Index of UFO Types

David Calvert. 

UFOs come in many different shapes and sizes, from the traditional saucer-shaped to the more exotic. They have been witnessed throughout human history and have been photographed, sketched, painted, written about,  filmed, and categorised, yet we are still none the wiser as to their true origins.

The images and brief histories below are just a sampling of what the fledgling UFO investigator might come across in his early studies of the phenomenon. He would, therefore, do well to familiarise himself with the following. 


Saucer-Shaped UFO

saucer ufoThe term ‘flying saucer’ was first coined in 1947 by an anonymous Hearst copy editor, following the sighting of nine UFOs over Mount Rainier on June 24th of that year by Kenneth Arnold. In reality Arnold never described them as flying saucers but was misquoted when he said that they flew like a saucer would when thrown across the water. He wasn’t alluding to their shape but their motion. 

kenneth-arnold-ufoThis picture shows Kenneth Arnold holding up a depiction of what he actually saw. Clearly, it is more boomerang-shaped than saucer-shaped.


Cylindrical/Cigar Shaped UFO  

Mt washington ufoDepending on the source, this image was shot either in 1870, 1880, or 1896. It was supposedly taken in New Hampshire looking at Mt. Washington. It bears the classic cigar shape seen in the USA during the latter years of the 1880s. A more accurate term to use when describing such objects would be ‘Cylindrical’. 

‘Mystery airships’ or ‘phantom airships’ as they became known were reported world-wide in the late 19th century and are a class of unidentified flying object. They are seen as a cultural predecessor to modern UFOs. Some ufologists believe the airships were human-built dirigibles witnessed during test flights. However, no records of any successful flights have ever been discovered from the  period. Cigar and dirigible type craft share many of the same characteristics. It is therefore difficult to separate the two types, although generally the cigar is the larger of the two.  



The triangular UFO, aka ‘flying triangle’ (FT) has  reportedly been witnessed from the 1940s to the present day. However, phenomena consistent with modern-day sightings have also been reported throughout recorded history, using the language of the times. FTs are generally described as enormous, silent, black triangular objects. They are frequently seen at night, hovering or slowly cruising overtly at low altitudes over cities and highways. On each corner of the triangle there are “running lights”. They can be  bright white or pulsing coloured lights. A single light is situated at the centre of the aeroform. This class of UFO is reported as being visible to radar, as in the famous Belgium UFO wave of the 1980s. 

Boomerang/Chevron-Shaped UFO.

This picture was taken in Calgary, Canada, on April 8, 2007. The witness described it Calgary ufoas a ‘boomerang-shaped craft’ with ‘discernible structural elements’. It was silent and without a contrail.   On May, 2007, a similar craft was seen in Germany, described as being approximately 80 ft wide and 75 ft high, silver coloured and highly reflective. It had an orange glow at the front and a dome at the rear, along with lights at the bottom. As the witnesses watched, it ‘cloaked’ then uncloaked in a matter of seconds.

More UFO Types

Bell Craft. This is a rare craft and not enough data has been accumulated to give its general configuration. 

Bell ufo

Box Craft. This is a rare craft. Box-like appearance, no lights, and silent.

box ufo 2

Conical Hat. This is a comparatively rare craft. One of these UFOs was reliably estimated to be in the region of  200 metres in diameter. Colour is metallic silver, both dull and polished. They appear to vibrate heavily. When moving slowly they seem to jerk or jitter

  conical ufo

Cross Craft. These craft are incredibly rare. Their dimensions seem to vary from jet-fighter size to extremely large. Colours for this UFO vary, but several have been seen with white lights at the cross extremities and red or bright red at the centre, occasionally pulsating. On several occasions smaller, bright orange or green, craft have been seen to join and leave the main craft. The main craft also has the ability to ‘fade’ in its appearance. Electrical disturbances have also been reported with this UFO.


 Diamond-Shaped UFO. The exterior of this craft can be as polished and as dazzling as a mirror in bright sunlight. The range of colours reported for this UFO are from white to black, and just about every colour of the spectrum in-between. Its size range can vary, but the general estimate for it is about 18 ft across and 8 to 10 ft high. There is seldom any noise associated with this craft. Electrical disturbances are connected with it. 

diamond ufo

Domed Saucer. Of all UFOs this is the most instantly recognisable. The dome disc shaped craft has a relatively low profiled cupola, and they are generally flat or convex on the bottom. Their size can range from 10-15 ft in diameter, to several hundred or more, and they are generally one of the most common UFOs reported. Colour ranges from a brightly polished metallic silver to a dull aluminium. The flat-bottomed versions of this craft are often darker underneath in a center circular area. Grounded craft have been seen to have retractable landing gear. A characteristic of the domed saucer is that it is surrounded by an ionized atmosphere which gives them a mist shrouded appearance. Their speeds have been confirmed by radar at up to 9,000 mph.


Double Hat UFO. Dimensions for this craft vary in size from 1 to 30 metres. They have a brightly polished silver colour to a dull aluminium appearance. Flat bottomed saucers are often darker underneath. When seen at night they are solidly lit in red, orange, amber, yellow, blue or blue-violet, and brilliant white, combinations. At night the edges of the craft are indistinct, due to the halo that surrounds them, obscuring their edges. Like the conical hat UFO they can display a jittery or jerky movement. At close quarters these craft can be heard to give off a buzz, hum, or whine. 

double hat ufo

Egg Shaped UFO. This type of craft has been witnessed flying with its long axis vertical. Its configurations ordinarily range in the 1-30 meter range. It is also equipped with retractable landing gear. Their sound can be anything from a roar to a hum, buzz, whine or whirr at close quarters. When flying it may have a light swish-of-air sound, or may run silently. It has been witnessed in multitude of colours. The Socorro Landing is perhaps the most famous case of an egg-shaped UFO encounter.

egg shaped ufo 

Horseshoe Craft. The terminology used by witnesses when describing this UFO ranges from ‘horseshoe’, ‘magnet’, and ‘U-shaped’, for obvious reasons. What we know of this craft is that its size varies from that of a large airplane to several times larger than a jumbo jet. Its body often appears black and is highly reflective. Its perimeter lighting has been seen to be yellow, yellow-orange and non-blinking. Despite its habit of low-level flight, no sound has been heard emanating from it. This craft does not appear to bank when turning, but rotates, as is common of vehicles of this size.

horseshoe shaped ufo 

This is by no means a comprehensive view of UFO types, but merely a sampling of the many types the fledgling UFO student will encounter in their study of this fascinating subject. Omitions from this list include: 

Oval Shaped UFOs, Winged UFOs, Flat Top UFOs, Orb/Spherical UFOs, Saturn Craft, Teardrop UFOs, Split UFOs, Morphing UFOs, Pyramid Shaped UFOs, Square UFOs, Train UFOs, and Ring Shaped UFOs, to few.

© David Calvert 2011

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Triangular Formation of Lights: A Personal Sighting.

When Plausible Explanations are Found Wanting.

[Note: this personal sighting report was first published in UFO Magazine under the title above on April 2002, issue, p.48-49]

A Night To Remember

“It was around 11.10 pm on a Wednesday evening. I had just emerged from a workmate’s car after finishing the late shift.

Bidding  good night to another colleague who lives on a nearby estate, I was walking to my house in White-Le-Head Gardens, Tantobie, in the northeast of England, when I saw three faint blue and diffused stationary lights in a triangular formation about 15-20° above the eastern horizon.

They were approximately half a mile apart from each other, at 500-1000ft altitude, and behind thin cloud covering. I did not enter the house immediately but went directly to the back garden, away from the glare of the street lights so I could see them more clearly.

penshaw ufos

My wife was watching TV in bed when I entered the house and joined her in the bedroom facing east to watch the lights as they began moving about the sky.

There were now four lights moving around in the cloud, when the fourth appeared to split away from the southerly light of the inverted triangle formation. This then tracked across to the northerly light, taking about four seconds to do so, then back again. As it did so, it passed just above and in front of the easterly apex light which seemed slightly dimmer than the rest.

It is perhaps interesting to note that as the fourth light split from the southerly light, it took on the appearance of what I can only describe as a glowing tadpole – the tail of which swiftly dissipated. At one point three of the lights converged, then split again. They moved about the sky in a silent and random fashion.

Having got my Praktica W14 x 25 binoculars from the master bedroom, I began watching the lights through the now open bedroom window. I trained them on one of the lights and noticed that as it passed through an area of thinner cloud its light intensified, giving me the strongest impression that it was an internally lit, electric-blue light source behind the cloud and not the product of a ground-based light shone onto the face of it.

I had an unrestricted view for miles and could see nothing to suggest a ground-based source for the lights. Without warning the lights suddenly vanished in the blink of an eye. Having undertaken some research (which is still on-going) and giving much thought to the sighting I have come to several conclusions.


laser beamsThe lights could not have been the product of ground-base searchlights or lasers because one of them intensified in magnitude as it passed through the thinner cloud covering. If they were caused by any of the foregoing then surely – there being fewer water droplets to reflect light – it would have diminished in intensity and not the reverse. 


That ball lightning may have been the cause of the phenomenon is also unlikely, due to the 10-15 minute duration of the sighting. Balls of ionised gas or plasma, surrounded by the vertical magnetic field that constrains the link between them, are thought by physicist Antonio Rananda to have a life-span of no more than 10-15 seconds before dissipating.


I quickly ruled out conventional aircraft as the observed lights were completely silent. Furthermore, their manoeuvres were swift and angular. Nor am I aware of any know  aircraft, military or otherwise, which sport, exclusively, blue navigation lights. Moreover, the lights were seen performing manoeuvres within one of the flight corridors of Newcastle International Airport – an extremely dangerous and foolhardy thing for any sane pilot to do.


To date, I have found no evidence to support an astronomical interpretation for the sighting.”

I later contacted the late Graham W Birdsall, editor of UFO Magazine, who informed me that 20 years previously he and several others were conducting a skywatch at Penshaw Monument, Sunderland, which is not that far from where I lived, when they witnessed an object that looked like ‘a flying tadpole’ travelling erratically across the night sky in a southerly direction.

© David Calvert 2011

 Please note that at the bottom of each blog page there is a “Comments” box and a “Like” button, should you feel inclined to use them. Thank you.