Tag Archives: Civil Aviation Safey Authority

Australian Aircrews Encounter UFO, Official Files Reveal

Australian Aircrews Encounter UFO, Official Files Reveal

     There are currently two Australian government agencies who are equipped to, and indeed do, accept UFO reports from civil aviation flight crews. They are the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and Airservices Australia (ASA). Of course, they do more than deal with infrequent UFO reports, and, in fact, are responsible for airspace management, the functionality of airports, pilot licensing, air safety, navigational systems, etc. Australia’s Department of Defence (DoD) also accepts and processes UFO reports, but their system is quite different from those of the ATSB and ASA. The DoD’s Directorate of Defence Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS) accepts reported military UFO cases via a form called an “Air Safety
Paul Dean
By Paul Dean

Occurrence Report” (ASOR). ASOR’s are processed through the Defence Aviation Hazard Reporting and Tracking System (DAHRTS), and are studied within the Closed Loop Hazard/ASOR Review and Tracking System. DDAAFS military UFO reports have proven very hard to obtain. But ATSB and ASA reports have been somewhat easier. For the purpose of this piece, I will focus on ASA. Describing themselves as “…a government owned corporation providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry” ASA is responsible for national airspace management, air traffic control, aeronautical information services, aviation communication, radio beaconing, and the like. Some time ago I submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request for any UFO, or UFO–like, reports submitted to ASA by flight crews, with the date range of 2008 to 2015. I published the results of that effort in January, 2015, and my findings can be looked at here. Also, as an aside, I have also had the ATSB furnish me with numerous reports of aerial unknowns, and the results of that work can be found here.

In my previous FOI request to ASA, I stipulated they search their “Electronically Submitted Incident Report” (ESIR) database and the newer “Corporate Integrated Reporting and Risk Information System” (CIRRIS) for UFO events dating from 2008 onwards. Of course, one would assume, correctly as it turns out, that pilot–submitted UFO reports go back much further than that. The reason for me not asking for all material dating back to, say, the 1980’s, is because an FOI requestor can be knocked back if their request is to broad, or, will cause an unacceptable burden for administrative staff. So, one often breaks these requests for data up into smaller date range blocks. Needless to say, as soon as the last FOI request was furnished, I submitted another one. On the 30th of January, 2015 I submitted a new FOI request to ASA for all UFO or UFO–like cases dated between 1992 and 2008. Specifically, my request stated:

“….any incidences where flight crews have reported any: 1) Unusual, Unknown, or Unidentifiable Aircraft or Objects; 2) Suspected Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles; 3) Meteoric events, fireballs and the like; and, 4) Especially unusual weather phenomenon; which are held on the Electronically Submitted Incident Report (ESIR) database or the “Corporate Integrated Reporting and Risk Information System” (CIRRIS) database.”

On the 18th of February, 2015 Sasha Pesic, ASA’s Freedom of Information & Privacy Contact Officer/Legal Inquiries Coordinator, asked me if I would grant them an extension of time in searching their database(s) and preparing any found material, which, despite not being famous for my patience, I agreed to. On the 7 May, 2015, I received the results of my request. At one page, in PDF form, ASA supplied me with 3 UFO or related events in table form, which is imaged below.

One case stands out. In June, 1999 two airplanes experienced what, by anyone’s measure, must be considered a potentially important UFO event. In ASA’s “Executive Summary” column it is dryly stated:

“Pilots of AJP and AJK enroute for Alice Springs sighted an unidentified green object in their vicinity. No details of any other traffic held by Brisbane Sector 11.”

In the “Description” column it is stated:

“At 1015 the pilot of AJP Tindal for Alice Springs reported sighting a green object climbing and descending vertically and paralleling his track for some time. The pilot of AJK Darwin for Alice Springs reported sighting this green object as well. No details of any other traffic were held by Brisbane Sector 11.”

The document in question is imaged below.

ASA’s “Executive Summary” Pilot UFO Reports in July of 1999
– click and or right click on image(s) to enlarge –

While lacking further narrative, there is enough here to demonstrate that flights AJP and AJK saw something worth reporting, and the incident occurred at a significant altitude, as we shall see. Obviously, it is one thing for a single flight crew to report a UFO event. But when two flight crews report the same thing, the story is much hard to brush aside. If equal importance is the data which also comes with the report. The UTC Date/Time data is listed as “199906231015”, which is Coordinated Universal Time (the old Greenwich Mean Time), translates as the year 1999, on the 23erd of June, at 10:15am. As the event occurred while both aircraft were enroute to Alice Springs, flying from the north, this equates to 1945hrs in central Australia, or, 7:45pm. The event occurred in the “TOPS” airspace sector of Australia, which is a volume of airspace located in the Northern Territory (NT). The “Primary Occurrence Type” is listed as “MISCELLANEOUS”, with a further comment stating “(INC PILOT REPORT)”, which one presumes means the event included a pilot(s) report. The “Attribution” of the case is listed as “OTHER”. Finally, the “Report No” is listed as “2054”.

At that time the sky is quite dark, so, one may presume that any object that is be described as “green” was almost definitely luminous. As for the planes involved I have ascertained, through Australian aircraft registration records, that both were Westwind IAI 1124 business jets built by Israeli Aircraft Industries. These impressive aircraft carry two crew, and operate at a maximum speed of 865 kilometres per hour at 29,000 feet, but cruise at 725km/hr at 39–41,000 feet on long flights. Seeing as the Executive Summary states “Pilots of AJP and AJK enroute for Alice Springs…”, there is every chance that the aircraft were travelling at a fairly high velocity, and an altitude of over 29,000 feet.

Whatever the speed, wherever the exact locale, even the admittedly limited data presented in this single ASA document does raises some questions. Firstly, what “green object” can seemingly dip up and down vertically in the atmosphere, and then track with a jet “…for some time”? We can’t rule out another aircraft, but some of the details given make this rather unlikely. The mystery flight would need to be carrying a very singular bright green light aboard, which breaches civil aviation requirements. Also, one could speculate that the crew of either AJP and AJK would have attempted communication with other flights in the region, and if they did there was obviously no positive response. Most importantly, the “Description” section clearly states that “No details of any other traffic were held by Brisbane Sector 11.”. In Australia, the Brisbane Sector monitors and controls all air traffic in the TOPS area, so ASA’s Brisbane Sector effectively admitted that nothing else was flying in the area. Other explanations may fit, but the case is eighteen years old, so investigation is not easy. One could safely assume that the crew’s of the two aircraft in question have long moved on. Moreover, military records dedicated to, for example, ground–to–air missile evaluation launches are almost impossible to obtain, even through significant FOI work. Quite simply, the details of high–end ordinance tests are classified in Australia, as one would expect. Other solutions, including a gigantic period of meteoric activity, long–duration space re–entries, reflections on windscreens, intense hallucinations, rare electrical activity, etc can be ruled out. The astronomical angle is worth studying, but to conclusively blame a planet or star for “…climbing and descending vertically…”, then tracking one of the two flights, pushes the limits of credulity.

In regard to the release of this document, it is worth noting that ASA had a previous opportunity to make public the case. As I have detailed, my FOI request was finalised in Feburary, 2015. However, three years earlier, Australian researcher Keith Basterfield asked ASA for any information held regarding UFO’s, and the material I have presented in this report, which dates back to 1999, was not released. Specifically, on the 30th of May, 2012, Basterfield submitted an FOI request to ASA for:

“…any documents held by Air Services Australia, on the subject of ‘unidentified flying objects’.”

On the 18th of June, 2012, Keith was furnished with internal ASA material containing a number of media enquiries to ASA’s Public Affair’s desk, and a number of general enquiries from the public. Nothing of note was unearthed. Technically, of course, Basterfield had asked for records regarding “unidentified flying objects”, and the event I have highlighted was listed as an “unidentified green object”, with the “Primary Occurrence Type” listed as “MISCELLANEOUS”, and the “Attribution” listed as “OTHER”. These details do not contain the specific term ”unidentified flying objects”, which is what Basterfield had based his FOI request on, so the failure to release him anything of note probably boils down to a terminology issue. Usually, FOI staffers will do little more than process the request using exactly what a requestor has asked about, but surely a search of the ESIR and CIRRIS databases for the terms “unidentified” and “object” should have come up with the Alice Springs AJP and AJK event. Whatever the parameters, or limitations, of ASA record searching are, one can’t help but wonder if further requests, using a whole list of other keywords, would pick up. We may not have to wait long. I aim, very soon, to formulate a new FOI request to ASA. It will include a more robust and wider scope than anything I have done previously.

Read more »

Read More

So Australian Pilots are Reporting UFO Incidents!

Paul Dean By Paul Dean
The UFO Chronicles

      As of 1995, the two government agencies responsible for air safety are Airservices Australia (ASA) and the Civil Aviation Safey Authority (CASA). Of the two, ASA describes itself as “…a government owned corporation providing safe, secure, efficient and environmentally responsible services to the aviation industry.” It has responsibility for airspace management and air traffic control, aeronautical information, aviation communication, radio navigation, etc. Indeed, ASA is one of the agencies that pilots can report a UFO event should that sort of extraordinary situation arise.

On the 30th of May, 2012, researcher Keith Basterfield submitted a Freedom of Information (FOI) request to Airservices Australia for:

“any documents held by Air Services Australia, on the subject of “unidentified flying objects.”

On the 18th of June, Keith was furnished with internal ASA material containing a number of media enquiries to ASA, enquiries to ASA from the general public, etc. The only significant material given to him was a 2004 “Event Report” involving a Qantas flight and an “unidentified object”. This material can be viewed on Keith’s blog site here:

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena – scientific research

This was all ASA, apparently, had on unidentified flying objects.

Unfortunately it seems Keith was misinformed.

In May, 2014 I found out, through a source within Airservices Australia, that any pilot UFO sighting reports would be kept in the “Electronically Submitted Incident Report” (ESIR) database. Furthermore, in September 2014 I consulted the Operations branch of ASA regarding the validity of this information, and was told that the ESIR database would indeed be the final resting place for UFO reports by pilots, and, furthermore, the ESIR database was being superseded by a new system called the Corporate Integrated Reporting and Risk Information System (CIRRIS).

On the 24th of November, 2014 I submitted a formidable FOI request to ASA specifically asking for:

“….any incidences where flight crews have reported any:

1) Unusual, Unknown, or Unidentifiable Aircraft or Objects;
2) Suspected Drones/Unmanned Aerial Vehicles;
3) Meteoric Events, fireballs and the like;
4) Especially unusual weather phenomenon;

which are held on ESIR or CIRRIS database(s).

After receiving an acknowledgment reply on the 25th of November, I waited for what I thought would be the usual “no material responsive to your request can be found” type nonsense. However, on the 10th of December, 2014 I was pleasantly surprised when I received quite the opposite:

“Dear Mr. Dean,

Please find attached an FOI access decision, table of documents and documents being released under the access decision re your request dated 25 November 2014.

Freedom of Information &
Privacy Contact Officer/Legal Inquiries Coordinator
Office of Legal Counsel
Airservices Australia”

Contained with this email were 3 attachments. One was the usual “Access Decision” which all FOI requests end with; one was a “Table of Documents” which is a list of any material being furnished; and the final PDF was the one that contained the smoke and fire… Dryly titled “Documents Being Released Under The Access Decision” this PDF was a full 3 pages, and in tiny font size at that, of tabulated pilot reports of UFO events over Australia. Below is an image of the “Table of Documents” page:

Scehdule of Documents (Paul Dean FOIA)

The first thing that jumped out was the fact that some of these reports date back to 2007. So Keith Basterfield’s FOI request to ASA in 2012 failed to secure any of this material. Either ASA had done a very bad job with his very reasonable FOI request, or, someone at ASA simply didn’t want so much material coming out at that time. Infamous American FOI Act user and abuser Robert Todd, who filed approximately seven thousand FOI requests in just a 19 year period once said:

“Either we are dealing with morons at these government FOI and information branches, or, they are not morons and they are deliberately hiding the material I have asked for, and am entitled to, as an American citizen.”

Whatever the truth of the matter, we now have, for those who are interested in real data and real cases – rather than the pathetic “UFO theatre” that goes on in this caper – actual reports from pilots to Airservices Australia. The only problem is, I cannot understand half of it, and I am waiting on advice from people who can. Until then, here are some of the better cases in absolute raw form:

Case ATS‐0126807, which occurred on the 26th of January, 2014, above Adelaide, states:

“At 2315Z TGW484, inbound on the ALEXI 05V STAR reported having traffic at 12 o’clock, 5NM. AAE reported there was no observed traffic in that vicinity. TGW484 then requested a turn onto heading 210. TGW484 then reported the traffic in their right, 3 o’clock 2.5 NM “visual”, and were turning back for the VSA. TGW484 then asked if AAE had the traffic on radar, 3′ o’clock at 4NM. AAE replied they had an A320 past the 3 o’clock at 6.8NM. AAE confirmed whether that was the traffic they had reported, which TGW reported they were not sure, they had had traffic showing 2.5 NM same level. Shortly after JST774 following TGW reported TCAS showing something at BATIP, “hovering” at A020, which then disappeared.”

Case ATS‐0075593, which is listed as occurring on the 10th of April, 2009, in the region of “TOPS”, wherever that is, states:

“ANO332 tracking DN‐KU on descent, reported an airprox with an unknown aircraft approximately opposite direction, at approximately A090. Subsequent questioning of the crew elicited that the aircraft was observed approximately 3‐4 NM east of the flight planned track and followed on TCAS, but there was no RA, nor was the aircraft sighted. Weather conditions were VMC. ANO332 reported unable to raise the aircraft on VHF.ATS surveillance is not available in this part of the airspace so the report was unable to be corroborated by ATC. No flights matching the aircraft were known to the ATS system.

Case ATS‐0105506, which occurred on the 25th of April, 2010 in the Canberra region states:

“Unidentified (upside down pyramid shaped) object drifting close to final rwy 35. First spotted at approximately 400ft AGL on the Western edge of Mt Jerrabomberra. Initially drifted West, towards final for rwy 35, before climbing and drifting to the Northeast. Two aircraft (QFA814 and VOZ259) were diverted through noise abatement areas (Southwest of YSCB) to avoid the object.”

Another one, ATS‐0098025, 26th September, 2012:

“TGW581 reported a red cylindrical object passing the aircraft in the opposite direction when climbing through FL200 approximately 20 nm miles south of Sydney.”

And so they go on. For three pages. All of this is completely raw data: No internal ASA opinions, no emotive statements by the pilots, no conclusions; just the actual tabulated entries on ASA databases, and little else. Even a cursory look at a not insignificant number of these entries tells me that the offending “UFOs” are nothing more than lanterns or model aircraft. But some are not. Right now, I am trying to have these cases – which admittedly come with limited data – put “into English” by the contacts I have to gain a clearer picture of what was actually happening in the skies to cause the pilots to submit such reports, some of which I suspect may have been made quite urgently.

Aside from having this bundle of material analysed by my contacts, I have submitted a further FOI request to Airservices Australia for more details on some of the better looking cases. Specifically, on the 20th of January – just a few days ago – I have asked ASA to provide me with any documents (internal emails, investigation notes, pilot statements, messages, minutes of meetings, etc) which relate to some of these pilot submissions, and I will not be satisfied until the trickle becomes a deluge. Which brings me to another point: It occurred to me, when submitting a bunch of other FOI requests to other agencies last week, I seem to be the only one doing this in Australia. Why so? Why am I doing all the heavy lifting in relation to governmental enquiry and correspondence with those that may hold some keys? If Airservices Australia can furnish me with three pages of pilot UFO reports alone, imagine what the Defence Department’s Directorate of Aviation and Air Force Safety (DDAAFS) databases may hold? What might the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s (ATSB) Accident and Incident Notifications files tell us? I would encourage other researchers out there to get acquainted, preferably sooner than later, with the current state of possible governmental UFO material, and attempt some correspondence with these agencies. The next “Halt Memo” may be sitting somewhere, and I don’t have to be the one to find it.

Read more »

Read More