According to a report by the War Zone, which has dug details of sightings through its interactive database of over 10,000 FAA reports, several unidentified aircraft have caused safety issues within military training ranges along with "drones" operating over nuclear facilities and other highly sensitive locales. (Related: "UFO stigma" leaves US vulnerable to spying, drone strikes.)
Most of the reports are considered to be highly concerning ands outright strange. One of the more bizarre reports came from a pilot flying a Diamond DA40 light aircraft. The pilot saw a highly unusual object imitating his aircraft's maneuvers while flying at more than 2,000 feet above Atlantic City, New Jersey on September 16, 2018.
The incident was filed via the FAA's Mandatory Occurrence Report (MOR) process. According to FAA rules, MORs must be created whenever a pilot reports any unauthorized or otherwise unsafe unmanned aerial system (UAS) activity. The behavior and reported altitude of the unidentified object probably caused the report. The FAA also calls for drone operators to fly below 400 feet and to not intervene with manned aircraft operations.
The MOR included an audio from the FAA's interview with the pilot that took place after the occurrence. The pilot who filed the report was an Air Force KC-135 aerial refueling tanker pilot and was familiar with the specific airspace.
According to the pilot, he initially thought that the object was a set of balloons. He described how the object climbed along with him and appeared to intentionally stay opposite his aircraft, imitating his turn. The pilot made several references to a video taken by a passenger. However, he said that the video was limited in detail because of prominent compression artifacts.
When asked for a key description of the object, the pilot said it was hard to clearly identify what he saw although he was familiar with drones. He also mentioned the strange v-shaped antenna and a payload, which he described as potentially being a camera, hanging off the bottom of the object. The pilot added that based on its physical description it did not appear to be a fixed-wing aircraft.
In terms of the object’s behavior, the pilot noted how effectively the object circled their plane, speculating that it was probably trying to get a "cool video" of him. He said that while it might be a cool video, it was "super dangerous."
Meanwhile, two FedEx pilots who reportedly encountered an unidentified flying object (UFO) at 37,000 feet had left experts confused.
The pilots said that while flying a cargo plane near Monterrey, Mexico, a bright light appeared from the sky, halted at their altitude, fired a beam of light and moved in tandem with the plane for over 30 minutes before flying away. The UFO incident, which happened on March 19, 2020, was captured on video.
While the two pilots were not identified, a National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) report stated that the captain of the Boeing 767 cargo plane is "a career pilot with 19 years of experience flying wide-body aircraft for a major cargo company with an additional 10 years flying KC-135 refueling tankers for the U.S. Air Force." The first officer, on the other hand, is "a career fighter pilot that flew F-15s before working in the private sector."
The initial coverage of this UFO sighting cast little light on the details enclosing it, but NARCAP executive director Ted Roe gave some new insight when he spoke with DailyMail.com.
"The FAA literally will not accept their reports. The aeronautical instruction manual, which is the primary manual for air crews, tells them if they want to report a UFO they can contact a civilian UFO reporting center. This has been going on for decades. The information is lost to the aviation system and safety planners because the data is never presented to the aviation system to begin with," Roe said.
"Recently we’ve had this UAP (unidentified aerial phenomena) Task Force and government activity on the subject. In the report, the director of National Intelligence on June 25 stated that UAP are a hazard to aviation, and they were rather clear about it."
The footage of the UFO event taken by the FedEx pilots was examined by Roe’s group at the NARCAP. They reported that the two pilots are "competent airmen, highly experienced with observing and identifying aircraft and are capable of determining normal observations and incidents from unusual ones."
One of the pilots can be heard talking in the video about "a brilliant yellow white plasma object teardrop shaped" object in the sky. They were so concerned about what they were seeing that the captain used the combined Traffic Collision Avoidance System and cockpit display and turned on the Airborne Collision Avoidance System secondary surveillance radar.
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