What do you mean? When did that happen?
In 1950, when I was still a cadet. I was flying a training session over Barra da Tijuca and saw something similar to a balloon, as I can describe it. My trainer saw that as well and agreed that that could be a balloon, but the object suddenly disappeared. Not long after that, the magazine O Cruzeiro published a report entitled Disco Voador na Barra da Tijuca (Flying Saucer over Barra da Tijuca). If you check the magazine archives, you’ll get to the description of what was seen that day. I think that was the same object I saw during my training along with other colleagues. O Cruzeiro even mentioned that a group of aircraft flying that zone might have spotted the object. They were talking about us.
Indeed, a passage in Fernando Cleto Nunes Pereira’s book A Bíblia e os Discos Voadores (The Bible and the UFOs) [Editora Ediouro, 1986], says that a cadet from Campo dos Afonsos would have seen the UFO pictured by magazine O Cruzeiro.
It might be me or any other cadet. I saw that “thing” at Barra da Tijuca, which could be a balloon. That happened at the same time and same place in which the UFO was photographed. To my understanding, that was a balloon. However, when O Cruzeiro hit the stands the next Sunday, the report defined that as a flying saucer. I didn’t see anything that seemed like a saucer, but only a balloon, as I can describe it. [When inquired about it, the interviewee revealed he was never aware of the controversy surrounding Ed Keffel’s pictures of an alleged UFO. Ed Keffel was a reporter for O Cruzeiro and worked in partnership with Joao Martins. Those pictures are considered to be a hoax by most of the Brazilian ufology community].
Was the object just hanging still in the air? Didn’t it move to any direction?
When you are flying, it’s difficult to observe the movement of other things in the sky. It’s hard to tell if that moved or not.
Brigadier, you already know that our main wish today is having government ackowledgement of UFOs existence as well as the disclosure of official archives. Brazilian ufologists also want to establish a research committee to work in cooperation with Air Force officials, be them retired or not. We wish to conduct joint operations for case analysis aiming both military and civil data files. Can we count on your support for that?
Of course you can. Sure. As for the Aeronautics as an institution I think that, if you’re able or lucky to reach most concrete data, they will use you in order to find explanations or collect more information.
How do you suggest we could approach the Aeronautics with such a proposal for a joint work?
It maybe by finding out more new facts.
We have hundreds of facts. What we need now is an institutional and bureaucratic breakthrough so that our idea is officially made into effect.
How did you get access to all these information you’ve just brought to show me?
We made formal requests to the Aeronautics and many other bodies as part of procedures put in place after the Carta de Brasilia and, later on, by the Dossiê UFO Brasil [See UFO 155 and 158]. Most of materials were released by the Centro de Documentação e Histórico da Aeronáutica (Cendoc).
If that was the case, I believe you should follow on the same path. The body you said to have released most of materials is, in fact, the most accessible one to that kind of proposal. I’ll see what I can get to you in that sense.
We thank you very much for that. Regarding the time you served in Manaus as a commander to the VII Comando Aéreo Regional (COMAR VII), was there any UFO sighting you could tell us about?
No. Despite the intense air traffic in that area, I didn’t get any information of that kind. Roraima’s Boa Vista airport used to be the most requested one in Brazil that time due to mining activities in the region. There were more than 200 daily flights, normally monomotors. There was a huge exploration of cassiterite at that time.
Such an aircraft traffic demands extreme caution on the part of controllers, isn’t it?
Yes. That’s the reason why after two months in office as a minister I took the president to the region and proposed him the implementation of a surveillance system in order to keep track of anything that happens in the Amazon. This is what we know today as Sistema de Vigilância da Amazônia (SIVAM). It was prepared by the Armed Forces in order to monitor the air space in all of that area. The initiative has its civil part, which is denominated Sistema de Proteção da Amazônia (SIPAM). The president accepted the suggestion and the system was put in place years later.
When SIVAM started operations you were not at the Ministry anymore, correct? Despite that fact, didn’t you know of any occurrence in the Amazon, either through civil or military pilots?
No, nothing. That time there was nothing in the Amazon, only rains.
Regarding the Official Night, there is another question. Some sectors in the press attempted to discredit the importance of the case, while others argued that the Air Force would never launch 7 jet fighters to intercept something of little importance. In fact, an operation like that would be too expensive.
Of course they wouldn’t. However, this kind of interception operation is short. There’s no interception lasting 2 or 3 hours. It normally takes no more than 30 or 40 minutes. The aircraft goes, checks, identifies the target or not, then returns to the base. But you’re right, the costs are really high.
So you mean the Aeronautics would never deploy jets if the case was not very serious?
They would not, but let me tell you a story. During the conflict in Malvinas islands, in 1982, I was a commander at Cindacta when we spotted an aircraft entering Brazilian air space from the North, through Belem region. We knew that was a Russian Ilyushin flying from Havana to Buenos Aires whose route crossed Brazilian air space. We didn’t know the pilot, but we knew the Cuban ambassador to Argentina was onboard carrying US$ 200,000 – and that I don’t know what for. The aircraft entered Brazilian skies without contacting controllers in Brasilia. The Military Operations Center immediately launched two Mirage against the intruder. It was a Thursday, a day before Good Friday, with a heavy storm falling over Brasilia. The air strip was dark, we had lost the lights. So we put lamps on in order to make the taking-off possible. The Mirage would take off at 22h00 in order to intercept the Cuban aircraft. They ordered the intruder to come back and land in Brasilia, but their pilots pretended not to listen. Then the Mirages turned on their lights behind the Cuban aircraft and its pilots understood they had no other choice. So they returned and landed in Brasilia. What I want to say is that our system for interception really works! [emphatic] However, if the HIlyushin had not landed in Brasília, we wouldn’t know what to do, because none of our authorities would have the courage to authorize an attack against the intruder. Now it’s a different situation because we have a legislation regulating the possibility of putting an intruder down.
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