American Airlines Flight 2292, an Airbus A320 flying between Cincinnati and Phoenix on February 21, 2021, had a strange close encounter with what its crew characterized as “an elongated cylindrical shape almost like a cruise missile.”
According to the pilots, the target was flying incredibly fast over the top of the aircraft, which was operating at 36,000 feet and 400 knots. The incident took place in the isolated northeastern part of New Mexico, west of the small town of Des Moines.
Steve Douglass, an experienced radio interceptor and owner of Deep Black Horizon, told the War Zone portal that he was recording scanners from his arsenal when he saw the strange signal.
The War Zone reviewed more than one hour of audio provided by Douglass (audio that can be downloaded here ). “We are working to authenticate this with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and to request more information and comments from the Department on the incident. We also contacted American Airlines to acquire additional information that they could supply,” said the specialized site yesterday.
As Douglass said:
Approximately 1:19 CST, at the Albuquerque Core frequency of 127,850 MHz or 134,750 MHz (recording was not identified with the frequency), the pilot reported:
“Have you got any aspirations right up here? We just got a little bit of a run over us. I hate to say it, but it looked like a long, cylindrical object, almost like a kind of cruise missile, flying pretty fast right over us.”
According to Flight 24 and Flight Conscious, AAL 2292 was located in the northeast corner of New Mexico, west of Clayton. The Albuquerque Center did not monitor any response because local air traffic (yellow) went through it. AAL 2292 was similar to flight level 370 at the time of the survey (37k). No noticeable existence of combat aircraft was noted in the ADS-B data. The plane was going to Phoenix, AZ.
As a result of efforts to contact the relevant body, the incident has been checked as of today, authenticating the recordings and adding that everything is actually being investigated by the FBI.
“After interviewing our flight crew and giving more information, we can infer that the American Airlines Flight 2292 radio transmission took place on 21 February. If you have any more questions about this, we advise you to contact the FBI “The American Airlines spokesperson said.
Likewise, The War Zone makes it clear that there will soon be further guidance from the FAA.
The case is a little closer to the one that occurred almost exactly three years ago in the same place. In that case, the Learjet and the Airbus had consecutive close encounters with an unidentified aircraft flying over them when they were about 37,000 feet above eastern Arizona.
Later, the veteran Learjet pilot, who worked for the defense contractor Phoenix Air, told local media how bizarre the incident was. The interpretation of a missile-like target is also consistent with some of the encounters that US Navy fighter pilots have had with anomalous objects off the East Coast over the last decade.
Unidentified Flying Object
As for what the American Airlines Flight 2292 pilots might have seen, we just can’t say at this time. Many will point out that New Mexico is home to the sprawling White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) along with a host of other military bases and restricted areas. Even, the chances of a missile “coming out of reserve” during an exercise or other other traditional military justification remain low. This sort of thing has procedures in place, and the pilots will be alerted to the safety threat.
Moreover, the likelihood that it could be some kind of clandestine aircraft is also highly unlikely, as it might have been operating day-to-day without having to engage in air traffic control in unrestricted airspace.
That said, we should note that the Mount Dora Military Operations Area (MOA) is in the area, but airline pilots must have been alerted that the airspace was “hot” and other potential conflicts. It’s not a place, either, where ammunition like a cruise missile will be dropped.