UFO-Unidentified Flying Object
UAP-Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
WTH-What the hell?

A recent report released by the Director of National Intelligence regarding UAPs could briefly be summed up as “Beats the hell out of us!”

After decades of reports on UFOs, some bright spark in government decided to rename them UAPs. If one was a bit cynical, one might assume that by changing the name in the report from Unidentified Flying Objects to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena the issuing agency could withhold a lot of information.

“Oh, that wasn’t a UFO, that was a UAP. Ahh, roger that, we can leave that bit out.”

By that simple label change a lot of information could be omitted since it was covered by a different set of initials. OK, so I’m a bit of a simple cynic. I still have hope that our government continues to strive toward serving the people of this great nation; even the tenured, firmly embedded “deep state” employees in the NSA, CIA, FBI, and perhaps other agencies we have never even heard about.

A quote attributed to Will Rogers often goes something like, “All I know is what I read in the papers.” Unfortunately, the last part of that quote is nearly always omitted. The complete quote, according to my Internet research goes, “All I know is what I read in the papers and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.”

With the demise of newspapers, that quote would be just as accurate today by inserting the word “Internet” for “papers.” It’s virtually impossible to find pure, objective news anywhere nowadays. It all seems to be opinion. That applies to UFOs and UAPs as well.

To paraphrase Will Rogers, I’ll make this statement. All I know is what I think I saw with my own eyes.

The incident occurred in the early 1970s. I can’t give you the exact date because my first pilot’s logbook was destroyed in an apartment building fire in Nashville TN a few years afterward.

It was around 9:00 PM, well after dark on a clear night. I was flying solo in a Cessna 182 from St. Louis to Farmington, MO. There is a ridge of hills just south of St. Louis and I was passing over them when I saw it.

Three lights, forming a triangle, swept down toward me from about one o’clock high. They looked like they were on the end of a cord, swinging down directly toward me. Without thinking I rolled sharply to the left and dove the airplane into a very clumsy split S maneuver. I recovered to level flight not very high over the wooded ridge and began to breathe again. I hadn’t realized that I’d held my breath throughout the turn and dive. I made a complete 360-degree turn, then did a 180 to head back down south. I couldn’t see a thing. All I know is that what I saw frightened the hell out of me. I will admit that it could have been almost anything, perhaps even an unusual reflection flashing across the windshield.

The rest of the flight went normally; I landed, put the airplane in the hangar and went home to bed. I rarely mention the episode for several reasons. UFOs had been spotted in southern Missouri and some had even been observed coming out of Lake Wappapello. Literally, out of the lake. In the 1960s there had been a wave of UFO sightings and there was very strong opposition to the reports by government and professional pilots. To report one was to go out on a psychological limb, to which, most pilots dared not go.

In my many years of flying all over the world I have seen a few unexplainable flashes of light off in the distance. In a Gulfstream, cruising at over 40,000 feet, you can see a long way. And yes, I have seen the Northern Lights many times and some of the flashes had nothing to do with them. One night, at cruising altitude over the Middle East I saw a very bright light off to the starboard side of the aircraft. I asked Air Traffic Control if they had traffic off to my right and they replied negative and asked what I saw. When I explained the light, a pilot in another airplane, said over the radio, “Perhaps it’s Uranus.” Funny as hell but it didn’t explain the light.

Many sightings have since described the three white lights I saw that night. The picture accompanying this article is not, repeat NOT, a picture of a UFO or a UAP. It’s merely a visual description of what I saw. At my artist wife’s direction, I put three pieces of white spots from a paper punch on the back of a black gym bag and took a picture of it. That’s all it is. But it’s very like what I saw that night.

My sighting could probably be debunked as many of them are. Pilot friends of mine were on a trip in Miami, Florida. They rented a car and toured the city taking pictures. On their return to base, they had the film developed and they saw a large circular object that appeared to be flying in front of the car. The object was in many of the pictures. They were certain that it was an invisible flying saucer that was only visible to the camera. I asked them if they had removed the rear-view mirror to take better pictures and they replied that they had. What they were seeing was the round, mounting piece glued to the inside of the windshield to which the mirror was normally attached. They had removed the mirror but didn’t “see” the mounting spot remaining until the pictures were developed.

My sighting could have possibly been explained by an objective investigator had I known of one. Instead, I have wondered about it for decades. Not worried, just wondered.