FARNBOROUGH'S close encounter of the third kind was revealed this week.

Documents recently discovered in Government archives reveal a specialist team of MOD investigators, including scientists and intelligence experts came to Farnborough in August 1950 to investigate UFO sightings.

The team arrived following reports of mysterious aircraft performing amazing high-speed manoeuvres two of only three UFO reports deemed reliable and worthy of further investigation by the Flying Saucer Working Party that covered the nation.

An experienced test pilot, RAF Flight Lieutenant Hubbard, reported he had seen "a flat disc, light pearl in colour, about 50ft in diameter" flying low at speeds of 800 to 1,000mph over the town.

Two weeks later Flt. Lt. Hubbard came forward again to say he had seen another disc-shaped object low in the sky in the direction of Farnham and this time it had been seen by five other senior RAF officers too.

All six were interrogated by the MOD team and banned from discussing their experience in public.

When the team produced their report on the Farnborough UFO's they concluded the pilot's first sighting was an optical illusion on the basis the object could not have flown so low and fast without other people seeing it.

The testimony of the five officers was undermined by the MOD saying they had already been influenced by the Hubbard's original report when they saw their spaceship, and that it was probably a normal aircraft that seemed unusual because it was seen manoeuvring in the distance.

Syd Foster, 85, a retired aircraft designer and Fellow of the British Interplanetary Society, said: "The sightings in Farnborough caused a bit of a fuss. It wasn't confirmed but if it was a RAF pilot who said about it then I would back them in that because, although they're up in the air, they've got their feet on the ground, if you know what I mean.

"They would not have sensationalised what they had seen. Civilian pilots today see all sorts of things up there too.

"I am not a sensational person. What I say is based on fact. Like all knowledgeable people I know that there is some other life out there and we have the evidence to prove it.

"I am fully convinced that now, at the beginning of the 21st Century, we are getting more involved with the subject and preparing for when we actually see them."

Cynics may choose to ridicule and discard the claims of UFO enthusiasts but it may interest readers to know that some parts of the report still remain classified - who knows what we will learn when these hidden sections are revealed?