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UFO Over O'Hare Airport?

Posted: 01-01-2007 03:07 PM
by racehorse ... ldiraq-hed


In the sky! A bird? A plane? A ... UFO?

Video: UFO over O'Hare Airport?

Jon Hilkevitch

Getting Around

January 1, 2007

It sounds like a tired joke--but a group of airline employees insist they are in earnest, and they are upset that neither their bosses nor the government will take them seriously.

A flying saucerlike object hovered low over O'Hare International Airport for several minutes before bolting through thick clouds with such intense energy that it left an eerie hole in overcast skies, said some United Airlines employees who observed the phenomenon.

Was it an alien spaceship? A weather balloon lost in the airspace over the world's second-busiest airport? A top-secret military craft? Or simply a reflection from lights that played a trick on the eyes?

Officials at United professed no knowledge of the Nov. 7 event--which was reported to the airline by as many as a dozen of its own workers--when the Tribune started asking questions recently. But the Federal Aviation Administration said its air traffic control tower at O'Hare did receive a call from a United supervisor asking if controllers had spotted a mysterious elliptical-shaped craft sitting motionless over Concourse C of the United terminal.

No controllers saw the object, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

The FAA is not conducting a further investigation, Cory said. The theory is the sighting was caused by a "weather phenomenon," she said.

The UFO report has sparked some chuckles among controllers in O'Hare tower.

"To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," said O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych.

Some of the witnesses, interviewed by the Tribune, said they are upset that neither the government nor the airline is probing the incident.

Whatever the object was, it could have interfered with O'Hare's radar and other equipment, and even created a collision risk, they said.

The Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (the term that extraterrestrial-watchers nowadays prefer over Unidentified Flying Object) was first seen by a United ramp worker who was directing back a United plane at Gate C17, according to an account the worker provided to the National UFO Reporting Center.

The sighting occurred during daylight, about 4:30 p.m., just before sunset.

All the witnesses said the object was dark gray and well defined in the overcast skies. They said the craft, estimated by different accounts to be 6 feet to 24 feet in diameter, did not display any lights.

Some said it looked like a rotating Frisbee, while others said it did not appear to be spinning. All agreed the object made no noise and it was at a fixed position in the sky, just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck, until shooting off into the clouds.

Witnesses shaken by sighting

"I tend to be scientific by nature, and I don't understand why aliens would hover over a busy airport," said a United mechanic who was in the cockpit of a Boeing 777 that he was taxiing to a maintenance hangar when he observed the metallic-looking object above Gate C17.

"But I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it definitely was not an [Earth] aircraft," the mechanic said.

One United employee appeared emotionally shaken by the sighting and "experienced some religious issues" over it, one co-worker said.

A United manager said he ran outside his office in Concourse B after hearing the report about the sighting on an internal airline radio frequency.

"I stood outside in the gate area not knowing what to think, just trying to figure out what it was," he said. "I knew no one would make a false call like that. But if somebody was bouncing a weather balloon or something else over O'Hare, we had to stop it because it was in very close proximity to our flight operations."

Some joke, others research

The databases of various UFO-watching groups are full of accounts filed by pilots about sightings of unknown aircraft and anomalies that affected navigational equipment onboard planes.

Whether any of the UFO incidents are real or merely the result of individual perceptions, some experts say the events pose a potential safety risk to pilots and their passengers.

"There have been documented cases where safety appears to have been implicated, and more and more we are coming to the point of view that we are dealing with an intelligent phenomenon," said Richard Haines, science director at the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, a private agency.

"We must be proactive before an aircraft goes down," said Haines, a former chief of the Space Human Factors Office at NASA's Ames Research Center.

Haines is investigating the O'Hare incident. He said he has determined that no weather balloons were launched in the vicinity of O'Hare on Nov. 7.

"It's absurd that the military would be conducting aerial test flights" near the airport, Haines said.

All the witnesses to the O'Hare event, who included at least several pilots, said they are certain based on the disc's appearance and flight characteristics that it was not an airplane, helicopter, weather balloon or any other craft known to man.

United denies UFO report

They're not sure what was hanging out for several minutes in the restricted airspace, but they are upset that no one in power has taken the matter seriously.

A United spokeswoman said there is no record of the UFO report. She said United officials do not recall discussion of any such incident.

"There's nothing in the duty manager log, which is used to report unusual incidents," said United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy. "I checked around. There's no record of anything."

The pilots of the United plane being directed back from Gate C17 also were notified by United personnel of the sighting, and one of the pilots reportedly opened a windscreen in the cockpit to get a better view of the object estimated to be hovering 1,500 feet above the ground.

The object was seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the solid overcast skies, which the FAA reported had 1,900-foot cloud ceilings at the time.

"It was like somebody punched a hole in the sky," said one United employee.

Witnesses said they had a hard time visually tracking the object as it streaked through the dense clouds.

It left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer, the witnesses said, adding that the hole disappeared within a few minutes.

The United employees interviewed by the Tribune spoke on condition of anonymity.

Some said they were interviewed by United officials and instructed to write reports and draw pictures of what they observed, and that they were advised by United officials to refrain from speaking about what they saw.

Federal agency backtracks

Like United, the FAA originally told the Tribune that it had no information on the alleged UFO sighting. But the federal agency quickly reversed its position after the newspaper filed a Freedom of Information Act request.

An internal FAA review of air-traffic communications tapes, a step toward complying with the Tribune request, turned up the call by the United supervisor to an FAA manager in the airport tower, Cory said.

Cory said the weather might have factored into what the witnesses thought they saw.

"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," she said. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low [cloud] ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things. That's our take on it."


Contact Getting Around at or c/o the Chicago Tribune, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. Read recent columns at

Copyright © 2006, Chicago Tribune

Posted: 01-01-2007 04:00 PM
by Shirleypal
Wow Racehorse, Chicago is only 283 miles from Detroit and as the crow flies much closer, wonder if it was in this area, the rain has stopped but is still overcast.

Posted: 01-01-2007 04:27 PM
by Barbie
Thanks, Racehorse! Now, I ask ... what does all this tell us? It took almost 2 months to get this published, and the FAA isn't interested in investigation? A Weather phenomena?!?:D

Posted: 01-01-2007 11:37 PM
by joequinn
I won't be interested in UFOs until the Mother Ship deploys the Death Ray and starts dealing divine vengeance, left and right across the length and breadth of this land. Then I will get interested....

:D :D :D

Posted: 01-02-2007 12:42 AM
by Barbie
Well, I'VE got my ticket to ride .. (a medalliom made for me by Napoleon Epps - cast in 100% copper - guaranteed to get me aboard!) But I don't know if it will protect me if THEY miss a target ...!

Posted: 01-02-2007 01:29 AM
by dotcosm

Posted: 01-02-2007 02:17 AM
by Crow T. Robot
Peter Davenport has an eyewitness to the object on the Jeff Rense show over here

You can listen for free. Good stuff. Listen to it while you can.

Posted: 01-02-2007 10:03 AM
by Swerdloc
It's notable--or something--that this story actually made the MSM; it was picked up by AP and on CNN's site. But also note the obligatory giggle factor carefully layered throughout the tone of the article.

Posted: 01-02-2007 01:30 PM
by Barbie
Something that always aggravates me is, when reporters are dispatched to cover any UFO-related material - a speaker, a congress, a gathering of like-minded people who are serious about their research - the commentators seem to direct their camera crews to the Dealers' Room (where books, DVDs, photos, amusing T-shirts and fun-trinket-ufo toys and jewelry is sold) to get close-ups of the non-serious side of the issues, so the commentators can turn the interviews/coverage slant into a tongue-in-cheek piece of fluff.

They ferret out the least-sane appearing and sounding person - usually a dealer who usually claims to be psychic, and who is more than willing to bring into the interview their personal (and often outrageous) beliefs - ones which do NOT reflect the mainstream staples of Ufology.

Then, when the segment is edited for broadcast, what the viewers see are radical people, selling funny merchandise, making broad, rediculous statements. Think about it ... when have YOU ever seen a newsroom reporter do a serious three-minute segment about Ufology?

I have to believe that the station managers say, "Go cover this UFO thing, and bring us back some stuff to laugh about." And so, rather than look at our movement from a serious point of view, they follow like good drones and make us all look heretical.

I think we should educate the people who frequent our gatherings to not go on and on about fairies who live aboard small saucers, and their personal messages from the ETs about God, etc. They should not be prevented from speaking when asked, but should realize that their personal perceptions should be curtailed in light of the larger, more important issues. That way we don't all come out looking like crack-pots, and the movement gains some credibility.

Posted: 01-02-2007 02:26 PM
by dotcosm
dotcosm wrote: edited
Just want to explain why I have removed the post I had put here -- for those who have seen it, please try to refrain from providing the link if you have it.

The link was to a thread on another board where someone had posted, on Nov 7th, about this sighting, and the poster is now very concerned about having made that post, not realizing what a deep cover up was going to ensue, and I did not want to contribute to said poster's anxiety by further distributing the link to the post.

This is a first-hand account, posted on the day of the sighting.

Posted: 01-02-2007 02:57 PM
by Barbie
Isn't it appalling that people have to feel so much fear and intimidation over telling the truth?

Posted: 01-02-2007 03:15 PM
by dotcosm
Barbie wrote: Isn't it appalling that people have to feel so much fear and intimidation over telling the truth?
Absolutely disgusting. Fascism runs deep and pervades every area of life.

Posted: 01-02-2007 03:19 PM
by dotcosm
Oops, apparently is was just weird weather. ... o_sighting

CHICAGO - Federal officials say it was probably just some weird weather phenomenon, but a group of United Airlines employees swear they saw a mysterious, saucer-shaped craft hovering over O'Hare Airport last fall.

The workers, some of them pilots, said the object didn't have lights and hovered over an airport terminal before shooting up through the clouds, according to a report in Monday's Chicago Tribune.

The Federal Aviation Administration acknowledged that a United supervisor had called the control tower at O'Hare, asking if anyone had spotted a spinning disc-shaped object. But the controllers didn't see anything, and a preliminary check of radar found nothing out of the ordinary, FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory said.

"Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," Cory said. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low (cloud) ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things."

The FAA is not investigating, Cory said.

United spokeswoman Megan McCarthy said company officials don't recall discussing any such incident from Nov. 7.

At least one O'Hare controller, union official Craig Burzych, was amused by it all.

"To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," he said.

Posted: 01-02-2007 08:01 PM
by Swerdloc
Linda Moulton Howe has a report on this here.

Posted: 01-02-2007 09:25 PM
by Barbie
Local Channel 9 News at Noon carried this story today, as well. And even they couldn't read it without a few rolled eyes and under-the-breath chuckles.