+gt;+gt;The following constitutes the entire text of the press release from CSICOP in Buff

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>>The following constitutes the entire text of the press release from CSICOP in Buffalo, concerning the recent "JALaska" UFO. ______________________________________ EXTRATERRESTRIAL OBJECT INVOLVED IN JAPAN AIR LINES PILOT'S UFO SIGHTING, ACCORDING TO UFO INVESTIGATOR Buffalo, NY - An investigation of the incident in which an Unidentified Flying Object reportedly paced a Japan Air Lines 747 enroute to Anchorage, Alaska, for nearly 40 minutes on Nov. 18, 1986, reveals that at least one extraterrestrial object was involved -- the planet Jupiter, and possibly another -- Mars. The investigation was conducted by Philip J. Klass, an internationally recognized UFOlogist and chairman of CSICOP's UFO Subcommittee. His investigations have yielded prosaic explanations for many famous UFO cases during the past 20 years. At the time the UFO incident began near Ft. Yukon, the JAL airliner was flying south in twilight conditions so that an extremely bright Jupiter (-2.6 magnitude) would have been visible on the pilot's left-hand side, where he first reported seeing the UFO, according to Klass. Jupiter was only 10 degrees above the horizon, making it appear to the pilot to be at roughly his own 35,000 ft. altitude. Mars, slightly lower on the horizon, was about 20 degrees to the right of Jupiter but not as bright. Although the very bright Jupiter, and less bright Mars, had to be visible to JAL Capt. Kenjyu Terauchi, the pilot never once reported seeing either -- only a UFO that he described as being a "white and yellow" light in his initial radio report to Federal Aviation Administration controllers at Anchorage. Many of the colorful details of the incident carried by the news media, largely based on the six-week-old recollections of the pilot of JAL Flight 1628, are contradicted by a transcript of radio messages from the pilot to FAA controllers while the incident was in progress. For example, news media accounts quoting the 747 pilot said that when he executed a 360 degree turn, the UFO had followed him around the turn. But this claim is contrary to what the pilot told FAA controllers at the time. During the pilot's media interviews, he "remembered" some colorful details which did not really occur, judging from his earlier radio reports to the FAA, and Terauchi "forgot" several important events that would challenge his claim of being paced by an unknown craft. For example, that another airliner, United Airlines Flight 69, heading north from Anchorage to Fairbanks, had agreed to deviate slightly from its course to allow FAA radar controllers to vector it to the vicinity of the JAL 747, while maintaining safe altitude and distance separation, to see if the United crew could spot the UFO. At approximately 4:48 PM, as the United flight neared JAL, Terauchi reported that the UFO was to his far left and about 10 miles distant -- which was in the direction of Jupiter. At roughly 4:50 PM, the United pilot reported he now could see JAL but a short time later the United pilot said: "I don't see anybody around him." Shortly afterwards, the JAL pilot reported that the UFO now was "just ahead of United" which is where Jupiter would appear to be from Terauchi's location. The United pilot would not notice Jupiter because it was to his right while his attention was focused on JAL which was to his far left. Shortly afterward, the pilot of a USAF C-130 transport in the area volunteered to be vectored to the vicinity of the JAL airliner to see if he could spot any object near the airliner. The C-130 crew readily spotted the JAL 747, but they too could not see any object in its vicinity. "This is not the first time that an experienced pilot has mistaken a bright celestial body for a UFO, nor will it be the last," Klass said. In one case, investigated by the late Dr. J. Allen Hynek in the early 1950's, a military pilot chased a "UFO" for more than 30 minutes, which turned out to be the bright star Capella. In this case, as with the recent Alaska incident, a radar operator reported briefly seeing an unknown blip on his radar scope. During World War II, B-29 pilots flying at night from the Mariana Islands in the Pacific to bomb Japan reported being paced by a mysterious "ball-of-fire", which B-29 gunners tried, unsuccessfully, to shoot down. Some Army Air Corps intelligence officers suspected the object was a long- range Japanese aircraft equipped with a powerful searchlight, to illuminate the B-29s so they could be attacked by fighter aircraft, but such attacks never materialized. Finally the mysterious glowing object that seemed to pace the B-29s was identified. It was Venus, which was particularly bright at the time. More than 25% of all UFOs reported during a 15-month period to the Center for UFO Studies (created in 1973 by Hynek) turned out upon investigation to be a bright planet or star. Some eyewitnesses reported that the celestial UFO "darted up and down", or "wiggled from side-to- side", and a variety of shapes were described. In Capt. Terauchi's recollected account to the media six weeks after the incident, he described seeing two small UFOs in addition to a large one. But the transcript reveals that the pilot only briefly reported seeing TWO lights, NOT THREE, and thereafter he referred only to one in his radio communications with FAA controllers. News media accounts of the UFO incident stressed that one unidentified object had been detected by a USAF radar in the vicinity of the 747's "blip", which seemed to confirm the pilot's visual sighting. However, radars operating in mountainous terrain such as that where the UFO incident occurred can receive spurious echoes when radar energy bouncing off an aircraft is reflected a second time from mountains and snow-covered terrain. When the pilot first reported seeing the UFO, FAA traffic controllers -- ever concerned over the risk of a mid-air collision -- requested that radar controllers in an Air Force Regional Operations Command Center examine their displays to see if they could spot an unknown intruder. A radar operator there spotted something, but was unsure whether it might be a spurious echo. However, the echo appeared only briefly and was BEHIND the 747 whereas the pilot had reported that the UFO was in front or to the left of his aircraft. Later, as the JAL 747 came within range of an FAA radar at the Fairbanks International Airport, a radar controller there was asked if he could spot another object in the vicinity of the airliner. Although the JAL pilot still was reporting a UFO, the controller replied that there were no unknown blips in the vicinity of JAL 1628. On Jan. 11, Capt. Terauchi again reported seeing a UFO while flying in approximately the same part of Alaska. But after an FAA spokesman in Anchorage suggested that this UFO might only be lights from a distant village bouncing off clouds, the JAL pilot acknowledged that this could explain his second UFO sighting. The transcript of radio communications during the Nov. 18 incident indicates that there were broken clouds at or below Flight 1628's altitude, which may help explain Capt. Terauchi's mistaking Jupiter for a UFO. Even a scientifically trained former Navy officer, who would later become President, once mistook a bright planet for a UFO. The "victim" was Jimmy Carter and the incident occurred about 7:15 PM on Jan. 6, 1969, following his talk to the Lions Club of Leary, GA. As Carter later recalled the incident, he spotted the UFO in the west at an elevation he estimated to be about 30 deg. An investigation conducted by Robert Sheaffer, vice-chairman of CSICOP's UFO Subcommittee, was complicated by the fact that Carter had recalled an erroneous date for the incident. Once Sheaffer managed to determine the correct date, he found that a brilliant planet Venus was to the west and about 35 deg. above the horizon, where Carter reported seeing the UFO. Klass credits astronomers Nick Sanduleak and C. B. Stephenson, of Case Western Reserve University, in Cleveland, for their valuable assistance in computing the positions and bearings of bright celestial bodies relative to the 747 airliner at the time of the incident. "My suspicions that this UFO might be a bright celestial body were prompted by the fact that the pilot reported seeing the object for more than 30 minutes," Klass said. "Past experience has shown that when a UFO remains visible for many minutes, it almost always proves to be a celestial object." Another clue was the fact that when Flight 1628 descended 4,000 ft., the UFO still appeared to be at the airliner's altitude. At Jupiter's great distance, a change of 4,000 ft. in aircraft altitude would produce no noticeable change in the planet's apparent altitude. Klass, who was a senior editor with Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine for nearly 35 years until his partial retirement this past June, has been investigating famous UFO cases as a a hobby for more than 20 years. His most recent book on the subject is "UFOs: The Public Deceived," published by Prometheus Books, Buffalo, NY


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