Classic Mysteries—Alternate Perceptions Magazine, August 2016
The famous UFO/helicopter encounter of 1973 and the secret Pentagon inquiries
by: Brent Raynes
Captain Lawrence Coyne (left) and Sergeant Robert Yanasek (right) discussing their UFO encounter
Photo credit: National Enquirer
On the night of October 18, 1973, at approximately 10:30 p.m., the crew of a U.S. Army Reserve helicopter, a Bell Huey jet, left Port Columbus, Ohio for their home base at Cleveland Hopkins Airport, 96 nautical miles distance to the north-northeast. In command of the flight was Captain Lawrence J. Coyne, age 36, with 19 years flying experience, with First Lieutenant Arrigo Jezzi, 26, at the controls, Sergeant John Healey, 35, the flight medic, and Sergeant Robert Yanacsek, 23, a computer technician. They were cruising at about 2,500 feet above sea level. They were a few miles south of Mansfield, and about 50 miles south of the Cleveland airport, when a red light is spotted. Captain Coyce was not overly concerned, ordering Yanacsek to simply “keep an eye on it.” Then perhaps 30 seconds later, Yanacsek reports that the light was moving towards them. It was about 11:10 p.m. Captain Coyne takes the controls from Jezzi, putting the helicopter into a dive at approximately 500 feet per minute in order to avoid a possible midair collision. Coyne also initiates radio contact with the Mansfield control tower suspecting that an Air National Guard F-100 fighter jet from there might be closing in on them. However, radio contact fails and even UHF and VHF frequencies suddenly don't work. Later it is learned that all F-100 aircraft from there were on the ground at that time.
Dr. J. Allen Hynek sent Jennie Zeidman, a former and highly trusted technical assistant that he had worked with back in the days of the Air Force's Project Bluebook, to investigate the case. In a summary of this incident, Zeidman described what happened next:
“The red light continued its radial bearing and increased greatly in intensity. Coyne increased his rate of descent to 2,000 feet per minute and his airspeed to 100 knots. The last altitude he noted was 1,700 feet. Just as a collision appeared imminent, the unknown light halted in its westward course and assumed a hovering relationship above and in front of the helicopter. 'It wasn't cruising, it was stopped. For maybe ten to twelve seconds - just stopped,' Yanacsek reported. Coyne, Healey, and Yanacsek agree that a cigar-shaped, slightly domed object substended an angle of nearly the width of the front windshield. A featureless, gray, metallic-looking structure was precisely delineated against the background stars. Yanacsek reported 'a suggestion of windows' along the top dome section. The red light emanated from the bow, a white light became visible at a slightly indented stern, and then, from aft/below, a green 'pyramid shaped' beam equated to a directional spotlight became visible. The green beam passed upward over the helicopter nose, swung up through the windshield, continued upward and entered the tinted upper window panels. At that point (and not before), the cockpit was enveloped in green light. Jezzi reported only a bright white light, comparable to the leading light of a small aircraft, visible through the top 'greenhouse' panels of the windshield. After the estimated ten seconds of 'hovering,' the object began to accelerate off to the west, now with only the white 'tail' light visible. The white light maintained its intensity even as its distance appeared to increase, and finally (according to Coyne and Healey), it appeared to execute a decisive 45 degree turn to the right, head out toward Lake Erie, and then 'snap out' over the horizon. Healey reported that he watched the object moving westward 'for a couple of minutes.' Jezzi said it moved faster than the 250-knot limit for aircraft below 10,000 feet, but not as fast as the 600-knot approach speed reported by the others. There was no noise from the object or turbulence during the encounter, except for one 'bump' as the object moved away to the west. After the object had broken off its hovering relationship, Jezzi and Coyne noted that the magnetic compass disk was rotating approximately four times per minute and that the altimeter read approximately 3,500 feet; a 1,000 foot-per-minute climb was in progress. Coyne insists that the collective was still bottomed from his evasive descent. Since the collective could not be lowered further, he had no alternative but to lift it, whatever the results, and after a few seconds of gingerly maneuvering controls (during which the helicopter reached nearly 3,800 feet), positive control was achieved. By that time the white light had already moved into the Mansfield area. Coyne had been subliminally aware of the climb; the others not at all, yet they had all been acutely aware of the g-forces of the dive. The helicopter was brought back to the flight plan altitude of 2,500 feet, radio contact was achieved with Canton/Akron, the night proceeded uneventfully to Cleveland.” [nuforc.org/Coyne.html]
P.J. Vollmer, F.A.A. Operations chief at Hopkins Airport, told reporter Gerry Brown of The National Enquirer: “This UFO sighting is like nothing we've ever handled before. We are wondering what sort of flying machine and what sort of crew can decelerate from 600 to 100 miles an hour in seconds without visible damage.
“And according to the captain's instruments, his helicopter climbed through the air at a speed which is impossible.”
It was also reported that five witnesses on the ground had also reported the UFO.
Noted ufologist Raymond Fowler, in his book The Watchers (1990), detailing his comprehensive investigation into the extraordinary Betty Andreasson Luca UFO abduction case, pointed out how Zeidman had learned from Coyne that about three weeks after the UFO encounter a man identifying himself as a staff member of the Surgeon General's office of the Department of the Army had reached Coyne by telephone and wanted to know if he or any of his fellow crew members had had any unusual dreams since the UFO incident. Coyne responded that he had had two, in fact. The first one, which he said happened only two or three days after the incident, occurred after he got up out of bed, where he had been sleeping peacefully moments before. He recalled how he had walked into a nearby hallway and happened to turn around and then saw himself still sleeping in bed! Frightened, he decided to return to bed and then laid back down. He explained how at that point he had felt a strange kind of “sinking into something” sensation. Then he woke up again, but this time everything was the way it should be.
The second “dream” about two days later was very vivid, he said. A voice clearly told him, “The answer is in the circle.” He saw in his hand a clear, bluish-white sphere.
Sergeant John Healey was questioned as to whether he had ever dreamed of “body separation,” and he admitted that he had. He dreamed that he was floating above what he perceived as his dead body lying on the bed below him. He stated that the only thing that upset him about it was wondering what would become of his two sons. For awhile, Healey said, the Pentagon would periodically call Coyne with new questions and ask him to circulate them among his crew. He would then mail the information to the Pentagon.
To Fowler, these Pentagon inquiries indicated that someone there possessed a detailed knowledge of the characteristics of the alien abduction experience, as Ms. Luca's experiences contained very similar elements, such as the out-of-body experience and the small sphere. He shared how back in 1968, he had learned about a joint Air Force and NASA study of PK (psychokinetic) subjects. An Air Force employee working with the project allegedly told one of these PK subjects that their good information was sent on to the CIA in Washington, D.C., and that the CIA suspected a connection between people with psychic abilities and their encounters with UFO occupants.