UAVs and UFOs


Photos of an unknown aircraft, dubbed the Beast of Kandahar, have circulated around the internet for the past several months.  This week, the Air Force issued a statement confirming the existence of this unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV).  It’s officially known as the RQ-170 Sentinel and was developed by Lockheed Martin to “provide reconnaissance and surveillance support to forward deployed combat forces,” according to the Air Force statement.  The “RQ” designation identifies the craft as an unarmed UAV, as opposed to the “MQ” designation for the Predator and Reaper UAVs which are armed aircraft.

Kenneth Arnold

Reports of triangle-shaped “UFOs” date back decades – in fact during Kenneth Arnold’s famous sighting near Mt. Rainier on June 24, 1947, which ushered in the modern UFO craze, he reported the craft as vaguely triangular in shape (technically crescent-shape).  Given the documented history of triangular shaped aircraft, manned and unmanned, from the close of World War II through the present day, with aircraft such as the B-2 and RQ-170, how many of those triangle-shaped “UFO” sightings were actually misidentified military aircraft?

Northrop N-1M (Circa 1940)

Many people think military UAVs are a new development.  However, the history of UAVs, or remote controlled aircraft, dates back to shortly after the development of heavier-than-air flight.  By the end of World War I, engineers developed rudimentary remote control systems.  Refinement of these systems continued through the 1920s and 1930s.  World War II gave a great boost to perfecting remote control of even large aircraft, including B-17s.  Today’s reconnaissance UAVs trace their history back to the 1950s when cameras were first fitted to UAVs for surveillance.

As the charts on this site ( and this site ( show, a large variety of UAVs have been produced since the close of World War II.  Many of these craft have unusual shapes, which would easily lead the unknowing observer to classify a sighting as a “UFO.”  Keep in mind as well that without a human pilot, the craft is limited only by its structural capabilities, not by the limitations of the human body – therefore UAVs are capable of higher sustained g-loading and more abrupt maneuvers than an aircraft with a human pilot.

CL-327 UAV

Certainly UAVs do not account for all unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP).  However, it’s very likely UAVs and experimental aircraft do account for a significant number of UAP reports.

This brings up a very important point: investigators of any type of unknown event must begin with the assumption that a “normal” explanation exists for the activity.  Only when all normal explanations are exhausted should other explanations be considered.

Far too many self-styled “investigators” begin with the assumption whatever type of activity they’re researching exists, be it ghosts, Big Foot, aliens, or whatever.  So when someone reports a ghost or a “UFO,” these types of “investigators” go into the situation with the pre-loaded assumption that the explanation for the activity is a ghost or is space aliens.  This is a fundamentally incorrect approach.  Instead, the initial assumption should be that it’s not a ghost or it’s not space aliens.  This mindset keeps the investigator focused on looking for normal explanations first.

True anomalous phenomena are very rare events.  If investigators ever hope to gain any credibility, they must approach the subject with strong discipline and healthy skepticism.  If you claim ghosts and aliens are everywhere, is anyone going to listen to you that one time when you actually find something?

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