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National UFO Reporting Center Sighting Report
Occurred : 7/27/2003 11:00 (Entered as : 07/28/03 1100)
Reported: 8/1/2003 6:24:43 PM 18:24
Posted: 8/4/2003
Location: Richland (Tri-Cities), WA
Shape: Circle
Duration: 20 min
Twenty minute observation of a silver and black disk performing "hawk-like" maneuvers.


As a spectator at the annual hydroplane races, several "airshow" performances were offered for Saturday and Sunday, July 27th and 28th. On Sunday the 28th, at 11am a pair of "trainer" jets had just finished their demonstration and flew off to the West up-river and over Richland, WA. I followed them with my binoculars (Pentax 8x42s) thinking that they may turn and make another "run" for the spectators. They didn't. Instead they turned "south" as if heading toward Oregon. They were in level flight and apparently taking a direct route to wherever their destination was. As I followed them in my binocs, a black shape passed through my field of view from south to north. For a moment I thought it was a large bird, so I stopped tracking the jets and turned back to the object. It couldn't have taken more than one or two seconds, at most, to find the object. However, it had turned from black to a silver color, no black was visible. The object maneuvered in a manner I have described as a "hawk" scanning a field looking for prey. The hawk will glide and turn, tipping its wings such that the observer can see the back (topside) of the hawk for a moment, then turn the other way and expose the underside of the bird. This was very similiar to the movements of this flying machine. As I steadied my binocs as much as possible, I could make out more and more detail. The object was a very distinct disk. There were no "bat-wing", "delta-wing" contours. In fact it appeared to be a "classic" flying saucer shape. That notwithstanding, I continued to observe. When the bottom side was turned towards me, I could see that the disk was perfectly round and perfectly black with a very thin ring of silver or white around the edge of the disk. The blackness of the bottom obscured whatever details might have been present (other than the "ring"). When the disk turned on edge I could see the craft had some thickness. And as it continued to rotate to the topside I could see a distinct transition from the edge to a raised ! middle section and a "cockpit" in the center of the disk. The cockpit appeared to be of a "teardrop" shape - not symmetrically round as the rest of the craft appeared to be. The "pointed" portion of the cockpit appeared to be the "front", but that was more of an impression than anything else. As the craft continued to maneuver, with the view transitioning from black to silver and back again, it generally drifted in an easterly direction. When I first spotted the craft, I estimated it at about 240 degrees azimuth and maybe 25-30 degrees elevation. By the time I lost sight of it, it was probably at about 210-220 degrees and maybe 30-35 degrees elevation.

When I first spotted the craft, I immediately thought that it was part of the airshow and was "waiting" off in the distance for its turn for a demonstration. The pilot of the craft looked as though he was having "fun". Lazily sliding and gliding up and down an imaginary slope of some kind just enjoying the ride. But as time wore on, I began to think it might have been some kind of super-secret military prototype that the pilot was putting through its paces - sort of just practicing. Further, since I had no frame of reference from which to judge the crafts dimension, I could not absolutely determine its distance from my observation point. The two other witnesses sitting near me looked at the craft both with the naked eye and with my binocs. It was difficult to see the craft with the naked eye because of what appeared to be its great distance. One witness after looking through the binocs and then observing directly commented - ", that thing is really up there...". Oserving with the naked eye was difficult. The observer had to know "where-to-look", but when we looked at the right spot, the black disk was easily discernable and the silver side would flash brightly when the sun hit it at the right angle. It was an altogether amazing experience, and an amazing object.

Finally, after observing for so long, I began to feel fatigued, and put my binocs down to see if I could arrange a more comfortable and steady rest from which to observe. I may have spent 5 minutes re-arranging things and when I returned to observe, the object was gone. As I thought about what I had seen I tried to imagine the possibilities. First, it could have been a UFO, I guess - whatever that actually means. Secondly, I think the most likely explanation is a secret military plane of some kind. And finally, I have to admit that it could have been some kind of a "model" or ballon - perhaps a hovercraft of some kind that could maneuver as it did. The only thing that makes me hesitate to believe this possibility is that it appeared to be incredibly high for a model and it stayed in position for a very long time. Also from my position and given the size of the Columbia river, the model would have to have been at least three miles away. That seems very far to have been able to see what might be a 2-3 foot diameter model disk.

((NUFORC Note: We spoke at length via telephone with this witness, and we found him to be an exceptional witness. He was very objective about the sighting he reports above, and he has considerable training and experience as an engineer. He was totally flabbergasted by the sighting, he reported to us. We have encouraged him to try to locate other witnesses in the area. PD))

((NUFORC Note: Witness later corrected the date to July 27th. We have amended the date above. PD))