On November 17, 1986, one of the best documented airplane-UFO encounters took place. A chartered cargo flight on Japan Airlines, JAL 1628, a 747, was delivering a load of French wine from Paris, France to Tokyo, Japan.
UFO reports made by pilots are considered some of the best because of their training and recognition of various flying craft. Here are some of the best documented cases: The Kenneth Arnold Sighting, The Chiles-Whitted Encounter, and Thomas Mantel Death.
A Special Flight of Japan Airlines
The special flight was scheduled to go from Paris to Reykjavik, Iceland, across the North Atlantic and Greenland, then across Canada to Anchorage, Alaska, and finally across the Pacific to Tokyo.
Veteran Captain Kenju Terauchi, co-pilot Takanori Tamefuji, and flight engineer Yoshio Tsukuba manned the controls as they finally crossed into the state of Alaska at 5:09 PM local time.
Traveling at a speed of about 600 mph at 35,000 ft., they were initially contacted by Anchorage Air Traffic Control to confirm their presence and heading. The crew was told to turn 15 degrees to their left, and head for Talkeetna at a heading of 215 degrees.
Unknown Objects Appear
About two minutes after crossing into Alaska, Captain Terauchi noticed something with lights about 2,000 ft. below and 30 degrees to the left of his aircraft. At first, he thought it was probably an American jet out of Eielson or Elmendorf Air Force Base patrolling the skies. He soon dismissed this theory when he saw the object continue to pace the 1628, something a patrol plane would not do.
It was about seven minutes after initially sighting the lights, when without a warning, two craft of unknown origin stopped ahead of the 1628. They were one above the other, and were shooting lights! The interior of the 747 cockpit was so brightly lit, the crew could feel warmth on their skin.
Terauchi surmised that these objects must be what he had seen a few minutes before, but how did they make such an amazing, rapid move from their position to one in front of the 1628. The two UFOs kept pace with the 747 for several minutes. After 5-7 minutes, the craft changed positions to a side by side formation.
Describing the Objects
The veteran pilot described the lights as being a white-amber color, and were like flames being shot out of jet engines. He got the impression that this 'firing" was a way to stabilize the craft. His co-pilot Tamefuji stated that were like 'Christmas' lights, but of an amber color.
He said: "I remember red or orange, and white light, just like a landing light; and weak green... ah, blinking." He also added that they appeared to be weaker, then stronger, and repeated this process continually. He believed that lights were an oncoming craft of some kind.
Flight engineer Tsukuba, who was positioned behind the co-pilot, did not have as good a view as the pilot and co-pilot, but could still see the lights. He stated: "... they were shaped like windows of an airplane, and were white and amber."
Camera Problems/Radio Interference
The crew decided to radio Anchorage Air Traffic Control, and would be in constant contact with them for a half-hour about the UFOs.
The captain requested a camera so he could validate what they were seeing. He was not familiar with the camera, and did not get a photograph. Tsukuba tried his camera, but had trouble with the auto-focus, and also failed to capture the objects for future reference.
After their failed attempt to capture the unknown craft on film, the plane began to have interference problems when attempting to communicate with Anchorage, and requested a frequency change.
Continue with JAL 1628 - The Cause of the UFOs.