Based in Brooklyn, NY, I write about all things creepy and strange. My book based on the real haunting of Doris Bither (The Entity 1982 movie) will be released soon. Got a question? Drop me a line.


b-757Something appeared to be following the America West airliner B-757 on frightful night in May of 1995. At 39,000 feet  above ground, First Officer John J. Waller, along with a flight attendant, noticed a strange light off in the distant darkness.
Glued to the window, they observed a row of bright white lights flash from left to right. Not knowing what they were looking at, they kept their noses pressed to the glass.

It was only after a thunderous flash illuminated the cloud behind the object, that they crew of the B-757 were able to make out the source of the strange lights. A cigar-shaped object following them at tremendous speeds 39,000 feet above the ground.

What you’re gonna hear next is the FAA Air Traffic Control conversation with the confused and alarmed pilots.


The B-757 continued its course, and the lights began to fall behind it. A group of dark thunderclouds formed, and enabled the UFO to be seen as a cigar-shaped object as its lights illuminated the back drop of the thunderclouds.

Waller and his co-pilot estimated the object’s length at 300-400 feet. The object was not visible on FAA radar, but one of the controllers contacted the North American Air Defense Command, and was told they NORAD was tracking an unidentified object. But, this object later turned out to be a small plane with a non-functioning transponder.

The next day, the controller made another check with NORAD, and he was told that they had indeed tracked another unknown target the night before that was at first stationary, but then accelerated and stopped again very rapidly. These quick darts were estimated at somewhere between 1,000 and 1,400 mph.

When reports of the incident began to be leaked, Webb began to investigate. In addition to interviewing the airliner’s crew, he also obtained the tapes of the conversation between FAA air traffic controllers and their contacts during the sighting. He was able to make drawings of the UFO.

He also filed Freedom of Information Act requests, and searched military installations to see if any activity that night could account for the sighting. There was nothing that could explain the sighting of America West Flight 564, and until another explanation can be found for the unusual object, we can assume that a UFO was seen that night. –source: UFO CaseBook

The May 25th encounter is considered one of Ufology’s most solid evidence of UFO activity. Trained airline pilots saw it. FAA and Air Traffic Controllers saw it. Even the NORAD defense system noticed that a strange object appeared on their radar, accelerating at speeds between 1,000 and 1,400 miles per hour. Incredible!

If anyone is in the Los Angeles area, there’s a neat little lecture thrown together by MUFON/LA this coming week:

I’ll be attending. Looking for any suspicious MIB-looking folks mixed in the crowd.

  • I am always forced to question the “trained” part when referring to miltary personnel, airline pilots, police etc. I did not know there was a training program for identifying UFOs. Yes, it is true pilots are trained, but much of that is radio and instrument procedure, pretty much the rest is in flight protocol and maneuvering. While pilots do have to id potential threeats and dangers in their near airspace, they are typically alerted to those by regional traffic controllers.
    That they saw soemthing they could not identify is fairly clearly shown by the fact it was reported as seen by multiple individuals. But that is where the story ends, not that they witnessed an alien craft.
    Given that they saw a cigar shaped object with a row of lights (being the basic profile of an airliner if seen looking along the wing) and that the body of the craft was only visible when lightning illuminated it, I almost wonder if some conditin of clouds or atmosphere was showing their own reflection?

  • Arclight

    Remember the incident involving Japan cargo FLT 1658 heavy over AK in 1986…We can pass the cigar shape off as conventional AC. The Japanese 747 pilot and crew reported the shape as circular and of incredible size. Another more recent incident involved a shuttle off the coast of Scotland?? The pilot and crew stated it was so large (a mile +) they could have landed their aircraft on top of the thing. Makes you wonder. Independence Day has come and gone…

  • BW

    re: “trained” — in the U.S. military at least, aircrew are trained to identify aircraft visually. This is probably common for most of the world’s air forces.

    I find the length estimation by the observers interesting. I wonder if they counted windows (lights on the object) to make the estimate; not sure otherwise how they could have estimated without knowing the distance to the object. As a tidbit for Henry’s comment about it perhaps being a reflection, a 757 is between 155 and 179 feet in length, depending on the model. The observers estimated a length of 300 to 400 feet.


  • BW

    The objects were travelling at quite impossible speeds like 4-5000 mph
    and then came to an abrupt halt near to one of these stations not very
    high up. Jet aircraft picked them up on aircraft radar. The objects then
    simply made rings round them …. Over the years – although there were not an enormous number of such cases – there were a sufficient number to persuade me, and a number of air staff friends with whom I had to work, that something was going on, sporadically, in British airspace which we could not explain. But we did not particularly want to make public statements about that. Not for something that we had no explanation.

    — Ralph Noyes (deceased), former senior official in the U.K. Air Ministry, speaking in 1988 regarding the RAF Lakenheath radar contacts of 1956.


  • Steve M.

    I love that picture. Dark clouds, lightning, airplane flying too close to some mountains and an evil menacing ufo nearby. Its just so….evil…and sinister.

  • Diamond Fingers

    There’s enough of us that believe so if we are convinced that some UFOs are not human origin I ask what are the really doing here dashing around and stalking airlines ?

  • Yes, they are trained to identify known aircraft, which leaves them the option of saying what they saw is not known, that is still a far cry from id’ing it as an alien craft. And yes I am aware of the pedantically correct meaing of the Unknown in UFO, but we all also know that term now clearly comes with the connotation of aien whether intended or not.

  • BW

    True, but you’re missing a significant point. Many “civilians” (for lack of a better term) have -no- training in observation or have ever seen procedures about basic information to collect during an incident of any kind.

    Even privates in the army are trained on a procedure called “SALUTE” that tells them the basic elements of information to collect if an enemy or unknown force is spotted. Likewise, police are trained to size up situations and notice things that average citizens would not.

    Naturally, having some training in observation will not make one a flawless spotter of unidentified objects — but such an observer has a better chance of collecting useful information than someone with no training at all. IMO, that is what is meant by “trained observer”, even if some parties would like to assume that this phrase means something else in regards to UFOs.

    I completely agree with your comment about connotations. It goes back to those interested in this phenomena having too many up front assumptions about what the phenomena may be.


  • I am not missing your point at all, I agree with you. I was merely clarifying the point that once the sighting is determined to be an “unknown” it ends there, while many believers use that appellation to carry out a great many assumptions without applying the first level of critical analysis, or looking for plausible terrestrial explanations.

    Also, under the conditions described, even a trained observer (as you point out) is unlikely to be capable of making a positive identification.

  • BW

    I need to do some research about equipment on these kinds of aircraft. I thought it was fairly standard for them to have on board radar for collision avoidance, but I may be wrong. If such radar was aboard the 757, I wonder if that is how they made a distance estimation. Rank speculation, I know.


  • mustangmorris

    Not very convincing , the individuals who are reporting the incident seem unenthusiastic. About NORAD sharing info with FFA….not sure about that.

  • The Oshmar

    Everytime I hear, “cigar shaped UFO” I think, Fuselage shaped.