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National UFO Reporting Center Sighting Report
Occurred : 9/23/2021 10:01 (Entered as : 09/23/21 10:01)
Reported: 9/30/2021 3:59:36 PM 15:59
Posted: 10/19/2021
Location: Fort Walton Beach, FL
Shape: Cylinder
Duration: 3 minutes
Cylindrical Shaped UFO w/ Bright Reflective Panels Hovers Over Ft. Walton Beach, Florida

On Thursday morning, 23 September 2021, my family and I waded in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico on the shoreline of Fort Walton Beach on Okaloosa Island, Florida, behind the Marriott Fairfield Inn & Suites, where we stayed for our trip to the area. Fairfield Inn & Suites is located at 540 Santa Rosa Boulevard, in Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.

We had flown into Pensacola International Airport the previous evening, and Thursday morning around 09:00 AM was our first opportunity to walk and explore along the beach behind the hotel, and enjoy the warm Gulf waters and look for shells. The sky was clear and beautiful, with the Sun shining high and bright in the eastern part of the sky, a prelude to the nice day ahead of us. Shortly after 10:00 AM local time, Central Standard Time (CST) [11:00 AM EST], we started to head back to the beach access boardwalk, and return to the hotel.

My wife and daughter were ahead of me, as I looked out towards the sky across the Gulf waters. There were a few other people standing approximately 50-60 feet out beyond the shoreline in the water, when I spotted a faint dark object in the sky above them. The object appeared to maneuver closer towards the beach.

I have followed military and civil aviation developments since my childhood and recognize a broad variety of fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. I was therefore naturally curious to see what aircraft might be approaching the area. Earlier in the morning, I observed different types of aircraft flying above us, and heading southwards over the Gulf of Mexico, and as I came to note during our stay, there was frequent flight traffic overhead in the Fort Walton/Destin area throughout the day. I knew that just across the Choctawhatchee Bay, northeast of Fort Walton Beach, there was Eglin Air Force Base (AFB), which conducts development and testing of tactical air weapons and armaments for the U.S. Air Force; and to the West was Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, the hub of naval aviation training and home of the U.S. Navy Blue Angels aerobatic demonstration team. Further down the eastern coastline, close to Panama City, was Tyndall AFB, which houses the 325th Fighter Wing that! trains all F-22 Raptor pilots, and in the past hosted the Air Force’s biennial William Tell air-to-air weapons competition.

I stopped walking in the sand and stood silently facing the water to see if I could recognize the vehicle in the sky that was approaching us overhead. I didn’t call out to my wife and daughter, because I assumed this was a conventional aircraft, and that was of no interest to them. It is also for this reason that I did not immediately pull out my mobile phone from my pocket, to take pictures or a video of the object, as I had already taken pictures of my family while we hunted for sea shells and other things. As the object approached closer to the beach, I observed it was a cylindrical shaped object, hovering nearly vertical in the sky, at a slight angle tilting forward. It was black or a dark color, with some panel lines that could be made out in the bright sky. The vehicle featured shiny longer extensions that protruded at the upper end from either side of its thin tube-shaped body. These extensions reflected bright in the clear morning sky, almost as if they glowed ! at irregular intervals. They looked similar to solar panels extending from the sides of a space satellite. The object made no apparent sound that I could hear, although it appeared to hover above the water at a distance of about 500 feet, and perhaps 700 feet in the air.

As I viewed the shape and configuration of this object, I tried to associate its features with an aircraft, manned or unmanned, that I might be familiar with, so I could clearly reference it. I did initially think this might be a new type of unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), and perhaps a hovering helicopter drone, similar to what I believe the U.S. Navy experimented with in the past – I think back in the 1990s – to provide a shipborne scout and reconnaissance drone. That vehicle had a set of coaxial rotor blades aerodynamically integrated into a fairly large curvy, hourglass-shaped body, but which never made it into production. I could not remember the manufacturer or the designation of that vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle but could probably be referenced in a past Jane’s All the World’s Aircraft volume. The object in the sky appeared to have a conceptual resemblance to this past defense project, at first. I initially thought that, because of the protruding p! anels that, from a distance, and when the vehicle was at a level perspective, appeared to be in the shape of rotating blades, like a conventional helicopter. In addition to its protruding extensions, the vehicle had several needle-like extensions below the cylindrical body that were angled outwards; maybe antenna or sensors of some kind.

However, since the object made no sound, and there was no downwash from any turning rotor blades onto the surface of the water, it quickly became clear to me that this was not a conventional air vehicle moving in the sky but something else. Moreover, it appeared to observe the aforementioned people in the water, close to the shoreline. Had the object made any apparent sound, those people would have turned their heads to the sky to also view what I was seeing from the beach. But they did not; the 2-3 people in the water were oblivious to the hovering object in the sky that was closing in on them, from what I could tell, and continued to talk and go about their business, uninterrupted.

I called out to wife and daughter that I was observing something in the sky that I wanted them to see. I did say that I thought it might be a UFO, or unidentified flying object, or some kind of unknown type of UAV. My wife stopped walking, as she was almost at the beach access ramp, and turned around to walk back towards me, and see what I was watching. She called out for me to take a video of it, and I reached down into my pocket to grab my phone and activate the video mode.

During this time, I observed how the object came to what was probably its closest point to the beach, possibly around 400 feet within the beach and 500 feet in altitude, and hovered at an angle to “observe” the people in the water. It rotated slightly around its axis, as the protruding silver-colored panels reflected bright against the sunlight. The people below took no visible note of the vehicle, from what I could discern. Judging by the altitude and distance of the object to the people in the water, I roughly estimated the main body of the vehicle to be larger than a 6-foot tall man, possibly around 8-10 feet in height, with the total span across the panels measuring approximately 15-18 feet.

The most peculiar aspect of this encounter was that the object then appeared to “notice” that I had observed its presence, and as I tried to point my cellphone to the sky in its direction, the vehicle took off at great speed out over the water into the Gulf. It made no sound as it flew out, to quickly put a large distance between it and the shoreline. By the time I had activated the video camera on my phone and recorded as closely as a I could zoom in onto the object, it was already far out over the water, perhaps at a distance of over 3,000 feet away from the beach. The video has a creation timestamp of 10:04 AM CST [11:04 AM EST], and has a runtime of 45 seconds.

Due to the bright daylight of the morning Sun, it was difficult to make out the object in the sky with my cellphone and focus in on it. It was also challenging to clearly view anything on the phone screen, let alone see small, faint objects that the camera might acquire. The only reference point in the sky I had was to note the object’s reflection, so I would not entirely miss recording the event. As I pointed the lens of my phone camera in the object’s approximate direction, I was able to catch intermittent glimpses of the distant object, as its panels reflected back sunlight in the clear sky, but no details of the vehicle in the video can be discerned. As the object flew away from the beach, it seems to have also moved east and westwards some degrees across the Gulf sky, since I had trouble locating it while panning my phone around.

The entire encounter lasted approximately three minutes. To my knowledge, the object did not return during the time that we stayed at Fort Walton Beach, nor did I have any other encounters with unknown types of air vehicles during this trip. The object I saw on 09/23/21 was not of a design or had features that were anything similar to a conventional aircraft, with no apparent energy source and control surfaces to provide lift, and that would allow it to fly or hover in the manner it displayed. It appeared to me to be under intelligent control.