Over the state of Alaska, the UFO Encounter Of a Boeing 747 on November 17, 1986, emerged as one of the most widely reported sightings in history. The individuals that provided their testimony were the captain, first officer, and flight engineer of a Boeing 747 freight airliner operated by Japanese Airlines that was flying from Paris to Tokyo.
The airplane was traveling over northern Alaska at 35,000 feet at 5:10 p.m. local time when Capt Kenju Terauchi, a seasoned pilot, observed some bright flashes to his left and around 2000 feet below him. His initial thoughts regarding the bright light were not at all mysterious and he assumed that the lights were emitted from military planes. But after a little while, when the lights’ positions remained unchanged, indicating that they were following the 747, Terauchi & his crew started to pay them more attention.
The UFO Encounter Of A Boeing 747 Of Japanese Airlines
The lights suddenly moved closer and immediately in front of the airplane as Terauchi made a left turn. With “jets” pulsing in the vicinity of black vertical panels at the middle of each object, they now resembled 2 kinds of rectangular to a square array of “amber and white” lights.
The jets stopped firing after a few seconds and changed into “small rings of lights” that resembled “many exhaust pipes.” The two UFOs were “approximately the same size as that of the midsection of a DC-8 jet,” and they were 500 to 100 feet in front of the 747. The mysterious objects arranged themselves next to one another after around five minutes.
At 5:19, Terauchi enquired as to whether Anchorage flight control was monitoring any nearby objects. And surprisingly, the answer was no. The lights were discussed in order to try and identify them. However, the signal occasionally became jumbled. It was reported by the Captain later on:
“The VHF communications, both in transmitting and receiving, were extremely difficult for 10 to 15 minutes while the little ships came close to us and often interfered with communication from Anchorage.”The Captain Stated.
The Elmendorf Region Operational Control Centre (ROCC), where the Air Force is located, was alerted by the Anchorage controller and was suggested to check whether the radar was picking up.
The two lights meanwhile shifted to the left. Terauchi observed something that appeared to be a third UFO at a distance of seven or eight kilometers. The two smaller, additional lights were moving in its direction. On the radar of the airplane, he had able to detect the far-off object. The crew’s eyes could hardly see it, but the radar showed it to be rather enormous. It remained viewable for some time.
The ROCC radiation controller informed Anchorage that he had been receiving some “surge primary return,” which is tantamount to a radar signal devoid of a transporter signal, on the ground. (A transport is an aircraft transmitter that responds to a signal from the ground station by sending out a coded signal.) Anchorage, that was also picking up the trick, reassured the ROCC controller that “it’s not erroneous”. Anchorage enquired as to the base’s certainty that no military aircraft was present in the region, to which ROCC vehemently denied.
The ROCC was monitoring a “prime return” in the general area the pilot had mentioned. The return, though, was gone by 5:28. On the flight, the JAL crew were observing the lights below and to their left, close to the horizon. By this point, the unidentified objects were on the extreme left making them difficult to be seen on the radar of the aircraft. The sky was dark to the crew’s left; stars and planets were now discernible, and the 2 small UFOs were blending in with the other lights.
What surprised and frightened the crew as they turned to look behind was the soft white light they had been tracking earlier as the plane came within 20 miles of Eielson Military Base to the North-East and then within 30 miles of Fairbanks to the east-northeast. Terauchi claimed that this time they observed the “side profile of a big spaceship,” which was reportedly visible. It appeared to be a massive spaceship in the form of Saturn. Terauchi referred to the spaceship as the “mothership,” making the assumption that the two much smaller objects had originated from the mysterious spaceship. He described the ship as the length of “two aircraft ships”.
The captain desperately radioed Anchorage to request authorization to take evasive action. It was soon approved, but when they pivoted and plummeted, the enormous UFO remained in the same spot behind them. It vanished at 5:39, but not after ROCC had located an odd target close to the plane. At 5:40, the captain was asked if he wanted a plane to be scrambled; to which Terauchi rejected it. (He later admitted that his concern was for the interceptor pilot’s safety. The JAL crew could once more see the “mothership” behind them as ROCC briefly tracked the target again. Terauchi realized that he had to land the plane at Anchorage because the 747’s fuel was running low.
One of the United States passenger planes had departed Anchorage at 5:40 and headed towards Fairbanks in the north. It quickly reached 29,000 feet. Anchorage, which had an unexplained object on its sensors, asked the UA pilot whether he could see anything beyond the JAL flight because it was almost at the same altitude as the JAL 747 (31,000 feet). The “mothership” had disappeared into thin air by the moment the UA aircraft could view it clearly.
Investigation Of The UFO Encounter A Of Boeing 747
In an investigation initiated by the Federal Aviation Agency (FAA), Jack Wright, an FAA officer, spoke with the aircrew shortly after the jet touched down. Two FAA special agents were interviewed the same evening. The FAA inquiry continued till January.
On March 5 the FAA announced it “was unable to confirm the event” because “a second radar target near the JAL flight at the time of the reported sighting was not another aircraft but rather a split radar return from the JAL Boeing 747.” Nevertheless, Hank Elias, who is head of the FAA’s aviation traffic division in Alaska, stated that the FAA did not consider this explanation to be “absolutely positive.”
Bruce Maccabee, a physicist, and ufologist who carried out his own examination made the following observations:
The FAA press release did not mention that the “split return effect” was contradicted by the fact that the extra echo did not come back with every sweep of the radar and by a statement by an air traffic controller who said that they don’t usually get a split image in the area that the JAL jet flew. The press release offered no explanation for the sighting, nor did it dispute the crew’s claim that something unusual was seen.
A few months prior to the FAA’s revelation, the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP), which is a group dedicated to refuting paranormal claims, announced that it had “solved” the JAL sighting.
At least one extraterrestrial object was involved – the planet Jupiter, and possibly another – Mars.”Chairman of CSICOP’s UFO Subcommittee, Philip J Klass at a press conference on January 22, 2022
Maccabee objected that the “solution” had been proposed before all of the data had been gathered. He claims that:
Klass made a major error in not waiting for the release of the complete package of information compiled by the FAA. Had he cited he would have found that the publicized versions of the sighting were actually quite accurate in their descriptions of the lights, although they were far from complete, and the descriptions certainly rule out Jupiter and Mars as explanations. For example, Klass did not know that the widely publicized drawings of the arrays of lights were more detailed versions of the sketches made by the captain only hours after the event. Nor did he know that the other crew members, in separate interviews, supported the captain’s report of seeing a multiplicity of lights appear in the front of the plane and pace the aircraft for 10 minutes or more. Nor did he know that the arrays of lights rearranged themselves from one above the other to side by side, a reorientation that Jupiter and Mars would have found difficult to do.
Without the information package, it was impossible to reconstruct from radar data the flight path of the aircraft. Without the flight path, it was impossible to determine the exact heading of the aircraft, and therefore the directions that the pilot and crew were looking at various times, since they gave sighting directions with respect to the heading of the aircraft.
Therefore the analyst might not have realized that just before the end of the sighting when Jupiter was ahead of the plane and to the left (about at the 10 o’clock position), the UFO “mothership” was behind and to the left (at the seven-to-eight o’clock position).
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