Many pilots are convinced that they've seen a UFO – some claiming to have narrowly avoided collisions or even spotted craft that are miles wide...
When a rugby-ball-shaped UFO passed within mere feet of his A320 Airbus, at 34,000ft above the Berkshire countryside and in broad daylight, the pilot – who’s never been named – warned Air Traffic Control that he was about to face a collision. Although, luckily, it turned out to be a near miss.
The official investigation into the incident – which happened in 2014 – couldn’t decipher what the mystery flying object was. A report said, “He [the Captain] was under the apprehension that they were on a collision course with no time to react. His immediate reaction was to duck to the right and reach over to alert the FO (First Officer); there was no time to talk to alert him.”
Described by the Captain as a metallic, silver ‘cigar or rugby-ball shape’, the craft apparently vanished soon after the encounter, as, once alerted by the pilot, Air Traffic Control could find no sign of it having ever existed.
The UK Airprox Board, which aims to enhance air safety and investigates near misses in British airspace, checked its records for any aircraft in the area at the time, and also ruled out meteorological balloons and helium balloons – the latter of which wouldn’t have been able to reach that height.
Dr Clarke, a sceptic on UFOs, says, “This latest sighting is interesting, because it’s detailed and clear. These pilots don’t file these reports for something and nothing. There was obviously something there.”
National Air Traffic Control Services says staff detect around one UFO every month.
Andrew Danziger – who flew President Obama during the 2008 electoral campaign – firmly believes he saw a white disc that transformed into a glowing ‘giant red ball’ back in 1989, when he was flying between Kansas and Iowa at 15,000ft and was then First Officer. The object was visible for an incredible 40 minutes before disappearing beneath the clouds.
The Captain of the plane also saw the UFO. Danziger said, “I commented to Bruce, the Captain, about this dimly visible disc. He said that he’d been watching the same thing since we had leveled off… The Captain and I had cumulatively spent many years flying and were accustomed to seeing — day and night — all manner of airplane, blimp, hot-air balloon, satellite and bird. But neither of us had any idea what this disc could be.”
After reporting the incident to the National UFO Report Centre, they were informed that many pilots had seen similar objects in the same area.
Danziger said, “I’m not going too far out on a ledge to say that virtually all pilots believe in UFOs.”
Described as “a cigar-shaped brilliant white light” by Captain Ray Bowyer, who was flying close to the Channel Island Alderney, this enormous UFO was hovering about 2,000ft from the ground. If this wasn’t enough of a shock, Bowyer then spotted a “second identical object further to the west.” Two passengers also confirmed the sighting, as did the pilot of another plane.
Bowyer said, “I’m certainly not saying that it was something of another world. All I’m saying is that I have never seen anything like it before in all my years of flying.”
More recently, two Turkish pilots have claimed that they saw a UFO that flashed green in the sky above their own plane just an hour before the mysterious disappearance of EgyptAir flight 804, which vanished on 19 May 2016.
They claimed, “An unidentified object with green lights passed 2,000 to 3,000 feet above us. Then it disappeared all of a sudden. We are guessing that it was a UFO.”
Although, it’s believed the doomed pilots on 804 made a distress call several minutes long about a fire, and that they would have to make an emergency landing. Authorities say the plane plummeted 38,000ft into the Mediterranean – killing all 66 on board.
How common are sightings?
Regarding how many pilots who’ve seen UFOs, John Chesire – who has four decades of aviation experience – says: “Far more commercial pilots than will ever be known. The reason for this is pilots are extremely reluctant to report an unidentified flying object. If they see something strange they will usually ask Air Traffic Control if they have the traffic on their radar. Sometimes ATC does; sometimes they don’t.
The main concern is collision avoidance for whatever object is seen. There is great negative incentive to report something unexplainable. First there is unwanted but necessary paperwork to fill out. Then there is skepticism. A pilot’s colleagues will needle him. And even if a pilot reports something, just what does that prove? What does that help? It just isn’t worth the trouble”