Aurora was a rumored mid-1980s American reconnaissance aircraft. There is no substantial evidence that it was ever built or flown and it has been termed a myth.
The U.S. government has consistently denied such an aircraft was ever built. Aviation and space reference site Aerospaceweb.org concluded “The evidence supporting the Aurora is circumstantial or pure conjecture, there is little reason to contradict the government’s position.”
Others come to different conclusions. In 2006, veteran black project watcher and aviation writer Bill Sweetman said, “Does Aurora exist? Years of pursuit have led me to believe that, yes, Aurora is most likely in active development, spurred on by recent advances that have allowed technology to catch up with the ambition that launched the program a generation ago.
Black triangles are a class of unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, with certain common features which have reportedly been observed during the 20th and 21st centuries. Media reports of black triangles originally came from the United States and United Kingdom.
Reports generally describe this class of UFOs as large, silent, black triangular objects hovering or slowly cruising at low altitudes over cities and highways. Sightings usually take place at night. These objects are often described as having pulsing colored lights that appear at each corner of the triangle.
UAP Formation of the Triangle Type
Black triangle UFOs have been reported to be visible to radar, as was the case with the famous Belgian UFO wave. During these incidents, two Belgian F-16s attempted to intercept the objects (getting a successful missile lock at two occasions) only to be outmaneuvered; a key conclusion of the Project Condign report was that no attempt should be made on the part of civilian or RAF Air Defence aircraft to outmaneuver these objects except to place them astern to mitigate the risk of collision.
Many UFO researchrs believe the black triangles are part of of a U.S. Air Force program of nuclear powered air craft that are able to hover and move silently, and are the successor to the the TR-3B Aurora and are known as the TR-3B Astra.
One of the more famous appearances of these craft was during the event known as the “Phoenix Lights”, where multiple unidentified objects, many of them black triangles, were spotted by the residents of Phoenix, Arizona and videotaped by both the local media and residents with camcorders across multiple evenings beginning on Thursday, March 13, 1997. Some lights drifted as low as 1000 feet and moved far too slowly for conventional aircraft and too silently for helicopters. Some of the lights appeared to group up in a giant “V” formation that lingered above the city for several minutes. Many residents reported one triangle to be over a mile wide that drifted slowly over their houses blocking out the stars of the night sky. Other reports indicated the craft were spotted flying away from Phoenix as far away as Las Vegas, Nevada and Los Angeles, California.
An official report made by the Air Force about the incident concluded that the military had been testing flares launched from conventional aircraft during that time. Eyewitnesses confirmed military jets were scrambled from nearby Luke Air Force Base, but instead of launching flares, they were seen chasing after some of the objects.
The next few nights, in an attempt to recreate the incident, local pilots flew prop-planes over the city in a “V” formation, but the sounds of their engines were easily heard. The original lights made no sound. Flares were also deployed above Phoenix. Comparison of the video taken of the lights (which appeared at night) against daytime images of the same scene show that the lights “disappear” at the exact moment they are shown to fall behind a mountain range. The mountains were invisible against the night sky. There were apparently no reported radar sightings of the objects which appears to be consistent with the flare theory.
Credit: Scott Kleven
The “St. Clair Triangle”, “UFO Over Illinois”, “Southern Illinois UFO”, or “Highland, Illinois UFO” sighting occurred on January 5, 2000 over the towns of Highland, Dupo, Lebanon, Summerfield, Millstadt, and O’Fallon, Illinois, beginning shortly after 4:00 am. Five on-duty police officers around these locales, along with various other eye-witnesses, sighted and reported a massive, silent, triangular aircraft operating at an unusual treetop level altitude and speeds. The incident was examined in various television shows including the ABC special Seeing is Believing with Peter Jennings, an hour-long Discovery Channel special UFOs Over Illinois, an episode of the Syfy series Proof Positive and a half-hour-long independent documentary titled The Edge of Reality: Illinois UFO, January 5, 2000 by Darryl Barker Productions.
An artist’s concept of a black triangle object.
The Aurora legend started in March 1990, when Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine broke the news that the term “Aurora” had been inadvertently included in the 1985 U.S. budget, as an allocation of $455 million for “black aircraft production” in FY 1987. According to Aviation Week, Project Aurora referred to a group of exotic aircraft, and not to one particular airframe. Funding of the project allegedly reached $2.3 billion in fiscal 1987, according to a 1986 procurement document obtained by Aviation Week. In the 1994 book Skunk Works, Ben Rich, the former head of Lockheed’s Skunk Works division, wrote that the Aurora was the budgetary code name for the stealth bomber fly-off that resulted in the B-2 Spirit
By the late 1980s, many aerospace industry observers believed that the U.S. had the technological capability to build a Mach-5 replacement for the aging Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird. Detailed examinations of the U.S. defense budget claimed to have found money missing or channeled into black projects. By the mid-1990s, reports surfaced of sightings of unidentified aircraft flying over California and the United Kingdom involving odd-shaped contrails, sonic booms and related phenomena that suggested the US had developed such an aircraft. Nothing ever linked any of these observations to any program or aircraft type, but the name Aurora was often tagged on these as a way of explaining the observations
In the controversial claims of Bob Lazar, he states that during his employment at the mysterious S-4 facility in Nevada, he briefly witnessed an Aurora flight while aboard a bus near Groom Lake. He claimed that there was a “tremendous roar” which sounded almost as if “the sky was tearing.” Although Lazar only saw the aircraft for a moment through the front of the bus, he described it as being “very large” and having “two huge, square exhausts with vanes in them.” Upon speaking with his supervisor, Lazar claims he was informed that the aircraft was indeed an “Aurora,” a “high altitude research plane.” He was also told that the aircraft was powered by “liquid methane.”
By 1996 reports associated with the Aurora name dropped off in frequency, suggesting to people who believed that the aircraft existed that it had only ever been a prototype or that it had had a short service life.
In 2006, aviation writer Bill Sweetman put together 20 years of examining budget “holes”, unexplained sonic booms, along with the Gibson sighting and concluded: “This evidence helps establish the program’s initial existence. My investigations continue to turn up evidence that suggests current activity. For example, having spent years sifting through military budgets, tracking untraceable dollars and code names, I learned how to sort out where money was going. This year, when I looked at the Air Force operations budget in detail, I found a $9-billion black hole that seems a perfect fit for a project like Aurora.”
In late August 1989, while working as an engineer on the jack-up barge GSF Galveston Key in the North Sea, Chris Gibson and another witness saw an unfamiliar isosceles triangle-shaped delta aircraft, apparently refueling from a Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker and accompanied by a pair of F-111 fighter-bombers. Gibson and his friend watched the aircraft for several minutes, until they went out of sight. He subsequently drew a sketch of the formation.
On March 30, 1990, citizens of the city of Eupen 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
Gibson, who had been in the Royal Observer Corps’ trophy-winning international aircraft recognition team since 1980, was unable to identify the aircraft. He dismissed suggestions that the aircraft was an F-117, Mirage IV or fully swept wing F-111. When the sighting was made public in 1992, the British Defence Secretary Tom King was told, “There is no knowledge in the MoD of a ‘black’ programme of this nature, although it would not surprise the relevant desk officers in the Air Staff and Defence Intelligence Staff if it did exist.”
A crash at RAF Boscombe Down on 26 September 1994 appeared closely linked to “black” missions, according to a report in AirForces Monthly. Further investigation was hampered by aircraft from the USAF flooding into the base. The crash site was protected from view by firetrucks and tarpaulins and the base was closed to all flights soon after
A series of unusual sonic booms was detected in Southern California, beginning in mid- to late-1991 and recorded by U.S. Geological Survey sensors across Southern California used to pinpoint earthquake epicenters. The sonic booms were characteristic of a smaller vehicle rather than the 37-meter long Space Shuttle orbiter. Furthermore, neither the Shuttle nor NASA’s single SR-71B was operating on the days the booms had been registered.
Credit: by efearfull
In the article, “In Plane Sight?” which appeared in the Washington City Paper on 3 July 1992 (pp. 12–13), one of the seismologists, Jim Mori, noted: “We can’t tell anything about the vehicle. They seem stronger than other sonic booms that we record once in a while. They’ve all come on Thursday mornings about the same time, between 4 and 7.”
Credit: arthur McPaul
Former NASA sonic boom expert Dom Maglieri studied the 15-year old sonic boom data from the California Institute of Technology and has deemed that the data showed “something at 90,000 ft (c. 27.4 km), Mach 4 to Mach 5.2″. He also said the booms did not look like those from aircraft that had traveled through the atmosphere many miles away at LAX, rather, they appeared to be booms from a high-altitude aircraft directly above the ground moving at high speeds. The boom signatures of the two different aircraft patterns are wildly different. There was nothing particular to tie these events to any aircraft, but they served to grow the Aurora legend.
On 23 March 1992, near Amarillo, Texas, Steven Douglas photographed the “donuts on a rope” contrail and linked this sighting to distinctive sounds. He described the engine noise as: “strange, loud pulsating roar… unique… a deep pulsating rumble that vibrated the house and made the windows shake… similar to rocket engine noise, but deeper, with evenly timed pulses.” In addition to providing the first photographs of the distinctive contrail previously reported by many, the significance of this sighting was enhanced by Douglas’ reports of intercepts of radio transmissions: “
Air-to-air communications… were between an AWACS aircraft with the call sign “Dragnet 51″ from Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, and two unknown aircraft using the call signs “Darkstar November” and “Darkstar Mike”. Messages consisted of phonetically transmitted alphanumerics. It is not known whether this radio traffic had any association with the “pulser” that had just flown over Amarillo.” (“Darkstar” is also a call sign of AWACS aircraft from a different squadron at Tinker AFB)
A month later, radio enthusiasts in California monitoring Edwards AFB Radar (callsign “Joshua Control”) heard early morning radio transmissions between Joshua and a high flying aircraft using the callsign “Gaspipe”. “You’re at 67,000 feet, 81 miles out” was heard, followed by “70 miles out now, 36,000 ft, above glideslope.” As in the past, nothing linked these observations to any particular aircraft or program, but the attribution to the Aurora helped expand the legend.
In February 1994 former resident of Rachel, Nevada, and Area 51 enthusiast, Chuck Clark claims to have filmed the Aurora taking off from the Groom Lake facility. In the David Darlington book “Area 51: The Dreamland Chronicles” he says: I even saw the Aurora take off one night – or an aircraft that matched the Aurora’s reputed configuration, a sharp delta with twin tails about a hundred and thirty feet long. It taxied out of a lighted hangar at two-thirty A.M. and used a lot of runway to take off. It had one red light on top, but the minute the wheels left the runway, the light went off and that was the last I saw of it. I didn’t hear it because the wind was blowing from behind me toward the base.” I asked when this had taken place.