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As the Japan Air Lines 747 cargo jet winged through the night skies over northern Alaska last Nov. 17 there was no hint of anything out of the ordinary. For the three-man cockpit crew of flight 1628, the leg from Reykjavík to Anchorage was a routine milk run,though the hold was brimming with cases of Beaujolais for the Japanese market.
More intriguing is what Terauchi's crew, copilot Takanori Tamefuji and flight engineer Yoshio Tsukuda, saw or didn't see. Both sighted a peculiar light tracking their plane, but neither witnessed the closer encounters with the UFO. The pilot's suggestion that his crew was too busy with flight duties seems curious and, still more perplexing, news reports suggest there was minimal cockpit chatter of the "What-was-that?" variety.
Ultimately the issue hinges on the credibility of Captain Terauchi, a onetime Japan Air Self Defense fighter jock and a pilot with an impeccable record. No one could suggest a reason why he might want to invent a cockamamie yarn and risk professional ridicule. Terauchi contends that other pilots have seen things in the skies but don't report them because doing so is bad for one's career.
To date the FAA takes the position that while Terauchi is a responsible pilot, there is scant evidence to corroborate his strange sighting. But the captain is not done with UFOs.Just last week, flying a similar cargo mission from Europe to Anchorage, he said it happened again. "Please record this," he radioed air traffic control excitedly, lapsing partly into Japanese. "Irregular lights, looks like a space ship." This time there were no unexplained radar contacts, though Terauchi's cockpit companions (a different crew from flight 1628's) again were uncertain as to what, if anything, had happened. The FAA will investigate. Watch this space.
Terauchi's cockpit companions (a different crew from flight 1628's) again were uncertain as to what, if anything, had happened.
Originally posted by mckyle
I think what the People article should have speculated on was the motivation for the co-pilot and flight engineer not corroborating Terachui's observations. Being the captain, he was probably protecting them (aircrew) from sticking their necks out by admittinng to having seen what Terauchi did. This was 1987, and a high-profile Japanese company. It's risky to go on the record about such stuff today, let alone twenty years ago.
My gut feeling is that the three officers on the flight deck at the time all saw the UAP and that Terauchi was protecting them by being the only one to come out and report in full on what exactly happened.
THE copilot, Takanori Tamefuji, compared the numerous lights or flames to "Christmas
assorted" lights with a "salmon" color. (9) He said, "I remember red or orange, and white
landing light, just like a landing light. And weak green, ah, blinking. " The intensity wasn't
constant but rather it pulsated: "became stronger, became weaker., became stronger, became
weaker, different from strobe lights" (which have very quick flashes). The lights were
"swinging" in unison as if there were "very good formation flight...close (formation)" of two
aircraft side by side. He had no doubt that he was seeing some sort of aerial object or objects
just ahead and to the left of the airplane. He compared the clarity of the lights to seeing
"night flight head-on traffic" at which time it is only possible to see the lights on the
approaching aircraft and "we can not see the total shape."
THE flight engineer who sat behind the copilot, Yoshio Tsukuba, had a poorer view of the
lights. He recalled that when he first saw them he was looking "through the L1 window at the
11 o'clock position" (about 30 degrees to the left of straight ahead) and he saw "clusters of
lights undulating." (10) The clusters were "made of two parts...shaped like windows of an
airplane" (i.e., arranged in square or rectangular clusters). He emphasized that "the lights in
front of us were different from town lights." He described the colors as white or amber.
order of events as presented here seems, to this author, to be the most consistent with the
testimony of the copilot and the flight engineer and the ARTCC tape. It should be noted that
the lights were first seen by the captain in a location to the left and below the plane where
neither the copilot nor the flight engineer would be likely to look. Whether or not the captain
mentioned them at that time is not known. But all three witnesses recalled seeing the lights
remaining in front and somewhat to the left of the aircraft for a number of minutes and then
seeing the light return to the left side as far back as the 9 o’clock position After the
lights dropped back farther than that, only the pilot was easily able to see them because of his
position on the left side of the cockpit. Thus the total event consisted of a single witness
sighting at the beginning, a multiple witness sighting in the middle and a single witness
sighting at the end.
7) Notes made by Special Agents Jack Wright, James Derry and Ronald Mickle after the crew was
interviewed just after the plane landed at Anchorage on November 17.
771122/01:00 – Município de Belém - Baía do Sol (Mosqueiro Island) – Reddish light moving north about 30 meters above the bay in front of Ponta do Machadinho (island of Colares), 1,500 meters from beach, alternately climbing and descending (wavy motion?), then disappearing suddenly. At 01:30 a new sighting with the same characteristics.