Coyne Helicopter Incident

Date: October 18, 1973
Location: Mansfield, Ohio, USA
Appearance: Cylinder, 20 m x 5 m
Classification: CE 2
Sources: Jennie Zeidman; CUFOS; UNO meeting
Summary: Near midair collision between helicopter and UFO

On October 18, 1973, a US Army Reserve helicopter crew of four men was flying over Mansfield, Ohio, around 11:05 p.m. when they encountered a near midair collision with a UFO. An official report was signed and submitted by the crew after the incident, both to the Army and to the FAA. Jennie Zeidman conducted an investigation of the incident for the Center for UFO Studies (CUFOS).

The crew of the Huey helicopter consisted of Capt. Lawrence Coyne, pilot in command, Lt. Arrigo Jezzi, Sergeant Robert Yanacsek, and Sergeant John Healey. They were flying at about 2500 feet when crew chief Yanacsek observed a red light on the horizon. They thought at first that it was a radio tower beacon. As the light was closing on the helicopter, it was coming on a collision course, at an estimated speed of more than 600 mph. Coyne took over the controls from Jezzi, and began to descend the helicopter toward the ground, to get out of the collision course path. Coyne stated:

"... we braced for impact, and then I heard the crewmen in the back say, 'Look up!' and I observed this craft stopped directly in front of us - stopped - it was hovering, right over the helicopter!"

With the unknown object hovering in the air above the helicopter, Coyne and his crew suddenly noticed a light coming out of it, a light that came into their cabin.

"It was a bright green light. And all of the red night lights that we utilize for night navigation were dissolved in this green light - the whole cabin turned green."

"[the UFO] stopped directly in front of us, then all four of us realized that was no high-performance aircraft. This craft, from the angle that we saw it, was cigar-shaped. It had no wings, no vertical or horizontal stabilizer, was approximately 60 feet long, 15-20 feet in height."

"We were at 1700 feet (550 m)," Coyne recalled. "Then this craft began to move slowly to the west away from us. At this time, I was worried we were going to hit the ground, and I looked at my altimeter and our helicopter was at 3500 feet, climbing 1000 feet a minute with no changes in the control. We went from 1700 feet to 3500 feet in a matter of seconds and never knew it!"

It was as if the UFO had pulled the helicopter upwards. The helicopter topped out at 3800 feet (1250 m) and the four men felt a bump, "like turbulence, at which time we had control of the aircraft again. I had control and we went back down to 2500 feet and then continued on to Cleveland," Coyne said.

Co-pilot Jezzi said: "The object was cigar-shaped, metallic grey, with a dome on top."
Staff Sergeant Healey: "It was about 60 feet long, without any portholes or intake openings that we could see. At first it was just showing a red light in nose. Then a green spotlight at the back swept around and shone into our cabin."

Ground witnesses were found by William Jones and Warren Nicholson, independent UFO researchers from Columbus. Mrs. Erma DeLong and four adolescents were driving south from Mansfield to their home. Two of the children, both age thirteen, jumped from the car and observed both a helicopter and the object, which they described as "like a blimp," "as big as a school bus," "sort of pear shaped." The UFO took a hovering position over the helicopter, an estimated 500 feet back from the road and 500 feet above the trees. The UFO's green light then flared up. "It was like rays coming down," the witnesses said. "The helicopter, the trees, the road, the car - everything turned green."

The Army didn't prevent Coyne and his crew from speaking out about their experience. In fact, Coyne was allowed to recount the UFO incident to the United Nations in 1978.

National Enquirer awarded the crew with $5,000 for the Best UFO Case of 1973.