While flying over the Paris region, the crew noticed a large brownish red disk hovering on the horizon and constantly changing shape.
From the pilot, Jean-Charles Duboc:
This object seemed to us then as absolutely abnormal by its size which seemed immense, its dark red color and of the fuzzy edges.
I had the impression to observe a gigantic lens in evolution.
It did not resemble anything we had seen in our flying careers.
At the beginning of the afternoon, the crew of Air France flight AF-3532, Nice to London, observed an unusual phenomenon.
UFOCOM, Belarusian UFOlogical COMmunity, asked some questions to the pilot and commander of the flight, Jean-Charles Duboc.
Interview with Commander Duboc:
You were a flight commanding officer at Air France and on January 28, 1994, you have encountered an unusual phenomenon as you were doing the Nice to London flight 3532.
Could you tell what you witnessed?
I was commander of flight AF-3532 of January 28, 1994, with copilot Valerie Chauffour, and 24 passengers on board.
I have kept a copy of the OCTAVE, which is the data processing follow up of the flight and I can specify that above the Paris area at the altitude of 38,385', the outside temperature was of -74° Fahrenheit, and with a wind from the northwest had a speed of 311°/101 kts.
The visibility was of more than 150 nautical miles, and the cloud cover consisted of altocumulus.
The flight encountered no airshakes.
The navigation was under excellent weather conditions, in spite of the facing wind of almost 80 mph.
That gave us a ground speed of 404 mph.
The takeoff hour in Nice was 00h56pm UT and the arrival hour in London 2:13pm UT.
It was a particularly calm flight, without particular problem.
We arrived above Coulommiers when a steward who was in the cockpit noticed an object which he thought could be a weather balloon.
This object was then seen by the copilot and myself a few moment afterwards.
According to their description, it seemed to have a variable form and to come very quickly across our road, flight path.
I first identified it like an aircraft facing us, at approximately 25 nautical miles, at an altitude of approximately 35,000' and at an angle close to 45°.
I found this slope absolutely abnormal because aircraft are not inclined at this altitude beyond 30° without risking to fall down.
This object seemed to us then absolutely abnormal by its size which seemed immense, its dark red color and of the fuzzy edges.
I had the impression to observe a gigantic lens in evolution.
It did not resemble anything we had seen in our flying careers.
This object, this phenomenon, remained motionless while we left it on our left side, still at an approximate distance of 28 miles.
We observed it during a good minute, conscious that we were seeing something utterly anomalous.
We continued to observe it when it gradually merged with the environment.
We saw it becoming translucent, transparent, diluted in space, which was absolutely amazing.
After some interrogations, we contacted the control center of Rheims to announce this unidentified object to them, as we are required by air transportation regulation.
Was this object tracked by your instruments?
What about the black box of flight 3532?
Were the communications between your aircraft and the control center in Rheims recorded?
Our on board instruments are not intended to locate other aircraft.
The airborne radar is only intended to locate storms in order to be able to avoid the air movements ascending and descending, associated with them, characteristic of these clouds, the cumulonimbi.
During this event, the radar was not in operation, as it is only necessary in instrument flying.
In the same way, the black box cannot in any case detect aircraft or phenomena far away from the plane.
On the Airbus 320, there is a first recorder which is the Quick Access Recorder.
It records only flight parameters, speed, altitude, mechanics, engines, electric, and so forth.
It is analyzed by the maintenance service.
The second recorder, the DFDR, has the same recordings but must support the constraints of an accident.
This recorder is analyzed only if a crash occurs or on request of the crew.
As no parameter of our flight has been modified, the tapes were not analyzed because it would have been pointless.
The UFO was at nearly 28 miles of our aircraft, and there has been no electric or magnetic disturbances.
On the other hand, this UFO was approximately 6 miles, above Paris, and the Parisian people, under layer of clouds, were much closer to the UFO than we were.
If there had been electromagnetic disturbances, a few million people would have noticed it.
The communications were always preserved, and it is the same for the main TV and radio shows.
Which were the continuations of this affair, at a professional and personal level?
Have you been interviewed by the civilian or military authorities?
In the immediate, the continuations were nonexistent, because I did not submit a written report to avoid being ridiculed.
It was 3 years later, as I read an article from Paris Match, which described how a UFO has been detected above Paris, that I made the connection between this UFO and that what I had seen.
I then submitted a report to the Gendarmerie Nationale, French police, having an SOP for collection of UFO reports.
Was your testimony transmitted to the SEPRA?
Which were the continuations brought by this branch of the CNES?
My report was transmitted by the Gendarmerie to the SEPRA, and the UFO Committee, was created within the framework of the Association of the Former Auditors of the Institute for the High Studies of National Defense.
I was heard during nearly 90 minutes by the group chaired by General Denis Letty.
After discussing about the observation, we concluded that the object was approximately 1000', in diameter.
I took note of the radar recordings by the CODED, Operational Center of Air Defense.
There is a very curious characteristic for the trajectory of the UFO, as it shows that it would have almost collided with us.
The minimal distance on the recording is less than 1 nautical mile, that is to say 10 seconds of flight.
This kind of observation is traditional in electronic warfare.
The modern military aircraft are furtive, and at the same time able to synthesize a virtual image of themselves by delaying the radar echo.
If a missile had been drawn on this UFO, which was above Paris, it would be our A320 which would probably have been hit by the missile.
I think that it is not desirable to shoot fire at this kind of phenomenon.
Did you speak again of your observation with your colleagues of flight 3532?
Which is, now, their feeling about this affair?
I never found the steward who was in the cockpit.
My various requests to find the list of the crew for this flight were left unanswered by the office of the commercial flight crew personal management.
I had 4 crew in 2 days, and I did not keep the lists of the members with me, because they are on the onboard documentation.
On the other hand, I have reexamined the case several times with the co pilot who has a very precise memory of the event, and who wrote a report for the gendarmerie, police, of the Charles De Gaulle Airport.
I can only suggest you asking them about their feeling now.
During your pilot career, have you heard from colleagues or other air personal, of similar phenomena?
I barely speak about this encounter, and I had the surprise to note that about one out of 10 pilots had observed a unidentified flying phenomenon.
Your testimony appears in the COMETA Report, which has been published in a special edition of the Veterans Services Division magazine, the summer of 1999.
Were you interviewed by this association?
What do you think of this report, from a general point of view?
As I said, I was actually auditioned by the above mentioned UFO Committee, which took shape in an association named COMETA.
I have recently met Mr. Denis Letty along with a friend who is flight commander on the Concorde, responsible for the training of pilots at the General Management of Civil Aviation, in order to study a regulatory possibility to have a reports form for UFO observations on the board of all French airliners.
Their report seemed to me extremely well conceived, written by high level personalities, and constitutes a reference for UFO question.
It still has some restricted diffusion because this subject is still one of the 3 great taboos of aeronautics.
The first taboo is the cosmic radiation on aircraft.
From May 2000 on, the flying personal will have to carry a dosemeter and the amount of radiation received each year will be measured and calculated according to the recommendations of the project SIEVERT which is developed by the General Management of Civil Aviation, the Institute of Protection and Nuclear Safety, the Office of Protection against radiation Ionizing, and the Observatory of Paris-Meudon.
Flight crew of aeronautics, as well as astronauts will be soon classified among the people who receive amounts of radiations on their workplace.
The amount of cosmic radiation received by passengers or members of flight crew during a Europe to U.S. trip and return trip is similar to a lung radioscopy, and this fact is carefully hidden to the crews and the passengers for nearly 35 years.
A recommendation of the International Civil Aviation Organization, back in 1964, requested that the airlines take measurements of onboard radiations on airliners.
A modification of the European regulation in May 2000, European directive 96/29 of May 13, 1996, divided by 5 the maximum amount of radiation applicable to the public, which will be able to take only 1 millisievert per year, instead of 5.
The airline pilots, hostesses, steward receive between 2 and 5 mSv per year, which is more than the majority of the workers in nuclear powerplants.
This taboo will disappear when the information circulates in the general public.
The second taboo is the suicide of the airline pilots as they fly, and it will be shattered by the accident of the Egypt Air 990 flight, if the assumption of the suicide of the copilot is to be confirmed.
The third taboo is the UFO phenomenon, and in particular the 220 visual observations confirmed by radar, among them is mine.
We can thank the COMETA team which, by the quality of its members, its knowledge, its overview, its hypothesis, makes it possible to start to discuss seriously about the sightings from all points of the planet.
On December 7, 1999, TV viewers have an occasion to see you in the Why? How? show, animated by Sylvain Augier and Julie Bhaud, for the France3 channel.
As I took part myself in the recording of this show, I had the pleasant impression that the questions were not oriented.
The And CO team, producing the show, seemed opened, although skeptic, and very sympathetic.
If the editing does not suppress it, do you think that this kind of show can have some utility for general public?
What do you think about the attitude of the medias, in general, as for their editing of UFO related information?
As I wrote above, there are several taboos in aeronautics, and the reporters who dare to face these interdicts risk to be ridiculed, but also to have trouble finding a job.
This type of show require curiosity and courage, and the journalists know that they risk negative reactions, or aggressive reactions, and derision.
This type of emission is very important for it makes it possible to give previously confidential information to the public.
Information must pass gradually, whereas we must know that there will be all sorts of reactions.
The bottom line of this problem is the maturity of the public.
Is the public ready to receive the information?
The social psychologists can consider the consequences which an official meeting with an extraterrestrial civilization would have, if they have several million years of technological advance.
Which upheavals would be induced?
Will there be panic in the population?
Which disappointed hopes?
Will we find the best, the worst, or both?
Which information should be given to the public?
Today, do you think that the origin of the UFO phenomenon is not our planet?
The immensity of the universe, its beauty, it's unknown features, the current technological progress, the space travels, the orbiting stations, and what I saw, can only convince me that we are not alone in the universe and that we will take part, if we do not destroy ourselves, in the community of the species which travel across the galaxy.
The true current problem of our planet is not the existence, or not, of extraterrestrial civilizations but all the problems caused by pollution, the accumulation of the weapons of destruction, fanaticism, totalitarianism, the overcrowding of our planet.
Si nous avons quelque chose à craindre c'est peut-être des autres, mais aussi et surtout de nous-mêmes.
If we have something to fear, maybe it is not the others, but our own kind.
To conclude this interview that you so nicely granted us, do you have a particular message, a comment to be transmitted to our readers?
I bought myself a 14" telescope, and I had a small astronomical observatory with a cupola of 12' constructed.
Astronomy will be one of my occupations in retirement, and if I must leave a message to your readers it is:
Take the time to look at the moon, the Sun, the planets, the stars, the galaxies, in the astronomical reviews, a club, or at home.
I hope that one day each French village will have a small astronomical observatory so that the children, and the teenagers, but also the adults, can satisfy their curiosity and become open to the mysteries of the universe.