There have been countless UFO sightings and encounters over the decades, which have taken all shapes and sizes. There seems to be no agreed upon norm for how a UFO should look, and while saucer-shaped or spherical are the most common, they really do run the range of appearances. And then you have the sizes reported, from tiny to very large. How big would you say a UFO would have to be before it would be considered truly imposing? As big as a bus? An airliner? How about larger still? What would you think of a UFO the size of a football field or even beyond? While rare, there have been some reports of UFOs of these sorts of dimensions, and here we will look at some of the biggest ever reported.
The earliest case we will look at here comes to us from 1956, an era during which the UFO and flying saucer craze was in full swing. It was originally related by a Major Donald E. Keyhoe, who at the time was first heard the story in 1959, during which time he had been serving as Director of the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena. Keyhoe was approached by a Navy Captain James Taylor, who had a remarkable story to tell, one which he had long sought to keep out of the public eye. According to Taylor, in 1956 he had been aboard a Navy R7V-2 transport piloted by a Commander George Benton and co-piloted by Lieutenant Peter W. Mooney, on a flight across the Atlantic towards Naval Air Station, Patuxent, Maryland, in the United States, along with several other Navy men returning from duty abroad, several dozen crew members, and 30 airmen-pilots, navigators and flight engineers. On this evening they were approaching a stop at Gander, Newfoundland, under reportedly clear and calm conditions with excellent visibility when a series of bizarre events would play out.
As Benton looked out over the tranquil sea, he noticed that rather than within the dark expanse that spread out to the horizon unmarred before, there was now a “cluster of lights, like a village” out in the distance ahead. It turned out that the co-pilot could clearly see it too, and they both agreed it looked like a small town just sitting out there in the middle of nowhere. The problem was, there should have been nothing out there but open water. At first, they thought they must be off course and that they were approaching land, but a check of their instruments showed that they were right on course as planned. It was then speculated that they were seeing ships, but attempts to radio the vessels were met with silence, and a check with his radio man turned up no records of any groups of ships scheduled to be out there. It didn't help that these didn't look like any ships they had seen before. It was weird enough that they woke some of the other crew members, most of who had been asleep, and several other men crowded into the cockpit to see the strange sight for themselves. They were now practically right on top of the enigmatic lights, and began to circle around them in order to try and figure out what was going on. That was when the cluster of lights suddenly dimmed, and Keyhoe would write of it:
As the transport began to circle, the strange lights abruptly dimmed. Then several colored rings appeared, began to spread out. One, Benton noticed, seemed to be growing in size. Behind him, someone gave an exclamation. Benton took another look. That luminous ring wasn't on the surface - it was something rushing up toward the transport.
"What the devil is it?" said Mooney. "Don't know," muttered Benton. He rolled the Constellation out of its turn to start a full-power climb. Then he saw it was useless. The luminous ring could catch them in seconds. The glow, he now saw, came from the rim of some large, round object. It reached their altitude, swiftly took shape as a giant disc-shaped machine.
Whatever it was, it was enormous. The plane they were on is called a Super-Constellation, an enormous four-engine aircraft more like a flying fortress than a plane, 116 feet long and with a 117-foot wingspan, and this mystery object reportedly absolutely dwarfed it, by Benton’s estimation clocking in around 400 feet in diameter. It was coming up fast, and the plane banked in an evasive maneuver, but right when collision seemed inevitable, the object swung around to the side of their aircraft and began pacing them on the port side. It was then that they could see the true enormity of it, and Keyhoe says:
Its sheer bulk was amazing; its diameter was three to four times the Constellation's wing span. At least thirty feet thick at the center, it was like a gigantic dish inverted on top of another. Seen at this distance, the glow along the rim was blurred and uneven. Whether it was an electrical effect, a series of jet exhausts or lights from opening in the rim, Benton could not tell. But the glow was bright enough to show the disc's curving surface, giving a hint of dully reflecting metal. Though Benton saw no signs of life, he had a feeling they were being observed. Fighting an impulse to dive away, he held to a straight course. Gradually, the strange machine pulled ahead. Tilting its massive shape upward, it quickly accelerated and was lost against the stars.
After this harrowing experience, Benton immediately called the tower on the ground and asked if they had picked up anything strange, and they confirmed that the object had been picked up on their radar, but things got very odd when they landed at Granger. According to Taylor, they were met by Air Force intelligence officers who gave them lengthy interrogations about what they had seen and seemed to believe that is was all fact, never questioning what the men saw, but rather wanting details. After that the mysterious officers refused to answer any questions about what they themselves thought was going on, and told the crew who had witnessed the phenomena to keep quiet about it. Benton would claim to be approached by an unnamed scientist several days later, who showed him photographs of the object they had seen but refused to divulge any more information on it. The report would be drawn out of obscurity in the Flying Saucer Review, Volume 49/2, Summer 2004, pp. 21-23, and we are left to wonder just what those men saw out there.
More recently there was a rather bizarre report from 1996, in the area of Pelotas, Brazil. On November 5 of that year, Brazilian pilot Haroldo Westendorf was out for a private flight in his single engine Embraer EMB-712 aircraft. Haroldo was an avid private pilot and flight acrobat, and this was purely a recreational flight, yet it would become quite a harrowing experience after just 12 minutes in the air. At around 10:30 AM, the pilot was making his way across a nearby lake, when he noticed before him a gigantic object hovering in the air. After checking with ground control that they saw it too, Haroldo then made the perhaps foolish decision to approach for a closer look. It would turn out to be far more bizarre than he had ever expected.
Upon closing the distance, he could see that it was some sort of immense 8-sided pyramid-shaped object, estimated as being about 70 meters (225 feet) high and about 100 meters (325 feet) in diameter, and Haroldo would report that he got a good look at it, circling it several times at a distance of only 40 meters. He claimed that each side of the pyramid had upon it a series of opaque triangular bay windows, and that the object was seemingly metallic and brown in color. The massive structure also seemed to be spinning very slowly, and inexorably inching towards the nearby coast at an estimated speed of about 60 nautical miles per hour. As the pilot stared at this massive object in awe, it then purportedly disgorged a smaller, disc-shaped craft from an opening in its top, which completely ignored the plane and sped off at incredible speed.
Haroldo then gained altitude in order to get a look at the top of the monolithic object, but as he did so it allegedly began spinning more rapidly as it shot off ominous beams of red light. After several moments of this, this enormous pyramid then purportedly shot straight up into the sky at a very rapid pace, which was quite alarming as the pilot fully expected a possibly catastrophic shockwave of turbulence. He even began evasive maneuvers for the expected incoming wall of turbulence, but he claims it never came, as if the craft had defied the laws of physics. The story gained quite a bit of media attention in Brazil at the time, but although Haroldo would claim that it had been witnessed by at least two air traffic control installations, they denied seeing anything. Despite this, several witnesses would step forward to say that they had seen it as well, and we are left to wonder if he saw anything at all or if there was some sort of cover-up.
Even more recently still is a report from April of 2007, and is the possibly the biggest UFO of all of these. Experienced pilot Captain Ray Bowyer was flying off the coast of Alderney, of the Channel Islands, when he spotted a bright yellow light about to the west of the island. It was hard to tell what it was, but it was clear that it was absolutely gigantic. Bowyer would say of the strange object:
It was a very sharp, thin yellow object with a green area. It was 2,000ft up and stationary. I thought it was about 10 miles away, although I later realized it was approximately 40 miles from us. At first, I thought it was the size of a 737. But it must have been much bigger because of how far away it was. It could have been as much as a mile wide. I can't explain it. At first, I thought it might have been a reflection from a vinery in Guernsey, but that would have disappeared quickly. This was clearly visual for about nine minutes. As I got closer to it, it became clear to me that it was tangible. I was in two minds about going towards it to have a closer look but decided against it because of the size of it. I had to think of the safety of the passengers first.
He would later spot an identical object in another area, and it would also become clear that at least one of the objects had been spotted by another pilot, although ground control radar did not detect them. Interestingly, several years earlier, on January 28, 1994, a similar object had been seen in roughly the same general vicinity, and had been estimated as being over 1,000 feet in diameter. What are these craft and why are they so impossibly huge? Besides the obvious technological marvels that must be in place to allow them to operate, what is their purpose? Are these perhaps motherships holding the smaller craft that are more commonly seen? Or are they something else? Size may not matter, but whatever they are, they add another layer to the strangeness of the UFO phenomenon as a whole.