Look. Up in the Sky. It's a Bird. It's a Plane. It's a ... UFO?

I recently filed my first UFO report.

There, I said, it. I actually, officially, authentically, for real filed a report on a sighting I had two years ago of an unidentified flying object. Well, I guess they’re called unknown aerial phenomenon (UAP) now.

The sighting occurred in March 2021 right outside my house. Why did I wait two years to report it? I considered filing a report back then, but I had no photo and no fellow witness (that I know of) and, frankly, it wasn’t the first time I’d seen something strange in the air.

The first time I saw a UFO, I was in third or fourth grade—and, yes, there were flying machines way back then. A classmate and I were dragging our feet returning to class after recess when something in the sky caught our attention. It was a sleek, black rocket ship like nothing we’d ever seen. It was flying very low, so we got a good view of it. In fact, we thought it might be landing. Frightened that some bug-eyed, alien monster might eat us, we ran back to class and told the teacher, but she thought we were making it up as an excuse for being late.

A few years went by, then I saw it again, the same strange, sleek, all-black aerial craft. This time it was displayed on the top of a model airplane kit. The model was of the SR-71 “Blackbird” spy plane, successor to the U-2 spy plane. The Blackbird was a variant of the USAF’s secret A-12 aircraft, a jet plane with multiple variants, including a bomber and an interceptor, and which first flew out of Area 51 in 1962. Eventually, the A-12 bomber/interceptor program was cancelled, but the streamlined, radar-evading design lived on as the SR-71 reconnaissance aircraft.

Usually, the A-12/SR-71 aircraft flew at extremely high altitudes, well out of view of observers on the ground. But occasionally during test flights, mechanical problems occurred that forced the aircraft to fly low over well-populated areas. The result was always an increase in reported sightings of UFOs.

My second sighting occurred in my junior or senior year in high school. I grew up in Redondo Beach, California. My friend, Charlie, and I were attending a beach party one night and spotted a single bright light making strange maneuvers over the ocean. We watched in fascination as it soundlessly made zig-zag turns no known aircraft could make. At the time, Charlie and I were both enrolled in a two-year aero-science college prep course, so we understood the dynamics of flight. Not even a helicopter could have made those turns.

At this point, try to imagine a calendar with its pages being torn off one after another indicating the march of time, like in those old black-and-white movies. Somewhere around my forties, I learned that the Redondo Trench, a subsurface canyon that runs along the coast of southern Los Angeles County right where Charlie and I had our sighting, was known as a hotspot for sightings of both UFOs and USOs or unidentified submerged objects. (If you want to read more about USOs, check out my sci-fi novel, Polar Melt.)

That sparked another memory. In the 1970s, I was stationed at Los Angeles/Long Beach Harbor with the U.S. Coast Guard running small boat search-and-rescue missions. On more than one occasion, we were called out at night or in the early morning to search for aircraft that reportedly crashed in the ocean just off the coast where the Redondo Trench resides. Each time there were multiple reporting witnesses, including police officers, who said they saw the lights of an aircraft enter the sea. Each time, we’d respond along with local lifeguard and harbor patrol boats. And each time we’d find no evidence of a plane crash—no debris, no oil slick, nothing. 

Once I learned about the Redondo Trench’s reputation as a UFO hotspot, I remembered those reported airplane crashes and thought, “Well, that would explain it …”

So, I never reported my 2021 sighting. At the time, I made a contemporaneous Facebook post. But it wasn’t until this month—after the Pentagon’s admission it was still investigating UFO/UAPs, and Congress’ hearing on UFOs—that I decided to file a report. I went back into my Facebook archives and found my original post and used that to reconstruct the sighting. I filed my report with both the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) and Enigma Labs, another reporting service.

If you’d like to read the report, you can find it by clicking here.