The Famous O’Hare Airport UFO sighting Explained

The Famous O'Hare Airport UFO sighting Explored And Explained

The city of Chicago isn’t known for having a lot of UFO sightings, but one of the most well-known ones in the last 10 years happened at O’Hare Airport.

The Chicago O’Hare UFO sighting happened on November 7, 2006, at 4:15 p.m., when 12 United Airlines employees and a few witnesses outside the airport at Chicago O’Hare International Airport said they saw a UFO.

In November 2006, pilots, airline management, and mechanics saw something that looked like a “flying saucer” over Concourse C of the United terminal. A Chicago Tribune columnist wrote about the event a few weeks later. He said that a United ramp worker saw the object for the first time around 4:30 p.m. After that, different people said the object was dark gray and between 6 and 24 feet across.

Some people said it looked like a spinning Frisbee, but others said it didn’t move at all. All of the witnesses agreed that the object was silent and appeared just below the 1,900-foot cloud deck. It then shot into the clouds and left a round hole. In this article, we would explain if the phenomenon seen at O’Hare airport was a UFO or something else.

The United Staff Were Adamant That They Saw A UFO At O’Hare

“But I know that what I saw and what a lot of other people saw stood out very clearly, and it was definitely not a [Earth] aircraft,” a mechanic told reporter Jon Hilkevitch.

After hearing about the sighting on an internal airline radio frequency, a manager on Concourse B ran out of his office.

The Famous O'Hare Airport UFO sighting Explored And Explained

“I knew that no one would make such a mistake. But if someone was bouncing a weather balloon or something else over O’Hare, we had to stop them because they were so close to our flight operations.”

The story was picked up by many major news outlets and made people think again about UFOs, but the Federal Aviation Administration and the airline refused to look into what happened.

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FAA Didn’t Believe It Was A UFO

The FAA wrote off the incident as a weather event, and Dr. Mark Hammergren, an astronomer at the Adler Planetarium, agreed, saying that the weather at O’Hare that day was right for a “hole-punch cloud.”

Hammergren said, “It happens when a propeller or jet plane flies through when there are uniform clouds and the temperature is right around freezing.” “They freeze liquid water droplets, and a cloudy disc of ice crystals falls out of a hole. It looks like a hole was punched in the cloud.”

But Center for UFO Studies Scientific Director Mark Rodeghier thinks that the possible alien ship that showed up in the center’s own “backyard” is still a mystery that needs to be solved.

“An unidentified object is seen over O’Hare by airport workers. Does United or the FAA take this seriously? UFOs can’t exist, so they have no reason to care about them. But after 9/11, how could you not worry about something flying over an airport? It doesn’t make sense,” Rodeghier said.

Leslie Kean, a journalist, wrote about it in her book “UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials Go on the Record.” She also talked about it with Stephen Colbert on “The Colbert Report” in 2010, saying that the government should look into what happened at O’Hare.

“This thing was flying over O’Hare Airport in Chicago during rush hour,” Kean said. “Many people saw it… The U.S. government said nothing about it.”

The NARCAP Report Called For A Government Inquiry And Improved Energy-Sensing Technologies

The National Aviation Reporting Center on Unusual Phenomena (NARCAP) wrote a 155-page report about the sighting and called for a government investigation and better energy-sensing technologies: “If an object in the air can hover for several minutes over a busy airport without being picked up by radar or seen from the control tower, it could be dangerous for flights.”

Media Coverage Of The O’Hare Airport UFO Incident

The Famous O'Hare Airport UFO sighting Explored And Explained

The story about the UFO at Chicago O’Hare airport was picked up by CNN, CBS, MSNBC, Fox News, the Chicago Tribune, and NPR, among others.

On February 11, 2009, an episode of the TV show UFO Hunters called “Aliens at the Airport,” which was on The History Channel, talked about the event.

The event is also talked about in the episode “Unfriendly Skies” of the TV show Hangar 1: The UFO Files.

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The Chicago O’Hare Airport UFO Sighting Explained

The FAA and United Airlines both said at first that they didn’t know anything about what happened, but calls that were recorded and other evidence showed that they talked about it when it happened.

The FAA then said it was a “weather phenomenon,” and the Tribune says United Airlines told its employees not to talk about it.

Brian E. Smith, a NASA aviation expert and former manager of the agency’s Aviation Safety and Security Program, says, “It’s clear that any vehicle flying low over a major airport without permission from air traffic control could be dangerous.” “Managers should want to know about these kinds of vehicle operations before they turn into accidents or disasters.”

The Famous O'Hare Airport UFO sighting Explored And Explained

FAA spokesman Tony Molinaro said that an investigation can’t happen because “there is no evidence of any kind.” “No one at the FAA could see anything. There was also nothing on the radar.”

Still, he gave his best “guess,” which was that witnesses might have seen a “hole-punch cloud” in the shape of a “perfect round disc” with “vapor going up into it.”

Some experts say that radar can’t find objects that don’t look like anything and act in strange ways. In the 1980s, John Callahan was in charge of accidents and investigations for the FAA. He says it’s not surprising at all that the O’Hare UFO wasn’t picked up by radar, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t anything there.

Radar technology can’t always catch UFOs that move very quickly. A floating object might not show up, either.

Considering all possible angles, it becomes increasingly clear that the craft that the United employees witnessed that day was indeed a UFO. The origin of the UFO or its motive still remains a mystery.


Rahul aims to cover the latest trends in the entertainment industry with his own unique perspective thrown in for a good measure. He loves dogs and reading about topics ranging from sports to science and technology. Rahul has a master's degree in exercise science and holds NSCA CSCS and CISSN certification

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