When a massive UFO buzzed an Airline over Alaska
Over 30 years ago on the 17th of November, Japan Air Lines flight 1628 was on a routine flight from France to Japan overflying Alaska; when it encountered a massive object in plain sight of the cargo aircraft’s Pilot and crew.
This event now famously called the JAL 1628 incident changed the paradigm about UFO encounters. Not that there were no previous encounters between airlines and UFO’s; yet this incident was reported by the Pilot to the FAA and the event got etched in UFO history as one of the most credible sightings.
Besides the Pilot reporting the UFO encounter, the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, also acknowledged sighting of the UFO on its radars.
The FAA then decided to investigate the incident leading to wide media coverage of the event including the exposure of the JAL 1628 pilot, Captain Terauchi who appeared on radio and TV shows.
However, he was grounded by the airline and had to later resign after many years of flying and having an excellent flight record.
A Dazzling Flight loaded on Wine
On November 17, 1986 Captain Terauchi and his crew consisting of the co-pilot and flight engineer were flying a Japanese Airlines Boeing 747 fright aircraft starting from Paris, France and headed to its final destination, Tokyo in Japan, carrying a cargo of wine.
If you are asking yourself, “Did the crew get loaded”. The answer is no. The captain was sober as was his crew as they took off from Paris flying over Reykjavík to Anchorage section.
Around 17.11 hours about 5pm in the evening, the crew noticed two unknown objects to their left rising from below their aircraft and kind of escorting them.
Each of the objects had rectangular thrusters with a glow as would be observed with modern day fighters with afterburners. By now it was pretty dark and the actual objects remained in the dark as the heat from these glowing thrusters warmed up the cabin of the aircraft.
This buzzing by the two objects continued for some time before they left the scene and was followed by a much larger disc shaped object which alarmed the crew who asked the Anchorage air-control towers for changing their flight path.
While the two smaller objects (as compared to their aircraft) remained invisible on radar, the larger one showed up on the US Air Force radars as also the air control radars of Anchorage.
According to Captain Terauchi, the larger object was twice as large as an aircraft carrier with their own freight aircraft appearing like a blip in front of the massive object.
The sighting lasted for 50 minutes and other aircrafts in the vicinity did not observe visually, any object near JAL 1628.
The FAA then instructed JAL 1628 to first drop by 4,000 feet make 360 degree turn and yet the objects kept trailing them and also once came directly in front of their cockpit by which time the excited crew just wanted to get rid of it.
Flight controller at Anchorage reported the large object at a minimum of 5 miles from the aircraft.
The three objects would move fast and then suddenly stop, remarked the Captain of Flight 1628.
The flight landed at Anchorage safely around 6.30pm and on landing Captain Terauchi made an official report as the object they had encountered as a UFO.
On giving an interview to Kyodo News, Japan Airlines grounded the pilot assigned him to a desk job. After an inquiry he was reinstated as a pilot but within a few years retired.
The FAA consulted Chief of the Accidents and Investigations, John Callahan who initially felt it may be a case of a secret military aircraft or bomber. Later the tapes were reviewed by the FAA technical center in Atlanta and brief Vice Admiral Donald D. Engen who then instructed them to shut the lid on the inquiry.
In a secret meeting attended by representatives of the three letter agencies as well as the President’s Scientific Study Team, the data presented by Callahan was reviewed and taken away as secret.
However, John Callahan kept the original video, the pilot’s report and the FAA’s first report as also the target print-outs of the computer data were later recovered using which all targets in the sky on the day and time can be re-plotted.
On March 5, 1987 the FAA completed its three month inquiry and held a press conference where it said the UFO was not a physical object but a “split radar image” and thus the report concluded there was not sufficient evidence to support the claims made by the JAL 1628 pilot on the incident.
Skeptics Pounce and Pound
According to an investigation carried out by Philip J. Klass, the skeptical UFOlogist what the Pilots saw were the planet Jupiter and Mars under twilight conditions. The Pilot of JAL 1628 did not report either planet even though both were supposed to be visible clearly and instead only reported the “white and yellow” UFOs.
Also the later description made by the Pilot were not matching with the actual radio transcripts between the FAA Pilots and the Air-Controllers. As an example the pilot mentioned in media reports that the UFO followed it as his aircraft made a 360 degree turn but this narration does not match with the transcript with the control tower.
Most of the transcripts mention bright lights and thus it could well be a case of mistaken identity.
Some questions remain unanswered
As with most UFO case, the JAL 1628 incident also has gone mired in mystery and intrigue as months went by.
Post incident narration by eye witnesses are generally mired in controversy as the narrative changes.
But what is special about the JAL 1628 incident is the testimony of John Callahan who claims that the air traffic controller did report seeing something unusual on radar and this matter was hushed up.
If indeed the incident was a case of errors in the radar image and the pilots had seen planets, then why would there be a cover up!
Meanwhile, the crew members stick to their story about encountering the most amazing thing in their lives when three UFOs buzzed their aircraft.