Time: 10:30 p.m. Witnesses: Capt. Gene Tollefson, First Officer John
J. Waller, America West Airlines Flight 564.
Large silhouetted cigar-shaped object, pulsating lights along body. An America West B-757 airliner was cruising at 39,000 feet near Bovina, Texas, en route from Tampa, Florida, to Las Vegas, Nevada. To their right and somewhat below their altitude, the crew saw a row of bright white lights which sequenced on and off from left to right. The co-pilot contacted the Albuquerque FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center while the sighting was in progress and checks were made with military installations in the area, but no explanation could be found. As the airliner proceeded westerly and the object began dropping behind, the crew observed it against a background of thunderclouds.
When the background clouds pulsed with lightning, they could see the silhouette of a dark, wingless, elongated cigar-like object around the strobing lights. Though they did not know the object’s exact distance, the pilot and co-pilot estimated it to be 300-400 feet long. The object was not visible on Albuquerque FAA radar. One of the air traffic controllers contacted the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors North American air space by radar, and said that NORAD had confirmed an unidentified radar track in the vicinity.This later was supposed to have been a small aircraft whose transponder was not initially operative. Source: (W. Webb, 1996)
Below is a video that includes the actual radio transmissions between the plane and the ground:
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