Date: April 19, 1981
Location: Los Angeles, California, United States
A large, low-flying cigar-shaped object with white lights shining from a row of "windows" and bearing green-blue and white "running lights" was sighted by a West Los Angeles resident on the night of April 19, 1981 at about 11:30 p.m. Taff estimated the object, which made no sound, was about 65 feet in length and about 15 feet high.
Drawing of the craft sighted by Barry E. Taff over Los Angeles on the night of April 19, 1981. (source: News World, courtesy of APRO Bulletin)
Diagram of sighting area. (source: APRO Bulletin)
Type of Case/Report: StandardCase
Hynek Classification: ND
Shape of Object(s): Cigar
# of Witnesses: Single
Special Features/Characteristics: Witness Sketch, Silent, Portholes/Windows, Body Lights
Source: News World (New York, NY), Dec. 12, 1981 / APRO Bulletin, 1981
Newspaper article from News World:
"Cigar-shaped craft seen over LA."
News World, Dec. 12, 1981
A large, low-flying cigar-shaped object with white lights shining from a row of "windows" and bearing green-blue and white "running lights" was reported to the APRO Bulletin (published by APRO, a leading UFO research organization in the United States). The object was sighted by a West Los Angeles resident on the night of April 19, 1981 at about 11:30 p.m.
Barry E. Taff reported that he was driving home from a visit with a friend in the city of Palms when he noticed something unusual in the sky as he crossed under the Santa Monica Freeway bridge. He was just coming up the grade from the underpass, parallel to a shopping center parking lot, when he noticed the object moving slowly no higher than 500-600 feet off the ground over the northeast corner of the parking lot at a compass heading of 40 degrees.
After ruling out the object as a helicopter, blimp, or other conventional aircraft, Taff pulled his car over and stopped to observe the strange sight. The object, which seemed about 2,500 feet from where he was standing, gave off no noise.
Taff wrote, "What made me so sure I was not observing any type of conventional aircraft was its basic structural design _ that of a flattened, elongated cigar, with no tail section or wings of any kind. It is hard to imagine an aircraft staying aloft without any type of horizontal or veriical stabilizer."
He said that what appeared to be "running lights" were positioned along the top and bottom of the craft which alternated green blue and white. There were also what looked like windows spaced regularly along the object's length which gave off an intense white light.
Taff wrote, "The object itself appeared to be quite solid and its surface had a charcoal grey color and looked opaque." He said the object was slightly tilted toward the ground and was moving very slowly.
The object, Taff wrote, seemed to come out of the northeast, tilt towards the ground, and then turn away from his position to a point where he could not see the lights or windows. Then it appeared to begin moving back in a northeasterly direction until he lost sight of it.
The entire sighting lasted less than a minute and Taff did not pursue the object because he could not drive and look at the same time. Taff estimated the object's size at about 65 feet in length and about 15 feet high.
Full report below from APRO Bulletin, 1981 (written by the witness):
OBJECT OVER LOS ANGELES
by Barry B. Taff, 4/19/81
West Los Angeles
On Sunday evening, April 19, 1981, I had just left my friend's apartment (Larry Brooks) on Jasmine in the city of Palms and headed south on Palms to the 7-11 store at Overland and Palms.
I purchased a small bite to eat at the 7-11 store and then headed northbound on Palms toward my home. I didn't notice anything unusual until I crossed under the Santa Monica Freeway bridge after which Palms turns into National Blvd.
It was now approximately 11:30 P.M. PST and I was just coming up the grade from the underpass. As I reached the crest of the grade which is approximately parallel with the 76 Union Gasoline station just to the right, I noticed something in the air slightly off the the right. I was now about even with the parking lot for Von's Market and the accompanying shopping center located there.
At first glance I thought I was observing either a low-flying, fixed-wing aircraft, or possibly a police helicopter which are quite common in that area during the late evening hours. After I ruled out those two possibilities based on my sighting, I then thought it might possibly be the Goodyear Blimp in distress, as it appeared to be quite low in altitude.
I would estimate that it was no higher than 500-600 feet. It was over the northeast leg of the shopping center, at a compass heading of 40 degrees.
After effectively eliminating all the aforementioned aircraft possibilities, I then pulled the car over and stopped, turning off the engine. I stepped out of the car and continued to observe the vehicle in the air.
The most apparent factor at this point was that there was absolutly no sound being generated by the object whatsoever. My eyeball estimate of the object's range is about 2,500 feet from my location as marked on the map. At that range I would expect to hear either engines or propeller blades from a fixed-wing aircraft or the rotor blades of a helicopter. Neither were heard. Nor was the sound of a jet engine or turbine.
What made me so sure I was not observing any type of conventional aircraft was its basic structure' design—that of a flattened, elongated cigar, with no tail section or wings of any kind. It is hard to imagine an aircraft staying aloft without any type of horizontal or vertical stabilizer. Additionally, what appeared to be "running lights", were positioned along the top and bottom of the cigar shape which was viewed on edge. The colors of these running lights were a green/blue and white, alternating.
Another peculiar feature observed was that this long cigar-shaped object had what looked like windows or rectangular openings spaced equidistant from each other between the rows of running lights (see drawing). The "windows" or openings were emitting extremely bright white light.
The object itself appeared to be quite solid and its surface had a charcoal grey color and looked opaque. The object's attitude was slightly tilted toward the ground (see drawing) and it was moving very slowly.
It seemed to come out of the northeast, tilt down towards the ground, then turn away from my position to a point where I could no longer observe the lights of windows, only its backside which had no lights or windows. At that point, it appeared to begin moving back in a northeasternly direction and I lost sight of it.
Again, it is important to note that during this entire observational period, there was not any sound heard coming from the object. And inasmuch as it was a relatively late hour (11:30 P.M.), there were few if any cars on the street to distract me or drown out the sound, if any.
My entire sighting lasted approximately 45 seconds and I did intend to pursue the object, but I could not drive the car and observe the object at the same time since I was alone, and there was no one present to assist me in navigation.
In conclusion, I'd estimate that the object's size was considerably larger than any helicopter that the police have flown locally (perhaps 65 feet in length), and was about 15 feet high. It could not have been a blimp as its shape was not consistent with that type of aircraft-aircraft.
Case ID: 943
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