Italian MoD’s Answer to the Parliamentary Question: (only) one Tornado above Corio…

by Gian Paolo Grassino

commissione-difesa

On August 2, during the question time at the Italian  Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission,  the answer arrived to the parliamentary question presented to the Minister of Defense  by Francesca Bonomo and Davide Gariglio on June 18th and later re-submitted (by Alberto Pagani and Francesca Bonomo) on August 1st, in the most cogent form of “immediate response question”.

raffaelevolpiUndersecretary of Defense Raffaele Volpi read the following text:

“Air Force General Staff, after due investigations, excluded the presence of airplanes at the time and in the indicated area; however, they areported that on June 6th, around 23 o’clock, a Tornado aircraft passed in Corio area, on a regularly planned night training mission  approaching Turin-Caselle airport. The glow and the roar perceived by the population might be due to the normal approach manoeuver to the runway performed by the aircraft and, more particularly, to the “re-starting” which, in order to allow climbing in total safety, means the use of engine maximum power, including the afterburner.

It should be noted that these maneuvers were carried out in full compliance with current laws and restrictions, as well as all training and exercise activities are fully regulated by specific directives of the Armed Forces, aimed at minimizing the inconvenience to the inhabitants . The use of airspace is planned by the Italian Air Force daily and any planning is also communicated to the competent civil aviation authorities who must know the extent of the military air traffic and the details of the flight plan, both for organizational and safety reasons .

As for the preventive information by military authorities  to the population on the occasion of carrying out training activities with aircrafts, it is already the practice of Armed Force to give public notice of each relevant exercise, as well as of any event with the contemporary participation of more than one aircraft. In the case in question, it was a training mission of a single aircraft that used the normal flight trajectories, thus not falling in the cases described above. On the legal aspects of safety and compliance withregulations, maximum attention is paid to ensure that the essential training requirement minimizes the impact on residents in areas affected by flight drills. Precisely for this reason, as well as to avoid interference with civil traffic, strict procedural, temporal, geographical and altitute limits are foreseen for all training activities “.

We won’t now discuss this new answer and its compatibility with what reported by eye witnesses about flight path (from the valley toward the mountain), altitute (very low), not just sound effects, and we’d rather concentrate our attention on the different, partly contradictory releases and explanations so far provided by the Italian Air Force.

It would seem that the author of the response presented yesterday by the Government to the parliamentary question roughly aligned himself  to the very first version provided to newspapers  by A.F. spokesmen as early as June 7th: only one Tornado (at the time told to have passed  “at very high altitude”, now instead “approaching Caselle airport”). A version later  denied by what the Air Force itself reportedly answered on July 20th to the General Attorney, Giuseppe Ferrando, that is there were actually two aircraft at low altitude above Corio on that night, which had a technical trouble (now no longer mentioned in the “normal approach maneuver”) causing the anomalous roar, as we have already reported.

No mention, however, for the third light, the one that had preceded the arrival of the fighters, which seemed to be his pursuit, according to several witnesses. At least on this point, the various statements of the military are consistent: absolute silence. Waiting for the next installment of this soap opera…

– – –

In the above picture: Chamber of Deputies Defense Commission meeting on August 1st, 2018.
In the smaller photos: Undersecretary of Defense, Raffaele Volpi (above) and two Tornados in flight (below).

A UFO landed on the Dolomites?

lavaredo-by-night
In recent years, the percentage of close encounters on the total number of Italian UFO sightings has dropped significantly, even below 5%, i.e. more or less to 10 case histories per year. The rare cases of “UFO landing” reported by witnesses are therefore of particular interest.

The latest one took place on  July 7th, when an American tourist allegedly had an experience quite out of the ordinary on the Dolomite mountain path connecting two cabins near Auronzo di Cadore (in the province of Belluno).

The report was sent to the MUFON (Mutual UFO Network) Case Management System and we report its contents by summarizing what written by the witness, a professional photographer who was taking an evening excursion in the  Tre Cime di Lavaredo natural park, in order to take pictures of the sunset and later of the Milky Way.

sentiero-lavaredoOn the evening of Friday, July 6, the man had left his car in the parking of Rifugio Auronzo and had walked along the path climbing to Forcella Lavaredo for an hour’s walk to Rifugio Locatelli, on the opposite side of Mount Paterno.

Around midnight he decided to get back along the path in total darkness, lit only by his torchlight.

rifugio_auronzo_forcella-longeresShortly before one o’clock A.M., after having passed Cappella degli Alpini (when he was now in sight of Rifugio Auronzo parking area) he turned back and was astonished to see “a large bright orb-like structure, consisting of many many bright lights, sitting stationary and silently” on the cliff edge about 170 meters away, where he had passed a few minutes before. He could not see a real structure but only the multicolored lights, which covered an area as large as a two-story cabin.

lavaredo-cut-drawingAfter a brief look at what did not look like anything known to him, literally terrified at the idea of having ​​been noticed because of his torchlight, the witness decided to run to his car. In doing so he turned back a few times, but renounced to take his camera out of the backpack to photograph the thing.

In hindsight, the man tried to make some hypotheses: a large tree with Christmas lights on, fifty+ drones hovering at that point, another cabin not listed on the map suddenly turning all lights on. None of these, however, persuaded or reassured him, and that’s why he thought it might be a UFO.

The next day he sent his report to the American UFO organization, which opened an investigation file on the case, assigning it to  MUFON Italian branch.

In the pictures from above to below:
the three Cime di Lavarone at night (source: TripAdvisor);
– the path from Rifugio Auronzo to Forcella Longeres (photo by Marco P. from Tripadvisor);
Rifugio Auronzo and its parking area, seen from the above path (source: it.wikipedia.org);
– witness’ drawing illustrating his sighting (source: MUFON)]

Parliamentary Question about Aerial Pursuit Above Corio (Italy)

corio-page-001
francesca_bonomoThe parliamentary question announced last week by Hon. Francesca Bonomo [left picture] was presented to the Chamber of Deputies on Monday 18 June, about the aerial roar and the testimonies concerning two low-altitude military aircrafts in the Corio area (province of Turin) seemingly pursuing a light in the sky on June 6, as we already reported.

gariglio

 

That is a question to answer, also signed by Hon. Davide Gariglio [right picture], and addressed to the Minister of Defense, as follows:

 

“Given that:
– on June 6, 2018, around 21 hours, in the area of ​​the municipality of Corio, in the province of Turin, the passage of n. 2 aircraft, most likely military fighters at very low altitude, was
heard and seen by most of the population of the aforementioned town and neighboring municipalities;
– this event has greatly alarmed the population due to the loud noise and the shock wave
which spread to the territory, but above all because of the fear that the two aircrafts were headed to intercept a third potentially dangerous aircraft, which some testimonies say they have seen;
– because of the fear generated in the area inhabitants for their safety, the police has been called by many and institutions urged to better understand what happened;
– after the event the Air Force was called, whose answer was evasive and incomplete in the opinion of the questioners, which has further fueled doubts and concerns;
to know
if the heard noise as above is to be attributed to the performance of military flights and, if so, what the reason was for this flight, if there was any danger to the area inhabitants, and what initiatives military authorities intend to adopt in order to inform the local population before carrying out any exercises, thus avoiding to create fear and worry among the inhabitants.”

The question gives a wrong time of the phenomenon (which actually took place shortly before 11 p.m., not 9 p.m.), from which we can assume the text was not based on the testimonies reported on social networks and local mass media, but on the press release itself (released by ANSA news agency on  June 10 evening) announcing the intention to present a parliamentary question by Hon. Bonomo and Senator Mauro Marino (both elected in Piedmont for the Democratic Party).

[collaboration by Antonio Rampulla]

[top image: photo by Matteo Aldo Peracchione, from the Facebook group “Sei di Corio se …”]

Mini-flap of sightings in Piedmont, Italy

2018-06-03_to_nole_p6
When mass media publish sensational sightings, other witnesses often come forward to report more. That’s now happening in Piedmont region (Italy) in the wake of what happened in Corio on June 6, where dozens of people saw a light in the sky seemingly pursued by two military planes: in addition to the usual trail of rumors, hypotheses and denials, a series of sighting reports followed in the previous or following days from different areas in that region.

The first testimony dates back to the evening of Saturday, June 2, around 21.30, when a woman at Torino Olympic Stadium for Vasco Rossi’s concert watched a round not well defined object with white-blue reflections moving slowly northward in the clear sky for a couple of minutes.

On the following day, June 3, an employee driving back home for lunch in Nole (province of Turin) noticed a bright lens-shaped object in the partly cloudy sky. It was inclined at 45°, oscillated for a few seconds, then sped up disappearing into a cloud [see drawing by the witness in the above photo].

2018-06-09_no_dormelletto_fotoTwo reports came from Saturday, June 9: what was described as “a flying man” was reportedly photographed by a tourist in Dormelletto (Novara) [picture here on the left], while five black dots moving slowly in the sky were filmed in Banchette d’Ivrea (Torino) shortly after 9 p.m.

A few hours later, at 2.20 a.m. on Sunday, June 10, a motorist traveling along the state road near San Germano Vercellese (Vercelli) found himself passing under a bright yellow and blue disc hovering above the road.

In UFO jargon, we speak of flaps to indicate these concentrations of sightings in a certain area and in a limited period of time. In the past it was thought that they indicated a real increased presence of UFO phenomena, while now the prevalent opinion is instead that otìs the emergence of a greater percentage of “hidden sightings”: on the basis of Doxa poll data, indeed, there should be over 3 million Italians who think they have seen a UFO, compared to about 30 thousand reports collected and cataloged by ufologists, meaning just the 1% of the total.

American UFO historian visits CISU headquarters

greg1Greg Eghigian is a historian of human sciences and a professor of Modern History at Pennsylvania State University, with a known interest in ufology.

For over a year he has been working on a research project on a  global history of the UFO subject with particular regard to the evolution of UFO sightings phenomenon and of its study.

gregrichieHis usual summer tour in the old continent was therefore an opportunity for a visit to Italy, with his colleague Richard Sherman (who’s teaching video making at the same university and is collaborating on the historiographical project with a documentary).

On June 11, Eghigian and Sherman arrived in Torino, specifically to meet and interview some CISU members and to visit Italian Center for UFO Studies  headquarters and archives (the second largest in Europe).

gregpter American researchers’ Italian day has been articulated in three different moments.
In a first part, the stories and personal evolution of a few CISU members (Paolo Toselli, Paolo Fiorino, Edoardo Russo) were collected as video interviews,  with an exchange of opinions on the past and future of ufology – which highlighted strong philosophical affinities.

gregpf

A second part  consisted of a general overview of the history of Italian ufology, followed by a guided tour of the CISU Archives, which amazed our visitors from overseas for the quantity and quality of the collected and organized documentation.

The meeting was also the starting point for identifying specific areas of collaboration, with particular regard to the historiographical aspects, which our association is particularly and actively interested in.

[In the pictures taken during the meeting at CISU registered office, from top to bottom: Richard Shermand  and Greg Eghigian preparing interviews; Eghigian talking with Edoardo Russo and Paolo Toselli; Eghigian interviewing Paolo Fiorino.]

UFO chased by Italian Air Force near Torino?

1962-foto-corio

In just three days, news of a light in the Canavese skies passed from local news to a state question.
The facts: on Wednesday night, June 6, just before 11 p.m., dozens of residents in the municipalities of Corio, Rocca and Levone (province of Torino) were alarmed by a strong and long roar making windows shake. Most people thought an airplane was about to fall on the houses. Many, who left home or were already outdoors, watched and later described the low-altitude passage of two military planes, seemingly chasing a white light moving in the sky, according to some of the witnesses.
As it is now frequent, testimonies have begun flooding social networks on the following morning, and for the first few days they were reported  only by local newspapers (Sentinella del Canavese, Cronaca Qui Torino), while both ENAV (civilian Aviation Administration) and Italian Air Force denied the presence of low-flying aircrafts in the valley at that time.
When one of the witnesses went to submit a complaint to the Carabinieri police and two local politicians announced they were to present a Parliamentary question to the Ministry of Defense, however, the news rose to national level, with a national wire ANSA press release on Sunday evening, which got to most newspapers and mass media on the following day.
Meanwhile, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (CISU) had opened an investigation,  launched a public appeal to witnesses and has so far tracked down and made contact with a dozen eyewitnesses who, in addition to the roar and the planes, have seen the luminous object in the sky.
Investigations are still ongoing and it is too early to reach conclusions about the observed phenomenon and the dynamics of the events, before data collection is completed, matching the testimonies and making on place surveys.
The CISU is interested in any evidence of unusual objects or aerial phenomena, and always invites witnesses to tell their experiences, granting privacy to them.
– – –
Top: photo of a flying object taken at Corio Canavese (Pian Audi) on August 29, 1962

The 1978 Great UFO Wave, 40 years later

2018 is marking the fortieth anniversary of the great wave of UFO sightings over Italy in 1978, the year with the greatest numer of reports and case histories collected throughout the twentieth century.

Twenty years ago, the Italian Center for UFO Studies (Centro Italiano Studi Ufologici, CISU) already devoted its 13th national congress to re-examining that extraordinary year, with analysis and comparison of the international scene.

A few months ago, 40 years after the events, the CISU launched a new “Project ’78” based on the center impressive archives, a project with two different sections, whose first results are coming in these days.

ritagli1978A first part of the project consisted in the digitalization and full indexing of all press sources of that year. The Italian UFO wave of 1978 was in fact mostly a media wave, overwhelming newspapers and other mass media all around the nation, in a very pervasive way, unprecedented in the past (and in the future as well), as it is also apparent from the annual totals of newsclipping in CISU Press Archive: never before that time (*) more than two thousand press cuttings had been collected in just one year, as in 1978, and never that happened again in the following years. The ufomania in Italian newspapers was already remarked at the time, sort of a “UFO psychosis”.

All collected newscuttings had long been ordered and set up on A4 paper sheets at CISU headquarters, where the 1978 section occupies seven archive boxes of (mostly original) clippings taken from dailies and local information newspapers, plus an eighth folder containing extracts from the illustrated magazines (which published extensive services on the UFO topic, in that year). In the last few weeks, some CISU volunteers have worked on the full scanning of this collection, which was completed in early May, 2018: 2,400 articles from newspapers, which will soon be joined by those from illustrated magazines. Upon this work, other volunteers are currently “renaming” the individual files so that they directly indicate the newspaper and the date of publication, to allow an automatic indexing and an easier recovery.

controllias78By the end of May a second part of the project will start, concerning UFO sighting case histories. The national catalog of Italian UFO sightings currently includes 1,800 reports for 1978, each one corresponding to an archive folder containing all sources relating to it. In recent years a meticulous work of cross-checking has been done between the already existing files and the sources subsequently collected or not recorded at that time, with the following reproduction and filing of several hundred “new” cases. At the end of this work we will now move to the indexing of these new cases, entgering coordinates (date, time, location, type) in the general database. This second phase of the project should be completed before the summer.

That’s a concrete way of commemorating the 40th anniversary of the greatest UFO wave of all time in our country.

(*) with the incredible exception of 1954: more than 4,000 articles, but only recovered in recent years through the systematic and targeted research of the “Operation Origins”.

A Dark Red Sky: the Saucers Arrived (1947-1949)

by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos

stilo-1947-49-copertina
“A Dark Red Sky” (Un cielo rosso scuro) is the literary title of Giuseppe Stilo‘s new book (UPIAR publications, 2017) devoted to the arrival of flying saucers over Italy and the world, in 1947-1949. A thorough and well-documented 414-page volume which, once more, places Stilo in an authoritative position in the study of the UFO phenomenon.

This book inquiries into the initial period of the phenomenon, but this requires to be seen in the perspective provided by the author’s entire opus. It all began with “Operazione Origini” (Operation Origins), a CISU project started in 1984 to retrieve press cuttings for the early years (1946-1954) on which he embarked in 1988. He has since continued to produce a history of UFO reports in Italy and in the rest of the world. The encyclopedic erudition of Stilo in ufology has not many parallels. His work documenting what had happened, when and where is overpowering. Reading what is already a veritable library of books by him, might save a newcomer dozens of years’ worth of investigation and documentation.

Therefore, I will hardly touch this one volume that, naturally, wanders by the Italian panorama in 1947 and the birth of the flying saucer phenomenon, the 1947-48 wave, the “phantom airplanes” of 1948-49, the growth of the ETH during 1949 and the impact of foreign reports in the Italian media. The book makes a quantitative analysis of cases known in the 1947-1949 period in Italy and reviews the international panorama of the flying disk prodigy.

Giuseppe Stilo’s new book is the latest item of an indispensable collection, comprising the previous ones published by UPIAR publishing house in Turin:
“Scrutate I cieli!” (Watch the Skies!), UPIAR, 2000. 424 pages to document the 1950 wave.
“Ultimatum alla Terra” (The Day the Earth Stood Still), UPIAR, 2002. This large volume of 536 pages deals entirely with the 1952 UFO wave.
“L’alba di una nuova era” (Dawn of a New Age), UPIAR, 2004. The 1946 ghost rockets phenomenon is examined in this 228-page book,
“Il quinto cavaliere dell’Apocalisse – Vol. 1” (The Fifth Horseman of the Apocalypse – Vol. 1), UPIAR, 2006. This first volume, a mammoth tome of 680 sheets, covers the large wave of 1954 from January to October.
“Il quinto cavaliere dell’Apocalisse, Vol. 2” UPIAR, 2016. The second tome with 504 pages is devoted to the months of November and December 1954.

A White Paper on UFOs in Italy

librobiancoIt’s just arrived in Italian bookshops Il libro bianco degli UFO in Italia (The White Paper of UFOs in Italy), by Moreno Tambellini and Franco Marcucci (Armenia publisher, 350 pages).

This is not the usual book made of anecdotal sightings patched up from here and there, as is unfortunately the case of too many UFO publications, not only in our country. The volume is instead the result of a project representing the evolution and the deepening of a pioneer collection and cataloguing work started by Sezione Ufologica Fiorentina (Florence UFO Section) and in particular by Solas Boncompagni) in the 1960s.

That longtime work led to the publication of six volumes of the “UFOs in Italy” book series (published from 1974 to 2012), covering Italian case histories throughout the twentieth century, but over the years it had gone more and more losing the original intention to provide not only a collection but also a selection and evaluation of each report, on the basis of a proper “veridicity index”.

What was meant by Tambellini and Marcucci (both members of SUF third generation) was precisely a return to the origins of that project, by re-elaborating objective criteria to select the 43 best cases (as of reliability of the testimonies) among the approximately 12,000 files registered in the SUF archive (now merged into Centro Ufologico Nazionale’s files).

The book presents those best cases in detail, based on the documentation (not always complete, alas) available to the authors.

The result notwithstanding, this is a methodology that – unlike almost everything that can be found in bookstores and on newsstands in our country – is starting from case histories and is trying to apply rational, objective and homogeneous criteria to its analysis: an approach that moves along the line that has always characterized our own way at CISU.

A UFO Night over Italy (and Southern Europe)

europa_notte
Since the early hours of today, dozens of reports of a bright object crossing the sky have begun to arrive, from half of Italy (and Southern Europe as well).

In our country, the phenomenon has been observed at least from several regions (Liguria, Tuscany, Lazio and Campania), with videos and photographs taken by witnesses still awake shortly after two o’clock in the night between Saturday and Sunday, when watches were supposed to be moved forward one hour.

Ufologists will systematically collect reports in the coming days, but the first reports available on the net and accompanied by photos and videos were those from Anzio (RM), Nettuno (RM), Fondi (LT), Pozzuoli (NA), Benevento (BN), between Salerno and Maiori (SA), in Vallo di Diano (SA) and Padula, a Battipaglia (SA) and other locations in Campania.

Mass observations of luminous aerial phenomena of this type are a recurring phenomenon, well known to ufologists since the early ’50s, and were baptized “flaps”: unlike typical UFO sightings (expecially high degree strangeness reports) that involve few people in a single location, in the flaps there are tens or hundreds of contemporary testimonies from different localities, which describe the same phenomenon.

Flaps reporting the quick passage of one or more luminous objects, with or without a trail, following a generally straight path, are mostly due to two types of causes (which have very similar phenomenic features): bolides and atmospheric reentries of artificial satellites (or rocket parts that put them in orbit). One of the most sensational and better studied took place on the night of June 6, 1983, but this type of events occur on Italy every two to three years on average.

Last night phenomena were in fact caused by the return to the atmosphere of the third stage (2018-026B) of the Soyuz MS-08, which was launched last March 21 from the Baikonour (Kazakhstan) cosmodrome to bring International Space Station two US astronauts and a Russian cosmonaut.

According to US infrared satellites, as reported by amateur astronomeur Marco Langbroek, the reentry took place at 03:25 (summer time) around the coordinates 41.9°N, 8.1°E, above the sea off Ajaccio, Corsica, along a path that would otherwise have continued parallel to the Italian coast.

[Collaboration by Roberto Labanti, Sofia Lincos, Pasquale Russo, Gianni Ascione, Antonio Rampulla]