Something quite out of the ordinary occurred in the skies over Oregon on October 25th, 2017. A mystery aircraft was flying in daylight hours among the steady stream of airliners that traverse from south to north, between locales in California and Nevada and cities like Portland and Seattle and beyond. The incident began, at least as best we can tell, around 4:30pm near the California-Oregon border and resulted in multiple pilot eyewitnesses, recorded air traffic control audio, and eventual confirmations from both the FAA and North American Aerospace Command (NORAD) that it did indeed occur.
The first inklings of the story came to me shortly after the incident occurred from friends of mine in the aviation world. Sparse on details at the time, it sounded like it was probably just another one of the often misconstrued incidents that happen in the skies around the US everyday—ones where aircraft with inoperable radios or transponders stray into areas they shouldn't. And sometimes these occurrences result in local fighter jets paying the wayward aircraft a visit at the direction of NORAD. But days after initially blowing off the incident, it later began to seem that there was indeed more to the story than just than another "NORDO" private aircraft or lackadaisical pilot.