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JAL Flight 1628 Over Alaska

In November, 1986, a Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft witnessed three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska, USA. This sighting gained international attention when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was going to officially investigate this sighting because the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, had reported that the UFO had been detected on radar. Captain Terauchi was featured on numerous radio and TV programs and in People Magazine. Within a few months of these events he was grounded, apparently for his indiscretion of reporting a UFO, even though he was a senior captain with an excellent flying record. Several years later he was reinstated. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by a FAA Division Chief.

articles & documents

Alaska's 1986 UFO sighting still rouses curiosity

KTUU Channel 2 News (Alaska), November 8, 2002

Although man has walked on the moon and orbited the earth, there is still no proof that intelligent beings exist on other planets. Yet scientists believe there could be. There is even one account to suggest aliens have flown over Alaska. "Either there's something there or there isn't it," says former FAA division chief John Callahan. "Is it a spaceship or not? Why would they say it's a spaceship if it's not? The radar ain't lying."  R

Disclosure Project: Testimony of John Callahan, Former FAA Division Chief

Disclosure Project Briefing Document - Executive Summary

For 6 years Mr. Callahan was the Division Chief of the Accidents and Investigations Branch of the FAA in Washington DC. In his testimony he tells about a 1986 Japanese Airlines 747 flight that was followed by a UFO for 31 minutes over the Alaskan skies. The UFO also trailed a United Airlines flight until the flight landed. There was visual confirmation as well as air-based and ground-based radar confirmation.  R

FAA investigates JAL Flight 1628 UFO Sighting

Associated Press, 1986

The Federal Aviation Administration has stepped up efforts to determine the source of wavering lights that dogged a Japan Air Lines cargo jet across Alaska's night sky for nearly an hour in November.  R

JAL 1628 - About.com

Loy Lawhon, About.com

It was just a routine flight. Well, not exactly routine.... It was a special Japan Air Lines 747 cargo flight to carry a load of French wine from Paris to Tokyo. At about 5:11 PM local time, Captain Terauchi noticed the lights of some sort of aircraft about 2000 feet below and 30 degrees to the left front of them. R

JAL cargo crew claims UFO accompanied it across Arctic

UPI, 12/30/86

The crew of a Japan Air Lines cargo jet claimed that a mysterious UFO with bright flashing white and yellow lights followed it across the Arctic Circle en route from Reykjavik, Iceland, to Tokyo.  R

John Callahan, Former FAA Division Chief: Symposium Presentation Summary (PDF) PDF Document

Symposium on UFOs at The George Washington University, November 8, 2002

Summary of the presenation given by John Callahan, Former Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations for the FAA, to the Symposium on UFOs at The George Washington University in 2002, regarding the Japan Airlines Flight 1628 UFO incident.

MUFOR: Japan Air Lines flight 1628

Malta UFO Research

In the late afternoon of November 17, 1986, Japan Air Lines flight 1628, a Boeing 747 with a crew of three, was nearing the end of a trip from Iceland to Anchorage, Alaska. The jet, carrying a cargo of French wine, was flying at 35,000 feet through darkening skies, a red glow from the setting sun lighting one horizon and a full moon rising above the other.  R

Pilot describes 'unbelievable' UFO encounter

United Press International (UPI), December 31, 1986

"It was unbelievable." The words belonged to Kenju Terauchi, a Japan Air Lines pilot who was trying to describe an inflight incident that thus far has defied explanation. The veteran pilot says theree unidentified flying objects - two small ones and one twice the size of an aircraft carrier - trailed his JAL cargo jet for 400 miles across the Arctic skies. R

Statement of Captain Terauchi, Pilot of JAL Flight 1628

U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA)

This is taken from the FAA official document "Concerning JAL Flight 1628's Sightings of Unidentified Air Traffic on November 17, 1986." It is a Translation of a Written Statement By Captain Kenju Terauchi.  R

The Fantastic Flight Of JAL 1628

Bruce Maccabee

This is the complete report on the UFO sighting by the Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft in November, 1986. What you are about to read is the most complete and analytical investigation of this sighting ever published.  R

When Pilots See UFOs

Dennis Stacy, Air & Space Magazine, December 1987/January

People have been seeing unidentified flying objects in the skies for years. But when the eyewitness is up there with the UFO, is the sighting more difficult to explain? (This article refers mainly to the Japan Airlines Flight 1628 UFO case.)  R

websites & organizations

Japan airlines Boeing 747 meets ufo over Alaska in 1986

UFOs at Close Sight

Japan Air Lines Flight 1628 was near the end of the Iceland-to-Anchorage leg of its flight from Paris to Tokyo with a cargo of wine, when its flight crew saw and tracked three unidentified objects. On the night of November 17, 1986, the sighting of at least one of the UFOs was initially confirmed by FAA and U.S. military ground radar.

Video: John Callahan, Former FAA Division Chief, dicusses JAL Flight 1628

UFO Symposium at The George Washington University, 2002