Associated Retired Aviation Professionals

The Hull Thread 

Missile/Rocket Reports 


June 25, 1987     28 SHawwal 1407 A.H.     28 Sivan 5747   (NY Times on June 27, 1987)
The National Weather Service doubts it was theirs and the Defense Department insists it wasn't theirs. About the only thing the Federal Aviation Administration can say about the object that encountered a Delta Air Lines jet at 29,500 feet Thursday is that no one is likely to find it. The pilot of Delta Flight 1083, flying 60 people from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, told investigators that an object, which appeared to be a missile, seemed headed straight for his Boeing 737 before passing to the side and slightly below. "The pilot described it as a rocket or missile about 4 feet long, with fins," a Delta spokesman, Bill Berry, said. "It went so fast that's all he saw." The aviation agency said it would probably never know what had the encounter with the jet 31 miles northeast of Charleston. Kathkeen Bergen, an agency spokesman, said it was left with two explanations: The official one is that it was a promotional balloon that escaped. "Balloons can travel pretty far" she said. "We don't acknowledge the existence of U.F.O.'s." 

Mid-year, 1992  Reported in alt.disasters.aviation on Wed, 21 Jan 1998 18:08:48-0800 Christopher Coon wrote:   The TWA Missile Conspiracy notwithstanding, here is a "rogue missile" event straight from the participant (me, as a controller at L.A. Center). In mid '92 I was working a UAL 747 climbing out of about 23,000 near Victorville, California (about 50nm NE of LAX). 23,000, by the way, is in what is called "Class A" airspace (back then, "Positive Control" airspace), meaning nothing--absolutely nothing, military or otherwise--may fly above 18,000 feet without the controller knowing about it and approving it. About 30nm to the north is a huge military restricted area, R-2508, in which the military can play their games as they wish, without notifying FAA controllers. All of their activity, though, must remain within the lateral confines of the restricted area, unless they coordinate a "whisky alert," and identify the accidental spillout. There was no such notification on that day. The 747 pilot suddenly came on and told me a "rocket of some type" just missed their aircraft, passing about 500 feet below. He said it went by at "3 or 4 times the normal closure rate." 3 or 4 times normal closure rate of a head-on jet aircraft comes out to about mach 2. I saw absolutely nothing on radar, and told him so. I pulled up the primary (raw radar) targets, but there was absolutely nothing in his area. He elaborated that the "rocket" was about the size of an F-16, and was heading in the opposite direction (i.e. southwest). I alerted the sectors in its possible path, and alerted my supervisor, who just scratched his chin and said "Hmmmmm." There was no collision, and no loss of life, so it was left at that. The pilot was alarmed enough to report it, though, and I subsequently saw a short article about it in Aviation Week & Space Technology (early August, '92), with a "mysterious black aircraft" slant instead of a "rocket" like the pilot initially reported to me. The voice and radar tapes were pulled, but they revealed no further info, and the cursory investigation was dropped.. Christopher Coon formerly @ ZLA 

October 11, 1994 Associated Press report datelined 09/28 23:55 EDT V0009 (1994) 
A State bomb squad destroyed a French-made surface to air rocket launcher armed with a live missile and explosives ....along a rural roadside in Westminster, Maryland. This location to commercial aviators is the equivalent of Times Square in Manhattan. If one wants to increase the chances of hitting an airliner this is a key point from which to try.  (6/3/99 - Note from the website author - it is now believed that this was an anti-tank weapon and not a missile) 

January 6, 1995   4 SHa`baan 1415 A.H.      5 Shevat 5755    
Reported on January 26th, 1995. 'The Sun' newspaper.  Two pilots thought their last moment had come as their British Airways jet headed for mid-air collision - with a high speed UFO. Terrified fliers Roger Willis and Mark Stuart ducked down in the cockpit when the brightly lit mystery craft appeared only yards in front of them at 13,000ft over the Pennines. But as they waited for the deadly impact, they saw the triangular UFO flash down the right hand side of their Boeing 737 and disappear. Captain Willis and First Officer Stuart immediately checked with air traffic control. But they were told theirs was the only plane on the radar. Their flight from Milan, Italy to Manchester Ringway was 17 minutes from touchdown when the "alien" invader zoomed past. The Boeing landed safely, with the 60 passengers unaware of the drama. At first, the pilots didn't tell pals about the UFO, in case of ridicule. But BA bosses were informed and they sent a detailed log and sketches to the Joint Air Miss Working Group, which is part of the Civil Aviation Authority. An inquiry was launched into the January 6th incident. But a CAA spokesman said yeterday: "We have not been able to trace the aircraft involved." The pilots refused to comment. A colleague said: "They are high grade, sensible guys. Everyone's talking about what they saw." Theories that the UFO could have been a new military aircraft were discounted by experts. A spokesman for Jane's Defence Weekly said: "We know of nothing at all being developed that could account for this sighting." 

November 17, 1995 22:20 (EST)  23 Jumaada al-THaany 1416 A.H.  24 Heshvan 5756  
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area Lufthansa 405 (747) departing JFK at 9:20pm bound for Frankfurt at 25,000 feet, south of Long Island, reported an object flying directly opposite its course about 2-3,000 feet above them. Confirmed by British Airways 226 (747). Directly north of W-105. Large bright light in front, no red or green beacons, long green light in rear and left a vapor trail. "It was looking strange". "Looked like a green trail on it, and a very bright light on the front of it". "It was looking very strange, with a long light, in the tail". "It did have a very strong trail to it...a vapor trail, which looked more like smoke. And the light on the front was very, very bright" "It didn't have any lights...((normal)) lights, beacon lights, or red or green lights. Only a white light in the front, and with a long green light. (The FAA transcript of the controller - pilot conversations on this incident may be found elsewhere at this website) 

November 17, 1995
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area November 17 is considered the most probable date based on Lufthansa sighting above but alternative dates are November 22, 1995, February 2, 1996, or March 8, 1996 with March 8 being the second most likely date. Missile or rocket launch witnessed from I95 in Connecticut off the highway or from Long Island Sound reported in detail elsewhere at this website. Author was driving along Interstate 95 (Connecticut turnpike) going to Stamford and was between exits 4 and 6 when suddenly to the right front side of his car there was a flash through the trees and then a very white, bright streak, was observed rising, accelerating extremely rapidly in the direction of Long Island Sound and arching across the sky. The incident was reported to the FBI. 

March 17, 1996    
Private Communication  "Has anyone ever reported any information about USAir Flight 3684 from Baltimore to MacArthur (Islip, Long Island) Airport the evening of March 17, 1996 -- four months to the day before TWA Flight 800 went down? Just after dark, the plane was beginning its approach to MacArthur, when there was an explosion just forward of the tip of the right wing -- a ball of bright orange that appeared from inside the plane to be about 20 feet in diameter, followed by a concussion that shook the plane. Everyone looked at everyone else: "What the hell was that?" No announcement from the cockpit. As we got off the plane, we asked the flight attendant, who didn't have a clue. Next day and on several occasions afterwards, I sought information from the airline, the media, the FBI (Sorry, we can't comment on that, Ma'am). What happened? I could never find out. Does anyone know? If so, please refer me to sources". 

July 17, 1996     1 Raby` al-awal 1417 A.H.      1 Av 5756     
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area TWA 800   James Kallstrom: "We do have information that there was something in the sky. A number of people have seen it. A number of people (Click for eyewitness accounts)  have described it similarly. It was ascending."  The Press-Enterprise reported that reddish residue found on several seat backs was shown by laboratory analysis to be consistent with solid missile fuel. Sikorsky aircraft in Stratford CT [less than 100 miles from the disaster] indicated that Sikorsky's radar at its airport picked up an air to air missile. The radar was on tape and was turned over to the FBI. Sikorsky is a manufacturer of helicopters for the military and has extensive facilities in Stratford, which is on Long Island Sound. 

August 29, 1996    14 Raby` al-THaany 1417 A.H.        14 Elul 5756 
(Reported in the NY Times on September 9, 1996) The pilot of an American Airlines jet reported that he saw a missile off the wing of his 757 plane while he was traveling from San Juan to Boston. The plane was over Wallops Island, VA. According to the NTSB's report on the near-miss, "the missile was a Black Brant V missile, with an inert payload and was launched ... in support of the Department of Defense." 

November 16, 1996 22:00 (EST)    4 Rajab 1417 A.H.       5 Kislev 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area Pakistan International Airlines Flight 712 Leaving Kennedy at 9:25pm, bound for Frankfurt. The pilot, W. Shah, said his co-pilot saw an orange light coming from the left hand side to the right hand side of the airplane. The object was 3 - 4 miles in front of the aircraft and above it. Shah was told by Boston controllers that there were no military exercises in the area. Boston apparently confirmed 'two unidentified blips' on radar. The tapes have been turned over to the FBI and NTSB. The object(s) rose directly out of Long Island Sound and ascended almost vertically. The Pakistani crew just saw a flash, and apparently a TWA crew, which was behind the Pakistani, saw the whole thing. The TWA crew was so alarmed by what they had just seen that they considered returning to JFK. Later, they requested clearance to skirt the area where the light had been seen. Radio 5 in the U.K. reported that the object which crossed the Pakistani aircraft had exploded. (On a subsequent McNeill - Lehrer newshour when asked about the direction of the object Mr. Kallstrom replied, "ascending".)   

Another report on this incident stated: This evening I flew flight 1504 FLL to BOS. It was an extremely clear night over the Eastern Seaboard. You could see the Connecticut shoreline from Cape May, NJ. We were at FL 330 just east of JFK proceeding direct to PVD. It was about 10:15 PM when an aircraft asked center the following question: were there any fireworks going off in the area. Center replied in the negative, to the best of their best knowledge. The aircraft then reported they had something streak up towards them from the left and pass in front of them and through their altitude. There was silence on the frequency. I asked center the position of the aircraft reporting the event. Center replied 20nm south of HTO. It was a foreign carrier, but judging by the accent of the pilot, I would say it was Air India or Pakistan Intl. I didn't get a call sign, and to my surprise, center did not ask any more questions. It was a crystal clear night, and we could see the Hamptons from our position. There were no fireworks taking place anywhere. Unless the controller was working both frequencies, the aircraft was at least climbing to or in the high sector. I did a little bit of checking, and found out Air India leaves at 7:30. PM, and Pakistan Intl. leaves at 9:45 PM from Kennedy. It doesn't really matter who it was. Fact is someone reported a streak that came from the ground and to the left of them and passed in front and through their altitude. It was 10:17 when center replied to me that the aircraft was 20nm south of Hampton. Is it merely a coincidence this is close to where TWA 800 blew up, or is something else going on? I don't believe the aircraft was flying inverted and that was a meteor that streaked by their windshield. Again I was amazed at the silence of the controller after the report. This event certainly got our attention. 

November 17, 1996   WCBS-TV   
WCBS-TV reports that last night Pakistani International Airlines flight 712 radioed Logan International (Boston) that a missile had just flown by their plane (the story implied 'just missing them') ...Boston confirmed 'two unidentified blips' on radar at the same time as the PIA report.   November 17, 1996     Associated Press FBI spokesman Joseph Valiquette said Sunday, "At this point we don't know what, if anything, was seen." Shah (pilot of PIA 712) said they were told by Boston air traffic controllers that there were no military exercises in the area. He also said the pilots were interviewed by officials with the U.S. Embassy in Frankfurt... A TWA plane flying immediately behind the Pakistanis jet Saturday made a similar sighting and asked to turn around .... The TWA plane was rerouted and the air corridor used by the Pakistan Airlines flight was closed. (For a transcript and audio file of this incident see The Tale of the Tapes) 

December 12, 1996     1 SHa`baan 1417 A.H.      2 Tevet 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area A Saudi Arabian Airlines crew reported sighting a bright greenish object streaking by their plane as it approached Kennedy Airport Thursday morning. It was approaching Kennedy airport, 15 miles south west of East Hampton, at about 12,000 feet when the object appeared on radar. At least one crew member saw the object from the cockpit window for about two seconds. 

February 7, 1997     28 RamaDHaan 1417 A.H.      30 Shevat 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area Passenger (Charlotte - see also August 12, 1997 item below) from JFK to Atlanta on Delta Flight 592 (which has a scheduled departure of 6:45 am) between 7:15 and 7:30 am seated on the left side of the plane observed a missile/rocket. It was an early morning flight and after a delay of about half an hour the plane took off. It was a very clear morning with excellent visibility. Charlotte had taken a window seat on the left side of the plane. About 10 minutes into the flight the plane had just finished a rather wide turn and had reached about 8-10 thousand feet. It was still climbing but had taken a course heading that took it over the coast. Passenger could see the coastline all the way down to her left and the ocean beyond. As she looked down she saw a trail of light gray smoke pouring out of a missile that came up from the ground (she could see the smoke trail) it arched out pouring smoke from the rear, wobbling as it went and took a heading parallel to the coastline. There were no visible fins or coloration of the fuselage. It was about 2,000ft below the left side of the plane moving she believed in an easterly direction following the coastline but inland perhaps a mile or two. The plane was, she believes, heading in a southerly direction directly across the coast and then over the Atlantic. At the time she was a bit amazed at what she was seeing and remember saying to herself  "Thank God it is going in the other direction."  The missile was land launched missile about  2 or 3 miles inland from the coast of eastern Long Island. 

She did not speak of this to anyone at the time, it seemed too unbelievable that TWA Flight 800 had been lost and here was a missile going up in the same general area. She finally broke her silence after reading frequent articles and hearing news reports about the authorities leaning toward mechanical failure in spite of the many reports of (missile) sightings ....... She called Delta Airlines on 4/16/97 in Atlanta and spoke to Warren Garland (Mgr. of Consumer Affairs?). Her presence on the flight was confirmed and great interest was shown in what she had to relate. She also called TWA on 4/17/97 and again much interest was expressed. She then called the Airline Pilots Association (AOP) in Virginia and again there were many questions and much interest. She finally called the FBI in Melville on the same day or within a day or two. The person who handled the call showed no interest compared to the others - almost no questions - a whole different reaction. On 5/12/97 she called a Newsday reporter after seeing a TV interview of one of the Newsday reporters who said almost everyone believed the TWA crash was due to mechanical failure. She spoke to a woman reporter who was very interested and called her back with more questions. 

Witness also flew to San Diego via Los Angeles on July l0, 1997. She got into a conversation with passenger seated next to her - a radar expert from Long Island who travels around the world setting up and checking on radar installations. They talked about TWA800 and he related that he had a close relative at the beach that evening. She and some thirty other people she was with saw a streak from the water go up and the plane exploded.  

March 17, 1997 19:15 (EST)    8 Thw al-Qi`dah 1417 A.H.    8 Adar II 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area Northwest Airlines D93 Flight 775 Newark to Minneapolis and Flight 361 A320 Laguardia to Minneapolis report missile both departing at 6:55 PM about 15 Minutes into flight. Plus Delta and US Airways flights. A Reuter report of April 10, 1997 indicated that Northwest Airlines pilots reported that they saw what appeared to be a missile or a rocket over the New York area the evening of March 17, the Saint Paul Pioneer Press reported Thursday. In a copyrighted story, the Pioneer Press reported that investigators are piecing together tapes of air traffic control radar recorded the night of the sightings.  Two other flight crews, from Delta Airlines and US Airways have filed similar reports, the newspaper said. The possibility that missiles are flying in commercial airspace is particularly significant in the aftermath of last summer's crash of TWA flight 800 minutes after takeoff from JFK International Airport in New York, the Pioneer Press said. The pilots of a Northwest Airlines DC-9 reported a possible missile sighting about 15 minutes into their flight from Newark International Airport in New Jersey in March, according to the Newspaper. A second Northwest flight crew, in an aircraft that left from La Guardia Airport in New York reported a similar sighting. (For a transcript and audio file of this incident see The Tale of the Tapes)  

March/April? 1997 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area (Personal communication from a BA Flight Officer but not confirmed by an independent source). A BA Concorde from JFK passing FL 270 on the climb before Nantucket Island had a near miss with a missile. The plane was still subsonic and the missile was within 1/2 mile. The British Government may have complained to the U.S. Department of Defense.   

May 23, 1997 (1:20am)    16 MuHarram 1418 A.H.     16 Iyyar 5757
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area
Witness states: We were driving south on Route 67 in Oxford.. heading home... It was about 1:20am and my first 'thought' was that a plane was coming into Oxford Airport...but they usually don't have planes coming in at that time of night (I may be mistaken, but I believe Oxford Airport does not stay open 24 hours a day)... But even before I finished formulating the 'thought' that it was a plane coming into Oxford Airport, I then thought   "Gee, it's coming in at a strange angle, looks like it might crash..."...and almost immediately it dawned on me we were too far south on 67, not too far from the Seymour town line, for the light to be a plane going to Oxford was around the area of the Hawthorne Inn and Oxford Plaza, heading south towards Seymour...southbound on Route 67, which goes basically NW to we were basically facing approx. SE...What we saw was a bright green light, just slightly paler than a traffic light, going at high speed, coming from a generally NNW direction heading generally ESE -- basically, coming generally from the direction of Danbury (Poughkeepsie?) and heading generally to some point east of New Haven.......IF it had made it that far! That's what REALLY drew our attention to this thing -- there was this strange bank of clouds, not very wide but spanning almost the entire sky from NNE to SSW....there was a full moon that night, and periodically, when the clouds would drift that way, you could see the moon thru them, so they weren't particularly thick...they were approximately 50 or so degrees above the horizon...This strange green light streaks at a high speed coming from behind us and to our right, passes in front of our line of vision, enters this strangely shaped bank of clouds...AND DISAPPEARED! At the speed it was going, it should have emerged within a second or two from the other side, but it blinked out like someone turning off a light switch... It was this phenomenon that really made us notice this thing...until that point, neither of us had commented on it, but when that happened we turned to each other and said "Did you see that?" (and were very glad that the other HAD, else we'd wonder if we were seeing things). Weather clear, except for a weird band of clouds in front of us, spanning the sky approx. 50 degrees up from the horizon, maybe 10 or so degrees wide....the rest of the sky displayed stars, and the moon just west of apogee (in front of us and somewhat to our right)... We ended up explaining it away as a meteor, but it seems strange that the 'meteor' could 'burn itself out' at the exact time it entered that cloud bank.... For the first few seconds I 'thought' (really not consciously thinking) that it was the 'headlight' of an aircraft coming towards us...but I immediately realized that was wrong, because the light was green and heading away from us... The light was not blinking, it actually looked like a blowtorch, a bright point of green light with a paler triangular vaporous 'tail' behind was pretty bright, but not brighter than the moon, which was pretty full that night...No sound was heard, but we had the windows of the car up... I didn't see any 'launch', i.e. we didn't see anything rise up from the horizon...what we saw was streaking in basically a horizontal path, slightly downwards, approx. 70 or so degrees above the horizon...if it WAS a missile, it either came from an airborne vehicle, or was shot from the ground well behind us to the north and west, and had reached apogee and was just starting to descend...trajectory would have put a 'launch' beyond Danbury, somewhere in the Hudson Valley, perhaps even west of the Hudson...I'd guess Poughkeepsie, or its environs...If the thing hadn't 'burnt out', it would have continued south and east, probably crossing the coastline somewhere around East Haven or Branford, and definitely would have gone over the eastern end of Long Island, crashing somewhere well out into the Atlantic...I wonder if it would be worth anything to check the air traffic that night out of JFK, Laguardia, Newark, check even Tweed-New Haven, to see if any airliner could have been on a flight path at that time which may have put it on a possible collision course, which may explain the sudden 'burn out', perhaps a decision was made to scrap the 'missile' (if indeed that is what it was) rather than risk another TWA800)... 

August 9, 1997    5 Raby` al-THaany 1418 A.H.     6 Av 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area
Washington, September 26 (Reuter) - A Swissair passenger jet flying over New York had a close encounter last month with a weather balloon, the Federal Aviation Administration said on Friday. The crew aboard the Swissair 747, flight 127 traveling from Philadelphia to Boston, said the encounter occurred on Aug. 9 at 5:10 p.m. local time over Deer Park (Long Island), New York. The crew could not identify the object, which the airplane passed at an elevation of 23,000 feet (7,000 metres). The airplane was traveling about 500 mph (800 kph) at the time. A United Airlines flight passing through the same area a short time later identified the object as a large balloon, the FAA said. An FAA investigation of the incident "concluded that it was indeed a weather balloon,'' FAA spokesman Jim Peters said. He said the National Weather Service balloon had been cleared in advance to be in that area. Swissair spokesman Ulrich Wohn said the pilot followed standard procedure by reporting the close encounter. He said the flight landed on time in Boston and continued on to Zurich without incident. "At no time were any of the passengers at risk,'' said Wohn. "They didn't even see it.''  

September 26, 1997 11:42:10 PDT (Drudge Report)
An unidentified object narrowly missed a Swissair Boeing 747 while the aircraft was at 23,000 feet, passing in air space between Philadelphia and New York, on Aug 9, Swiss radio reported this morning. Major newswires are taking the story and moving it. The pilot described the object, which passed within 50 yards of the aircraft, as "white, elongated and without wings," and strongly rejected U.S. explanations that the object was a weather balloon, the radio report said. The object was moving at very high speeds, Swissair spokesman Erwin Schaerer tells the NTSB. The plane was Zurich-bound, from Philadelphia. AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE is reporting that there may be passenger witnesses to the incident... 

September 27, 1997 (Neue Zuricher Zeitung)
Swissair has revealed that an unidentified flying object almost collided with one of its planes over the United States last month. The captain and his co-pilot said an oblong and wingless object shot past at great speed - only fifty metres away from their Boeing Seven-Four-Seven. The American air traffic authorities said it was probably a weather balloon. 

September 27, 1997      Electronic Telegraph Issue 856   
An unidentified object narrowly missed a Swissair jumbo jet with 64 passengers aboard at 23,000 feet near New York, a company spokesman said yesterday. The object was described by the 747 captain as "elongated, white and without wings" but the co-pilot recalled it as being "more spherical". American aviation authorities dismissed speculation that the object was a missile and said it was a weather balloon. Swiss Radio reported the captain as saying he did not find that explanation credible although neither he nor his co-pilot thought it was a missile. The near-miss occurred on Aug 9, close to the spot where a TWA airliner exploded in July last year with the loss of 230 lives. Swissair flight 127 was travelling from Philadelphia to Zurich via Boston. 

March 5, 1999    
Ottawa (CP)  A Swissair pilot reported his 747 jet was nearly hit by an unidentified flying object, possibly a missile, near the area off New York where a TWA airplane crashed in 1996, The Canadian Press has learned. Swissair Flight 127 was cruising at 23,000 feet on Aug. 9, 1997, when the pilot interrupted an address to passengers to report the near miss by a round white object, says a report by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. "Sir, I don't know what it was, but it just flew like a couple of hundred feet above us," he radioed Boston air traffic control. "I don't know if it was a rocket or whatever, but incredibly fast, opposite direction." "In the opposite direction?" asked the controller. "Yes sir, and the time was 2107 (Greenwich mean time). It was too fast to be an airplane." The controller asked another aircraft if its crew saw anything like a missile in the area. The reply was negative. He then asked the Swissair pilot again how far above the plane it was. "It was right over us, right above, opposite direction, and, and I don't know, two, three, four hundred feet above. All that I can tell, 127, is that (we) saw a light object, it was white, and very fast." Investigators interviewed the captain and first officer on Aug. 10, 1997. The flight engineer hadn't seen the object and was not interviewed. The report, filed under NYC97SA193, said the flight was opposite John F. Kennedy Airport at 5:07 p.m. Eastern time - near the area where TWA Flight 800 went down July 17, 1996..... The transportation safety board report said the Swissair captain saw the cylindrical object for less than a second. He did not see any wings and was not sure it was an aircraft. "He had never been so close to other traffic before," said the report. "It passed over the cockpit, slightly right of centerline. If it had been any lower, it would have hit the aircraft. "As the object passed by, there was no noise, no wake turbulence, and no disruption or anomalies with any of the flight or engine instruments." The plane was flying in clear weather to Boston from Philadelphia at the time. The sun was at the pilot,s back. He apparently did not have time to take evasive action. "There was no exhaust or smoke, no fire, and he could not accurately discern its size. The captain reported his total time as 15,000-plus flight hours. He had never seen a missile in flight." The first officer, whose flight time totalled 7,500 hours, said he was bent over to adjust the volume on his headset when he looked up and saw the object pass overhead "very quickly." "It was close enough that he ducked his head because he thought it would hit them. . . . He thought it passed about 100 to 200 feet above the airplane and between the right side of the fuselage and the No. 3 engine." The first officer said no markings were visible and the object appeared to be the size of a thumbnail held at arm's length. He said he had previously encountered a weather balloon over Italy, and the object did not look like the balloon. He had witnessed missile launches from the ground previously, the report said. The report said the nearest weather balloons are launched from Upton, N.Y., 43 nautical miles northeast of JFK twice daily, at 7 p.m. and 3 a.m. Eastern time and usually take 25 to 28 minutes to reach 23,000 feet. Balloons are light tan or brownish, or black and red, said the report, adding the wind was blowing from the north, almost at right angles to the aircraft. Investigators also checked radar data and plotted the plane's flight path. "There was no evidence of an opposite direction target, either beacon or non-beacon," said the report. 

August 12, 1997  8:40pm      8 Raby` al-THaany 1418 A.H.     9 Av 5757 
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area
Bruce Cornet ( reports video taping a possible missile attack on a Boeing 767 jetliner over Sea Bright, NJ on 12 August 1997 on approach to JFK. Sea Bright is located on the northeastern coast of the Atlantic Ocean near Long Island, not far from the area where the TWA Flight 800 exploded. Bruce caught... eight frames of the possible missile.... on video (Click for jpg file). The missile or possible space debris was video taped descending toward the airliner flying at a lower altitude. (Click for animated gif file)   In the first frame, the ... missile appears to be glowing at the top of the frame and heading down toward the aircraft. The second frame shows a brilliant flash around the missile. In the third frame, the missile appears to be on fire. The fourth frame shows the missile smoking and turning sideways. This frame shows a definite cigar or missile shaped object and not a meteorite. A loud sound is also heard probably from the explosion or the swoosh of the missile. The missile then appears to fall into the inter-coastal waterway. The missile appears to have malfunctioned, and only partly detonated, but fortunately did no known damage to the jetliner. The FBI and other authorities are examining the video in detail. 

Bruce commented:  I actually saw the aircraft well enough as it turned above me, but the image is too dark to be certain of the insignia on the tail. It looked like a Boeing 767, although my identification of aircraft is new and it might have been an airbus. Its shape and size, however, fits the smaller 767. I contacted the FBI. At first I was put off and told to check with Kennedy security to see if they are interested. I did, and was told to check with the county police over jurisdiction. Special Agent Sean M. Cavanagh spoke to me. I told him what I had. He said send me a video copy, which I did. Then he and the FBI contacted me with apologies for giving me the run-a-round. They scheduled an apointment to interview me at my house. Sean Cavanagh, and Special Agents Theodore J. Otto III and Pamela Ann Culos came to my house on 23 September 1997 for the interview. Ted said that he was in charge of the FBI investigation into the TWA flight 800 disaster, and was following up on any leads involving missile sightings. He and Sean said that they had reviewed my video copy dozens of times and spent hours discussing the possibilities or interpretations. They were interested in my interpretation, because I was there. They were particularly interested in the sound I thought I heard and which was recorded at the time of the incident. I played the original tape on my Sony Hi-8 camcorder for them, pointing out the faint swoosh that can be heard as the apparent missile passed the jetliner. Ted and Pam acknowledged that they could hear the sound. Ted instructed me about what a missile in flight would look like, and pointed out that the bright light at the rear of the missile was the rocket exhaust burning, and that one could not see the missile itself at night, only its exhaust. The agents thanked me for my help and cooperation, and left. Ted said he would make a Hi-8 copy of my original and send it to me, along with paperwork for the original. I have received nothing in the mail from them to date. On the video you see the jetliner approaching low and slow over Sea Bright, then banking to its right as it turned over the inner coastal waterway. I followed the jet with my camcorder as it moved north away from me, and about 20-30 seconds after it turned the missile or its fire flashed by it to the left of the jetliner as the animated gif reveals. The jetliner continued on its course towards Kennedy without further incident. The sound that was heard could have been coupled with the sound of it splashing into the waters of the inner coastal waterway. Aside from the flash just as the apparent missile passed over the jetliner, there was no apparent explosion. Whatever it was, it was solid, rod-shaped, and travelling just below the speed of sound. I calculated its speed by using the wingspan of the jetliner for comparison. I calculated a speed of about 730 mph. I have trouble with it being a rocket booster on re-entry from space or a piece of space debris, because its speed was not supersonic. The place where it came down could have been on a trajectory from a ship or plane out at sea, timed to pass over or near the jetliner just after it turned in a predictable fashion. It may not have been designed to explode, but to cause an electrical malfuction or to shoot shrapnel into the aircraft. If it was a hostile missile, it apparently failed. These possibilities were discussed with the FBI agents. 

Mid June 1998     The UFO Research Coalition Report on Swissair 127 ISBN 1-928957-00-5 (1999) Page 26
Event in the NY Metropolitan Area 
Bobet (Captain of Swissair 127 involved in the August 1997 incident reported advised that Swissair had experienced another UFO sighting in the vicinity of JFK International Airport in mid-June. The airplane had been airborne only several minutes, and was en route to Zurich. All three cockpit crew members saw the object. No report was made to Air Traffic Control authorities at the time, and apparently no notification of U.S. authorities was made subsequently. Only Swissair management was briefed by the crew. 

June 12, 1998   Reported on September 15, 1999    
BBC News Published at 18:29 GMT 19:29 UK A UFO that narrowly avoided colliding with a passenger jet flying from London's Heathrow Airport has baffled aviation experts. The metallic grey-coloured object was spotted by the pilots of an Oslo-bound McDonnell Douglas MD81 plane on 12 June 1998, and passed just 20-50 metres from them. The captain said the object was the size of a small aircraft, while the co-pilot described it as a "bright light, very close". Reporting to an air traffic controller, the captain said "a flare or something passed 20 feet from our aircraft", but nothing had been recorded on the radar screen. The pilot later filed a near-miss report, known as an airprox, in which he said the object looked similar to a fighter. But a report by the Civil Aviation Authority found no explanation for the incident, which has also confounded local military experts and local police. "Air traffic controllers were certain that even a very small aircraft would have been detected, particularly on Heathrow radar," said the report. Although the evidence of the unnamed airline's crew is considered to be reliable, the report notes that they only caught a brief glimpse of the object. 

September 9, 1999     The Financial Times
A cargo airline yesterday said it had suspended flights to Pakistan after the pilots of one of its aircraft reported seeing a mysterious "flash and explosion" shortly after taking off from the Karachi airport several days ago. Lufthansa Cargo India ... filed a complaint to India's Director - General of Civil Aviation saying the pilots .... saw the bright flash of an apparent explosion at around 2:30 am local time on Monday about five miles from the Karachi airport. According to the complaint, Lufthansa officials speculated that it could have been a missile explosion. Just before the blast, ... the Karachi air traffic control directed the aircraft to turn right. As the aircraft turned and crossed an altitude of 3,000 feet, the pilots saw the bright flash near the aircraft on their left side. India's Director - General of Civil Aviation said ... the explosion "appeared to have narrowly missed the aircraft" and "brightly" lit up the cockpit. The statement said it seemed to the light crew the flash had "a trajectory coming from the ground". The Lufthansa crew reported the incident to the Karachi radar tower, and two other incoming aircraft - a Pakistan International Airlines flight and a private Pakistani carrier - reportedly confirmed seeing the explosion.

Home - Last Updated: 
 © 2000 William S. Donaldson III.  All rights reserved