Nimitz Tic-Tac UFO
|Date:||November 14, 2004|
|Location:||At sea, near California coast|
|Appearance:||Egg shape, white, smooth, no wings|
|Sources:||To the Stars; New York Times; Washington Post|
|Summary:||Navy pilots see tic-tac shaped UFO|
Starting on November 10, 2004, the USS Princeton Navy cruiser had been detecting waves of 8 to 20 UFOs, operating in and around the vicinity of the Nimitz Strike Group 11 (off the coast of California). The vehicles of unknown origin and function were tracked on radar, with returns descending from somewhere higher than 80,000 ft. There were multiple witnesses to this, including the Operations Specialist Senior Chief Kevin Day and the Fire Controlman Petty Officer Gary Voorhis. They checked the radar systems, re-calibrated systems, checked with other vessels and found no indication of errors. The USS Nimitz also detected the UFOs as did a E-2 Hawkeye airborne early warning aircraft.
On November 14, 2004, Senior Chief Kevin Day saw 14 UFOs show up on the Princeton's radar. They were also picked up by the Nimitz. One of the UFOs descended rapidly from approximately 80000 feet (24000 m) down to approximately 50 feet in 0.78 seconds.
The Navy pilots can be heard trying to understand what they are seeing. "Thereís a whole fleet of them", one exclaims.
Two already airborne F-18 "Super Hornet" jets were ordered into the area. One jet was flown by CDR David Fravor, the other one by LCDR Jim Slaight. The weather was clear, no clouds, and unlimited visibility.
The pilots reported a large disturbance just under the surface of the ocean, round and 100 yards across. The disturbance looked like frothy waves and foam, as if the water were boiling.
Hovering 50 feet above the disturbance was a whitish craft of some kind, 45 feet (15 m) long, 15 feet wide (5 m) and oval in shape, resembling a giant "tic-tac". The craft was jumping around erratically, staying over the wave disturbance but not moving in any specific direction.
The UFO was smooth, with no wings or visible propulsion, and it made incredible and impossible maneuvers. Veteran pilot David Fravor, commander of the elite Black Aces unit, described the UFO's movement as follows:
"It's allmost like a ping pong ball. So when it goes right it can stop instantly and it goes back left, it goes straight forward, it is randomly moving around, very erratic".
Fravor began a circular descent to get a closer look. As he got nearer, the object began ascending toward him, as if it were coming to meet him halfway, he said. Next, Fravor headed straight for the object, and the "tic tac" reacted by taking off like a bullet fired from a gun. "It accelerated like nothing Iíve ever seen," Fravor said. He was, he said, "pretty weirded out" and "I have no idea what I saw. It had no plumes, wings or rotors and outran our F-18s. But I want to fly one"."
David Fravor also said in an interview:
"I don't believe the technology was developed here. And I mean like on this planet."
See: officially released footage by the jets' forward facing targeting cameras.
The two jets returned to the USS Nimitz and were replaced by a second flight of four more "Super Hornets". This flight of Super Hornets also encountered the UFO, but this time they got a "FLIR" video (Forward Looking Infra Red), which somehow made it to YouTube. Interestingly, in the video one pilot says: "Thereís a whole fleet of them."
Petty Officer Voorhis recalls that within twelve hours of the event, a helicopter landed on board. He was approached by non-uniformed personnel who asked him to relinquish all of the information including radar data, electronics information, data recordings and communications. He requested their ID but this was refused. He told the men that the Captain's permission was required and he received orders from the Captain to turn over all the information.
Jason Turner was on board the USS Princeton. He says that the FLIR video that has been released is nowhere near the quality of what he saw on that day. The original video was crystal clear and seven to ten minutes long. Turner claims that the video that has been circulating on the Internet is an edited and low quality version of the original one.
Dozens of Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests and appeals were made to the U.S. military to obtain information on the event, but information was denied. Finally, on March 7, 2017, Lt Col Robert Tomlinson stated in an email:
"I am definitely aware of the flying tic tac! We were aboard the USS Nimitz [...] CDR Fravor had the video footage on his ATFLIR and several pilots in VMFA-232 saw the video. I personally did not see the video, but I heard all about it. I believe our CO at the time, Lt Col Kurth observed the tic tac, and [...names deleted...] also observed the video footage."
As of April 2019, the U.S. Navy is drafting new guidelines for pilots and other personnel to report encounters with "unidentified aircraft," a significant new step in creating a formal process to collect and analyze the unexplained sightings. The move is in response to a series of sightings of unknown, highly advanced aircraft intruding on Navy strike groups and other sensitive military formations and facilities, the Navy says. Navy spokesman Joseph Gradisher stated on April 23:
"Since 2014, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as often as multiple times per month. We want to get to the bottom of this. We need to determine who's doing it, where it's coming from and what their intent is. We need to try to find ways to prevent it from happening again."
"There have been a number of reports of unauthorized and/or unidentified aircraft entering various military-controlled ranges and designated air space in recent years. For safety and security concerns, the Navy and the [U.S. Air Force] takes these reports very seriously and investigates each and every report."
"As part of this effort, the Navy is updating and formalizing the process by which reports of any such suspected incursions can be made to the cognizant authorities. A new message to the fleet that will detail the steps for reporting is in draft."
"In response to requests for information from Congressional members and staff, Navy officials have provided a series of briefings by senior Naval Intelligence officials as well as aviators who reported hazards to aviation safety."
A few days later, Gradisher added in a statement that the Navy expects to keep the information it gathers private for a number of reasons:
"Military aviation safety organizations always retain reporting of hazards to aviation as privileged information in order to preserve the free and honest prioritization and discussion of safety among aircrew. Furthermore, any report generated as a result of these investigations will, by necessity, include classified information on military operations. Therefore, no release of information to the general public is expected."
In the 26 May 2019 edition of the New York Times, an article appeared based on interviews which the authors conducted with five US Navy pilots. The pilots discussed sightings from the years 2014 and 2015 during Naval exercises, off the US East coast, off the states of Florida and Virginia.
There were UFOs which appeared almost daily from the summer of 2014 to March 2015. These things would be out there all day. The pilots reported to their superiors that the objects had no visible engine or infrared exhaust plumes, but that they could reach 30,000 feet and hypersonic speeds. Lieutenant Ryan Graves reported his sightings to the Pentagon and Congress. Lieutenant Graves still cannot explain what he saw. In the summer of 2014, he and Lt Danny Accoin, another Super Hornet pilot, were part of a squadron, the VFA-11 "Red Rippers" out of Naval Air Station Oceana. Lieutenant Accoin said a training missile on his jet locked on the object and his infrared camera picked it up as well. He said: "I know I had it. I know it was not a false hit. I could not pick it up visually."
In late 2014, a Super Hornet pilot had a near collision with one of the objects and an official report was filed. It looked to the pilot like a cube inside a translucent sphere.