This is Gil, the site admin here at UFO-TALK.COM, and do I have a UFO sighting account for you!
I’ve had the opportunity to interview 2 pilots and take their amazing account of a UFO incident that occurred roughly 25 years ago during a flight over the state of Tennessee. This is an update to the sighting post titled “UFO Near Miss!” If you read that post, it’s fairly short and to the point. But the sighting account came with a little side note mentioning that the submitter, whom I will introduce in a moment, had a little trouble sitting down and typing out the story and wouldn’t mind if someone took his story for him – which I did.
At first, I thought maybe he had trouble writing out the incident because it unnerved him a bit – which it may have at the time – but after hearing the story, and further reflection, I don’t think that’s the reason. I think it’s more about the energy and emotion attached to the experience. After all, for many, a UFO sighting can be a life altering and paradigm shifting experience. Literally changing your view of everything in an instant.
Before I jump into the story, I think a little more background and a brief bio of the witnesses are crucial. It’s not very often that such highly credible witnesses come forward and agree to tell about their UFO sighting on the record.
I was first contacted by Jeff through the UFO-TALK.COM website. Jeff (at the time of my phone conversation with him) is 52 years old. He has been flying airplanes since he was 16. Currently he is flying for a major U.S. airline and has been doing so for the last 24 years. Jeff has spent the majority of his life flying. I think you would be hard pressed to find a better witness of aerial phenomenon than Jeff. Flying is his business. He knows flight protocols, rules, and regulations. He knows aviation technologies and capabilities. And, concerning our interests here – he most certainly knows if there is something unusual in sky.
Jeff has decided to come forward with his UFO sighting because, by his own admission, he is “getting older” and doesn’t care as much of “what people think.” His reasons for not coming forward sooner? Paraphrasing his words: “Saying ‘UFO’ in my line of business was a quick way to end a career.” This is so true. Let’s be honest. The UFO field attracts the ‘crazies’ out there. Anyone who has an interest in UFOs, or claims to have seen one, tends to get categorized with the ‘crazies’ whether they are or not. I think there would be a few eyebrows raised if I myself told my co-workers at my day job that I run a UFO website on the side.
Okay – one highly credible witness of Jeff’s caliber is great. But what about two?
Greg (Last name omitted)
Greg was the co-pilot on the flight in which the UFO incident occurred. Greg, in addition to being a seasoned pilot, currently flying with a major U.S. airline, is also a retired Navy SEAL and business owner. Jeff and Greg remain in contact with one another and been life long friends. I contacted Greg after Jeff contacted him first, to get his permission for me to do so. I think it goes without saying that Greg, being a pilot and Navy SEAL, is also a highly credible witness.
It’s a clear, crisp summer night in 1986, possibly 1987 – at approximately 9 or 10 PM. Jeff and Greg are flying from Nashville to Knoxville, TN for Air Midwest Airlines. They are in a 19 passenger, twin turbo-prop aircraft known as a Metroliner.
Jeff describes their flight altitude as “flight level two-one-zero,” which is about 21,000 feet, or approximately 4 miles above ground level. They are heading east from Nashville to Knoxville, TN. The sighting occurs close to Knoxville near Oakridge, which is roughly 20 to 25 miles just west of Knoxville.
There is no auto-pilot on a Metroliner, so Jeff is flying, and Greg is serving as 1st Officer in the co-pilot’s seat. Greg is the first one to notice the strange lights off to his right and alerts Jeff, saying…
“Hey, take a look at that.”
Jeff turns to look, and what they both see are two star-like objects that compare in brightness to about that of Venus. The lights are moving slowly off to their right, on the southern horizon, paralleling their flight path at a distance. The lights then arc across the horizon, as Jeff describes, “in a matter of seconds.” The strange lights are now straight ahead of the Metroliner at the 12 o’clock position, on the eastern horizon, at an estimated distance of maybe 3 to 5 miles.
The lights merge into a single object and then increases in brightness. The object is now so bright that nothing can be seen beyond the light, almost as if a spot light is being pointed directly at them. Jeff noted that the light is so bright, that it hurts his eyes to look up from the planes control panels. The light did not have the ususal amber glow of artificial light, but was more of a pure white color. Greg refers to the light as an ‘orb.’
The orb then closes in on the plane very rapidly, closing the distance between them in just seconds. Feeling like the Metroliner and the unidentified object are on a collision course, Jeff banks the plane approximately 45 degrees to the left, and drops the nose in an evasive maneuver.
Jeff is somewhat angry, still thinking this is possibly another plane, or a military aircraft toying with them.
As a result of the evasive maneuver, the Metroliner is off altitude 400 to 500 feet, which is a huge “no-no” and can result in a violation from the FAA. The object is now below and slightly behind the Metroliner at a distance of approximately 60 yards, shadowing their path exactly, as Greg describes, “like a good wing-man.” The light from the orb is now all around them, so Jeff radios Atlanta Center and explains that they had a near-miss and that “traffic is all around us!”
The Atlanta Center Controller hears the distress in Jeff’s voice and gave a clearance that Jeff has never heard before, or since, the incident:
“Altitude your discretion, deviations as necessary, approved.”
With approval for flight deviations, Jeff banks the plane back 30 to 40 degrees to the right, gently as there are passengers, hoping to get a glimpse of a rotor, or anything, that might help identify the object.
Jeff asks Greg if he can see anything, but Greg says that he sees “nothing but light.”
Jeff banks the plane again, this time to his side of the cockpit, in another attempt to see any there are any defining characteristics on the strange craft that might help him determine, “whatever the hell this thing is.” But again, he is unable to see anything beyond the light.
Jeff banks the Metroliner one more time to the right, on Greg’s side of the cockpit, hoping Greg can get a good view. Jeff asks Greg “What do you see?” Greg, displaying the calmness of a Navy SEAL in a tense situation responds, “I don’t see any little green men, if that’s what you’re asking.”
Jeff tells him to be serious, to which Greg responds, “I am,” very calmly. Jeff begins to think maybe this isn’t just another aircraft after all.
Jeff levels out the plane. As soon as he does so, the object shoots out to the south, which is to the right of the Metroliner, in the 3 o’clock position. There it keeps pace with them for several seconds.
Jeff radios Atlanta Center and says, “Atlanta Center, we have traffic at our 3 o’ clock position, and it’s moving with us.”
Atlanta Center responds, “Air Midwest, I have a primary target at your 3 o’clock position.” which means the object is being tracked by ground radar.
Seconds after this communication between the Metroliner and the Air Traffic Controller takes place, the strange object does what Jeff calls, something out of a “Star Wars Movie.” The object “flashes” into space – or as Greg explains, the object departed to the west (while gaining altitude) so rapidly it was impossible to track.
… so, that concludes the story.
I would like to point out that there were also passengers on the flight that witnessed this strange event. Among them, 2 other pilots returning from a flight. Jeff tells me that one is now deceased, however the other, he believes, is still flying passenger planes, although he has lost touch with him.
If by chance anyone reading this was a passenger on this flight, or knows a passenger, please have them contact the UFO-TALK.COM website.
A big thanks to Jeff and Greg for having courage to come forth and tell about this most amazing sighting.