UFO At ORD?

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Yes, major U.S. airports are too congested, and it can be tough for general aviation flights to get in at certain times during the day, but we've never seen a non-scheduled flight hover over an airline gate, waiting on space, before departing in a huff. With some embellishment, that's basically what a group of airline employees say they saw at Chicago O'Hare International Airport's (KORD's) gate C17 on Nov. 17. The trick is that the employees report the "flight" was an unidentified flying object, or UFO. Officially, no one at United Air Lines or in the FAA control tower saw anything and there was nothing on radar. Of course, we wouldn't expect visitors from another planet to know anything about Class B airspace, or transponder requirements. While the FAA control tower at KORD did log a call from an airport worker, asking if they knew of the object, the FAA says it doesn't know anything about the event and maintains it was nothing more than a weather phenomenon of some sort. According to the employees and the Chicago Tribune, the noiseless, disc-shaped "weather phenomenon" hovered over the gate area for a few minutes and then departed -- straight up into a 1,900-foot overcast. Its departure was so rapid, witnesses say it made a hole in the clouds.

But the FAA says it won't be investigating the event -- nothing to see here, folks, move along. "Our theory on this is that it was a weather phenomenon," FAA spokeswoman Elizabeth Isham Cory told the Tribune. "That night was a perfect atmospheric condition in terms of low (cloud) ceiling and a lot of airport lights. When the lights shine up into the clouds, sometimes you can see funny things." There's a small problem with Ms. Cory's explanation, though: The event took place at about 4:30 p.m. local time, during daylight. Several people, including pilots and mechanics, saw the, umm, phenomenon, according to the Tribune, and all have ruled out it as being an airplane, helicopter, weather balloon, other type of aircraft or even swamp gas. Unsurprisingly, the airliner workers interviewed by the Tribune spoke to the newspaper on conditions of anonymity. In addition to Cory, only one other person went on the record: "To fly 7 million light years to O'Hare and then have to turn around and go home because your gate was occupied is simply unacceptable," O'Hare controller and union official Craig Burzych was quoted as saying.