Pushback from Researchers Continues in the Face of Latest Navy Pilot UFO Release


The latest release of UFO-related information from Navy pilots is seeing continued pushback from researchers.

The release was published as an interview in the New York Times on May 26th.

In the interview, five Navy pilots reportedly told the newspaper that unidentified flying objects were an “almost daily” occurrence from the summer of 2014 through March 2015. These objects were said to have no visible engines or exhaust plumes, could reach hypersonic speeds, and had a flight ceiling of at least 30,000 feet.

Both Lieutenant Ryan Graves and Lieutenant Danny Accoin agreed to go on record about their experiences with both the New York Times and for the History Channel UFO docuseries Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation—a project created in tandem with To the Stars…Academy of Arts & Science (TTSA), a public benefit corporation created in 2017 to study UFOs.

“These things would be out there all day,” said Lt. Graves

Lieutenant Graves is an F/A-18 Super Hornet pilot and 10 year Navy veteran who reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress.

“Keeping an aircraft in the air requires a significant amount of energy," he continued. "With the speeds we observed, 12 hours in the air is 11 hours longer than we’d expect.”

The increase in sighting activity came after the Navy upgraded their 1980s-era radar to a more advanced system, said the pilots, who were part of the VFA-11 "Red Rippers" squadron out of Naval Air Station Oceana in Virginia.

At first, the pilots thought that their equipment was malfunctioning.

“People have seen strange stuff in military aircraft for decades,” Lt. Graves said. “We’re doing this very complex mission, to go from 30,000 feet, diving down. It would be a pretty big deal to have something up there.”

But the objects continued to be seen, and so the pilots speculated that they must belong to a secret drone program—until their squadron mate almost collided with one.

“I almost hit one of those things,” a fellow pilot told Lt. Graves, after he and his wingman had a near-miss with a "sphere encasing a cube" over the Atlantic Ocean off of Virginia Beach.

An aviation flight safety report was filed, and the angered squadron was convinced that these objects were not part of any classified drone program—reasoning that government officials would know of the program and not send drones to be in their way.

“It turned from a potentially classified drone program to a safety issue,” Lt. Graves said. “It was going to be a matter of time before someone had a midair collision."

Although they noted the objects were capable of performing maneuvers that would be impossible with any human pilot, they refused to speculate on the nature of the craft.

“We’re here to do a job, with excellence, not make up myths," said Lt. Accoin.

The interview represents the latest in a series of “disclosures” by Department of Defense personnel regarding UFOs that began with an article published to the New York Times in 2017.

Many are hopeful that these recent announcements by governmental agencies represent progress towards UFO disclosure, since the new reporting guidelines—and general acknowledgment of the issue—could represent increased public acceptance of UFOs, and may come, at least in part, as a result of the frustration felt by pilots who have witnessed the seemingly impossible aircraft.

But many current UFO researchers are unconvinced that the string of news stories represents anything deserving of the level of importance it’s being assigned in the media. Critics question what the government has to gain from releasing this information now, how much they’re manipulating the media, and whether or not the new docuseries on History Channel is simply part of their marketing machine.

Fortean researcher John Tenney expressed doubt in the government’s narrative this week on Twitter, following several posts that showed similar stories released in the media dating back to 1950.

"Relying on the government and private businesses to validate your belief of the existence of UFO phenomena is the same as relying on churches and ministers to validate your belief of the existence of a God," said Tenney.

Also questioned by Tenney was the media’s active participation in the narrative of the story they’re reporting; several journalists associated closely with the government releases will appear in Unidentified: Inside America’s UFO Investigation.

"Common media, especially in these days, is hungry for content, hungrier than they've ever been as they evolve away from their traditional forms and race to stay relevant," he said.

Researcher and author Joshua Cutchin had concerns similar to Tenney, wondering what made the current revelations much different from previous government UFO programs.

Tenney and Cutchin are known for questioning traditional narratives regarding the UFO phenomenon, including the Extraterrestrial Hypothesis (ETH) and the scientific materialist paradigm that says UFOs must represent physical craft.

It remains to be seen what, if any, concrete answers will be forthcoming from the upcoming docuseries or if further government releases regarding the phenomenon will be made public.

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