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Frederick Valentich Disappearance (Australia; 1978)

A

Anonymous

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Frederick Valentich

This is a case that's always fascinated me, and is perhaps the most convincing case of a possible alien abduction, certainly when compared to the hypnotic regression and rectal probe gang. The details are posted here, in particular the transcript of the conversation between Valentich and the control tower.
So what happened - alien abduction, practical joke or a terrible accident suffered by an inexperienced and disorientated pilot?
 
A

Anonymous

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Here's a link to a page that gives a transcript of the conversation between Valentich and the tower.
The original link is dead. The MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/20020213025730/http://home.clara.net/dak2/unex12.htm

Here's the (non-copyrighted) transcribed text:

Transcript between Melbourne ATC & Frederick Valentich (Delta Sierra Juliet)

1906:14 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet. Is there any known traffic below five thousand?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known traffic.
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I am, seems to be a large aircraft below five thousand.
1906:44 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, What type of aircraft is it?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I cannot affirm, it is four bright, it seems to me like landing lights.
1907 FS Delta Sierra Juliet.
1907:31 DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet, the aircraft has just passed over me at least a thousand feet above.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, and it is a large aircraft, confirmed?
DSJ Er-unknown, due to the speed it's travelling, is there any air force aircraft in the vicinity?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known aircraft in the vicinity.
1908:18 DSJ Melbourne, it's approaching now from due east towards me.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet.
1908:41 DSJ (open microphone for two seconds.)
1908:48 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, it seems to me that he's playing some sort of game, he's flying over me two, three times at speeds I could not identify.
1909 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what is your actual level?
DSJ My level is four and a half thousand, four five zero zero.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, and you confirm you cannot identify the aircraft?
DSJ Affirmative.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, stand by.
1909:27 DSJ Melbourne, Delta Sierra Juliet, it's not an aircraft it is (open microphone for two seconds).
1909:42 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, can you describe the -er- aircraft?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, as it's flying past it's a long shape (open microphone for three seconds) cannot identify more than it has such speed (open microphone for three seconds). It's before me right now Melbourne.
1910 FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger and how large would the - er - object be?
1910:19 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, Melbourne, it seems like it's stationary. What I'm doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also. It's got a green light and sort of metallic like, it's all shiny on the outside.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet
1910:46 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet (open microphone for three seconds) It's just vanished.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet
1911 DSJ Melbourne, would you know what kind of aircraft I've got? Is it a military aircraft?
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, Confirm the - er ~ aircraft just vanished.
DSJ Say again.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, is the aircraft still with you?
DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet; it's (open microphone for two seconds) now approaching from the south-west.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet
1911:50 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, the engine is rough-idling. I've got it set at twenty three twenty-four and the thing is coughing.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what are your intentions?
DSJ My intentions are - ah - to go to King Island - ah - Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again (open microphone for two seconds). It is hovering and it's not an aircraft.
FS Delta Sierra Juliet.
1912:28 DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet. Melbourne (open microphone for seventeen seconds).

Other sites mention that
a) there was a UFO flap in the area at the time
b) Valentich was a UFO enthusiast
So, I'm prepared to believe that he started out to hoax the control tower with a false UFO report and some fancy flying- then found himself in real trouble with a failing engine. Possibly.
 
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A

Anonymous

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Wait a second, he was a UFO enthusiast?? I never heard that one, and pretty darned significant if it's true.
The reason I brought this up was I was watching a TV prog on The Bermuda Triangle (sigh) but had some interesting stuff about how easy it is to get disorientated flying solo at sea (vertigo) and completely lose track of where you are, what angle you're flying at, and where the sea and sky are. I'd imagine a 20 year old pilot would fly in a similar style to a teen in an Escort.
 

Zilch5

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30 Years on - and they are still looking for answers:

30 years on: UFO mystery still vivid
Mark Russell
October 12, 2008
It was Victoria's very own X-File: a world-famous mystery that remains unsolved 30 years after a young pilot disappeared over Bass Strait.

Steve Robey remembers it like it was yesterday. The now-retired air traffic controller was working the night shift at the Melbourne Flight Service Unit on Saturday, October 21, 1978, when the call came in at 7.06pm.

Pilot Frederick Valentich, flying from Moorabbin Airport to King Island to pick up some crayfish, reported that a strange aircraft was "playing a game with him" and he wanted to know if any military planes were in the area.

Both men were puzzled as there was no known air traffic in the vicinity apart from the 20-year-old RAAF air training corp instructor's plane.

Mr Valentich reported that the unknown aircraft had four bright lights and had buzzed him a number of times at great speed.

He told Mr Robey the object was orbiting on top of him and "it's got a green light and is sort of metallic, like it's all shiny on the outside".

Then it vanished.

Mr Valentich, who had had his pilot's licence for two years, said his plane's engines began rough idling and coughing when the object reappeared. He told Mr Robey he planned to continue flying to King Island.

Then came the message that the object had suddenly reappeared above him. "That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again … it is hovering and it's not an aircraft."

They were Mr Valentich's last words. A still unidentified metallic noise came over the radio during the next 17 seconds, then the transmission ended abruptly.

Mr Valentich and his single-engine Cessna 182L were never seen again, despite an exhaustive seven-day land and sea search. A Department of Transport investigation concluded that the disappearance could not be explained.

Mr Robey, now 61, told The Sunday Age that Mr Valentich was obviously distressed. While not prepared to say he believed Mr Valentich had been abducted by aliens, Mr Robey said he still could not explain the incident.

Asked if he believed in UFOs, Mr Robey said: "Yes, I suppose I do, but not in the definition of spaceships and little green men. I mean, you've got to have an open mind about these things."

On the night Mr Valentich disappeared, there were hundreds of UFO sightings reported from Geelong, Frankston, Cape Otway and Brighton. Some people described the object as brilliantly lit, oblong in shape, and moving quickly.

A woman at Queenscliff said she saw what appeared to be a ferris wheel spinning in the sky less than two hours after Mr Valentich's plane disappeared.

The Valentich case became world news and the pilot's family - father Guido, mother Alberta, brother Richard (12 at the time) and twin sisters Olivia and Lara (aged 4) - were thrust into a media frenzy.

Mr Robey, who befriended Guido, said the incident devastated the family.

"Losing your son in such strange, controversial circumstances was just unbelievable. Alberta pined for the loss of her son but Guido was the one who really wanted to find out what had happened to him," Mr Robey said.

Mr Valentich snr, who died in 2000, joined the Victorian UFO Research Centre and never gave up hope that his son was alive and had been abducted by aliens. He conducted a vigil at Cape Otway every year on the anniversary of his disappearance and erected a memorial plaque there in 1998.

Ric Wilson, an aviation consultant with the Australian UFO Research Network, urged the State Government to conduct a new search for the Valentich plane off Cape Otway to try to solve the mystery.


Source: http://tinyurl.com/46sfks
 

eburacum

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I don't have an explanation for the Valentich case; it is quite spooky but extraordinarily low on proof. The geezer vanished; no-one knows what happened.
 
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Zilch5

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eburacum said:
I don't have an explanation for the Valentich case; it is quite spooky but extraordinarily low on proof. The geezer vanished; no-one knows what happened.

After reporting a giant aircraft with extraordinary speed - sure something's up there - that doesn't happen a lot!
 

eburacum

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Bigfoot73 said:
The Valentich case is one of the very few in which nobody has ever found a possible mundane explanation.
Well, that is not really true. Valentich started reporting bizarre 'traffic' in the sky, then his plane vanished; if we are looking for an explanation that doesn't include extraterrestrial spacecraft, the obvious conclusion is that he became delusional and crashed his plane, possibly far off course. There is no evidence for this, apart from the strange content of his last messages and the fact that the plane was never found on the sea-bed along the route.

This is a 'possible mundane explanation', and is in fact much more plausible than imagining that his plane was scooped up like something out of Star Trek or This Island Earth.
 

smoothvirus

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eburacum said:
Bigfoot73 said:
The Valentich case is one of the very few in which nobody has ever found a possible mundane explanation.
Well, that is not really true. Valentich started reporting bizarre 'traffic' in the sky, then his plane vanished; if we are looking for an explanation that doesn't include extraterrestrial spacecraft, the obvious conclusion is that he became delusional and crashed his plane, possibly far off course. There is no evidence for this, apart from the strange content of his last messages and the fact that the plane was never found on the sea-bed along the route.

This is a 'possible mundane explanation', and is in fact much more plausible than imagining that his plane was scooped up like something out of Star Trek or This Island Earth.

I am a pilot myself, though I haven't flown in a while. I also had quite a bit of instrument training.

Anyway one thing I wondered about when reading accounts of this case was if Valentich had gotten disoriented, inverted his aircraft, and was actually flying close to the oceans surface and seeing the reflection of his own aircraft in the water.

Sounds far-fetched but there are cases of pilots who got into instrument conditions, got visually disoriented, and actually got inverted without even realizing they were flying upside down!
 

rynner2

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smoothvirus said:
Anyway one thing I wondered about when reading accounts of this case was if Valentich had gotten disoriented, inverted his aircraft, and was actually flying close to the oceans surface and seeing the reflection of his own aircraft in the water.

Sounds far-fetched but there are cases of pilots who got into instrument conditions, got visually disoriented, and actually got inverted without even realizing they were flying upside down!
Wiki comments on this theory:
Another proposed explanation[15] is that Valentich became disoriented and was flying upside down. What he thought he saw, if this were the case, would be his own aircraft's lights reflected in the water. He would then have crashed into the water. This was ruled out by aviation authorities, as the Cessna 182 has a high wing with a gravity feed fuel system, making prolonged inverted flight impossible in this model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentich_ ... nventional
 

smoothvirus

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rynner2 said:
smoothvirus said:
Anyway one thing I wondered about when reading accounts of this case was if Valentich had gotten disoriented, inverted his aircraft, and was actually flying close to the oceans surface and seeing the reflection of his own aircraft in the water.

Sounds far-fetched but there are cases of pilots who got into instrument conditions, got visually disoriented, and actually got inverted without even realizing they were flying upside down!
Wiki comments on this theory:
Another proposed explanation[15] is that Valentich became disoriented and was flying upside down. What he thought he saw, if this were the case, would be his own aircraft's lights reflected in the water. He would then have crashed into the water. This was ruled out by aviation authorities, as the Cessna 182 has a high wing with a gravity feed fuel system, making prolonged inverted flight impossible in this model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentich_ ... nventional

Well, hey, you're right, I had not thought of that, but the C182 is indeed a gravity-fed fuel system.
 

eburacum

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rynner2 said:
smoothvirus said:
Anyway one thing I wondered about when reading accounts of this case was if Valentich had gotten disoriented, inverted his aircraft, and was actually flying close to the oceans surface and seeing the reflection of his own aircraft in the water.

Sounds far-fetched but there are cases of pilots who got into instrument conditions, got visually disoriented, and actually got inverted without even realizing they were flying upside down!
Wiki comments on this theory:
Another proposed explanation[15] is that Valentich became disoriented and was flying upside down. What he thought he saw, if this were the case, would be his own aircraft's lights reflected in the water. He would then have crashed into the water. This was ruled out by aviation authorities, as the Cessna 182 has a high wing with a gravity feed fuel system, making prolonged inverted flight impossible in this model.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentich_ ... nventional
I'm not entirely convinced by the 'flying upside-down' theory, but Valentich mentions 'circling' a number of times; he may have been flying at a highly inclined angle, and able to see his lights reflected in the sea at an apparently elevated angle compared to his own frame of reference.

In any case he did not remain in the air- he did almost certainly crash into the water, so he might have been completely upside down towards the end of the event.
 

rynner2

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eburacum said:
I'm not entirely convinced by the 'flying upside-down' theory, but Valentich mentions 'circling' a number of times; he may have been flying at a highly inclined angle, and able to see his lights reflected in the sea at an apparently elevated angle compared to his own frame of reference.
Assuming he was circling 'at a highly inclined angle', the reflection of his lights would still have been 'below the horizontal' (as defined by the aircraft), and couldn't have led to reports of an object 'above' him.

IE, if his wings were 70 degrees to the sea horizon, any reflection of his own lights would have appeared to be about 20 degrees below the level of his wings.

There's also the point that'd you'd need a calm sea to see any reflections at all, but even in quiet weather the Bass Strait "particularly because of its limited depth, [] is notoriously rough" (because of tidal currents).

"Strong currents between the Antarctic-driven southeast portions of the Indian Ocean and the Tasman Sea's Pacific Ocean waters provide a strait of powerful, wild storm waves. To illustrate its wild strength, Bass Strait is both twice as wide and twice as rough as the English Channel."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bass_Strait

So for me, flying upside down, or at a steep angle, does not seem a likely explanation for this particular mystery.
 

Zilch5

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Bass Straight is indeed very rough - I don't buy the upside down theory for one second. Whatever happened to Valentich, it must have been very unusual indeed.
 

eburacum

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rynner2 said:
Assuming he was circling 'at a highly inclined angle', the reflection of his lights would still have been 'below the horizontal' (as defined by the aircraft), and couldn't have led to reports of an object 'above' him.

IE, if his wings were 70 degrees to the sea horizon, any reflection of his own lights would have appeared to be about 20 degrees below the level of his wings.
If he were making a steep turn around an axis that was itself inclined to the horizontal, at the top of the turn the sea may well have been above him.

However this would have occurred at the top of an almost vertical turn- and therefore at the furthest distance away from the sea, so any reflection would have been very faint.
 

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emina

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gncxx said:
emina said:
rynner2 said:
Naughty_Felid said:
Never heard of this one: "It is hovering and it's not an aircraft" :shock:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Valentich_Disappearance
It's been mentioned several times on this MB, and not only in the UFO forum. But it is one of the best UFO cases, IMHO.

Seems to me like the guy just did a Reggie Perrin ;)

But where would he have landed?

Well, according to the link:

"even taking into account a trip of between 30 and 45 minutes to Cape Otway, the aircraft still had enough fuel to fly 800 kilometres; despite ideal conditions, at no time was the aircraft plotted on radar, casting doubts as to whether it was ever near Cape Otway; and Melbourne Police received reports of a light aircraft making a mysterious landing not far from Cape Otway at the same time as Valentich's disappearance."
 

GNC

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Yeah, but the plane disappeared too. Did he hide it in nearby bushes? Assuming it was Valentich piloting it.
 

emina

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A fair point, but if we assume for arguments sake that it was him; in the absence of any information we can only speculate as to how long he and the plane stayed there after it touched down. He might have headed off somewhere else.

He had plenty of fuel, and let's face it, if it was possible for a man in a light aircraft to fly across the Soviet Union and land in Red Square without anybody noticing, I don't think it's unreasonable to assume that he could've got quite far in Australia without being noticed. Given Australia's size and geography, I'm sure there'd have been no shortage of takers for a cheap second hand plane or shortage of places to hide one.
 

rynner2

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Why would a young man with a future choose to disappear and sever all links with friends and family? What was out there for him better than what he already had? That's a conspiracy theory too far for me.
 

emina

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Well we all have to find our own balance of proof :)

The Reggie Perrin scenario might seem far-fetched, true. But are aliens any less far-fetched? How far-fetched is suicide?

Sadly, outwardly content people do sometimes disappear or commit suicide. Not common thankfully, but it does happen. This thread is testament to the fact. The reasons for suicide aren't always immediately obvious to family, colleagues or friends for a number of reasons; A secret love affair goes wrong, a secret gambling debt is called in, a sudden piece of bad news causes someone to flip / over-react, someone is blackmailed or wracked with guilt or self-hatred due to a dark secret from the past, someone can't reconcile their religious views with their sexuality, someone has voices in their head etc.

I'm not saying any of these were the case here. These are just some examples. And although fairly rare, I would still say that suicide or even a deliberate disappearance is still more likely than any extra-terrestrial explanation.
 

AngelAlice

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emina said:
Well we all have to find our own balance of proof :)

The Reggie Perrin scenario might seem far-fetched, true. But are aliens any less far-fetched? How far-fetched is suicide?

Sadly, outwardly content people do sometimes disappear or commit suicide. Not common thankfully, but it does happen. This thread is testament to the fact. The reasons for suicide aren't always immediately obvious to family, colleagues or friends for a number of reasons; A secret love affair goes wrong, a secret gambling debt is called in, a sudden piece of bad news causes someone to flip / over-react, someone is blackmailed or wracked with guilt or self-hatred due to a dark secret from the past, someone can't reconcile their religious views with their sexuality, someone has voices in their head etc.

I'm not saying any of these were the case here. These are just some examples. And although fairly rare, I would still say that suicide or even a deliberate disappearance is still more likely than any extra-terrestrial explanation.

I think this is one of those situations when 'probability' ceases to have much meaning. Too many imponderables. All you can do is accept not knowing. Damn weird though. :shock:
 

Naughty_Felid

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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN_MWQhEiXo

From the Unexplained Files a good piece on this classic case with lots of interviews including Robey the guy at the Airport that was the last person to talk to Valentich. The actual recording of the metallic sounds. Interviews with witnesses who saw two parallel tubes, joined by two smaller tubes flying in the area of the Cesna - one interviewee saw it buzz the plane.

It's truly one of the weirdest cases. It's sad that nothing esle is heard from Valentich after he says "it is hovering and It's not a aircraft..."

You wonder what happened was he knocked out or was it the communication that was just cut?
 

kamalktk

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Naughty_Felid said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN_MWQhEiXo

From the Unexplained Files a good piece on this classic case with lots of interviews including Robey the guy at the Airport that was the last person to talk to Valentich. The actual recording of the metallic sounds. Interviews with witnesses who saw two parallel tubes, joined by two smaller tubes flying in the area of the Cesna - one interviewee saw it buzz the plane.

It's truly one of the weirdest cases. It's sad that nothing esle is heard from Valentich after he says "it is hovering and It's not a aircraft..."

You wonder what happened was he knocked out or was it the communication that was just cut?
Is there somewhere to listen to the metallic sounds? I watched that video but it did not include them.
 

Naughty_Felid

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kamalktk said:
Naughty_Felid said:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nN_MWQhEiXo

From the Unexplained Files a good piece on this classic case with lots of interviews including Robey the guy at the Airport that was the last person to talk to Valentich. The actual recording of the metallic sounds. Interviews with witnesses who saw two parallel tubes, joined by two smaller tubes flying in the area of the Cesna - one interviewee saw it buzz the plane.

It's truly one of the weirdest cases. It's sad that nothing esle is heard from Valentich after he says "it is hovering and It's not a aircraft..."

You wonder what happened was he knocked out or was it the communication that was just cut?
Is there somewhere to listen to the metallic sounds? I watched that video but it did not include them.

It's aired on Discovery channel and knowing Discovery it will be repeated. The sound was a sort of repetitive scratching.
 

Naughty_Felid

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Just watched the doco again you can't help feeling how genuine everyone is. The eye witness accounts are all Aussie blokes from an era where you wouldn't come out with this stuff unless it happened.

Bit like SpookDaddy's post in the ghost thread about people working on the London Underground. Basically people never talked about stuff that they saw, but if they did it you tended to believe them.
 

Lord Lucan

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The Frederick Valentich memorial plaque in honour of the young pilot who vanished off Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia in 1978. He radioed in to say a mysterious craft, not a plane was hovering over him before he vanished. No trace of his aircraft was ever found. Many claim he was a victim of a true alien abduction. It is a particularly odd story.
frederickvalentich.jpg
 

blessmycottonsocks

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The Frederick Valentich memorial plaque in honour of the young pilot who vanished off Cape Otway, Victoria, Australia in 1978. He radioed in to say a mysterious craft, not a plane was hovering over him before he vanished. No trace of his aircraft was ever found. Many claim he was a victim of a true alien abduction. It is a particularly odd story.
View attachment 13291

"No trace of the Cessna was ever found"

Except for the engine cowling...

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Disappearance_of_Frederick_Valentich

This story cropped up on Quora earlier today and was very much playing up the woo factor.
Reading that the guy was a comparative novice pilot, with a bit of a reputation for erratic flying tends to diminish that a bit.
His father's description of him being a UFO nut also opens the possibility of him wanting to stage something spectacular
 
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