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National UFO Reporting Center
Sighting Report
Occurred : 6/1/1997 22:00 (Entered as : 06/01/1997 22:00)
Reported: 12/29/2003 9:21:06 PM 21:21
Posted: 1/17/2004
Location: Richmond, CA
Shape: Other
Duration:5 minutes
Silent "Airplanes" at Low Altitude

To set the background, Richmond is the city I grew up in, and I was familiar with the usual patterns of air traffic. At the estimated date of the event (mid 1997), I was past 34. Any oddities in air traffic would be apparent to me. Though some would say that what I saw were conventional aircraft, and I admit that they may have been - though with some strange twists - I felt I'd post this notice to benefit the doubt. Having heard anecdotal accounts of apparent ET craft disguising themselves as conventional craft, I think thoroughness is appropriate.

Earlier in the daylight hours, I'd taken note of one or two large aircraft northbound over what I estimated to be western Richmond at unusually low altitude. My vantage point was the vicinity of I-80 and the San Pablo Dam Road. The aircraft resembled airliners or cargo transports...possibly C-17-like, but not grey as I recall. It was my sense that there were more aircraft in general that day. I e-mailed a friend in Monterey, Calif. to ask if he'd seen any strange air traffic in his area, and he said he had increased activity as well.

In the dark evening of what I recall to be the same day, from home (approx. 1 mile north of the previous vantage point and south of Hilltop Mall) I witnessed what visually appeared to be conventional airliners yet they were *absolutely silent*. The aircraft came in a succession of three within a short period which I estimate at five minutes. The aircraft appeared to descend from the west, and they moved eastward overhead at low altitude which I estimate at only two thousand feet. At least one turned southward over the El Sobrante area and disappeared from view over the East Bay Hills (without a lot of clearance below). In the many previous years I'd seen only such craft as Cessnas and helicopters in this low airspace. Never had I seen an airliner that low that far from the airport (Oakland is the nearest for things that size).

As I mentioned above, the aircraft were silent. I could hear the occasional car drive past the house, and I could hear the subtle distant rush of freeway traffic, yet no sound emanated from any of the aircraft which were closer than the freeway. I was flabbergasted and listened intently as they approached and departed. I was sure that even at low RPMs during a descent, I'd hear something, but these things were as quiet as gliders! I also should note that they had what appeared to be navigation lights, and the night sky was quite clear.

I now live in Seattle, and air traffic southbound into Sea-Tac often merges over my part of the city. They all make sound, some louder, some quieter, but none silent.

What I saw in Richmond still mystifies me.

((NUFORC Note: We have received many reports of low-flying military transport a/c. However, we do not know what the witness observed. PD))