The pilot of an American Airlines flight from Cincinnati to Phoenix reported a close encounter with a “long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile” at about 37,000 feet.
The incident involving Flight 2292 occurred Sunday when the Airbus A320 was flying at 406 mph above a remote expanse west of Des Moines, The Drive reported.
Steve Douglass, an experienced radio interceptor, told the outlet’s The War Zone that he heard the pilot’s bizarre transmission while recording from his multiple scanners.
In the call, the pilot is heard telling air traffic control in Albuquerque about a mysterious object.
“Do you have any targets up here? We just had something go right over the top of us,” he says.
“I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing — moving really fast right over the top of us,” he adds.
Douglass said on his blog that “no reply was monitored by Albuquerque Center because local (Amarillo) air traffic walked on top of it. AAL 2292 was near flight level 370 (37k) at the time of the report.”
He added that “no significant military aircraft presence” was reported in the area.
The Drive noted that the incident was similar to one that occurred in the same area almost three years ago, when a Learjet and an airliner both had close encounters with an unidentified object.
The pilot of the Learjet, who was flying for military contractor Phoenix Air, described the off encounter to local news outlets, The Drive reported.
US Navy fliers also reported similar encounters off the eastern seaboard in the past several years, according to the outlet.
It is unlikely an errant test missile could have ventured into the commercial airspace — and said it also is highly improbable that the object was some kind of clandestine aircraft, the Drive noted.
The Mount Dora Military Operating Area is located near where the American Airlines crew observed the object, but the pilots would have been alerted that the restricted airspace was “hot,” the outlet reported.
In October 2017, The War Zone also reported that F-15s were scrambled to investigate an object that several airline crews reported over Northern California and Oregon.
The Drive said it has reached out to the FAA and American Airlines for comment about the latest mystery.