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Airline pilot reports ‘long, cylindrical object’ over New Mexico

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

SANTA FE – New Mexico is famous for UFO incidents alleged to have occurred in such places as Roswell, Socorro and Aztec, so it’s no surprise another close encounter was reported to have taken place Sunday in the skies over northern New Mexico.

American Airlines confirmed that a recording of a radio transmission from a pilot who reported seeing something unusual fly overhead at a high rate of speed is indeed authentic.

The recording was made by Steve Douglass, a self-described “stealth chaser” from Amarillo.

“Do you have any targets up here?” the pilot of American Airlines Flight 2292 asks Federal Aviation Administration traffic controllers. “We just had something go right over the top of us. I hate to say this, but it looked like a long, cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast right over the top of us.”

The reply from the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center can’t be heard because local air traffic in Amarillo “walked over it,” Douglass says on his blog, Deep Black Horizon.

The FAA released a statement that said “air traffic controllers did not see any object in the area on their radarscopes.”

American Airlines confirmed to the Journal that the recording was authentic.

“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” an American Airlines spokesman wrote in an email. He referred any additional questions to the FBI.

“The FBI is aware of the reported incident,” the agency replied to a Journal inquiry. “While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public.”

According to flight data gathered by Douglass, the incident occurred at 12:29 p.m. Sunday while the aircraft flying from Cincinnati to Phoenix was at an elevation of 37,000 feet. Its location at the time of the radio transmission was west of Clayton, in the northeastern corner of New Mexico. The flight path continued north of Santa Fe and left New Mexico airspace west of Gallup.

Douglass, who wrote a book titled “The Comprehensive Guide to Military Monitoring,” says no significant military aircraft presence was noted on ADS-B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance-broadcast) logs.

A spokeswoman at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque said she had heard about the purported UFO encounter in the media but not from anyone affiliated with the military.

“We have no knowledge of this. We’re not aware of anything,” Lally Laksbergs told the Journal.

Messages left for a public affairs officer at White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico were not returned Wednesday.

Efforts to reach Douglass were unsuccessful. He works for Amarillo television station KVII as a photographer, and the station interviewed him. He said he was listening live when the pilot radioed in the sighting.

“I heard this aircraft, basically above all other aircraft, because the tone in his voice was so excited,” he said.

Douglass said that he talked to an ex-military pilot about the incident and was told that for the pilot to see the object it must have been coming at them practically head on.

“So whatever it was came fast, right at them and right over them, which gave them a big enough scare that they had to report it,” he said.

Douglass said that when the military conducts flight tests it notifies the FAA, which makes sure there are no commercial airline flights in the area at the time of the test.

“If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?” he asked .

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to include comment from the FAA.

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