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When Top Gun Pilots Tangled With a Baffling Tic-Tac-Shaped UFO

May 16, 2019 in History

By Greg Daugherty

Fighter pilots and radar operators from the USS Nimitz describe their terrifying—and still inexplicable—2004 encounter.

It began as a routine naval training exercise. But it would soon become one of the best-documented—and most baffling—UFO sightings of the 21st century.

Witnesses included highly trained military personnel—including several deeply experienced radar operators and fighter pilots—who at the time of the sightings were at the controls of arguably the most advanced flight technology ever created. And yet none can explain what they saw.

The date was November 14, 2004, and the location was the Pacific Ocean, about 100 miles southwest of San Diego, California. The USS Nimitz Carrier Strike Group, which included the nuclear-powered carrier and the missile cruiser USS Princeton, were conducting a series of drills prior to deployment in the Persian Gulf.

At about 2 p.m., two F/A-18F Super Hornet fighter jets from the Nimitz received an unusual order from an operations officer aboard the Princeton. Already airborne, the pilots were told to stop their training maneuvers and proceed to new coordinates for a “real-world” task.

More ominously, the officer asked if they were carrying live weapons. They replied that they were not.

READ MORE: Interactive Map: UFO Sightings Taken Seriously by the U.S. Government.

An MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter above the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz, 2013.

A puzzling presence at 80,000 feet

The Princeton’s highly advanced radar had been picking up mysterious objects for several days by then. The Navy called them “anomalous aerial vehicles,” or AAVs—a term the military preferred to unidentified flying objects, or UFOs, which had been tainted by its association with flying saucers, little green men and countless crackpots.

According to Kevin Day, the Princeton’s senior radar operator at the time, his screen showed well over 100 AAVs over the course of the week. “Watching them on the display was like watching snow fall from the sky,” he says in his first-ever on-camera interview, for HISTORY’s “Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.”

According to Day, the AAVs appeared at an altitude greater than 80,000 feet, far higher than commercial or military jets typically fly. Initially, the Princeton’s radar team didn’t believe what they were seeing, chalking up the anomalies to an equipment malfunction. But after they determined that everything was operating as it should and they began detecting instances in which the AAVs dropped with astounding speed to lower, busier airspace, Day approached the Princeton’s commander …read more

Source: HISTORY

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