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The Belgian UFO wave refers to a series of sightings of triangular UFOs in Belgiummarker, which lasted from November 29, 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. 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 Glonsmarker received reports that three unusual lights were seen moving towards Thorembais-Gembloux which lies to the South-East of Brusselsmarker. 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 Wavremarker 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 Basemarker 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 Eghezeemarker 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.

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.[597041]

After appraising the evidence, the Belgian Air Force found it could offer no explanation for the sighting, but did reject the following possibilities:
  • Balloons.
  • Ultralight aircraft (ULM).
  • Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
  • Aircraft (including Stealth).
  • Laser projections or holograms.
  • Mirages or other meteorological phenomena.

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 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 Lannoo.

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

See also


  1. Leclet, Renaud (2008). "The Belgian UFO Wave of 1989-1992 - A Neglected Hypothesis", Comité Nord Est des Groupes Ufologiques (CNEGU).

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