Monday, November 03, 2008

The Hanger in the sky - Colin Parsons

Graham Rogers had been a navigator with a short-service commission in the RAF. During this time he had become determined to fly and had learnt as much as he could while in the Service. On his discharge, he had taken lessons and soon had a pilot's licence. He had a job as supervisor of a large chain of super-markets, and this left him very little spare time. It was, however, a very well-paid job, and he soon managed to buy a secondhand light aircraft; it was his practice to fly whenever he found a few hours free from work.

In June 1985 the oppertunity came for him to take a whole afternoon off - a rare treat - and he intended to have a good look at his plane, make sure she was in fine form, then fly in the beautiful weather. As things turned out, he was later getting away than he had predidted, and it was getting on for evening by the time he was ready. Nevertheless, it was still wonderful flying weather and he had no hesitation in taking off. His flight plan was to take him well out over the North Sea, beyond his home county of Lincolnshire. The great fields of sugar beet and corn stretched below him, and he recalled his time as a boy when he and his friends would help with pea-picking or collect strawberries and, best of all, help the farmers with burning the stubble in August.
The green suddenly gave way to blue as he took the plane out to sea. This was RAF country, and it was important to stick rigidly to one's programme. The Air Force did not take kindly to errant civilians, so he stuck firmly to his plan. The forecast was for storms later on but, as he flew on, the first ominous signs of a build-up of cloud were in front of him. It didn't look as if it were going to be too serious, but he began to climb to get above it. Without any warning he ran into very dense cloud, with lightning about. There was a flash that lit up the tiny cockpit, then he was clear of it. Rather relieved that it hadn't been worse, he decided to head for home, as the weather was clearly going to get worse ahead.
None of the instruments would respond; the engine still ran smoothly enough, but he had no control of anything. He felt afraid. There was enough fuel for another hour perhaps, yet it would only take him further and furtherout until, at last, the plane would nose-dive into the sea or land. As far as he could calculate, the plane would take him over the nortern tip of Norway and land him in the freezing waters beyond. He began to try to find the fault in the system, but without any success. The lightning had fused some cabling somewhere, and it was well beyond his reach.
The fear seemed to leave him, and he remembered many stories of other pilots who had been in seeminglydoomed planes: as long as there was hope, the fear continued; once you came to terms with it, calmness returned. In the face of certain death, the mind adjusts and calms fears. It made biological sense, and Graham was a logical man. For all that, he was angry: if Fate had decided it wanted him dead, why hadn't it made a quick job of it, not left him an hour or more to think about it?
The minutes passed and he tried desperately to think of something useful to do with his time. He had paper and pen, but the chances of his being found at all were so remote that it seemed futile to write to his wife. His solicitor had his will, all his insurance was fully paid up, and there was nothing except sentiment that he could write down. As it happened, he didn't much care for his wife, and the feeling was mutual. He didn't really think that much of his girlfriend either, and the thought made him smile rather grimly. He was going to his death without loving, or being loved by, anybody. It was rather a miserable way to go. To add to his wretchedness, there was no way of knowing when the engine would stop, as the indicators were not functioning.
The night was dark now, with just a glow on the horizon ahead. The storm had moved away, he could see the faint glimmer of a ships lights below, and the stars were fantastic. A line from Dickens' Barnaby Rudge, when he thought he was going to die, came to him: "We shall know what makes the stars shine, now." Perhaps he would, although he had no formal belief in a life to come. The idea of praying did cross his mind, but he rejected it as unmanly. To refuse to acknowledge a Creator when things were going well, only to betray a lifetime's conviction when the going got tough, seemed despicable. Then the engine coughed, and it was like the last trump. A few more wheezes, and total silence filled his world; then there came the sound of the wind in the rigging, and the plane was going down.
To his right there suddenly appeared a bright light which he first took to be a lighthouse, before realizing that he was not down far enough to see such a thing. The light was closing in with him fast, and he wondered if it was a NATO plane coming to investigate an interloper. That seemed unlikely, since he would have been on their screens for over an hour. Whatever it was was very close now, and for the first time he got some idea of the vastness of the thing. During his time in the RAF he had seen many strange things on radar, and it was an open secret in the Service that UFO's existed. He had himself listened in to them talking with other craft in a language it was impossible to understand. The British government, like those of nearly all the great powers, required personnel to report such incidents, but the official line was always that such sightings were misinterpretations of natural phenomena, a story guaranteed to raise a laugh in any Strike Command mess.
The bulk of the thing now blotted out all the stars to the right of his aircraft; then the light was above him. Below, the sea was rushing up with horrifying speed. The UFO was now travelling parallel to him, and a door opened on its side. The UFO shifted to the left, and he and his plane were suddenly inside the ship. He mentally took his hat off to the pilot of the strange vessel, who had manoeuvred the giant thing to match exactly the speed and direction of the doomed plane and saved him from certain death.
Graham felt various changes in velocity, then lights came on in the compartment. It contained various machines, whose nature he could only guess at. He opened the cockpit, and a voice boomed out: "Please leave your aircraft and go to the room indicated."The indicator was a flashing light, and he climbed from the plane and made his way towards it. A door opened on his approach, and he entered a room furnished simply but comfortably. He sat on a chair, stunned. A few seconds earlier he had been facing extinction; now he was safe aboard an alien spaceship.
The voice came over again, from directly above him: "Do you require medical treatment? If so, please state the problem. If you are well, do you require food or drink?"
He leant back in the chair. "I'm OK physically, but I'd like a drink please." The voice had a touch of humour as it asked its next question: "An alcoholic drink or water?"
He felt very relaxed with this voice. "A whisky would be very nice, thanks."
A few seconds later a door opened and a man entered with a large glass of whisky, which he placed on the table, then he sat down opposite. He was very tall and very thin (for comparison of description, see"The Flying (saucer) Doctors").
"We are mending your aircraft. The fault is minor. We shall refuel it and leave you close to the airfield you wish to return to." The man's English was faultless, although spoken as all foreigners speak it, too purely.
"I've a million questions to ask," Graham answered after he had taken a large swallow from the glass, to find it excellent Scotch.
The man smiled. "I'm sorry. I have a set speech to make, but I won't answer questions. That is a rule of your own military, isn't it?"
Graham smiled back, quite at ease with this strange man. "Yes, what's the speech, and why did you bother to save me?"
The man looked perplexed. "We are not machines. If life is threatened, we try to save it; that is what your race does. We were fortunate enough to be in your area and saw you were in trouble, so we helped."
Graham said that he was greatful and asked for the speech.
The man smiled and said, "We come from another star system, not from your Sun's planets. I can say nothing of our purposes, but we are not hostile. All planets go through more or less what is happening to you and, when that settles, we shall land and invite you to join our group. Tell whoever you like about our meeting; they won't believe you. Now I think your aircraft is ready. Would you please get back into it?"
Graham started to speak, but the man held up his hand, gesturing towards the door in friendly dismissal. Graham boarded his plane and at an appropriate moment the voice told him to switch on the engine. The UFO then tippedon its side and released his plane, and he was flying a few minutes from his home airfield.
Graham has no doubt that the UFO registered on NATO's screens as just another sighting to be recorded and forgotten. He will always remember the men who saved him and hopes that their official coming to the world will be in his lifetime, perhaps giving him a chance to thank those who saved him from the cruel sea.

Pilot ufo sightings

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