On rare occasion, however, we hear of an airplane having a near miss with something other than another airplane - sometimes a UFO is mentioned as the culprit.
One of the best documented cases of an incident of this type occurred in the United Kingdom in 1995. A Boeing 737 and a UFO nearly collided during the plane's approach to Manchester Airport on January 6. The day was dark, but visibility was 10 kilometers, when the Boeing began to approach the airport at about 9 miles southeast flying at 4,000 feet altitude.
The pilot and his first officer saw the object almost simultaneously. It was lighted, and on their right hand side. They could clearly see the UFO through the windscreen and side window as it flew directly toward them.
The first officer instinctively ducked: the object was so close to hitting the Boeing 737. Although the object was only visible for a few seconds, the first officer was certain he saw a dark object, wedge-shaped, with a stripe down its side. The object never changed or attempted to change its course.
Naturally, the Boeing was being monitored by airport radar operators, and the captain of the plane immediately reported the near collision to the tower. The operator responded by telling the pilot that they had nothing unusual on their radar.
The pilot and first officer both claimed that what they saw was not a bird, balloon, or kite, but a solid object.
In the aftermath of the event, the pilot and his first officer compared notes on what they had seen. The captain held no doubts that he had seen a solid object, and thought he had seen multiple lights. The captain and the first officer both drew what they had seen, and the drawings depicted very similar objects.
A very intense investigation was carried out by the Civil Aviation Authority. This was done for several reasons: One was to ascertain that no aircraft was in the area, and missed by the radar equipment. Also, authorities were anxious to determine just what the Boning 737 had encountered. The investigation into this question provided no results, and the UFO remains unidentified to date. The results of the CAA's query were released on February 2, 1996.
The possibility that the object might have been a hang-glider, para-glider, or micro-light was investigated, but all the operating authorities, without exception, agreed that this was an extremely unlikely explanation, for various reasons, but mainly because none of these activities takes place at night.
In addition, there are obvious hazards of flying in the dark, from high ground (the peaks in this area along the Pennine ridge range from 1600 to over 2000 ft), strong winds, and because these aircraft are not lighted.
JAS also explored the possibility of military activity, but could find no evidence in support of this from any official source.
This case remains unexplained to this day, and the object and its source are undetermined.