PHOENIX — Two commercial pilots flying over the Arizona desert claim they saw an unidentified flying object pass overhead, according to a radio broadcast released by the Federal Aviation Administration.
A Learjet pilot and an American Airlines pilot saw the object on Feb. 24 and radioed the regional air traffic controller in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
“Was anybody, uh, above us that passed us like 30 seconds ago?” the Learjet pilot said in the brief exchange.
“Negative,” the air traffic controller replied.
“OK,” the pilot said. “Something did.”
“A UFO,” someone quickly responded.
“Yeah,” the pilot replied again with a chuckle.
Minutes later, the FAA controller alerted an American Airlines plane that was flying in the area, according to the recording released by the FAA.
“American 1095, uh, let me know if, uh, you anything pass over you here in the next, uh, 15 miles,” an air traffic controller said.
“Let you know if anything passes over?” the pilot responded.
“American 1095, affirmative,” the controller said. “We had an aircraft in front of you that reported something pass over him and, uh, we didn’t have any targets. So just, uh, let me know if you see anything pass over you.”
“Alright,” the pilot said.
Shortly, the pilot radioed traffic control also reporting the mysterious object.
“It’s American 1095. Yeah, something just passed over us,” the pilot said. “I don’t know what it was, but at least (2,000), 3,000 feet above us. Yeah, it passed right over the top of us.”
The American Airlines jet, an Airbus A321, was flying from San Diego to Dallas, according to FlightRadar24.
American Airlines referred all questions to the FAA.
It’s unclear whether the object spotted by the pilots was a UFO. An FAA spokesman suggested the object wasn’t necessarily something out of this world.
“We have a close working relationship with a number of other agencies and safely handle military aircraft and civilian aircraft of all types in that area every day, including high-altitude weather balloons,” the spokesman said.
The controller was unable to verify that any other aircraft was in the area at the time, the FAA said.
A pilot said he did not believe the object could be a weather balloon.
When the air controller asked more about the object, the American Airlines pilot said he wasn’t sure “whether it was a balloon or whatnot.”
He only described it as having “a big reflection,” and “traveling several thousand feet above us, going the opposite direction.”
The strange encounter happened not far from Roswell, New Mexico — a town that became synonymous with extraterrestrial activity in 1947 after reports that a flying object crash-landed in a field.
Authorities said it was a weather balloon but that hasn’t stopped plenty of Americans from coming up with their own out-of-this-world theories.