1977 - Civilian Pilot Encounters Black Cigar-shaped UFO

Date: July 1 1977
Time: 2.10 pm
Location: Temuka, South Canterbury, South Island
Aircraft: PA 28 (Piper Cherokee)
Witness/es: Pilot, M. Aronsen
The witness had been a pilot of the 13 years and was a former traffic officer.
The pilot was on a short flight in the vicinity of Temuka when he sighted a UFO. Weather conditions at the time were 1/8 to 1/4 cloud cover at approximately 20,000 feet.

  • angle as seen from observer - approximately 30° below from 7,500 feet amsl.
  • altitude of object - estimated 1,800 to 2,000 feet
  • initial speed - estimated 110 km, then to unknown speed
The pilot was at an altitude of approximately 7,500 feet AMSL. He was aware of an inbound F27 (Fokker Friendship) transport aircraft, and had heard the local air traffic service advise the F27 that a Cessna 180 was northbound in the area. He sighted the F27 on long finals about 5 miles northwest of to Temuka, at an estimated altitude of 2,000 feet, about 1 mile west of his position.

What caught his attention was the close proximity of an object, which he at first thought to be the C180, however, upon closer examination he realized that the F27 was being followed by what appeared to be a black cigar-shaped object. This object seemed to be enveloped in a ‘heat haze’ (shimmering air) and was positioned to the starboard rear and slightly above the F27 at a distance of approximately 400 metres, and was maintaining position.

(Artist's impression)

The pilot watched this for about three seconds, and then told his passenger to, “Have a look at that thing” However, the passenger was unable to visually locate even the F27, so the pilot turned towards the object and commenced to dive towards it, to intercept it. He reached maximum airframe speed in doing so.

The UFO at this stage stopped dead and hovered for approximately 2 seconds, before accelerating sharply away on a heading of about 290° magnetic. The rate of climb and acceleration was far in excess of anything the pilot had seen before, and the object was lost to sight in about five seconds.

The crew of the F27 would not have been aware of the presence of the UFO, and the fact that the passenger in PA28 was unable to see the object did not concern the pilot, as the passenger was a ‘non-flying type’, and the visual location of an aircraft in flight is a matter of practice.

The object was about 10 to 15 metres in length. The pilot stated that in his 13 years of part-time flying he had never seen anything to compare with that. He was at the time quite startled to see a transport aircraft being followed by a UFO, but he elected to remain silent at the time because of ‘lack of evidence.’

This report is interesting considering that the following year on December 31, 1978, a UFO appeared to approach close enough to an Argosy aircraft that their ‘blips’ merged on Wellington ATC radar screens. It is also interesting to note that when the Argosy was approaching Christchurch airport, a UFO followed it in and overshot the runway.

The pilot’s diagram of the incident shows the UFO stopped, then reversed its course when the pilot began his dive to investigate. This would not be the flight characteristic of a conventional aircraft.

The pilot’s drawing shows an object slightly more oval than cigar-shaped, bisected by a horizontal flange or ring.

Source: Fred & Phyllis Dickeson’s ‘Xenolog’ Magazine, Summer Edition 1978


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