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The Amazing UFO Case and Disappearance of Frederick Valentich

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The Amazing UFO Case and Disappearance of Frederick Valentich
As we all already know, the field of UFO research is plagued with hoaxes and misidentifications. During research and the presentation of such research, the skeptics often accuse Ufologists of jumping to the alien conclusion too quickly or just plain lying.

In the other direction, UFO researchers and believers often accuse the skeptics of being close-minded, blind to the truth, or even part of the mass alien cover-up. There is definitely no love lost between the two groups.

However, every now and again there comes a UFO case that puts the skeptics and the Ufologists in the same boat of jumping to conclusions; for example, the disappearance of Frederick Valentich.

The disappearance of Valentich has had skeptics, ufologists, and even investigators baffled since it occurred in Australia in 1978. On the evening of October 21, 1978, novice pilot Frederick Valentich took off from the Victoria’s Moorabbin airport headed for King’s Island in a single-engine Cessna 182L on his first night flight.

Roughly an hour later, the 20-year old pilot radios the Melbourne Air Flight Service with a report of a strange aircraft hovering over his plane. The verbal exchange between Valentich and the Melbourne Air Flight Service lasted only about six minutes after which the radio went silent and the young pilot was never heard from again. To this day, no one can really agree on what happened to Frederick Valentich.

What Happened to the Plane?

Of course, UFO researchers point to the conversation between Valentich and the tower as proof that either the pilot or the entire plane was abducted by aliens.

Moreover, Ufologists explain that Valentich’s encounter was not an isolated incident. The UFO Casebook points out that a number of UFO sightings were reported several weeks prior to young pilot’s disappearance.

“According to the Victorian UFO Research Society, based at Moorabbin, near the location from where the disappearance took place, there had been a UFO wave ongoing for at least six weeks before the date of Valentich’s disappearance.” (1)

Naturally, skeptics do not accept the UFO theory as an acceptable cause of Valentich’s disappearance.

In Brian Dunning’s assessment of the case, as presented on Skeptoid, he hypothesizes that the disappearance could very well be a hoax gone wrong. Like the Ufologists, his main piece of evidence is the communication between Valentich and the tower.

Dunning points to similarities between the Valentich transcript and similar interaction portrayed in 1977’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Dunning contends, “Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind had been released less than a year before Frederick Valentich made his radio report, in which he replicated every major element of the famous air traffic control scene.” (2)

Dunning believes it could be entirely possible that Valentich lost sight of the horizon while perpetrating the hoax and crashed.

Similarly, the Committee of Skeptical Inquiry believes Valentich crashed, but not while perpetrating a hoax. Instead the CSI believes that the young pilot crashed while misidentifying the lights from Venus, Mars, Mercury, and the star Antares as a single UFO.

They go on to state that while overexcited about witnessing a UFO, the inexperienced pilot did not pay enough attention to his instruments, which resulted in a crash.

“Fred Valentich’s UFO has now been identified. That is, we can show that a group of four bright lights, consistent with his description, was within his sight at the time he was reporting his UFO.”(3)

frederick valentich

Theories Versus Facts

The problem with the skeptics’ theories is that no wreckage from the downed Cessna has ever been confirmed found. Only an engine cowl flap from the same model of Cessna has ever been discovered and experts could not agree whether it was from Valentich’s plane. Moreover, the flap has been lost to history making it unavailable for modern testing.

The disappearance of Frederick Valentich has put the Ufologists and the skeptics in the same boat of really reaching for a conclusion. Ufologists firmly jump on the UFO theory with nothing else to go on but an inexperienced pilot’s account during his first night flight.

Dunning, a well-known skeptic, jumps on the hoax theory by focusing on the similarities between the pilot’s account and a famous movie scene. CSI believes that the disappearance was the result of a misidentification of a series of stars and planets as a single UFO. With reaches such as these, this mystery may never be solved.

References & Image Credits:
(1) UFO Casebook
(2) Skeptoid
(3) CSI Cop
(4) Herald Sun
(5) Wikipedia: Cessna 182
(6) Phantoms and Monsters

Originally published on


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Ryan is the founder of Top Secret Writers. He is an IT analyst, blogger, journalist, and a researcher for the truth behind strange stories.
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