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Belgium’s Flying Triangle Wave – Openminds.tv


Jan 25, 2023

Thirty years in the past, hundreds of Belgian residents reported mysterious platforms flying silently over rooftops. The Royal Belgian Air Power obtained concerned and cooperated totally with civilian investigators. To today, nevertheless, the origins of those craft stay unknown.

It’s exhausting to convey the thrill brought on by the Belgian UFO wave if you weren’t following UFO information again in 1989 and the early Nineteen Nineties. There was no scarcity of UFO reviews again then, and curiosity within the phenomenon was at a excessive. The sightings and pictures from Gulf Breeze, Florida, dominated the American scene, wild UFO reviews and tales popping out of the previous Soviet Union acquired large worldwide media consideration, and the Mexican video wave took off in 1991. But the Belgian wave appeared to high all of those tales for awhile. The reviews out of this small nation, headquarters of each the European Fee and NATO, acquired unprecedented protection, making even the entrance web page of the Wall Road Journal on October 10, 1990, with a narrative entitled, “Belgium Scientists Critically Pursue A Triangular UFO.”

The basic triangular-shaped UFO described by a whole bunch of eyewitnesses in the course of the Belgium wave: sketch by witness used to create reconstruction of the thing seen on the high of story. Credit score: SOBEPS

There have been many causes for the curiosity generated by the Belgian wave. One was the standard of the reviews themselves, the majority of which have been registered within the French-speaking area of Wallonia. There have been no landings or humanoid sightings however plenty of detailed multiple-witness sightings of flying platforms transferring slowly and silently above rooftops. Shapes diversified, however the predominant type was triangular or delta-shaped crafts. Among the descriptions have been so exact that conventional explanations of misidentified pure phenomena or typical plane have been dominated out. As a substitute, stealth fighters and different U.S. secret navy plane turned the favourite explanations instructed by skeptics, however these have been rapidly dominated out by the Royal Belgian Air Power (RBAF). Another excuse for the wave’s significance was that it was rigorously investigated and documented by an area UFO group known as SOBEPS (Belgian society for the examine of house phenomena).

SOBEPS was shaped in 1971 by Lucien Clerebaut, Michel Bougard, and others, and constructed a small however extremely devoted cadre of area investigators. By the top of the wave in 1993, SOBEPS had collected over two thousand eyewitness reviews comprising twenty thousand pages, 4 hundred hours of audio tapes, and 600 full inquiries. 5 hundred and forty instances remained unexplained. SOBEPS additionally had the help of top-notch scientists, together with Léon Brenig, a nonlinear dynamics theorist on the Free College in Brussels, and Professor Auguste Meessen, a physicist from Catholic College at Louvain. Concerning his work with SOBEPS, Dr. Brenig has stated, “right here is a chance the place we will apply the scientific methodology.” Brenig himself turned a witness of the so-called Belgian triangle whereas driving within the Ardennes on March 18, 1990. The entire file was finally revealed by SOPEPS in two large volumes, 5 hundred pages every, entitled Imprecise d’OVNI sur la Belgique (UFO Wave ver Belgium), revealed in 1991 and 1994 respectively. As a result of monetary difficulties, SOBEPS dissolved on December 31, 2007, however a few of its members shaped a brand new, smaller group known as COBEPS (Belgian committee for the examine of house phenomena) to protect the archives and work performed for thirty-six years.

The 2 volumes revealed by SOBEPS entitled, “UFO Wave Over Belgium.” Credit score: SOBEPS

A last and key aspect within the credibility of the Belgian UFO wave was the participation and validation by the RBAF, which confirmed an uncommon diploma of openness. Because the Belgian wave gained steam, the Belgian Ministry of Defence was deluged with queries from the general public and the media. The duty fell upon the chief of operations of the air drive, Col. Wilfried De Brouwer, who was later promoted to main common and deputy chief of the RBAF. Now retired from the service, Gen. De Brouwer has continued to discuss the wave. He was one of many many worldwide officers who spoke on the well-known occasion on the Nationwide Press Membership (NPC) in Washington, DC, in November 2007, organized by filmmaker James Fox and journalist Leslie Kean. “The Belgian UFO wave was distinctive and the air drive couldn’t establish the character, origin and intentions of the reported phenomena,” stated De Brouwer on the NPC. He additionally gave an in depth presentation on the wave on the MUFON Worldwide UFO Symposium in San Jose, California, in July 2008, and was considered one of 5 generals to write down an essay in Leslie Kean’s new e book, UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go On the Record.

Though the RBAF scrambled jets on three events in the course of the wave, Gen. De Brouwer has defined on numerous events that they didn’t have the manpower or sources to mount a full-fledged investigation of their very own, so as an alternative they took the weird route of cooperating totally with SOBEPS. The radar information was turned to Prof. Meessen for evaluation, and Gen. De Brouwer agreed to write down the postface for SOBEPS’s first quantity when he was nonetheless within the service. “I need to acknowledge that I considerably hesitated when SOBEPS requested me to contribute my share to this e book,” he wrote. “Certainly, I’m not a UFO specialist and, furthermore, it’s fairly delicate for any person who occupies an official perform to placed on paper his private concepts on such a disputed situation. Nevertheless, I estimate that I might not have been trustworthy in the direction of the SOBEPS if I had refused. The air drive at all times performed a good recreation on this topic and I regard this postface as a complementary aspect to the distinctive file written by the folks of SOBEPS.”


Though some sightings have been reported in October 1989, the primary necessary incident of the Belgian wave passed off a month afterward November 29 across the small city of Eupen, which is in a area of Belgium close to the German border. This preliminary case put the so-called “Belgian triangle” on the map and led to the beginning of the RBAF’s involvement. There have been each daytime and nighttime sightings, though the latter have been lengthier and extra detailed. Gen. De Brouwer defined in his essay for Leslie Kean’s e book, “a complete of seventy reported sightings made on November 29 have been totally investigated and none of those sightings might be defined by typical expertise. The staff of investigators and I estimate that roughly fifteen hundred folks will need to have seen the phenomenon at greater than seventy totally different areas from totally different angles throughout this afternoon and night.” There have been a complete of 13 gendarmes (policemen) who noticed the UFO from eight totally different areas round Eupen. Prof. Meessen summarized the case in SOBEPS’s e book:

On November 29, 1989, a big craft with triangular form flew over the city of Eupen. The gendarmes von Montigny and Nicol discovered it close to the highway linking Aix-la-Chapelle and Eupen. It was stationary within the air, above a area which it illuminated with three highly effective beams. The beams emanated from massive round surfaces close to the triangle’s corners. Within the middle of the darkish and flat understructure there was some type of “crimson gyrating beacon.” The item didn’t make any noise. When it started to maneuver, the gendarmes headed in the direction of a small highway within the space over which they anticipated the thing to fly. As a substitute, it made a half-turn and continued slowly within the course of Eupen, following the highway at low altitude. It was seen by totally different witnesses because it flew above homes and close to Metropolis Corridor.

In his 2008 MUFON lecture, Gen. De Brouwer offered extra particulars on this sighting: “The UAP [Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon] emitted repeatedly and concurrently two crimson gentle beams with a crimson gentle ball on the spearhead of the beam. Subsequently, the crimson balls returned to the craft.” There was additionally apparently a second triangular craft, which made “a ahead tilting maneuver, exposing the higher aspect of the fuselage,” continued De Brouwer. “They [gendarmes] noticed a dome with rectangular home windows, lighted up on the inside. It then disappeared to the North.” Two extra gendarmes noticed one of many craft from a monastery close by; “one is at the moment the top of the police in that space, he was scared like hell,” added De Brouwer.

Statistical chart of Belgian sightings between October 1989 and September 1990, exhibiting peaks within the November-December interval and a second one in April. Credit score: SOBEPS

The Eupen incident was adopted by many different UFO sightings, together with a number of reported on December 11, 1989. One of many witnesses that night was a private acquaintance of Gen. De Brouwer, Col. André Amond, a civil engineer within the Belgian Military. Col. Armond labored subsequent door to Gen. De Brouwer and wrote an in depth report for the Ministry of Defence. Col. Armond was driving along with his spouse round 6:45 p.m., once they observed a wierd object with flashing crimson lights. They stopped the automobile and obtained out to see it higher. “All of a sudden, they noticed an enormous highlight, about twice the dimensions of the total moon, which approached them to an estimated distance of 100 meters,” wrote De Brouwer, including that “the colonel’s spouse was frightened and requested to go away.” In his report back to the Ministry, Armond “ascertained that this craft was not a hologram, helicopter, navy plane, balloon, motorized Extremely Mild, or every other recognized aerial car.”

Numerous shapes have been reported all through the wave, together with spherical, rectangular, and cigar-shaped, however the majority have been triangular objects. Gen. De Brouwer notes that the variations might also be because of the eyewitnesses’ viewing angles. Researcher Marc Valckenaers listed a number of the traits of the UFOs in SOBEPS’s second quantity in regards to the wave, together with: irregular displacement (zig-zag, instantaneous change of trajectory, and many others.), displacement following the contours of the terrain; various speeds of displacement (together with very gradual movement), stationary flight (hovering), overflight of city and industrial facilities, and sound results (faint buzzing to complete silence).

Reconstruction of the unimaginable rectangular flying platform seen by two manufacturing unit staff on April 22, 1990, described as “an plane service turned the other way up.” Credit score: SOBEPS

One of many strangest reviews got here from two manufacturing unit staff from the city of Basècles, southwest of Brussels, who noticed an enormous trapezoid flying platform (330 x 200 ft) simply earlier than midnight on April 22, 1990. The item moved slowly and silently, masking all the manufacturing unit courtyard. Within the SOBEPS report, the manufacturing unit staff described the UFO as “an plane service turned the other way up.” Regardless of the science-fiction high quality of this sighting, an virtually equivalent report was filed practically a yr later, on March 15, 1991, by an digital engineer in Auderghem, close to Brussels, who awoke in the course of the evening when he “heard a barely audible, high-frequency whistling tone. He regarded out the window and noticed a big rectangular craft at very low altitude with irregular constructions on the underside,” wrote Gen. De Brouwer.

One attribute of the Belgian wave was how shut the objects have been flying above the rooftops, as proven with this flying rectangular platform. Credit score: SOBEPS

One other view of the oblong flying platform above the rooftop and sketch exhibiting the place the witness noticed it. Credit score: SOBEPS


If the Eupen multiple-witness sightings of November 1989 triggered the Belgian wave, the jet fighter scramble incident in the course of the evening of March 30, 1990 marked the height of public curiosity and international media protection. The Belgian Air Power had scrambled jets on two prior events with out optimistic outcomes. The December 5, 1989 scramble was unsuccessful; when the jet reached the sky, the UFO was gone. Moreover, the December 16, 1989 case turned out to be a false alarm; the authorities rapidly decided that it was a laser projection mirrored by a cloud layer. Following these two fiascos, the RBAF carried out a brand new coverage that jets could be scrambled solely when a sighting was detected on radar and was visually confirmed on the bottom by the police.

The SOBEPS staff visiting the Royal Belgian Air Power radar facility at Glons: within the middle group, left, the Society’s chairman Lucien Clerebaut and proper, physicist Prof. Auguste Meessen, subsequent to navy officer. Credit score: SOBEPS

As put in a preliminary report ready by Main P. Lambrechts of the RBAF, entitled “Report Regarding the Commentary of UFOs Throughout the Evening of March 30 to 31, 1990,” the incident started at 10:50 p.m. on March 30 when the gendarmerie telephoned the radar “grasp controller at Glons” to report “three uncommon lights forming an equilateral triangle.” Extra gendarmes confirmed the lights. When the NATO facility at Semmerzake detected an unknown goal at 11:49 p.m., a call to scramble two F-16 fighters was made. The jets took off at 12:05 a.m. from Beauvechain, the closest air base, and flew for simply over an hour. In accordance with Main Lambrechts’s report:

The plane had transient radar contacts on a number of events, [but the pilots]…at no time established visible contact with the UFOs…every time the pilots have been in a position to safe a lock on one of many targets for just a few seconds, there resulted a drastic change within the habits of the detected targets…[During the first lock-on at 12:13 a.m.] their velocity modified in a minimal of time from 150 to 970 knots [170 to 1,100 mph] and from 9,000 to five,000 ft, returning then to 11,000 ft with a view to change once more to shut to floor degree.

When Col. De Brouwer confirmed the computerized radar photographs of the UFO tracked by the F-16 onboard radar system in a closely attended press convention on the Ministry of Defence on July 11, 1990, the worldwide media went right into a frenzy. Transcripts of the radio communications between ace fighter pilots, Capt. Yves Meelbergs, Lt. Rudy Verrijt, and the Glons Management Reporting Heart close to Liege, have been additionally launched and supply some dramatic moments. The transcripts paint an image of the jets chasing ghost radar echoes that seem and disappear after which reappear once more, however at no time are the pilots in a position to set up visible contact with the supposed objects. Belgium’s Digital Battle Heart (EWC) finally undertook an in depth technical evaluation of the F-16 computerized radar tapes, accomplished by Col. Salmon and physicist M. Gilmard in 1992, and later reviewed by Prof. Meessen.

An F-16 jet fighter of the Royal Belgian Air Power like those scrambled on the evening of March 30-31, 1990. Credit score: Bernard Thouanel

Though some features of this case nonetheless stay unexplained, Meessen and SOBEPS accepted the Gilmard-Salmon speculation that many of the radar contacts have been actually echoes brought on by a uncommon meteorological phenomenon. This turned evident in 4 lock-ons, defined Meessen, “the place the thing descended to the bottom with calculations exhibiting adverse altitude…. It was evidently inconceivable that an object might penetrate the bottom, however it was doable that the bottom might act as a mirror.” Meessen defined how the excessive velocities measured by the Doppler radar of the F-16 fighters would possibly outcome from interference results. He identified, nevertheless, that there was one other radar hint for which there is no such thing as a clarification up to now. As for the visible sightings of this occasion by the gendarmes and others, Meessen instructed that they may presumably have been brought on by stars seen underneath situations of “distinctive atmospheric refraction.”

One body from the F-16 onboard radar system exhibiting the UFO lock-on in the course of the March 1990 scramble episode, proven by the RBAF at a well-known press convention in July 1990. Credit score: RBAF/ Bernard Thouanel

In a 1995 phone interview, Gen. De Brouwer summarized his reflections on this complicated case: “We at all times search for prospects which might trigger errors within the radar methods. We can’t exclude that there was electromagnetic interference, however in fact we can’t exclude the chance that there have been objects within the air. On at the very least one event there was a correlation between the radar contacts of 1 floor radar and one F-16 fighter. This weakens the idea that every one radar contacts have been brought on by electromagnetic interference. If we add all the chances, the query continues to be open, so there is no such thing as a last reply.” De Brouwer took a extra indifferent view of the F-16 scramble episode, nevertheless, in his 2008 MUFON lecture and his 2010 essay included in Kean’s e book: “The conclusion of the Air Power, due to this fact, was that the proof was inadequate to show that there have been actual crafts within the air on that event.”


The well-known shade slide of the Belgian triangle photographed in Petit-Rechain in early April 1990. Credit score: © Man Mossay/SOFAM

Seldom has the previous saying {that a} image is value a thousand phrases grow to be extra true than within the case of the extraordinary {photograph} of a flying triangle taken within the small city of Petit-Rechain in April 1990. This shade slide turned the emblematic image of the Belgian UFO wave. It has been revealed and broadcast in tv applications everywhere in the world, and it seems on the quilt of the 2 SOBEPS volumes on the Belgian wave. It’s additionally some of the analyzed UFO pictures within the historical past of ufology. Throughout my journey to Brussels in 1995, I had the chance to speak at size with Patrick Ferryn, the investigator who researched the case initially and wrote the chapter about it within the SOBEPS e book. Ferryn gave me copies of the photograph and samples of pc enhancements made by Marc Acheroy, professor of electrical energy on the Royal Navy Faculty, the place the picture was analyzed by the Sign Remedy Heart. The small print of how the photograph was taken are pretty easy and easy.

The photographer, P.M. (who desires privateness, however has totally cooperated with SOBEPS), was a twenty-year-old manufacturing unit employee, who lived within the small group of Petit-Rechain, close to Verviers. He was at house along with his girlfriend on the evening of both April 4 or 7, 1990 (he can’t pin down the precise date), when his girlfriend first observed the thing between 11:00 and 11:30 p.m. as she took the canine to the courtyard. In accordance with P.M.’s assertion to Ferryn, he was alerted by his girlfriend, went outdoors, and “noticed the thing virtually stationary in the direction of the southwest, at a few forty-five-degree elevation. It consisted of three white spherical lights on a barely perceptible triangular floor. Within the middle there was a blinking spot of the identical shade, or perhaps a bit extra reddish than the opposite lights.” P.M. grabbed his digital camera, a Praktica mannequin BX20 with a 55-200 mm zoom and a “Cokin” 1A 52 mm skylight filter. He shot the final two frames of a roll of 36-200 ASA Kodak shade slide movie. The UFO then moved slowly in the direction of Petit-Rechain, till it was hidden by the roofs within the village. The complete episode took about 5 minutes.

The roll of movie was despatched by mail to a growth home providing a particular low cost, and when P.M. acquired the slides, he observed solely body #35 had captured the UFO; body #36 was completely black. Ferryn estimated that “the photograph was most likely taken with a focal distance between 55 and 200 mm, and with exposition time starting from 1 to 2 seconds.” P.M. confirmed the photograph to his manufacturing unit coworkers (all of whom have been later interviewed by Ferryn), however in any other case didn’t do something to research or commercialize the image. Considered one of his coworkers knew an area photo-journalist from Verviers, Man Mossay, who instantly noticed the picture’s potential worth. P.M. bought the photograph rights to Mossay for a small payment. Mossay then proceeded to copyright it with SOFAM (Belgium’s multimedia society for visible arts authors).

Skeptics have naturally pointed to the potential for a hoax with revenue motive. Nevertheless, if that’s the case, why did P.M. promote the rights to Mossay for a minor payment? Furthermore, hoaxers by no means provide authentic slides or negatives for scientific evaluation, as was performed by P.M. Having checked his background, interviewed acquaintances, and so forth, Ferryn famous that “the account of the primary witnesses was coherent.” Gen. De Brouwer spent fairly a little bit of time explaining the small print of this case throughout his MUFON lecture, saying of the witness that, “this man is real, he’s a man who wouldn’t faux in any respect, I can guarantee you of that.” Extra importantly, the Petit-Rechain photograph has been subjected to extra scientific evaluation than virtually every other UFO photograph in historical past.

When the Petit-Rechain photograph is overexposed, the triangular define of the thing seems clearly. Credit score: © Man Mossay/SOFAM

The checklist of specialists and establishments which have analyzed this photograph embody Prof. Acheroy of Belgium’s Royal Navy Academy; Prof. François Louange, an knowledgeable in photograph interpretation of satellite tv for pc photographs for the French house company, CNES; Dr. Richard Haines, a retired senior NASA scientist and revered UFO researcher; Belgium’s Royal Institute of Inventive Patrimony; and André Marion, a nuclear physicist with France’s Nationwide Heart for Scientific Analysis (CNRS), who performed an evaluation in 2002 with improved expertise. The technical particulars of those analyses are too quite a few for this text, however suffice it to say that proof of photographic trickery has by no means been discovered. Moreover, of a number of efforts to duplicate the photograph utilizing a darkish cardboard triangular mannequin with holes and light-weight bulbs, just one made by members of the Astrophysics Institute at Liege College considerably resembled the Petit-Rechain photograph. However the luminosity of the spots within the duplicate was uniform, whereas these within the authentic exhibited totally different shapes and spectral results. The newest CNRS examine by Dr. Marion confirmed the earlier evaluation and located, as put by Gen. De Brouwer, a “halo across the craft with patterned construction,” which might have been brought on by the thing’s “propulsion system” of “magnetoplasma dynamic.” Marion additionally said that “it might be extraordinarily troublesome to faux such {a photograph}.”

Ultimately, it’s virtually inconceivable to ensure the authenticity of a UFO picture. There’ll at all times be a distinction of opinions, however the verdict within the Petit-Rechain case seems extremely favorable. Triangular UFOs have been seen all through Belgium in the course of the early Nineteen Nineties. Dozens of fuzzy movies and grainy pictures have been taken, however they have been usually not spectacular. Petit-Rechain was the good exception.

Observe: For the reason that writing of this text, the photograph turned out to be an admitted hoax.


Because of the excessive credibility of most witnesses within the Belgian wave and their descriptions of a silent, triangular craft being so exact, making an attempt to clarify the wave when it comes to hoaxes, misidentified pure phenomena, or typical plane appeared fruitless. Due to this fact, a variety of skeptics and aviation journalists targeted on making an attempt to show the speculation of secret U.S. plane flying over Belgium. A sequence of candidates have been proposed, from the Airborne Warning and Management System (AWACS) to secret airships, from the F-117A stealth fighter to another revolutionary U.S. secret navy plane such because the alleged TR-3A Black Manta. First, it’s a must to ponder why the U.S. would conduct exams of their most-secret plane in such a extremely populated space like Wallonia, which isn’t solely a U.S. ally, but in addition headquarters of the NATO alliance. Gen. De Brouwer put it bluntly in a 1991 interview with the French journal, OVNI Présence: “Why would the People conduct exams right here in Europe, with out permission and with the danger of getting an accident that might create a diplomatic incident on a worldwide scale? This doesn’t contain solely Belgium, however NATO, the place its idea itself might be put in query. I don’t consider that the People might take such a threat, it’s evident.”

Main Common (Ret.) Wilfried De Brouwer, who was the Royal Belgian Air Power level man for the UFO wave, throughout his journey to Washington, DC to take part on the Nationwide Press Membership occasion in 2007. Credit score: Bernard Thouanel

Man Coeme and Leo Delcroix, the 2 Belgian Ministers of Defence in the course of the wave, denied emphatically the idea that the UFOs have been truly U.S. plane and primarily based their denial on official inquiries with the U.S. Embassy in Brussels. In a 1993 letter to French researcher Renaud Marhic, Minister Delcroix wrote: “Sadly, no clarification has been discovered up to now. The character and origin of the phenomenon stay unknown. One idea can, nevertheless, be undoubtedly dismissed because the Belgian Armed Forces have been positively assured by American authorities that there has by no means been any kind of American aerial check flight.” A declassified 1990 doc from the U.S. Protection Intelligence Company (DIA) entitled, “Belgium and the UFO Subject,” helps Delcroix’s place. After describing the essential occasions of the wave that had transpired as much as that time, the unnamed U.S. official wrote on the very finish of this memo: “The [U.S. Air Force (USAF)] did verify to the [Belgian Air Force] and Belgian [Ministry of Defence] that no USAF stealth plane have been working within the Ardennes space in the course of the intervals in query. This was launched to the Belgian press and acquired broad dissemination.”

Thirty years have now handed because the Belgian UFO wave, and no new important proof has been produced to show that the sightings have been brought on by secret navy plane. The reported instances stay unexplained. It appears sure that one thing large and technologically superior flew over Belgian territory in the course of the 1989-93 interval. Why and who was behind it are questions that stay to be answered. An acceptable conclusion, for now, is to repeat what Gen. De Brouwer wrote on the finish of his well-known postface to the SOBEPS’s first quantity: “The day will come undoubtedly when the phenomenon can be noticed with technological technique of detection and assortment that received’t go away a single doubt about its origin. This could raise part of the veil that has lined the thriller for a very long time. A thriller that continues thus current. Nevertheless it exists, it’s actual, and that in itself is a crucial conclusion.”

The creator (left) with SOBEPS’ chairman Lucien Clerebaut on the Society’s headquarters in Brussels in 1995. The map within the background reveals the areas of sightings in Belgium. Credit score: Antonio Huneeus

A model of this text initially appeared in Subject #5 (December/January 2011) of Open Minds UFO Journal. Again points could be discovered here.


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