The investigation files of the Valentich
disappearance have been released to the
public after decades of reluctance and the pages are very interesting.
has submitted several Freedom of Information requests that appear to have finally paid off with the release of 315 pages of
the investigation into what happened to the young pilot, Frederick Valentich. He’s posted many of the details on his (and Pauline Wilson) excellent
blog …Valentich Files Released (UFOs - Scientific Research)
The files were released to
him just a couple of weeks ago...good work Keith!
In October 2011, during a routine look at RecordSearch, I discovered that this file was now listed as file series B1497 control symbol
V116/783/1047, title "DSJ-Cape Otway to King Island 21 October 1978 - Aircraft missing (Valentich) 1978-1992" barcode 10491375. It was shown as held
by the Melbourne office of the NAA. However the status of the file was shown as "closed." Despite this status, I submitted a request for access to the
file, reasoning that by 2012 the papers on the file dated 1978-1981 should now be publicly available.
Thanks to Keith's excellent persistence, it’s now possible to do your own investigation and draw your own conclusions about what happened when
the Cessna 182l vanished into history back in 1978.
Documents include: Valentich Files Released by Australian Government
* Chart of the intended flight path
* Aircraft data
* Flight crew data
* Flight data
* Meteorological data
* A sequence of events
* An analysis of the cause
Although this disappearance is very well-known, here’s a basic summary for those who don’t know.
Mr Valentich, an inexperienced pilot, had filed a flight-plan and took off into the Melbourne skies at 18:19. Almost an hour later, 19: 05, he
contacted Melbourne Flight Service Unit (ATC) and asked for advice about another aircraft in the vicinity. He described the object’s movements as
‘orbiting’ his plane and passing by too closely. It was ‘…sort of metallic (like) it’s all shiny (on) the outside…’
At 19:12 Valentich and the Cessna lost contact and disappeared…
Rather than re-hash the same old stuff that’s been available for years, I’ve picked out a few sections and elements that justify the legendary
status of this complicated case.
Investigators went straight for the character of Valentich; they interviewed his girlfriend, family and aviation buddies. They found some conflicting
aspects about his plans and ideas. On the one hand, he wasn’t a drinker, didn’t take drugs and was a very steady character with no more than
Girlfriend Rhonda said...
On the other hand, he was very squirrely about this last flight; he’d claimed to be picking up friends in the plane and no such people existed.
He’d also said he was flying to King Island for crayfish and this was found to be unlikely as no arrangements had been made. Why would a
straight-forward flight require conflicting explanations?
He and his father were fascinated by UFOs, but so are thousands of other people and it should have little bearing on their characters. Valentich
didn’t talk much about UFOs, but his girlfriend recalled him once saying that if a UFO landed, he’d go with it and take her with him. Now that
could be used, by some, to suggest he possibly planned to disappear and was laying the groundwork. It could also be the wishful-thinking of a guy just
out of his teens. Is a UFO fantasy that much different to wishing to escape by winning a lottery? It’s all escapism.
The confusion surrounding the investigation led to several possible explanations that fell short of confirmation due to bad luck and missed
For example, a pilot actually saw debris in the waters of Bass Strait in the right place and right time. Unfortunately, he didn’t have the on-board
tech to identify his coordinates and had to ascend to a high altitude to get his bearings. By the time he tried to return to the debris, he’d lost
sight of it. Another missed opportunity was the discovery of separate debris from a Cessna 182L and from the same production line as Valentich’
plane; it was found in a different location and thought an unlikely suspect.
Cessna aircraft weren’t cheap. They cost a half-million dollars in modern money. Maybe he’d arranged to slip away and sell the plane on the
black-market? This might have netted him a few thousands, but black market rates are usually around 10% of actual value for people at the bottom.
Possible, but not high on probability.
Other aspects we can see in the files are the series of UFO and unusual aerial activity in the skies that night. In fact, within the same time-frame
(+/- hour) strange activity was reported by different witnesses in four separate locations. One of the reports described a large triangular object
seen through binoculars; another involved a light rising and dipping in the location of Valentich’ plane. A very interesting account described
‘metallic scintillation’ in the same area, at the same time. What could that have been?
Bright object dips and rises
Triangular yellow object report
The case remains unsolved although investigators listed several possible scenarios...
‘UFO intervention’ is justifiably a minutely low-probability event. However, I’m not sure of the logic behind the investigators’ conclusion
there. After all, if nobody saw the aircraft crash – or vanish – does that mean nothing happened? Ruling out a UFO based on the lack of reported
large flying objects seems a little simplistic.
By reading these files, you might find something that others have missed. Whatever really happened, it appears there was a collision of factors that
make the circumstances bewildering. Why did Valentich seem dishonest about his plans? Why was he preoccupied on the Friday night? Was it a coincidence
that debris from a Cessna 182L was discovered elsewhere? He described a strange metallic object and others saw odd lights and objects at the same
time. If he hoaxed it all, circumstances seem to have helped him a great deal. If he didn't hoax it, what might have happened to him?
You can find out for yourself by visiting Keith's blog and following his directions.
Some links -
Valentich Disappearance: New Evidence and a New Conclusion (Haines)
Keith Basterfield's Blog
edit on 30-6-2012 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)