We’ve got a flying suitcase, some balloons, and some drones.
The Navy just released new documents about the 2013-2014 encounters off the East Coast. That particular branch of our armed forces has been generously forthcoming lately, but the latest revelations are not the juicy type stuff that UFO followers hoped to learn. As reported on the The War Zone and in a new article in The New York Times, the Navy has responded to FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) requests about a series of encounters between Navy pilots and unidentified craft off the East Coast.
Last week, the Navy released eight unclassified aircraft hazard reports. A flurry of media outlets have published the story with little analysis of the actual documents. The documents are reports that Navy pilots were required to file after encountering a flight hazard, such as an unidentified flying object. All but one of the recently released reports involved encounters between F/A-18E/F Super Hornets between 2013 and 2014 in restricted airspace off the coast of Virginia and North Carolina. The eighth incident, a 2019 report involved a different type of Navy craft that reported an encounter with a weather balloon off the coast of Maryland. Internal evidence within the reports themselves suggests that these are the only pertinent hazard reports filed by pilots from that squadron over that period of time.
These are reports that Navy pilots were required to file after encountering a flight hazard, such as an unidentified flying object.
These new revelations come only a few weeks after the Pentagon released official versions of the three gun-camera films from Navy fighter pilots encounters with Unidentified Aerial Phenomenon. The Navy had already admitted that the videos in circulation were authentic and did indeed depict US pilot encounters with unidentified aerial phenomena. By releasing the source files to the public, the Pentagon hoped to quell rumors about editing the tapes or concealing evidence. (Good luck with that. No one will ever believe you.)
In none of the reports did the unknown craft exhibit the super-performance capabilities often reported with UFO encounters.
Unfortunately, the newly released hazard reports do not pertain to any of the gun camera footage in which we are interested. Neither do the hazard reports seem relevant to the hunt for extraterrestrial craft. Several of the reports indicate that the craft encountered by Navy pilots were stationary or moving with the wind. Some of the reports indicate the craft resembled conventional drones. In none of the reports did the unknown craft exhibit the super-performance capabilities often reported with UFO encounters. In none of the cases in the hazard reports does a conventional or terrestrial origin seem unlikely. As The War Zone article points out, all of the objects described in the reports can easily be explained as drones, balloons, or radar reflectors.
These revelations come as a let-down to us in the UFO crowd. Rather than flying saucers from another planet, we’ve probably got surveillance drones and balloons from foreign powers like China and Russia. Many people in the UFO world will declare a cover up, and there’s usually good reason to disbelieve everything the military establishment says about UFOs, but in this case, the documents don’t read as a cover up or conspiracy. (You can read them yourself at The War Zone.) Instead, they authentically feel like just so much tedious paperwork filed by pilots who encountered something where it shouldn’t have been. And that’s consistent with the reports we’ve had since this story broke a year ago. It means that much of the recent hullabaloo about Navy encounters with exotic craft and extraterrestrials has actually been just so much hullabaloo.
The craft appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color.
The craft described in the hazard reports do not sound exotic at all, perhaps with the exception of one which “appeared to be small in size, approximately the size of a suitcase, and silver in color,” moving at the far from unearthly speed of about 75 miles an hour. Some of the other objects reported by the Navy pilots appeared to be stationary balloons or drones drifting along with windspeed. Absent from these reports are any descriptions of near misses with seemingly intelligently operated craft exhibiting super performance and maneuverability, 90-degree angle turns, sudden accelerations, etc.
Again, these reports do not pertain to the three mysterious gun-camera videos (but those short fuzzy films may ultimately prove to have conventional explanations as well). Neither do the newly-released reports have any bearing on the now-famous USS Nimitz strike group encounters from 2004.
A few things about the story remain puzzling and suggest there may be something more to the tale behind the Navy’s recent revelations. If the Navy was dealing only with the nuisance of fighter pilots occasionally encountering conventional craft in restricted air space, why did the Navy brass feel it necessary to issue its pilots new guidelines for reporting UFOs? And why was it necessary for the Pentagon to brief Senators on the subject of Navy encounters with UFOs last summer? I suspect both of those moves had to do with the Pentagon’s embarrassment over The New York Times articles.
The new reporting procedures probably impose a gag order on pilots encountering UFOs, preventing future embarrassing stories leaking to the press. The briefing to Senators was probably not more than a political maneuver to assure legislators that, despite some anomalies, the US Air Defense forces are on top of the job, have everything in hand, and are patrolling our airspace.
Bottom line: The hazard reports are a snooze. There probably isn’t a legitimate UFO study going on within the military, and if there is, we’re never going to hear about it, and no FOIA request is going to dislodge it.