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Ray Bowyer


Click here for Pilot sees UFO - Tells All on TV Talk Show

On April 23, 2007, captain Ray Bowyer was flying a routine passenger flight for the civilian airliner Aurigny Air Services, when he and his passengers gained progressively clearer views of two UFOs during a 12 to 15-minute period. Bowyer had 18 years of flying experience, and the 45-minute flight was one that he had completed every working day for more than 8 years.

Their 80-miles (130 km) journey of 45 minutes took them from Southampton on the southern coast of England, southwestwards to Alderney, being 10 miles (16 km) from France, and the northernmost of the Channel Islands. Their particular flight path had them converging on two enormous, seemingly stationary and identical airborne craft, which emanated brilliant yellow light.

A pilot of a plane near Sark, some 25 miles (40 km) to the south, confirmed the presence, general position and altitude of the first object from the opposite direction. Radar traces also seemed to register the presence of an object, which Ray Bowyer believed to be correlated with the position and time of the sighting. A study by David Clarke, however, could not establish a definite link, as the radar reflections of passenger ferries may have affected at least some of the readings.


The April 23 observation was preceded, ten weeks earlier, by a sighting of an initial two, and a subsequent twenty to twenty five unexplained lights in formation over the northern extremity of Alderney's coastline. These were noticed at 6:15 AM on February 14 by builder Paul Gaudion.

The passengers of flight A-Line 544 departed in a BN2a Mk3 Trislander aircraft at 2:00 PM in fine weather with good visibility. They rose to an altitude of 4,000 ft (1,200 m) and were cruising on autopilot about 10 miles (16 km) south of the Isle of Wight, when captain Bowyer was doing paper work and looking out for other aircraft. At this point he noticed, exactly in the direction of Guernsey, i.e. southwest and twelve o'clock ahead, what appeared to be a brilliant yellow lamp or light. He considered that it might be an aeroplane, or alternatively, reflections from the ground, as Guernsey was immediately behind it. The reflection of the sun off a greenhouse was a possibility, but surprisingly, for a minute and then a couple of minutes, the apparition continued.

Definite shape

He concluded that it was not a reflection but an emission of light. With his binoculars, always at hand, he could make out a definite shape. The object was pointed at each end, and the horizontal to vertical dimensions of its body were in a ratio of about 15:1. It was brilliant yellow, with a dark grey band enveloping it 1/3 from the right, like a band around a cigar. With his 10x magnification binoculars, he could make out that it bore no relation to a normal aeroplane. He took his glasses off to exclude the possibility of a reflection from behind.

His reaction was to make contact with Jersey ATC to confirm or exclude the possibility of traffic heading his way. Paul Kelly at Jersey ATC denied the presence of traffic in the said position, but could pick up a faint primary return radar signal, i.e. a signal without the additional transponder return. His instruments were however set to detect only moving objects.

A passenger behind the captain confirmed what he was seeing, and pointed out a second similar craft, immediately behind the first: "Upon nearing the object, a second identical shape appeared beyond the first. Both objects were of a flattened disk shape, with a dark area to [their] right. They were brilliant yellow, with light emanating from within, and I estimated them to be up to possibly a mile across." Jersey ATC was now able to get confirmation from the pilot of Blue Island Air, who at 25 mi (40 km) to the south, also had visual contact with one object.

Captain Bowyer relates: "This [was] a big object in the sky, a very, very big object. I did not want to be too close to it and it was at that time that we had to descend to land. We descended through the 2,000 ft (610 m) haze layer and lost sight of it." ... On Guernsey, he related: "There was no hiding it, they were just there. I wasn’t too happy. I was quite glad to get on the ground ... and have a cup of tea."

“ If it was designed by an engineer, that man had to be shaken by the hand because it was a fantastic piece of equipment, if that is what it was. I can't really say much further than to say what I've said all along, that this thing is not from around here. – Ray Bowyer”

Captain Bowyer produced drawings of the two objects in his CAA Air Safety Report of April 23, 2007, and again in October 2007.

Ground-based observations

BBC Radio Guernsey reported that two visitors to Sark enquired at their hotel as to what two bright yellow objects in the sky might be. The objects were observed during an afternoon walk on the 23rd, in the direction of Alderney. Jersey Airport Radar Control saved a radar recording of the incident, which was submitted to the CAA. These showed traces of two objects with slow north and southward movements, for a period of 55 minutes. They were recorded on Jersey Airport's primary, low level radar system, but not on the secondary radar used for air traffic control, which was screening out stationary objects. It remained unclear whether the radar station near Cap de la Hague, not far from the nuclear reprocessing site, observed any traces.

National Press Club UFO meeting

Sighting confirmation

Captain Ray Bowyer addressed the US National Press Club on November 12, 2007, and highlighted some details of the sighting.

"Good morning everybody. Thank you for coming this morning. My name is Ray Bowyer and I fly a civilian airliner, as captain. I’ve been invited here, due to my sighting last April of multiple, as yet unidentified objects, over the Channel Islands region of the English Channel. This encounter lasted for fifteen minutes, and the first object being visible from 55 miles distance. On nearing the object a second identical shape appeared beyond the first. Both objects were of a flattened disk shape with a dark area to [their] right. They were brilliant yellow, with light emanating from within, and I estimated them to be up to possibly a mile across. I found myself astounded but curious, but at 12 miles distance these objects were becoming uncomfortably large, and I was glad to descend and land the aircraft. Many of my passengers saw the objects as did the pilots of another aircraft, 25 miles further south. There is also possible radar information still being investigated. A team headed by Dr. David Clarke looking at this case, will shortly […] publish a report but I understand that at this time no definitive solution has been discovered to explain the sighting as yet."

Appeal for transparency

During the address, he also highlighted a supposed secrecy and suppression of pilots' UFO sighting reports in the United States.

"I’ve taken note of some of the differences between the British and the U.S. reporting system. It appears that attitudes on opposite sides of the Atlantic, are very different when it comes to the required reporting and recording of this type of event. Air Law stipulates quite clearly that if an operating crew of an aircraft see another aircraft at a place that it shouldn’t be, then at the earliest opportunity the whole scenario is to be reported to the relevant authorities.

In my case, the British Civil Aviation Authority knew within 20 minutes of the sighting, what was seen, as described in a flight log, and faxed directly to the relevant CAA office. The military were informed by Jersey Air Traffic Control at the same time. This is not an option. This is an obligation that crews react in this manner. In my experience, having reported the experience as required, has had no negative effect, and there was no problem with me talking about this on British television. Indeed, my company, Aurigny Air Services, have offered every support to [date]. The assistance of Jersey Air Traffic Control in releasing recorded information between myself, and the […] investigating team, has been of great benefit. I did not feel that I was in any danger of being ridiculed, because all I did was to report what actually happened as was my duty as operating air crew.

I heard about the multiple witness sightings at Chicago O’Hare Airport, about a year ago now, on November the 7th, 2006. I was surprised to hear how it was handled. Despite many pilots and airport personnel witnessing the object hovering over the terminal, there was no investigation at all by the FAA. It appears as if pressure may have been applied to crew members by their company not to discuss this incident. I would have been shocked if I was told that the CAA in the UK would obstruct an investigation, or if the CAA told me that what I had seen was something entirely different. But it seems as if pilots in America are used to this sort of thing here.

I would urge all fellow air crew to report whatever they see as soon as possible and to stand up and be counted. It is only when crucial and critical witnesses such as air crew, make reports that authorities may be kick started to broader investigation of [these] phenomena. Thank you very much."



Clarke, David, J. Baure, P. Fuller, M. Shough (2008), "Report on Aerial Phenomena observed near Channel Islands, UK, April 23, 2007", Journal of Scientific Exploration
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