FAA Audio: Perplexed Pilots Report UFO Sighting Above New Mexico, Arizona Desert

The pilots of at least three separate aircraft encountered an unidentified flying object high above southern Arizona and New Mexico last month. Audio first reported by The Drive reveals chatter about the bizarre incident between air traffic control and the pilots of a Phoenix Air Learjet 36, an Airbus A321 and American Airlines Flight 1095 on February 24.

The odd sightings began around 3:30 p.m. as the Albuquerque Air Traffic Center received reports from several eastbound aircraft that something passed over them at an altitude of 40,000 feet. The pilots of the three planes discussing the incident on the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) audio were traveling above the area between the Sonoran Desert National Monument and the southwest corner of the New Mexico border.

The wider region is home to dozens of ufologist theories, including the 1947 crash of a U.S. Army Air Force balloon in Roswell, New Mexico that many conspiracy theorists believe was an alien spacecraft.

The first report came from N71PG, a Learjet pilot who asked air traffic controllers if traffic had passed over his plane. The controller responded no, but the pilot responded confidently, “Somethin’ did,” as another unidentified pilot on the frequency chimed in, “UFO.”

“Yeah,” the Learjet pilot confirmed.

Air traffic controllers in Albuquerque is heard asking the nearby American Airlines plane to stay on the lookout for something above their commercial cruising altitude of about 37,000 feet.

The American Airlines pilot responded with an incredulous tone, “If anything passes over us?” Controllers then confirm, “Affirmative. We had an aircraft in front of you at 37 [thousand feet] that reported something pass over him and we didn’t have any radar targets, so just let me know if you see anything pass over you.”

The Learjet pilot chimed back in, “I don’t know what it was. It wasn’t an airplane but it was, the path was going in the opposite direction.” One minute later, the sarcastic American Airlines Flight 1095 pilot called back and said, “Yeah something just passed over us, like a—I don’t know what it was, it wasn’t an airplane. It was at least two, three thousand feet above us. Yeah it passed right over the top of us.”

Air traffic control then asks if the American Airlines pilot could tell if “it was in motion or if it was just hovering?”

A nearby Airbus pilot quickly added, "I couldn't make it out if it was a balloon or whatnot, but it was just really beaming light or had a big reflection and several thousand feet above us going the opposite direction."

An unidentified pilot then asked if it could be a "Google balloon,” to which the American Airlines pilot replied, “Doubtful.”

The FAA confirmed the bizarre six-minute series of events which follow the October 2017 UFO chatter that took place at a similar altitude above Oregon and Northern California. The U.S. Air Force responded to the October 25 event by scrambling several F-15s and alerting the North American Aerospace Command.

The FAA's public affairs office issued a statement to KOB-TV Wednesday confirming the incident.

"We don’t have any comment beyond what you hear. Other than the brief conversation between two aircraft, the controller was unable to verify that any other aircraft was in the area," said spokesperson Lynn Lunsford. "We have a close working relationship with a number of other agencies and safely handle military aircraft and civilian aircraft of all types in that area every day, including high-altitude weather balloons."

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