Two different commercial airline pilots reported seeing an unidentified aircraft in the skies above Arizona in February, according to new radio logs released by the FAA.
According to the recordings, first revealed by Warzone writer Tyler Rogoway, and subsequent statements, the unidentified aircraft was first spotted by an American Airlines pilot at the helm of a Learjet at around 3:30 p.m. on February 24th. With no other aircraft visible on radar, the pilot radioed to the regional air traffic controller in Albuquerque to report the sighting.
Was anybody, uh, above us that passed us like 30 seconds ago?” the Learjet pilot can be heard asking air traffic control.
“Negative,” the air traffic controller replied.
“Okay,” the pilot replies before adding, “Something did.”
Someone else, possibly the co-pilot can then be heard saying, “A UFO!”
“Yeah,” the pilot agrees amused.
At that point, the air traffic controller attempted to confirm the sighting by contacting another aircraft in the region that was on a flight path that should have taken it to within visual range of whatever it was the first pilot spotted.
American 1095, uh, let me know if, uh, you anything pass over you here in the next, uh, 15 miles,” an air traffic controller said.
The pilot of American 1095, initially seems uncertain or even dismissive of the odd request.
Let you know if anything passes over?” the pilot responded.
“American 1095, affirmative,” the controller said. “We had an aircraft in front of you that reported something pass over him and, uh, we didn’t have any targets. So just, uh, let me know if you see anything pass over you.”
“Alright,” the pilot said.
Soon however, the pilot came back on frequency to confirm that he too had spotted the strange craft.
It’s American 1095. Yeah, something just passed over us,” the pilot said. “I don’t know what it was, but at least two-three thousand feet above us. Yeah, it passed right over the top of us.”
When asked to clarify exactly what he’d seen, the pilot had little to offer.
It was just really beaming light or could have had a big reflection and was several thousand feet above us going opposite direction,” he said.
The FAA has not been able to confirm that there was another aircraft in the vicinity, as without a radar signature to speak of, the only evidence that the unidentified craft existed at all came in the form of the initial report and later, the visual confirmation from the second pilot.
“Other than the brief conversation between two aircraft, the controller was unable to verify that any other aircraft was in the area,” FAA spokesperson Lynn Lunsford told the press on Wednesday. The official statement released by the organization offered little more.
“We don’t have any comment beyond what you hear,” their statement reads. “We have a close working relationship with a number of other agencies and safely handle military aircraft and civilian aircraft of all types in that area every day, including high-altitude weather balloons.”
The decision to include both military aircraft and high altitude weather balloons may have been an intentional one, as it could be argued that the two most likely explanations for the sighting may have been a stealth capable military aircraft or a high altitude weather balloon. If untethered, a weather balloon could potentially be traveling at speeds in excess of 200 miles per hour, thanks to velocity of high altitude winds.
That begs the question then, if the FAA acknowledges that they don’t know what the pilots saw, but also emphasized that they have a close relationship with the agencies responsible for both military aircraft and weather balloons, their statements could be read to mean that they don’t have any evidence that can confirm either explanation conclusively.
In a bit of coincidental timing, a supposed morale patch for personnel assigned to the classified B-21 Raider program surfaced on eBay this week, possibly offering the public its first glimpse of the imagery and symbolism internally associated with the next generation stealth bomber. The patch, which reads “B-21 Raider Combined Test Force,” depicts the aircraft along with the grim reaper and the Latin word “praenuntius,” which translates loosely to “harbinger” or “herald.”
According to statements previously made by the U.S. Air Force, the B-21 Raider is expected to be operational by 2025 – meaning the program has only seven years to get the aircraft assembled and fully tested. Based on that timeline, the Air Force almost certainly must already be secretly fielding scaled technology demonstrators of the aircraft, intended to work out the issues with onboard systems and test its advanced stealth technology, if not a full sized airframe. Consider the comparison to the F-35, which first took to the skies in 2006, yet variants of the platform, like the carrier based F-35C, have yet to earn operational status.
With that in mind, one has to wonder if the mysterious craft spotted above Arizona might possibly have been just such a testbed for new technology soon to be found on the next generation of military aircraft like the aforementioned B-21.
That is, if it wasn’t balloons or aliens.
Listen to the recording below:
Feature images courtesy of eBay/WikiMedia Commons