A former Navy fighter pilot once stationed in Lemoore is in the national spotlight for his claims of a possible UFO encounter in 2004.
Retired Cmdr. David Fravor, who spent 18 years as a pilot, was working at Lemoore Naval Air Station when he was diverted from a training mission to investigate a report of a strange craft over the Pacific Ocean.
The Navy cruiser U.S.S. Princeton had been tracking mysterious aircraft for two weeks and wanted Fravor and Lt. Cmdr. Jim Slaight to further investigate the situation, according to the New York Times.
Both pilots had been on a routine training mission 100 miles out over the Pacific in F/A-18F Super Hornets when they were asked to check an object that dropped suddenly from 80,000 feet to 20,000 feet and was hovering over the ocean.
What happened next on Nov. 14, 2004, isn’t quite clear.
But footage taken from Fravor’s cockpit camera that day and recently released publicly appears to show an oval-shaped object that “accelerated like nothing I’ve ever seen,” Fravor told The Times.
I’d say I doubt it was something we developed – earthlings, people of this planet.
Retired naval fighter pilot David Fravor on what he saw in 2004
“It looked like a flying Tic Tac with incredible capabilities,” Fravor told the Boston Herald. “I’d say I doubt it was something we developed – earthlings, people of this planet.”
Fravor’s encounter was brought to light as part of a recent New York Times investigation on the low-key Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program that once operated on a $22 million budget under the U.S. Defense Department.
The program for years investigated reports of unidentified flying objects and was run from inside the Pentagon.
Government funding ended in 2012, but the program remains in existence.
Luis Elizondo, a military intelligence officer who had been running the program before leaving his Defense Department job two months ago, arranged to secure the release of three unusual videos in the Pentagon’s secret vaults prior to his departure.
Elizondo requested the video be cleared for public viewing to help educate pilots and improve aviation safety. But in interviews, he said his ultimate intention was to shed light on the secretive program.
The existence of the Advanced Aviation Threat Identification Program was officially confirmed for the first time Saturday by a Pentagon spokesman.
Fravor told ABC News that as he and another pilot were searching for the flying object, they noticed a “white disturbance in the water” below.
“We look down … it’s moving around — left, right, forward, back, just random,” Fravor said. “When it started to near us, as we started to descend towards it coming up, it was flying in the elongated way, so it’s [like] a Tic Tac, with the roundish end going in the forward direction. ...
“I don’t know what it is. I don’t know what I saw. I just know it was really impressive, really fast, and I would like to fly it.”