The case was one of many that was part of the recent special session in the Brazilian Federal Senate that celebrated 75 years of World UFO Day. It happened on May 19, 1986, it is one of the most amazing in ufology involving fighter jet pilots. For several hours, hundreds of witnesses, including the country’s military elite, saw up to 21 strange objects that seemed to move at a terrifying speed.
The first signs of something unusual were reported around 8:00 p.m. by the air traffic controller of the Brazilian Air Force, Sergeant Sergio Mota da Silva, who spotted a mysterious light in the sky from the control tower of an airport near the city of Sao Paulo. “It doesn’t go up or down, it doesn’t go left or right, it just stands there,” he reported. Mota asked the controllers at the Sao Paolo international airport if any planes were headed for his airfield, to which they said no.
At one point, the controller dimmed the airport runway lights, causing the objects to approach the control tower and then, as the brightness increased, they moved away. “If they were trying to interact with me, I don’t know. What I do know is that they behaved intelligently,” she said.
Around the same time, some 2,000 cadets and officers from an Air Force training school in the area reported seeing the lights.
Then, an hour later, a plane piloted by the president of aircraft manufacturer Embraer reported several objects in the sky as it landed at the same airport. The lights in the sky were also seen from two passenger planes, including one traveling through the interior of Brazil.
Chasing the unattainable
The Air Force then sprung into action and dispatched their fighters to intercept the objects, but it was no easy task as the pilots became disoriented by what was happening.
“Sometimes the pilots had visual contact with the targets, but the radars didn’t register anything,” Mota said. “Other times, the radars even detected the presence of objects, but the pilots couldn’t see them.”
Three aircraft were initially dispatched, including a Mirage F-103, which took off shortly before 11 p.m. with Captain Armindo Sousa Viriato at the controls. Soon, his high-performance fighter jet reached 1,000 mph (Mach 1.3), but as he approached one of the UFOs, it accelerated sharply to a speed he calculated to be 15 times the speed of sound (Mach 15)—that is. , 11,500 mph (18,375 km/h)—.
“If there is an airplane that can develop that speed, I don’t know about it,” he admitted in an interview a few years later.
Earlier, the first plane that had taken off, at around 10:34 p.m.—it was an F-5E piloted by Lieutenant Kleber Caldas Marinho—he described approaching the target “which stopped moving toward me and started to climb.”
“I followed contact until about 30,000 feet, when I lost radar contact and was left with only visual contact,” he recounted.
The game of cat and mouse
Brazilian UFO researcher Ademar José Gevaerd is convinced that alien technology “vastly superior to ours” was on display that night in 1986.
“Everything was very curious and unusual. From the size of the objects – the largest of them, probably the mothership of the fleet, was around 1.5 kilometers long – to their technology”, analyzed the journalist and editor of UFO magazine.
“At no time did they try to attack us. They played “cat and mouse” with us », he commented.
Meanwhile, the incredible events taking place in the sky had not gone unnoticed on the ground. Photographer Adenir Britto was working the night shift at his newspaper office when he received a tip that there was a “flying saucer” over his head. Initially assuming it was a prank, he went out with a reporter and, to his astonishment, saw the objects and began shooting his camera into the sky.
“It was a unique experience in my career. I never saw anything like that again,” Britto acknowledged. “Until then, I didn’t care if I believed in UFOs or not; but I came to have a different view of this mysterious world. There was no way I couldn’t change my mind, after all I had the privilege of being an eyewitness and photographic witness.”
In another twist to the story, two Air Force officers, accompanied by American UFO researcher James J. Hurtak, appeared in the newspaper about a month later. They demanded that the publisher show them the negatives of the photos on the pretext that they wanted them to be analyzed by NASA. Since then, such negatives were never seen again…
The incredible events were soon leaked and began to receive extensive coverage in the media. This led the Minister of the Air Force, Brigadier Octávio Júlio Moreira Lima, to hold an unprecedented press conference in which the pilots recounted what had happened.
“Ground control advised me that there were several contacts ahead of me approximately thirty kilometers away,” said one. “They also warned me that the contacts were coming from behind and they were lighting up until they were three kilometers behind me. I had to swoop in and as I did, the contacts started going up.”
Ground controllers told another pilot that he was being chased by thirteen UFOs, six on one side and seven on the other.
Finally, Octávio Moreira Lima was forced to admit: “We have no explanation.”
A 2009 Air Force report on the so-called “Night of the UFOs” concluded that its top brass “are of the opinion that the phenomena are robust and reflect, in some way, intelligence.”
This was due “to the ability to follow and maintain a distance from observers, as well as to fly in formation”.
British ufologist Gary Heseltine, former police detective and vice president of the International Coalition for Extraterrestrial Research, attended the special session of the Brazilian Senate on June 24, 2022 and gave his opinion on the incident.
“What is impressive is that the entire incident lasted for several hours from the first sightings and there were fighter jets from various airports,” Heseltine said. “And these things just played cat and mouse. How often do you find yourself in a situation where you put jets into dogfights with objects they can’t even get close to?
“When you have testimony from multiple pilots, backed up by audio, visual, radar, you have to take it seriously. These people are trained to the highest level. We trust them with our lives to fight a war, so why shouldn’t we trust them when they say they’ve encountered these things?” he concluded.