The 1962 UFO Chronology
The Cuban Missile Crisis: Just how close a call was it?

Created: April 27, 2006; Updated 26 March 2017
This is a chronology of UFO incidents for 1962. Most notable was the reported crash of a UFO on April 18 near Las Vegas, Nevada. A high speed brilliant maneuverable object was tracked by radars and sighted visually across the continent by numerous military and civilian witnesses. Next was the NE New Jersey mini-flap of Sept. 15-28. Across the Hudson River from New York City, was the scene of a definite flurry of sightings of UFOs, with the heaviest concentration in the Oradell-Hawthorne area. In October (18-29) the Cuban Missile Crisis occurred. It was the closest the world has ever come to a nuclear war. Right in the middle of this crisis an F-106, armed with nuclear-tipped missiles, was scrambled from Palermo AFB to intercept a UFO over New York.

The Air Force put its first ten Minuteman ICBMs on operational alert at Malmstrom AFB, Montana, in October 1962. Deployment proceeded at an equally furious pace, and within 5 years (the 1967 UFO sighting wave) 1,000 of the solid-fuel missiles stood poised in their silos.

Our thanks for these chronologies must go to our documentation team: Rebecca Wise (Project Blue Book Archive), Dan Wilson (archive researcher), and Brad Sparks (Comprehensive Catalog of Project Blue Book Unknowns). Last, but not least, our thanks to Jean Waskiewicz who created the online NICAP DBase (NSID) that helped make it possible to link from the cases to the reports themselves.

Francis Ridge
NICAP Site Coordinator

The 1962 UFO Chronology___________________________________________________

Jan. 12, 1962; Winnemucca AFB, Nevada (BBU)
(McDonald List)

Jan. 22, 1962; Kirksville, Missouri (BBU)
At 12:45 p.m. local time, one object appeared on a FPS-6A height finder radar at 72,000 feet in altitude at a range of 65 miles. The object ascended to 80,000 feet then started a steady descent at 1500 feet per minute on a heading of 55 degrees at a speed of approx. 100 knots. When the object reached 9,000  feet the radar would no longer paint it. Length of observation was 65 minutes. (McDonald list)  

Jan. 29, 1962; Eastern Holland
Radar-visual sighting by Dutch AF F-86 pilot. [NICAP UFO Evidence, X]

Hillenkoetter Resigns From NICAP
Vice-Admiral Roscoe Hillenkoetter resigned from NICAP in Feb 1962 and was replaced on the NICAP Board by a former covert CIA high official, Joseph Bryan III, the CIA's first Chief of Political & Psychological Warfare (Bryan never disclosed his CIA background to NICAP or Keyhoe).

Feb. 9, 1962; Ashton Clinton, Beds., England
Cat. 3. Disc-like UFO with apparent dome, "portholes", hovered low over road. Car motor lost power, headlights not affected as UFO passed ahead of car. [NICAP UFO Evidence, VIII, XII]

Feb.11, 1962; Parque del Este, Caracas, Venezuela
Formations of UFOs, about 16 objects in all, were observed by many people. Sr. Carlos Pineda, at nearby Humboldt Planetarium, witnessed one of the UFOs, described as "a body giving off a brilliant light. . . moving at great altitude as if towards the moon." [NICAP UFO Evidence, X]

Feb. 12, 1962; Winnemucca AFB, Nevada (BBU)
At 8:06 a.m. local time, radar of the 658 Radar Squadron painted one large target considered to be out of the ordinary because of the height and range. Object appeared at 74,000 feet and disappeared in excess of 96,000 feet. The object was on the scope for 5 minutes. Observer was S/Sgt F. Grover, Crew Chief 658th RS, with 11 years of radar experience. Radar type was an FPS-6B.  (Dan Wilson, McDonald list)

Feb. 19, 1962; Dauphin Island, Alabama (BBU)
3 witnesses driving S on the Dauphin Island toll bridge saw a reddish-orange object 1/3 the sun's diameter to the S about 10° elevation, changing shape from round to football or cigar shape then covered with fog. Car stopped for witness to call Dauphin Island AFS radar site, 693rd Radar Sq which coincidentally had 2 USAF airmen driving N on the toll bridge and saw the object to the W, and thus object's location can be approximately triangulated at about 30°16' N, 88° 10' W, distance to civilian observers 2-5 miles depending on how far N when first seen, and actual size at least 30 ft. No radar contact reported. (Hynek-CUFOS-Willy Smith files)

Feb. 20,1962
Col. John Glenn orbital flight, Project Mercury

Feb. 25, 1962; Kotzbue, Alaska (BBU 7818)
7:20 p.m. U.S. Army private and 6 anonymous civilians saw red light, trailed 30 secs later by a blue light. (Berliner)

March 1, 1962; Salem, New York (BBU 7823)
10:35 p.m. Mrs. L. Doxsey, 66, saw a gold-colored box, 12-14 inches x 3-4 ft fly straight and level across the horizon. (Berliner)

March 26, 1962; Ramstein AFB, Germany (BBU 7840)
1:35 p.m. local. At first sight the object appeared like a small delta wing fighter. When it reached the 3 o'clock position the object appeared less like a delta wing shape and more like a sidewinder missile. As the object traveled from the 3 o'clock position to the 5 o'clock position the pilot had the impression of shape changing to the appearance of a dart target. The length of the observation was from 5 to 8 seconds.  (Berliner)

1:35 p.m. USAF Capt. J. M. Lowery, from an unspecified aircraft, saw a thin, cylindrical object, 1/3 snout, 2/3 tail fins, fly at an estimated Mach 2.7 (1,800 mph).  (Berliner)

March 26, 1962; Naperville, Illinois (BBU 7841)
11:40 p.m. Mrs. D. Wheeler and Claudine Milligan saw 6-8 red balls, arranged in a rectangular formation, become 2 objects with lights by the end of sighting. (Berliner)

March [May?] 26, 1962; Westfield, Mass.(BBU 7930)
10:45 p.m. Many unidentified young people saw a large red ball fly or fall down, then rise back up. (Berliner)

April 2, 1962; Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada (BBU)
At 1:30 a.m. local time, one object was picked up on ground radar at approx. 47,000 feet on an easterly course at about 72 knots. This was observed by 10 witnesses on the ground radar. Two F-102 aircraft were scrambled and picked up the object on their radars and lock-on was obtained for three separate passes. Pilots stated that their overtake speeds indicated that the target was nearly stationary. Estimated winds at 40,000 to 47,000 feet were 240/90. Radar located at 641st AC&W Squadron, Melville Air Station, Labrador. Radars used were an FPS-20, FPS-6B, and an Airborne Fire Control Radar MG10. Length of observation was 1 hour and 54 minutes. (McDonald list)

April 3-4, 1962; Wurtland, Kentucky (BBU 7851)
8:50 p.m. (EST). G. R. Wells and J. Lewis, using 117x telescope spotted a small object changing brightness, giving off smoke but stationary like a comet. Case missing. (Berliner)

Apr, 12, 1962; Kunia, Hawaii (BB)
10:54  p.m. local time. Hawaii Air Defence reported an unusual radar return on 13 April 1962, at 318 degrees’ azimuth, which appeared to be an aircraft, below 24,500 feet with a very high rate of closure – 700 knots. PBB conclusion was possible aircraft, but acknowledged there was a lack of data. (Basterfield, Fold3: McDonald list; Sparks.)

April 18, 1962; New York to Eureka, Utah, to Nellis, Las Vegas, Nevada (BBU)
Reported crash. High speed brilliant maneuverable object is tracked by radars and sighted visually across the continent by numerous military and civilian witnesses. (Don Berliner, Dan Wilson)

April 24 & 25, 1962; Philadelphia, Penna.
Series of UFO sightings over area. Circular UFO with body lights, apparent dome on top, shafts of white light directed downward from base. Center section had rotating row of square "windows." [NICAP UFO Evidence, XII]

April 28, 1962; Fort Worth, Texas (BBU)
Egg-shaped light crossing the sky brighter than Echo 1 satellite.

April 30, 1962, Edwards AFB, Cal.
X-15 flight, piloted by Joe Walker; Photograph (no visual sighting) of 5 or 6 "disc-shaped or. . .cylindrical" objects. Slides later shown in Seattle conference. NICAP unable to obtain prints. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

April 28, 1962; Ft. Worth, Texas (BBU)
Night. Nuclear engineer Ralph Jackson saw egg shaped light crossing the sky brighter than the Echo I satellite. (Mary Castner/CUFOS)

May 1962; Argentina
At least twelve UFOs sighted in May. Official reports and newspaper chronology given NICAP by Argentine Embassy include four sightings by Argentine Navy pilots, two reported landing cases. (NICAP UFO Evidence, See Section XII; Argentine Chronology.)

May 18, 1962; Pompano Beach, Florida
Cigar-shaped UFO, brilliantly lighted below, dark on top. Hovered, sped away.
[NICAP UFO Evidence, VII]

May 19, 1962; Marksville, Leesville, Colfax, Louisiana (BBU)
(McDonald list)

May 20, 1962; Defiance, Ohio
Scientist, others, watched maneuvering light source, brilliant blue changing to yellow. [NICAP UFO Evidence, VI]

May 21, 1962; England
Irish International Airlines pilot watched spherical UFO pass below aircraft. [NICAP UFO Evidence, X]

May 24, 1962
Astronaut Scott Carpenter, Project Mercury orbital flight.

May 24, 1962; Albuquerque, New Mexico (BBU)
At 5:22 p.m. local time, an object the size of Venus was observed by ground and airborne witnesses. The object was also observed on air route traffic surveillance radar. The object was round, white during the day, pink at sunset and dark at night. It was mostly stationary but had slight northeast movement during the day then returned to original position. The object was observed 20 to 30 degrees above horizon at Albuquerque. At Las Vegas, New Mexico the object was observed directly overhead. At Sante Fe, ARTCC personnel watched the object with binoculars.  The object was also observed from a KC-135 tanker aircraft piloted by Capt. A. A. Picinich, heading and speed unknown. Page 2, part B, number 5 states presumed to have been in position at dawn 24 May 1952. Number 6. states over 9 hours. (McDonald list)

May 26, 1962; Westfield, Mass. (BBU 7930)
"Round, slightly oval, bright red object, giving off sparks from top and bottom. Center. . . yellowish or white. . .case is listed as unidentified." (Air Force Project Blue Book 1962 Summary.)

May 27, 1962; Palmer, Alaska (BBU 7931)
Two triangular UFOs, diving and climbing. Unidentified. (NARA, Air Force Project Blue Book 1962 Summary.)

June 7, 1962; Hallett Station, Antarctica (BBU)
At 0105Z a brilliant, white light, approximately 20 times brighter than first magnitude stars, was seen at 250 degrees (true) azimuth, and 30 degrees’ elevation. Over 5 minutes it remained stationary and was viewed both with binoculars and the naked eye. It appeared circular. It was a dazzling gold color, and seen between two mountain peaks. The Sun at the time was below the horizon. After 5 minutes it moved in a southerly direction and was lost to view behind a peak. PBB concluded it was Jupiter. (Basterfield, Fold3; McDonald list; Sparks.)

June 21, 1962; Indianapolis, Indiana (BBU 7957)
4 a.m. Lt. Col. H. King and tail gunner M/Sgt. Roberts, aboard a B-52 heavy jet bomber, saw 3 bright, star-like lights, first one then 10 secs later 2 more. (Berliner)

June 22, 1962; Columbus, Georgia
From 10:25 p.m. local time, June 22, until 3:00 a.m. local time, June 23, multiple witnesses reported at least seven sightings of flying objects in the Columbus area. There were observations of ground-visual, air-visual, and ground-radar. One witness observed 3 objects passing over his house. He did not hear any noise. One sighting by a qualified pilot estimated the speed of objects at 300 mph. A sighting was made at the Columbus Airport Control Tower. (Dan Wilson)

June 30-July 1, 1962 [?]; Richmond, Virginia (BBU 7968)
9 a.m. 13 year old Meadors [?] saw a red, circular object with some white observed 10 minutes. Went from 20 degree elevation, 169 degrees azimuth to 13-1/2 degree elevation, 132 degrees azimuth. Unidentified. (Air Force Project Blue Book 1962 Summary).

July 7, 1962; Artic Coast.
11:10 GMT. The Hallett base is a post controlled by USA and New Zealand and located on the Antarctic coast exactly on the opposite side of the SANAE base (through the South Pole). According to a radiogram signed by Claud Taylor, base commander, an object appeared over the region, crossing in 3 to 4 minutes the horizon in a S-N direction. [See detailed dir at link] (Explained; Visoni/Ridge)

July 7, 1962; Albuquerque, New Mexico (BB)
9:05 p.m. MST. A civilian observed a mushroom shaped object rising in the south and moving north. When the object reached a
point overhead it turned NE. At this point the object flashed and seven objects in an arrowhead formation emanated from the main object. These seven objects traveled east while the main object traveled to the NE. The first object had the apparent size of a marble held at arm's length. The total length of the observation was around six minutes. (Dan Wilson, BB files)

July 9, 1962, Starfish Prime
A high altitude nuclear test conducted by the United States, a joint effort of the Atomic Energy Commission and the Defense Atomic Support Agency. It was launched from Johnson Atoll and was the largest nuclear test conducted in outer space and one of five conducted by the US in space. (The six high altitude tests conducted in 1958 were not in outer space).
July 10, 1962; New Iberia, Louisiana
Disc-shaped UFO with rotating dome on top swept low over Naval Auxiliary Air Station, slowed over area of runway and hangar, then climbed out of sight at 20 to 30 degrees angle accelerating rapidly. [NICAP UFO Evidence, IV]

July 17, 1962, Edwards AFB, Cal.
X-15 flight, Maj. Bob White pilot. Photographs and visual sighting of unidentified object "like a piece of paper," gray-white. Observed to left of aircraft "going along with the ship" for about 5 seconds, then "darted above and behind the plane." [NICAP UFO Evidence]
July 19, 1962; Metuchen [Bayhead?], New Jersey (BBU 8020)
9:30 p.m. C. T. Loftus and H. Wilbert saw 3-5 lights from different parts of the sky dart about the sky with no pattern, brightness increased with speed of motion, complete stops, zigzags, generally straight lines, N course [?]. No trails or sound. (Mary Castner/CUFOS)

July 29 [30?], 1962; Ocean Springs, Mississippi (BBU 8034)
11:20 p.m. Mr. and Mrs. M. O. Barton saw a bright cherry-red, diamond-shaped object fly slow, hover, make fast 1/2 loops. (Berliner)

July 30, 1962; Ocean Springs, Miss.
"Diamond-shaped object, mostly round, sometimes rectangular. Color bright cherry red varying in intensity as it maneuvered. Performed intricate maneuvers. Moved slowly, sometimes stationary -- then darted up and over, etc." Case listed as unidentified. (Air Force Project Blue Book 1962 Summary.)

July 30, 1962; Pojucara, Bela Horizonte (near), Brazil
Cat. 3. Car motor stopped, then oval UFO seen alongside road.

Aug. 2, 1962; Liberal, Kansas
Series of brightly lighted colored objects seen by airline pilot, airport personnel, and passengers at airport. [NICAP UFO Evidence, V]

Aug. 7, 1962; Oracle, Arizona
UFO over Titan missile silo. Jets sent up.

Aug. 15 (approx), 1962; Near Denver, CO
Large UFO hovering over a high line tower, chased by Air Force helicopters. [This is in the area of the Lowry AFB Titan I  ICBM Complex].

Aug. 18 [19?], 1962; Bermuda (BBU 8064)
5 p.m. Owner M. Sheppard and chief announcer A. Seymour of radio station saw 3 dull-white, egg-shaped objects waver as they moved. (Berliner)

August 23, 1962: B-52 Navigation Error
SAC Chrome Dome airborne alert route included a leg from the northern tip of Ellesmore Island, SW across the Arctic Ocean to Barter Island, Alaska. A B-52 nuclear armed bomber crew made a navigational error and flew 20 degrees too far north. They approached within 300 miles of Soviet airspace near Wrangel island, where there was believed to be an interceptor base with aircraft having an operational radius of 400 miles. The necessary orders had not been given by the time of the Cuban missile crisis in October 1962, so throughout that crisis the same northern route was being flown 24 hours a day.

Sept. 8, 1962; Floresta, Argentine
"Burnished metal" lens-shaped UFO sighted by Argentine Navy pilot. [NICAP UFO Evidence, X, XII]

Sept. 15, 1962; W. Newark (Oradell), NY
At 6 p.m., ex-Navy electronics officer, J. J. McVicker reported two "silver dollars" apparently revolving as they passed over W. Nyack, N.Y. At about 7:55 p.m., five boys reported a disc which hovered over the Oradell reservoir, touched down on it, then took off silently at high speed. Later, two other boys said they had seen a very bright light moving back and forth over the edge of the reservoir, following which a loud explosion was heard. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 15, 1962; Oradell, New Jersey (BBU)
5, 6, 7:50 p.m. 2 bright disks seen at 5 p.m., again at 6 p.m., at the state line. 2 witnesses saw one round object with a fin on top and another under it at 7:50, heading down toward Oradell reservoir. 3 young men saw and heard the object touch the water. Another witness called police. Bright luminous object surrounded with a glow, apparent size of a small plane 1/2 mile away, took off a few minutes later to the S. (Vallée Magonia 547)

Sept. 18, 1962; Westwood, N. J.
4 a.m.. Two policemen reported a 7-8 second observation of a huge object, round at the top and tapering to a cone. 4:45  a.m.; Two Oradell policemen reported a brilliant light in the sky. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 18, 1962; Hawthorne, NJ
7:55 p.m.; A family in Hawthorne watched a greenish disc descend low over their house. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 18, 1962; Northeast Ohio
Six policemen sighted UFOs about the same time. One hovering object, two maneuvering. [NICAP UFO Evidence, VII]

Sept. 20, 1962; Hawthorne, NJ
Early in the morning, a watchman, William Stock, of Hawthorne, reported a saucer-shaped object which hovered and moved from side to side as it shone bright enough to illuminate a huge area. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 21, 1962; Bt. Hawthorne & North Haledon, NJ
At 3:40 a.m., William Stock and four invited policemen spent a half hour watching a round object with two apparently revolving body lights. At 4 a.m., two policemen, between Hawthorne and North Haledon, watched a bright light revolving and moving up and down and from side to side for about 35 minutes. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 21, 1962; WSW of Biloxi, Mississippi, in Gulf of Mexico (BBU 8133)
7:37-7:50 p.m. Fishing boat captain S. A. [Danny?] Guthrie and deck hand saw 2 objects, red and black with orange streaks, one as big as the Moon, and the other smaller and trailing [?], arcing across the sky. (Mary Castner/CUFOS; Berliner)

Sept. 21, 1962; Hawthorne, NJ
That night, 4 young persons in Hawthorne reported seeing a bright star-like object with light beams coming from it. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 23, 1962; Hawthorne, NJ
In the middle of the day a Hawthorne woman and her son saw an oblong, silvery object, for about 10 seconds. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 24, 1962; Hawthorne, NJ
Early in the morning, a group consisting of the head of an independent news agency, a photographer and numerous policemen watched, for 10 minutes, an object which changed from red to silver to green and back to red. In the evening, a Hawthorne patrolman watched a light approach, hover for 15 minutes and then move away. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Sept. 28, 1962; Seven counties near Hawthorne, NJ
Police from seven counties reported seeing UFOs between 2:30 and 3:30 a.m. Most reported three objects which changed color. [NICAP UFO Evidence]

Oct. 3, 1962; Chicago, IL
City of Chicago official watched circular UFO with dome move across lower half of moon. [NICAP UFO Evidence, VII]

Oct. 18-29, 1962
The Cuban Missile Crisis

Oct. 1962; During the Cuban Missile Crisis; Palermo AFB, NY
A "hot bird" (an F-106) was scrambled when radar tracked an unknown on the East Coast. (Fran Ridge)

Oct. 23, 1962; Farmington, Utah (BBU 8182)
3 p.m. R. O. Christensen saw a grey and silver ball, trailing what looked like twine with two knots in it, swerve, and climb away at a 45° angle, making a sound like a flock of ducks (rushing air). (“Duck Hunter Case”)  (Berliner)

October 24, 1962
A Soviet satellite entered its own parking orbit, and shortly afterward exploded. Sir Bernard Lovell, director of the Jodrell Bank observatory wrote in 1968: "the explosion of a Russian spacecraft in orbit during the Cuban missile crisis... led the U.S. to believe that the USSR was launching a massive ICBM attack." The NORAD Command Post logs of the dates in question remain classified, possibly to conceal reaction to the event. Its occurrence is recorded, and U.S. space tracking stations were informed on October 31 of debris resulting from the breakup of "62 BETA IOTA."
Oct. 25, 1962; Delta, Colorado
Police dispatcher saw round glowing object from radio room window. State patrolman and Cedaredge Marshal observed two UFOs "like an inverted umbrella with a number of bright, tail-like appendages." [NICAP UFO Evidence, VII]

October 25, 1962
At around midnight a guard at the Duluth Sector Direction Center saw a figure climbing the security fence. He shot at it, and activated the "sabotage alarm." This automatically set off sabotage alarms at all bases in the area. At Volk Field, Wisconsin, the alarm was wrongly wired, and the Klaxon sounded which ordered nuclear armed F-106A interceptors to take off. The pilots knew there would be no practice alert drills while DEFCON 3 was in force, and they believed World War III had started. Immediate communication with Duluth showed there was an error. By this time aircraft were starting down the runway. A car raced from command center and successfully signaled the aircraft to stop. The original intruder was a bear.
October 26,1962
At Vandenburg Air Force Base, California, there was a program of routine ICBM test flights. When DEFCON 3 was ordered all the ICBM's were fitted with nuclear warheads except one Titan missile that was scheduled for a test launch later that week. That one was launched for its test, without further orders from Washington, at 4a.m. on the 26th. It must be assumed that Russian observers were monitoring U.S. missile activities as closely as U.S. observers were monitoring Russian and Cuban activities. They would have known of the general changeover to nuclear warheads, but not that this was only a test launch.

Same day. Some radar warning stations that were under construction and near completion were brought into full operation as fast as possible. The planned overlap of coverage was thus not always available. A normal test launch of a Titan-II ICBM took place in the afternoon from Florida to the South Pacific. It caused temporary concern at Moorestown Radar site until its course could be plotted and showed no predicted impact within the United States. It was not until after this event that the potential for a serious false alarm was realized, and orders were given that radar warning sites must be notified in advance of test launches, and the countdown be relayed to them.

That night, for a reason irrelevant to the crisis, a U2 pilot was ordered to fly a new route, over the north pole, where positional checks on navigation were by sextant only. That night the aurora prevented good sextant readings and the plane strayed over the Chukotski Peninsula. Soviet MIG interceptors took off with orders to shoot down the U2. The pilot contacted his U.S. command post and was ordered to fly due east towards Alaska. He ran out of fuel while still over Siberia. In response to his S.O.S., U.S. F102-A fighters were launched to escort him on his glide to Alaska, with orders to prevent the MIG's from entering U.S. airspace. The U.S. interceptor aircraft were armed with nuclear missiles. These could have been used by any one of the F102-A pilots at his own discretion.

Nov. 10, 1962; North Star Bay, Greenland
At 2:15 a.m. local time, a fast moving target was observed on ground radar on a magnetic bearing 280 inbound. A CIRVIS REPORT was made. Airway notified Thule ACC. Target lost in ground clutter. Two F-102 aircraft and an L-20 aircraft searched the area without results.  (Dan Wilson)  

Nov. 17, 1962; Tampa, Florida (BBU 8215)
9 p.m. F. L. Swindale, college graduate and ex-USMC Capt., saw bright star-like lights approach, hover and bounce, then fade. (Berliner)

Nov. 19, 1962; Tampa, Florida
Three star-like objects approached horizontally, hovered. "Impression was that objects were under intelligent control at all times." Unidentified. (Air Force Project Blue Book 1962 Summary.)

Dec.12, 1962; Amagasaki City, Japan
Five students saw, and independently sketched, Saturn-shaped UFO. [NICAP UFO Evidence, X]

Dec. 21, 1962; Angel Falls, Venezuela
Bright teardrop-shaped light apparently rising from jungle floor filmed from aircraft. [NICAP UFO Evidence, VIII]

Dec. 22, 1962; Buenos Aires, Argentina
At Ezeiza Airport, pilots and control tower operators saw circular UFO rise from end of runway. [NICAP UFO Evidence, X]

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