The 1995 American West 564 incident is probably one of the best documented UFO encounters ever recorded. That said, the comprehensive information doesn't come close to giving us a tangible explanation as to what this craft was...or does it? Look back over the evidence and see if there may be something there that deserves further inquiry:
America West 564 UFO audio recording or cut/paste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXsrH2qT2O4
The America West 564 ('Cactus 564') UFO Incident
Type of Case/Report: MajorCase
Hynek Classification: RV
Shape of Object(s): Cigar
Number of Witnesses: Multiple
Special Features/Characteristics: Pilot/Aircrew, Radar
A west bound America West B-757 airliner encountered a UFO with flashing lights along its length on May 25, 1995. The passenger jet was flying over the panhandle of Texas when it observed the unknown object. The plane was designated as America West Flight 564, and was at 39,000 feet near Bovina, Texas (another account states Tucumcari, New Mexico) when First Officer John J. Waller and a flight attendant observed a row of white lights which flashed from left to right. The lights were below their flying altitude. Waller immediately made radio contact with the Albuquerque FAA FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center during the observation. Nothing could be found that should be flying in that space at that time.
The B-757 continued its course, and the lights began to fall behind it. A group of dark thunderclouds formed, and enabled the UFO to be seen as a cigar-shaped object as its lights illuminated the back drop of the thunderclouds. Waller and his co-pilot estimated the object's length at 300-400 feet. The object was not visible on FAA radar, but one of the controllers contacted the North American Air Defense Command, and was told they NORAD was tracking an unidentified object. But, this object later turned out to be a small plane with a non-functioning transponder.
The next day, the controller made another check with NORAD, and he was told that they had indeed tracked another unknown target the night before that was at first stationary, but then accelerated and stopped again very rapidly. These quick darts were estimated at somewhere between 1,000 and 1,400 mph.
Transcript of Communication Between Crew of the America West flight and the Albuquerque Air Traffic Control Center
The following is a transcript of the communication between the crew of the America West flight and the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control center. It also includes several conversations between the Albuquerque ARTC and other locations, including NORAD, that were contacted in an effort try to identify the object. There are three terms used in the following conversations that are not described: TIEBAND, BIGFOOT, and HIGH-BALLS.
AW-564: "Cactus 564 going direct crow, crow 6 arrival Las Vegas."
ABQ: "Cactus 564...Albuquerque Center...good evening"
AW-564: "564 at 39,000'"
AW-564: "Cactus 564...off to our 3:00, got some strobes out there.
Could you tell us what it is?"
ABQ: "Uh, Uh..I'll tell you what, that's some, uh..right now
...I don't know what it is right now. That is a
restricted area that is used by the military out there
during the day time."
AW-564: "Yeah...it's pretty odd."
ABQ: "Hold on ...let me see if anybody else knows around here."
AW-564: "Cactus 564..can you paint that object at all on your radar
ABQ: "Cactus 564...No I don't, and in talkin' to 3 or 4 guys
around here no one knows what that is, never heard about
AW-564: "Cactus 564...nobody's painting it at all?"
ABQ: "Cactus 564 say again?"
AW-564: "I said there's nothing on their radars on the other centers
at all on that (garbled) clear area, ...that object that's
up in the air?
ABQ: "Uh?..it's up in the air?"
ABQ: "No...no one knows anything about it."
What's the altitude about?"
AW-564: "I don't know, probably right around 30,000 or so. And it's
uh...there's a strobe that starts..um, going on counter-
clockwise, and uh...the length is unbelievable."
(???): "Where's this?"
ABQ: "Cannon 121?"
CANNON: "Cannon..go ahead"
ABQ: "Do you guys know if there was anything like a tethered
balloon released that should be above 'tieband'?"
CANNON: "Uh, no, we haven't heard nothin' about it."
(BOTH)" "Uh, ok..(some chuckling), uh, ha.."
ABQ: "A guy at 39,000 says he sees something at 30,000 that's as,
..the length is unbelievable and it has a strobe on it."
CANNON: "Uh huh...?"
ABQ: "This is NOT good..(laughing)..okay..."
CANNON: "Uh, wha..what does that mean?:
ABQ: "(laughing)..I don't know, it's a ufo or something, it's that
Roswell crap again!"
CANNON: "Where's it at now?"
ABQ: "He says it's right in 'tieband'."
CANNON: "It's right in 'tieband'?"
CANNON: "No, we haven't seen nothin' like that."
ABQ: "Okay, keep your eyes open."
CANNON: "I'll talk to you (mumbled)."
ABQ: "Cactus 564...we checked with Cannon and they don't have
any, uh, weather balloons or anything up tonight. Nobody
up front knows any idea about that. Do you still see it?"
AW-564: "Negative..back where we initially spotted it it was between
the weather and us and when there's lightning you could
see a dark object...and, uh, it was pretty eerie looking.
This 'air coptr..(mumbled)' right here going eastbound...
maybe he'll see it."
AW-564: "First time in 15 years I've ever seen anything like this.
It's probably military in that restricted area."
ABQ: "Cactus 564..you contact Albuquerque Center 132.8,
AW-564: "132.8 contact 564."
ABQ: "Aircraft calling..try again!"
(?): "Center...uh..got time for a quick question?"
ABQ: "Okay..would the question stand-by one please?...
(?): "(mumbled) 781, what was that cactus guy talking about he
ABQ: "I, I don't know, off your right wing about 15-20 miles.
He's saying he saw a large object with a strobe that looked
like it was at 30,000 feet."
(?): "Ah...it's that secret stuff!"
AW-564: "Albuquerque...Cactus 564."
ABQ: "Cactus 564..go ahead."
AW-564: "(garbled)..that passed us earlier on the right. He'll be in
the area in a few minutes, is that correct?"
ABQ: "Yeah, he'll be in there in about 3-4 minutes, at 27,000.
I'll ask him what he sees."
AW-564: "..be at his left-hand side between him and the thunder
storm. Thanks alot, we'll just monitor and listen."
AW-564: "Three of us up here saw it!!"
ABQ: "I can't find...in the next 2-3 minutes. Be looking off your
right side, if you see anything about 30000 feet, we had
one aircraft reporting simething that wasn't a weather
balloon or anything. It was a long white looking thing with
a strobe on. Let me know if you see anything out there.
(?): "I'll be careful..(garbled)"
ABQ: "He said it was about 30,000'."
(?): "(mumbled) I'm searching for ET."
ABQ: "Cactus 564...you still up?"
AW-564: "Affirmative! 564"
ABQ: "That was south of your position?"
AW-564: "It was north.."
ABQ: "Hawk 85, let's make it out the left window then."
AW-564: "Albuquerque, can we get a chance..Cactus 564."
ABQ: "You know we're all up here huddled up talking about it. When
it lightning'd you could see the dark object. It was like a
cigar shape from the altitude that we could see it..and the
length is what go us, a...sort of confused, because it
looked like it was about 300-400 feet long. So I don't know
if it's a wire with a strobe on it, but the strobe would
start from the left and go right, counter-clockwise...and
it was a pretty eerie looking site, but a, had the strobe..
(brief but solid strong tone heard)
(?): "ALBQUERQUE RADIO?...ALBUQUERQUE RADIO?"
AW-564?: "..and it was just in the lightning..."
(?): (solid strong tone heard again)
(?) "ALBUQUERQUE RADIO?"
ABQ: "Yeah...is this one any better?"
ABQ: "Oh good! Ha..hey you guys don't know anything about some
kind of weather balloon or a ufo that's out in the vicinity
of Fort Sumner tonight do you?"
(?) "I don't think so...standby."
(?): "At this point the answer to that question is 'no'."
ABQ: "Okay..yeah, this guy sees it up at Tucumcari, says it looks
like it's 300-400 foot long, cylindrical, some kind of
strobe on it, and everything else."
(?) "Well...I would call it...I don't know what it is..yea."
ABQ: "Yeah, okay...I didn't know if you were a science fiction
buff or anything."
(?) "Yea..no, we don't have, we don't have any published "high
ABQ: "Okay..appreciate it."
(?): "Mmm hmm...bye."
AW-564: "Albuquerque, 564...last time...just for our notes we're
going to take a message. was that in a restricted area..and
that was just basically south of Tucumcari when we reported
ABQ: "Okay...the way you went through, the only restricted area
was on your south side, nothing to the north side...and
those restricted areas are inactive. There shouldn't be
anything going on."
AW-564: "Albuquerque Center..Cactus 564. Thanks for your help and,
uh, could we get your call sign?"
ABQ: "Cactus 564...say again?"
AW-564: "Albuquerque Center..Cactus564..We'll talk to you later.
Before we go could we get your call-sign?"
ABQ: "Cactus 564...mine is 'PP'."
AW-564: "Was that 'tango golf'?"
ABQ: "Pappa Pappa."
AW-564: "Pappa Pappa...thanks alot."
ABQ: "Bigfoot...Albuquerque Sector 87."
BIGFOOT: "Bigfoot's on!"
ABQ: "Yea..I've got a, uh, something unusual and I was wanting
to know if you'all happen to know of anything going on
out here around Tucumcari, New Mexico,...north of Cannon?
I had a couple of aircraft reported something 300-400 foot
long..cylindrical in shape, with a strobe flashing off to
the end of it."
ABQ: "At 30,000 feet."
BIGFOOT: "Okay...hang on a second."
ABQ: "Yeah, I didn't know if you happen to know of anything
going on out there...no balloons in the area, no nothing
BIGFOOT: "Okay, where's this at again?"
ABQ: "It's at, uh, well ya'know where...it's in Tucumcar, New
Mexico, it's about 150 miles to the east of Albuquerque."
BIGFOOT: "Okay, eh...how far from Holloman?"
ABQ: "Eh, Holloman, it looks like it's off the zero-three-zero
of Holloman about 220 miles."
BIGFOOT: "Okay...I think, okay...it's kind'a hard for us to see here.
Okay, they'll be zero for about 200. Um...we don't have
anything going on over there that I know of."
ABQ: "Yeah...I didn't know, we've tried everybody else and
nobody else is...this guy definitely saw it run all the way
down the side of the airplane. Said it was a pretty
interesting thing out there."
BIGFOOT: "Okay, it was at 30,000 feet.."
ABQ: "...30,000 feet."
BIGFOOT: "It was like..long...um.."
ABQ: "Yeah, it's right out of, right out of the X-files. I mean
definite UFO or something like that, I mean."
BIGFOOT: "..and..it..ooohh..ya'll are serious about this (laughing)."
ABQ: "Yeah, he's real serious about that to, and..uh..he looked
at, saw it, no balloons are reported tonight, nothing in
BIGFOOT: "It was strobing off the front he said?"
ABQ: "Uh...I think the strobe was off the tail end of it."
BIGFOOT: "Okay...strobe tail end."
ABQ: "He said it was kinda, well it was dark but..(aside to
someone else)..did he say there was lights in it?"
BIGFOOT: "How long did he say it was?"
ABQ: "He said it was 300-400 foot long."
BIGFOOT: "Holy smoke!!"
ABQ: "..and we don't have any air carriers out here so...that
BIGFOOT: "um..the only thing that I can do is , I wonder if any of
our aerostats cut loose or something 'cause we don't
have any aerostats there."
ABQ: "Yeah...not that far to the north."
BIGFOOT: "I mean...to me it would sound like an aerostat, but..I
don't think ours are that big though." - NICAP
Airline Crew Reports Cigar With Pulsing Lights
Source: Walter N. Webb, Final Report on the America West Airline Case, May 25-26, 1995, Fund for UFO Research
Summary: A cigar-shaped object with a row of brightly flashing lights along its length was observed over the Texas panhandle by the crew of a westward bound America West B-757 airliner on May 25, 1995.
A cigar-shaped object with a row of brightly flashing lights along its length was observed over the Texas panhandle by the crew of a westward bound America West B-757 airliner on May 25, 1995. The case was thoroughly investigated by Walter N. Webb on behalf of the UFO Research Coalition, who interviewed the crew and air traffic controllers. Webb also obtained a copy of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) voice tapes of conversations between airplane and ground during the sighting.
America West Flight 564 was cruising at 39,000 feet near Bovina, Texas, en route from Tampa, Florida, to Las Vegas, Nevada. First Officer John J. Waller and a flight attendant saw, off to their right and somewhat below their altitude, a row of bright white lights which sequenced on and off from left to right. Waller contacted the Albuquerque FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center while the sighting was in progress and checks were made with military installations in the area, but no explanation could be found.
As the airliner proceeded westward, the lights began dropping behind. Then they observed the phenomenon against a background of dark thunderclouds. When the background clouds pulsed with lightning, they could see the silhouette of a dark, wingless, elongated cigar-like object around the strobing lights.
Though they did not know the object's exact distance, the pilot and co-pilot estimated its length to be 300-400 feet.
Air traffic controllers said the object was not visible on FAA radar. One of them contacted the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors North American air space by radar, and said that NORAD had confirmed an unidentified radar track in the vicinity. This later proved to be a small aircraft whose transponder was not initially operative.
Next morning the controller said he had checked with NORAD again and was told that they had tracked another, very unusual target in the same general area a short time after the first--something that at first was stationary, then accelerated rapidly and stopped abruptly, repeating this sequence several times. The bursts of speed were computed to be between 1,000 and 1,400 m.p.h. This report, based on the testimony of one air traffic controller, could not be confirmed independently.
Webb filed Freedom of Information Act requests for Government information about the case, and also checked military installations for any activities that might explain the sighting, but no known object or phenomenon could be found that correlated with the sighting. - (Walter N. Webb, Final Report on the America West Airline Case, May 25-26, 1995, Fund for UFO Research, Washington, D.C., July 1996)
America West 564 UFO audio recording or cut/paste http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xXsrH2qT2O4
ABOUT WALTER N. WEBB
Walter N. Web, born in 1934, graduated in biology from Mount Union College, Ohio in 1954 and started a career in astronomy under the teachings of Dr. J. Allen Hynek at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory's Optical Satellite Tracking Program from 1957 to 1958, and now retired from Charles Hayden Planetarium, Boston. He was the astronomy consultant of four UFO investigation associations, a member of MUFON and CUFOS and a UFO witness himself in 1951. He was the first investigator of the Betty and Barney Hill sighting, among others. He found out that among the noise of UFO sighting reports caused by commonplace phenomena, there exists a core of manifestation that are totally unique and that very strong circumstantial evidence points at extraterrestrial visits as their cause.
NOTE: this sighting has been well documented but may deserve reinvestigation since the technology now available could possibly result in some answers as well as raise new questions. Below are the key points to this incident:
POINTS TO CONSIDER
- Something very unusual and tangible was aloft because there are several independent reliable witnesses to the UFO.
- NORAD independently reported a radar return....then later denied that they detected anything.
- The incident occurred over air space that was occasionally used for secure military exercises.
- The military was testing an unusual and secret air craft.
- An uninformed military ATC noticed the object and confirmed the radar return because they were not aware of the exercise.
Despite possible explanations, this case is an excellent example of a confirmed UFO by an experienced crew and confirmed by radar. Personally, I consider it one of the best sightings to date...Lon
America West Airline case, May 25-26, 1995: Interim report by Walter N. Webb, May 25-26, 1995
Walter N. Webb, Final report on the America West Airline Case
The Mammoth Encyclopedia of Extraterrestrial Encounters: The Definitive Illustrated A - Z Guide To All Things Alien
From Adam to Omega: An Anatomy of UFO Phenomena
UFOs Over Galisteo and Other Stories of New Mexico's History
UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record
Strange Skies: Pilot Encounters With Ufos
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