Awesome Or Off-Putting: The Valentich UFO Disappearance

Frederick Valentich Steve Robey Cessna Disappearance UFO Abduction ParanormalAwesome or Off-Putting is a weekly delve into cryptozoology, ufology, aliens, medical marvels, scientific wonders, secret societies, government conspiracies, cults, ghosts, EVPs, myths, ancient artifacts, religion, strange facts or just the plain unexplainable.

This week: UFOs

Ol' h-spray's brought you an awful lot of weird UFO stories, but as interesting as they've been they are rarely documented with anything concrete. As UFO reports generally go – you kinda have to take the word of however many witnesses who claim to have been there. This week though – this week we have a concrete government written depiction of Frederick Valentich's complete and total disappearance – airplane and all.

The report is a dialogue 20 year old pilot Valentich had with an air control tower. He was reporting a strange craft orbiting around him:

"…that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again… it is hovering and it's not an aircraft."

On October 21, 1978 Frederick Valentich submitted a night-flight plan for a trip from Moorabbin to King Island and back. 20-year-old Valentich had a private pilot license, and was fully qualified for night-flight. He flew a Cessna model 182. Obviously Valentich was quite young, thus not the most experienced pilot in Australia. The flight he was taking has even been described as a 'training' flight. Skeptics use this information to discredit the UFO aspect – but that UFO aspect is very hard to discredit after reading the Valentich/air control tower transcript. At 1906 hours Valentich began corresponding with air traffic control – more specifically with an air traffic controller named Steve Robey. Part of the transcript reads:

"Robey: Delta Sierra Juliet, and you confirm you cannot identify the aircraft?

Valentich: Affirmative.

Robey: Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, stand by.

Valentich: Melbourne, Delta Sierra Juliet, it's not an aircraft it is (open microphone for two seconds).

Robey: Delta Sierra Juliet, can you describe the -er- aircraft?

Valentich: 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."

Clearly an event as strange and peculiar as this one would have its supporters and its detractors. The naysayers make a surprisingly decent argument – they say Valentich got disoriented, flipped upside down, and saw the lights of his own reflection in the water below him – thinking it to be unidentifiable. A pilot getting disoriented and turning upside down isn't uncommon – even for experienced pilots. And Valentich was relatively new at the flying game.

If that was the case though, and the young flyboy did get flipped around and confused – wouldn't he have just seen an airplane's reflection? Why would he keep saying '…it's not an aircraft'? On top of that – he'd made that exact run several times in the past – implying it should have been pretty routine for him.

Valentich's last transmission was:

"…that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again…it is hovering and it's not an aircraft."

It was followed by 17 seconds of open microphone. Steve Robey – the other end of the radio – says the 17 seconds weren't empty. He claims he heard the sound of metal scraping on metal. Is that what a UFO sucking up an airplane would sound like? Possibly. Would a plane crash be slow enough to actually hear scraping sounds? It's a mystery – but a mystery with alleged witnesses. According to the Victorian UFO Research Society:

"Frederick Valentich was not the only person who reported a strange object over and near Bass Strait that day and night. Researchers have found over fifty reported observations in that area which occurred before, during and after his encounter."

So what happened to Valentich? Nobody is sure – his body and plane were never found. The only thing we know for sure is the search for him ended with this statement:

"The reason for the disappearance of the aircraft has not been determined."

The actual Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary Report by the Commonwealth of Australia's Department of Transport is below. It's in three pages, obviously. Just click for a bigger image…

Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary Report Australia Valentich

Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary Report Australia Valentich

Aircraft Accident Investigation Summary Report Australia Valentich

Read More:

The Frederick Valentich Disappearance – Victorian UFO Research Society


  1. says

    The Valentich incident was studied by our science director, Dr. Richard Haines, and he wrote a book on the case. In it he offered several different possiblities regarding what might have happened to Fred Valentich including one which is pretty much what Fred said it was. I can tell you that Fred’s family has endured a great deal and remains on very good terms with Dr. Haines. There are other cases like his, and not so similar, including a 2003 fatal midair collision near Mobile, Al. The Cessna 209 hit a “ufo” at 3000ft AGL on climbout, according to the NTSB report, though no wreckage from another aircraft was found and there was no radar data that documented a conflict. Since that time the NTSB reopened the investigation and the case now sits in limbo, much to the detriment of the pilot’s family.
    Our work at is dedicated to resolving aviation safety issue involving unidentified aerial phenomena of all kinds. We recently conducted an investigation on the Nov 7, 2007 incident at O’Hare International and will be releasing an extensive report shortly. These situations do occur and have been documented by official sources all over the planet for almost the entire history of powered flight. It is very interesting watching bias at work…. If the incident at O”Hare would have involved the aircrew and groundcrew telling them of a violation of restricted airspace by an aircraft, the FAA would have been all over it. But the crews and other witnesses said it was something else, and the FAA won’t even leave its office before it is offering an explanation and declaring the situation not worthy of investigation.
    No wonder everyone is still wondering about unidentified aerial phenomena. Even when it happens in a very controlled environment and involves the reputations and credibility of qualified individuals the official response fails to engage the matter.

  2. says

    Also, the “naysayers” are wrong about his plane being inverted. He was flying a little Cessna 150 with a gravity fed fuel system. If his aircraft had inverted and remained so for more than a few seconds, the engine would have failed. Of course, this would have had to have occured early on because he describes the object rotating around him several minutes before contact is lost. Morever, flying inverted in a Cessna high wing would require all of his attention and he would have had no doubt in his own mind that he was inverted. Everything would have been on the ceiling, for starters…. These aircraft are not made for such manuevers. It is hard to imagine that he would have been conversational and looking outside his aircraft had he been flying upside down…. kinda ridiculous when you think about it.

  3. lindy says

    Oh for christ’s sake just because the guy couldn’t identify what he saw, does it really mean he was abducted by little green men?

  4. says

    bass strait is know as the grave yard of ships but i lived on king island and saw strange things and i know that the sea would have washed up the life jackets but i dont think these were even found and the sea would have washed up something from the plane it might stay a mysterious act

  5. says

    It’s pretty obvious that Frederick Valentich was abducted, how can anyone think differently..Look at the evidence. He said there was something there with him that he could not identify. He said it was hovering over him, even toying with him. There were many witnesses that seen ufo’s in that area at the same tim., There was even witnesses that seen the ufo over the top of the aircraft, heading towards the water. No plane or body found, are you kidding me. How could a plane crash and there not be even one scrap of plane, or debris of any kind! This guy and the aircraft have never been seen again,. Him and his plane were abducted, simple as that.

    If he crashed there would of been signs of a crash, but there was nothing. Thats impossible without some paranormal activity being involved.