# The JAL 1628 UFO event

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I have requested records from the FAA Alaskan Region in Anchorage including a flight path chart and the actual radar tracking data related to this incident; this should indicate the actual flight path taken by JAL1628, and show what other aircraft if any were in front of JAL1628. I have also requested some arctic weather balloon data in order that we may know the winds, temperature, and humidity within the airmass through which JAL1628 was flying at this time. I suspect that the first officer's initial impression "thinking the lights were the jet exhausts of several military jets" may be fairly accurate, and this may allow us to estimate how long-lasting any contrails would have been, and how they might have drifted relative to the flight path of JAL1628.

In Haines' written report he describes the JAL1628 first officer's (FO) initial impression of the lights:
Haines said:
Thinking the lights were the jet exhausts of several military jets, the FO called Anchorage Center to inquire if other aircraft were in the area. They were told "...there were no other aircraft in the North area."
However, according to the actual transcript of this conversation as presented in Maccabee's written report, Anchorage Center's reply to this question was "JAL1628 heavy, roger." Note that at the time JAL1628's first officer made this call to AARTCC at 5:19:15, the lights had been under observation by the flight crew for about ten minutes and yet he was still "thinking the lights were the jet exhausts of several military jets."

Of course, the "moonlit contrail" theory could be further tested by actually flying through the same airspace under similar conditions of air-traffic, moonlight, wind, temperature, and humidity.

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Here is a high resolution thermal infrared satellite image snapped by NOAA-9 approximately 3.5 hours before JAL1628 crossed into Alaskan airspace from Canada on 11-18-1986 (UTC) (http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/6939/jal16282235qk4.jpg [Broken]). NOAA-10 also snapped a high-resolution image while the event was actually taking place, but that image is missing from the archive. A low resolution image from that pass of NOAA-10 is available, but it's quite grainy compared to this image. High resolution images are often lost when there is radio interference between this series of satellites and the ground stations which record the data in real time. Unfortunately, the receiving station for these satellites is in Fairbanks, Alaska and the record shows that radio reception was very bad in this area during this event. In the bottom right corner of the image shown here, you can see a tell-tale sign of radio interference. Low resolution images are saved in RAM onboard the satellite so that they can be transmitted later when hopefully radio reception is better, but the high resolution images are lost if they aren't received correctly the first time.

Upon inspection of these satellite images we can see that the estimated flight path of JAL1628 passed over a large low-hanging cloud which was located to the rear of the aircraft at 5:30:23 when Capt. Terauchi requested a change in heading to run away from a large object behind him.
Terauchi said:
We were just above the bright city lights and we checked the pale white light behind us. Alas! There was a silhouette of a gigantic spaceship. We must run away quickly!

5:30:23 JAL1628 - Request, ah, deviate, ah, ah, from, ah, object...
5:30:49 JAL1628 - It's, ah, quite big...
5:30:56 JAL1628 - It's, ah, very quite big, ah, plane.
It would be interesting to see what this large cloud would have looked like from the perspective of JAL1628's flight crew, and that may be possible using Microsoft's Flight Simulator.

Also visible in the satellite image:
1) A large contrail cloud measuring between about 1000 to 2000 meters wide.
2) Isolated storm cells (vertically developed clouds) approximately 200nm West of where JAL1628 picked up cloud-like returns on their onboard weather radar. These particular storm clouds may be too far away to be the same ones that were picked up on JAL1628's weather radar approximately four hours after this image was taken, but other storm cells could have developed closer to JAL1628's flight path in the intervening four hours.

These NOAA satellites also have sensors onboard that measure the solar wind in real time, and NOAA-10 did record a moderately strong surge of charged particles (coming from the Sun) as it passed over the arctic during the JAL1628 event. From those measurements, it is estimated that the solar wind was pumping an average total power of about 24 giga-Watts into the Northern Hemisphere during the JAL1628 event. This may be a clue that we should look more closely at auroral activity during this event. Unfortunately, the records of auroral activity posted online by the Geophysical Institute (University of Alaska, Fairbanks) do not go back as far as 1986.

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In case this thread continues, those participating should access the complete report at http://brumac.8k.com/JAL1628/JL1628.html [Broken]. The complete report (which has been partially copied at several web sites) includes all the drawings by the crew and a complete reconstruction of the path of the aircraft.

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Gold Member
In case this thread continues, those participating should access the complete report at http://brumac.8k.com/JAL1628/JL1628.html [Broken]. The complete report (which has been partially copied at several web sites) includes all the drawings by the crew and a complete reconstruction of the path of the aircraft.
Hello Dr. Maccabee, Thank-you for joining our discussion of the JAL 1628 UFO event.

This is from the postscript to your report:
Bruce Maccabee said:
Klaas attributed the airplane radar sighting to "an echo from thin clouds of ice crystals...Klass' explanation for the radar target is total conjecture on his part since the clouds were reported by the plane to be thin. Would there be any return at all from such clouds? One might ask, if there were so many clouds, why the radar didn't pick up numerous "blobby" returns on the right side and ahead of the aircraft as well as on the left where the "mothership" appeared to be. And, of course, Klass' explanation does not account for the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship."
And in Fig. 6 of your report, we see the "Captain's sketch of how the objects moved with respect to the plane and how the radar echo appeared on the weather record display.".

If we knew the precise latitude, longitude, and heading of the aircraft at 5:24:53, then we could examine Phil Klass' explanation for the radar target in view of the contemporaneous satellite imagery from NOAA-9 & 10. I am still waiting to receive records from the FAA indicating the actual flight path taken by JAL1628, but if you have this information would you please tell me the latitudes and longitudes along the actual flight path for timestamps 5:09:20, 5:24:53, and 5:30:23? When I get this information I will post before and after satellite photos from NOAA-9 and 10 showing where the major cloud formations were relative to the actual flight path of the aircraft around the time of this sighting.

A weather balloon was released from Fairbanks at around 00:00 (UTC) and its measurements show that the wind at 35,000ft. was from 350 degrees at about 26kts. This wind would have caused the heading of the aircraft to be slightly different from the ground track shown by the radar data. The winds aloft must also be taken into account when estimating the drift of any clouds in the area between 02:25 (UTC) when the aircraft radar picked up a target, and 02:48 (UTC) when the most timely satellite image of Alaska was taken by NOAA-10.

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Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
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This wind would have caused the heading of the aircraft to be slightly different from the ground track shown by the radar data.

How do you arrive at that conclusion?

I have to dig out buried records to find out if I have the coordinates of the plane. However, you should note that Klass' moonlight-on-clouds explanation was intended for the first two objects which appeared in front of the plane, with their unusual arrays of lights or "fires" and the captain said he felt "heat on his face." THat certainly doesn't square with moonlight on clouds.
Personally I think that the initial sighting of two objects in front of the plane, seen by the whole crew, is a "strong" UFO event. However the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship" by the captain alone is a "weak" UFO event. Too bad the crew didn't speak English better.

I just checked the paper posted at my web site. Figure 1 gives the geographic coordinates well enough to it should be possible to locate the plane to within several degrees. Don't know if I have more accurate readings for the times you requested.

Your reference to the upper altitude wind at 350 deg and 25 kt means that the airplane would have a slight "crabbing angle" in order to read roghly southward. However, the plane was traveling at over 500 kt so the crabbing angle would be small.

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Aether said:
This wind would have caused the heading of the aircraft to be slightly different from the ground track shown by the radar data.
How do you arrive at that conclusion?
Your reference to the upper altitude wind at 350 deg and 25 kt means that the airplane would have a slight "crabbing angle" in order to read roghly southward. However, the plane was traveling at over 500 kt so the crabbing angle would be small.

I have to dig out buried records to find out if I have the coordinates of the plane.
If you can't easily place your hands on the records, then we could wait a few weeks to see what the FAA comes up with.

However, you should note that Klass' moonlight-on-clouds explanation was intended for the first two objects which appeared in front of the plane, with their unusual arrays of lights or "fires" and the captain said he felt "heat on his face." THat certainly doesn't square with moonlight on clouds. Personally I think that the initial sighting of two objects in front of the plane, seen by the whole crew, is a "strong" UFO event. However the "silhouette of a gigantic spaceship" by the captain alone is a "weak" UFO event. Too bad the crew didn't speak English better.
I ordered a copy of the Skeptical Inquirer issue containing Klass' article, but I haven't received that yet. I am considering the possibility that the first two objects might be consistent with aurora borealis. The issue of the magnetic heading of the aircraft is especially important in this regard. Referring to Figs. 2 & 3 of your report, we see that on a magnetic heading of 191 degrees for the aircraft the position of the objects in the Captain's window is consistent with a viewing angle of approximately 180 degrees (due south magnetic). Now, let's consider what is shown in Fig. 10 in light of this:
Carla Helfferich said:
In fact, statistically speaking, Ft. Yukon may be the aurora capital of the world...When the aurora is directly overhead, auroral rays look like glowing needles in some gigantic game of pick-up-sticks, except they are all tidily oriented. The apparent convergence of the rays as they extend upward is only a trick of perspective. The rays are actually parallel. The point toward which they seem to converge is the magnetic zenith...Nowadays there's one aurora-watching platform the old-timers couldn't have dreamed of: jet aircraft. Commercial planes can offer terrific views to passengers on late-night flights. Try for a window seat so you can see east-northeast---the left side if you're flying south...Thanks to the earth's curvature, auroras over 1000 miles away are visible from a plane flying at 30,000 feet. Since most of the earth's atmosphere is below cruising altitude on long flights, the air muffles little of the aurora's light; the aurora will actually be brighter seen from the airplane than from the ground. -- http://www.gi.alaska.edu/ScienceForum/ASF10/1046.html
Since Capt. Terauchi did not report seeing any auroral activity during this sighting, then we may assume that if any such activity was present then it must have been misinterpreted by Terauchi. The Geophysical Institute operates auroral observatories at Fairbanks and Fort Yukon, but their online data archives do not extend back as far as 1986. There may or may not be records of auroral observations from the time and place of this event stored there offline. Terauchi's memory of feeling "heat on his face" may (or may not) simply be a natural physiological response to fear; we can examine that too.

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My estimated locations based on a map drawn by an FAA investigator at the time is at 5:09, 67:40 (67 deg, 40 minutes) lat and 142:20 (west) longitude; at 5:24, 65:50 by 145:20 and at 5:30, 65:10 by 140:30. I have not tried to be accurate to a minute of arc. These numbers are interpolations between markings on an aero map and should be good enough to look for correlations between clouds and sightings.
Regarding the aurora explanation, the lights in front of the aircraft were distinct lights like distant fires or exhaust pipes in two parallel vertical rows as shown in Terauchi's simple sketch made after the plane landed in Anchorage and again with more detail 2 months later (about) during the FAA interviews. There were two objects, apparently, each with these parallel arrays of lights. The captain estimated that for 2 minutes after their appearance in front of the aircraft they were one above the other. Then they shifted to side by side for about 10 minutes. As they traveled ahead of the airplane they rocked left and right in a correlated manner.

Klass' first explanation, by the was, was "extraterrestrial." In Feb 1987 CSICOP (now CSI) published its extraterrestrial explanation: Mars and Jupiter. It was only after my report was published in the IUR that Klass advanced his second theory.

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bruce maccabee said:
My estimated locations based on a map drawn by an FAA investigator at the time is at 5:09, 67:40 (67 deg, 40 minutes) lat and 142:20 (west) longitude; at 5:24, 65:50 by 145:20 and at 5:30, 65:10 by 146:30. I have not tried to be accurate to a minute of arc. These numbers are interpolations between markings on an aero map and should be good enough to look for correlations between clouds and sightings.
Thanks. I have plotted the last two points on an aeronautical chart here (http://img238.imageshack.us/img238/1/jal1628crazymtsfu8.jpg [Broken]), and I have projected a 7nm line 60 degrees to the left of the aircraft's heading which goes to approximately 65:44 by 145:12 using your lat/lon notation. This line happens to terminate right on top of the highest mountain peak in the "Crazy Mountains". Note: JAL1628 was inside of a Military Operations Area (MOA) when their weather radar made contact with the cloud-like target.

I have also plotted all four points on top of the NOAA-10 image of Alaska from 11-18-1986 02:48 (UTC) which can be viewed here (http://img79.imageshack.us/img79/4861/jal16280248xb4.jpg [Broken]). A small red arrow points to the location of the weather radar target, and lat/lons are labeled for the four corners of the image in case anyone wants to plot some additional points by interpolation. There are both static and non-static structures in the vicinity of the radar target, so I will post one or two additional images from before and/or after this time in order to help reveal which structures are static and which are in motion.
Regarding the aurora explanation, the lights in front of the aircraft were distinct lights like distant fires or exhaust pipes in two parallel vertical rows as shown in Terauchi's simple sketch made after the plane landed in Anchorage and again with more detail 2 months later (about) during the FAA interviews. There were two objects, apparently, each with these parallel arrays of lights. The captain estimated that for 2 minutes after their appearance in front of the aircraft they were one above the other. Then they shifted to side by side for about 10 minutes. As they traveled ahead of the airplane they rocked left and right in a correlated manner.
I have not concluded that aurora borealis explains the first two lights in front of the aircraft, but rather I am presenting this as a possibility for further discussion. I have ruled out volcanoes, earthquakes, and rockets launched from the Poker Flat Research Range (http://www.pfrr.alaska.edu/) however.
Klass' first explanation, by the was, was "extraterrestrial." In Feb 1987 CSICOP (now CSI) published its extraterrestrial explanation: Mars and Jupiter. It was only after my report was published in the IUR that Klass advanced his second theory.
Other that what is said in your report about them, I haven't seen either of his published explanations yet.

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The first explanation was presented in a ress release by CSICOP in Feb. 1987 if I recall correctly (see my paper). The second explanation was published in the CSICOP journal.

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The first explanation was presented in a ress release by CSICOP in Feb. 1987 if I recall correctly (see my paper). The second explanation was published in the CSICOP journal.
I searched the CSICOP website, but didn't find the press release. I ordered a Summer 1987 copy of the journal, but haven't received anything yet. Do you know of an online link to either of these documents? If not, then would you mind scanning your own copies and emailing them to me? And if you now have the FAA's radar tracking data handy, I would like to plot that data onto the aeronautical chart. If the FAA sends me that data, then I can do that then; but I could do that sooner if I could get a copy of the data that you have. Also, are you aware of any other evidence in this case that we might want to consider and which hasn't already been cited either in your report or elsewhere in this thread?

Here is a high resolution thermal infrared satellite image snapped by NOAA-9 approximately 3.5 hours before JAL1628 crossed into Alaskan airspace from Canada on 11-18-1986 (UTC) (http://img66.imageshack.us/img66/6939/jal16282235qk4.jpg [Broken]).
I have updated this satellite image to reflect the event coordinates given by Dr. Maccabee, and I have added data from the 3.74um and 10.82um thermal infrared bands in addition to the data from the 12.00um band. The new image is posted here http://img254.imageshack.us/img254/3953/jal16282235dd9.jpg [Broken]. The actual flight path of the aircraft is roughly the same as the previously estimated flight path, but the timing of the important events along the flight path are significantly different. Warm surfaces appear darker in this image, and cold surfaces appear lighter. White surfaces are the coldest of all, and I suspect that we may be seeing a mixtue of both high-level clouds and glaciers in this photo that are colored white. The weather balloon data shows that the surface winds blowing across the Crazy Mountains were from about 90 degrees true at about 15kts. This appears to be generating standing wave clouds over these mountains at high altitude, and that might be what the flight crew of JAL1628 saw on their weather radar.

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If you send email address to brumac@compuserve.com I can email you a few scans. However, the raw radar data takes dozens of pages since it gives several readouts per minute. There are numerous other documents. The FAA sold a complete package for over $100 back in March, 1987. Gold Member If you send email address to brumac@compuserve.com I can email you a few scans. However, the raw radar data takes dozens of pages since it gives several readouts per minute. There are numerous other documents. The FAA sold a complete package for over$100 back in March, 1987.
Thanks!

This satellite image may be the "smoking gun" in this case, literally: http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/2290/jal16280248ke9.jpg [Broken]. POTAT is the point where JAL1628 crossed into Alaska from Canada; the aircraft made a 15-degree turn to the left at about 5:09pm local time; and TKA is the VOR station at Talkeetna toward which JAL1628 was flying during the entire 10-15 minutes that the crew was observing the first set of lights. The blackened portions of sky southeast of Talkeetna appears to be direct evidence that a solar flare hit that region of Alaska immediately before this image was taken at 5:48pm local time by NOAA-10. The black color indicates that a large region of Alaska appears to be quite hot to the satellite. I don't know of any other possible explanation for this other than that this represents the afterglow from a solar flare that heated the upper atmosphere there.

Bruce Maccabee said:
In the subsequent interviews with a translator the colors mentioned were yellow, amber and green.
The Weather Doctor said:
Each atmospheric gas glows with specific colors. For example, atomic oxygen is responsible for two primary auroral colors: green-yellow (wavelength of 557.7 nanometres (nm)) and red (630.0 nm). The brightest and most common auroral color, a brilliant green-yellow, is produced by those oxygen atoms at roughly 100 km (60 miles) altitude. -- http://www.islandnet.com/~see/weather/elements/aurora.htm
The next step is to calculate the lat/lon required for an auroral emission at an altitude of 100km to appear at the same location in Terauchi's windscreen as shown in Dr. Maccabee's Figs. 2 & 3; and see if this falls within the blacked-out region of the satellite photo.

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Gold Member
This satellite image may be the "smoking gun" in this case, literally: http://img508.imageshack.us/img508/2290/jal16280248ke9.jpg [Broken]...The black color indicates that a large region of Alaska appears to be quite hot to the satellite. I don't know of any other possible explanation for this other than that this represents the afterglow from a solar flare that heated the upper atmosphere there.
The blackened area of this photo corresponds to Prince William Sound. This area looks darker in this photo than in any of the others that I have looked at, but it is also noticeably dark in the other photos and has a similar shape. It may appear warm to the satellite simply because the sound connects to the Pacific Ocean.
The next step is to calculate the lat/lon required for an auroral emission at an altitude of 100km to appear at the same location in Terauchi's windscreen as shown in Dr. Maccabee's Figs. 2 & 3; and see if this falls within the blacked-out region of the satellite photo.
An auroral emission 100km above the ground would be in about the right place in Terauchi's windscreen (e.g., having an elevation of between four and six degrees) if it was between 313-385nm away, and the middle of Prince William Sound was about 380nm from JAL1628 and about 20-degrees to the left of center at 5:18.

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Gold Member
The FAA said this: "a second radar target near the JAL flight at the time of the reported sighting was not another aircraft but rather a split radar return from the JAL Boeing 747." I personally doubt that, but do not feel free to speculate further at this time. Whatever it was, it was not even in the same place and time in the sky as the lights seen by the flight crew of JAL1628.
I doubted this at first because I thought that the FAA was attempting to explain a series of anomalous primary radar contacts as a "split return". However, upon further review of Dr. Maccabee's report it seems clear to me now that what the FAA is talking about here is a situation where the transponder return is temporarily separated from the primary return. I still haven't seen any numerical radar contact data records, but I no longer have any doubt that those records (the numerical radar contact data records that were released to the public in the 1987 FAA report) will be shown to be consistent with the FAA's explanation when we finally see them. I will comment more on this issue later after I have reviewed the FAA's original numerical radar contact data records. I would also like to compare the numerical radar contact data records contained within John Callahan's computer printout with the records released by the FAA in their 1987 report; however, I'm not sure how to obtain a copy of John Callahan's data.

In the meantime, Dr. Maccabee has shared with me a hand-drawn plot of JAL1628's ground track, and I have plotted some (not all) of those points on this satellite image: http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/6390/jal1628mothershipcp3.jpg [Broken]. The four blue arrows that I have drawn on top of the satellite image all point to a big cloud that is approximately 30nm in diameter. The first blue arrow (near the timestamp 5:31:08) represents the direction in which the flight crew were looking when they asked the air traffic controller for permission to turn right to avoid an object ahead of them:

5:30:23 JAL1628 Request, ah, deviate, ah, ah, from, ah, object, ah, request heading two four zero.

5:30:49 JAL1628 It's, ah, quite big...

5:30:56 JAL1628 It's, ah, very quite big, ah, plane.

Then at timestamp 5:44:17 the flight crew gives us a fix on the object from another position and from another viewing angle:

5:44:13 ARTCC JAL1628 heavy. . Do you still have the traffic?

5:44:17 JAL1628 Ah, affirmative, ah, nine o'clock.

And finally, at timestamp 5:48:34 (while NOAA-10 was recording this satellite image) the flight crew reports a third fix on the object from a third viewing angle:

5:48:31 AARTCC JAL1628 heavy, sir, Say the position of your traffic.

5:48:34 JAL1628 Ah, now, ah, ah, moving to, ah, around 10 miles now, ah, ah, position, ah seven, ah, eight o'clock, 10 miles.

Many satellite images of this cloud were taken over a three day period while it was stationary in roughly the same position shown on this image. It appears that a low warm cloud blew in from the direction of the ocean earlier in the day (see the medium-dark red band of clouds in the lower left quadrant of the photo) and then stopped in the position shown in this photo. Then Terauchi's "mothership" cloud rose up by auto-convection to JAL1628's altitude.

Here is a high resolution satellite photo of the area that was taken about fifteen hours later, but which shows Terauchi's "mothership" cloud more clearly:
http://img372.imageshack.us/img372/1949/jal1628mothership2jz0.jpg [Broken]

From this, I conclude that this cloud is in fact what Terauchi saw and reported as the "mothership" and as "the silhouette of a gigantic spaceship".

Terauchi said:
They asked us several times if there were clouds near our altitude. We saw thin and spotty clouds near the mountain below us, no clouds in mid-to-upper air, and the air current was steady.
Bruce Maccabee said:
The repeated questions about the clouds [from 5:22:11 to 5:23:05] caused Terauchi to wonder why the controller was so interested in clouds. He speculated, "Perhaps the controllers were concerned that an increased use of improved lazer (sic) beams using (sic) clouds was creating moving images." (Here Terauchi refers to laser beams illuminating the clouds. Of course, there were no sufficiently powerful visible laser beams in the "wilds" of Alaska at that time...nor are there now.)

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Dr. Maccabee has sent me copies of several documents which help shed light on several issues that were discussed earlier in https://www.physicsforums.com/showthread.php?t=158668" was split.

One of these documents was a copy of an article from the Philadelphia Enquirer May 24, 1987 issue. Within this article Capt. Terauchi is quoted as saying that he has seen at least one other "mothership" before while flying but that he wasn't feeling well at the time, and since the object was too "weird" he ignored it. Is there anybody here who would not call Capt. Terauchi in for a medical exam after reading this if you were on the medical board of Japan Airlines?
...And five years ago, on a cargo flight south of Formosa, "when we start climb we saw lefthand side big mothership." But he said it was too "weird," he wasn't feeling well, and he ignored it.

As for airline personnel being allowed to take photos, it has long been claimed by pilots that to discuss UFOs is to put one's career in jeopardy. Most pilots only speak out after retiring. Note for example that in the case of http://72.14.253.104/search?q=cache...+JAL+1628+UFO+Alaska&hl=en&gl=us&ct=clnk&cd=8, the pilot had to sue the airlines in order to get his job back. He did win in court because of the evidence available to support his claim. So in the airline industry especially, there is reason to be concerned about your job if you see a UFO.

It is all part of the lunacy of the stigma attached to such reports.

See one, or report one? Are you assuming this, or do you have statistics on the motives of pilots who choose not to report UFO sightings?

I recently asked a retired air-traffic controller (who is also still-licensed as a commercial pilot, and who has many years of experience handling air traffic at both Andrews Air Force Base and Washington National airport) about "why pilots and air traffic controllers are reluctant to report UFO sightings", and he didn't say anything at all about "the stigma attached to such reports". He said that "the government doesn't want this information given to the public".

My statements are based on many statements made by pilots over the last twenty years. I'm sure that plenty of quotes can be found at links in the Napster. I also cited a specific example of a pilot who lost his job over a UFO report. Obviously the problems only happen if one reports what one sees. Also, pilots and air traffic controllers aren't privy to classified information so I doubt the conspiracy angle. Perhaps in some cases the military asks people to keep quiet, but it is hard to understand how that would happen since the government no longer investigates UFO reports.

A message also went out over the FAA employee's "code-a-phones" at work, warning that reporters would hound them on this story and that FAA policy required them to go through public affairs.
A pilot does his duty by avoiding collisions with unknown objects, and then reporting what he sees to FAA controllers. An FAA controller does his duty by informing other pilots of the presence of unknown objects, and then passing any information along to public affairs that he thinks the public should know about.

UFO Incident Involving a Japanese B747 in the Alaskan Region John Callahan - Former Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations for the FAA http://www.freedomofinfo.org/science.html [Broken]
Although I still don't have all of the documentation that was released to the public by the FAA in 1987, I have now at least seen a copy of the flight path chart that was produced by FAA experts showing actual radar data in this case plotted onto an aeronautical chart. From this I conclude that the statements made by John Callahan in this video are not relevant here.
John Callahan said:
...so what I am going to tell you is about an event that never happened...who are you going to believe, your lying eyes or the government?
The FAA released all of the data that they had in this case to the public in 1987 including copies of the audio tape(s), transcripts of those tape(s), about 100 pages of radar data records, and professionally made charts of the aircraft's flight path and related radar contacts.
...everybody standing there saw the target, they all saw the same target you just saw, they saw the same target that the administrator saw, ok? The military controller saw the target. The FAA has to kill the story, so the FAA says after we analyzed all this data it is our conclusion that it was a split beacon...the pilot's don't see split beacons, the pilots don't see ghost targets.
Pilots don't see split beacons, but air traffic controllers do. Most of the anomalies noted in the radar data are in fact either "Split beacon" or "Beacon with offset primary". These are not interpretations by anybody, these are the facts of what the radar system actually recorded. This particular type of anomaly (e.g., beacon-related) can't shed any light whatsoever on the question of whether or not there was ever a UFO near to JAL1628, but rather it tends to explain how an air traffic controller(s) might be fooled into thinking (momentarily) that they might have seen something that was never really there. In fact, the audio tapes and transcripts clearly show that none of the air traffic controllers in this case ever thought that they had good radar contact on anything other than known aircraft; and that they were simply doing their best to try and be absolutely sure not to too hastily disregard something as clutter/noise that might be significant.

The FAA records do show that there are several examples of another type of anomaly in the radar data called "Beacon with merged and offset primary". These might really be interesting, but there is no way to tell from just looking at the charts and tables that I have seen so far. Dr. Maccabee does have the complete records though, so I expect that we will soon know more about these "Beacon with merged and offset primary" anomalies.

Since you already have video testimony, the complete report, and multiple sources, including an FAA division chief, all telling approximately the same story, you are free to make up your own mind. Perhaps they only saw Mars and Venus, as the skeptics claim.

If you want more documentation, then I suggest that you contact Dr. Haines or Dr. Maccabee.
Dr. Maccabee also sent me the CSICOP news release where Philip J. Klass proposed his theory about Jupiter and Mars. Since this document doesn't seem to be available elsewhere online, I have copied the full-text below for future reference (was it really necessary to discuss the bombing of Japan by B-29's during WW-II here? )

Here is my estimate of what Jupiter and Mars would have looked like to Capt. Terauchi, assuming an undistorted atmosphere, between about 5:09 and 5:30: http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/5271/jal1628jupitermarsgb6.jpg [Broken]. Terauchi couldn't have seen these planets through his front windshield, but rather he would have had to look through his middle window to see them. Here is a virtual reality view (generated using Microsoft's Flight Simulator X) of the pilot of a 747 looking through his middle window: http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/767/jal1628pilotwindowsvl1.jpg [Broken].

In view of Fig. 5A from Dr. Maccabee's report, we should consider whether or not these two planets might account for the "flat pale white lights" and the "two white florescent-like lights" that Terauchi described seeing from the windows on his left side. Fig. 8 also seems to suggest that he saw the "mothership" bracketed by these two lights at some time between 5:30 and 5:50 when the "mothership" sighting was in progress. Weather balloon data shows that during this event the aircraft was flying within a temperature inversion layer. So, I will ask Dr. Maccabee, who is an optical physicist, could this inversion layer have caused these two planets to appear distorted as shown in Fig. 5A of your report?

Here is some of the data from a weather balloon that was released at Fairbanks around 0000 UTC on 11-18-1986. JAL1628 was flying at an altitude of about 10668 meters.

Altitude in meters, temperature in degrees-C, wind direction, wind speed in meters/second
135, -17.5,,
195, -15.3,,
1436, -13.7, 090, 8.0
2909, -16.9, 075, 7.0
5360, -32.5, 040, 9.0
6890, -44.1, 020, 7.0
8760, -57.5, 020, 8.0
9920, -54.7, 005, 11.0
11350, -53.9, 350, 13.0
13210, -51.1, 335, 17.0
15860, -50.3, 325, 22.0
18150, -56.5, 305, 23.0
20270, -58.7, 305, 27.0
23440, -63.9, 305, 35.0
25910, -65.7, 300, 40.0

When the story about Klass' Jupiter theory came over the wires at the Anchorage Daily News, Hal Bernton called up Terauchi. The pilot was adamant--he had recognized Jupiter during the flight, and whatever had tailed him was no planet.

Klass laughed when told that the pilot had rejected his explanation: "This is par for the course. When a person is a dedicated UFO believer, as the pilot is and was, he'll always deny a prosaic explanation. You know, of course, that he's a UFO repeater.

CSICOP News Release 01-22-1987 said:
EXTRATERRESTRIAL OBJECT INVOLVED IN JAPAN AIR LINES PILOT'S UFO SIGHTING, ACCORDING TO LEADING UFO INVESTIGATOR

Buffalo, N.Y. /--/An investigation of the incident in which an Unidentified Flying Object reportedly paced a Japan Air Lines 747 enroute to Anchorage, Alaska, for nearly 40 minutes on Nov. 18, 1986, reveals that at least one extraterrestrial object was involved--the planet Jupiter, and possibly another--Mars.

The investigation was conducted by Philip J.Klass, an internationally recognized skeptical UFOlogist and chairman of CSICOP's UFO Subcommittee. His investigations have yielded prosaic explanations for many famous UFO cases during the past 20 years.

At the time the UFO incident began near Ft. Yukon, the JAL airliner was flying south in twilight conditions so that an extremely bright Jupiter (-2.6 magnitude) would have been visible on the pilot's left-hand side, where he first reported seeing the UFO, according to Klass. Jupiter was only 10 degrees above the horizon, making it appear to the pilot to be at roughly his own 35,000 ft. altitude. Mars, slightly lower on the horizon, was about 20 degrees to the right of Jupiter but not as bright.

Although the very bright Jupiter, and less bright Mars, had to be visible to JAL Capt. Kenjyu Terauchi, the pilot never once reported seeing either--only a UFO that he described as being a "white and yellow" light in his initial radio report to Federal Aviation Administration controllers at Anchorage.

Many of the colorful details of the incident carried by the news media, largely based on the six-week old recollections of the,pilot of JAL Flight 1628, are contradicted by a transcript of radio messages from the pilot to FAA controllers while the incident was in progress.

For example, news media accounts quoting the 747 pilot said that when he executed a 360 deg. turn the UFO had followed him around during the turn. But this claim is contrary to what the pilot told FAA controllers at the time.

During the pilot's media interviews, he "remembered" some colorful details which did not really occur, judging from his earlier radio reports to the FAA, and Terauchi "forgot" several important events that would challenge his claim of being paced by an unknown craft.

For example, that another airliner, United Airlines Flight 69, heading north from Anchorage to Fairbanks, had agreed to deviate slightly from its course to allow FAA radar controllers to vector it to the vicinity of the JAL 747, while maintaining safe altitude and distance separation, to see if the United crew could spot the UFO.

At approximately 4:48 p.m., as the United flight neared JAL, Terauchi reported that the UFO was to his far left an about 10 miles distant--which was in the direction of Jupiter. At roughly 4:50 p.m., the United pilot reported he now could see JAL but a short time later the United pilot said: "I don't see anybody around him."

Shortly afterwards, the JAL pilot reported that the UFO now was "just ahead of United" which is where Jupiter would appear to be from Terauchi's location. The United pilot would not notice Jupiter because it was to his right, while his attention was focused on JAL which was to his far left.

Shortly afterwards, the pilot of a USAF C-130 transport in the area volunteered to be vectored to the vicinity of the JAL airliner to see if he could spot any object near the airliner. The C-130 crew readily spotted the JAL 747, but they too could not see any object in its vicinity.

"This is not the first time that an experienced pilot has mistaken a bright celestial body for a UFO, nor will it be the last," Klass said. In one case, investigated by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek in the early 1950s, a military pilot chased a "UFO" for more than 30 minutes, which turned out to be the bright star Capella. In this case, as with the recent Alaska incident, a radar operator reported briefly seeing an unknown blip on his radar scope.

During World War II, B-29 pilots flying at night from the Mariana Islands in the Pacific to bomb Japan reported being paced by a mysterious "ball-of-fire" which B-29 gunners tried, unsuccessfully, to shoot down. Some Army Air Corps intelligence officers suspected the object was a long-range Japanese aircraft equipped with a powerful searchlight, to illuminate the B-29s so they could be attacked by fighter aircraft, but such attacks never materialized. Finally, the mysterious glowing object that seemed to pace the B-29s was identified. It was Venus, which was particularly bright at the time.

More than 25% of all UFOs reported during a 15-month period to the Center for UFO Studies (created in 1973 by Hynek) turned out upon investigation to be a bright planet or star. Some eyewitnesses reported that the celestial UFO "darted up and down," or "wiggled from side-to-side," and a variety of shapes were described.

In the Capt. Terauchi's recollected account to the media six weeks after the incident, he described seeing two small UFOs in addition to a large one. But the transcript reveals that the pilot only briefly reported seeing two lights, not three, and thereafter he referred only to one in his radio communications with FAA controllers.

News media accounts of the UFO incident stressed that one unidentified object had been detected by a USAF radar in the vicinity of the 747's "blip", which seemed to confirm the pilot's visual sighting. However, radars operating in mountainous terrain such as that where the UFO incident occurred can receive spurious echoes when radar energy bouncing off an aircraft is reflected a second time from mountains and snow-covered terrain.

When the pilot first reported seeing the UFO, FAA traffic controllers--ever concerned over the risk of a mid-air collision--requested that radar controllers in an Air Force Regional Operations Command Center examine their displays to see if they could spot an unknown intruder. A radar operator there spotted something, but was unsure whether it might be a spurious echo. However, the echo appeared only briefly and was behind the 747 whereas the pilot had reported that the UFO was in front or to the left of his aircraft.

Later, as the JAL 747 came within range of an FAA radar at the Fairbanks International Airport, a radar controller there was asked if he could spot another object in the vicinity of the airliner. Although the JAL pilot still was reporting a UFO, the controller replied that there were no unknown blips in the vicinity of JAL 1628.

On Jan. 11, the Capt. Terauchi again reported seeing a UFO while flying in approximately the same part of Alaska. But after an FAA spokesman in Anchorage suggested that this UFO might only be lights from a distant village bouncing off clouds, the JAL pilot acknowledged that this could explain his second UFO sighting.

The transcript of radio communications during the Nov. 18 incident indicates that there were broken clouds at or below Flight 1628's altitude, which may help explain Capt. Terauchi's mistaking Jupiter for a UFO.

Even a scientifically trained former Navy officer, who would later become President, once mistook a bright planet for a UFO. The "victim" was Jimmy Carter and the incident occurred about 7:15 p.m. on Jan. 6, 1969, following his talk to the Lions Club of Leary, Ga. As Carter later recalled the incident, he spotted the UFO in the west at an elevation he estimated to be about 30 deg. An investigation conducted by Robert Sheaffer, vice-chairman of CSICOP's UFO Subcommittee, was complicated by the fact that Carter had recalled an erroneous date for the incident. Once Sheaffer managed to determine the correct date, he found that a brilliant planet Venus was to the west and about 25 deg. above the horizon, where Carter reported seeing the UFO.

Klass credits astronomers Nick Sanduleak and C.B. Stephenson, of Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, for their valuable assistance in computing the positions and bearings of bright celestial bodies relative to the 747 airliner at the time of the incident.

"My suspicions that this UFO might be a bright celestial body were prompted by the fact that the pilot reported seeing the object for more than 30 minutes," Klass said. "Past experience has shown that when a UFO remains visible for many minutes, it almost always proves to be a celestial object." Another clue was the fact that when Flight 1628 descended 4,000 ft., the UFO still appeared to be at the airliner's altitude. At Jupiter's great distance, a change of 4,000 ft., the UFO still appeared to be at the airliner's altitude. At Jupiter's great distance, a change of 4,000 ft. in aircraft altitude would produce no noticeable change in the planet's apparent altitude.

Klass, who was a senior editor with Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine for nearly 35 years until his partial-retirement this past June, has been investigating famous UFO cases as a hobby for more than 20 years. His most recent book on the subject is "UFOs: The Public Deceived," published by Prometheus Books, Buffalo, N.Y.

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Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
Aether, there is a difference between radio communications and an official UFO report. Obviously they discuss it on the radio if they ask for confirmation of local traffic. Your inability to get this straight makes me take the rest with a grain of salt.

Gold Member
Aether, there is a difference between radio communications and an official UFO report. Obviously they discuss it on the radio if they ask for confirmation of local traffic. Your inability to get this straight makes me take the rest with a grain of salt.
What is the OMB number for the official UFO report form?

Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
I don't know. What is the IRS form for depletion of property?

Gold Member
I don't know. What is the IRS form for depletion of property?
Then let's assume that there isn't one, and that there isn't any such thing as an official UFO report which explains my inability to "get this straight", ok? http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f4562.pdf" is the IRS form for depreciation and amortization, and the OMB number is listed at the top right as OMB No. 1545-0172.

btw, Haines' video has been pulled down due to copyright issues. Within that video I recall him saying that Terauchi "filled out a report and all the paperwork that goes with it". I haven't seen or heard of any such report anywhere else, only that he was interviewed by federal agents.

So, what are "official UFO reports"?

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Ivan Seeking
Staff Emeritus
Gold Member
JANAP 146 required reporting by commercial pilots. This was a military document. And there is certainly official reporting esp in the event of a near collision. Beyond that, there is another video posted in post #50 of the Napster [the one nominated by PIT2] in which two more pilots mention the concerns and reluctance to report UFOS. I have personally heard at least dozens of pilots make similar comments over the years. And frankly, the fact that you can't understand why any professional would hesistate to file such a report tells me that you are not being reasonable. This is self-evident to almost anyone.

The FAA is concerned any time that aviation safety might be affected. If the observation does not affect safety, the FAA isn't interested. I believe that JANAP 146E relieved commercial pilots of reporting responsiblities imposed by JANAP 146.
http://www.faa.gov/airports_airtraffic/air_traffic/publications/ATpubs/AIM/Chap7/aim0706.html [Broken]

I was going to let you continue until you started in on this again. Thread locked.

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