On February 21st, American Airlines flight 2292 was flying over New Mexico on its way to Phoenix, Arizona, when a mysterious flying object zapped over top of the plane, startling both pilots.

Immediately one of them picked up his radio and called into the Albuquerque Center, confused and unnerved by what they’d just witnessed.

"Do you have any targets up here?” he asked. “We just had something go right over the top of us — I hate to say this but it looked like a long cylindrical object that almost looked like a cruise missile type of thing — moving really fast right over the top of us."

It had happened so fast, neither of them could be sure what they’d seen. Had it been a cruise missile? Or another plane? Or… something else?

We don’t know how the Albuquerque Center responded to the AAL 2292 after that, though. Steve Douglass, the civilian who was recording this interaction from the ground was doing so on a radio scanner, and just at that moment, local Amarillo air traffic walked over his signal. He lost the transmission, and didn’t hear whatever came next. (You can download and listen to the audio here.)

However, according to the FAA, there weren’t any military drills going on or targets in that area. Nor was there any other commercial or private aircraft to have encountered. The FAA was at a loss. So American Airlines passed the report on to the FBI, who said they took a look.

However, the FBI likely has no intention of disclosing anything more than the simple fact they’re “aware” of the incident. Realistically, if Douglass, who heard this by accident as he was randomly scanning radio channels, hadn’t managed to record this pilot’s call to the Albuquerque Center, no one would have ever known about it at all. The FBI certainly wouldn’t have tried to make this encounter public on their own.

Which really makes one wonder: how often does this happen? How often do airline pilots encounter UFO’s like this and the report goes unheard? How many of these incidents is the FBI aware of, that they simply haven’t told anyone about?

Probably a lot. And according to Lue Elizando, that’s exactly why this incident highlights the need for more serious government attention on the UFO/UAP mystery. Elizondo worked with the Pentagon’s secretive Advanced Aerospace Threat Identification Program (AATIP) for over ten years — a program dedicated to studying this phenomenon. He’s been on frontline of disclosure advocation and activism for some time now, and this American Airlines encounter, to him, only illustrates how vulnerable our airspace is.

“The fact is, this incident once again demonstrates that we simply don’t know what’s in our skies,” Elizondo told Mystery Wire in an interview earlier this week. “Whether the object was a genuine UAP or something more conventional, this was a serious air safety issue for an airliner carrying so many passengers.”