and then we started sticking things to it, then we suspended it in the air ... then we took the photo," Reuters quoted one of the forgers during an interview with French-language broadcaster RTL.

For years together, this image puzzled scientists and researchers across the world and a search plane was also ordered at that time to hunt down the UFOs across the nation but to no avail.

Letter regarding the Belgian Triangle and other incidents by Maj Thomas Shively, USAF dated Dec 19, 1990
Reference to the attachment of the DD 214
Congressional Record, V. 144, Pt. 13, July 31, 1998 to September 8, 1998
 By Congress..
Page 19191

Headquarters Air Force Materiel Command Cataloging and Standardization Center (HQ AFMC/CASC) in Battle Creek, Michigan serves as the control point for DoD MDS designators and aerospace vehicle popular names and assigns such designations as requested. Headquarters U.S. Air Force (HQ USAF/XPPE) at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. administers the MDS Designator Program for the DoD and exercises approval authority for all new MDS designations. - SOURCE

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