Albuquerque Journal

Was it a UFO?

American Airlines pilot reports ‘long, cylindrica­l object’ over northern NM

- BY T.S. LAST

SANTA FE — New Mexico is famous for UFO incidents alleged to have occurred in such places as Roswell, Socorro and Aztec, so it’s no surprise another close encounter was reported to have taken place Sunday in the skies over northern New Mexico.

American Airlines confirmed that a recording of a radio transmissi­on from a pilot who reported seeing something unusual fly overhead at a high rate of speed is indeed authentic.

The recording was made by Steve Douglass, a self-described “stealth chaser” from Amarillo.

“Do you have any targets up here?” the pilot of American Airlines Flight 2292 asks Federal Aviation Administra­tion traffic controller­s. “We just had something go right over the top of us. I hate to

say this, but it looked like a long, cylindrica­l object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast right over the top of us.”

The reply from the Albuquerqu­e Air Route Traffic Control Center can’t be heard because local air traffic in Amarillo ‘walked over it,” Douglass says on his blog, Deep Black Horizon.

Messages left for an FAA spokesman were not returned Wednesday.

However, American Airlines confirmed to the Journal that the recording was authentic.

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional informatio­n received, we can confirm this radio transmissi­on was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” an American Airlines spokesman wrote in an email. He referred any additional questions to the FBI.

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident,” the agency replied to a Journal inquiry. “While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigat­ions, the FBI works continuous­ly with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to share intelligen­ce and protect the public.”

According to flight data gathered by Douglass, the incident occurred at 12:29 p.m. Sunday while the aircraft flying from Cincinnati to Phoenix was at an elevation of 37,000 feet. Its location at the time of the radio transmissi­on was west of Clayton, in the northeaste­rn corner of New Mexico. The flight path continued north of Santa Fe and left New Mexico airspace west of Gallup.

Douglass, who wrote a book titled “The Comprehens­ive Guide to Military

Monitoring,” says no significan­t military aircraft presence was noted on ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillan­cebroadcas­t) logs.

A spokeswoma­n at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerqu­e said she had heard about the purported UFO encounter in the media but not from anyone affiliated with the military.

“We have no knowledge of this. We’re not aware of anything,” Lally Laksbergs told the Journal.

Messages left for a public affairs officer at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico were not returned Wednesday.

Efforts to reach Douglass were unsuccessf­ul. He works for Amarillo television station KVII as a photograph­er, and the station interviewe­d him. He said he was listening live when the pilot radioed in the sighting.

“I heard this aircraft, basically above all other aircraft, because the tone in his voice was so excited,” he said.

Douglass said that he talked to an ex-military pilot about the incident and was told that for the pilot to see the object it must have been coming at them practicall­y head on.

“So whatever it was came fast, right at them and right over them, which gave them a big enough scare that they had to report it,” he said.

Douglass said that when the military conducts flight tests it notifies the FAA, which makes sure there are no commercial airline flights in the area at the time of the test.

“If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?” he asked .

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