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Pilot claims he saw UFO about to hit plane, so he ducked

The pilot of an Airbus A320 in the skies around Heathrow Airport is suddenly startled by what he calls a cigar-shaped object flying toward his plane. He takes evasive action. Of a sort.

The A320. In whose cockpit pilots occasionally duck.

Sleep hasn't come easy to me lately.

Not since Canada's former defense minister explained that aliens won't give us their best tech because we're such nasty, bellicose people.

Apparently, the aliens are waiting for us to put down our nuclear weapons and ask them nicely for help. (Why they can't just neutralize us with their superior tech, I don't know.)

But now I hear they've just paid us another visit. Perhaps.

The United Kingdom's Airprox Board, which monitors all near misses in the air, has just released details of a disturbingly hopeful incident.

The pilot of an Airbus A320 was wafting about the skies around London's Heathrow Airport when he saw an object he couldn't identify barreling toward him.

Now, if you were the pilot of a plane and saw a cigar-shaped (they're so often cigar-shaped, these alien craft, aren't they?) craft coming toward you, your first reaction might be to divert your plane.

Well, as the Telegraph reports, this pilot ducked. In the words of the official report: "His immediate reaction was to duck to the right and reach over to alert the FO (First Officer); there was no time to talk to alert him."

I am not sure this maneuver would have prevented this alleged UFO from striking his plane, but it would have surely startled the First Officer into reassessing the pilot's sang-froid.

Afterward, the pilot explained that the flying object was within feet of his plane, bright silver and metallic. (The incident happened in July, in daylight.)

The authorities have not been able to locate any other sightings of this alleged object. The fact that this all happened at 34,000 feet means that some of the more obvious suggestions -- like a balloon of some sort -- have been discounted.

Some investigators mulled whether this wasn't all just a trick of the light: "Although only supposition, members opined that this may have been due to a combination of a possible reflection of the low sun off one of the aircraft to the west, and of the pilot's head movement as he looked forward."

Personally, I still find it odd when I look out of the window on a trans-Atlantic flight and see another 747 floating alongside.

So the notion that strange objects might come within a few feet of planes is a touch concerning.

In essence, though, we must live with yet another mystery. But if you do see something hurtling toward you when you're on a flight, I suppose you might as well duck. That, it seems, is what the pilot will be doing.