SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) — American Airlines has said one of its pilots flying a passenger jet sent a radio transmission reporting an unidentified object flying at high speeds in skies above northern New Mexico during a flight last Sunday from Cincinnati to Phoenix.
A recording of the pilot’s transmission was made by Steve Douglass, a self-described “stealth chaser” from Amarillo. “Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us,” the pilot of American Airlines Flight 2292 told traffic controllers. “I hate to say this, but it looked like a long, cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing moving really fast right over the top of us.”
Douglass said on his blog, Deep Black Horizon, that a reply is not heard because air traffic “walked over it.” The Federal Aviation Administration did not immediately respond to requests seeking comment. But American Airlines confirmed the authenticity of the recording, saying the transmission came from the flight.
“Following a debrief with our Flight Crew and additional information received, we can confirm this radio transmission was from American Airlines Flight 2292 on Feb. 21,” American Airlines said in a statement. The statement referred further questions to the FBI.
“The FBI is aware of the reported incident,” the agency told the Albuquerque Journal. “While our policy is to neither confirm nor deny investigations, the FBI works continuously with our federal, state, local and tribal partners to share intelligence and protect the public.”
White Sands Missile Range spokesperson Scott Stearns told The Arizona Republic that the range in southern New Mexico conducted no tests on Sunday and that “we never test in that area.”
The range is the U.S. Department of Defense’s “largest, fully-instrumented, open-air range,” according to its website. “We have no knowledge of this. We’re not aware of anything,” said Lally Laksbergs, a spokeswoman at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque.
Douglass said that when the military conducts flight tests, it notifies the FAA, which makes sure there are no commercial airline flights in the area. He added: “If the military can’t explain what it is, what’s flying out there that we don’t know about?”