The Official Night of UFOs in Brazil

Part of what happened on the night of the 19th to the 20th of May 1986 was only possible to reconstruct thanks to the audio recorded at the time.

In World Ufology, there are countless intriguing cases that stand out from the others, either due to the amazing characteristics of the phenomenon, either by the number of direct witnesses, or even by the impact generated by the ufological fact, either on witnesses or in high government spheres. The so-called Official UFO Night stands out in these aspects and remains the ufological fact with the largest number of direct witnesses in history.Thousands of people, including military pilots, commercial pilots, authorities and the general population, observed a veritable air show of dozens of flying objects with different shapes and sizes that performed maneuvers at speeds still impossible for terrestrial technology, in what the flight controller flight sergeant Sérgio Mota da Silva — one of the main witnesses in the case — defined it as “The Festival of Flying Saucers”. Today, 36 years later, there are many unpublished details of this event and much more yet to be discovered.Part of what happened on the night of May 19 to 20, 1986, it was only possible to reconstruct thanks to audio recorded at the time and officially released by the Brazilian Air Force (FAB). There are almost eight hours of recordings of the communications that took place in the control tower of the São José dos Campos Airport (SP), in the Air Defense and in four of the five fighter jets sent to intercept the mysterious objects. Additional data was obtained from recent interviews with witnesses, both civilian and military, which added interesting and unpublished details to the event.It all started around 6:00 pm on May 19, 1986, when the first luminous object was observed from the São José control tower. The UFO was to the northwest of the city and remained visible for several minutes, static in the sky. Experienced in his role, the local flight controller, Sergeant Silva, was surprised by the fact and, following aeronautical protocols, contacted the control tower of Guarulhos Airport questioning the presence of aircraft in that region. In response, the Guarulhos operator reported that there were no aircraft in the area reported by Sergeant Mota.

At the same moment, the São Paulo Approach Control (APP-SP) was already capturing another object flying slowly, 37 km east of São José dos Campos. The UFO spotted by Sergeant Mota was not captured by the Air Force’s radars, which registered another object that was not visible at that moment. Given the strangeness of the event, an intense telephone dialogue began there between different Brazilian aeronautical departments and sectors. On the phone, Mota alternated conversations between the Aeronautics Center in Brasília, São Paulo and the Air Defense Center, informing what was being observed or asking for radar confirmation for the objects seen.

intense phenomenon

At around 7:00 pm, several flight controllers were already receiving reports from commercial pilots on flights in different parts of Brazil. At that time, there were no cell phones or internet and communication took place via landlines. Communications between the centers were so intense that the phones were jammed at the São Paulo Air Base. The controllers passed this information on to the Air Defense, which raised the level of attention to the facts.


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