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Punching a Hole in the Clouds: O’Hare Airport UFO 2006 Revisited

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posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:31 AM
Punching a Hole in the Clouds: O’Hare Airport UFO 2006 Revisited

“.....Some of us are getting angry with this being hushed up with all the terrorism and TSA [Transportation Security Administration ] idiots hanging around. If we see a funny looking bag all hell breaks loose but park a funny silver thing a few hundred feet above a busy airport and everyone tries to hush it up. It just doesn’t make sense.....”

– Anonymous witness, O’Hare Airport UFO Nov 2006

I’m dragging this case back up because I’ve just seen it featured on the TV program - The Unexplained Files (via Discovery Science in Europe/aka Science Channel in North America ). Secondly there are a number of things about the case that have never been satisfactorily resolved which I’ll come to later.

But for the benefit of those unfamiliar with the case or had maybe forgotten the main details here is a recap.

Chicago, O’Hare Airport – Nov 7th 2006

Digital Recreation of UFO over O’Hare Airport Nov 7th 2006

On November 7th 2006 around 4:00 - 4:30pm, on a dull overcast day, a UFO was spotted by a number of witnesses. It was seen hovering below the clouds over gate C-17 of the O’Hare International Airport and described as a solid, metallic, disc-shaped craft thought to be around 30 feet in diameter. According to eye witnesses it stayed around for somewhere between 5 to 15 minutes and then disappeared at a rapid rate piercing a distinct hole as if it had cut through the cloud cover. Those in close enough proximity below could even see the blue sky above through the clouds.

The object was first spotted by an airport ramp employee who noted a strange object in the sky as he was pushing back United Airlines (UA) Flight 456 at around 4:15pm. He notified the pilot and co-pilot who reported the matter to the airline’s control centre.The pilot refused to speak about the incident. However the co-pilot confirmed their flight had been delayed whilst the situation was being dealt with by airport personnel. He also said they saw a craft that was “dirty aluminium coloured, very stable and without optical distortions near it”.

Two mechanics working in a hangar on a UA aircraft overheard the radio chatter. They looked out and saw a strange object 100-200 feet below the cloud cover. They described a grey oval shaped craft and confirmed it was not like any blimp or plane they were familiar with. One of the mechanics, minutes later , also witnessed the object ascending rapidly, leaving the well defined “tunnel” through the clouds.

A couple of office workers also hearing the radio chatter left their building to see an elliptical dark metal object above the airport . They then witnessed the strange craft accelerate so fast into the clouds that it seemed to have left in a blur.
United Airlines had notified TSA [Transportation Security Administration] and the Willis Tower (their Operating Centre) but no one could confirm anything being picked up on radar.

At least a dozen O’Hare employees are believed to have witnessed the unusual events of Nov. 7th 2006 and been told to file reports of what they had seen. Several of these employees also pointed out that United Airlines management had forbid them from talking about the matter in public. Initially the policy seemed to have achieved the required results.

There were no mainstream news reports coming out of O’Hare in the days that followed. The only hints that something strange might have been going on came from two reports on the NUFORC (National UFO Reporting Center) website:

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posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:31 AM

National UFO Reporting Center Initial Reports

Occurred : 11/7/2006 16:30 (Entered as : 11/07/2006 16:40)
Reported: 11/13/2006 2:54:54 PM 14:54
Posted: 12/7/2006
Location: Chicago O'Hare Airport, IL
Shape: Disk
Duration:2 minutes

((NUFORC Note: This report is a revised version of the original report submitted by this party, or parties. It was revised at NUFORC's request, in order to disguise the person submitting the report. The report accurately addresses the event, although we are satisfied that the person, or persons, who submitted the report cannot be identified from it. The above facts may be a synthesis of what dozens of individuals saw, summarized by one, or more, persons, who were witness to the activities surrounding the incident.

We would like to express our sincere gratitude to this source for the information provided!! The information that has been shared with our Center has proven to be flawlessly accurate, as established by objective corroboration.

This witness has indicated above that the event probably occurred at 16:40 hrs. (Central). We believe that 16:30 is a more accurate estimate, and we have amended the time above to reflect that estimate. Official FAA tapes, if they can be obtained, should provide the exact time that the incident was reported to the O'Hare Control Tower. PD))
Disc seen hovering over O'Hare Airport. Many witnesses. FAA and TSA contacted about incident.

I'm a management employee for a major airline and was sitting in my office at around 1630 on Nov. 7th when an employee made a radio call to our station operations center concerning an object hovering over gate C17 at O'hare International Airport. I ran out of my office and saw a relatively small object hovering in place over C17. The METAR was reporting OVC 1900 and I initially estimated the object hovering at about 1000 feet. After about a minute, I saw the aircraft zip to the east and disappeared.

I immediately called our operations center to confirm the sighting and the FAA was contacted while I drove to the other concourse to talk with the witnesses. I spoke with an employee working that gate who said he was compelled to look straight up for some reason and was startled to see the craft hovering silently. He then made the radio call and notified the pilots at that gate who opened the front windows and witnessed the object for themselves. The employee stated the object was 500-1000 feet above the ground, rotating, and metallic in nature with no lights. He said it looked like a Frisbee and was directly above.

The FAA reported no radar blips and I believe the TSA was notified. Our shift manager was notified and the incident was immediately reported to our WHQ Operations Center.

All employees are very familiar with aircraft around the world's busiest airport - this was nothing we are familiar with. As a side note as it is probably unrelated, the next aircraft into that gate was experiencing electrical problems.
Source :

Occurred: 11/7/2006 16:30 (Entered as : 110706 16:30)
Reported: 11/21/2006 4:08:16 PM 16:08
Posted: 12/7/2006
Location: Chicago O'Hare Airport, IL
Shape: Circle
Duration:20 min

((NUFORC Note: This individual was interviewed, at length, by one of the investigators involved in the follow-up investigation. The investigators were highly impressed with the witness's credentials, and with the accurate description of the event. We deem this witness to be extremely highly credible.
We express our sincere gratitude to this witness for his having shared the information about his sighting with NUFORC, and with his fellow American Citizens. PD))

Chicago OHare UFO Report

Ok I have been hesitant about talking about this, but after hearing the report on Coast to Coast AM with Mr. Norey I cannot be silent. I work for a major airline at O’Hare, I am a taxi mechanic. I have the job responsibility of moving aircraft under their own power from gate to gate or the hangar complex for maintenance. We also accomplish the engine run-up testing needed. So I hope that does something for establishing a little of credibility for my report. I am still in absolute wonder and amazement at what I saw that afternoon.
Around 1630 a pilot made a comment on the radio about a circle or disc shaped object hovering over gate C-17 at the C concourse in Chicago. At first we laughed to each other and then the same pilot said again on the radio that is was about 700feet agl (above ground level). The day was overcast with the ceiling being reported at 1600 feet if I remember correctly. I was taxing a Boeing 777 from the Intl Terminal to the Company Hanger on the North side of the Airport. As we passed the C Terminal on the Alpha taxiway we observed a dark gray hazy round object hovering over O’Hare Intl Airport. It was definitely over the C Terminal. It was holding very steady and appeared to be trying to stay close to the cloud cover. The radio irrupted with chatter about the object and the ATC controller that was handling ground traffic made a few smart comments about the alleged UFO sitting above the C terminal.

We had to continue moving the aircraft to the hangar. After parking I noticed the craft of no longer there but there was an almost perfect circle in the cloud layer where the craft had been. The hole disappeared a few minutes later.
For the rest of the night there were jokes made on the radio about the sighting.

((NUFORC Note: This individual was interviewed, at length, by one of the investigators involved in the follow-up investigation. The investigators were highly impressed with the witness's credentials, and with his description of what he saw. We deem this witness to be highly credible. PD))

Source :

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posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:31 AM

Chicago Tribune Finally Breaks the Story

Despite the early reports leaking out to NUFORC it seems the story did not truly “break” until a transportation journalist at the Chicago Tribune, Jon Hilkevitch, wrote up a column in January of 2007. This was some 7 weeks after the incident occurred.

The original report is no longer available on the Chicago Tribune website but can be seen here:

Page 1

Page 2

At first United Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) were denying anything of consequence happened that day.

That is until the Chicago Tribune investigated further and filed a FOIA request revealing that something was going on.

Control Tower Recordings

Despite initial denials the FOIA request unearthed the following recordings.

4:30 PM United Controller to FAA Area Supervisor in O’Hare Tower

O’Hare Tower: “Tower, this is Dave.”
United Controller: “Hey Dave, this is Sue in the United tower.”
O’Hare Tower: “Hey Sue”
United Controller: “Hey, did you see a flying disc out by C17?”
O’Hare Tower: “Oh, it starts Sue… A flying… you’re seeing flying discs?”
United Controller: “Well, that’s what a pilot in the ramp area at C17 told us. They saw some flying disc above them…
O’Hare Tower: “Come on Sue”
United Controller: “You didn’t see it?”
O’Hare Tower: “Hey, you guys been celebrating the holidays or anything like that? I haven’t seen anything Sue and if I did I wouldn’t admit to it…”

4:47 PM United Controller to FAA Area Supervisor in O’Hare Tower

United Controller: “… There *was* a disc out there flying around”
O’Hare Tower: “There was a what?”
United Controller: “A disc”
O’Hare Tower: “A disc?”
United Controller: “Yeah”
O’Hare Tower: “OK, I’m sorry. What can I do for you?”
United Controller: “I’m sorry, there was… I told Dave there was a disc flying outside above Charley 17 and he thought I was pretty much high. But, um, I’m not high and I’m not drinking.”
O’Hare Tower: “Yeah”
United Controller: “So, someone got a picture of it. So if you guys see it out there…”
O’Hare Tower: “A disc, like a Frisbee?”
United Controller: “Like a UFO type thing”
O’Hare Tower: “Yeah, OK”
**United Controller: “He got a picture of it.”
O’Hare Tower: “How, how, how high above Charley 17?”
United Controller: “Well, it was above our tower. So…”

Official recorded conversation about the UFO

United Controller: “Some of our employees.. I don’t know if you know anything about this, some of our pilots on the ground are reporting a UFO sighting at a thousand feet to the east side of the airport. Do you guys know anything about this?”
O’Hare Tower: “You know, the ramp tower called me I want to say about ten, fifteen minutes ago. We have not seen anything up here.”
United Controller: “OK”
O’Hare Tower: “And I guess she said it was around gate C17.”

** The photograph mentioned has never materialized.

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posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:32 AM

Official conclusion

The FAA decided that no further investigation was needed as the sighting was caused by an unusual weather phenomenon. O’Hare airport officials stated that all people had seen was lights reflecting off of the clouds.

What Happened Afterwards?

Well back in January and February of 2007 this story was hot news on ATS .

It is one of the few big UFO stories to develop during the modern internet age. The site owners paid a huge amount of attention to this case. Springer went on C2C AM and even visited O’Hare in an attempt to get to the bottom of it all and appeal for more witnesses and photographs. Various other members discussed the only photo at the time that at least could have been genuine. It was never proven either way.

Springer even interviewed an anonymous “Eyewitness” that appeared in the thread during the early days of 2007. She seemed to be corroborating a lot of the story and even spoke on the phone with various other UFO investigators. Her posts continued for a while then Springer was due to travel to Chicago to take part in a documentary covering the case. At which time contact seems to have been lost.

Other members hinted at military involvement , secret projects that had gone wrong and even a story that Dan Aykroyd had some photographs of the incident in his possession.

Despite being one of the last major UFO cases everything seems to have gone silent on this case for years now.

That is until I realized that the Unexplained Files (produced in 2014) was claiming that a couple of photographs are actual photographs of the UFO.

The Unexplained Files (2014)

Here’s the full video (if available to view)
The O’Hare incident is discussed from around 32 mins in.

Screenshot 1 from Unexplained Files

Now as far as I recalled there was only ever the one photo that has not been dismissed as a hoax. And sure enough when I checked these photos were debunked by Jeff Ritzmann back in 2007.

The first is actually a flipped and cropped version of the above photograph.

Screenshot 2 from Unexplained Files

The second one was also cropped and flipped from the photo above to produce yet another faked UFO photo. So it seems the researchers for this (Discovery) Science Channel production were also fooled by the images. So despite their claims they are NOT ACTUAL PHOTOGRAPHS OF A UFO OVER O'HARE AIRPORT in Nov 2006.

More Questions than Answers

However, faked photographs apart, there are still some very pertinent questions that need to be asked about this sighting even after 8 years.

I. It seems not one witness, civilian or employee has ever come forward without wishing to remain anonymous even after more than 8 years. Even those that did have been few and far between. Why is that?

II. Only one, rather poor quality, photograph has ever surfaced from the incident. Which seems very odd at a time when camera phones had become commonplace. Are there really no more more photos out there?

III. If there really was an unidentified object hovering above a major airport then surely the safety implications were massive. So why were the authorities so keen to play everything down?

IV. The possible incursion into American airspace by an unknown object is even more worrying. Why were the authorities as equally lax about dealing with this matter of national defence?

Is it really likely that a bunch of airport workers and a handful of pilots were witnessing a bizarre weather phenomenon? Is that really where the story ends and what we have to accept?

Has everyone closed the book on O'Hare or is there something more to this case?

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:40 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Leslie Keen is an author that wrote a book, I forget the name, but she interviewed a lot of people...and there were tons more witnesses. Keen's approach to her book is to interview people in the know instead of the random people hanging around. The book was ok but her piece on this particular incident was great. There was definitely chatter going around about something being in the sky...

Then when you include all the other witnesses who don't hold some kind of special position this case becomes really good.

My own personal opinion is that this is one of the best UFO cases due to the amount of witnesses and if you read or find Keen's interviews it shows they were running around trying to figure out what it was.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:46 AM
a reply to: rockpaperhammock

I have a copy of Leslie Kean's book : UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.

If I have time later I will add some details from it. Unless of course someone else finds them first!

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:50 AM

originally posted by: mirageman
a reply to: rockpaperhammock

I have a copy of Leslie Kean's book : UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.

If I have time later I will add some details from it. Unless of course someone else finds them first!

That is it...please do man...I dont know where my copy is...I remember there being some really good interviews particularly in this case.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 09:57 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Thanks for the compelling study. The most interesting thing to me was the "altered" photos presented on television. They were flipped and omit the object. Who provided those for publication on the program?

Why would they show the same photo and omit the object?

edit on 25-5-2015 by intrptr because: spelling, change

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 10:07 AM
a reply to: mirageman

The O'hare case is excellent.

There are many witnesses of high credibility.

There are recordings/transcripts which show "live" discussion of the event and object, as it was all unfolding.

The object exhibited the ability to hover, and to accelerate very rapidly.

Also, maybe most interestingly, the case superbly demonstrates several psychological & sociological aspects at play with UFO sightings. Things such as:
-- witness reluctance to identify themselves
-- aviation professionals' hesitance to discuss or admit to the sighting, even on official channels, even during the event, when safety should have been the primary concern ... i.e., yes the taboo really is that massive
-- the "intimidation factor" present in the aviation community, affecting pilots, tower operators, etc.
-- how UFO photographs, even when we're confident they exist, have a way of never quite materializing

This is an extremely interesting case. Thanks for reminding us all that it exists.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 11:00 AM
a reply to: mirageman

Great thread! S&F!
I, since young, live with the hope of actually being able to confirm UFOs are extraterrestrial and real, but I am yet to find any case that can convince me.

The O'Hare case is one of the best but I still doubt it for the following reasons:
- O'Hare is a big airport, I think the 5th busiest in the world, in a populated area and yet only 6 people saw the disc in the sky.
- All pictures and videos turned out to be faked. Such a big modern airport, in the US, in 2006 and yet it was not recorded on cameras?
- Sue (control tower) didn't see it herself, just heard that somebody saw it. Also, this happened only 5 years after 9/11, if the control tower thought something unusual was really happening they would have done something about it, since the country was still on high alert then.

I really want to believe..... but I don't think we have enough evidence to say that the O'Hare incident really was a UFO.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 11:26 AM
a reply to: Agartha

do not forget the pilot and airline "stigma" that remain strong, strong, strong, to this day. A pilot or probably anyone else who works at an airport and sees something they cannot explain is risking their job if nothing else if they go public with their sighting info of ufo's. This IMO is one of the best cases of pilot/airport ufosighting/report, as it was seen by many people in high profile positions at O'Hare.Quite a few grounds people and others saw this ufo. The FAA's "conclusion" is laughable and something you would expect to hear from the FAA if a sighting like this happened at an airport in the U.S.. The fact that quite a few people saw this ufo take off at such a high rate of speed to punch the hole in the clouds is pretty significant in my book. I was just watching "Hangar 1 UFO Files" last week, and the subject of the program was high profile ufo sightings by pilots and at airports, and this was included. They did show some actual pics of the ufo which looked very typical saucerlike appearance, sleek, and metallic. The posting of the pic included by Mirageman does not do justice to the pic I saw on the program.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 11:48 AM
The Chicago O'hare incident is more important than Roswell, IMHO. The media actually picked it up and were running with it but then ... POOF ... silence. There are a lot of fake pictures out there. They show the 'ufo' but it's a sunny day and no clouds, etc. The dang thing poked a hole through the clouds when it left so some of the fakes with lots of sunshine are rather silly.

Looking forward to seeing what is said on this thread ...

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:01 PM
a reply to: mirageman

That is some seriously good sleuthing OP, Well done.

I've seen photos of these 'cloud holes' before and if they are natural then I'm an cowboy astronaut. It's like someone put a hole puncher to the clouds; and the various eyewitnesses describing the same object, the transcripts...

They one thing that bothers me is there is never a mention of a sonic boom in sightings.

edit on 25-5-2015 by Thecakeisalie because: (no reason given)

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:05 PM
a reply to: data5091

You are quite right there, regarding the stigma, but I would love more than just eyewitnesses accounts, I would love to see evidence myself, a good photograph or a video...

I wish you could find and post in here that pic you mentioned!

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:14 PM
a reply to: Agartha

The O'Hare case is one of the best but I still doubt it for the following reasons:
- O'Hare is a big airport, I think the 5th busiest in the world, in a populated area and yet only 6 people saw the disc in the sky.

Workers aren't scanning the skies overhead?

Such a big modern airport, in the US, in 2006 and yet it was not recorded on cameras?

It wasn't there long enough. And the altered photos lead to speculation of a coverup. Kind of like 911 at the Pentagon. Only thee grainy images of the impact caught on one camera made it to the public eye.

if the control tower thought something unusual was really happening they would have done something about it,

The tower folk watch the runways, taxiways, approach and takeoff of planes, not the airspace directly overhead. Radar doesn't see that spot either. There is no need, planes don't fly over the airport, they fly to and away from it. No air traffic is allowed directly over the main terminals and runways.

Thats why the craft was able to sit there, in a 'hole' in the operations visibility for the airport. It sat there un observed by the tower or their radar, until some guy on the ground was "compelled to look up". Then he alerted others, but by then it was gone.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:18 PM
a reply to: Thecakeisalie

The one thing that bothers me is there is never a mention of a sonic boom in sightings.

The one I saw was faster than sound, too… it should have made a lot of noise from jets or rockets , but it didn't. It was totally silent as it swept by.

That makes us go (huh?) because we don't understand their technology. Same with "hole punching" clouds. Like it absorbs the space it moves through or something.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:25 PM
a reply to: intrptr

According to the Narcap report the object was in the sky for aprox. 18 minutes, that is enough time for people at the airport to have seen it. And what about the thousands of people that lived by the airport? What about the dozens of planes that were in the area?

Another reason I doubt it is that the guy at the control tower couldn't see anything, he was very clear that he could see nothing.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:32 PM
There is also a little known corroborating, "after the fact," serious of photos from a vetted source in this thread: More "Anonymous" Chicago UFO images.

These pictures were taken near the La Salle Nuclear Power Plant in Ohio, sometime before the O'Hare incident, and the description of the O'Hare object matches the object in these photos, as well as the one probable real photo from O'Hare.

posted on May, 25 2015 @ 12:37 PM

originally posted by: Thecakeisalie
a reply to: mirageman

That is some seriously good sleuthing OP, Well done.

They one thing that bothers me is there is never a mention of a sonic boom in sightings.

There is no sonic boom from UFOs as they do not cleave the air as any conventional AIRcraft. The move by producing a field effect that makes themselves without mass. That field also encompasses some of the surrounding air which becomes itself weightless and it easily moves out and away from the craft and back into its void as it moves through the air. Ergo, no sonic boom as with a typical jet.

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