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Utah Airline Crew UFO Sighting Supported by FAA Radar

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Utah Airline Crew UFO Sighting Supported by FAA Radar
Just after midnight on January 14, 2016, an airline pilot’s UFO encounter was overheard by a ham radio operator.

According to UFOS Northwest, Utah MUFON Director Erica Lukes knew the ham radio operator who is also a radio show host. In her report to UFOS Northwest, Lukes stated that the ham radio operator was scanning the air waves for communications “between aircraft and the FAA…”

What the ham radio operator picked up was in fact the airline pilot asking the traffic controller if he’d picked up anything on his radar.

The pilot went on to tell the air traffic controller that he and his crew had been observing a perfectly square bright orange light approximately a mile wide keeping pace with the plane. The object had been there for quite a while and was located to the right of the plane. The pilot asked what township was to his right and the controller replied that it was Nephi, Utah.

UFOS Northwest Filed FOIA with FAA

Six weeks after UFOS Northwest filed a Freedom of Information (FOIA) request with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), they received the “radar returns, voice tapes and tower logs”.

UFOS Northwest reported that the data revealed the pilot’s sighting was somewhere between 12:12 am and 12:13 am. The pilot was flying “American Airlines Flight Number 434 which was en route from San Francisco, CA to Philadelphia, PA.”

Unfortunately, the ham radio operator failed to record the conversation, but during their investigation, UFOS Northwest discovered “segments of the conversation on the Air Traffic Control archives website, but much of conversation was deleted.” The broken segment was only of the controller advising the pilot that Nephi, Utah was to his right.

When UFOS Northwest received the audio from the FAA, they were able to piece together the rest of the conversation between the pilot and the controller. The tape doesn’t give any information on the size of the object.

In graphic figures on UFOS Northwest website, the radar shots reveal “dense area of returns at approximately the 2 o’clock position. These returns are quite isolated and very numerous.” UFOS Northwest rules out possible returns, such as “birds, angels, ground targets or anomalous propagation.”

The UFOS Northwest administrator examined all of the radar returns provided from 12:00 am to 12:30 am and writes, “In all, 106 radar returns were detected. This means that the object(s) were there before and after the sighting.”

The administrator gives a detailed analysis of the radar and Doppler and explains the various differences, ruling out military operations, drones and other possible causes. Birds and weather targets were also ruled out since they couldn’t be detected so far away from the two radars, one 90 miles away and the other 150 miles from the plane.

nephi, utah

Sighting Still Under Investigation

The final conclusion is that the dense area of returns were in the same position during the time the pilot reported the bright orange square object. Also, it’s concluded that the object(s) “were likely at the sighting location before and after the time that the crew sighted” them.

UFOS Northwest reports that Utah MUFON is still investigating the sighting and through an ad in the local newspaper encouraged anyone who witnessed the UFO(s) to contact the organization.

According to the website report, Erica Lukes interviewed a managers from a truck stop located near the sighting. The manager told her that “UFOs are frequently sighted in the area.”

There have been various theories and speculations about what the lights could have been, including lights from “a local power point (Currant Creek Plant – Mona, UT).”’

However, UFOS Northwest points out that a flight crew that routinely flies the same route would be able to recognize and distinguish the difference between the two. They certainly wouldn’t mistake lights they were familiar with seeing along their route.

This certainly isn’t the first time that an airline pilot has seen something unexplainable in the sky. What makes this case so intriguing is that a ham radio operator overheard the conversation between the pilot and air traffic control while it was happening.

References & Image Credits:
(2) TSW: The Legends and Disappearances at the Michigan Triangle
(3) Image of Amateur Radio Setup
(4) Image of Nephi, Utah Sign

Originally published on


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