taken from the book UFO CANADA by Yurko Bondarchuk (1979)
Falconbridge Canadian Forces
Radar Station, Sudbury, Ontario
November 11, 1975
of the longest and most controversial UFO sightings ever
recorded by radar personnel happened in the Sudbury area
in northern Ontario. The appearance of unidentified craft
on November 11, 1975, prompted NORAD officials to send military
jet interceptors to investigate. Despite denials, this move
clearly exposed the governments interest in exploring
the phenomenon. The Sudbury sightings coincided with an
unprecedented week-long flurry of UFO activity over key
military installations in both Canada and the United States.1
to spot the objects were two Sudbury Regional Police Constables,
Bob Whiteside and Alex Keable. At about 5:00 AM, while patrolling
the streets of western Sudbury they spotted four bright
objects high up in the sky.2 Because of the
brilliance of the craft, no shape could be discerned, but
the officers agreed that the bizarre vessels, which produced
no noticeable sound, were definitely not conventional aircraft.
One object, brighter than the others, appeared in the southwest
and seemed to be bobbing up and down like a ping-pong ball;
a second one in the northeast remained stationary, while
two others drifted aimlessly.
the western part of the city, meanwhile, Constable Gary
Chrapynski and Policewoman J.B. Deighton watched what were
presumably the same four objects. They saw light rays being
emitted which seemed to illuminate the clouds overhead.
Viewed through binoculars, one of the objects looked long
and cylindrical, similar in shape to a dirigible. Other
police officers stationed at various locations in a thirty-mile
radius around Sudbury also reported spotting various types
of pulsating, circular craft, noiselessly maneuvering in
the early morning sky.
6:15 AM, four officers at the Canadian Forces Radar Station
at Falconbridge, ten miles north of Sudbury, similarly reported
three unidentified targets on their Height Finder Radar
and Search screens.3 One appeared to be a
very bright stationary light at thirty thousand feet over
the station, visible for thirty seconds. Another, spherical
in shape, appeared to be rotating, while ascending and descending
thirty miles south of the station. This object apparently
remained visible for over two hours, while maintaining elevations
ranging from forty to seventy thousand feet. The third object
appeared to be:
circular, brilliantly lit, with two black spots in the centre,
moving upwards at high speeds from 42,000 to 72,000 feet.
No circular movement, viewed for fourteen minutes. Major
O. took pictures, but it is not sure whether they will turn
same Tuesday, a report in the Sudbury Star confirmed
that photographs of the mysterious objects had been taken.
In Ottawa, National Defence Headquarters confirmed that
four people at the radar station, alerted by the police,
saw three bright circles with two black dots about 6:15
AM. The objects were photographed by the base staff.5
that afternoon, Star reporters were advised by the
public information office at Defence Headquarters in Ottawa
that the photos would soon be released to the press. This
was corroborated by Falconbridge radar station personnel,
who indicated that the developed prints would be available
the following (Wednesday) morning.
contacted the next morning, the stations commanding
officer, Major Oliver, made the following surprise announcement:
There have been no photographs taken, nor any messages sent
to Ottawa that mentioned photographs! He said he had investigated
and had found "no one had grabbed a camera."6
sudden reversal was in direct conflict with statements issued
earlier by Defence Headquarters. Whats more, the Ottawa
statements confirming the existence of the photos were based
primarily on the Telex report sent from Falconbridge
to Defence Headquarters, which specifically stated: "Major
0. took pictures, but it is not sure whether they will turn
out."7 Even more bizarre is the mystery
of why, for a period of over twenty-four hours, Defence
Headquarters and the National Research Council as well as
Sudbury Star reporters were led to believe that the
(non-existent) photos would be released to the public! Was
this an intra-departmental communications breakdown, or
a last-minute cover-up?
may never know the reasons for the apparent secrecy, but
there seems to be no doubt that UFOs were indeed present
over Sudbury that morning. In fact, the objects were still
in the neighbourhood six hours later, when NORAD officials
decided to send up jet interceptors. The Sudbury Star
reported that: "the fighters were scrambled from the
U.S. Air Force base at Selfridge, Michigan, at 12:50 PM
was eventually confirmed by Captain Rudy Miller, public
relations officer at the 22nd Division of NORAD in North
Bay, who stated that the two F-106 interceptors of the United
States Air National Guard Squadron "reported to have
a lock on the object. The only thing the pilots reported
encountering were sun reflections on ice crystals in the
cannot be disputed that the pilots may indeed have observed
sun reflections off cirrus clouds. What remains questionable
is whether these reflections could account for the many
reported sightings. The NORAD explanation clearly overlooked
the fact that seemingly geometrical maneuvers were observed
both visually and on radar by a variety of qualified witnesses.
the most original explanation came from Dr. Ian Halliday,
research officer at the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics
at the National Research Council, who commented that in
all probability what the officers had seen was Venus or
Venus rises around 3 AM high in the southeast and is still
bright and high in the sky after sunrise. Jupiter is also
bright and sets about 4:30 AM.10
to the sightings registered on radar, Dr. Halliday ventured:
as near as we can tell, it is a coincidence. This sort of
thing is not uncommon on radar. They just happened to see
one at the same time,11
area residents continued reporting sightings for the next
than three years later, the entire matter surfaced again
with the release of previously "top secret" documents
by the U.S. Air Force and the U.S. Defence Department. The
documents, released under provisions of the U.S. Freedom
of Information Act, following the successful court action
by Citizens Against UFO Secrecy (CAUS) of New York, indicate
that the UFO presence over military installations was far
more widespread than initially reported. These disclosures
were confirmed by National Research Council (NRC) officials
in Ottawa on January 19, 1979.12
to Research Officer Dr. Bruce McIntosh of NRCs Planetary
Sciences Section of the Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics,
Canadian jets were scrambled to intercept UFOs on at least
two occasions during the week-long wave of sightings. It
seems that on the night of November 6, six days prior to
the Sudbury occurrence, unidentified targets were also spotted
on the radar screens at the North Bay NORAD Command base,
seventy miles east of Sudbury. As in the Falconbridge case,
the prolonged presence of the targets on the radar screens
prompted officials to send up Canadian interceptors later
that morning. Nothing was found, according to Dr. McIntosh.13
During the same period, Canadian interceptors were again
scrambled to intercept a UFO that was approaching the Canadian
border after it had hovered over the missile launch area
at Loring Air Force Base in Maine. The documents gave no
indication whether or not the Canadian plane spotted the
UFO. The U.S. records also reveal extensive UFO activity
over other nuclear missile launch sites and bomber bases
along the Canadian border in Maine, Montana and Michigan.
again, NRC downplayed the North Bay sighting. One possible
explanation proposed by Dr. McIntosh was that the layers
of high density ice crystals could reflect radar beams onto
aircraft over the horizon, creating a false radar signal.
He also suggested that Venus, sticking out like a
sore thumb,14 could have accounted for
1 Toronto Star, January 20, 1979.
2 Sudbury Star, November 11, 1975.
3 Herzberg Institute of Astrophysics, Planetary Sciences
Section, National Research Council, Non-Meteoritic Sightings
File, N75-147 (Ottawa).
5 Sudbury Star, op. cit.
6 Sudbury Star, November 15, 1975.
8 Sudbury Star, November 12, 1975.
9 UFO-Quebec, Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 12.
10 Sudbury Star, November 14, 1975.
12 Gratti, Art. 'Saucer-Eyed Spies' UFO Update, OMNI
Magazine, June 1979. Volume .1, No. 19. OMNI Publications
International Ltd. New York, p. 32.
Toronto Star, January 20, 1979.
Ibid., p. 2.