The Mysterious Disappearance of Frederick Valentich

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One of the most intriguing cases of potential alien abduction is the strange tale of a young pilot by the name of Frederick Valentich. In the late 1970s he had an arial encounter with a UFO while performing a flight down the Australian coast. There are several compelling pieces of evidence that were left behind: radio transmissions, eyewitness accounts and a photograph of an unknown craft.

On October 21st, 1978 Frederick Valentich embarked on a 125 mile flight along the shores of Bass Strait. Valentich, a member of the Air Training Corps, had been flying for over two years and accumulated over 150 hours of solitary trips. He was employed by an airline company and aspired to become a commercial pilot. At 6:19 pm Valentich took off in his Cessna 182 from an airport just outside of Melbourne. The journey was routine and followed a route that the twenty-one year old pilot had travelled many times before. Unbeknownst to Valentich, this would be his final departure.

Just over halfway through the uneventful flight things began to take a bizarre turn. An unidentified flying object was hovering about 1,000 feet above his plane. The craft was described as being a long metallic object with four bright lights and flew at speeds that seemed unbelievable. Valentich told air traffic controllers that something was approaching him and seemed to be playing some sort of game. It would remain stationary then quickly orbit closer. His final words were: “It is not an aircraft.”

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Here is the actual transcript of the final communication between Frederick Valentich and the Melbourne Flight Services, as released by the Australian Department of Transport (the original audio recording is also available):

1906:14 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet. Is there any known traffic below five thousand?

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known traffic.

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I am, seems to be a large aircraft below five thousand.

1906:44 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, What type of aircraft is it?

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I cannot affirm, it is four bright, it seems to me like landing lights.

1907 FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1907:31 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet, the aircraft has just passed over me at least a thousand feet above.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, and it is a large aircraft, confirmed?

DSJ Er-unknown, due to the speed it’s traveling, is there any air force aircraft in the vicinity?

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known aircraft in the vicinity.

1908:18 DSJ Melbourne, it’s approaching now from due east towards me.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1908:41 DSJ (open microphone for two seconds.)

1908:48 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, it seems to me that he’s playing some sort of game, he’s flying over me two, three times at speeds I could not identify.

1909 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what is your actual level?

DSJ My level is four and a half thousand, four five zero zero.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, and you confirm you cannot identify the aircraft?

DSJ Affirmative.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, stand by.

1909:27 DSJ Melbourne, Delta Sierra Juliet, it’s not an aircraft it is (open microphone for two seconds).

1909:42 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, can you describe the -er- aircraft?

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, as it’s flying past it’s a long shape (open microphone for three seconds) cannot identify more than it has such speed (open microphone for three seconds). It’s before me right now Melbourne.

1910 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger and how large would the – er – object be?

1910:19 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, Melbourne, it seems like it’s stationary. What I’m doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also. It’s got a green light and sort of metallic like, it’s all shiny on the outside.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1910:46 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet (open microphone for three seconds) It’s just vanished.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1911 DSJ Melbourne, would you know what kind of aircraft I’ve got? Is it a military aircraft?

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, Confirm the – er – aircraft just vanished.

DSJ Say again.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, is the aircraft still with you?

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet; it’s (open microphone for two seconds) now approaching from the south-west.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet

1911:50 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, the engine is rough-idling. I’ve got it set at twenty three twenty-four and the thing is coughing.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what are your intentions?

DSJ My intentions are – ah – to go to King Island – ah – Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet.

1912:28 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet. Melbourne (open microphone for seventeen seconds).

During the final seventeen seconds there is an eerie metallic scraping that can be heard. A NASA researcher as well as the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have analyzed the transmission. Neither were able to identify the source of these sounds and to this day it remains a mystery.

After Valentich’s disappearance a massive search ensued. For four days a fleet of shipping vessels scoured the ocean. There were no signs of a crash or traces of any wreckage despite the Cessna’s design to float in the event it hit water. A witness who wished to remain anonymous approached investigators. He stated that on the evening of October 21st, while out with his family, they saw a bright green light flying above a small plane. Both of the crafts got closer to one another before they flew out of their view. Eleven other eyewitnesses came forward with observations that were all identical. Interestingly, in the month prior to Valentich’s incident, there had been a massive spike in UFO sightings in that area.

Manifold Photo
Roy Manifold’s strange photograph shows an unidentified flying object in the sky.

Roy Manifold, an amateur photographer, was at Cape Otway on the evening that Valentich vanished. He wanted to capture the sunset with his camera settings on an automatic exposure. During the shoot six photographs were taken in succession using the time-lapse setting. Once they were developed a puzzling anomaly was seen in the last picture: a strange object in the upper right corner. At first Manifold thought it might have been a developing error so it was sent in for analysis. There was neither dirt nor damage on the original negative. Other experts made a startling determination and concluded that the image showed a metallic object about a mile from the camera.

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This year Valentich would have been celebrating his sixtieth birthday. Nearly four decades later there are still far more questions than answers. While many theories as to the pilot’s ultimate fate have been proposed they all remain mere speculation. Whatever happened during that final flight will remain one of Australia’s greatest aviation mysteries. What do you think happened to Frederick Valentich? Might it be possible that he may one day resurface? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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