Flying Saucer Working Party: FS over Farnborough > [prev ¦ 1 ¦ 2 ¦ 3 ¦ 4 ¦ next]


In the following transcript, DC is David Clarke, the interviewer, and SH is Wing Commander Stan Hubbard.

DC: When did your career with the RAF begin?

SH: I can’t remember that far back! In essence, what led me to Farnborough was the Test Pilots school, which was started at Boscombe Down and moved to Farnborough in January 1948. Prior to that I had been involved in Fighter and Bomber Command activities during the war and then out in the Middle East. I came back from Egypt to join the Test Pilot’s School at Farnborough in January 1948.

DC: Before that what aircraft had you flown with the RAF?

SH: Hurricanes, Mosquitoes, Halifax’s and Dakotas. In fact I was personal pilot to the Commander in Chief of the Mediterranean and the Middle East. 1948 was a very good year at Farnborough. It was very informative and I didn’t realise at that time that test flying for the Government was going to be so rewarding in terms of experience.

DC: So you had been at Farnborough for two years when this incident with the flying saucer occurred?

SH: That’s right. It was August 1950.

DC: Can I now take you back to that August morning in 1950 when you had your first sighting. What happened?

SH: I had been away for three weeks out West and I had come back the previous day. I had flown a Fiesler Storch [WW2 German reconnaissance plane] back from as far west as you can go without getting your feet wet! The top speed is about 75 mph. It took me ages and ages to get back to Farnborough, but anyway I had written my report, a final report on three weeks’ work, and I had submitted it that morning and I was very pleased that it had been accepted and felt that I could get away for an early lunch. So I left the old Flying Control building and set off directly for the mess. In those days there was no problem about walking straight to where you were going, there were no security fences, we just got a green flashing light from flying control and went straight across the runway to No. 1 Mess, which was my home in those days.

I had gone about 150 or 200 yards and this was one of those rare mornings. It was warm, there was no air movement, there was no aircraft noise, nothing flying, no aircraft engines being revved up on the ground, no traffic noise at all, it was dead quiet. So I was surprised to hear a very strange sound that was coming from somewhere behind me, and it impinged upon my consciousness. I was thinking about other things, but I stopped and I turned around to see what it could be. I then saw a very strange object way in the distance, I think towards Basingstoke.

I watched this thing and it was for all the world like the edge-on view of a discus, the sort of discus we used to throw at sports meetings...and it was rocking from side to side very slightly, probably 20-25 degrees either side, rhythmically rocking but maintaining a very straight approach. I watched it and it moved very quickly and passed overhead. And I tell you, that was something that has stuck in my mind very clearly, vividly, to this day.

DC: How would you describe it?

SH: As a discus, without obvious characteristics. It was a light grey colour a bit like mother of pearl, but blurred. It was obviously reflecting light because as it rocked it looked like a pan lid as you rotate it, with segments of light rotating around. And I could see that around the edge as it went overhead I could see very clearly it was a different colour, it had a definite edge to it. And the whole of the edge was a mass of tiny crackling, sparkling lights. And associated with that, there was a real impact of very very strong ozone smell and it was for all the world like the sound you would get when you walk through the door into a big active power generation station with huge rotors turning with the smell of ozone and the crackling of commutators...

DC: Was there any windows or protuberances or anything like that?

SH: No other characteristics at all. It was featureless. And the remarkable thing about it was there was no sound of air movement. No air displacement whatsoever.

DC: Were you able to estimate how far away it was from you?

SH: I would have said, remembering the angle when I first saw it and when it disappeared from sight, it had to be something in the order of 100 feet across. I was asked at the first interview: ‘How fast was it travelling?’ I had no idea. I had no idea whether it accelerated, or slowed down. But from the time when I was watching it, until it went out of sight I would estimate that it was travelling about 500 mph. But then again I don’t know how high it was, but the span it covered whilst I was watching it meant that it must have been travelling fairly fast.

DC: How long did you watch it in all before it disappeared?

SH: Difficult to say, but probable a minute and a half, two minutes.

DC: Was there anyone else about at that time?

SH: I was alone, contrary to what has been reported. But as it had just gone over, from the little wooden hut that was the Dispatcher’s shack, the young lady that ran that came over screaming...screaming my name, she knew me very well, and saying, ‘Did you see that horrible thing?’ I didn’t answer; I was so absolutely whacked at watching what I had seen. I don’t know what happened but I learned later that she had been taken ill and was quite hysterical about it.

DC: So had she seen the same thing as you?

SH: She had seen exactly the same thing. »

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