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Page last updated at 11:12 GMT, Tuesday, 12 January 2010
Phantom planes and your encounters

Hercules, file photo
Is it a bird or a plane? Well, this is most definitely NOT a ghost plane!

By Nick Bourne
There have been so many sightings of old war planes appearing from nowhere and flying so low they look as if they're going to crash, that they're being dubbed phantom planes.

The first recorded mass sighting in north east Wales was in 1987 in Abergele when a number of townspeople reported seeing a "war-time transporter" appear and then vanish before them.

They described it as fat, very large and unmarked, a black Hercules-type plane, says ufologist Margaret Fry, who lives in the town.

...We saw a ghost plane in August 1980 on a clear day in Rhyl. I was with my sister. I heard a plane coming over Llandundno. Just then as it neared us it dived as if to crash...
Eye witness Terence Wilshaw

She investigated, following up with the authorities who told her people had made phone calls to RAF Valley, Anglesey, and nearby airfields, but no-one was able to shed light on the sighting.

The most dramatic incident Margaret has ever investigated was reported by mothers in Llangernyw, near Abergele, as they were picking up their children from school.

Several claimed they were sent running for cover as the plane - which they described as rusty, with no paint work - roared over their heads.

In the distance it followed the landscape and dipped down in the valley at such speed that the parents felt the plane was sure to crash.

But they continued to watch as it pulled up and, with "great effort", it managed to make it over some distant hills.

Margaret said there was a shocked silence after the incident before locals began calling officials to try and find out what had happened to the plane.

"So what was it, and where did it come from and vanish to?" said Margaret. "To this day people still mention it.

"That seemed to be the end of our phantom plane - until 1994 when reports started coming in from Wrexham."

Your experiences of so-called phantom planes:

Denise Jones: I was driving to work in Cefn Mawr near Wrexham (April 2009) and as I drove along the A483 bypass towards the Llangollen turn off, over my head appeared a huge WWII plane, flying really low. It was just like the one in the picture. It was silent, not a sound. I watched as it flew above me, but because I was trying to keep an eye on where I was driving, I lost sight of it. When I got to work I asked if anyone had seen it. Needless to say they looked at me as though I had lost the plot. The plane flew right over me and headed off towards the Cefn Mawr/Acrefair region. No one had spotted it at all. Have I seen the "phantom" plane that is reported in the above article, or was there an actual plane, and did it just divert over where I was driving and fly off into the distance? I will never know.

Terence Wilshaw, Dudley: We saw ghost plane in August 1980 on a clear day in Rhyl. I was with my sister looking for crabs in stones. I heard a plane coming over Llandundno at 1000ft. Just then as it neared us it dived as if to crash. I grabbed my sister who was 6 to my dad who was there. I fell as the plane just raised up. I looked up and saw the pilot look out to us. Then the plane reared up, then went - no sound at all. It vanished.

Angela Redman from Chirk: I grew up in Brymbo, and in 1977 my dad who was tail end charlie in the Lancaster WWII also saw this huge plane with no markings on at all. He admitted having a drink but the plane was so quiet and so very low he thought it was coming down onto the houses.

Andrés, Wirral: I've have also seen a similar plane, not rusty though, it was almost completely black, came from nowhere and went nowhere. This was at Arrowe Park, Wirral, flying adjacent to Wales. It was loud, low and slow. I thought it looked like a B-25 bomber from the 2nd World War.

Thomas, Wrexham: There was a crash of a Washington Mk I (Boeing B-29 Superfortress in USAF service) near Llanarmon-yn-Ial (in 1953). Last year I was part of a service - as I am in 2279 Wrexham Squadron Air Cadets and I was one of the guard of honour present that day - to remember the crew of the plane, which involved a flypast by a Tornado GR4 from RAF Marham, where the Washington had been based. It had four engines and was very big. I believe that it could be this plane that is seen so frequently in the area. The plane had been flying very low over the nearby towns and villages. The plane was in low cloud, fog and to make matters worse they were lost. Shortly after missing a church spire it crashed, killing all the crew on board.

M Danby, Ellesmere Port: The plane pictured is a Hercules transport with additional under wing fuel tanks and a refuelling probe on the nose. The RAF fly low level sorties with this aircraft and I have looked down on a Hercules and a Tornado whilst walking in the Welsh hills.




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