On the evening of October 21st, 1978, a 20-year-old pilot named Frederick Valentich left Melbourne in a Cessna 182L bound for King Island, sitting in the middle of the Bass Strait south of Australia. Visibility was fine and the wind was blowing easy.
Image showing the front page of the Roswell Daily Record on the morning of July 8th, 1947. The story covers the Roswell incident.
Shortly after, he contacted Melbourne air traffic control and said that an aircraft was following him about 1000 feet above—it had unusual features and was moving very quickly—and he could not identify it very well. He also said his engine was running rough at times.
Later he said the strange craft was coming at him from another direction. He began to feel the pilot was playing around with him. Melbourne ATC asked him to identify it. His response was that it was travelling too fast but it had a shiny metal surface with a green light on it. Then he said the craft was coming at him from another direction. He reported more engine problems.
Within a few seconds he reported in, “That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again. It is hovering and it's not an aircraft!” This was followed by strange metallic scraping noises.
Frederick Valentich and his Cessna 182L were never seen again.
Emergency flights combed the area but not one little trace of the plane was ever found. Some said it crashed into the Strait. But that model Cessna was equipped with a beacon that would have clicked on automatically on crashing. Also, it was designed to float on water.
Many possible scenarios surround the Valentich case. Did he stage an elaborate suicide? Was he downed by drug smugglers in the area?
Or was an entire airplane and its pilot abducted by extra-terrestrials?
Pilots are Credible Witnesses
UFO’s have been reported by pilots for years. Many UFOlogists point out that pilots are some of the most credible witnesses supporting the position that UFO’s exist. In the 1979 documentary “UFO’s Are Real” prominent UFO researcher Dr. Richard Haines said that due to the fact that pilots have good eyesight and trained skills of observation, their testimony of repeated sightings over the years cannot be ignored.
“We are not dealing with mental projections or hallucinations on the part of the witness, but with the real physical phenomenon,” he said.
He is not talking about a few random occurrences. The evidence is deep:
- Ray Bowyer, an Aurigny Airlines captain, had a 15 minute encounter while flying a commercial flight. He described two objects following his plane: flattened disk shapes with brilliant yellow light coming from within. He estimated them to be one mile across. Many passengers saw them as well.
- Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot and businessman, was flying over Washington’s Cascade Mountains in 1947 when he spotted nine crescent shaped, silvery objects near Mr. Rainier. They were skimming along, dipping “like a saucer would if you skipped it across water.” Ever since then we’ve called UFOs flying saucers.
- In 1986, a Japan Air Lines flight en route from Iceland to Anchorage, Alaska encountered white and yellow lights darting in and around the airplane. Later the flight crew observed a giant silhouette of what appeared to be a mothership. Before they could get confirmation from nearby airplanes, the ship was gone.
UFOEvidence.org reports that there are more than 3,500 documented sightings of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena by commercial, civilian and military pilots. The sightings date from the very first days of flight right through to today.
Most People Believe in UFO’s
Are they seeing things? Research indicates most people believe we are not alone.
Two UFO sightings in the 1960s. The top image shows a sighting over Sheffield, England on the 4th March 1962 while the bottom image shows a sighting over Minneapolis, Minnesota on the 20th October 1960.
- A 2007 poll by the Exopolitics Institute in Hawaii found that 85% of respondents “believe that extraterrestrial civilizations are visiting the earth.”
- In a 2002 Roper Poll, 56% of Americans agreed that UFO’s are real and 48% believe UFO’s have visited Earth in some form.
- A Canadian poll found 78% of Canadians believe that life exists somewhere else in our universe.
- 48% of the respondents in a 1996 Newsweek poll said they thought that UFO’s were real.
Did you know that every year thousands and thousands of UFO sightings are reported? Studies show that about a third of the populace believes that at least a portion of the sightings can be attributed to extraterrestrial spacecraft.
But are aliens real? Seth Shostack, a senior astronomer at the SETI Inst. is doubtful. He writes in the Huffington Post: “It's hardly likely to amaze you, but I'm skeptical. I don't think the evidence laid on the table as proof of extraterrestrial visitation is compelling, and I certainly don't buy the argument that better evidence (in fact, all the really good evidence) has somehow been collected by the governments of the world and stacked up in secret storage lockers.”
MFO’s: Man-Made Flying Objects
There’s something else. Unidentified Flying Objects are just that: unidentified flying objects—they can be anything. Wired Magazine reported on the dizzying array of stuff the U.S. has in the air that could be mistaken as extraterrestrials checking us out up close and personal.
From the flying saucer looking VZ–9 Avrocar from the 1950’s, to the T-Hawk lightweight drone from Honeywell nick-named the “flying beer can,” to spy blimps the size of football fields, many UFOs might in fact be man-made flying objects.
- The Avrocar was a joint Canadian/American attempt to create the equivalent of an actual flying saucer. After 10 years the project was scrapped.
- The Honeywell T-Hawk “Flying Beer Can” mini-drone hovers in the air performing reconnaissance for the Army.
- The Northrop Grumman SHIELD Helicarrier is a huge floating data center. The length of a football field and seven stories tall, it carries 2500 pounds of data sensors and intelligence gathering equipment.
- The Voltron drone hangs in the air for 5 years! Running on solar power, it is one of several proposals for a future project of DARPA, the Pentagon’s research branch.
- In the 1930’s, the Navy commissioned a prototype airplane nick-named “The Flying Flapjack.” It looked like a flattish flying saucer with two giant propellers. It could climb to 5000 feet and specialized in slow speed flying.
With all that hardware from the U.S. military floating around over the years, it’s easy to see how some of it could be mistaken for a UFO. And that’s just the American stuff. Add in Russian (and now Chinese) flying metal and you have some shiny objects distracting pilots.
It’s hard not to believe a UFO has intelligent life when it almost knocks you out of the sky. That’s what happened to Lt. Colonel Lawrence Coyne and his helicopter crew. They were flying over Mansfield, Ohio in 1973 when they encountered a large red object which moved toward them rapidly. Lt. Coyne said later it looked like a “locked-on missile.”
He cut the power and put the chopper in a steep dive to avoid impact. A green light appeared on the underside of the object. Despite trying to drop, the helicopter was pulled upward around 2000 feet higher than its original position. Eventually, it let go.
“It was almost a mid-air collision with what we consider to be a UFO,” said Dr. Coyne. He said the object had a high degree of technology, was composed of a structure and design that we do not have--it had no stabilizers, no landing gear or any visible source of propulsion.
Lt. Coyne felt so strongly about this experience he joined a delegation to the United Nations to encourage the organization to look further into the topic of UFO’s. However, many pilots are not so open. Many will not even report a sighting.
Code of Silence
Kenneth Arnold grew weary of the controversy around his sighting. He stated that if he ever saw anything like it again, he wouldn’t say a word. In one 1940’s era survey, an Air Force pilot said that he wouldn’t report a UFO sighting even if it was flying wing-tip to wing-tip with him.
Nick Pope, who used to run the UFO project for Britain, said pilots often won’t report cases because they don’t know how to describe it, or fear it could end their career, he told Coast to Coast radio. He said there are 200-300 UFO reports every year and that 80% could be easily explained, 15% had insufficient data and the rest were “extremely interesting.”
Maybe you loosen up after retirement from the service. That might explain the press conference called in September 2010 by 7 retired Air Force officers. Held at the National Press
Club in Washington, D.C., the officers related that they had seen UFO’s make U.S. nuclear systems “temporarily inoperable” during the cold war.
Robert Hastings, a well-known UFO researcher, put together the event. "The possession and threatened use of nuclear weapons potentially threatens the human race and the integrity of the planetary bargain." said Hastings (Wired 9/10).
Although Hastings did not serve in the military, he enlisted the help of Robert Salas, retired Air Force launch officer. Together they tracked down a cadre of airmen who had very similar stories, taking place from 1963 to 1980: alien ships of various shapes (conical, spherical, disc-shaped) appeared to them at U.S. nuclear missile sites. The common theme? When the aliens got close, all the missiles stopped reacting to directions from the airmen.
Robert Jamison claimed 10 of his missiles “suddenly went off-line” in 1967 at Malmstrom Air Force base in Montana. This took place as stories circulated of aliens visiting the area. A security guard reported that two small red lights in the distance appeared and began to close in on them.
Hastings was philosophical about the news conference. “I don’t think humankind is in jeopardy from whoever they are or whatever they are, except that we will have our minds expanded,” he said. “There will be a paradigm shift. Traditional institutions such as religions, governments, other social institutions may be threatened by what is coming. That is just the logical consequence of what is about to occur.”
Extra-Terrestrials No Threat
Seth Shostack says that he has no problem if you believe in UFO’s and extraterrestrials. In his view, even if they are real we may not be in much danger:
“…I'm not here to argue with you. I'd like to make a different point -- one that somehow seems to have escaped notice in the seemingly endless debate about UFOs. Namely, if the aliens are here, you have to admit something remarkable: They're about as harmless as kittens on Xanax.
Consider: The premise is that Earth is being visited. But are these invaders a mortal threat? You can read occasional claims that aliens are mutilating our cattle (a decidedly unwelcome pastime, if true), but homicide seems to be off limits for ET. They don't kill people. Your chances of being snuffed by a moose are higher.”
It’s food for thought. Aliens have done more damage to the Earth in Hollywood movies than anything in real life. It begs the question. Why? Maybe they are just toying with us. It could be that Earth is simply a backwater to them, a mud puddle in the great neighborhood of the galaxy, a down-and-out block that gives them license to fly in, flash some lights, honk the horn and speed away, like 21st century punks.
One thing is for sure. If a pilot sees a UFO, the chances are good he will not report it.
Except to another pilot.
In an on-line forum recently a government document was discussed—it said that pilots could not share any information regarding UFO’s or face a $10,000 fine. One forum poster confided that he felt around 90% of pilots had some type of experience with UFO’s but chose not to speak about it.
Another poster may have summed it up best: “I think that any person who cannot comprehend that the vastness of space is teeming with different forms of life is truly living with their head in the sand. 200 years ago, we had zero technology, today it's everywhere. To expect that other life in the billions of years past have no technology, or ability to travel, is naive at best.”
So, are UFOs real?
Image shows the USAF Avrocar, or as it's correctly know - the Avro Canada VZ-9AV Avrocar. This was the closest thing to the well known "flying saucer" craft that was ever developed by terrestrial intelligence.
Several studies have concluded that the majority of UFOs are observations of some real but common and normal objects: astronomical objects such as meteors; balloons, aircraft, nacreous clouds or noctilucent clouds. A small fraction of the UFOs sightings have been reported to be hoaxes. Nevertheless, with these incorrect reports excluded, a considerable percentage of the UFO sightings and reports remain unexplained – and these are indeed ‘unidentified’ flying objects in the strict sense of the word.