FAA MOR Report of "Glowing White Cylindrical Object"

Mick West

Staff member
One of these concerns a reported sighting at 02:01 Zulu on June 9, 2021, of what is described as "a glowing white cylindrical object" by the crew of a Gulfstream IV business jet flying northeast from Van Nuys Airport in California to John Glenn Columbus International Airport in Ohio. The jet was cruising at 45,000 feet and was around 29 nautical miles southwest of Grand Canyon Airport in Arizona at the time, according to the entry, which is reproduced in full below. This also means that the incident technically occurred late on June 8, local time.


"The unknown phenomenon was paralleling the aircraft at the same speed approximately 3,000 feet above," according to the entry. "PIC [pilot in command] stated he was taking pictures and video of the object."

The full report is included:

And a map that shows the exact time and location.



2021-06-09 02:06:23 UTC
35.9953, -111.8775

Now the report say the object was at One O'clock relative clock position. This seems inconsistent with the map, which shows two purple circles at the 4 o'clock position. But that might be something else.

It's easy to find the GLF4 plane on FR24, and there is a plane paralleling it at the 1 o'clock position!


The other plane is a Cessna Citation - which looks like a glowing white cylinder from a distance. However the big problem with this jet is that it's at 35,000, when the report says the object is ABOVE them at, 48,000 feet.

So we've got the odd situation of something that matches exactly - a glowing white cylinder at the EXACT 1 o'clock position, flying parallel to the plane, but with a different altitude.

02:06 UTC is 19:06 Arizona Standard time (no DST), same as PDT. Half an hour before sunset, ideal lighting from the "glowing cylinder" illusion.

If only it were at the right altitude.


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I hope these aren’t (too) stupid questions.

The image showing the two planes on the map relative to each other, how far are they apart from one another?
How well defined would an aeroplane (even as a cylinder) at that distance be, to the naked eye?
The image showing the two planes on the map relative to each other, how far are they apart from one another?
How well defined would an aeroplane (even as a cylinder) at that distance be, to the naked eye?

18 miles. Which seems like a lot, but it's just twice the distance to the ground from 45,000 feet. Since it's directly lit by low sun, the visibility would depend on what was behind it. They describe it as "glowing", suggesting it's too far away to make out any detail.

This plane only fits part of the description, as it's below the altitude reported. It's a contender, but not a sure thing. More information is needed. Photos would be ideal.
The Los Angeles Air Route Traffic Control Center (ICAO: KZLA, FAA LID: ZLA) is an air traffic control center located in Palmdale, California, United States. Located adjacent to United States Air Force Plant 42 and the Palmdale Regional Airport, it is one of 22 Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC) operated by the United States Federal Aviation Administration (FAA).

The Los Angeles ARTCC controls en route air traffic over southern and central California, southern Nevada, southwestern Utah, western Arizona, and portions of the Pacific Ocean Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), with the exception of military airspace and lower-level airspace controlled by local airport towers and Terminal Control Centers (TRACON).

The report of the UAP being 3000 ft above the reporting aircraft, which was reported at FL450 and therefore comparatively high for civilian aviation, would've prevented the ARTCC from identifying the other aircraft as the object in question.

FL450 by itself is plausible, as it is the cruising altitude/service ceiling of the Gulfstream IV business jets servicing this connection.
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