Over recent years it has become more and more common to find forums online where air traffic controllers can be asked questions by the general, interested public. These questions are often extremely varied, however, certain questions and answers detailed in these sessions might, perhaps, pique people’s interests a lot more than the usual standard of questions and answers relating to, ‘How many planes have you seen crash’ etc.
How common are UFOs?
For instance, how many people out there think about unidentified flying objects? How many people have even seen one? Well, as it turns out more than you would think, for not only do pilots regularly report seeing unidentified flying objects on their radars but people in air traffic control do as well.
As it turns out, approximately once a month, a sighting of a UFO, i.e. something that does not conform to normal flying patterns, is reported and received by air traffic control somewhere in the world, from the US and UK to Russia, India and Madrid. Before people get all alien crazy though, it is worth noting sometimes these sightings are found to be nothing more than terrestrial or military aircrafts that have strayed across into busy airlines, hot air balloons or other such flying objects.
Why is there a lack of public knowledge about these sightings?
It is also worth noting that a lot of sightings are either not reported by ATC (air traffic control) or at least not publically declared. This is not only because pilots and air traffic controllers do not want to appear deluded or crazed with their sightings but also because sometimes, the government does not wish for the public to be made aware of such sightings.
Once such online forum discussion between a couple of air traffic controllers and members of the public shows us just how limited we are when it comes to finding out about ‘real’ sightings, for no other reason than certain transmissions and tapes recording such discussions and sightings tend to be confiscated by the government. In this case, it was the US government.
A ‘real’ UFO sighting reported by ATC
This so called ‘sighting’ occurred back in the 90s and was discussed in its entirety, by the air traffic controllers involved, on Reddit, a popular social networking site. They first went about explaining how UFOs are very common in ATC simply because of how RADAR works.
Simply put, RADAR will pick up anything with radio waves. The reason UFOs are picked up but cannot be identified by RADAR is that they don’t have transponders, as aircraft do. So, for instance it has been known for trucks routing through mountain passes to be picked up via RADAR as UFOs, simply because they return a signal but with no transponder information.
The ‘real’ sighting of a UFO was detailed as follows:
– It took place in the 90s
– Bill Clinton, on Air Force One, was being directed through airspace by an air traffic controller based at the Oakland Centre.
– A pilot reports close proximity traffic, however, when the air traffic controller checks the aircraft’s position, there is nothing immediately in his vicinity.
– The air traffic controller checks with other pilots in the area to see if they can see anything and receives many reports on other UFOs in the area around the initial aircraft.
– The air traffic controller still cannot see anything to back up these claims of UFOs and then describes how the pilots start communicating with one another to work out how many UFOs are around them. It turns out there are more than 4.
– The secret service agents (present because of Air Force One) run checks to make sure the UFOs are not military aircrafts. They are not.
– The air traffic controller states the pilots are getting freaked out as it seems the UFOs are following them.
– The air traffic controller states no one wants to identify themselves on the radio as spotting UFOs, probably because they fear being ridiculed. After half an hour of spotting the UFOs again and again, all signs of them disappear.
– The air traffic controller asks if the pilots want to file a report. They don’t. A lot of risk is involved when filing a report for a UFO. Every move the pilot makes is under suspicion by the investigating authority and obviously, the pilots do not want to look crazy. However, the conversations are all recorded on the air traffic control side of things.
– The air traffic controller involved in the above UFO sightings was asked to sign a paper the next day which informed him the recordings were being submitted to (confiscated by) the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) for investigation.
So, as you see, UFO sightings are a lot more common than you think and air traffic controllers have a lot of exposure to them. What’s difficult is that any truly unidentified sightings are hard to uncover, simply because any evidence is firmly under the grasp of the different governments around the world.
James writes for Host Systems. When not writing about Host mobile atc rooms, he can often be found looking up at the sky with binoculars, hoping to spot a UFO.