The captain of an A320 navigating just west of London’s Heathrow Airport said he was startled when he looked out his cockpit window and saw an unidentified flying object — an object he described as a cigar-shaped metallic object — flying right toward his plane.
The Daily Mail said the pilot reported the near-miss with the unknown object way back in July, but that the U.K. Airprox Board was only bringing the matter to light now.
The report: “Having very little time to focus, he was under the apprehension that they were on a collision course with no time to react. His immediate reaction was to duck to the right and reach over to ‘alert the [First Officer].’ There was no time to alert him. His first words to the FO were, ‘did you see that?’”
The captain told aviation authorities the object was cigar and rubgy ball in shape, and made of some sort of bright and metallic material, The Daily Mail said. The pilot asked if other aircraft were in the area, but was told no.
The reported also said: “Nevertheless the A320 pilot was subject to a powerful impression of immediate danger, caused by his perception of an object closing rapidly on his aircraft.”
Investigators ruled out a meteorological balloon and a helium balloon.
Some guessed that the pilot may have actually seen a reflection of the sun off on the remote airplanes in the far west.
The Daily Mail cited the report’s response to that: “It was decided that, although the reflection theory had some merit, the overall dearth of information relating to the event rendered [any] meaningful finding impossible.”