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Pilot Sightings

There have been over 3,500 documented sightings of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena by military, civilian and commercial airline pilots. These observations span the entire history of powered flight. Many of these cases come from declassified US government reports and investigations, international reports from official sources and the direct testimony of military and commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, and radar operators. (Ted Roe, NARCAP)

key articles, documents & resources

The UFO Evidence: Pilots & Aviation Experts

The UFO Evidence, NICAP, 1964 (Section 5)

Observations by airline, military and private pilots. Selected pilot sighting cases, as well as in-depth overviews of several of the cases. Taken from the classic book by NICAP, The UFO Evidence (1964), a major publication that presents nearly 750 UFO case reports and takes an overall look at the UFO phenomenon.

Unexplained sightings met with denial

Leslie Kean

The article, titled Unexplained Sightings Met With Denial, documents NARCAP's role in addressing the issue of aviation safety and UFOs/UAP. The article first appeared in the Providence Journal on May 3, 2001, and then, through national syndication, in the San Francisco Examiner and other major newspapers in mid-May, 2001. R

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena - Eighty Years of Pilot Sightings (1,300 sightings) (PDF format) PDF Document

Dominique Weinstein, NARCAP

This is a case file of 1300 Aviation related UAP observations dating from 1916 to the present. This is a fascinating and useful tool to develop an understanding of the threads of commonalties underlying many UAP cases.

other articles & documents

Aircraft / UFO Encounters Prior to 1942

Jan Aldrich, Project 1947

Aviators reported few encounters with unusual aerial phenomena prior to 1942. After consulting much of the literature, talking to UFO historians, and visiting Dr. Richard Haines, here are the few known cases. Some are of very doubtful reliability.

Aircrew Survey Project Results

NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena)

This paper presents the results of a confidential aircrew survey presented to 298 currently rated and flying commercial pilots employed by a U. S. airline. Out of the 70 completed surveys, 23% of pilots said they had seen something they could not identify in flight.

Australian Catalogue of Aircraft Crew and Passengers UFO Observations

Compiled by Keith Basterfield

This catalogue collects, in one place, summaries of reported observations of UFOs, by aircraft crews, or passengers within or from Australia. It has been prepared by combing the files of Australian UFO research groups, their magazines and Journals.

Aviation Safety in America: A Previously Neglected Factor

Richard Haines, NARCAP

This paper addresses the question of whether there is reliable data demonstrating a significant relationship between aviation safety in America today and unidentified aerial phenomena [UAP] (also called unidentified flying objects [UFO] or flying saucers). More than one hundred documented close encounters between UAP and commercial, private, and military airplanes are reviewed relative to these three topics. These reports are drawn from several sources including the author’s personal files, aviation reports prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration administered "Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS)."

Aviation Safety in America: Under-Reporting Bias of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and Recommended Solutions

Ted Roe, NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anamolous Phenomenon)

The issue of valid U.S. pilot reports of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP and the seeming lack of attention given to these reports by the aviation system is a complicated one. There is a longstanding bias in place that severely inhibits the reporting and investigation of UAP incidents. This bias stifles open discussion of UAP amongst aircrews, management, safety administrators, and the researchers who try to acquire information on this important topic.

CEFAA (Chile) Aviation-Related UFO Case Files

NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena)

Thirteen reports from the Committee for Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena (CEFAA), an official agency of the Chilean Air Force that investigates UFO sightings.

Close Encounters (by Airplanes) With Unknown Missiles

Clas Svahn and Anders Liljegren, AFU Newsletter #37, Jan. '92 - Dec '93 , Archives for UFO Research, Sweden

On several occasions civilian aircraft with hundreds of passengers have encountered unknown cigar- or missile-shaped objects. A few unexplained collisions in the air have resulted in the loss of human life. AFU Newsletter reviews a dozen incidents from the last decade. All indications point to the reported cases being just a tip of an iceberg.

Disclosure Project Witness Testimony: Radar and Pilot Cases

Steven Greer, Disclosure Project

This area of testimony deals specifically with pilot encounters, radar cases and related cases. We have no fewer than 20 witnesses from the Air Force, the Marines, the Navy, the Army, and civilian authorities in the United States and abroad who are qualified air traffic controllers and pilots who have seen and tracked these objects on radar.  R

Fighting The Fear Factor: Local (San Francisco) scientists are quietly working to give UFO sightings a measured look and lend legitimacy to those who spot them

Rick Del Vecchio, The San Francisco Chronicle newspaper, Jan 12, 2003

In-depth article from the San Francisco Chronicle newspaper about NARCAP, Dr. Richard Haines, and pilot UFO sightings. 'Headed by former NASA scientist Richard Haines of Los Altos, the year-old group is one of several private organizations saying that UFOs deserve a measured, scientific look. With research helpers around the country, it's a confidential sounding board for professionals in the taboo-bound aviation field.' R

Interference with Aircraft Equipment (Sturrock Panel Report)

Peter Sturrock / Sturrock Panel Report / Physical Evidence Related to UFO Reports

Richard Haines presented a summary of his extensive research into pilot-UFO-sighting reports. He now has a catalog of over 3,000 pilot reports, of which approximately 4% involve transient electromagnetic effects allegedly associated with the presence of strange objects. Another catalog of aircraft-UFO-encounter cases (referred to by Velasco in Section 5) is being compiled by Weinstein (1997) as a GEPAN/SEPRA project; this catalog currently contains several hundred aircraft-UFO-encounter cases.  R

Passenger Plane Sightings

Space 2001

Statistics show that across the world UFO sightings occur at a rate of around one every two or three minutes. Not surprising then that pilots of commercial airliners should be high on the list of people to have most witnessed them. R

Pilot Sightings

Space 2001

Considering the mystery of UFO's is essentially an aerial phenomenon it isn't surprising that a large percentage of the best sightings are made by military pilots on routine missions!  R

Pilot Sightings of UFO Phenomena: Review of lecture by Richard Haines

Jason Cowland, Victorian UFO Research Society, Australia 1998

A Review of a lecture by Richard Haines. Dr. Richard Haines is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA-Ames Research Centre. He is best known for his work with pilots and their UFO sightings. Over the last 30 years he has been investigating the subject, he has amassed over 3000 pilot sighting reports.  R

Preliminary Study of Sixty Four Pilot Sighting Reports Involving Alleged Electro-Magnetic Effects on Aircraft Systems

Richard Haines & Dominique Weinstein, NARCAP

This preliminary report presents the findings of a comprehensive review of over fifty years of pilot reports in which permanent or transient electro-magnetic (EM) effects occurred on in-flight aircraft systems allegedly as a direct or indirect result of the relatively near presence of one or more unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). From a total of 1,300 reports fifty seven (4.4%) were found that involved E-M effects. The most commonly reported UAP shape is round or oval. Interestingly, most of the E-M effects occurred when the UAP was nearby the aircraft. These findings are potentially important and deserve further in-depth study and confirmation by obtaining additional high quality aviation reports.

RADCAT: Radar Catalogue: A Review of Twenty One Ground and Airborne Radar UAP Contact Reports Generally Related to Aviation Safety (Part 1)

Martin Shough, United Kingdom 2002 (and NARCAP)

For the Period October 15, 1948 to September 19, 1976. Electro-magnetic effects that are possibly related to UAP.

RADCAT: Radar Catalogue: A Review of Twenty One Ground and Airborne Radar UAP Contact Reports Generally Related to Aviation Safety (Part 2)

Martin Shough, United Kingdom 2002 (and NARCAP)

For the Period October 15, 1948 to September 19, 1976. Electro-magnetic effects that are possibly related to UAP.

Review of Selected Sightings From Aircraft (1942-1952)

Richard F. Haines

A total of 285 aircrew reports are reviewed for the period 1 January 1942 to 31 December 1952. Of the total 68 percent were military, 20 percent commercial, 11 percent private, and 1 percent unspecified. Twenty-nine cases (10.2 per cent) involved some form of electro-magnetic effect; they are reviewed in some detail.

Review of Selected Sightings From Aircraft (1973-1978)

Richard F. Haines

The objective of this paper is to present the results of a review of aerial sightings predominately by pilots for the period 1 January 1973 through 31 December 1978.

U.K. Civil Aviation Authority case files 1978-1984 (Word format)

NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena)

Since 1995, the British Civil Aviation Authority, CAA, has been releasing case files of aviation related observations and incidents involving UFOs/UAP. The CAA has been carefully and quietly collecting and analyzing data regarding near-collisions between aircraft and UFOs/UAP since at least the late 1970’s .

When Pilots See UFOs

Dennis Stacy, Air & Space Magazine

Air & Space Magazine published this article by Dennis Stacy in its December 1987/January 1988 issue. R

Why Don't Pilot's See UFOs?

James McDonald, Statement on UFOs to U.S. House Committee on Science and Aeronatics, 1968 Symposium on UFOs

the answer to the question, "Why don't pilots see UFOs?" is; "They do. This question may come in just that form from persons with essentially no knowledge of UFO history. From others who do know that there have been "a few" pilot-sightings, it comes in some altered form, such as, "Why don't airline and military pilots see UFOs all the time if they are in our atmosphere?" By way of partial answer, consider the following cases.  R

websites & organizations

Aircraft & UFO near air collisions - video collection

UFOs at Close Sight

This collection of videos actually show near air collisions and interferences between UFOs and aircraft.

Aviation-UFO Air Misses

UFOs at Close Sight

One of the frequent skeptical comments is "If there were UFOs, how do you explain that pilots do not meet them in the air?". Well they do meet. Sometimes pilots wonder if they will not meet them just a little too close. Information and cases of aviation-related UFO sightings and near misses.

NARCAP - National Aviation Reporting Center for Anamolous Phenomenon

This website contains specific information regarding aviation related observations and incidents involving unidentified aerial phenomena, UAP, and references to related information. NARCAP has a catalogue of over 3500 worldwide aerial observations and incidents involving UAP. These observations span the entire history of powered flight. Many of these cases come from declassified US government reports and investigations, international reports from official sources and the direct testimony of military and commercial pilots, air traffic controllers, and radar operators. Much of the safety related data is drawn from the incident databases of the FAA, NTSB, and the NASA administrated Aviation Safety Reporting System. Also included are official cases released by various governments of the world.

NICAP - Sightings from Aircraft - Military and Civilian

National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon

There are over 3,000 incidents involving sightings from aircraft which have been documented (Haines). And although this page is under construction, it contains many of the best and most important cases.


Strange Skies: Pilot Encounters With Ufos Jerome Clark For more than half a century, pilots all over the world have reported sightings of strange phenomena -- extraordinary flying objects exhibiting speed and power unmatched by the most advanced military aircraft. Jerome Clark has been investigating UFO sightings for over thirty years, and has compiled fifty of the most puzzling and compelling cases. With references to official "Project Blue Book" government documents, recent scientific discoveries, and firsthand eyewitness testimony, this one-of-a-kind volume traces the history of air-to-air UFO encounters. Thrilling, baffling, and all true, these neyer-before-divulged secrets will leave you wondering if we are really alone in the universe. Buy from Amazon Buy from Barnes & Noble more info...