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Disappearance of Frederick Valentich: Flight to Oblivion

Updated on August 28, 2016
Frederick Valentich
Frederick Valentich

Frederick Valentich was a persistent man. At 20 years old, he had endured several setbacks in realizing his ultimate dream: becoming a pilot. Undaunted, the young man had finally accomplished his goal through persistent effort--and at his own expense. Unfortunately for Valentich, the fates apparently knew what was best for him as they continually denied the young man his dream; for shortly after he acquired his pilot’s license, Valentich became one of the most baffling and controversial disappearances in aviation history.

Valentich was born on June 9, 1958, in Melbourne, Australia. He attended Keilor Heights High School then continued his educational experience at a private college. While he was popular among his fellow students, his academic achievement, and the overall academic route he had chosen to become a pilot, were not up to par. Moreover, due to the incurred expenses of chasing his dream, he still lived with his parents and three siblings.

The hopeful young man had twice applied for admission into Royal Australian Air Force. Unfortunately, Valentich was rejected due to inadequate educational qualifications. Undeterred, he joined The Air Training Corps as an alternative method for realizing his dream. Through persistence and considerable out-of-pocket expense, Valentich was issued his student pilot license on February 24, 1977; and he received his private pilot license in September of that same year. Having achieved his initial goal of a pilot’s license, Valentich now had a new vision within his sights: becoming a commercial pilot. However, the novice young pilot soon realized that his new dream was going to be even more difficult to bring to fruition than his initial desire had been.

He studied for the commercial pilot examination in his free time; however, he either was not applying himself or was not capable of absorbing the information required to pass the test. In his first two attempts, Valentich failed all five subject areas on the commercial pilot exam; moreover, a month before his legendary incident, the young man had failed three of the five areas in his most recent attempt. Additionally, while in the air, he had been involved in flying incidents which began to tarnish his reputation. He had flown into a controlled zone near Sydney (for which he received a warning); additionally, he twice flew intentionally into cloud banks (a prosecutable offense for which criminal litigation was under consideration). But these potential legal complications became the least of the young maverick’s concerns on this fateful day.

The date was October 21, 1978. Valentich was piloting a 182L Cessna along a routine flight path across Australian airspace. The weather was calm, and the flight began uneventfully. He departed from Moorabin Airport in Melbourne at 6:19 pm. After takeoff, he followed a southwestern flight path which brought him to Cape Otway on the Australian coast by 7:00 pm. The still relatively inexperienced pilot (150 flight hours) had given conflicting reasons for his journey. His officially-stated intention was to fly to King Island and return some passengers to Moorabin Airport; however, he confided to his family and girlfriend that he was flying to King Island to retrieve some crayfish. Regardless of the true reason for his flight, Valentich had safely completed the first jaunt of his mission.

The second leg of the journey was when fate chose to intervene. Intending to fly from the cape, across the Bass Strait, and arrive at his final destination of King Island, Valentich had no premonition that he was about to keep a fateful appointment with destiny.

At 7:06 pm, Valentich contacted a flight service officer in Melbourne with a request. He called for confirmation of the identity of the aircraft that was accompanying him at his altitude of 5,000 feet. The surprised officer relayed that there was no other air traffic present. The excitable Valentich responded by saying that not only was there another aircraft present, but that he had made visual contact with it several times. Additionally, the young pilot claimed that the unidentified craft had passed at 1,000 feet above him at phenomenal speed, making several passes…as if it was toying with him.

When asked for a description of his unknown companion by the service officer, Valentich responded that it had a “shiny metallic sheen” and that it emitted a green light. Immediately after providing these details, Valentich communicated that the mysterious craft had disappeared. However, at 7:11 pm, he re-established contact with the service officer to report that his plane’s engine was suddenly running roughly... and that his companion had returned. As such, the following transmission was heard: “Ah… Melbourne, that strange aircraft is hovering on top of me again.” He concluded the verbal portion of this final message with the proceeding: “It is hovering and it’s not an aircraft.” This ominous observation was immediately followed by 17 seconds of what was described as a “metallic scraping sound.” And then…deafening silence across the airwaves.

When Valentich did not arrive at King Island by 7:33 pm, a search and rescue alert was given. Accordingly, a sea and air search by two RAAF P-3 Orion planes was immediately undertaken. This search continued for seven days, ending on October 25th, 1978. But, the young pilot had vanished. The only evidence found during the extensive search was a fuel slick that was located in the vicinity where the Cessna may have been when the last radio transmission was received from its pilot. However, the fuel constituting the slick was proven to not be aviation fuel.

Immediately, the rumors of a possible mid-air alien abduction spread like wild fire. To further heighten the hysteria, a man who had set an automatic camera on a tripod along the shoreline to photograph the setting sun…instead caught something else. The time lapse images purportedly show an unidentified object rocketing skyward out of the water near the Cape Otway lighthouse traveling at an estimated speed of 200 miles per hour. As is often the case, the images were not crisp enough to make out exactly what the hurtling shape looks like. However, the time stamps on the photographs verify that the “UFO” in question took flight 20 minutes before Valentich began experiencing difficulty.

Shortly after the story of the potentially alien-aided disappearance became public knowledge, several eye witnesses came forward with accounts of an erratically flying green light which was seen around the time of Valentich’s vanishing. One particularly germane report came from a witness who stated that he saw a green light trailing the Cessna that Valentich was piloting as the plane was in a steep descent. Over time, the theory of alien involvement in the young pilot’s disappearance has remained extraordinarily popular—as such conjecture tends to go.

Recently, in the first half of 2014, 36 years after the incident, a new witness has come forward with information related to the disappearance. A farmer from Adelaide has come forward stating that he witnessed an unidentified aircraft, measuring approximately 30 meters in length, hovering over his property on the morning of the disappearance.

Even more remarkably, the farmer swears that he spotted a Cessna plane, leaking a steady stream of oil, that had been affixed to the side of the mysterious craft. Intriguingly, the eyewitness had inscribed the registration number from the attached plane on to his tractor...the number recorded matched a portion of the registration on Valentich's craft.

Although the farmer never came forward until now because of the ridicule he received when conveying his experience to his closest friends, UFO research groups are adamant that this reticent witness is the key to solving the disappearance. As such, UFO researcher George Simpson and his team are energetically hunting this witness. "It’s easy for some to dismiss, but there are corroborating stories confirming that there was a UFO near Adelaide at the time," said Simpson.

Even when wreckage with partial serial numbers was discovered in the Bass Strait five years after the incident, believers in the paranormal have staunchly held to their beliefs—saying that Valentich was instantaneously transported from the cockpit of the Cessna on to an alien craft. However, not everyone subscribes to the alien abduction hypothesis.

Several people familiar with the man, and his situation, believe that Valentich perpetrated one of the more famous hoaxes of modern times. This theory posits that the young man wanted to leave his checkered flight record and potential forthcoming legal trouble behind for a new life, so he staged his own “abduction.” Even his own father, Guido Valentich, revealed that his son was an avid “ufologist,” and certainly had background enough to stage such a hoax.

Recently, a new development, supporting either the possibility that the alien abduction was a hoax, or a true event, has come to light.

In August of 1982, a Soviet Frontier Guard regiment on a late evening patrol near the Russian/ Chinese border discovered a lone man at a campsite. The isolated man was dressed in what was described as "full tourist gear;" and claimed that he was a geologist. Among the items in the foreigner's possession was a document stating that his name was Sarychev. Subsequent research has suggested that this name was probably an alias, with the mysterious man's true name being V. Sosnin.

Further interrogation conducted by the Frontier unit's commander revealed additional inconsistency in Sarychev's story. Under pressure, the stranger finally admitted that he was, in actuality, a UFO researcher. And, the most intriguing of the items in his possession lent credence to this assertion.

Aside from an unusually powerful spotlight, Sarychev possessed what was described as: " a strange dark elongated object, like a small flask with two dozen dots printed on its upper section without any visible pattern." The man claimed that he had discovered the mysterious object, on a mountain, at an altitude of 1204 meters above sea level.

Upon opening the remarkable object, accounts state that a "plate rolled like a scroll" was extracted from the cylinder. Immediately upon its removal, the plate scroll unfurled, with a slight rustling sound, into a flat inscribed surface, In essence, the unusual item in question turned out to be a message in a bottle from none other than Frederick Valentich himself!

The text on the technologically-advanced parchment began with the following cryptic passage: “I am Frederick Valentich, Junior, pilot. I was captured together with my plane Cessna-182 by a UFO on October 21 1978 145 miles south of Melbourne. Because of very limited time and of extreme danger to my state, here is what is most important."

The fantastic testimony proceeded to state that, upon his abduction, Valentich signed a contract with humanoid form, air-breathing aliens to pilot an interstellar "cargo ship." And that, since the moment that he had penned the contract, Valentich wrote that he had not aged an instant. He had remained 25 years old...his age at the time of the abduction. Additionally, the author of the strange message described the crew of the ship he piloted. "The crew, except those humans which were captured just like me, are 2-3 aliens. All belong to a civilization located in the Pleiades constellation and represent an interplanetary organization with 6 civilizations from Orion, Swan and the Big Dog constellation; our Solar system is also part of it."

Apparently, these alien visitors came under false pretenses, as well. Valentich's missive reported that, although the intergalactic beings stated that they are merely a research mission, this was not the case. Valentich observed that visitor's were, in fact, "stealing" oxygen supplies from the Earth, in the form of multitudes of plants taken from the environment. Claiming that the oxygen depletion created by this brazen theft will eventually affect the Earth, the document concluded with an urgent request to whomever finds it...a plea to the holder of the message to deliver it to the Australian Embassy.

UFO researchers and conspiracy theorists posit that the remarkable message from the lost pilot has traveled from government to government in a secretive fashion. Classified "top secret" immediately by the Russian KGB; it then changed hands to the Australian government. Ostensibly, this space-age message continued to be passed from government to government for evaluation; ending up where all of these type of cover-up level, top secret items always seem to find a permanent home. The paranormal community sums up the current status of this priceless evidence with the proceeding statement:

"Unfortunately for humanity the cover up was effective and everything was classified TOP SECRET, possibly with the participation of the American CIA. Where the alien capsule with the letter is now, is not known, possibly in the USA (in a deep basement under the Pentagon?)."

But, the strange twist in this tale does not end there. in 1990, a Spanish researcher named Manuel Carballal followed up on an intriguing rumor that had been circulating for a while. Upon further investigation, a number of witnesses came forward who claimed to have seen, and interacted with a man claiming to be Frederick Valentich. Whomever this person was, he was living in Plaza del Charco, a seaport square on the island of Tenerife in the Canary Islands.

This individual repeatedly stated that he was Frederick Valentich, and purportedly could produce an Australian passport, to lend veracity to his claim. Furthermore, this person told several witnesses that he was one of a select group of human beings who had been "recruited" by extra terrestrials.

Additionally, witnesses reported that the would-be Frederick Valentich showed no signs of being older than 20; and that he strongly resembled the photos of the lost pilot at the time of his disappearance.

The crew, except those humans which were captured just like me, are 2-3 aliens. All belong to a civilization located in the Pleiades constellation and represent an interplanetary organization with 6 civilizations from Orion, Swan and the Big Dog constellation; our Solar system is also part of it.

Aviation experts cite the young pilot’s reckless flight history, along with little “instruments-only” piloting experience, to suggest that Valentich became disoriented and was flying upside down above the water. They further suggest that the green lights he saw above him were actually reflections from his own craft on the surface of the water. This hypothesis is bolstered by the lack of an additional target on Melbourne radar.

The most cynical of the solutions to this mystery suggests that Valentich was smuggling drugs (thus the varied “reasons” for his flight to his acquaintances). This line of reasoning leads to one of two sordid conclusions: either Valentich had to fake his disappearance to escape drug dealers, or he ran afoul of the same, and they caught up with him.

Whatever the cause for this legendary disappearance, one thing is certain…Frederick Valentich has never been seen or heard from since. Whether he is living on another planet, living an anonymous life somewhere else on Earth, or his remains still reside in Davey Jones’ Locker, the world may never know. If nothing else, this unsolved puzzle continues to provide lively speculation and debate to this day.

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An example of the 182L Cessna
An example of the 182L Cessna

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