Location: Raleigh-Durham (from cockpit), NC, USA
Duration: 35 seconds
No of observers: 1
Reported: 2009-07-27 13:37:00 Pacific
Posted: 2009-08-05 00:00:00
Chevron shape vehicle, NE of RDU
This is a report of a sighting that happened in 1992. The date is an educated guess. It occurred, to the best of my recollection, on either 10/03/92 or 10/05/92.
While flying a Boeing 727 for a major airline, we were enroute to RDU airport, in North Carolina. As we were approaching the airport from the northeast, I observed something I’ve never seen before, nor since.
We were within thirty five miles of the airport, below 10,000’ and going 250 KIAS or less. The First Officer was flying the airplane. While he was flying, I was looking out ahead of us. We were below a broken layer of clouds, and the sun was still high and breaking thru the layer above us. Ahead of us, I saw what I thought was a flight of two F-16’s. The sun was glinting off of *them*, or I wouldn’t have even have been able to see them. The Raleigh Approach controller didn’t call them as traffic, and I wasn’t worried, as they were a good bit ahead of us.
I looked down to review an approach plate or tune a radio or some minor task, I looked up about thirty seconds after first seeing the flight of two, and the next thing I see is a chevron shaped vehicle within a! n eighth of a mile of us. It is now right outside of my window, just forward off the left wing, traveling opposite direction, at our altitude.
I think that this must have been what I had previously thought to be the F-16’s. The chevron shaped thing must have been in a turn earlier, and that the sun glinting off what, for lack of a better term, might be considered end-plates of the *wings* made it appear like a couple of F-16’s (or any other small fighter).
As unusual sightings go, this was not a very flamboyant looking vehicle; however, it was a very flashy flyer. It wasn’t flying along as if it were a *flying wing* type vehicle. It flew past us, standing on the tip of what you might consider to be its left wing. So, rather than the wing being parallel to the surface of the earth, it was perpendicular.
I watched it for about five seconds before it passed behind our left wing. I asked the Raleigh Approach controller: what just passed Airline/flt. # so and so? I was specific when I asked him. I stated that it was just to our south, and at our altitude, flying from a generally southwest direction to the northeast. The controller took a little longer than normal to reply. He said he didn’t have anything on radar. Then he waited a little bit longer, and asked if I had seen anything. I knew it was better, at the time, to keep my mouth shut, so my reply was along the lines of: no, I guess not. The controller didn’t press, and I didn’t offer anything else.
This vehicle was unusual in a couple of ways. It flew on the tip of a wing, level (as it were) and didn’t seem to have any problem maintaining altitude. There was no, visible, means of propulsion. It didn’t leave any type of trail. It was approx. fifty feet (plus or minus ten feet) from tip to tip, and from its *nose* to the trailing edge of its *wing* was no more than maybe twenty to twenty five feet. It was a dull grey, kind of like battleship grey, and there wasn’t anything on the side that was visible to me that looked light lights. There were no markings at all, that were obvious.
Unfortunately, I had been totally taken in by this thing when it flew past us. After it passed behind the left wing, I asked to FO and FE if they had seen it. They had not.
NUFORC has exchanged a number of e-messages with the party who submitted this report, who is a retired senior captain for a major U. S. airline. Our strong suspicion is that the party is a witness of exceptional skill, and is as reliable a witness as one could expect to encounter. PD
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