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Aviano AFB, Italy, July 1st, 1977:

Summary of the events:

On the 1st July 1977, the Aviano NATO base, at Ponderone, which was closed for flying due to a parade being prepared, had a close encounter. At about 3.00am a USAF guard observed a strange object hovering above an area known as 'Victor Alert', which housed 2 secret jet fighters, in a large hanger.

The object was described as a large spinning top, 45m in diameter and hovering very low above the hanger. The upper surface was domed shaped and had white, red and green lights emitting from its surface.

The USAF guard reported the incident and a team of military guards were sent to the hanger. The guards surrounded the area and radar personnel were contacted to see if they could pick the object up on their equipment. However, when then tried to access the radar consoles the base was seemingly hit by a mysterious power-cut.

The incident went all the way up to NATO headquarters in Brussels, but when questioned by various UFO researchers they were told that the encounter had been a misperception of the moon shining off some low clouds.

The NATO Aviano AFB in Ponderone was closed for a parade in preparation. At 3 hours of the morning, a USAF guard observes a strange object hovering above the base area called "Victor Alert ", where, in a large hangar, two still secret combat jet planes were housed.

The object appeared to be like a spinning top of 45 meters in diameter and in rotation very low above this hangar. The cupola shaped higher part carried green and white lights illuminating the object's surface.

The guard gave the alarm and a military team arrived on the spot. They encircled the area and made a call to the radar, in order to see whether the object could be targeted. But however, for a mysterious reason, there was no electric power on the base and the radars could not be used.

Whereas the incident was reported later to the NATO headquarters in Brussels, ufologists were sent away and being told that it had actually been a mistake and that it all was an observation of the Moon shining above low clouds.

Some details:

In the night between the 30rd of June and the 1st OF July 1977, an American soldier named James Blake who was on duty near NATO's air base of Aviano, noticed at about 03:00am lights suspended at approximately 100 meters from the ground and over some hangars where aircraft were parked. These hangars are located in an area of the base called "Victor Alert," a zone of maximum security of the Aviano airfield. That night the airport was closed to the air traffic, as an aerial manifestation was under preparation for the 3rd of July; the radars consequently were not in function.

So when the sighting occurred, the radar operator immediately activated the systems which, according to an investigation by the civilian group CISU, intercepted the UFO which was hovering right over the Base, in contradiction with other accounts that said that there was a total power outage at the base at the time of the sighting and that radar never functioned.

The object had a disc shape and was topped by a dome. Its diameter was of approximately 50 meters and had colorful lights, that changed from white to red and then green, and the object emitted a buzzing sound.

Seemingly the object stayed hovering over the base for an entire hour, and at some point all the lights at the base went out. The phenomenon was observed from a consisting number of military that during the sighting remained at a safe distance from the zone illuminated by the unknown object.

CISU, a well-known Italian civilian UFO investigation group, said that the soldier's report was reliable, and that he forwarded the alert to the NATO's Operational Center in Brussels. Seemingly, he received no reply.

CISU stated that an important point is that some inhabitants of the City of Aviano have also seen the solid object over the military installations and for several day the event had become the talk of the town in Aviano. Then the military authorities provided their explanation. The phenomenon was attributed to a glare of the Moon on the clouds layer. Based on the meteorological data that have been supplied later by the Air Base staff, it was learned that:

A) The maximum temperature was of 26░C and the minimum was of 15░C.
B) There was moderate wind coming from the West.
C) There were few clouds in the sky.
D) The humidity was approximately of 75%.

From these data, it can be estimated that the minimal temperature was was too high in relation with the humidity, and thus the meteorological conditions necessary in order to create clouds of low altitude. Moreover, the time of the sighting implies that the Moon could not be visible over to the Military Base and was already too low on the horizon.

One year later, in January 1977, Colonel Jerry Rolwes of the US Army, who left the Army in 1993, has confirmed that in the Aviano base on the 1st of July 1977, alarm was given due to the presence of a UFO. According to Colonel Rolwes, a sargent had declared that the Object had a diameter of approximately 30 to 35 meters. In addition to these declarations, photographs were released by an aeronautics fan named Claudius Gallet, who said that he took them during an "open day" air show at the Aviano base in July 1977. He was taking pictures of the military airplane during the exhibitions and, apparently without wanting it, he accidentally caught a UFO in flight on the base. The photographs have been examined at some photographic laboratory and they are said to have shown no signs of tampering.

In June 2005, I received the following non-anonymous email report:

Subj: UFO over Aviano AFB Jul 1977
Date: June 28, 2005
From: [retained]

Hello from Colorado,

Ref: Aviano 77

On June 30, 1977 I was assigned as the after hours Base Alert Photographer on Duty.

As I recall it, I was called out to the Base flight line at about 11:00 pm. I was told very little about what I would be photographing by the driver that picked me up. That was very unusual. I was taken to the security police guard house, close to the flight line, and was told that the Group Commander would be coming to pick me up and take me out to the sight. That was extremely unusual and in fact had never happened. Once inside the security Police guard house I noticed that three security police officers were very upset. One was crying frantically. The second was trying to calm her down. The third was staring into space like in a trance. Then, another security policeman came in and asked me what equipment and film I had with me. I told him I was prepared for taking black and white photos only. He told me that we needed to go and retrieve color film and a motion picture camera from the Base Photo Lab ASAP and return to the guard shack. We did so. By this time there were another seven or eight security police in the main area of the guard house. All were talking to each other about what they had seen. I overheard enough to know it was no light on the clouds. What I heard was similar to what was reported in the article on your web page. There are a couple of exceptions. I heard that the UFO made no sound at all. I also heard that the security police attempted to communicate with it. That they were within 15 feet of it. I can also tell you that it was a very clear night. No clouds in the sky at all. I was by now expecting to be taking pictures of a lifetime. Then, before they could get me out to the sight, the UFO took off. We were then told not to say anything to anyone about what had taken place. I had a very good friend that was assigned as the group commanders secretary. The next day I explained what had happened. She said that perhaps she could find out more about the incident when she went into work on Monday. She was able to report that there was not one mention of the incident on the police blotter. Very unusual in as much as the base commander and the group commander had been called out along with most of the security police on base. Another interesting thing happened after the incident. All those that had been to the sight that night were transferred back to the states within a few weeks. Normally it would take three months to get orders to leave. However, before they left everyone on base had heard about the UFO.

My conclusion is that there was a UFO that hovered a few feet off the ground just a few feet from the fence of our WASA area at Aviano AFB. It was there for what must have been as much as 90 minutes. This was no weather related phenomenon. It was a sighting by military professionals that witnessed some kind of machine that hovered just a few feet off the ground.

This event has been one of my favorite stories to tell. Perhaps your readers would be interested as well.

[Firstame Name], USAF, Ret

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This page was last updated on June 28, 2005.