Encircled by an UFO? The weird encounter of Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra

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Following my own demarcations about the nature of a strange flying object having been sighted, I see a UFO as any object in the air which cannot be accounted for with our current knowledge. It stands to reason this isn’t necessarily the same thing as an alien spacecraft.

A UFO looking like a white trail crosses the trajectory of a plane.

A UFO encircles a helpless aircraft. Artistic creation.

Given this definition, the general claim that UFOs truly exist isn’t extraordinary by any means and seems almost certain to anyone having taken a look at the most puzzling sightings with an open eye.

Yet one can still find hardcore skeptics such as German debunker Werner Walter confidently asserting that there are „no unsolved cases“.

As we saw with the disappearance of Australian pilot Frederick Valentich, having „solved“ an intriguing case generally means picking and choosing some facts fitting the pet-theory of the „Skeptics“, while ignoring all other elements or explaining them away by resorting to incredibly unlikely ad-hoc hypotheses.
But there are some incidents which are ignored altogether by debunkers who do not write a sole page to „account“ for them in a conventional way.
In what follows, I reproduced such a case for which I’ve been (until now) utterly unable to find any debunking explanation.

Portugal, 1982

In the chapter he wrote for “UFOs,” Airline Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra relives his lengthy encounter with a highly active UFO while serving as a
flight instructor for the Portuguese Air Force in 1982.

He writes: “At various times the object had been very close to me and I was able to verify that it was round with two halves shaped like two tight-fitting skullcaps. I carefully looked at the lower one, which seemed to be somewhere between red and brown with a hole or dark spot in the center.

„The center band looked like it had some kind of a grid, and possibly a few lights, but it was hard to tell since the sun was so bright and was reflected.”

The object circled his small airplane for 15 minutes while he was alone in the sky, in his DHC-1 Chipmunk. He made this drawing the day after the encounter and submitted it with his report to the Portuguese Air Force.

(Júlio Guerra, CNIFO Case Report)

Guerra states that the object “flew at a fantastic speed in a large elliptical orbit to the left, between 5,000 feet to the South and approximately 10,000 feet to the North, always from left to right, repeating this route over and over.
„I tried to keep it in sight.”

Two fellow Air Force officers, Carlos Garcês and António Gomes, flew to the location, and they too watched the object repeat its elliptical course, passing between the two planes on each return, for about 10 minutes. They were able to estimate the size, given its proximity to the two aircraft: about eight to 10 feet.
After landing, all three pilots filed detailed, independent written reports with the Air Force. General José Lemos Ferreira, the Portuguese Air Force Chief of Staff at the time, authorized the release of all the records to a team of scientists and experts, which conducted a lengthy scientific investigation.

The group estimated that the unidentified object was flying at over 300 MPH vertically and its velocity when it circled Guerra’s aircraft was about 1550 MPH.
Since leaving the Air Force in 1990 after 18 years of service, Júlio Guerra has been a Captain with Portugália Airlines (TAP), Portugal’s largest commercial airline. He has 17,000 hours of flight experience, and in 2009 he received an aeronautic science degree from the Lusofona University of Oporto. (Courtesy Júlio Guerra)


Spherical UFO.

The UFO sketched by Captain Júlio Miguel Guerra.


I first stumbled across it in Leslie Kean’s excellent book „UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record„. 

It is worth noting that as he first noticed the object, the captain was flying at 5000 feet and perceived it as a metallic disk flying not far from the ground.  He turned around to better observe it and the thing flew up to him in only 10 seconds. The sky was clear and the visibility was excellent.



Trying to put myself in the shoes of a debunker is really hard in that specific situation. I’ll nevertheless try to put on my pseudo-skeptical hat and look for conventional explanations compatible with known phenomena or aircrafts. 


Weather balloon

 

A typical weather balloon

Weather balloon

This is the first thing which sprang to the mind of the flight officers and other pilots he contacted by radio while having this strange experience. 

Their initial reaction was that it must be a kind of weather balloon and some of his colleagues even laughed at him. 

The problem is that  Guerra could clearly recognize that the object was initially  flying close to the ground while the visibility was incredibly good under this cloudless sky. Whilst distance appreciations are never perfect, it is extremely far-fetched to think that this experienced pilot would perceive an object flying just below him as being near to the soil, that is at least 4000 feet lower than it actually was. 



Given that, the fact that the thing covered vertically in only 10 seconds such a distance rules out that it was some kind of non-motorized balloon. 



What is more, in order to circle Julio’s plane (a fact attested by the two other pilots having attended to the event), it needed to have glided considerably more quickly than him. 

Its peculiar orbiting movements would also involve an extraordinarily improbable wind distribution at the time and place of the incident. 



Consequently, I think we can completely forget this possibility. 




Conventional aircraft

http://airlineworld.files.wordpress.com/2008/03/aerion_sbj_01.jpg

The next theory would be that Guerra had been confronted with a conventional helicopter or plane he and the two other pilots misidentified.

 Unknown form

The first objection is that this doesn’t fit at all the shape of the object which had neither body nor rear.

Its oval form made up of two halves doesn’t correspond to any known aircraft.

 Incredible velocity

The scientific committee having meticulously studied this case estimated the speed of the object during his vertical ascension to 300 miles per hour and even to 1550 miles per hour as it was circling around Julio Guerra, based on the data of the three men who had already produced three independent reports after the sighting. While such numbers might be imprecise, it can be deduced that it was truly flying much faster than their planes, which is at the very least incompatible with it being a helicopter or any usual type of planes back in 1982.

Weird behavior

The whole behavior of the object is also completely at odds with it being a private or military aircraft being piloted by someone else. What motive could have had any other pilot to rapidly fly towards another aircraft and start out circling him in such a bizarre fashion?


Taking together, these three factors make it extremely implausible that the three men had just encountered a conventional piloted aircraft. 

Full fleshed hallucination

A strange city full of absurdly looking people.

Delirious hallucination.

I think that the only way a debunker could cope with this sighting would be by declaring it was entirely hallucinatory.

The sober and experienced pilot Julio Guerra began to see an object which didn’t exist and during the next 15 minutes, he hallucinated it doing coherent movements around him even though there was nothing at all out there.

Since the two other pilots were expecting to see something, they experienced a similar hallucination consistent with what their colleague had shortly described to them.

Needless to say that the probability of three mentally sane individuals having such a shared coherent hallucination during a elongated timespan is astronomically low.

Imagine they had just reported having sighted an other plane flying illegally. After having made their report to the local military police, one of the responsible just shrugged and said: „Well, I’m pretty sure they saw no plane at all but just dreamed up the whole thing.“ what would be your own reaction?

Would not such a statement sound incredibly ridiculous and even outrageously absurd?

Yet, for die-hard skeptics convinced that there must be an ordinary explanation for anything seen in the sky, this is pretty much the only game in town.

 

Conclusion: an unknown flying object 



I myself wholeheartedly echo Guerra’s own conclusion: „I have no clue about whether or not it stemmed from another universe, another planet or was of earthly origin. I just don’t know.“ 



It doesn’t seem to me unlikely that what he saw was a sophisticated purely human  creation (such as a sort of very advanced drone or robot). But this would then mean that there is a huge gap between human technology as it is publicly known and the very best vehicles and weapons our governments really dispose of. 



Anyway, such kinds of incidents show us that when „Skeptics“ affirm that there isn’t any sighting they can’t conventionally account for, all what they mean is that one can explain everything away through piling up widely implausible assumptions made in hindsight.


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