Sky's the limit for UFO enigma

CLOSE ENCOUNTER: The UFO spotted above Hawera on Tuesday night.
CLOSE ENCOUNTER: The UFO spotted above Hawera on Tuesday night.

Remote-controlled helicopters, kites with electric wires and Chinese lanterns have all been touted as explanations for mysterious lights seen over Hawera.

The Taranaki Daily News received numerous calls after reporting a bizarre light display over the South Taranaki town on Tuesday night.

Hawera Astronomical Society member Bob Burdoff favours the remote-controlled helicopter theory as there are models with light-emitting diodes (LED lights) that illuminate the rotorblades.

"I think that the clever money would be on someone just being a silly sod and flying one of those at night," he said.

"I did wonder whether it could be St Elmo's fire [ball lightning]. That would be the only other thing it could possibly look like."

He said that after looking at the photo published yesterday, these seemed to be the only plausible explanations.

"Failing all else, the aliens are here ... which I don't really believe for a moment," he said.

Remote-controlled helicopter enthusiast Dick Hall agrees.

He believes the picture is of a helicopter similar to the one he owns and equipped with strip lights. "The range of the transmitter is about one kilometre, so it can do all sorts of things," he said.

Hawera model aeroclub vice-president Peter Malcolm, however, said that in his mind there was no way it could be a remote-controlled helicopter that had been photographed.

He said he did not know anyone who could manoeuvre a remote-controlled helicopter in the way the light in the picture appeared to move.

"It's too hard to fly them that well," he said.

The only thing he could think it might be was a lightning phenomenon, so the mystery continues.

Taranaki Daily News