JAL Flight 1628 Incident

The JAL Flight 1628 Incident reported on Zuko.comOn November 17th of 1986, a Japanese, 747 Jumbo Jet flying over Alaska was followed by a trio of unidentified objects for nearly an hour. This incident gained international attention when the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that due to the nature of the evidence, they were initiating an “Official Investigation” into the sighting.

In addition to the testimony of the highly credible JAL crew, this particular incident had been tracked on radar by the ‘Air Route Traffic Control Center’ in Anchorage, Alaska. The incident was also recorded by airborne radar on the JAL Boeing 747 and by United States Air Force radar out of Elmendorf AFB. (Confirmed by an FAA Division Chief.)

JAL flight 1628, configured as a cargo plane, was en route on a segment from Reykjavik, Iceland to Anchorage flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet. The sky was starting to darken into night and was still softly illuminated with the glow of the setting sun on the western horizon and a full November moon rising from the east. There was very little cloud cover.

At 5:09 PM local time Air Route Traffic Control out of Anchorage instructed flight 1628 to change their heading. As the 747 started its turn Captain Kenju Terauchi (a senior pilot for JAL) checked his instruments and glanced out of the left side of the cockpit and saw lights that indicated there was something flying below his 747. At first the Captain assumed these were military jets on patrol and of no real concern to him, but after a few minutes he realized that they had not broken away and were flying along with them at 605 mph.

According to the three men in the cockpit, after six or seven minutes of tracking the lights they suddenly shot forward and in an instant, positioned directly in front of the 747. “Two spaceships stopped right in front of our faces and they are firing lights back at us that are very hot.” (Captain Terauchi’s later written testimony speculates that the craft were firing their thrusters to counteract the incredible burst of speed used to get in front of the Jumbo Jet.)

With the two UFOs directly ahead of him, Captain Terauchi was excitedly in contact with ARTCC in Anchorage asking if they had “the traffic” in front of him on radar. ARTCC reported that they did have intermittent contacts on their radar and for the next several minutes they tried to identify what exactly those contacts were. As the smaller craft moved closer to the Jumbo Jet, the communications equipment experienced interference problems and disrupted much of the communications with ARTCC. Additionally, the aircraft would start to shudder and vibrate when the UFOs moved closer. Mysteriously the two objects disappeared as quickly as they had appeared.

At 5:23 JAL 1628 reported that they could no longer see the objects. The Air Route Traffic Control Center confirmed that they were no longer seeing the objects on radar either. ARTCC decide to check with the Air Force at Elmendorf Regional Operational Control Center (ROCC). The Air Force didn’t see anything either and for the next several minutes no one had any type of visual or radar contact with the reported objects.

Then Captain Terauchi picked up a new blip on his radar. He asked ARTCC if they had anything, they did! This time the signal was behind them, and it was a substantial blip! The Air Force ROCC group was seeing it as well. It was moving in on the 747.

As flight 1628 got closer to the city of Fairbanks the lights reflecting up from the ground better illuminated the now dark skies and the glow of the full moon helped highlight the northern horizon. Suddenly, Captain Terauchi and his crew looked out of the left side of the 747 and saw a huge silhouette of a gigantic flying craft that nearly blotted out the sky. In a new panic Terauchi requested an immediate change of course. “We must run away quickly Anchorage Center,” was his actual frantic call. ARTCC immediately approved course deviations as necessary!

Engaging in an attempted evasive turn JAL 1628 and the ARTCC monitored radar and saw that the huge object did not turn to follow but stayed in the same position. The huge object appeared to no longer be following the Jumbo Jet. Just a few minutes later however, ARTCC reported to Captain Terauchi that the military had just informed them that radar showed the object to be on his tail again and closing. At that point ARTCC was asking the Air Force if they had any aircraft to send up. While the Air Force was looking to run that request up the chain of command, JAL 1628 was starting to run low on fuel. ARTCC directed 1628 into an approach for Fairbanks and nervously noticed that as flight 1628 descended so did the huge object following behind.

At this time a United Airlines flight 69 was arriving from Anchorage so ARTCC asked them to divert and check out the skies around JAL 1628. The Air Force also now had a plane in the air headed in that direction. On ARTCC radar the huge mother ship like object started to pull back and then slowly fade off of the radar screens. Needless to say, neither the United Airlines flight nor the U. S. Air Force aircraft were able to see anything other than the JAL 747 as they passed it.

In Captain Terauchi’s own words, “It was unbelievable.” He described the unidentified objects as consisting of two smaller objects that shadowed or harassed the 747 for quite some time and then the larger one that he describes as “the mother ship.” Captain Terauchi and his flight crew report that it was more than twice the size of an aircraft carrier and shaped like a very large shell. (For reference a Nimitz Class aircraft carrier is 1,092 feet in length)

Captain Terauchi reported that they were followed by these incredible objects for more than 400 miles across the Artic sky for nearly an hour. A fact that was also confirmed by various radar sources, including the U.S. military.

This UFO incident includes a considerable body of hard evidence and credible eye witness accounts that of course remains unexplained. It has also proven to be quite difficult to suppress.

In reaction to Captain Terauchi’s encounter with a UFO and his willingness to talk about it JAL suspended his flight status for a number of years. He has since been reinstated. 

Read More Other Unsolved Mysteries article!

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