A cigar-shaped object with a row of brightly flashing lights along its length was observed over the Texas panhandle by the crew of a westward bound America West B-757 airliner on May 25, 1995. The case was thoroughly investigated by Walter N. Webb on behalf of the UFO Research Coalition, who interviewed the crew and air traffic controllers. Webb also obtained a copy of the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) voice tapes of conversations between airplane and ground during the sighting.
America West Flight 564 was cruising at 39,000 feet near Bovina, Texas, en route from Tampa, Florida, to Las Vegas, Nevada. First Officer John J. Waller and a flight attendant saw, off to their right and somewhat below their altitude, a row of bright white lights which sequenced on and off from left to right. Waller contacted the Albuquerque FAA Air Route Traffic Control Center while the sighting was in progress and checks were made with military installations in the area, but no explanation could be found.
As the airliner proceeded westward, the lights began dropping behind. Then they observed the phenomenon against a background of dark thunderclouds. When the background clouds pulsed with lightning, they could see the silhouette of a dark, wingless, elongated cigar-like object around the strobing lights.
Though they did not know the object's exact distance, the pilot and co-pilot estimated its length to be 300-400 feet.
Air traffic controllers said the object was not visible on FAA radar. One of them contacted the North American Air Defense Command (NORAD), which monitors North American air space by radar, and said that NORAD had confirmed an unidentified radar track in the vicinity. This later proved to be a small aircraft whose transponder was not initially operative.
Next morning the controller said he had checked with NORAD again and was told that they had tracked another, very unusual target in the same general area a short time after the first--something that at first was stationary, then accelerated rapidly and stopped abruptly, repeating this sequence several times. The bursts of speed were computed to be between 1,000 and 1,400 m.p.h. This report, based on the testimony of one air traffic controller, could not be confirmed independently.
Webb filed Freedom of Information Act requests for Government information about the case, and also checked military installations for any activities that might explain the sighting, but no known object or phenomenon could be found that correlated with the sighting.
(Walter N. Webb, Final Report on the America West Airline Case, May 25-26, 1995, Fund for UFO Research, Washington, D.C., July 1996)