Did Aliens Abduct This Pilot?

Forty years ago, somewhere over the Bass Strait, off the southern coast of Australia, a plane disappeared The pilot was 20 year old Frederick Valentich

Valentich and his plane were never found The only clue we have is the pilot’s final transmission He reported that another aircraft was following him “It seems to be playing some sort of game… flying at speeds I could not identify It’s coming for me right now… the thing is orbiting on top of me… It’s not an aircraft” Then the transmission cut off, with a long, metallic scraping noise What happened to Frederick Valentich? And what was the strange object he saw, right before he disappeared forever? Frederick Valentich’s final flight ended at 712pm on Saturday 21st October, 1978

With 150 hours of flying experience under his belt, he set off on a 235 kilometre training flight from near Melbourne to King Island in a Cessna 182L single engine plane The last person to speak to Valentich was Melbourne Air Flight Service traffic controller Steve Robey Seven minutes before he abruptly vanished, Valentich contacted Robey to ask if there were any other planes over the Bass Strait at his altitude Robey replied that there was no known traffic at that level Valentich then said there were four bright lights flying about 300 metres above him

“It is a long shape I cannot identify more than that… It has a green light and is sort of metallic It’s all shiny on the outside” Valentich reported that his engine was “rough idling” His transmission ended with a severe, strange scraping sound of metal

A four-day sea and air search, covering 1,000 square miles, found no trace of either pilot or plane Bizarrely, Valentich hadn’t followed standard procedure and notified King Island of his intention to land there He told one person that he was going there to pick up some friends, and another person that he was going to collect some crayfish Both stories proved to be untrue No one knows quite what he was doing that night

Furthermore, he still had enough fuel to fly 800 kilometres His plane was never plotted on radar Melbourne Police received reports of a light aircraft making a mysterious landing not far from Cape Otway at the same time as Valentich disappeared Newspapers and officials therefore speculated that Valentich staged his own disappearance, inventing a strange encounter over the radio to distract from his purpose Valentich was a UFO hobbyist, constantly watching UFO movies and using information from the air force to research UFO sightings – so his cover story naturally featured an unidentifiable flying object

However, his father said, “He was not the kind of person who would make up stories Everything had to be very correct and positive for him” Interviews with his friends and doctors confirm that Valentich was neither a fantasist nor suicidal when he disappeared As far as we know, Valentich had no motive to fake his death or disappear Later, police received calls from other people on the coast who said they saw “an erratically moving green light in the sky”

The group called Ground Saucer Watch, based in Arizona, said photos from that night show a fast-moving object exiting the water near the Cape Otway lighthouse Pictures are not clear, but they say it is a “bona fide unknown flying object, of moderate dimensions, apparently surrounded by a cloud-like vapour [or] exhaust residue” The Bureau of Air Safety Investigation released its findings in May 1982 They concluded, “The reason for the disappearance of the aircraft has not been determined… [the outcome is] presumed fatal” The full 315-page file on the incident was kept secret for decades

In 2004, the government said the official file had been lost or destroyed But researcher Keith Basterfield found it while searching through the National Archives index It reveals that investigators officially labelled it an encounter with an Unidentified Flying Object The file also reveals the Head of the Transport Department wanted the Defence Minister to launch an investigation into the incident But Basterfield says the file was not hidden as part of a government conspiracy

“Put simply, many people within a department will have no idea how their filing system works and where files end up… The only thing we can say for sure is that the plane and pilot disappeared while he was describing a UFO” In 2013 retired US Air Force pilot James McGaha and author Joe Nickell researched the incident for the Skeptical Inquirer They suggested Valentich may actually have been looking for a UFO Valentich was a young, inexperienced pilot He had been rejected by the Royal Australian Air Force twice

He had twice failed all five commercial licence exams, and failed three more one month before disappearing Based on this demonstrable inexperience, McGaha and Nickell argue that he was deceived by the illusion of a tilted horizon This can happen when the sun has gone down but still brightens part of the horizon, making it appear tilted Valentich would have compensated by leveling the wings and circling, but he really would have spiralled downward, faster and faster The G-forces of moving in an ever tightening spiral would decrease fuel flow, which explains the “rough idling” of his engine

As for the greenish light above him, it was probably his tail light McGaha and Nickell say the four stationary lights he described were probably Venus, Mars, Mercury and the star Antares On that night, they were at their brightest, in the shape of a vertically elongated diamond In short, Valentich mistook the night sky and his own plane for another craft He believedhe was flying in a level circle, but actually flew straight into the water

Five years after his disappearance, an engine cowl flap washed ashore on Flinders Island In July 1983, the Bureau of Air Safety Investigation noted, “the part has been identified as having come from a Cessna 182 aircraft between a certain range of serial numbers”, which included Valentich’s plane It seems certain that at least part of his plane ended up in the ocean What happened to the pilot, however, is another matter Frederick Valentich’s father said, “The fact that they have found no trace of him really verifies the fact that UFOs could have been there

” Somewhere in the sky over the Bass Strait, the truth is out there

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