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UFOs have been sighted by pilots and aircraft for decades, yet some of these truly stand out as something special. What has become known as being one of the earliest official UFO reports from a commercial airline crew began as a normal flight. On July 23, 1948, chief pilot Clarence Chiles and co-pilot John Whitted took off for a routine 7-hour flight from Houston, Texas to Atlanta, Georgia, aboard their Eastern Air Lines Douglas DC-3 passenger plane along with twenty passengers. The weather was clear and calm, and both pilots were very experienced, with distinguished flying careers during World War II, so there would have been no reason to think that this would be anything more than a typical, uneventful flight, but this would soon prove not to be the case at all, and it would propel itself into the realm of great UFO mysteries.

At approximately 2:45 AM on July 24, the plane was in the skies near Montgomery, Alabama, at an altitude of 5,000 feet when Chiles’ attention was drawn to what he would describe as “a dull red glow above and ahead of the aircraft,” and he mentioned it to Whitted, who also saw it. They at first took to be a military plane, but it would soon prove to be anything but, as it rapidly closed in on their position with astonishing speed in a horizontal path and silently whizzed by before shooting straight up into the sky while belching forth “a tremendous burst of flame out of its rear.” The proximity of the strange craft had been such that they had been forced to bank in an evasive maneuver, and Chiles would say of the encounter:

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Category: Weird Desk