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For the better part of the last century, pilots have reported sightings of unusual aerial objects or vehicles that they could not identify.

Students of the history of this subject will recognize that it has an integral relationship with aviation. During the summer of 1947, civilian pilot Kenneth Arnold had been inadvertently responsible for bringing widespread public attention to what thereafter, for a time, became known as “flying saucers,” following his observation of a group of objects whose movement reminded him of how a saucer might look skipping across the water.

Arnold wasn’t the first pilot to report seeing such uncanny objects in the skies. It would come to light years later that on April 5, 1943, aviation writer and pilot Gerry Casey had been supervising a student pilot in a BT-13A when he observed a peculiar, radiant orange object nearby. The aircraft was elliptical in shape with a rounded hump visible on the top and bottom, and the object appeared to wobble slightly as it flew alongside them and then suddenly accelerated and left their sight.

Casey, who had been carrying a camera with him during the flight, was concerned that what he had observed was one of Lockheed’s new experimental aircraft, and out of concern for national security, refrained from photographing the object.

Such sightings have continued into the present day, and regardless of what the source of these objects may be, one thing remains clear: whether directly or indirectly, unidentified flying objects (UFOs), or unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) as the U.S. military now prefers to call them, represent a concern for aviators.

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