American Airlines Flight 2292, an Airbus A320 operating between Cincinnati and Phoenix on February 21, 2021, had an unusual near encounter with what its crew described as “an elongated cylindrical shape much like a cruise missile.”
According to the pilots, the object was moving very quickly over the top of the airplane, rising at 36,000 feet and 400 knots. The event happened in the rural northeast corner of New Mexico County, west of the tiny town of Des Moines.
Steve Douglass, an accomplished radio interceptor and owner of Deep Black Horizon, told the War Zone platform that he was recording scanners from his arsenal when he noticed an unusual transmission.
The War Zone analyzed more than one hour of audio given by Douglass (audio that can be downloaded here ). “We are working to authenticate this with the FAA (Federal Aviation Administration) and to obtain more facts and feedback from the Department on the incident. We have contacted American Airlines to collect additional knowledge that they may supply,” said the specialized site yesterday.
As Douglass had said:
At approximately 1:19 CST, the pilot registered on the Albuquerque Central frequency of 127,850 MHz or 134,750 MHz (recording was not identified with the frequency):
“Have you got any goals up there? We just wanted everything to do with us. I hate to say this, but it looked like a large, cylindrical shape, more like a sort of cruise missile, going really quickly right over us.”
According to Flight 24 and Flight Conscious, AAL 2292 was in the northeast corner of New Mexico, west of Clayton. The Albuquerque Center did not track any response because local air traffic (yellow) had gone through it. At the time of the study, the AAL 2292 was close to flight level 370 (37k).
No noticeable involvement of military aircraft was detected in the ADS-B record.
The plane had travelled to Phoenix, AZ.
As a result of attempts made to notify the appropriate authority, the incident has been verified as of today, authenticating the recordings and adding that everything is currently being examined by the FBI.
“After consulting our flight crew and providing additional details, we may conclude that American Airlines Flight 2292 received the radio transmission on 21 February. If you have any more concerns regarding this, we urge you to contact the FBI,” said the American Airlines spokesperson.
Likewise, The War Zone clarifies that it will shortly receive more guidance from the FAA.
The occurrence was somewhat close to the one that happened almost precisely three years earlier in the same city. At the incident, a Learjet and an Airbus had successive near encounters with an unseen aircraft flying over them as they flew about 37,000 feet above eastern Arizona.
Later, the seasoned Learjet operator, who had been flying with military contractor Phoenix Air, explained to local media how bizarre the incident was.
The explanation of the missile-like object is also compatible with some of the recorded experiences that US Navy fighter pilots have had with anomalous artifacts off the East Coast during the last decade.
As for what the pilots on American Airlines Flight 2292 may have seen, we can’t really tell at this stage. Many would find out that New Mexico is home to the sprawling White Sands Missile Range (WSMR) along with a number of other military facilities and restricted areas. Even, the prospect of a missile “coming out of reserve” during a drill or any such typical military excuse appears impossible. This type of thing has protocols in effect and the pilots must have been alerted to the safety threat.
Furthermore, the possibility that it could be any sort of covert aircraft is therefore extremely doubtful, since it would have been flying throughout the day and without engaging with air traffic control over unregulated airspace.
That said, we should remember that the Mount Dora Military Operations Area (MOA) is situated in this area, but airline pilots might have been warned that the airspace was “tight” and other possible conflicts. It’s not a spot, either, where ammunition like a cruise missiles will be dropped.