Two pilots on different aircraft reported having close encounters with a mysterious object flying high above Arizona last month, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.
The sightings occurred within minutes of each other on the afternoon of Feb. 24, some 40,000 feet above southern Arizona near the New Mexico border. ABC News obtained the audio recording of the conversation between the pilots and the Albuquerque Air Route Traffic Control Center, released by the FAA.
The news comes amid a series of reports of military pilots coming into contact with what they believed to be UFOs and the disclosure of a secret, but now-defunct Pentagon programto track such incidents.
The pilot of a Learjet 36 belonging to Phoenix Air, with the tail number N71PG, reported the initial sighting. He asks the controller: “Was anybody above us that passed us like 30 seconds ago?
“Negative,” the controller responds.
“OK. Something did,” the Learjet pilot says.
“It’s a UFO,” another pilot chimes in.
“Yeah,” the Learjet pilot laughs.
A few minutes later, the controller radios to American Airlines Flight 1095, an Airbus A321. He asks the pilot, “Let me know if you see anything pass over you here in the next 15 miles.”
The pilot seems puzzled and responds, “If anything passes over us?”
“Affirmative. We had an aircraft in front of you at 37 [thousand feet] that reported something pass over him and we didn’t have any [radar] targets, so just let me know if you see anything pass over you,” the controller says.
“All right,” the pilot says.
The Learjet pilot joins the conversation, saying, “I don’t know what it was, it wasn’t an airplane but it was — the path was going in the opposite direction.”
About a minute later, the American Airlines Flight 1095 pilot radios back to the controller to report a bizarre sighting in Arizona’s airspace.
“Yeah, something just passed over us, like a — I don’t know what it was. But it was at least two, three thousand feet above us. Yeah, it passed right over the top of us,” the pilot says.
“OK, American 1095, thank you,” the controller responds.
The controller later asks, “American 1095, can you tell if it was in motion or just hovering?”
“Couldn’t make it out whether it was a balloon or whatnot. But it was just really beaming light or could have had a big reflection and was several thousand feet above us going opposite direction,” the pilot says.
“Roger,” the controller responds.
The American Airlines pilot later radios to the controller again, asking if the unidentified object was a “Google balloon.”
“Doubtful,” another pilot chimes in.
The voice of another pilot adds, “UFO.”