By Mary Grady, News Writer, Editor
A group of 19 pilots and government officials met at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on Monday, to call on the government to investigate reports of unidentified flying objects -- that's right, UFOs. All of the pilots said they have had an unexplained encounter with something in the sky, and the government seems to be covering up, or dragging its feet, or just trying to ignore the problem. A pilot from Peru's air force said he fired many rounds at a UFO, which was not affected. Another pilot, from Iran's air force, said he tried to fire at a UFO, but his airplane's control panel froze up. Both pilots spoke about their experiences for the first time in public at the Press Club event. Also on the panel were former accident investigators from the FAA and the Department of Defense. Fife Symington, who was formerly an Air Force pilot and governor of Arizona, moderated the event. He has said he saw a UFO in 1997.
Symington watched a "massive delta-shaped craft silently navigate over Squaw Peak, a mountain range in Phoenix, Arizona," he wrote in a CNN commentary last week. "We want the government to stop putting out stories that perpetuate the myth that all UFOs can be explained away in down-to-earth conventional terms," he wrote. "Investigations need to be re-opened, documents need to be unsealed and the idea of an open dialog can no longer be shunned." The Air Force has not conducted investigations of such reports since shutting down an extensive inquiry over 30 years ago. Some pilots and ramp workers reported a UFO over Chicago's O'Hare Airport last November.