Short Final: Alien Intercept


During the peak of last summer’s pandemic there was not a lot of air traffic or radio traffic with commercial travel being at a near standstill. I was flying into Santa Fe, New Mexico, and was talking with Albuquerque Center when I heard another pilot call in.

Pilot: “Albuquerque Center, N1234. It looks like my clearance is going to take me over Area 51. Is that okay?”

Albuquerque Center: “Don’t you want to see the aliens?”

There was a pause, and then:

Pilot: “Sure … I guess.”

Albuquerque Center (laughing): “N1234, that’s okay. Denver Center will clear up your routing—no need to worry about an alien intercept.”

Kevin Browne

San Antonio, TX

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  1. During the pandemic, on New Year’s Day 2021, I was offered a direct path over White Sands Missile Range, which I accepted. I was looking at the land the whole time. I saw runways (airports?) where the chart showed nothing at all.

  2. I once saw a bright airborne light appear over the Mojave desert late one summer night. I was on FF with LA Center. They saw nothing on radar.

    My pilot/passenger also saw it. Looked like very bright landing light pointed at us a few miles off. We flew about 290 minutes and it’s appearance remained equidistant. LA monitored and never saw it on radar.

    After about 20 minutes it ‘shot up’ what appeared to be straight up and vanished in moments.