UFO encounters are often dismissed by skeptics as the product of attention-seekers, hoaxes, or simply overactive imaginations. But what happens when the UFO is seen by some of the most trained and trustworthy professionals around? Compared to encounters by ground-dwelling civilians, cases of UFOs seen by pilots and astronauts are some of the most credible UFO stories around.
These UFO sightings are, perhaps, the most convincing because these witnesses are highly respected professionals whom we trust with our lives. These individuals have nothing to gain by putting their careers and reputations on the line reporting bizarre happenings in the skies.
More shocking is the sheer volume of these reported incidents that happen every year. Here's a list of some of the more notable sightings of alien spacecraft by pilots and astronauts.
On February 10, 1951, US Naval Reserve Lieutenant and co-pilot Graham Bethune was occupying the captain's seat near Newfoundland, Canada, when he spotted a huge floating object (he claimed it was 300 feet in diameter) on a near collision course with their aircraft.
The co-pilot stated in his official report:
I observed a glow of light below the horizon about 1,000 to 1,500 feet [330-470 meters] above the water. We both [the pilot as well] observed its course and motion for about 4 or 5 minutes before calling it to the attention of the other crew members...
Suddenly, the object changed direction at incredible speed, and began to pulsate and change its colors, as well. Then it somehow reversed its course and tripled its speed until it at last disappeared over the horizon.
Bethune's report says that the object came within five miles of his aircraft - a fact proven by radar evidence provided by the DEW Line Ground Radar at the base in Goose Bay, Labrador, that tracked the object.
Pilots from Turkish Airlines were flying from the Turkish resort town of Bodrum to the country’s largest city, Istanbul. Suddenly, a mysterious green light appeared over the plane. As the pilot later testified,“An unidentified object with green lights passed 2- to 3,000 feet above us. Then it disappeared all of a sudden. We are guessing that it was a UFO."
The UFO was also reported to be seen around Istanbul’s Silivri district.
The General Directorate of State Airports Authority denied spotting any image that fitted the description of the pilot. Doubters claim that the pilots saw a green laser pointer that was reflecting off a cloud. However, it seems pretty hard to believe pilots would never have seen a laser pointer before - plus, that would have had to be a pretty huge laser pointer to create an effect such as they described.
For the record, pilots do not generally report fleeting flashes of light as UFOs.
This famous encounter was recounted by pilot Andrew Danziger. It happened during a routine flight on April 10, 1989. It was about 8 pm on a clear night with a full moon. Shortly after take-off from the Kansas City International Airport, Danziger saw a white disc clearly visible through the clouds just off to his right. It appeared to be flying parallel to them, matching their speed and direction.
The captain of the flight admitted he had noticed the same thing since they had leveled off. The pilots describe the light:
It looked similar to the moon faintly visible though thin fog, except the two were visible at the same time on opposite sides of our cockpit.... The captain and I had cumulatively spent many years flying and were accustomed to seeing - day and night - all manner of airplane, blimp, hot air balloon, satellite, and bird. But neither of us had any idea what this disk could be.
All of a sudden, the white disk turned into a giant red ball of light. The red light hovered in the air and then disappeared into some clouds as the plane descended for landing.
Danziger explains how common this is for pilots:
I'm not going too far out on a ledge to say that virtually all pilots believe in UFOs. Little green men, 'close encounters,' alien kidnappings... not so much. But with billions of stars and trillions of planets out there, 'ya gotta believe,' and almost all of us do.
According to unconfirmed reports, both Neil Armstrong and Edwin "Buzz" Aldrin saw UFOs shortly after that historic landing on the moon in Apollo 11 on July 21, 1969. Viewers listening to the broadcast heard Armstrong refer to lights above a crater before his audio feed went dead for a few minutes.
According to former NASA employee Otto Binder, unnamed radio hams with their own VHF-receiving equipment (that bypassed NASA's broadcasting) picked up the following exchange:
NASA: What's there?Apollo 11: These babies are huge, sir! Enormous!
OH MY GOD! You wouldn't believe it!
I'm telling you there are other spacecraft out there,
Lined up on the far side of the crater edge!
They're on the moon watching us!
Armstrong and Aldrin have denied the exchange took place, but other have insisted that off the record, the astronauts have admitted to many scientists that they did indeed see something.