Reports documenting American military pilots' recent encounters with UFOs have been released, showing that some curious things have been seen over the Eastern Seaboard.
Media picked up on the story, and ran with it fairly big, bumping down some COVID-19 information for almost a day. This is an indication that there's a small amount of "pandemic fatigue" working its way into our societal awareness, although it's still far too early to tell to what degree this will be influencing media.
CNN on Wednesday obtained the Navy Safety Center documents, which were previously labeled "For Official Use Only." They follow the Pentagon's official release late last month of three short videos showing "unidentified aerial phenomena" that had previously been made public by a private company. The newly released reports appear to share this assessment, describing many of the unidentified aircraft as "Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS)," the Pentagon's official name for drone aircraft.Actually, when you look through the newly obtained reports, you get a rather underwhelming perspective. Although they are reports from military pilots, which is indeed interesting, the sightings are anything but sensational.
But the reports say that even when the unidentified flying objects are assessed to be drones the military was unable to identify who was operating the drone, presenting a major safety and security challenge to the Navy jets training in the area which are restricted military training airspace ranges off the east coast of Virginia.
"I feel it may only be a matter of time before one of our F/A-18 aircraft has a mid-air collision with an unidentified UAS," one of the authors of a report warned.And there lies the crux of the matter.
Reports of UASs or UAPs or UFOs (because that's what they are often labeled in documents like these) show that there is a lot of air traffic that could potentially pose a threat or danger to authorized air traffic, whether they be military flights or commercial airlines.
I'm often asked during interviews why we should bother with UFOs at all. Simply put, UFO reports should be studied in greater detail, especially pilot sightings, because they potentially put people at risk.
Media interest in the documents about activity off the Atlantic played up the story, but the most significant point was largely missed.
These are the first actual post-Blue-Book military UFO reports in the USA that have been made public. Up until now, we really haven't had such a release of official American UFO information.
(I'm not counting the "Tic Tac" and TTSA videos, because they weren't released or officially acknowledged by the Pentagon until recently. SCU has had to piece together the actual reports that go along with the cases, based on things like Ship's Logs, an "Executive Summary" that was released confidentially, and a Pilot Report that was similarly obtained unofficially.)
Following the demise of Blue Book, after 1970 there was very little official information on American UFO cases, It's been a kind of "black hole," with lots of speculation and arm-waving, but nothing definite.
Curt Collins, whose work on the Cash-Landrum UFO case is exemplary, notes that apart from the Tehran UFO and the Loring and Malmstrom UFO incursions, these newly released documents are: "more important than the videos, since these are entirely new cases."
In addition, some UFO buffs are already shouting "Disclosure!" And that these docs prove their case.
However, two things are important to note:
First, these are relatively low-level incidents, with low classifications. Second, in Canada, we get these all the time. No Disclosure (capital D or lower case "soft disclosure") needed.
"These 'dull' reports need to be studied closely for at least a couple of reasons. Chiefly, these are the same means by which we should expect more exciting cases to be reported, so researchers should be familiar with the terminology, reporting processes, equipment etc. Secondly, this could offer clues to other cases, and help prevent drones from being logged in UFO records as true UFOs (defying conventional aircraft performance)."For perspective, here are just a few similar cases that were included in the yet-to-be-released 2019 Canadian UFO Survey (which has been delayed due to the pandemic):
Recent pilot sightings of UFOs over Canada noted by the Canadian UFO Survey
January 2, 2019
A Beech 200 flying from South Indian Lake, MB (CZSN) to Thompson, MB (CYTH) reported that an inexplicable bright light followed them from CZSN to CYTH at the same altitude and speed. No aircraft were reported in their vicinity.
January 8, 2019
While enroute (over Nunavut), a Turkish Airlines Inc. Boeing 777-300 from Los Angeles International, CA (KLAX) to Istanbul Atatürk, Turkey (LTBA) reported seeing a red rotary beacon light near the aircraft, at the same altitude of FL330. The only known aircraft in the region was more than 80NM ahead. The North American Aerospace Defence Command (NORAD) was advised.
January 17, 2019
Flashing and oscillating lights were reported moving up and down by the pilot of an aircraft flying between Quebec City and Sept-Iles at an altitude of 23,000 ft. ATC reported closest aircraft was 50 nautical miles ahead. Report labeled as “Unknown.”
April 11, 2019
A Boeing 737-800 aircraft operated by Sunwing Airlines, from Montego Bay/Sangster Intl (MKJS), Jamaica to Toronto/Lester B. Pearson Intl (CYYZ), ON with 6 crew members and 193 passengers on board. While being vectored for an approach to Runway 06L at CYYZ, the flight crew received a traffic alert and collision avoidance system (TCAS) alert at 3000 ft, indicating they should climb. Prime target appeared momentarily below, then disappeared. The flight crew complied with the command, and advised ATC. ATC replied that the conflicting traffic was unidentified, and not in communication with ATC. Sunwing a/c was vectored for a second approach, and landed without further incident.
And here's a radar report from Ottawa in April 1978
Official documents show us that UFO reports can indeed be interesting.