Aviation Mysteries: 10 Strangest Aircraft Disappearances in History

7. Frederick Valentich

frederick-valentich-disappearance (Image: Ulfl, public domain)

Frederick Valentich was a 20-year-old member of the Air Training Corps; he’d had his pilot’s license for about a year when he disappeared over the water between Australia and Tasmania. He would disappear in a rented single-engine Cessna, picked up from the Moorabbin Airport in Melbourne and hired for only a quick, three and a half hour flight.

In October of 1978, he rented the plane to make his trip – his first attempt got canceled due to bad weather, and when he finally got underway on his next attempt, things started to go a little sideways just after sunset. Radio communications with Valentich are troubling regardless of what you believe.

The young pilot reported seeing another craft in the distance, four lights that seemed to be standing still. As communication goes on, he continues that the aircraft passed over him, and eventually began hovering above him. He described it as metallic-looking, with green lights, which believers in alien intelligence and UFOs say is very, very clearly an encounter with an extraterrestrial. Valentich reported engine trouble shortly after, and then disappeared.

There’s a handful of things that are weird about his disappearance, aside from his report of the strange craft. He originally gave two different reasons for his trip out to King Island, saying first that he was picking up some passengers, and then that he was picking up some crayfish – neither of which were on the island waiting for him. Because the landing strip he was heading to was unmanned most of the time, he would have had to call ahead to make sure someone was there to guide him in – which he never did.

frederick-valentich-disappearance-alien-abduction (Image: via Wikipedia)

But Valentich was also something of a UFO buff, and it’s been suggested that clearly, he was simply having a bit of fun with the air traffic controllers that were on the other end of the line for a good part of the radio communication. Fun turned deadly, though, when – during what was his first night flight – he became extremely disoriented and began to bank back and forth in an attempt to recover. It’s thought that in the process, he ended up crashing in the water – not unheard of, and a tragic accidental end. His last transmission, though, has given people plenty of opportunity to suggest that he was actually abducted by aliens – supporters of this theory include his father.


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About the author: Debra Kelly




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