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The Valentich Abduction/Disappearance : 40th Anniversary

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posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 04:17 PM

The time has flown by. The Fred Valentich story is of course a ‘classic’ Australian UFO case from the 1970s and this October marks the 40th anniversary. What makes it different from most UFO accounts is that the witness, after reporting seeing a UFO whilst piloting a light aircraft, was never seen again. A missing persons mystery wrapped up within a UFO case.

There are already some older threads on this case of course.

OzWeatherman’s : What Happened to Frederick Valentich? Possibly the scariest UFO case ever from 2008 is a comprehensive look back at the case a decade ago.

Kandinsky’s highly informative : Valentich Case Files Finally Released is also recommended reading. It focuses on the release of the investigation files by the Australian Authorities in 2012.

Officially the reason for Valentich’s disappearance remains a mystery. But before we explore the various theories here is a brief overview of the case.

The Pilot

Fredrich Valentich was a 20 year old relatively inexperienced Australian pilot. He had some 150 flying hours under his belt and was qualified to fly at night. But only in good weather conditions with clear visibility. Valentich had twice applied to join the RAAF (Royal Australian Air Force). However he was rejected on both occasions due to inadequate educational qualifications. Attempts to gain a commercial pilot’s licence had also seen him fail. He had also been twice warned for flying into a cloud deliberately and once for flying into a restricted zone by Australian Authorities.

The Incident

On October 21st 1978 at 6:19pm, Valentich departed from Moorabbin, Victoria, Australia in a rented Cessna 182L light aircraft on a 235km (146 mile) flight. His intended destination was King Island, between the Australian mainland and Tasmania in the Bass Strait.

At 7:06pm he reported his position as Cape Otway to Melbourne Air Traffic Control and reported “a large aircraft below 5000” (feet).

Air Traffic Controller Steve Robey responded to Valentich. Not knowing that he would be last person to ever speak to him. Valentich reported that an unidentified aircraft was flying above his Cessna 182 aircraft in dangerously close proximity to him.

Below is an edited version of the conversation." DSJ" was Valentich’s call sign.

A full transcript of the radio conversation is available : here


DSJ Melbourne, this is Delta Sierra Juliet. Is there any known traffic below five thousand?

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, no known traffic.

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I am, seems to be a large aircraft below five thousand.


FS Delta Sierra Juliet, What type of aircraft is it?

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, I cannot affirm, it is four bright, and it seems to me like landing lights. ....


DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, Melbourne, it seems like it's stationary. What I'm doing right now is orbiting and the thing is just orbiting on top of me also. It's got a green light and sort of metallic like, it's all shiny on the outside. ...

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, is the aircraft still with you?

DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet; it' approaching from the south-west.


DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet, the engine is rough-idling. I've got it set at twenty three twenty-four and the thing is coughing.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet, roger, what are your intentions?

DSJ My intentions are - ah - to go to King Island - ah - Melbourne. That strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again)..pause... It is hovering and it's not an aircraft.

FS Delta Sierra Juliet.


DSJ Delta Sierra Juliet. Melbourne .

(An unexplained metallic sound could then be heard for around 17 seconds.)

Those were the last words of Fred Valentich followed by the odd metallic sounds before all contact was lost.

Short (2 min) video outlining the case

By 07:33pm local time, with no sign of Valentich, a full air and sea rescue effort was initiated. The search was eventually called off four days later with divers unable to locate any wreckage from the aircraft or the pilot.

The Aircraft Accident Investigation Report

Thanks to the work of Keith Basterfield the full report, originally thought lost, was released in 2012. This is now available as a searchable pdf (66MB): click here to download

After recording the sequence of events the analysis section of the report immediately dissects the character of the pilot after interviewing those closest to him.

~The available evidence indicates that the pilot, Frederick Valentich was rapidly running out of time. He had told his family, girlfriend and that he only had one subject left to pass to gain his Commercial Pilot licence and he was currently going to instructional classes twice a week to study that subject. His father was assisting him financially to obtain his commercial licence.”

It also details how he had failed all five Commercial Pilot Licence subjects on two occasions and sat for three subjects in July 1978. He had failed those too.

His family and girlfriend were led to believe his flight to King Island was a trip to bring back some crayfish. However he had told the Operator and Moorabbin Briefing Officer that the purpose of his flight was to collect a group of friends fro, King Island. Valentich had placed no orders for crayfish from King Island. Nor had he requested aerodrome lighting at King Island despite knowing the Flight Service Unit there had closed and he would not be landing until after dusk.

The analysis also notes Valentich’s calm and ‘matter of fact’ voice transmission as he describes the other aircraft in his vicinity. It even hints that he may have planned to disappear. Commenting that had he maintained his flight path then wreckage of his aircraft would have been spotted between Cape Otway and King Island. When search and rescue operations had failed to turn up any evidence that his plane had crashed.

>>>continues below>>>

edit on 11/10/2018 by mirageman because: tidy up

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 04:17 PM
The investigator’s notes say that Valentich had no financial or family problems. He rarely touched alcohol and had a keen interest in the UFO topic. His girlfriend had observed the night before the flight that he seemed to have forgotten he had arranged to take her out after he returned from King Island. However he had assured her he would be back for 7:30pm. This would have been impossible based on his submitted flight plan.

She had flown a number of times with Fred Valentich and commented that he had a habit of placing the microphone in his lap whilst flying.

“...Valentich had long legs and that after a period of time it was his habit to release the seat and to push it rearward... She was of the opinion that the ‘metallic noise’ mentioned in the newspaper could have been the seat sliding rearward, with the microphone transmitting.”

He had also told her the week before his disappearance

“If a UFO landed in front of me now, I would go in it, but never without you”

Some three years later a number of theories were proffered by the investigation team.

 UFO intervention – with a disclaimer that there were no sighting reports of a brightly illuminated craft large enough to take on board a Cessna 182.

 Disorientation – a distinct possibility but no wreckage to confirm this.

 Controlled Landing on the Sea – but again no wreckage or a body.

 Successful Landing Elsewhere – Surmises that Valentich may have fabricated his whereabouts.

 Crash Elsewhere - Valentich trying to land in a remote location. Wreckage not found.

Other UFO Reports/Witnesses

A number of other UFO reports were recorded around the time of Valentich’s disappearance. In fact it was even described as a 'UFO flap'.

The majority were explained away as, misidentification of stars, aircraft or satellites. Although there was also a meteorite shower on the night of Valentich’s disappearance.

Richard Haines also interviewed some witnesses and made his own analysis of the case.

A Mr. Hansen his son and his two nieces were travelling South West of Apollo Bay at dusk around the time Valentich was in the air and noted the lights of a small aircraft. One of his nieces pointed out a large green light above it. But they were too far away to hear any sound and reported that the green light and aircraft vanished out of sight after around 20 seconds.

Roy Manifold was on the shoreline almost directly under Valentich's flightpath around dusk. The photographer set the camera on automatic to photograph the sunset but did not recall seeing anything until the photos were developed. Note that he would have had to stare directly into the sun so was unlikely to see anything.

One of the photos shows what looks to be a blemish in the sky . This was featured in an episode of Unsolved Mysteries and was confirmed by an Australian photographic lab as being "in the picture" and not dust on the lens or a photographic artefact. It was also sent to the US for research and the blot was confirmed as a solid object that appeared to be enveloped in a cloud of exhaust. It might be an insect?

In later years another US lab declared this was probably a "developing error" before the show was repeated on TV. Click here to watch the Unsolved Mysteries segment on Youtube. whilst available.

Further Developments & Information

In November of 1978 another light aircraft pilot spotted what he believed were the remains of a submerged aircraft in the Bass Straits.
Just a month after the disappearance, the pilot of another Cessna sighted the outline of what he believed was a submerged aircraft. However a repeated pass over the area failed to confirm anything. Then five years after the incident “parts of aircraft wreckage with partial matching serial numbers were found in Bass Strait five years after the disappearance.”

In 2005 a bizarre rumour surfaced about a suspicious man arrested by soldiers from his unit near the Soviet-Chinese border. He had a capsule with him that allegedly contained text confirming that Valentich had been captured by a UFO. Almost certainly a very bad hoax.

I am Frederick Valentich, Junior, pilot. I was captured together with my plane Cessna-182 by a UFO on October 21 1978 145 miles south of Melbourne. Because of very limited time and of extreme danger to my state, here is what is most important.

Here is proof of contact with another civilization and the man who achieved this is I, Frederick Valentich. That was what I thought. But the most tempting was their fantastic proposal for me to stay in my same physical body, so I have not aged over my current 25 years of age (my age when I signed such a “contract” with the aliens.....


Then in 2014 a story surfaced about a farmer near Adelaide who reportedly ¬witnessed a large craft hovering over his property the morning after Mr Valentich went missing. See : Link. But the trail appears to go nowhere.

A year after the official files were released James McGaha and Joe Nickell of the Skeptical Enquirer declared the case solved.

A computer search of the sky for the day, time, and place of Valentich’s flight reveals that the four points of bright light he would almost certainly have seen were the following: Venus (which was at its very brightest), Mars, Mercury, and the bright star Antares. These four lights would have represented a diamond shape, given the well-known tendency of viewers to “connect the dots,” and so could well have been perceived as an aircraft or UFO.

Fred Valentich’s UFO has now been identified. That is, we can show that a group of four bright lights, consistent with his description, was within his sight at the time he was reporting his UFO. This is the long missing piece of the puzzle that awaited solving because the case required expertise from astronomy as well as aeronautics.

The identification underscores the inescapable fact that the disappearance was simply a fatal crash. Ironically, it might never have occurred but for the young pilot’s fascination with UFOs.

Source :

There is a documentary about the incident below.

With the metallic sounds at the end of Valentich’s recorded transmission played at this point.

>>>continues below>>>

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 04:18 PM

So What Happened to Fred Valentich?

The 'skeptical' view is that he was disorientated and distracted by what he thought was a UFO. This led to him losing control of the aircraft and plunging into the sea in a tragic accident. Never to be found again.

Or maybe you could look at Valentich's cagey behaviour beforehand. He was rather contradictory about his real plans to travel to King Island. He told his family and some friends he was collecting some crayfish whilst he told staff at Moorrabin airfield he was collecting friends. So maybe he had something to hide? Perhaps he intended to vanish completely?

You could even take a very speculative view and say Fred was abducted by aliens and taken aboard a UFO.

Or maybe you have a different theory?

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 04:35 PM

originally posted by: mirageman

The time has flown by. The Fred Valentich story is of course a ‘classic’ Australian UFO case from the 1970s and this October marks the 40th anniversary. What makes it different from most UFO accounts is that the witness, after reporting seeing a UFO whilst piloting a light aircraft, was never seen again. A missing persons mystery wrapped up within a UFO case.

I see what you did there. #funwithpuns

I love this case, thanks for the write-up. Going to read it now.
edit on 11-10-2018 by narrator because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 04:35 PM
a reply to: mirageman

Nick Redfern in "Close Encounters of the Fatal Kind: Suspicious Deaths, Mysterious Murders"
writes about this case quite a bit. Now with Nick, sometimes he comes up with wonderful
FOI type evidence or wonderful witnesses.

In this case however, Nick writes many words but doesn't hint at any conclusions, other
than perhaps Valentich wanted to make a fresh start for himself in life.

I just finished reading that book.. I'd give it a 7 out of 10 anyway.


posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:07 PM
Great thread OP! One of my favorite cases.

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:16 PM
You put a lot of work into this thread and I appreciate that. I will go read more of it now. Thank you!

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:25 PM
a reply to: mirageman

Absolutely fantastic thread!!! I remember the day I searched for a thread about Valentich on ATS. ‘Twas a magical day indeed. Thank you for making this one and reminding me of one of the best mysteries of all time.
You rock

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:28 PM
a reply to: KellyPrettyBear

Nick seemed to be leaning towards a more Earthly explanation in 2012. Although he confesses to not having read the huge accident report. does look like a more down to earth explanation is more likely.

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:39 PM
a reply to: mirageman

i was absolutely BLOWN AWAY by Nick's recent work on Roswell.
I tend to give him a fair about of credibility.
When he's onto something, you know it.

When he's being a 'popular writer' (saying things like..
"I guess we may never know anything is possible"
then I move onto his better research.

But all that said.. the mere act of 'disappearing' should not result
in Aliens! OMG Aliens!

edit on 11-10-2018 by KellyPrettyBear because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:44 PM
One of my favorite cases. If it was just a crash in the ocean why did he talk of a UFO over the top of him before?

If this was an elaborate scheme to fake his own death, where did he go? Given the range of his airplane it shouldn’t be that hard to piece together where he might have flown to if that was the case.

ETA: could he have unknowingly been flying upside down over the ocean and thought the lights on the plane reflecting off the ocean was something flying above him?

edit on 11-10-2018 by underwerks because: (no reason given)

edit on 11-10-2018 by underwerks because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 05:58 PM
good thread
classic case. my take is, exactly what he described as happening, happened. i think it was an encounter with an unknown and probably unearthly craft. he and his cessna were possibly taken aboard and taken away. maybe he's still out there somewhere.

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 06:25 PM
The reason that I tend to discount "ET/UFO" as a first explanation
for things, is that every single case that I have ever researched..
from Roswell, to RFI, to every single case I have ever researched,
except for a handful, have all had easy, prosaic explanations.

The only case I can't explain away with a prosaic explanation
is my own BTUFO sighting.. but even then, as it was subjective,
I can't say "aliens!" or anything else paranormal either;
not for certain.

Now.. it's certainly POSSIBLE that some ET flew halfway across
the universe, just to mess with a Cessna (or anal probe someone)
but that is pretty far down my own personal list of what makes

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 07:35 PM

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 07:40 PM
I never heard of this one before now.
Have to admit, it’s a pretty good read.

Question for you all.

You wake up in the middle of the night, while being taken aboard an alien ship.
One of the little guys offers you the same, stay on board, fly our UFO, never age, see all the wonders of space.
Do you ink the deal?
Or fight your way off the ship?

Personally, I love the idea of sailing through space forever... but essentially that’s what it seems like it would be...forever.
You would be in your own hell.
Never aging, flying never ending missions back and forth between earth and Jupiter for an alien race.
Maybe I’d sign a 10 year contract. At least it’s got an end date, and if I didn’t age those 10 years, even better.

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 10:24 PM
My guess is the alleged secret space force needed a pilot, fast, back when they were undermanned... but there's not likely going to be a definitive answer and so .. . guessing.

I'm still not sold on the secret space force/breakaway civ being behind most modern ufos and abductions, or existing at all, but it's slightly more than merely plausible knowing what little we know.

But the case in question stands out as one of those not likely to have a prosaic explanation.

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 10:50 PM

originally posted by: mirageman
Fredrich Valentich was a 20 year old relatively inexperienced Australian pilot.

originally posted by: AthlonSavage
a reply to: mirageman

Farmer may hold UFO clue to 36-year Valentich plane mystery


“This was an experienced pilot who should have been able to identify another aircraft but was clearly unable to,” Mr Simpson said.
This is why people should be skeptical of UFO story sources. I'm going to go with mirageman on this saying he was a relatively inexperienced pilot. The description "experienced pilot" is very questionable with only 150 hours. Also if the farmer's own friends don't believe him, why would I as a complete stranger do that?

I enjoyed reading the thread mirageman, and learned something about the case, so the thread is a success, star and flag!

posted on Oct, 11 2018 @ 11:34 PM
a reply to: Baddogma

I tend towards suicide if only because he told conflicting stories and there were small indications he was unhappy e.g. his girlfriend said he wasn't himself that night. His reasons for flying that night weren't true which could imply he was having disordered thoughts. The background of these misdirections, to my mind, highlight how Valentich placed some significance to that flight. Arguably, he laid the groundwork cover stories over several days towards some unknown ends. The plan, I suspect, was to take his own life.

I'm not 100% sure for obvious reasons. As explanations go, it slightly edges the others in my opinion.

ETA - Thanks MM for the thread link.

edit on 10.12.2018 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 12 2018 @ 02:58 AM
Star and flag Mr M..

A fascinating case..

posted on Oct, 12 2018 @ 03:02 AM
a reply to: mirageman

My thoughts are, he was flying upside down. Inverted dive. Saw reflection and lights in the water of Bass Strait looming towards him.

An infrequent experience in small planes but I know of similar accidents. Pilot or instrument error?

My personal thoughts are yes.

Kind regards,


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