Reported: 2020-07-06 12:09 Pacific
Duration: 30 sec
No of observers: 2
Location: Huntington Beach, CA, USA
Characteristics: Aircraft nearby
Spotted bubble like object off the right side of the aircraft.
This in a summery of an event, of a unexplained flying object encounter on a flight between Anchorage and Hong Kong. I was flying as a relief pilot sitting in the captains seat on a commercial cargo flight when I first spotted the object. I immediately pointed the object out to the first officer who also saw it. The Captain was in the back on his rest period.
The location of the event was on an airway, R220, between NOGAL & NIPPI intersection, 21.4NM NE of NOGAL at FL400. The coordinates were N4632.8/W15332.6. The closest land was 67.7NM off our right. This land would be the Kuril Islands SW of the Kamchatka Peninsula, Russia. The only other know air traffic were two other aircraft that were on our TCAS. They were on our route same direction of travel within 60NM ahead of us.
It was daylight as the time was 1346 local (0346 Zulu). There was a low undercast layer of clouds, some towering clouds 100+ miles in the distance, but clear at our altitude. Our ground speed was 408 knots, true airspeed 476 knots, MACH # .830, wind 252/73 and total air temperature -20 something. Our magnetic heading was 238° While I was sitting looking at the first officer in conversation, I noticed a bubble like object off the right side of the aircraft. I immediately pointed it out to the first officer. He quickly grabbed his phone and tried to take several pictures of it. Unfortunately due to bugs or dirt on the side windows, the camera focused in on the window instead of the unexplained object.
The object looked like a clear sphere or bubble. It appears to be rigged like glass or plastic, however I can’t rule out a balloon. The size is relative to the distance it was from our aircraft. This is where the first officer and I have a difference in opinion. In the window, it was the size of pencil eraser. I felt that the object was within a couple of hundred yards and was maybe the size of a car. The first officer felt that it might have been more like a couple of miles away and therefore much larger.
The strangest thing about this object was that we didn’t speed past it. We did overtake this object but slowly. We were moving over the ground at 408 knots into a nearly 70 knot headwind. If the object was a balloon, I feel we would’ve blown past it very fast. So what ever this object was, it seems it was propelled by something. There was no visible engines, exhaust or any thing else that resemble a know aircraft capable of traveling at such speed.
Needless to say, this consumer or conversation for the next several hours. When the captain returned to the flight deck, we explained our siting and continued to discuss what it could have possibly been. The Captain was a previous F-18 pilot and both the first officer and I were civilian pilots.
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