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The Strange Case Of Frederick Valentich

Submitted by on November 23, 2010 – 1:46 PM10 Comments | 2,831 views

frederick-valentich

Delta Sierra Juliet….These words send chills down my spine, and have been ever since I heard of the strange case of Frederick Valentich. The Australian pilot who during a routine flight had been thrown into one of the most bizarre cases in the annals of Ufology.

I was in my early teens, thirteen maybe, when one late night I watched an episode of Unsolved Mysteries about Frederick Valentich. I’ve been reading about UFOs years before this particular day, but for some reason, this story unnerved me. This was the first time I’ve had heard of an airplane plucked out of the sky by a presumably UFO craft. The UM show played the last known transmission of Frederick Valentich. His haunting voice has stayed with me since.

I don’t think anyone has solved this mysterious disappearance of Frederick Valentich to date. Theories of suicide, plane crash and military cover ups are plentiful. None however can truly explain the transmission logs recorded between Frederick Valentich’s Cessna (dubbed “Delta Sierra Juliet”) and the Melbourne air traffic control.

Here is the actual transmission logs between the “Delta Sierra Juliet” and Melbourne traffic controller:

The transcript portion of the communication between Valentich and Melbourne Flight Service as released by the Australian Department of Transport follows: (FS – Flight Service, DSJ – Frederick Valentich aircraft designation).

1906:14 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet. Is there any known traffic below five thousand?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known traffic.
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I am, seems to be a large aircraft below five thousand.

1906:44 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, What type of aircraft is it?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I cannot affirm, it is four bright, it seems to me like landing lights.

1907 FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1907:31 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet, the aircraft has just passed over me at least a thousand feet above.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, and it is a large aircraft, confirmed?
DSJ Er-unknown, due to the speed it’s travelling, is there any air force aircraft in the vicinity?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known aircraft in the vicinity.

1908:18 DSJ Melbourne, it’s approaching now from due east towards me.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1908:41 DSJ (open microphone for two seconds.)

1908:48 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, it seems to me that he’s playing some sort of game, he’s flying over me two, three times at speeds I could not identify.

1909 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what is your actual level?
DSJ My level is four and a half thousand, four five zero zero.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, and you confirm you cannot identify the aircraft?
DSJ Affirmative.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, stand by.

1909:27 DSJ Melbourne, Delta Sierra Juliet, it’s not an aircraft it is (open microphone for two seconds).

1909:42 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, can you describe the -er- aircraft?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, as it’s flying past it’s a long shape (open microphone for three seconds) cannot identify more than it has such speed (open microphone for three seconds). It’s before me right now Melbourne.

1910 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger and how large would the – er – object be?

1910:19 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, Melbourne, it seems like it’s stationary. What I’m doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also. It’s got a green light and sort of metallic like, it’s all shiny on the outside.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1910:46 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet (open microphone for three seconds) It’s just vanished.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1911 DSJ Melbourne, would you know what kind of aircraft I’ve got? Is it a military aircraft?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, Confirm the – er ~ aircraft just vanished.
DSJ Say again.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, is the aircraft still with you?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet; it’s (open microphone for two seconds) now approaching from the south-west.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1911:50 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, the engine is rough-idling. I’ve got it set at twenty three twenty-four and the thing is coughing.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what are your intentions?
DSJ My intentions are – ah – to go to King Island – ah – Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1912:28 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet. Melbourne (open microphone for seventeen seconds).



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Frederick Valentich’s plane was never found. His disappearance and reports of “strange aircraft” around his plane has never been explained.
Mr. Valentich disappeared on October 21, 1978.

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I'm a writer, a runner, and a hell of a coffee drinker residing in Los Angeles. I'm currently working on a book about Doris Bither and her terrifying account of a haunting in Culver City, California. The case was dubbed "The Entity" and it stands to be one of the most controversial cases ever to be studied by parapsychologists.

  • J.C.

    Yes, the suicide theory is ridiculous. People wonder about him though because he had a interest in the UFO field. It is quite a mystery especially since that area had a UFO sightings flap that week near the area where he disappeared.

    J.C.

  • Flip

    creepy! don’t you wish some of this stuff had an actual explanation…. nah

  • BH

    Unsolved mysteries freaked me out when I was younger, I am an adult and I still have trouble watching it alone. Anytime aliens or ghosts were on there I was up all night, I definitely have PTSD. Thanks Robert Stack

  • elhombre

    I was 5 years old when this happened and remember it being on the news and in the papers in Australia. It was the catalyst that started my interest in UFO’s. This and space invaders arcade machines.

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  • PCWilliams

    I believe it was the search and rescue guy that said, “The stars were being reflected in the water.”

    This raised a very important question in my mind: Was Frederick Valentich flying using visual references (Pilotage) or was he instrument rated (able to fly his plane without any visual references from outside the cockpit)?

    If he wasn’t rated to fly by his instruments, but instead had to rely on visual references on the ground or sea, the “stars reflected in the water” might indicate Valentich may have had a hard time distinguishing the horizon, which could have caused him vertigo. This is what caused JFK Jr. to crash some years ago. In JFK Jr.’s case, the weather was so poor he couldn’t distinguish the horizon.

    When vertigo sets in like this, the pilot literally cannot distinguish up from down, left from right.

    In air traffic control, we used to call this a “death spiral” … when a pilot loses all sense of direction and they spin themselves into the ground.

    This might explain why he crashed.

    What remains of this story, Valentich saying “That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again … It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft”, is very compelling.

  • Hucksterfoot

    From what I have read Valentich had night VRF rating. So he had instrument rating.
    Hovering, in the sense that whatever Valentich was reporting, was actually above and following Valentich’s plane. lol.
    We don’t know exactly what he was identifying. Lights reflecting off the water, or a whale covered in glowing fairy dust. :] I guess if he was upside down, and that wouldn’t last for too long.
    Valentich did report that he had engine problems. Maybe Valentich had some visual, sensory issues on top of that and crashed. Having a class 4 instrument rating doesn’t guarantee anything. I guess we don’t know for sure if he had spatial disorientation or had engine and radio problems causing a crash, or both.
    If he crashed that is? or was he abducted like a Bovine.

  • sloinker

    So did the air traffic control have Valentich on Radar? Did the radar show the plane descending before disappearing? seems a simple enough question.

  • Hucksterfoot

    @sloinker – ATC’s PSR (Primary Surveillance Radar) cannot determine altitude. Altitude altimeters on planes do though. Transponders send this info to ATC SSR systems. I don’t even know if Valentich’s plane had a transponder, or was equipped with a transponder and it wasn’t turned on. If he didn’t have a transponder he would have to tell ATC what his altitude was. The ATC would have an approximate location (not elavation) based on their primary radar system. He would be a blip that appeared on radar about every 5 to 12 seconds. The altitude info would have to be communicated to ATC by radio from the pilot if his plane didn’t have a transponder.

  • Uncuplicum

    Old story, but still very intriguing!

  • Marcus

    What about the girlfriend? It doesn’t seem like anyone really interviewed her properly.

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