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UFO - Aircraft Encounters:

Flight 169 incident, Brazil, February 8, 1982:


Boeing 727 "PP-SNG" photographed in 1982.

One of the UFO observation cases most studied by the Brazilian ufologists occurred on February 8, 1982, and it became known as "the incident of flight 169." This flight of one of the finest airliner of the VASP, a Boeing 727-2A1 registered PP-SNG, left the Paint Martins Airport in Fortaleza, Ceará, with a good weather and a clear sky lighted by the full, as by the flight commander of the plane, Gerson Maciel de Britto. He operated in NEF (Night Economic Flight) with flight number VP169. Commander Gerson Marciel de Britto (right) had accumulated more than 26.000 flying hours.

The plane took off at 01:50 in the morning and there was nothing in particular to report until it arrived in the surroundings of the town of Petrolina, in Pernambuco, after 33 minutes of flight, where Britto observed a luminous source approaching the airliner from the left and starting to pace it. The copilot then also saw it.


Flight commander Britto then contacted the air traffic control service which managed his flight, the Integrated Center of Defense and the Control of the Air Traffic (CINDACTA) in Brasília, trying to know which airplane that could be, and he learned that there was not one single airplane supposed to be in his surroundings. Britto turned off the Boeing's signal lights and reduced the lighting of the fuselage for better observing the object, still thinking that it must be some unidentified airplane.

The object still continued to fly while approaching the Boeing. It was a clear night, with a moonlight, and the conditions were perfect for the observation, so that Britto was sure that he was not mistaking the Moon or planet Venus with an aircraft.

Britto and his crew saw that the object which followed the Boeing changed color constantly, from red to orange, with a central part which was white and bluish. Another aspect of the object also called the attention of the Commander, its displacement in the air: it came from one side of the plane to the other, over and below the plane, as if it was playing a game of hide and seek with the Boeing. To Britto and its crew, it had now become impossible to think that the object could be a normal airplane because none could perform such manoeuvers.

With his flight experience, Commander Britto could see and identify the Moon and Venus, and so he was certain that there really was a unidentified flying object, which was neither the moon nor Venus.

Britto continued to try to get some confirmation and identification of the object, through following contacts with Brasília. Nevertheless, the answer was always the same: There was nothing, and the object did not appear on CINDACTA ground radar set.

Two other planes, nevertheless, one of Aerolineas Argentinas and another of Transbrasil, flight TR177, which was withint 40 miles, confirmed that they had had a visual contact with a strange object. Britto then understood that he should seek the answer by himself and made landing lights signals for the object, awaiting some answer. But the UFO continued to performe the same manoeuvers, sometimes approaching, sometimes moving away from the Boeing airliner.

A few minutes after having passed Belo Horizonte, at an altitude of 31.000 feet, Britto finally had the confirmation he waited for: the CINDACTA radar, in Brasília, showed the presence of an object close to his Boeing, and it showed that this object approached and moved away in turn the plane, coming at distances of about 8 miles from the airliner.

At this point in time the crew in the cabin of the plane of the VASP airliner saw the UFO change color again and, suddenly, a bluish light invaded all the fuselage, and they could see the profile of the UFO.

It is only then, having taken its time to make sure that there was a UFO, that Britto drew the attention of the remainder of the crew and the passengers to the presence of the object. He nevertheless spoke calmly, to avoid panic among the passengers: all could see the strange object clearly, including some Brazilian well known personalities. The flight bound Fortaleza to Rio de Janeiro, and practically on all of the course, the plane was followed by the UFO.

The UFO started to be less visible when Britto started his descent for landing in Rio de Janeiro, because of the clouds on Serra of Mar. Nevertheless, it was only lost from sight when the Boeing 727 was on the point to land on strip 14 of the Galeão Airport, as he had then come in front of the Boeing, in the 11 hours position relative to the airliner's course, where he remained roughly three minutes.


Some of the passengers of the flight entirely confirmed the words of the commander, and VASP itself, the company managing the plane, which made its own investigation into the observation, could not find any ground to dismiss the accounts are frauds ir lies, and finally they issued their incident report.

Several of the passengers looked at the flight of the UFO beside the plane could not hide their astonishment about what they saw during hours. One passenger of the airliner, Silézia Del Rosso, told that the object shone like a mercury street lamp.

"I remained fascinated and all the passengers sought to share the observation, disputing the portholes at the left of the plane. They were nevertheless all calm, as if they were used to see Unidentified flying objects every day", she said. Several other passengers confirmed the encounter with the UFO, with the exception of some clergymen, who were going to Fortaleza for the 20th General Assembly of the National Confederation of the Bishops of Brazil.

There was the deputy bishop of Fortaleza, Dom José Teixeira, Dom Edmilson Croix, bishop of Crato, Dom Pompeu Bessa, Limoeira Norte and Dom Aluísio Lorscheider, arsbishop of Fortaleza. Oddly, all these clergymen said the same as Dom Aloísio Lorscheider said, that they "know nothing of these things".

The newspapers, the radio and television were interested in all possible manner in the observation, and during a few days this was the main topic in the Brazilian mass media.


Shortly, nevertheless, the first denials started to appear: it was said that the Flight Commander could have been mistaken, the object was Venus, and all were confused by a simple reflection for an object. Commander Britto, nevertheless, never disavowed his observation: to him, a balanced pilot with a long experience in aviation, flight 169 had been followed by an UFO.

Four years after this incident, in May 1986, a wave of several UFOS appeared in the sky of Brazil, a series of events which has been since called "the night of the UFOS ", so that it wasn't possible anymore to deny that abnormal things occurr sometimes. The Secretary for the Aeronautics by then, Octávio Moreira Lime, proposed to put out a progress report on all that was known about UFOs in Brazil. But finally, nothing was done, and it is only in 2005, after a large campaign by the Committee of the Brazilian Ufologists led by A.J. Gevaerd, that the Brasilian government started to accept that ufologists can see the official UFO files.


From left: Ufologists A. J. Gevaerd, Fernando Ramalho, Roberto Beck, Marco Petit, Rafael Cury and Claudeir Covo at main entrance of the Integrated Center of Air Defense and Air Traffic Control (Centro Integrado de Defesa Aérea e Controle de Trafego Aéreo, Cindacta), after 2 hour of visitation in 2005.

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This page was last updated on August 7, 2005.