I have spotted a lot of IFOs through the years of looking skyward, day and night.
Identified Flying Objects.

Aeroplanes, helicopters, kites, gannets, sparrows, butterflies, paper darts or whatever.

All identified.

But this is the time of the year when lots of kids want to see an object not so easily identified.


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It is the time of the imminent sleigh ride across the skies, although it's unlikely Pilot Claus has been instructed to have port, starboard and tail lights fitted... although in this day and age of regulated regulations you never know.

Accordingly (if the "authorities" have been in touch with Clausair) then I dare say there are navigational and tracking lights attached, and the reindeer will all have appropriate hard hats and fluoro vests fitted.

And they will have all been through several health and safety programmes.

Pilot Claus will also have to wear an approved safety belt which means getting on and off the thing to fire a few items down another chimney is going to cost a bit of time as he has to unclip, clip, unclip, clip...

Whilst on this note, children, do not be alarmed if you have one of those new fangled firebox things in the living room.

The chimney access thing was just a made-up tale... he has a selection of remarkable skeleton keys that'll open any locked back door.

Well that's my theory anyway.


So as the darkness descends over the landscape on the eve of Christmas and into Christmas Day many youngsters will defy sleep as long as they can and peer through the curtains at the sky above.

Looking for a moving light.

A slow moving light and maybe, just maybe, a few little glimmers from fluoro vests caught in that light.

I've done that.

I've laid there on the night of Christmas and defied dozing and watched and watched the dark skies above... ever so hopeful I would see Santa Claus arriving.

I mean, it would be hard to miss.

Hard to hear though as no engines are involved, just huffing reindeer.

So yep, there was a time I lay there and just keep sitting up every few minutes to take one more peek, just in case that was the magic moment the sleigh slipped through our skies above.

But I never saw it.

I was disappointed.

I was also 34 years old but hey, you never know.

So I have not seen Santa's "aircraft" but I have seen a lot of IFOs because they come over every day and every time I hear something like an ATR72 coming over low to line up the landing strip I watch it.

Always been fascinated by planes, so I was chuffed to hear that yesterday was the anniversary of the first officially registered powered flight back in 1903.

That of the Wright brothers who spent about 12 seconds in the air over sand dunes and travelled about 40 metres.

I still reckon our lad Richard Pearse got there first but hey, it's not in the record books so that's that.

And then there are UFOs.

Unidentified Flying Objects and I thought I may have seen one about 15 years ago — late at night as I went out to shut the garage up.

A fast moving light, coming in from the south and sort of pulsing a little.

And then it simply turned sharply left.

Not a curving turn... it just did a sharp right-angle turn and sped off and then disappeared.

No aircraft could do that, not even a satellite.

So a couple of years later I was talking to a bloke who was brushed up in space matter and he simply said it was likely to have been either a small satellite or large piece of space debris which hammered into another piece of debris (without any shiny bits to reflect the sun) and just cannoned off then disintegrated.

Ahh, UFO identified.

However, six years after the Wright Brothers hit the air something else did, and was spotted by people in Napier, Wellington and Kaikoura and reported in the local papers.

It was 1909 and what was described as a bright light enveloped by an "opaque body" was seen travelling "in a wavelike fashion" surging down to about 300 metres then up to 900 metres then down again.

It would occasionally shoot straight up and into the clouds.

The sightings lasted between July and September that year and were never explained of course.

Which I like.

A good mystery, although I had hoped to read that the sightings went into December, and the 24th and 25th.

Could have been... you know who.