Occurred: 2000-01-26 21:45 Local
Reported: 2000-01-27 00:00 Pacific
Duration: 3 min
No of observers: 1

Location: Sante Fe (near), NM, USA

Shape: Other
Characteristics: Aircraft nearby

3-5 round yellow lights appearing on parallel course at tip of wing of commercial aircraft then changing position to parallel back of wing.

On thr night of 1/26/00, I was a passenger aboard a commercial Beechcraft plane flying from Denver Co. to Sante Fe NM. At approx 9:45pm, I felt the plane lose a little altitude in the cloud cover and assumed we were preparing to land in Sante Fe. I looked out the window (westerly) and saw yellow lights passing parallel to the wing tip. I believed them to be runway lights and felt they were a bit too close for comfort. Thinking we had passed all the lights, I looked back towards the rear of the wing and noted that the lights were now traveling with us in a line parallel to the back of the wing. After one or two seconds the lights simply vanished. Shortly afterward, we broke through the clouds and were not, as I had imagined, near Sante Fe. It was another 25 or 30 minutes before we made it into Sante Fe. After landing, I asked our first officer if anything unusual had occured during our flight. The officer asked me to be more specific and I recounted what I had seen. I find the officers response to my questions as interesting as what I had seen during the flight. I was told that "our aircraft" or "aircraft of this type" do not use yellow lights of any sort, they use a red light on one wing, green on the other and white on the tail. I was then informed that there had been no radar contact with any other PLANE that close to us during our flight and stress was placed on the statement by saying that if any PLANE had been that close to us, it would certainly have been picked up by radar alerting the cabin crew to such a presence. Even more interesting, while showing an egar attentiveness and curosity to the details of my account, the officers remarks were professionally reserved. Additionally, this individual asked me a number of questions about what I had seen and yet never gave more than vague and obscure responses to my questions. Because of this officers manner, one could speculate about a few things: When saying "our Aircraft" or "aircraft of this type" don't use yellow lights, was this person hinting that perhaps a military or some other sort of craft might use yellow lights? If so, what sort of craft might that be? By stressing no radar contact with any PLANE that close during the flight, was the officer illuding to the possibility of radar detecting something else? Was I being subtly asked to read between the lines? During our conversation, the officer seemed to carefully avoid anything that might have led to answering questions about what the cabin crew actually saw with their own eyes. I have learned that airlines frequently assign less seasoned pilots to fly the small commuter planes, allowing them to rack up the flight hours required to pilot the larger, jet passenger planes. No doubt the admission of an unusual sighting during flight might well be considered a professional liability for a young pilot just starting out with a major airline, therefore, I am electing not to name the airline or make any further public comment about my interaction with the officer for the time being.

Posted 2000-02-16

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