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Excerpt taken from the book UFO CANADA by Yurko Bondarchuk (1979)

Falconbridge Canadian Forces
Radar Station, Sudbury, Ontario
November 11, 1975

One 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 government’s 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

First 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.

In 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.

At 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 out.4

That 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

Later 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.

When contacted the next morning, the station’s 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

This sudden reversal was in direct conflict with statements issued earlier by Defence Headquarters. What’s 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?

We 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 local time."8

This 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 clouds."9

It 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.

Perhaps 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 Jupiter.

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

As 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

Meanwhile, area residents continued reporting sightings for the next few days.

More 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

According to Research Officer Dr. Bruce McIntosh of NRC’s 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.

Once 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 the sighting.


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).
4 Ibid.
5 Sudbury Star, op. cit.
6 Sudbury Star, November 15, 1975.
7 Ibid.
8 Sudbury Star, November 12, 1975.
9 UFO-Quebec, Vol. 1, No. 7, p. 12.
10 Sudbury Star, November 14, 1975.
11 Ibid.
12 Gratti, Art. 'Saucer-Eyed Spies' UFO Update, OMNI Magazine, June 1979. Volume .1, No. 19. OMNI Publications International Ltd. New York, p. 32.
13 Toronto Star, January 20, 1979.
14 Ibid., p. 2.

Photos copyright of holders. No infringement intended. For educational purposes only.