The unidentified flying man of Manchester

I recently stumbled across the following intriguing story.


Superman is flying over clouds in a majestic way.

An unidentified flying man…at least if you don’t live in the universe of Superman!

Pilots on a passenger plane were stunned when a “flying man” zipped past the side of their aircraft at 3,500ft as they flew over Macclesfield.

Aviation experts admitted they were baffled by the sighting of the human UFO, who has been dubbed the ‚Superman of Macclesfield‘.

He appeared from nowhere as the Airbus 320 passed above Broken Cross and towards central Macclesfield while it was coming in to land at Manchester Airport.

The pilot and first officer, who reported the sighting to air traffic control, thought the man was a paraglider but could not see a canopy. The allegedly airborne man was above the Rainow area when spotted.

And the mystery deepened when there was no sign of him on radar.


A pilot and his co-pilot sit in the cockpit of a plane.

Pilots busy in the cockpit.


Further checks failed to find any paragliders, parachutists or ­balloonists in the area at the time.

Officials at the UK Airprox Board, which investigates near-misses in British airspace, admitted that the mystery may never be solved.

Describing the pilots’ account, the report said: “They first sighted the object a few hundred metres in the 11 o’clock position 200 to 300ft above.

“It passed down the left-hand side of the aircraft at 100 to 200 metres.

“The crew only saw it fleetingly, there was no time to take avoiding action and they reported that they based their assumptions on it being a person under a canopy.”

At the time, skies were clear and visibility was about six miles, the report said.

But it added: “Neither can remember seeing a canopy.”


Sky diver descending from the heavens.

A well-identified flying man!


Air traffic controllers on the ground could also see nothing on their radar screens at the time of the ­incident at 1.30pm on June 13.

And experts from the British Hang Gliding and Paragliding Association said weather conditions at the time would have made it impossible for a lone flyer to be in the area.

They also told­ ­investigators the pilots would probably not have missed a canopy or parachute as it “would have been the most obvious object by a ­significant margin”.

The report added the pilots “could not be certain that it was not a person-shaped balloon” but that was also unlikely in the ­conditions.

It concluded: “The board agreed that it was unfortunate that there was really no information that could lead to identifying the unknown object.

“This was frustrating to both the board and the pilots concerned, who had clearly seen something or someone, but there was no way or corroborating what they had reported.”

The incident was not the first sighting of human UFOs.

In April a figure was filmed flying over people in Qutub Minar, India, and the video quickly went viral on the internet.

Closer to home in Staffordshire, another man was spotted soaring over Cannock Chase in February 2009.

Five people contacted the local newspaper and described it as a “Superman” moment, with one believing he was using a James Bond-style jetpack.


I really don’t know what to think about this. If it had been seen by only one of the pilots, I could consider it remotely possible this was nothing more than a fleeting hallucination.

But even if both of them had talked about UFOs just before the event, it would be extraordinarily unlikely for their two brains to generate the same delusion at the same time. And we’ve really no reason whatsoever to assume they did had such a discussion prior to the landing.

So I consider it extremely plausible they encountered a real „thing“.

But what?

The absence of any radar detection allows us to reasonably rule out any drone or other man-made craft drawing or releasing a human-shaped balloon or a real person.

The fact that no canopy or other equipment was seen and that, despite the good visibility, no passenger saw the flying man or thing compounds the mystery.

Chris Yates is a competent aviation expert who proposed lots of Skeptical explanations to UFO sightings in the excellent documentary „UFOs over Europe.“

Chris Yates during the documentary "UFOs over Europe"

Aviation safety expert Chris Yates.

But in that particular situation he just tells us „it’s a complete and utter mystery“.

Authors such as Charles Fort, John Keel and Jacque Vallee (Passport to Magonia) pointed out the occurrence of such bizarre events under evidential circumstances which would be deemed reasonably conclusive in mundane fields of inquiry.

Passport to Magonia. On UFOs, Folklore, And Parallel Worlds.   Jacques Vallee

Passport to Magonia: Amazing book of Dr. Jacques Vallee where he argues that modern UFOs are a small part of a far wider paranormal phenomenon.

Unless a credible super-prankster can be found, I tend to think we should add this sighting into this list of anomalies.

But I warmly welcome anyone putting forward a reasonable hypothesis accounting for the facts.

You can find other astounding cases on my regularly updated Homepage

(List of all posts)

My other blog on progressive Christianity

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