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Air misses:

UK's CAA FILES DOCUMENT 30 UFO NEAR MISSES:

See the top page of the Air Misses section for more information on this topic.

The Western Daily Press newspaper, of Bristol, England, reports on June 15, 2001:

Hundreds of passengers were within a split second of Britain's worst aviation disaster when two jets missed colliding by just 100 feet at Heathrow airport. The public was shocked and public confidence severely dented. However, what air travelers didn't know was that in the last two decades there have been around 30 similar near misses - with UFOs. The Western Daily Press has uncovered a dossier detailing the sensational incidents. The Civil Aviation Authority's 'X-Files' are now in the possession of top investigative author Nick Redfern who has shown the contents to the Daily Press. The CAA's hidden files, only recently released after years under wraps, documents pilots' and air traffic controllers' descriptions of the unidentified flying objects, which were close to bringing down jets loaded with passengers. Last night the CAA's spokesman Chris Mason said of the classified papers: "Our reports are from highly trained pilots and air traffic controllers. We have no argument with what they say they have seen, even if what they saw can't be explained.

"We admit that in some cases the aircraft which were nearly in collision with the aircraft have never been traced. We keep an open mind about UFOs. Some things just can't be explained, but they have been reported by top professionals and we do take that into account." The CAA has been carefully and quietly collecting and analyzing data pertaining to near-collisions between airliners and UFOs for a number of years. In addition, while such a claim might sound like something straight out of an episode of 'The X-Files,' it is one supported by the CAA's own records. "I've never seen anything like it before and can't explain what it was," said British Airways pilot Mike Dalton, of his sighting of a large, silver disc-shaped object from his Boeing 737 from Rome to Gatwick on the night of November 5, 1990. "My copilot and I called in two cabin crew to see it and then it went out of sight. Ground radar couldn't pick it up, so it must have been traveling at phenomenal speed." Subsequent investigations determined the UFO had been seen by a second BA pilot and the pilot of an RAF Tornado aircraft who was obliged to take "violent evasive action" to avoid a collision with it.

On the night of 21 April 1991, the term 'close encounter' took on an altogether more significant meaning for the crew and passengers of a London-bound airliner. At 9.00 pm Captain Achille Zaghetti, who was piloting a McDonnell MD-80 aircraft, was amazed to see an unidentified flying object pass his aircraft as it flew over the coast of Kent at a height of more than 22,000 feet. As the UFO was no more than 1,000 feet above the airliner, and the incident therefore classed as a 'near-miss', an official inquiry was launched by the CAA. Approximately two weeks later the following brief statement was issued: "The pilot said the object was light brown, round, three meters long, and did not describe any means of propulsion, " The aircraft was under the control of London air traffic control center who had no other aircraft in the vicinity, but consistent with the pilot report, a faint radar trace was observed ten nautical miles behind the Alitalia aircraft. "Extensive inquiries have failed to provide any indication of what the sighting may have been." But more was to come. The next incident to occur took place on June 1, 1991, when a yellow-orange cylindrical object, ten feet long, was seen at close quarters by the crew of a Britannia Airways Boeing 737 en route to London from Dublin.

Sixteen days later, yet another cylindrical-shaped UFO was sighted, this time by one Walter Leiss, a German engineer aboard Dan Air flight DA 4700 as it headed toward Hamburg. Nick Redfern is the author of three best-selling books on UFOs. The latest, Cosmic Crashes, is published by Simon and Schuster at £6.99.

Air traffic controller: "was it an aircraft?"

January 6, 1995, Captain Roger Wills and copilot Mark Stuart were beginning their descent towards Manchester Airport in a Boeing 737 twin jet with 60 passengers on board. Seventeen minutes before touchdown, a mysterious, triangular-shaped UFO flashed past the right-hand side of the aircraft at a distance described as being "very close" - so close, in fact, that the crew instinctively "ducked" in their seats. This is an extract from the conversation between crew of the B737 and the radar controller. B737: "We just had something go down the RHS just above us very fast." MANCHESTER: "Well, there's nothing seen on the radar. Was it an aircraft?" B737: "Well, it had lights; it went down the starboard side very quick [and] just slightly above us, yeah." MANCHESTER: "Keep an eye out for something, I can't see anything at all at the moment so, must have been very fast or gone down very quickly after it passed you I think." B737: "Okay. Well, there you go!"

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This page was last updated on June 25, 2001