The Chicago O'Hare UFO sighting concerns a multi-witness sighting of a saucer or disc-shaped UFO over Chicago O'Hare International Airport on November 7, 2006, that eventually garnered national media attention.
At approximately 4:30 p.m on Tuesday November 7, 2006, federal authorities at Chicago O'Hare International Airport received a report that a group of twelve airport employees were witnessing a metallic, saucer-shaped craft hovering over gate C-17.
According to eyewitness reports, the strange object was first spotted by a ramp employee who was ''pushing back'' United Airlines flight 446 which was departing Chicago for Charlotte, North Carolina. The ramp worker then apprised the flight crew of UA446 of the existence of the spinning, metallic object above their aircraft, and it is believed that both the pilot and co-pilot of this aircraft also witnessed the object at that time.
According to Jon Hilkevitch of the Chicago Tribune in an interview on CNN's Glenn Beck program: ''The disk was visible for approximately two minutes and was seen by close to a dozen United Airlines employees, ranging from pilots to supervisors, who heard chatter on the radio and raced out to view it.''The UFO was then seen to suddenly accelerate straight up through the overcast skies. Witnesses reported that the object left behind an open hole of clear air in the cloud layer and that the mysterious hole disappeared or ''closed'' within a few minutes. So far, no conclusive photographic evidence of the UFO has surfaced although it was reported to Hilkevitch that one of the United Airlines pilots was in possession of a digital camera at the time of the sighting and may have photographed the event.
Both United Airlines and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) first denied that they had any information on the O'Hare UFO sighting until the Chicago Tribune, who was investigating the report, filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The FAA then ordered an internal review of air-traffic communications tapes to comply with the Tribune FOIA request that subsequently uncovered a call by the United supervisor to an FAA manager in the airport tower concerning the UFO sighting.
The official FAA stance concludes that the sighting was caused by weather phenomenon and that the agency would not be investigating the incident. UFO investigators have pointed out that this stance seems to be in direct contradiction to the FAA's mandate to investigate possible security breaches at American airports such as in this case; an object witnessed by numerous airport employees and officially reported by at least one of them, hovering in plain sight, in restricted airspace, over one of the busiest airports in the country. Many witnesses interviewed by the Tribune were apparently ''upset'' that federal officials declined to further investigate the matter.
Media coverage of the incident
Wikinews has related news:
United Airlines employees spot UFO at Chicago's O'Hare Airport.
The Chicago O'Hare airport UFO story was picked up by various major mainstream media groups such as CNN, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News, Chicago Tribune, NPR. Widespread coverage of a UFO sighting by today's mainstream media is somewhat unusual for large information media companies who, when they do cover UFO events, often tend to use a facetious, or mocking style when reporting about the sightings. Many UFO researchers and UFO conspiracy theorists consider this to be an often deliberate way of deflecting any serious attention from the UFO phenomenon and specific incidents.
Leaked newsroom footage of Jon Hilkevitch interview
A video surfaced in the spring of 2007 showing an unedited pre-interview discussion of the Chicago O'Hare Airport UFO sighting between Jon Hilkevitch (the Chicago Tribune transportation reporter who broke the Chicago UFO story) and Jim Wagner a news anchor with CLTV, a 24 Hour news channel in Oak Brook, Illinois. The video shows both men having an off-air discussion about the amount of international media reaction to the UFO story as well as discussing United Airlines alleged ''flip-flop'' on the event and the FAA's explanation as ''weather phenomenon'' that according to Hilkevitch's sources ''just doesn't wash.'' Hilkevitch also mentions that photographs were possibly taken by a pilot with a digital camera and that the story is ''the most read story in the history of CT.com (chicagotribune.com)'' with almost a ''million hits.''
Hilkevitch then goes on to say that he is hearing from: ''serious researchers at major US universities who've attempted to do their own investigations and, when they go to the government to try to get information, they get stonewalled.'' Hilkevitch continues by saying ''So there really is this universal feeling that the government knows more than it's willing to tell.''
After the actual on-air interview is conducted both men continue to chat about the reaction to the event until the screen goes dark and only the audio is heard. The video finally ends with an unknown person off camera saying ''It would've landed but uh...'' at which point the camera then shuts off.