Aurora: Unexplained Aircraft No. 1

Since the 1980s aviation enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists alike have tossed around a name that by now we know all too well. That name is none other than Aurora. You’ve probably seen the countless photos and heard the variety of testimonies out there claiming the existence of this so called Aurora aircraft.  Even with hundreds of people claiming to have seen the elusive black triangle in the sky, the United States Air Force consistently denies the existence of any such aircraft. Should we believe them? If you’re wondering this for yourself, stay tuned.


What Is The Aurora?

Before we get into why one should or shouldn’t believe in the existence of the Aurora, I’d like to talk about what the ‘Aurora’ supposedly is and where it got its name. The first sighting of the so called ‘Aurora’ occurred in the UK in August of 1989. This sighting was made by engineer Chris Gibson and his girlfriend while on the north sea. Reportedly, the two witnessed the black, triangle shaped aircraft refueling from a KC-135 tanker alongside two F-111 fighter/bombers. This sighting is what kickstarted the search for what this peculiar triangle aircraft was. Many later sightings of the ‘Aurora’ reported a special type of contrail known as “doughnuts on a rope”. This contrail consists of a straight line in the sky (the rope) that has many of evenly spaced vapor rings around it (the doughnuts). These contrails lead to much speculation about the type of propulsion system this aircraft used. Many people speculate that the Aurora most likely uses some sort of ‘pulse detonation engine’. To put it simply, rather than shooting out a constant stream of air like a conventional jet, a pulse detonation engine utilizes a series of well timed, highly powerful explosions to give the aircraft maximum speed and efficiency. If the Aurora exists, it is most likely a high speed spy plane for reasons I’ll get into later. According to speculation, this aircraft could reach hypersonic speeds at insanely high altitudes. This however, is still only speculation. The Aurora didn’t actually get its name until much later. The reason people started giving this aircraft its name is due to a mistake at the pentagon. In the very early days of the B-2 bomber program, documentation regarding the funding for this program was accidentally leaked. In this documentation, the arbitrary name ‘Aurora’ was given to the prospect of funding for the B-2 program. Since not much else was known about the top secret bombers at the time, many people put two and two together and assumed the name to be in regards to all of the black triangle sightings around the world. In recent days, many people have taken to calling this mythical aircraft the SR-91, however the name ‘Aurora’ has stuck like glue. With some of its background out of the way, we can get into why the SR-91 ‘Aurora’ (probably) exists.



1. California Sonic Booms

Perhaps one of the most popular pieces of evidence we have for this mysterious aircraft come in the form of seismic data from Southern California. Beginning in 1991, seismologists in Southern California started reading seismic data in the form of sonic booms. The booms appeared to originate from around 90,000 feet and were traveling across the state at a speed of mach 6. For reference, the fastest conventional aircraft (the SR-71) had a top speed of mach 3.4! These were definitely not earthquakes, so unsurprisingly many people started to speculate what could have caused these sonic booms. The booms were reported to be much more powerful than any normal supersonic aircraft. The only two things that maybe could have caused these sonic booms are the SR-71 or a NASA space shuttle. Neither of these however, where operating on any of the days these booms were recorded. Furthermore, the booms always occurred on a Thursday between the hours of 4 and 7 AM. According to one of the seismologists studying these booms, Jim Mori: “We can’t tell anything about the vehicle. They seem stronger than other sonic booms that we record once in a while. They’ve all come on Thursday mornings about the same time, between 4 and 7.” The California sonic booms aren’t a direct proof of any aircraft, but definitely lead to more speculation. If you’d like to read more about these sonic booms, there is a great article on them by the LA Times! You can find it here!


2. “Doughnuts On A Rope”

First spotted in Amarillo Texas in 1992, the “doughnuts on a rope” contrail appeared. This mysterious ringed contrail was accompanied by a deep, rumbling sound. Steven Douglass was the first to provide photo evidence of these contrails. Alongside this, strange radio communications in the area were picked up by Douglass. Most notably two aircraft using the callsigns “Darkstar November” and “Darkstar Mike”. Following this, radio communications were heard at Edwards Air Force Base in California coming from an aircraft using the callsign “gaspipe” reading out extremely high altitudes much higher than the service ceiling of most aircraft. Like before, these strange events can’t be directly correlated to one specific aircraft. However, I personally think that the Aurora is either one aircraft that is responsible for these events, or multiple top secret aircraft. I think it’s more reasonable to believe it is one aircraft rather than multiple. But I digress. Either way, there are undoubtedly strange things happening in the skies above us.


3. The USAF Would Be Flying Blind

The United States Air Force’s most advanced spy-plane, the SR-71 Blackbird, was retired in 1999. This would mean that without a new reconnaissance aircraft, the USAF practically would have been flying blind for more than two decades. Many people bring up the fact that we don’t need to spy-planes anymore with the addition of satellights in the 21st century. However this is not so. The main advantage that spy-planes have over satellights is flexibility. Satellights can not change course and can really only take photos. In a modern day war theater, this is unacceptable. Spy-planes can alter their course at any time, take higher quality images and video, collect different types of data, and can cover different areas much more efficiently. To think that the United States Air Force has been going 20 plus years without any sort of reconnaissance aircraft in service is ridiculous. This is where the Aurora comes in. I, along with many others believe that the either the Aurora or some other top secret aircraft replaced the SR-71 and has been in service since the Blackbird’s retirement. It definitely makes sense. Personally, I think this is the best bit of evidence for the United States having an upgraded spy-plane to replace the SR-71. Another thing to note is that spy satellights have been around since the 50s. Why would the SR-71 have been built if satellights could do a better job?


4. The Air Force Has Done This Before

The SR-71 was deployed and being used for years and was constantly denied before the USAF finally admitted to the public that it existed. This has happened many times in the past. It happened with the Blackbird, it happened with the U-2, it happened with the B-2 and  pretty much any other top secret aircraft you can think of.  In conjunction with the last piece of evidence, I believe that the United States has built and deployed a replacement for the Blackbird and is just trying to keep it from the public until they deem it to be an appropriate time to do so. I would not be surprised if in the next few years, the USAF decides to release a statement confirming the existence of such an aircraft. I believe this aircraft is what many have been referring to as the Aurora for years.



Whether or not you decide to believe in the existence of the Aurora is up to you. Although I believe there is quite a bit to support that such an aircraft exists, there is room for some skepticism. Ultimately, we’ll never know truly if this aircraft exists unless someone spills the beans. All of these bits of evidence could very well be the responsibility of one aircraft, or it could be multiple aircraft that seem like one. We may never know for sure. What we do know however, is that there are very interesting things happening in our skies. The Air Force has cried wolf many times before. Why should be believe them now? With all that being said, I hope you enjoyed todays article! This is the start of a new series I am working on call “Unexplained Aircraft”. If you enjoyed, feel free to share or comment and I’ll see you in the next post!


-Camden Crace



Camden Crace

Born and raised in Springfield Missouri, Camden Crace is an avid aviation enthusiast, photographer and content creator. Currently working on his pilot certifications to one day work as a medical pilot, Camden enjoys sharing his knowledge and love of aviation with others.

2 Replies to “Aurora: Unexplained Aircraft No. 1”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *