Two Dramatic Mid-Air UFO Near Misses In 1967

Case File Information

Date of Event / Case File: 01/01/1967

Case File Details

The following two encounters were excerpted from: Aviation Safety in America – A Previously Neglected Factor by Richard F. Haines, Chief Scientist. They are excerpted here for reference.

National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena


October 15, 2000


January, 1967
Night UP SW New Mexico 

Jimmie Moran, a passenger on a Lear Jet 23 en route to Las Vegas, NV from Houston, Hobby Airport, Texas was the first to sight the bright red light associated with a sharply defined object ahead of them at their 10 o’clock position in the dark sky. He was seated on the left-hand side of the passenger cabin. Flying at FL410 to the NW just beyond jetway J-86 which ended at El Paso, the pilot, Carl M., filed for a direct flight to Winslow (AZ) on a heading of 300 degrees. He was delivering the new aircraft to its owner. An unnamed FO was also on board and saw the UAP which kept pace with the jet off its left-hand side for 29 minutes. Their airspeed was 300 kts. (Mach 0.82). In the pilot’s own words, I told Jimmie and the other passengers in the back, that maybe it was a light on a weather balloon. A few minutes later my passengers called me again, saying the bright red light was moving, so I told them that the light was in a military flight training block, so it might be a military plane.The light had a red ray below the light towards the ground and about 2000 ft. below the first light, a second oval light appeared, then a third light, and then a fourth, said Capt. M. Each had a red ray of about 2000 ft. from one to the other. Then the lights retracted one at a time until there was one light shining bright red. Then it ran the lights down again, but at a 40 degree angle. And then retracted the lights the same way. Capt. M. then radioed Albuquerque Center to inquire if they showed any aircraft at their 9 to 10 o’clock position. They replied they did not have any transponder signal there.

At this moment the UAP’s light extinguished for 30 seconds and came back on again. Then Albuquerque Radar (AR) called me and said they had the object on their radar… 39 miles west of our aircraft and moving at the same heading. Next Albuquerque Radar contacted a National Airlines DC-8 then over Casa Grande, AZ heading for Houston and learned from its captain that . ..he had been watching the light and said it did everything the Captain on the Lear Jet said it was doing. AR asked the DC-8 captain if he would like to make a UFO report, and the captain said no. AR asked the captain for his name, and he told them it was none of their damn business. It was at this point that the frightfully close near miss occured. In the pilot’s own words, AR called me to tell me the object was closing in on me, and before they finished telling me, the vehicle was so close that the blips on the radar screen became one. [The captain’s sketch of his cockpit window outline shows the UAP filling at least 75 percent of the window’s forward area!] The red light was so bright that when I looked up from the instrument Panel and would look back at the panel my eyes were having trouble ajusting (sic) each time to the panel white lights. At this close formation the encounter lasted 29 minutes.. .. My passengers in the back were hollering at me to get them away from the object… After a few minutes the bright red light of the vehicle went out, but I could not get a good look at the vehicle, because my eyes couldn’t adjust to the darkness before the vehicle turned the bright light back on. Then the vehicle slowed down [meaning unclear] to the point that I pulled away from him.

The passengers were overjoyed when the light went behind the left engine… But that was short lived. The vehicle passed us up at a speed so that the red light was trailing the object like a comet for as much as 150 yards. It slowed down again, which allowed me to overtake the vehicle at Winslow. We both made a left turn over Winslow at 41,000 feet. The UAP remained with the jet to beyond Flagstaff (where the aircraft was now under Los Angeles Center control which, the captain learned, also had the UAP on their radar). The captain said, My passengers were still hollering and in a panic for me to get them away from the vehicle. The UAP finally accelerated to the west at a 30 degree climb angle when we were only fifteen minutes from landing at Las Vegas. No official inquiry was made of this high altitude encounter. (Pilot report form)

_____ October 27, 1967
0300L UP NE Jacksonville
(Atlantic Ocean)

This fascinating aerial encounter involved Charlie Little, pilot of a Piper-Twin Commanche PA-30 (N7942Y). He was multi-engine rated and a flight instructor. Two other commercially rated pilots, and a passenger were also on board. Having taken off from Opa-Locka, FL to Morristown, NJ, they were headed ENE at 8,000 feet altitude in uncontrolled airspace under an IFR flight plan but were in radio contact with Jacksonville ARTCC for safety reasons. Stars were visible in the dark sky.

Ground control helped them maintain a correct heading when their two VORs apparently displayed significantly large angular deviations toward the east. About half-way between Jacksonville and Charleston, SC over the ocean at least three of the occupants saw a light moving across the sky and interpreted it to be a commercial flight at high altitude bound for Miami. But the light began to descend and approach their airplane. The pilot radioed radar control to inquire if any other traffic was seen in their vicinity (now at their one o’clock position high and seemingly southbound). The answer was negative. Little turned his landing and taxi lights on. He said (later), As the light came closer and closer, it was very apparent that we were going to pass very close and that the aircraft was not making any move to avoid us. He then asked for permission to descend immediately… We may need all the way to the deck immediately. He received permission to do so even though permission was not legally required. Under the circumstances, he was probably trying to set an example of extra-safe procedures for the benefit of the other two pilots on board. Little then disengaged the autopilot, pulled the throttle back and pushed the wheel forward …trying to avoid a head-on collision. We descended to 6,500 feet but the lights came closer and closer. Then they saw not one but six, huge, round, bright, white lights in a (horizontal) row. A collision seemed imminent. Panicking, I yelled, ‘We can’t get away from him!’ The situation seemed hopeless; there was no way to avoid him. We were all going to die because the pilot in the other craft wasn’t paying attention. Little had to shield his eyes with his hands the lights were so intense. Suddenly, a soft green light was all over our cockpit. At the very instant of collision, …the craft made an unbanked 180 degree turn, remained ahead for a few seconds and then took off and disappeared like a flash bulb. At least two of the witnesses agreed that the huge object was a gray equilateral triangle, each side at least 200 feet long and twenty feet thick. Its outer edges were very smooth and sharply defined (with no rivets, doors, antennae, windows, etc.) while at its center there was a triangular-shaped opening or hole large enough to fly through. It flew with one side directly forward.

As a pilot, I did not believe in UFOs but we had just had a near mid-air collision with one! When Little told radar control what had just happened he was met with ridicule. Later he recalled, I became very angry and threw the microphone on the floor instead of hanging it on the clip… We all knew we had just seen a UFO but we didn’t know what to say. We were afraid that if we told anybody we would lose our pilot’s licenses. This was very important to us because we were all hoping to become commercial airline pilots. It could be the end of our careers. Investigator Smith also discovered that Little was told by radar control that a United B727 captain allegedly had just reported the same shaped object over Washington (about 535 miles away)! I could not locate any record of this other claimed sighting which isn’t surprising given the continuing attitude of derision shown toward air crew by authorities on the ground and the understandable reticence to report bizarre aerial sightings. `

One final word is appropriate. Is it possible that Jacksonville radar was actually tracking the UAP and not the aircraft when the several clock-wise deviating VOR events were taking place? It isn’t clear whether the aircraft had a transponder (they were relatively expensive at the time) so that ground radar might have had only a weak return from the aircraft’s skin paint. Indeed, broadband radar in the 1960s wasn’t particularly effective when it comes to a non-transponder equipped aircraft. The far larger radar skin paint return from the triangular object might have been significantly larger than that of the aircraft. If true, this would explain the progressive clockwise deviation of the ground radar’s track that also corresponded with the south-bound movement of the UAP before it apparently changed its heading to approach the aircraft. (Smith, W., A huge open triangular UFO, International UFO Reporter, Pp. 4-6, Sept./October 1984, Center for UFO Studies, Chicago, Illinois).



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Originating Organization: Richard Haines
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