Sep 13, 2017 I Brett Tingley

Mystery Aircraft Involved in Fatal Air Force Crash

One of the enduring theories explaining various UFO phenomena in the modern era is that militaries have created and propagated UFO rumors in order to mask tests of new aerospace technologies. One hole in this theory, though, is that UFO sightings predate the advent of man-made flying machines by quite a few centuries. Nevertheless, it’s plausible to suspect that perhaps at least some of the sightings over the last century or so can be chalked up to clandestine military tests or even foreign entities operating over our own skies.

mystery craft
A mysterious triangular aircraft seen over Texas in 2014.

Tests of secretive new aircraft and reports of foreign spy planes seem to have been ramping up this year, with numerous sightings of odd planes and unconventional aircraft pouring in around the globe. Now, a strange and fatal crash of a U.S. Air Force craft is showing that there is indeed likely more than meets the eye in the skies overhead.

The crash occurred at Nellis Air Force Base, a frequent target for UFO and conspiracy theories.

Lt. Col. Eric Schultz, 44, of Annapolis, Maryland died in the crash. Schultz was a highly decorated pilot and test engineer who flew over 50 combat missions in Afghanistan. The USAF reported that the crash occurred around 6:00 pm on Tuesday, September 5th at the 2.9-million acre Nevada Test and Training Range about 100 miles northwest of Nellis Air Force Base.

Lt. Col. Schultz leaves behind a wife and five children.

However, the Air Force didn’t report the crash until September 8th, and has still yet to state what type of aircraft was involved in the crash. Maj. Christina Sukach, chief of public affairs at Nellis, has said only that "information about the type of aircraft involved is classified and not releasable." Air Force Chief of Staff General David L. Goldfein has meanwhile stated only that the aircraft was definitely not an F-35.

f 117
The F-117 was officially retired in 2008, but several sightings indicate that at least a few are still perhaps secretly in service.

So what was it then? Several aviation outlets have speculated that perhaps Lt. Col. Schultz might have been flying a Chinese or Russian-made aircraft in order to test its capabilities. Photographs of Russian-built Sukhoi SU-27 planes flying over the Nevada Test and Training Range surfaced last year. Other theories state that perhaps Schultz was flying a modified F-117A or other “black jet,” meaning some form of undisclosed spy plane. If that’s the case, we’ll likely never know.

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A Russian SU-27 fighter photographed over Nevada in 2016.

Which brings me back to my original point - can at least some modern UFO sightings be chalked up to secretive military testing? Given that the USAF clearly doesn’t want us to know what plane was involved in the crash, it’s safe to say that there are planes currently in our skies that are unlike anything the general public is familiar with. Or, could it work the other way; could the proverbial ‘they’ want us to think they’re testing new craft when in fact extraterrestrial craft are zooming around conducting surveillance on us lowly earthlings? Unlikely, but as with all things mysterious, who really knows for sure? For now, this one goes down as a genuine military mystery and more importantly, an unfortunate tragedy.

Brett Tingley

Brett Tingley is a writer and musician living in the ancient Appalachian mountains.

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