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Inverness (UK/Scotland)

Sighted on Sunday 03. February 2002
Reported on
Shape: Formation | Duration: 30 seconds

3 hourglass shapes in formation (2 high, 1 low) over Inverness, Scotland, UKMy mother opened her curtains, then window of her bedroom at 07:00 GMT on the 2nd March 2002 (which she has done for the last 30 years at this location) only to be surprised at what she thought was a partially deflated weather balloon, coming from a west to east direction at about 1-1500 feet and at quite a speed so she presumed it had an engine but she heard no noise from it. Cloud cover was at 3-4000 feet and no blue sky (it's Scotland in March???). It was dark grey with blue and red colours (not lights) on either side and had something trailing underneath it like a re-fuelling rod (DC-10 with 4 F-18's and a RAF Tornado flew low over the city the day before with DC-10 trailing fuel rod and planes lined up behind it - last time this happened about 8 years ago there was complaint made as to how low aircraft were over city). Since I have always been a plane spotter since childhood and local airport is about 8 miles and RAF base is 30 miles away she knows what a plane looks like, commercial or Forces, and still thought this was a balloon, however strange it looked, with it's curvy hourglass look and trailing rod. She went to get the telescope to have a closer look and ran to the bedroom on the other side of the house as she knew with it's speed it would be over the house before she got to the telescope even though telescope is in her room next to cupboard by the window. When she got there she was surprised to see two of the same description flying in the same direction as the other one and about 3 times as high as the one that caught her eye. She focussed the scope on the lowest one before it disappeared behind the rooftops of the neighbouring houses and still it looked as she described earlier. She focussed on the other 2 objects and they were going as fast as the other one was which she described as your typical RAF jet speed for the area, about 300 mph with no noise at all. Our location has a good horizon to horizon view from east to west (about 3 miles west and 1.5 east and RAF fly it every ! day) and we get very strong winds here but rarely exceeding 70-80 mph and that day was only a 15mph breeze. The more she thought about it the more it seemed strange but if she had to define her sighting she would say it was a weather balloon, the fastest weather balloon she has seen. NEVER, never have we or I in all my time looking up at planes (even when there are none there) ever seen a weather balloon in our area and if they did fly over this way??? why so low and more importantly, how so fast? I have to stress that at first sighting she jokingly thought we were being invaded she told me(seeing as object was unknown to her) but as she watched approach a bit more it became clear this was not a normal sight you would see flying in the skies over our city.

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