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 BermÃºdez is the director of CEFAA (Committee of Studies of Anomalous Aerial Phenomena), which is part of DGAC, Chileâ€™s Civil Aviation Agency equivalent to our FAA. General BermÃºdez 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, thatâ€™s why they should be investigated officially not only in Chile but throughout the world.
General BermÃºdez began his power point presentation by outlining CEFAAâ€™s mission and methodology. The Committeeâ€™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 BermÃºdez 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. BermÃºdez explained the agency has an â€œExternal Committee of Advisorsâ€ 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.
â€œWe have the support of each branch of our armed forces and police,â€ added Gen. BermÃºdez, and these include military officers from the army, navy, air force, and two officials from the national police force. â€œWe believe the phenomena is the same all over the world, we have relations with investigators from 14 countries,â€ continued BermÃºdez. In some casesâ€”for instance Uruguayâ€™s CRIDOVNI or Franceâ€™s GEIPANâ€”this liaison is with CEFAAâ€™s official counterparts. In countries where no such public official agency exists, the Committee maintains relations with private scientific organizations like Dr. Richard Hainesâ€™ NARCAAP in the U.S. …
On August 11, 2008, the Chilean government passed Law 20.285 known as â€œTransparency Law.â€ In some respects it works similarly to our Freedom of Information Actâ€”government agencies have 20 days to responds to queries from the public regarding public recordsâ€”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. BermÃºdezâ€™s statement that â€œthis is the way we deal with the phenomenon, openly and freely.â€
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. Chileâ€™s civil aviation agency DGAC has to insure â€œthe safety of all air operations in the countryâ€ and considering Chileâ€™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. â€œThe CEFAA has access to all this information immediately, pilot communications, this is our main source of information,â€ said Gen. BermÃºdez.
The bulk of the generalâ€™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 CEFAAâ€™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, â€œweâ€™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 oâ€™clock an object thatâ€™s moving at â€˜incredible speedâ€™. . . textual [pilotâ€™s] expression . . .â€
In another case involving three different aircraft approaching Santiagoâ€™s International Pudahuel Airport, one of the pilots can be heard clearly in the tape saying, â€œit [UFO] gives the impression of being a train with many windows and it can be seen perfectly well . . .â€ Commenting on this case, BermÃºdez said: â€œWe 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.â€
Yet another incident known as the Pelican case occurred on June 24, 2010 and it involved again three different aircraftâ€”two airliners and a navy plane called Pelican. As put by Gen. BermÃºdez, â€œthree 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.â€ In the audio communication, one hears the pilot saying, â€œROGER . . . At this moment I canâ€™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.â€ …