|Occurred : 3/21/1978 04:00 (Entered as : 03/21/78 04:00)
Reported: 2/14/2009 3:41:14 PM 15:41
Location: Medford, OR
Duration:7 or 8 mins
|Inflight formation with two disk
I'm currently a 25,000 hour pilot (2009), but on March 21, 1978 I only had around 5,000 hours. I have reported this incident to Dr Haines and Dr. Friedman, no one else.
I was flying an Aero Commander 680, on a the last leg of the day on a freight run from Klamath Falls, OR to Medford, OR at about 4am. I had climbed to an altitude of 15,000 feet on this night in order to top icing conditions resulting from a fast moving cold front that was at that time about half way between the two cities. I had a passenger with me sitting in the copilots seat.
About 15 miles from the Medford VOR, I broke out the side of clouds into a perfectly clear rain washed sky, with full moon setting on the horizon ahead. This of course, left me very high for landing at Medford...so I canceled my IFR flight plan and headed directly to the airport, arriving there at an altitude above 8,000 feet where I began circling to descend for the traffic pattern.
As I was passing about 7,000 feet, I was circling to the left over the airport on a southeasterly heading when I noticed what looked to me like the landing light of a relatively slow moving aircraft flying in the opposite direction. I called the tower and asked if they had other traffic in the area, they said they did not, I was not too surprised to hear that in as much as we were both above the towers airspace so contact was not required. As we passed abeam each other at about the same altitude and within about one mile, the craft silhouetted against the full moon on the western horizon, when I could see that the craft had no tail and a light on the back as bright as the one on the front that I originally thought was a landing light. Thinking this was unusual, I turned toward the craft, to the right. As I turned the craft, also turned to the right and accelerated. When I started the turn, I was southeast bound, as I turned steeper and steeper to keep the craft in sight, it continued to accelerate in a turning arc about 2 miles out side my turn until I lost sight of it over the top of the aircraft, then in about a 60 degree banked turn then headed to the northeast. I continued the turn all the way around to a northwesterly heading when I rolled out, not having caught sight of the craft again in the turn.
Shortly after rolling out of the turn heading to the northwest....two flying disc pulled up on my left wing, no more than ten feet off my wing tip and perhaps 5 feet higher, where we flew together in formation for perhaps 15 to 20 seconds. The furthest one was lit slightly ahead of the nearest one which was not lit. The lights of the city were shining up from the ground in the rain washed air. I could not see much detail on the lighted craft due to the bright lights on the front and back, but I could see good detail on the nearer one, both craft appeared to be the same. They were disc shaped, white or light gray in color and I could see what looked like scotch marks on the bottom. The were about the same diameter as the wing span of the Aero Commander or about 55 to 60 feet across. I could not see any openings of any kind in either of the craft and could not hear any sounds from the craft over the sound of the planes engines.
At the time I was flying at about 160 knots, after the 15 or 20 seconds of formation flying the two craft accelerated to about 190 knots and pulled out in front of us about 2 miles when they instantaneously accelerated to a streak of light heading into space. I looked over to my passenger, who was a little white in color....I'm not sure if he was sick from the high G turn or stunned at what we has just witnessed. After we landed it took a couple of minutes to get him out of the plane. I saw him about 5 years later, he still did not wish to talk about it. As this was occurring I was telling the tower these events as they happened, who never did see the craft....I can not understand why.