1963 – RNZAF Pilot Sights Brilliant White Flashing Light/UAP

Date:  March 26, 1963

Time:  7:30 p.m. (NZ time)

Location:  40 miles north east of Royal New Zealand Air Force Base Ohakea, near                         Palmerston North, North Island, New Zealand

Aircraft:  Canberra B (I) 12

Witness:  Flight Officer Hosie, Capt. of aircraft

Duration of sighting: 1-2 minutes observation time.

Astronomical/weather data: Dusk, clear sky, no moon.

Aircraft location:

Flight Officer Hosie had not long left Ohakea Air Force Base on a cross-country training flight, and was climbing to a pre-determined normal coordinate before leveling off and taking up his new heading.

Incident description:

Just as Flight Officer Hosie’s aircraft was approaching operational altitude of 20,000 feet at heading 060 true, at speed 380 to 400 knots ground speed, he spotted a rapidly flashing light (UAP) ahead of him at 10 o’clock.  Flight Officer Hosie initially mistook the light for another aircraft which was at an altitude slightly above Hosie’s aircraft, moving at approximately the same speed.  The flashing light appeared to be on a near easterly heading.

Flight Officer Hosie was immediately disturbed by the presence of another suspect aircraft in an area well clear of normal air routes (civil), and where no other Canberras should have been present.

The pilot had the UAP under observation for a full minute, during which time it maintained its brilliance.  The light passed between his aircraft and a background of cloud.  Hosie established the light was 3 miles distant.

UAP description:

The UAP was a bright clear white rapidly flashing light, maintaining brilliance.  Flight Officer Hosie noted the light emitted two flashes per second.

Speed: Unknown

Action taken:

The pilot immediately contacted Ohakea tower flight control, who confirmed there were no other aircraft in the area.  Flight control then double-checked with Wellington Airport (80 miles south of Ohakea, civil and military flight control centre) and they confirmed that no known aircraft was in the area.  (No private planes can operate at this height in New Zealand).

After observing the light Captain Hosie reached a point where he was then required to change course northwards to carry out his flight exercise.

General comments:

There was no cloud below Hosie’s aircraft.  There was no radio interference or any other unusual effect from the presence of the light.

A full report was requested by the Air Department, who followed up with further questions to clarify certain features of the incident.  The navigator did not see the UAP as he was busy with position plotting at the time.  The object was beyond surveillance radar range (Wellington).


A UAP was observed close to RNZAF Base Ohakea.  It emitted a bright, regularly flashing light.  The UAP did not show up on Ohakea Base or Wellington Airport radar.  Its presence was distracting for the pilot, who initially misidentified it as another aircraft.  The UAP was within 3 miles of two RNZAF aircraft posing a potential hazard.  If Captain Hosie had not been required to change heading,