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UFO Disclosure Chilean Style

Gen. Bermúdez lecturing at the International UFO Congress on Feb. 25, 2012. (Credit: Antonio Huneeus)

In a historical first for UFO conferences in the USA, the just held 21st 2012 International UFO Congress in Fountain Hills, Arizona, counted with the participation of a government official who runs a project to investigate UFOs. Retired Chilean Air Force General Ricardo Bermúdez is the director of CEFAA (Committee of Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena), which is part of DGAC, Chile’s Civil Aviation Agency equivalent to our FAA. General Bermúdez spoke at the Congress on Saturday Feb. 25, revealing a number of highly interesting cases involving commercial and military pilots, as well as an extraordinary daytime multiple video case showing a clear metallic-looking object during an important Chilean Air Force ceremony in 2010. The message throughout his lecture was unmistakably clear: some UFOs are real and may pose a threat to air safety operations, that’s why they should be investigated officially not only in Chile but throughout the world.

General Bermúdez began his power point presentation by outlining CEFAA’s mission and methodology. The Committee’s Mission is to:

Record and analyse all relevant reports concerning UAP [Unidentified Aerial Phenomena] occurring within the national territory, on the basis of a serious, objective and scientific analysis with the purpose of determining any possible risk to air operations.

CEFAA was created back in 1997 when General Bermúdez was the director of the Technical School of Aeronautics, where air traffic controllers and radar operators are trained and where the Committee was housed for a number of years. After its full reactivation in December 2009, CEFAA became a full time agency now housed in the National Aeronautics and Space Museum in Santiago. Bermúdez explained the agency has an “External Committee of Advisors” of eight top scientists from the Chilean Commission of Nuclear Energy, Aerospace Medicine at Santiago University, astronomers from the Metropolitan and Catholic Universities, a plasma physicist from Santiago University, a geographer and expert in satellite imagery from Chile State University, and two psychologists. There is also a CEFAA Internal Committee which includes experts on Operations Safety, Air Control Center, Meteorology, Air Accidents Investigations, Aerospace Engineering and Audiovisual.

“We have the support of each branch of our armed forces and police,” added Gen. Bermúdez, and these include military officers from the army, navy, air force, and two officials from the national police force. “We believe the phenomena is the same all over the world, we have relations with investigators from 14 countries,” continued Bermúdez. In some cases—for instance Uruguay’s CRIDOVNI or France’s GEIPAN—this liaison is with CEFAA’s official counterparts. In countries where no such public official agency exists, the Committee maintains relations with private scientific organizations like Dr. Richard Haines’ NARCAAP in the U.S.

Transparency Law & Aeronautical UFO Cases

CEFAA logo

On August 11, 2008, the Chilean government passed Law 20.285 known as “Transparency Law.” In some respects it works similarly to our Freedom of Information Act—government agencies have 20 days to responds to queries from the public regarding public records—but it also seems to go beyond the FOIA. With the exception of matters affecting national security and foreign relations, the Transparency Law was designed so government agencies can act in an open and transparent manner even in cases when no queries from the public were received. CEFAA has fully complied with the requirements of the Transparency Law, as explained in Gen. Bermúdez’s statement that “this is the way we deal with the phenomenon, openly and freely.”

Gen. Bermúdez receiving an award for Outstanding Research at the IUFOC banquet from MC Alejandro Rojas. (Credit: Antonio Huneeus)

Most countries that have released UFO records (USA, UK, France, Brazil, New Zealand, Spain, etc.) have done so primarily in the area of government paper files: UFO reports investigated by the armed forces, memoranda dealing with scientific, military and political aspects, correspondence, etc. A few have also released some UFO photos and footage, but none have released hard physical evidence. Because of the nature of CEFAA, the Chilean agency has released a different category of ufological evidence: audio recordings of communications between pilots and the control tower. Chile’s civil aviation agency DGAC has to insure “the safety of all air operations in the country” and considering Chile’s very long geography and its large amount of territorial waters in the Pacific Ocean all the way to Antarctica in the south and Easter Island in the west, this is a very big area of almost 20,000 nautical miles. “The CEFAA has access to all this information immediately, pilot communications, this is our main source of information,” said Gen. Bermúdez.

The bulk of the general’s presentation dealt with the aeronautical cases logged and investigated by CEFAA. He discussed in some detail a total of seven aeronautical UFO cases between 1978 and 2011, which remain unexplained to this day, playing excerpts of the radio communications between the pilots and the ATC (Air Traffic Control). The audio tapes are obviously in Spanish (some of them are posted in CEFAA’s website) but the lecture included English translations in big letters in the power point slides, so the cases are easy to follow.

Some of the sightings like a multiple-witness and near collision case at Puerto Montt airport in the south in 1988, or one at Chacalluta Airport in Arica in the north in 1997, were directly linked to the creation of the Committee. In the Arica case, for instance, after the Eco Inca army aircraft reports a UFO to the ATC, one can hear the control operator saying, “we’ve had several calls saying in that sector there is probably a UFO . . . We are on alert for any report . . . He [Eco Inca army plane] reports at 3 o’clock an object that’s moving at ‘incredible speed’. . . textual [pilot’s] expression . . .”

In another case involving three different aircraft approaching Santiago’s International Pudahuel Airport, one of the pilots can be heard clearly in the tape saying, “it [UFO] gives the impression of being a train with many windows and it can be seen perfectly well . . .” Commenting on this case, Bermúdez said: “We have here three airplanes in different frequencies describing the same situation, one crew saw windows like a train, now if there are windows we may think somebody is looking out, we never know.”

Yet another incident known as the Pelican case occurred on June 24, 2010 and it involved again three different aircraft—two airliners and a navy plane called Pelican. As put by Gen. Bermúdez, “three airplanes witnessed the same phenomenon, two commercial planes are approaching Santiago, the military plane is coming 300 miles from the north, and an object is cruising his airway. The pilot reports something he sees camouflaged in erratic motion.” In the audio communication, one hears the pilot saying, “ROGER . . . At this moment I can’t see it anymore . . . I could see a traffic loud and clear . . . it looked like a cloud . . . Camouflaged as a cloud but with erratic motion.”

Here is the excerpt from Gen. Bermúdez’s presentation at the 2012 IUFOC dealing with this particular incident:

This case, as well as another one in Punta Arenas detected by primary radar in 2011, is important because you have different professional pilots reporting the same object. As explained by Gen. Bermúdez:

Think for a moment, if one experienced commercial pilot reports to me that something flew across in front of his airplane, I pay careful attention; but now if a second commercial pilot reports the same a few seconds later, I become interested; but if a third pilot, a military one, confirms the same fact, I tend to believe it. In this case, do we have one UFO close to the airplanes, or we have two UFOs? If we have one, its incredible speed doesn’t correspond to anything we have now.

El Bosque multiple footage

Every four years there is change of guard of the Commander-in-Chief of the Chilean Air Force (FACH), which takes place at an important ceremony with an air parade at the Air Force Academy in El Bosque in Santiago. The last such ceremony, when General Jorge Rojas Avila became the current chief of the FACH, took place in El Bosque in the morning of November 4, 2010. As usual, the ceremony was attended by the President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, all the commanders of the armed forces and top brass, the Minister of Defense and other cabinet members, the diplomatic corps and many other important officials including Gen. Bermúdez himself. The ceremony is popular with the public and widely photographed and filmed because it includes the air parade by all the different squadrons of the FACH, including the Halcones (Hawks) High Acrobatics Squad, which are very popular in Chile (similar to the USAF’s Thunderbirds).

Everything proceeded according to plan and nobody seemed to have noticed anything unusual during the ceremony. However, it now looks certain that someone else who was uninvited also decided to check the FACH ceremony, since sometime after the event CEFAA was contacted by eventually a total of seven different individuals who captured a metallic-looking objects moving extremely fast in the sky while different groups of FACH aircraft—the Halcones, F5s and F16s—flew over the Academy with all the VIPs.

This case clearly stands out in a world full of often dramatic and sensational UFO videos posted in YouTube, many of which come from anonymous sources and have a dubious pedigree. Here we have a case with seven different videos all showing the same thing. Below you can see a frame of the first video showing the best image of the UFO taken right after the Halcones’ flyby.

Frame from the first video at the FACH Ceremony in El Bosque, Nov. 4, 2010, showing a clear image of the metallic looking object. (Credit: CEFAA)

The second video taken during the same FACH ceremony showed exactly the same metallic-looking unidentified object flying right below a formation of F5 jets. As explained by Gen. Bermúdez in his lecture, “the object is very near the F5, and our study, the heat study” showed the similarity of “the F5 with the object, same for the shadow, a very interesting case.” The CEFAA analysis estimated that the radius of the UFO was between 5-10 meters.

Frame from the second El Bosque video with the F5s showing the heat signature of both the FACH jets and the UFO. (Credit: CEFAA)

The FACH’s El Bosque ceremony then proceeded with a flyby of eight F16s and once again the metallic-looking object appeared in yet another video. “If you think it’s not enough I have another surprise for you,” said Gen. Bermúdez, “this appeared only one fraction of a second, our non-believer astronomers calculated the speed according to Newton’s law, 18 times the F-16 speed, that is over 10,000 KM per hour.”

Frame from the third El Bosque video showing the F16s and UFO. The official analysis indicated the speed of the UFO was eighteen times faster than the F16s. (Credit: CEFAA)

Gen. Bermúdez showed the analysis done by the astronomers from CEFAA’s External Committee of Advisors, which established that the object was not a meteoroid, a comet, reentry of space junk, a bird or an airplane. Furthermore, the scientists’ report stated the UFO undertook “a risky maneuver in front of the Halcones from west to east” and that it did “a flight maneuver at low altitude and high speed.” The report also established that “the object shows light and shadow effects of metallic like reflections and shows ellipsoidal shape” and that “the land observers do not detect the object in spite that it passes over their heads, thereby it is not accompanied by a sound wave.” Finally, the report’s final significant point indicates “the object moves east with 25 degrees inclination. This is the same angle spacecraft enter the atmosphere.”

To recap the salient details about the El Bosque multiple footage case, Gen. Bermúdez stated in his IUFOC lecture that, “we have studied this case in different ways. First we gave it to the astronomers, who used their own software; second, we gave the film to the air force specialists (FACH’s Aerial Photogrammetric Service). Third, we did our own internal study; we also asked the opinion of Dr. [Richard] Haines and Bruce Maccabee. Maccabee agreed with our astronomers and Richard [Haines] said that there is an unknown aerial phenomenon.”

Final Conclusions & Proposition

After a lecture full of official evidences, both audio and visual, Gen. Bermúdez proceeded to list the conclusions about the UFO phenomenon reached by CEFAA. These are:

    The Anomalous Aerial Phenomenon characterized as UFO is real and it is present inside and outside the Controlled Air Space.

    We do not know what it is and where it came from.

    It is necessary to continue studying the phenomenon.

    It is necessary to share all the information.

The general then added that, “I believe all possibilities of risk to air operations, no matter how incredible, must be investigated; to ignore it is irresponsible.” Bermúdez then presented what he called his “Proposition” for a continuing serious program of investigation of the phenomenon beyond Chilean borders into the international arena. The three points of his proposal were:

    It is necessary to a have a serious agency to direct the investigation in all the world.

    This agency must collect and share information and proceed to make an effective scientific investigation.

    I believe that this agency should be located in the United Nations as a part of the Space Affairs.

The author (right) with Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez (center) and Dr. Roberto Pinotti from Italy. (Credit: Antonio Huneeus)

I also conducted a thorough interview with Gen. Ricardo Bermúdez during the International UFO Congress, so in the coming days and weeks we’ll continue to post material regarding Chile’s official UFO investigation. But by any standards available at ufological symposia, there can be little doubt that Gen. Bermúdez’s IUFOC presentation was a true breakthrough in the international study and public acceptance of UFOs. There is no doubt that when it comes to official UFO disclosure, Chile is now leading the way. Let’s hope that other nations will also join and work together to solve this intriguing mystery, and that the famous UN General Assembly Decision 33/426 of December 1978, calling for “the establishment of an agency or a department of the United Nations for undertaking, coordinating and disseminating the results of research into unidentified flying objects and related phenomena,” will be eventually revived.

You can get the DVD of General Bermúdez’s full presentation here

Antonio Huneeus

Open Minds Investigative Reporter J. Antonio Huneeus has covered the UFO field from an international perspective for over 30 years. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications in the U.S., Latin America, Europe and Japan. He was also the co-author of the Laurance Rockefeller-funded “UFO Briefing Document – The Best Available Evidence” and edited the book “A Study Guide to UFOs, Psychic & Paranormal Phenomena in the USSR.” Huneeus studied French at the Sorbonne University in Paris and Journalism at the University of Chile in Santiago in the 1970s. He has lectured at dozens of UFO Conferences all over the world and been interviewed by many media outlets including The Washington Post, the Sy-Fy and History Channels, Nippon-TV, etc. He received the “Ufologist of the Year” award at the National UFO Conference in Miami Beach in 1990 and the “Courage in Journalism” award at the X-Conference in Gaithersburg, Maryland, in 2007.

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