Belgian UFO wave refers to a series of sightings
of triangular UFOs in Belgium, which
lasted from November 29, 1989 to April 1990.
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. Following the incident the Belgian air
force released a report detailing the events of that night.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
On April 1990, a picture was taken of the aircraft, and it remains
as one of the most famous UFO pictures to date.
After appraising the evidence, the Belgian Air Force found it could
offer no explanation for the sighting, but did reject the following
- Ultralight aircraft (ULM).
- Unmanned aerial vehicles
- Aircraft (including Stealth).
- Laser projections or holograms.
- Mirages or other meteorological phenomena.
In "The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989-1992 - A Neglected
, Renaud Leclet & co. discuss the fact that some
sightings can be explained by helicopters. Most witnesses reported
that the objects were silent. This well-organized 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. The report, however, does not claim to explain the main
event of 30/31 March 1990 when both ground-based military radars
and radars inside F-16s simultaneously tracked the objects for
several seconds, in addition to hundreds of visual sightings from
the ground. The radar data shows accelerations orders of magnitude
higher than any man-made airborne object, including the most
advanced aircraft and helicopters in service today or in 1990. Such
accelerations would also be fatal for any on-board human pilot
manning such a helicopter.
UFOs above Belgium
, written by John van Waterschoot,
mathematician, economist and professor at the University of Leuven
. Published by
Vague OVNI sur la Belgique
(UFO wave over Belgium),
written by the defunct SOBEPS
- Leclet, Renaud (2008). "The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989-1992 - A
Neglected Hypothesis", Comité Nord Est des Groupes Ufologiques