On Sunday, February 21, 2021, the pilot of American Airlines Flight 2292 reported a close encounter with an unidentified flying object while flying over New Mexico. The pilot said, “We just had something go right over the top of us. I hate to say this, but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing – moving really fast right over the top of us”. However, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) air traffic controllers did not see any objects in the surrounding area of Flight 2292 on their radar scopes. This is not the first time that a pilot, either commercial or military, has reported an encounter with a UFO; last April, the Pentagon released footage showing unidentified aerial phenomena. According to NBC News, American Airlines confirmed that the radio call came from one of its flights, but deferred any further questions to the FBI.
After speaking to an ex-military pilot, blogger Steve Douglass told ABC 7 News that for the airline pilot to see the object, it must have been coming nearly head-on. Douglass said, “whatever it was came fast, right at them and right over them, which gave them a big enough scare that they had to report it”. Once an incident is reported, the FAA becomes more involved; the FAA meets the aircraft team at the plane to discuss the entirety of the situation, fill out paperwork, and ultimately work to figure out what the object was. According to the audio from the cockpit, the object seemed to resemble military firepower, as it was described as a long, cylindrical object similar to a cruise missile. The 15-second communication was overheard by Douglass in his airwave capture cave, which began with the pilot of Flight 2292 asking, “Do you have any targets up here?” This is a question that no pilot wants to have to ask, but as mentioned before, the incident occurred at about 37,000 feet with no significant military presence in the area at the time.
It is important to consider the fact that skies were clear of the military on Sunday, February 21, 2021; Sundays are the military’s off days, and there were no reported military test notifications. According to Douglass, when these military tests occur, the military notifies the FAA, aircraft are kept out of the area, and there are schedules and strict flight lanes that aircraft need to stay in. Still, none of those protocols were put into place on February 21. Douglass says, “If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?” While the concept of UFOs and unidentified flying objects are new and unfamiliar to the public, there are definitely rising concerns about the obscurity of it, and people want to know more. In December’s COVID-19 relief bill, there is a hidden provision that requires United States intelligence agencies to inform Congress about their knowledge of UFOs by the middle of this year.