Retired Cmdr. David Fravor spent 18 years as a Navy pilot, but nothing prepared him for what he witnessed during a routine training mission on Nov. 14, 2004.
“I can tell you, I think it was not from this world,” Fravor told ABC News. “I’m not crazy, haven’t been drinking. It was — after 18 years of flying, I’ve seen pretty much about everything that I can see in that realm, and this was nothing close.”
Fravor’s stunning retelling of his encounter off the California coast with what appeared to be a 40-foot-long wingless object that flew at incredible speeds in an erratic pattern comes as the Pentagon revealed the existence of a secret program to investigate sightings of UFOs.
The program was shut down in 2012 because of other budget priorities, according to the Pentagon.
“I have never seen anything in my life, in my history of flying that has the performance, the acceleration — keep in mind this thing had no wings,” Fravor said.
He recalled flying his F/A-18 fighter on a training mission on a beautiful Southern California day 13 years ago when things started to get strange.
Controllers on one of the Navy ships on the water below reported objects that were dropping out of the sky from 80,000 feet and going “straight back up,” Fravor said.
“So we’re thinking, OK, this is going to be interesting,” he said.
As they were looking around for the object that appeared on the radar, another aviator spotted something. “I was like, ‘Dude, do you see that?'” Fravor recalled saying.
“We look down, we see a white disturbance in the water, like something’s under the surface, and the waves are breaking over, but we see next to it, and it’s flying around, and it’s this little white Tic Tac, and it’s moving around — left, right, forward, back, just random,” he said.
The object didn’t display the rotor wash typical of a helicopter or jet wash from a plane, he said.
The planes flew lower to investigate the object, which started to mirror their movements before disappearing, Fravor said. “As we start to cut across, it rapidly accelerates, climbs past our altitude and disappears,” Fravor recalled.
“When it started to near us, as we started to descend towards it coming up, it was flying in the elongated way, so it’s [like] a Tic Tac, with the roundish end going in the forward direction … I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I saw. I just know it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it,” he said.
The disturbance in the water also vanished with object, he remembered.
“So we turned around — we couldn’t have been more than about a couple miles away — and there’s no white water at all in the ocean,” Fravor said. “It’s just blue.”
At that point, they decided to return to complete the training exercise when they were told the object or something similar reappeared.
“And the controller comes up and says, ‘Sir, you’re not going to believe this. That thing is at your half point,’ which is our hold point,” Fravor added. “And I’m like, ‘Oh, great.'”
Another plane that launched from the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz around the same time had its radar jammed and was able to pick up the object on an infrared channel.
“He gets close enough to see a couple of objects come out of the bottom, and then all of a sudden it takes off and goes right off the side of the screen and, like, takes off,” Fravor said.
He recalled that the speed of the object, which he said had no exhaust trail in infrared scanning, was stunning.
“No aircraft that we know of can fly at those speeds, maneuver like that and looks like that,” ABC News contributor and former Marine Col. Stephen Ganyard said.
This is a former Pentagon official talking about the UFO monitoring program found in the Budget by news media. Bottom Line: I believe, this is a way of government disclosure of the UFO phenomenon.
(CNN)A former Pentagon official who led a recently revealed government program to research potential UFOs said Monday evening that he believes there is evidence of alien life reaching Earth.
“My personal belief is that there is very compelling evidence that we may not be alone,” Luis Elizondo said in an interview on CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”
A pair of news reports in The New York Times and Politico over the weekend said the effort, the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program, was begun largely at the behest of then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, who helped shore up funding for it after speaking to a friend and political donor who owns an aerospace company and has said he believes in the existence of aliens.
Elizondo told The New York Times he resigned from the Department of Defense in October in protest over what he called excessive secrecy surrounding the program and internal opposition to it after funding for the effort ended in 2012.
Elizondo said Monday that he could not speak on behalf of the government, but he strongly implied there was evidence that stopped him from ruling out the possibility that alien aircraft visited Earth.
“These aircraft — we’ll call them aircraft — are displaying characteristics that are not currently within the US inventory nor in any foreign inventory that we are aware of,” Elizondo said of objects they researched.
He said the program sought to identify what had been seen, either through tools or eyewitness reports, and then “ascertain and determine if that information is a potential threat to national security.”
“We found a lot,” Elizondo said.
The former Pentagon official said they identified “anomalous” aircraft that were “seemingly defying the laws of aerodynamics.”
“Things that don’t have any obvious flight services, any obvious forms of propulsion, and maneuvering in ways that include extreme maneuverability beyond, I would submit, the healthy G-forces of a human or anything biological,” Elizondo said.
Secretive program tracked UFOs for 5 years
Secretive program tracked UFOs for 5 years 03:24
The Times’ report on the government UFO study included a pair of videos of pilots remarking on something mysterious they were seeing. One of the pilots, retired Cmdr. David Fravor, told CNN that he had witnessed an object that looked like a “40-foot-long Tic Tac” maneuvering rapidly and changing its direction during a flight in 2004.
Ryan Alexander of Taxpayers for Common Sense expressed dismay about the program and cast it as a waste of money in a piece that aired on CNN’s “The Situation Room” on Monday.
“It’s definitely crazy to spend $22 million to research UFOs,” Alexander said. “Pilots are always going to see things that they can’t identify, and we should probably look into them. But to identify them as UFOs, to target UFOs to research — that is not the priority we have as a national security matter right now.”
For his part, Fravor said the money spent on the program was a drop in the bucket relative to the military’s over half-a-trillion-dollar annual budget.
Politico reported that after Elizondo stepped down from the Department of Defense, he went to work for To the Stars Academy of Arts and Sciences, a company co-founded by former Blink-182 musician Tom DeLonge that says it looks into issues surrounding government secrecy and unidentified objects.
In a statement Monday, Reid continued to defend the program.
“I’m proud of this program and its ground-breaking studies speak for themselves,” the statement read. “It is silly and counterproductive to politicize the serious scientific questions raised by the work of this program, which was funded on a bipartisan basis.”