- HBCC UFO Research Note:
- There are thousands of aircraft flights each and everyday,
if carrying passengers, cargo or military flights of some type. With
so many flights taking place each and everyday we are lucky if we hear
a small fraction of unidentified UFO reports from pilots. Sightings of
unknown objects are being witnessed each and everyday by ground observers,
but yet we don't receive all that many pilot reports. I would like to request
that if any pilots who have been witness to something they weren't able
to explain while flying an aircraft, would you please be so kind as to
relate the information, or your sighting report to me.
- Please keep in mind that any and all personal information
will be respected and will remain private. I will not post names, emails
or anything else that you would consider personal. So if a pilot has been
witness to a UFO sighting, please do write to me, Brian Vike - Director
of HBCC UFO Research email@example.com and by using this email
address I will be the only person reading your mail. Thank you, Brian.
- In the summer of 1978, I was flying for a crop dusting
operation near Tranquillity, California. At that time I had been a duster
pilot for over sixteen years, and flying nights since 1965. In central
California during the summer months, certain fields are treated after dark,
mainly to protect workers and honeybees from exposure to AG chemicals.
- On the early morning of 28 July, just before three AM,
I was sitting in the cockpit of my airplane, a Rockwell Thrush Commander.
The aircraft was parked, with its engine shut down and all interior and
exterior lights off, at the south end of a one-half mile dirt runway, located
about five miles southwest of Mendota, a small town in the San Joaquin
Valley about thirty miles west of Fresno. The Thrush was lined up with
the runway, facing due north.
- I had just finished spraying a quarter-section cotton
field, and was getting ready to spray another. My two girl flaggers were
already in place on the field I was about to treat, and my loader was busy
mixing a batch of pesticide to be applied on it.
- It was a calm, cloudless night, typical of midsummer
in the San Joaquin Valley. The air temperature at ground level was around
seventy degrees, and the visibility was good. Although I was somewhat tired,
I was not at all sleepy. I had drunk several cups of coffee from my thermos
during the previous six hours, and I have always been sensitive to caffeine
as a stimulant.
- As I sat in the cockpit, waiting for the first load to
be pumped into the hopper tank, I glanced over to my right at the crescent
moon rising in the east, and then turned back to again face north. At this
time, I noticed a dim, diffused orange glow, low in the sky to the northwest,
about forty-five degrees to the left of the aircraft nose.
- My first thought was that a house, barn, or other nearby
ranch building had caught fire, but I discarded that possibility almost
immediately. I knew the area quite well (an absolute necessity for safe
night AG flying) and the glow was in the direction of the field that
I was about to spray. I had flown this same field several times before,
and knew there were no buildings in the immediate vicinity. I decided that
if it was a fire, it had to be much farther away.
- This possibility was discarded a few seconds later, when
the orange glow began to slowly rise. When it was about thirty degrees
above the horizon, it started moving toward the east. At first this movement
was quite slow, but within a few seconds, it speeded up. The glow then
began to take on an elongated form, markedly longer in the vertical plane
than in the horizontal. It reminded me of a segment of searchlight beam,
except that the entire light column moved laterally, while oriented nearly
straight up and down, rather than in a radius around a fixed light source.
The length of the column seemed to be about ten to twenty degrees of vertical
- As the light column passed through due north, straight
ahead over the airplane nose, it continued accelerating and becoming brighter.
I then realized that I was viewing something that was totally different
from my many other nighttime sightings of missile launches, satellites,
planets, and other aircraft.
- I yelled for my loader to look, but the noise of the
mix rig engine drowned out my voice, and because his attention was focused
on opening cans of pesticide on the opposite side of the mix tank, he didn't
see my frantic signals. I climbed out of the cockpit onto the left wing,
planning to jump down and run around the trailer to alert him. Then I had
the thought that if I did, I might miss a vital part of the display, so
I remained standing on the wing.
- After passing abeam of the runway end, the object continued
accelerating for a short time, perhaps five to ten seconds. It then climbed
slightly, and at the same time abruptly slowed. During this phase the glow
was becoming brighter, while the vertical beam was shortening, forming
itself into a more compact mass of light.
- At about forty-five degrees off to my right, the object,
now considerably brighter, and resembling a glowing ball, came to a stop
for several seconds. It then reversed course, and once again began moving,
this time back to the west.
- Several seconds after starting its westward movement,
and without slowing, the ball of light instantly assumed the shape of a
well-defined, flattened sphere with pointed ends, which emitted a steady
orange glow. At this time it began a shallow descent, gathering speed and
leveling out around twenty degrees above the horizon. It flew with its
pointed ends parallel to the ground. From my position, the size of the
object looked to be about that of a large pea or small marble when held
at arms length.
- When the glowing, flattened sphere was directly over
the Thrush's nose, it abruptly halted, going from a high rate of speed
to a dead stop almost instantaneously. It remained stationary for no more
than a few seconds - five at the most. Although this would have been the
best opportunity to determine the object's true size, I was unable to make
an estimate, since its distance from me was unknown. On the report which
I later submitted, I placed it at one to three miles away, but that distance
is highly speculative.
- After its momentary halt, the object again accelerated.
Within a few seconds it had resumed its previous high speed, but appeared
to have turned ninety degrees, and was now climbing directly away from
me at a very steep angle. Its heading was due north, and as it rose, it
attained what looked to be the highest speed reached during the entire
time it had been in view.
- Because of the unknown size and distance of the object,
and the fact that it was climbing at an angle directly away from me, this
speed was impossible to estimate accurately. Judging from the rate at which
it seemed to grow smaller though, it looked to be travelling about three
to five times faster than a jet airliner at an altitude of around thirty
thousand feet, as seen from the ground.
- During this climb, the object also reached its maximum
brightness, only very slightly less than that of the crescent moon. As
it continued to rise, it began to dim. It finally vanished from my sight
high above the horizon (about sixty to seventy degrees), over the glow
of the lights of Firebaugh, another small town about 12 miles due north
of my position.
- The total time which the object remained in view, from
my first sighting of the diffused mass of light until the final disappearance
of the flattened sphere, seemed to be about 40-50 seconds, but an accurate
estimate is quite difficult. It could have been somewhat shorter, but almost
certainly wasn't longer.
- Throughout the episode, I remained relatively calm, but
was filled with awe when I realized that I had just witnessed a phenomenon
about which I had previously only read, and, up to that time, was not at
all certain actually existed.
- As soon as the object disappeared, I jumped off the wing
and asked my loader if he had seen anything. He had not, and when I told
him what I had witnessed, he was disappointed, to say the least. He finished
mixing the batch of pesticide, and I sprayed four loads on the field. I
then sprayed another quarter-section located northeast of the strip without
- After returning to Tranquillity, I sought out my two
flaggers, and asked them if they had seen anything unusual the previous
night. They were both very evasive and reluctant to answer my questions,
and kept trying to change the subject. I finally got them to admit that
they had also seen the object. Their view of it had been better than my
own, since they described it as somewhat larger and brighter than it had
appeared from my location. From this, I estimated that they were closer
to it than I had been, although it had still remained to the north of them.
- With further questioning, the fact emerged that they
had also seen the same object on the previous two nights, while flagging
for another pilot. The girls described it very aptly as "a little,
flat, flying football." They had told no one else of these previous
sightings, and remained very reluctant to discuss them with me. I later
talked with the other pilot, who stated that he had seen nothing out of
the ordinary on either night.
- Several nights later, at around midnight, I was in the
air, returning to Tranquillity from the western edge of the valley. I was
heading almost due east, flying at about five hundred feet. Suddenly, to
the south, just off my right wing, at what seemed to be considerable distance
away, I again sighted a column of diffused light. This time, the glow was
more yellowish than orange. It appeared to move very slowly to the west,
and I waited for a few seconds to see if another bright, oval shape would
materialize from it. This did not occur. I then turned the airplane toward
the light column, and flashed my two field lights of six hundred watts
each. It immediately disappeared, and I saw no further evidence of the
- A few days afterward, I wrote to the National Investigative
Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP), and reported the first sighting.
Since the second light column had seemed rather far away, and was visible
for only a short time, I didn't mention it. I later made out a NICAP report
form and returned it. There was no reply from the organization, and I later
learned that NICAP became non-operational the next year.
- That sighting of 28 July made a very deep and lasting
impression. I can still see the glowing orange, flattened sphere as vividly
in my mind as it appeared on that early morning many years ago. I have
no doubt that the device (or whatever it was) was real - there is absolutely
no way that it could have been a product of my imagination. Twelve years
previously, I had flown in the Sudan with some AG pilots who mentioned
seeing somewhat similar objects in Arkansas and Florida.
- Around that same time, many persons in the Mendota-Tranquillity
area claimed to have seen, over a period of several nights, a gigantic,
black object, with strange, multi-colored flashing lights. It moved slowly,
making no sound, and was so huge that it obscured a significant portion
of the night sky. (This fits the "mother ship" description of
which I later read in various UFO accounts.) I never saw this vehicle,
so I can't verify its existence, but it was the talk of all of the little
towns on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley for many weeks afterward.
- Over the years, I have seen two other unusual objects
during night AG flying operations in the same general area. I once observed
a bright blue light descend slowly to the ground from a high altitude,
and watched, for a minute or so, a group of several bright white lights
in a perfect "L" formation. They were flying very high and very
fast, much faster than any known conventional aircraft. Neither of these
incidents had the visual and psychological impact of the 1978 sighting
- As I write this, I have spent over 35 years in agricultural
aviation, and accumulated more than eleven thousand hours of AG flying
time, several thousand of these at night. During the many thousands of
hours I have spent outdoors after dark, I have seen hundreds of satellites,
about thirty missile launches from Vandenberg AFB, all of the visible planets
under widely varying sky conditions, and many thousands of military and
civilian aircraft in all modes of flight. What I saw on that early July
morning was totally unlike anything else I have ever observed in the night
- Since then, I have read hundreds of books dealing with
all aspects of UFOs. Many of them contain accounts that are inconsistent
and contradictory, while others are obviously outright fantasy. A few,
however, seem to be authentic. Unlike most other UFO researchers, my search
for the truth behind the many thousands of documented appearances of these
phenomena is driven by the certain knowledge that they in fact exist.
- To date, despite many years of research, I am still unable
to form a definite opinion as to the substance and meaning of these mysterious
and logic-defying objects. I hope, however, to somehow correlate the mass
of at-times conflicting information, and determine their true origin and
purpose, before I make that last flight West.
- After the above article was first published, (removed
by HBCC UFO) received a letter from a 25,000 hour commercial pilot
who had sighted what was essentially the same phenomenon on a night in
January of 1978, six months before my own experience.
- He was on a charter flight with several passengers aboard
and cruising at 8500 feet when, at about 9 PM, he looked to the west of
his course and saw a similar cycle of light begin. He started to turn toward
it to get a better view, but his passengers had no desire whatever to get
any closerthey became quite agitated and "strongly objected,"
so he reluctantly turned away from the spectacle so as to calm them down.
By the time he got back on his original heading, the light show was over.
He also mentioned that he had seen a flight of "silvery disks"
somewhere over north central Washington sometime in the 1950's.
- (Removed by HBCC UFO) also got a letter from a distinguished
professor at a northern California university, who dismissed my sighting
as "only the aurora borealis, or northern lights." I have seen
the northern lights a number of times. Once, when they were exceptionally
strong, they even appeared on the horizon in southern California. Of course,
they bear no resemblance whatever to what I saw in the sky that morning,
and anyone reading the article who has also seen the northern lights should
have been able to comprehend that there was a vast difference between them.
Some professor! Some aurora borealis!
- Since the article first appeared, I have had one more
sighting of something that remains unexplained in my mind. My wife also
saw it, and is likewise at a loss to explain it.
- On an early summer evening, we were lying on our backs
on a lawn, watching the passage of the linked space shuttle/space station
as they passed overhead. It was a very bright object, and had appeared
exactly at the time forecast.
- About 15 seconds after it had passed directly above us,
we saw a bright white, flashing light on approximately the same track as
the linked vehicles, but some distance behind them. It was nearly directly
overhead also. The light didn't move in the same direction however. Instead,
it flashed, disappeared, and then flashed again in another location some
distance away from its original position. This cycle repeated itself about
five or six times, with the light appearing at a different part of the
sky each time, then the object disappeared.
- I mailed an account of this sighting to the National
Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, an organization which
gathers reports of unexplained aerial object sighting from all over the
world. They mostly come from airline pilots. The reply stated that this
same "flashing, disappearing/reappearing light" was one of the
most common objects reported by a large number of pilots, none of whom
were able to explain it. Neither was NARCAP.
- Although I have been searching for 40 years, I myself
am no wiser as to the origin or purpose of these various unidentified flying
objects which are being reported with increasing frequency all over the
world. However, since there is nothing in the universe that is "supernatural,"
I am convinced that they are a part of some larger phenomena yet to be
- An Unexplained Sighting Over Northern Alabama
- (Published in - Removed by HBCC UFO - September
1995 as sidebar to "A Little Flat Flying Football")
- Whenever I travel by airline, I always try to get a window
seat, because I like to look out on the ever-changing clouds and sky and
watch the ground passing below. Thus, on 21 April 1994, at approximately
1310 EDT, I was in the rearmost right window seat of a Delta Lockheed L-1011.
The aircraft was nearly full of passengers, heading west/northwest on a
flight from Atlanta to Salt Lake City.
- We were in a climb to cruising altitude, passing through
approximately 18/20,000 feet, when I suddenly saw, almost directly below,
two seemingly circular bright, glowing white objects, with no visible wings
or tail surfaces, moving toward the northeast at a very high speed. I spotted
them just after they had passed under the airplane.
- Because I have no knowledge of their size, or their distance
from the aircraft, it's hard to say how far below they actually were, or
at what speed they were traveling. I can tell you that they were moving
very fast though...much faster than the fastest military fighter aircraft
would be capable of flying, especially at that relatively low altitude.
Besides that, with only a few exceptions for test and tactical ranges in
several of the western states, supersonic flight is forbidden over the
continental US, and these machines were traveling at a speed which was
obviously much higher than the speed of sound would have been at that altitude.
And of course all military aircraft of all the services are now coated
with either radar-absorptive or camouflage paint, and thus are either a
uniform dull grey or a dull gray/green mottled color combination.
- Although these objects were flying together, they were
not in a close formation, such as tactical military aircraft would normally
be, but approximately 3-5 degrees apart. As they moved away below, they
seemed to drift a little farther away from each other.
- I watched them disappear in the distance, and then looked
forward along the row of seats to see if anyone ahead of me was pointing,
gesturing, or giving some indication that they had also seen the objects.
No one was...all of the other passengers had the window shades down and
were watching some dumb Whoopee Goldberg movie. Evidently I was the only
one looking out the window.
- While this didn't have the same impact as my previous
sighting of July 1978, it was still an exciting experience. I only wish
I had seen an indication that someone else on that airplane had sighted
the machines...or whatever they were.
- Brian Vike, Director HBCC UFO Research.
- email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- HBCC UFO Research International: http://www.hbccufointernational.org/
- HBCC UFO Research, Box 1091 Houston, British Columbia,
Canada - VOJ 1ZO