Mysterious Disappearance of Frederick Valentich

On October 21, 1978, an Australian pilot named Frederick Valentich disappeared under mysterious circumstances while on a 125 mile training flight in his single engine Cessna 182 along the coast of Bass Strait. Just before he disappeared, he told air traffic controllers in Melbourne that he was being followed by an unknown flying object with 4 bright lights about 1000 feet above him. According to Controllers statement his last message was recorded and was: "It's approaching from due east towards me. It seems to be playing some sort of game... flying at a speed I can't estimate. It's not an aircraft. It's... It is flying past. It is a long shape. I cannot identify more than that. It's coming for me right now." His last words were: "It is not an aircraft." An intensive sea search at the time found no trace of the plane or 20-year-old Valentich, who months earlier had accessed confidential RAAF reports about UFO sightings.

Frederick Valentich
Frederick Valentich had about 150 total hours flying time and held a class four instrument rating which authorized him to fly at night but only "in visual meteorological conditions". He had twice applied to enlist in the Royal Australian Air Force but was rejected because of inadequate educational qualifications. He was a member of the Air Training Corps, determined to have a career in aviation. Valentich was studying part-time to become a commercial pilot but had a poor achievement record, having twice failed all five commercial license examination subjects, and as recently as the previous month had failed three more commercial license subjects. He had been involved in flying incidents, straying into a controlled zone in Sydney, for which he received a warning, and twice deliberately flying into cloud, for which prosecution was being considered. According to his father Guido, Frederick was an ardent believer in UFOs and worried about attacks from UFOs.

On May 16, 1983, the Cessna cowl flap, with partial serial numbers matching the 182L model, was found some 320km from Cape Otway, and prompted hope the mystery would finally be solved. However, Steve Robey, the air traffic controller who spoke to Valentich on that fateful evening, doesn’t believe it’s from the same Cessna, registration VH-DSJ.

Another option Mr Robey doesn’t discount is that Valentich was indeed taken by a UFO or interfered with by an unidentified craft. He cites the dozens of UFO sightings and reports of unexplained lights both immediately before and after the Valentich disappearance that night. In another strange coincidence, Mr Robey said he was working at air traffic control about five days later and another light aircraft pilot radioed him during a navigational flight above East Sale and reported being passed three times by an intensely bright light travelling at jet speed, coming close enough to force him to land his aircraft.


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