Today I came across an interesting headline: Unidentified Flying Object In Denver Nearly Takes Out Private Jet (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/16/denver-ufo-near-miss-jet_n_1521934.html). Hopefully we will know in the next days the nature of the mysterious intruder…
But it reminded me also about last November’s message from an Air traffic controller report in Spain. Indeed there has been some interesting info in the past November about UAP in Spain. Former air traffic controller spokesman, Cesar Cabo, commented on twitter about unexplained objects appeared in the radar screens of three different airline aircrafts. That created some media movement about the fact, and also it brought attention about previous cases (Thanks to my friend Sergio for the lead and the translation, http://cesarcabo.blogspot.com/2011/10/ovnis-haberlos-haylos.html?spref=tw).
Translation: UFOs, existing (or not), they do!
A few weeks ago, following the uproar caused by one of my tweets, I wrote an article explaining a story in the control centre of Madrid where three planes had asked [the control tower] about unidentified object on their radar screens.
We will never know what that was, there are many hypotheses and imagination is free and creative, however, that case arouse my curiosity to find out whether or not similar cases abound. The answer is clearly yes, there are many examples hard to explain in a pure rational way. After the initial buzz on Twitter, I got two requests for radio interviews and hundreds of comments on the blog from different countries. Apparently, and to my utter surprise, I had opened a sort of Pandora’s box on UFOs. I never imagined that so many people were interested on this subject, which seemed to have run out of steam after being very fashionable in the 70′s.
My research among my colleagues surprised me; personally I did not have any experience of sightings and it is something that it is not commented at work. I asked about thirty people collecting more than a dozen peculiar stories.
Among all, I would highlight the following:
Seville 1981: A British plane [pilot] communicates with the controller staff. Very scare he indicates that one “light” constantly pursues him. There was no evidence of any other traffic in the area.
Las Palmas 1983: The controller observes in its radar an object following a commercial airliner. Asking the pilot if it sees something, it responded negatively. Throughout the approach to the airport of Las Palmas the unidentified object escorts the aircraft keeping five miles ahead, reaching the location of the radar antenna the signal fades. On the vertical of the radar antenna is a blind area, and therefore cannot be seen on the screen whether or not any object.
Barcelona early 80′s: Three commercial aircraft reported a sighting in a short space of time and in different areas. One of them, an airlift of a Spanish company, observes a light that gets in its way. Another, on its way to Palma, notices colour lights that follow in its path. A third, British, sees in the distance a strange light in the air.
The controller who lived the experience told me that he did not pay much attention to the first report, but when he received the other two, so consecutive, he noticed that something strange was flying through the sky that night.
Canary 1995: A DC8 cargo, flying from Las Palmas to Madrid, reported lights that followed its path. The controller, as usual, sees nothing in his radar screen. The lights are ahead of the plane, crossing its path from left to right constantly. The pilot stoically “suffers” the sighting until shortly before leaving the airspace of the Canary Islands this is gone.
Palma de Mallorca 1996/97: Early afternoon, clear day. Several flights to Palma reported to Control seeing a silver sphere landed on the island. It was spotted from different routes to the island.
Pamplona, fly military traffic observes a light sphere on the horizon, suddenly, it moves from east to west at a speed of over 5000 kilometres per hour and it is fixed again. This light defies the laws of physics in terms of speed and ballistics.
Madrid. A military plane going back to the Torrejon air base wants to descend to its approach and requests information on the lights of a plane that is reflected in its cabin, just below the flight level. Air Control informs that the only traffic that may affect it, it is below, but at 15000 feet, about 5km. The pilot, experienced in many military exercises, refused to descend given that the lights are just below and he does not descend until the plane flying en route in a lower level confirms that maintains an altitude of 15000 feet less.
Toledo. A British plane flying from the UK Canary Control calls the control tower to tell frightened that there is a blinding light that blinds him. The light completely fills the cockpit and takes a few seconds to disappear. Other planes flying over the area also reported seeing a peculiar light.
Ibiza. The airport is closing. All workers have already left and there is only the on-duty controller to close the control tower. Suddenly, he notices a strange shadow falls upon the beacon tower further darkening the night. Fearfully, timidly peeks out the window and sees the shadow disappears like lightning and the night recovers it usual luminosity.
I imagine there are hundreds of stories still to discover, for both control and the pilots, commercial and military, and how it only takes the trouble to ask and listen to people tell their experiences.
In my research with my colleagues, I was surprised with the ease they showed to comment their anecdotes, without trying to speculate what could be what the pilots and they had seen. In Air Traffic Control, we do not have a protocol that requires us to write this kind of situation, so they are absorbed into the anecdotes of everyday life, discussed with colleagues and stored in memory shortly thereafter.
It is clear that in the Spanish airspace, the more I know because of my job, there are more things that the ones that transcend, phenomena difficult to explain to our minds “supposedly” rational.
Not because of this we need to fell into alarmism, we can continue flying calm. The Spanish air traffic control system is in the hands of 2000 professionals who, despite everything, professionally serve millions of passengers a year. UFOs maybe not, but you are are always under our control.