March 1, 2013
As briefly mentioned by Jacques Vallee in the interview below taken from this series of videos, sometimes 'patterns' of UFO behaviour can be studied and there seems to be quite a few reports down the years of unidentified flying objects performing a kind of pendulum or 'falling leaf' motion during vertical descent.
NASA's Paul Hill goes into more detail below about specific UFO flight characteristics and there's also a good section dealing with the subject taken from NICAP's 'UFO Evidence' report - the RAF Topcliffe incident is also posted but if anyone knows of any more case examples then please post away.
Peculiar behaviour such as falling leaf or pendulum motion during vertical descent has been independently reported many times by UFO witnesses in widely separated parts of the world..
Pendulum/Falling Leaf Motion
A curious, but fairly common, flight characteristic of UFOs is a pendulum-like motion (swaying back and forth) during hovering, slow climb, or descent. Witnesses frequently have compared this to the gyrations of a falling leaf.
A very similar pendulum-like motion, occurring as a UFO travels in a horizontal plane (rather than ascending or descending) has been noticed occasionally. It consists of a side-to-side oscillation as the UFO proceeds in a constant direction.
Paul Richard Hill - NASA Aerodymanicist:
Maneuvers. Hovering at any altitude is common. UFOs hover close to the ground for long times instead of landing. The different maneuvers include:
a. falling leaf or UFO-rock like a coin falling in water
b. silver-dollar wobble - like a coin with a slow spin on a flat surface. This maneuver is consistently observed at the end of a rapid descent as the UFO initiates hovering
c. acute-angle turn with rapid stop at the vertex
d. sudden reversal of direction
e. bank and turn - exactly like conventional aircraft
f. straight-away speed run either horizontal or vertical
g. tilt to maneuver "UFOs tilt to perform all maneuvers ... they sit level to hover, tilt forward to move forward, tilt backward to stop, bank to turn"
March 1, 2013
The Topcliffe sightings from Yorkshire, England, 1952 where several RAF Officers witnessed a rotating silver disc shaped object performing a 'swinging pendulum motion' - there's also a CIA document about the incident mentioning the 'creation of the correction of public opinion', whatever that means.
RAF Sightings: Huge, Round,Metallic, Incredibly Fast
British authorities have received reports from trained observers, including RAF pilots, and the Air Ministry maintains a UFO investigation project which parallels Project Blue Book in the United states. Reuters reported one such aerial encounter on September 20, 1952:
"A flying saucer entered the eight-nation Baltic area maneuver headquarters that an unidentifiable silver circular object had been sighted 15,000 feet above the airfield. The object, which appeared five miles behind a Meteor jet fighter (piloted by Lt. John W. Kilburn), maintained a slow forward speed before descending in a swinging pendulum motion. Then it began a rotary motion about its own axis and accelerated at an incredible speed in a westerly direction but later turned southeast. It was seen by RAF officers and men on the airfield."
Another RAF pilot encountered a UFO October 4, 1954. Flight Lt. J. R. Salandin of the 604th Fighter Squadron, flying a Meteor jet out of North Weald, Essex, nearly collided head-on with a huge, metallic-appearing object. The UFO was shaped like two saucers pressed together, one inverted on top of the other. At the last second, it flipped to one side and streaked past a tremendous speed. Two round UFO's had been sighted speeding between two other Meteor jets in the vincinity just before Lt. Salandin's sighting.
September 19th, 1952.
A British Meteor jet aircraft was returning to the airfield at Topcliffe, Yorkshire, England, just before 11 A. M. As it approached for landing, a silvery object was observed following it, swaying back and forth like a pendulum. Lieutenant John W. Kilburn and other observers on the ground said that when the Meteor began circling, the UFO stopped. It was disk-shaped, and rotated on its axis while hovering. The disk suddenly took off westward at high speed, changed course, and disappeared to the southeast.
'British Activity in the Field of UFOs':
"In some RAF field, there was some sort of demonstration to which high officials of the RAF in London had been invited. During the show, a 'perfect flying saucer' was seen by these officials as well as RAF pilots. So many people saw it that many articles appeared in the public press. This is distressing to [Dr] Jones because he realises that the creation of the correction of public opinion is a part of his responsibilities."
Policeman witnesses UFO in the Ribble Valley, Lancashire, England, Feb 2000.
Mr. Robert had contacted MAPIT after obtaining our telephone number from UFO Magazine. Mr. Robert is 35 years old and has recently moved into a farmhouse in the Ribble Valley area. Mr. Robert does claim to have had a previous UFO exerience when he was a child and that he has no interest in the subject and is level headed. Mr. Robert has by all accounts assured us that his initial telephone call is not a wide up of any sort.
He claims that, approximately three weeks ago, (February 2000) he awoke about 10.30pm to a strange noise. At first he thought it to be a Quad Bike engine sound. He got up out of bed and walked to the window. (It was at this point Mr. Robert became agitated). He stated 'I wish I had never looked out of the window'. In the distance he noticed the noise coming from a combined harvester, probably from one of the local farms, as there is sheep in a field near by. He then suddenly looked to his right and was amazed to see, what only can be described as a metalic spinning top shaped UFO, just hovering completely silently about 50 feet away, Mr. Robert watched as the object slowly moved from left to right in a falling leaf motion about ten foot side to side.
He described the object to be shaped like a spinning top with a centre rim, and just above the rim was what looked like, portholes. One porthole had a blue light, as if there was illumination from inside the craft. There were belt type straps on top of the object and recalls how the moonlight relected of the top of it, as if metalic in structure. Mr. Robert then described watching a small blue light move out of the object and move around..
March 1, 2013
It's not military but here's another report from researcher Jerry Cohen describing his UFO sighting back in 1967 and he also mentions the motion.
At first glance, I first thought it was an airplane with its engines sparking. I turned away to put down the garbage pail and all of a sudden realized I didn't hear the sound of the engines from the plane which should have been passing directly overhead at the angle it was coming in. (It was fairly low. I normally can easily hear planes much higher. I am a respected musician/teacher with really excellent ears.)
When it first hovered, I remember it having a mist around it that eventually cleared; Also when it hovered, it exhibited the "typical" falling leaf motion mentioned back then..also .. its lights were rotating. I cupped my ears and aimed them right toward it and all I could hear was a super-faint, light sort of "peal of static electricity." It was around for at least 3 minutes; generally over 2-3 neighbor's houses.
At that point, it completely blew my mind because there was absolutely no doubt what I was looking at. It was a definite craft and fairly large. (Way too large to be up there with virtually no sound) Things raced through my mind: I asked myself if it was a balloon, dirigible, kite, helicopter (actually didn't have to do that... no sound), model "anything" ... and _nothing_ fit. I'd never seen anything like it before or since. (It wasn't a dirigible or blimp of any type because the movement was totally wrong and I could always hear the motor on any blimp I ever observed and focused my ears on. It was, for the most part, quiet in our area at the time of the sighting; i.e. no competing noise.)
This next part gets to the point I am trying to make by mentioning all this: I ran into the house to get my wife and finally got her to come out to take a look. (We didn't own a camera back then.) She is not into mechanical things or electrical equipment & won't touch a computer. This "craft" was up there doing its silent thing with a "controlled" movement and I went through a whole series of questions with her; i.e. was it any of the above things previously mentioned in the last paragraph. When I was finished and got a "no" to everything I asked, and we were staring at it together, I asked her; "Hon., do you think we could be looking at a UFO." Her reply to me was; "It can't be. There are no such things.
March 1, 2013
Article below taken from multiple witnesses involved in the French UFO flap of 1954 which also mentions pendulum or falling leaf motion:
FOUR PEOPLE FOLLOWED WITH THEIR EYES THE MYSTERIEUX CRAFT
A new worthy of faith testimony comes to be added to the Gard file on "flying saucers". One of these mysterious machines was seen Sunday evening, around 8 p.m., at the fall of night above the Saint-Felix point, in Anduze, behind which it seemed to land.
It is our fellow-citizen Mr. Edmond Nicetta, brother of the famous foot runner, fishmonger, street Benoit-Malon, who was the principal witness of the fact. He was on the terrace of the house of his mother-in-law, Mrs. Brodarier, in company of this relationship, Mrs. Nicetta and Mr. Marcel Alméa, when their attention was drawn by a bulky circular mass which seemed to rotate, presenting gleams alternatively blue and red.
The craft was then approximately motionless above the Saint-Félix point; but it soon started to go down with a slow rocking movement, like a falling leaf, and disappeared soon behind the point, which is a high hill. The appearance had lasted several minutes..
Two other reports taken from the NICAP Chronologies:
April 19, 1966; Quincy, MA
11:45 p.m. EST. Several persons saw a large disc-shaped object accompanied by two smaller discs that flashed red and white lights, hovered and swung back and forth like a pendulum. (Fowler 1974, p. 339.) [Note]
Aug. 19, 1966; Donnybrook, ND (BBU 10872)
4:50 p.m. U.S. Border Patrolman Don Flickinger saw a bright, shiny, round disc, 30 ft in diameter and 15 ft high, colored white, silvery or aluminum, floating down the side of a hill wobbling from side to side about 10 ft off the ground. It moved across a valley from the SE climbing to 100 ft height, hovered for 1 min over a reservoir in a horizontal position when a dome on top became visible, appeared about to land in a small field about 250 ft away, then tilted on edge and rose up into clouds at high speed. (Berliner; cf. Vallée Magonia 788; Jan Aldrich, Phillips, 1975, p. 43; witness report to CUFOS; Hynek, 1977, p. 152; Gilmor, Condon report case 8, p. 273.) [Note]
March 1, 2013
NICAP report from 1953 involving U.S. Military pilot witnessing a 'brilliant round white object with small ray-like appendages' descending in a falling-leaf motion - the object then reversed its direction and began to climb using the 'reverse falling-leaf maneuver' whilst changing colour from white to orange:
Feb. 8, 1953; Barter Island, Alaska (BBU)
4:50 a.m. local time. Captain R. E. Barnes was thawing and heating a C-47 at Barter Island air strip when he heard a noise that seemed to be out of synchronization with the Herman Nelson heaters running nearby. He ducked out of the wheel well and walked over to the heaters located in front of the left main gear. He immediately realized that the noise was emanating from a large, round, bright object which was descending over the building area about 3/4 of a mile away. This object appeared to be at approximately 5,000 feet in altitude and descending in a sort of falling leaf pattern. Captain Barnes estimated the distance covered by the side to side movements at about 200 feet. Approximately 45 seconds later the object had reached an estimated 2000 feet directly over the building area.
The object was described as round in shape and brilliant white in color and approximately 30-40 feet in diameter. Small ray-like appendages appeared on either lower side. After hovering for approximately 45 seconds, the object began an ascent using the same pattern as it did for the descent. During the climb out, 1st Lt. Lewis E. Griffin arrived at the aircraft and Capt. Barnes pointed out the object for Lt. Griffin. a rated pilot. At this time the object was directly overhead at an estimated altitude of 10,000 to 15,000 feet. The two witnesses continued to watch the object for two more minutes as it traveled to the east blinking as it went. Capt. Barnes is an F-94 jet pilot with 1470 hours of flying time.
Engineer and student witness 'coffee-cup saucer' shaped object descending in a pendulum motion whilst working on an irrigation project for the Mexican Ministry of Agrlculture in Tepic, 1969 - Source: APRO bulletin:
Field Investigator Oscar H. Egly of Guadalajara, Mexico, has forwarded a report on his investigatlon into a UFO slghting at an irrigation project site near Tepic, capital of Nayarit provlnce, on the West coast of Mexico. The obseryation took place on July 24 and the witnesses were Fernando Flores Garcia, 31, and Jesus de la Rosa Pacheco. 20. a student.
Flores, who is in charge of a small irrigation project by the Palillo River (employed by the Department of Hydraulic Resources of the Ministry of Agrlculture), was talklng to the engineer in charge of all small irrigation projects in Nayarit Province, Jesus de Rosa (Sr.), father of the second witness. After the conversation, Flores and de la Rosa (Jr.) had walked about 1,100 feet toward a pick-up truck when de la Rosa pointed out an object descending into the mountainous bushy area behind where Jesus de la Rosa (Sr.) and two colleagues were conversing. At first, Jesus de la Rosa thought it was an alrcraft but before long both witnesses were able to observe a bright object shaped literally like a "coffee-cup saucer" for 20 or 25 seconds. Flores described the object to Field Investigator Egly as a "metallic, round object."
Young Jesus de la Rosa believed that the object was moying slowly, at about 10-12 miles per hour. His narration goes: "I yelled at my friend and said 'Look, there is an airplane coming down,' then I saw it stop over some trees near where my father was standing with two other engineers. It banked slightly and I saw that it wasn't a plane but a round disk. It made no sound. It was white, like an aluminum color; it moved up, away from the trees and we saw it like a 'silver peso' facing us. 'fhen it again moved higher, leveled off and then descended with a pendulum motion until it was behind the brush. near the mountain edge and seemed to have landed there as we lost sight of it. We ran to where my father was and asked them if they had seen the round object almost above them near the trees."
However, they had not noticed anything except a noise like a "smooth truck engine approaching." Engineer de la Rosa had commented on this sound to his colleagues (as no trucks could approach the iuigation project that close) seconds before the two witnesses "with startled looks on their faces" came running up- The whole party then proceeded towrards where the object seemed to have descended, but the brush was too thick and muddy..
March 1, 2013
Pendulum UFO motion reported again in New Orleans during the October 1973 UFO wave.
“We stopped the patrol car and got out. The object moved as a pendulum on a clock, then it would travel at a fast rate of speed in a northerly direction. Then back and forth. After each spurt of speed. It would stop and move as a pendulum again.”
* New Orleans, Louisiana. Daily Record. 17 October 1973.
Witness describes solid, oval shaped UFO moving back and forth with a pendulum like motion - September, 1973 (full pdf file also has nice article on UFO performance characteristics).
March 1, 2013
Two newspaper articles from 1947 sourced by A51Watcher:
June 21 1947 - Idaho - 11:55 a.m. Oregon Journal
(AP) A Spokane woman saw eight discs the size of a house flying at 600 mph, descending with a "dead leaf motion", and landed before ten witnesses near the shore of the Saint Joe River in Idaho.
July 20 - ...swing back and forth in a pendulum motion...
(a UFO) Idaho Falls, Idaho 2:30 A.M. PST
Witness testimony of the pendulum / falling leaf motion from the very freaky Buff Ledge UFO case from the 7th of August, 1968:
Buff Ledge UFO.
As the two steadfastly watched the light, three smaller lights seemed to drop from the larger one, which quickly moved up and disappeared from sight. The three smaller objects began to move over the lake.
They were obviously under intelligent control. The objects put on a show for Michael and Janet, doing zigzag maneuvers, loops, and then descended like falling leaves. The three objects now moved even closer to the two baffled teenagers. After forming a triangle, two of the objects pulled back. Michael would later recall a sound "like a thousand tuning forks" when the two left the third craft alone.
Good section on falling leaf pattern from Otto Binder's great book 'What We Really Know About Flying Saucers' (free E-book link below).
Falling Leaf Pattern
Remarkably consistent, described over and over the same way by countless witnesses, is the "falling leaf" (or"dead leaf") manner of a UFO's losing altitude when it wants to descend a short way. This is often during the time it is approaching the ground for a landing, or for low-level and treetop flight.
Outstanding examples are:
September 26, 1954, Col du Chat, France . Fifteen people saw a disc like an "inverted plate" that was descending "like a falling leaf."
February 24, 1958, Salvador . Three people observed a hemispherical UFO descend from 90 feet to 9 feet above the ground by imitating a "falling leaf."
September 20, 1952, Topcliffe, Yorkshire, England. Following a Meteor-Jet, a silvery disc descended with a "pendulum motion
July 1957, Azusa, California. A disc-shaped UFO with a row of amber lights on its rim descended with a "wobbling motion."
December 25, 1960, Cottonwood, Minnesota. A family observed a hemispherical ball slowly flutter down like a "falling leaf."
For some reason that may have to do with their propulsion (see chapter ahead), UFO's sometimes adopt a spiraling motion to gain altitude, the reverse of the falling leaf descent. But this maneuver is rare enough to be unimportant.