The America West Flt 564 Incident

 America West Flt 564 UFO Incident
On the evening of May 25, 1995 America West Flight 564 was in route on its regularly scheduled flight between Tampa, Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada.  Captain Eugene Tollefson and First Officer John Waller, both very experienced aviators, piloted the Boeing 757.
Following a scheduled stopover at Dallas, Ft. Worth the flight was on the final segment of its journey.  Somewhere near Bovina, Texas the 757 was at an altitude of 39,000 feet, and a flight attendant was idly watching lightning flashes against the night sky.  Suddenly she noticed a peculiar line of flashing lights that seemed relatively close but somewhat below the 757.

Alerting the First Officer that something was out there, John Waller immediately saw the unusual lights.  He described them as eight bright blue strobes flashing in sequence, left to right.  He estimated the lights to be at an altitude of approximately 35,000 feet.  Captain Tollefson was the next crew member to see the lights.
The lightning was flashing through the clouds and briefly back lit the object.  Both Captain Tollefson and First Officer Waller saw the object and each reported that it was a dark cigar shaped object and that it was quite large.  Because it was a bit difficult to determine exactly how far away it was from the airliner, they estimated it to be at least 300 to possibly 500 feet in length.

After nearly five minutes of observation, the flight crew decided they needed to contact Albuquerque Air Traffic Control (ATC). Albuquerque ATC did have a blip on their screen, but noted that the area was fairly close to restricted military airspace. 
ATC suggested it could be a tethered balloon platform belonging to the military, although the flashing lights would be quite unlikely.  ATC then contacted government sites that would know if the military had anything in the air at that time.  The answer was negative.

The Air Traffic Controller then contacted NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command) a joint US and Canada monitoring organization.  Initially NORAD reported that they did not see anything, however a few minutes later they called Albuquerque ATC back and said that they did indeed have an “unidentified” contact in the area.

NORAD alerted the Air Combat Command Group at Cannon Air Force Base near Clovis, New Mexico.  The Air Combat Command immediately launched an EF111A, a highly specialized electronic warfare aircraft, to investigate. 
Shooting up to the 35,000 foot level, the Air Force pilot reported that he saw the object also.  His descriptions were consistent with that of the flight crew on America West 564.

Shortly after the incident, NORAD changed its report to indicate that the “unidentified” contact that they initially reported was actually a smaller aircraft with a malfunctioning transponder. 
There is however, a voice recording of the conversations between Albuquerque ATC and NORAD that would bring that later claim into serious question.
The United States Air Force now downplays the incident as a case of misidentification by its (highly trained) EF 111A pilot.

This incident remains unresolved with no satisfactory explanation provided by any of the agencies involved.  In fact the incident has essentially been dismissed as never having occurred. 
The crew of America West Flight 564 and the Air Force EF 111A pilot however, know that they most definitely encountered a very unusual and very large cigar shaped object sharing their airspace that night. 

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