1969 – Airport Security Officer Sights UFO at Close Quarters

Date:  October 30 1969

Time:  3.10 am

Location:  Waipukurau Aerodrome, North Island

Witness:  Airport Security Officer Mr. John F. Cudby

The Witness’s Story

(Excerpt from New Zealand Scientific Space Research ‘Spaceview’ Quarterly Journal No 60 1970, Ed. by the late Mr H. Hinfelaar)

“Accompanied by my dog, I had driven my station wagon into the grounds of the Waipukurau Aerodrome in the process of carrying out a nightly security check.  On the way in, I noticed the dog appeared slightly disturbed, but as I had also noticed some sheep in a corner of the paddock, I thought there must be another dog loose and decided to find this out when my check was completed.

I drove up to the hangar with the lights full on, stopped, switched lights to park, and climbed from the wagon.  I immediately became aware of a noise like a vacuum cleaner running down, and the dog commenced growling.  I didn’t give the noise of second thought as it occurred to me it was possibly a train passing on the nearby rail line, but it didn’t stop altogether and developed into a faint humming.  I dismissed this from my mind and walked to the hangar to carry out my check.  The dog was now beginning to growl all the more but was still under my control.  At the hangar, I was checking a glass paneled door when I realized that reflected in the glass were 3 lights which I could not account for.  Lights from Waipukurau were always reflected, that these other 3 with something new.  I looked over my shoulder to locate them, and saw the dog was facing in the reverse direction and growling at the 3 lights which were coloured 2 green and one red, the red being the centre one.  It was then I found these lights were coming from a large object hovering about 60 feet above the ground, and immediately associated the faint humming noise as coming from this object.  I stared for a few seconds, the dog now barking and growling, then I ran to the wagon to switch on the searchlight.  Although I carried a hand torch, I never thought to use it.

The dog was now uncontrollable – barking, growling, running around in circles and completely ignoring my commands.  In climbing into the wagon to operate the light, I gave my head a nasty bump, but managed to get the light on and swept it up and across the object.  The action of the light hitting the object seemed to act as a switch, for immediately motors started up with a loud whine, gradually increasing in sound until the noise seemed to go right through me.  I saw the object was of enormous size, at least 60 feet in length.  It tilted towards me and shot up into the sky at an angle, passing by their hangar very close.  The windsock on top of the hangar commenced rotating very fast and squeaking, and I was distracted by this, but suddenly the sock come straight out and then dropped as if cut with a knife.  I then ran round the hangar to see where the object was, but it had vanished.

The object had diffused lighting like a rainbow coming from underneath, but I could not see the source of these lights.  These were dullish, but became more brilliant as the motor noise increased, but did not become as bright as the ones in the top part (of the object).

I then felt around for dry grass at the site, found where the wet and dry met, placed my torch as a marker, and paced out 19 yard-long paces where the object had hovered.  The air had also become very warm.  I had got the dog into the wagon before this, and it was still acting up – running around in the wagon, barking and growling.

I then drove to the police station where I reported the incident.  By next day, I had a bad headache which I put down to either the bump I had received, or lack of sleep, and trying to convince incredulous people of what I had seen.”

Report by Claude Elmes published in Spaceview No. 60 1970.


In the witness’s own words – “beautiful”.  It appeared to be made of a metal similar to stainless steel, and shone under the searchlight like chrome.  There were no seems, joints, Square in Eugene, and it was a perfect circular shape – “as though pressed from a machine like a hub cap”, were Cudby’s words.  Everything about the object was sharply defined.

Original drawing

UFO’s Movement

When first seen, it was hovering, yet swaying gently from side to side.  Cudby demonstrated this movement by moving his hands gently to and fro, but emphasized that in this movement of to and fro, the object did not carry out any veering – it stayed clear at was.  The act of throwing the searchlight being upon, it seems to act as a switch, because motors started up, the object tilted slightly towards Cudby, and shot up at an angle over the field, just missing the hangar.

UFO’s ‘motors’

Upon alighting from his van, Cudby became aware of a dullish Norway is similar to that of a vacuum cleaner, having been switched off and running down.  He did not become curious at this point, thinking at possibly came from the rail line about a quarter of a mile away and that a train must be passing.  When he became aware of the object and had by then switched on the searchlight, the motors then switched on suddenly, working up very quickly to a crescendo of sound similar to a jet engine.  This ‘working up’ was practically instantaneous.  Here too, the effect upon Cudby was that of a dullish noise, but this time, one that went right through him.

Object’s lights

In the cupola (turret), two green with one red centre one.  These three were of fairly strong brilliance.  From underneath came the same colours, but these were dull and diffused, “like a rainbow.” came to be at no time is all beneath the object, but the hills these lights were from a source under the object and not an extension of, or an atmospheric distortion of, the 3 in the cupola.  The moment the motors started up, and the under lights picked up in brilliance but did not grow as bright as those in the cupola.  In this explanation, he said the yellow light beneath was not straight yellow, but more the colour of an incandescent light bulb – white.

The ‘crew’

Cudby kept referring to “they”, meaning an actual crew.  Asked about this he said he did not at any time see anything or anybody or movement indicating the object was manned, but strongly believes the object was under someone’s control.  His reasons are:

  1.  The gentle swaying motion which he thinks could not be carried out without a master hand at controls.
  2. The hovering.  He feels the object was at a point of control where it was now at stalling speed; this could not be carried out by an automaton.  His remarks here were, “Boy, they must have a wonderful system to control such a craft as this was controlled.”
  3. The motors started up the moment his searchlight struck the object.  He feels this was an indication the object was manned and a crew or someone switched on the motors.
  4. The object flight path: it narrowly missed the hangar, and its instantaneous picking up of speed.

Object’s flight path

Originally said to be to the west.  However, to pass Pukeora Hill the object would require a slight northerly heading.  In beginning its flight, the object tilted slightly towards the witness, then shot up and past the hangar at an angle.

The next day the witnessed decided to follow the flight path and enquire if others had heard the motors.  He was successful in finding two farming families, one saying they thought a large jet was passing over, the other thought a jet plane was in trouble and looking for the aerodrome.


Located on top of the hangar, height about 20 feet.  As object passed at distance of 50 yards, windsock commenced rotating very fast at least six times, setting up a squeaking from a bearing in bad need of lubrication.  At the critical moment, this distracted Cudby’s attention from object and he did not see if object kept to its course.  The sock, after its forced rotations, suddenly stretched its full length in direction object had gone, hung straight out, then as though cut with a knife, fell against the pole and was completely still.


A fine starry night, no wind.

Length of sighting

No notice taken of time, but an examination of Cudby’s actions indicates a total of possibly 15 seconds.

Asked why he did not see object as he drove towards hangar, witness replied it must have then been out of line of vision above the angle of windscreen.  He is positive there was no sign of object until he turned to look at dog near glass doors.  He drove up to hangar with van’s lights on full beam, switching them to park as he climbed from the van.  It therefore appears that when he first heard the “vacuum cleaner” running down, the object was probably in the act of sinking slowly towards the ground, and Cudby never thought to look up.


Throws a spotlight on the one half mile.  This concentrated spot is one reason he had to pander light over the object, for as he said, “It was enormous.” next day, he found the searchlight to be still at the angle used, so he went back to the Dr.  He obtained assistance, with a witness looking at the glass doors; he then walked towards the site where the object had been.  As soon as his reflection showed in the glass one third of the way down from the top of the door, his assistant called to him.  Distance was then measured and they found the object had in fact been only 70 yards from the hangar, not 100 as stated in the newspaper.


Witness’s final action was to inspect grass.  In walking towards the site, has dog refused to accompany him.  As he came nearer to the site, the air became noticeably warmer and humid, and eight.  The actual site, the ear was quite hot.  In walking through the grass (about 8” long) he had no socks soaked as the grass was very weak with dew.  He thought if the air was warm, so must the grass at the site be.  He said at no time was the any variation on smell, the air remained normal.  No smell of ozone, sulphur, peppery, or oil, burnt metal etc. estimated he had reached the site, he crouched down, extended his arms either side of his body and felt around in the grass until he felt one hand and wheat grass, the other in hot dry grass.  He then placed as torch on the ground as a marker and paced the distance out until he again came to wet grass.  He had taken 19 paces which he described as “yard-long”, but he thought in his excitement, some paces may have been 2 feet, some 4 feet so “yards’ can only be taken as probable length.  He paced across what would have been the width from his sighting point, but the object was a complete circle.

The dog

A German Shepherd that bitch.  Well trained to command, typical police dog.  Cudby claims the dog was not frightened in any way.  He thinks rather that with the sound of the motors, there was also possibly a higher-pitched noise which he could not hear, but which affected the dog.  As the sound became louder, so too did the dog’s behaviour worsen.  It simply refused all commands.  Even when the object had gone, the dog continue to act up, and again once he had secured the dog in the van, it kept barking, growling, and running in circles.  He finally only got the dog into the van by catching it between his legs and lifting it bodily into the wagon.

Witness’s reactions

Very human.  He suffered fright, curiosity, felt his hair was standing on end.  Typical earth man!  Later during the day, and remember day as his sleeping time, he suffered a severe headache which extended into the next day – about 32 hours.  He does not think it was caused by the actual object, but rather:

  1.  Lack of sleep, the excitement generated, his attempts to convince incredulous people.
  2. Possibly from the bumpy received as he attempted to get into the van to switch on Searchlight.  He did not think to use the torch he carried.

(UFOCUS NZ comment: more recent investigations worldwide into close proximity encounters with craft has revealed repeated comment from witnesses that they have suffered intense headaches.  Whether this is caused by radiation or not, has not been established, although some witnesses have suffered radiation-like burns to their skin.)

Other witnesses

  1.  An anonymous farmer claims his sheep were disturbed at this time (newspaper report 30/10/69.)
  2. Cudby stated that he had found to other farming families who thought they had heard a large “jet” pass over at 3 a.m.
  3. A Christchurch traveller coming down Pukeora Hill at the time, saw a large dark object over the aerodrome (newspaper report 31/10/69).  He stated:

“It was a clear morning, darkness, but with the stars showing.  I was driving down Pukeora Hill when my attention was attracted by an object hovering away over to the right.  It must have been somewhere near the aerodrome.  I had often read about UFOs, and was always skeptical about them.  Then I realized with a kind of sick shock that I was looking at one.  The object appeared to be circular, and was stationary about 100 feet above the ground when I first saw it.  Then, it gradually gained height, and abruptly took off southward.”

Fault line

It should be noted that Waipukurau is situated on an active fault line.

Report on UFO Sighting at Waipukurau on 30th October, 1969


(Excerpts from a report by Wynn Craven, published in SATCU magazine (Scientific Approach to Cosmic Understanding) Newsletter No 65, Nov-Dec 1969.)

Posted on this website with permission from Mrs P. Dickeson, former joint Editor of SATCU.

An unidentified object estimated at 60 feet long, was sighted low over the Waipukurau Aerodrome by a central Hawke’s Bay Security Services patrol officer.

Witness:  Mr J. F. Cudby, aged 33, a security patrol officer of Waipukurau, with no previous observations of UFOs, and open minded on the subject.

  1. Date of sighting:  30/10/1969.  Duration of sighting 2 to 3 minutes.
  2. Weather conditions:  calm starry night with some high cloud; heavy dew.
  3. Place:  Waipukurau Aerodrome.
  4. Immediate terrain:  farmland, scattered houses.
  5. Reason for being there:  part of regular patrol.
  6. Object description:

Size:  approximately 60 feet long by 12 feet high

Shape:  presumably round form, and typically saucer shaped profile.

  1.  Colour of craft:  like stainless steel.  No visible rivets, joint or hatches.  Perfectly smooth surface.
  2. Light intensity: intensity of the 3 lights was about the same as street lights.
  3. Movement:  UFO was moving to and fro over a distance of about 7 to 8 feet whilst hovering.  When it moved off, it dipped its leading edge.
  • Estimated distance from observer about 300 feet.
  • Direction from observer roughly South East.
  • Height – about 50 feet above the ground
  • Angular elevation – thought to be about 15°.
  1.  Simultaneous phenomena: sheep on the aerodrome crowded into one corner.  Patrol dog ran around and around master’s vehicle and whimpered.
  2. Noise:  UFO emitted  ahumming noise, which witness likened to the sound made by his vacuum cleaner when half run down after switching off.  The sound was not running down however, and remained at a constant note whilst hovering.  When the UFO dipped before taking off, however, it rose in sound to a high pitch very quickly.
  3. Subsequent phenomena:
  • grass surface beneath hovering position, dry and very warm
  • air very warm – like hot summer’s day in the sun
  • windsock lifted up to horizontal and rotated wildly about 6 times before falling back to vertical. This happened when the object wind was nearly overhead in making its departure.
  • Witness was very frightened.
  1.  Corroboration: one eyewitness, and two witnesses to the sound made by the UFO, see story.

UFO Seen at Close Quarters by Security Services Patrol Officer

 It was 3.10 am on a still starry night on October 30, 1969.  There was some high cloud, but otherwise the sky was clear.  Part of the duties of Mr J. F. Cudby, was to make a regular inspection of the Waipukurau Aerodrome, which is situated about a mile from the town.

After turning in off the main road and driving up the short approach road to the aerodrome, Mr Cudby noticed that the aero club’s sheep, some 500-600 hoggets, were all bunched up in the north eastern corner of the aerodrome.  Stray dogs are sometimes a bother to the sheep and his first thought was that a dog must have been ‘worrying’ them, however an investigation proved that this was not the case.

Mr Cudby then proceeded across the aerodrome to the clubhouse and hangar situated some 700-800 yards away.  He stopped his station wagon outside the clubhouse door, switched off his headlights and let his 6-year-old Alsatian dog out.  He noticed a noise which he assumed was a train, as the railway track is situated near the western boundary of the aerodrome.  Proceeding to the clubhouse door some several yards away in order to try the lock, he was surprised to notice a trio of lights reflected in the glass panel, just as he touched the door handle.  There were two green lights with a red one in the middle.  This seemed very odd to him, as although he was accustomed to seeing lights from the town reflected in the door panel, they were usually lower down on the door.  These reflections were seen high on the door panel.

At this moment, his dog started growling back at the vehicle and Mr Cudby and wondered if it had bailed up a stray sheep.  When he looked back to see what the dog was barking at, he was amazed to see the source of the reflections –  a formation of two green lights and a red light, that were hovering beyond, above, and just to the right of his vehicle.  The lights were at an angle of about 15° above the ground, or approximately at the height of a telegraph pole.  After looking at the lights for a few seconds, Mr Cudby became aware of the dim outline of a big saucer-shaped object, and the lights were merely emanating from the turret portion of it.  He felt utterly amazed and frightened, but quickly decided to try to light up the object with his vehicle spotlight.  As he moved swiftly back towards his vehicle and surmounted the low wall between, he noticed that his dog was racing around and around the vehicle.

Entering the vehicle, he opened the left front door so that he could view the object in the gap between the open door and the windscreen pillar.  He quickly focused the centre-mounted spotlight on the object.  Just prior to this, he had noticed that shafts of light were beaming down to the ground, alternately white, green, dull red, green, and white again, and they were lighting the ground some 50 feet below in the same colours.  Now the spotlight showed the surface of the object to be like stainless steel.  He was able to traverse the object vertically and horizontally three times each way with the spotlight, and particularly noticed that there appeared to be no joints, rivets or hatches etc. in the surface, which was metallic-looking and shiny.  Each scanning took about three seconds.  Mr can’t be therefore believes that this inspection must have taken about 18 seconds.  All the while, the object was emitting a rather loud noise, which he likened to the tone of a vacuum cleaner when half run down after being switched off.  The pitch was constant however.  The object was also swaying slowly to and fro – a swinging movement through a distance of about 7-8 feet, a sideways movement in relation to his viewing position.

As if the craft had been ‘alerted’ by the spotlight, several things happened.  The light beams beneath the object suddenly brightened to the same intensity as the turret lights; the noise, within about one second, suddenly built up to a high pitch; the to and fro motion stopped.  Then the whole object tilted down at the right side (viewed from the witness’s position) and then it made off at high speed, with its leading edge down slightly and climbed at about a 15° angle.

Mr Cudby quickly got out of his vehicle and moved towards the corner of the hangar, which had blocked his view as the object sped off in a west to southwest direction.  However the object was no longer to be seen.  Something strange happened at this point.  A windsock situated on a pole on top of the hangar roof had filled with air and was rotating wildly.  After about six revolutions, it returned to its previous vertical limp position associated with the windless conditions prevailing that night.

Meanwhile the dog was still racing madly around the patrol officer’s vehicle and although severely scared, Mr Cudby decided to walk across to the spot over which the UFO had been seen hovering.  He was wearing light sand shoes and soon noticed that the heavy dew had wet his feet through his shoes and socks.  After about 60 yards however, he was amazed to find that the air became very warm, just like sunshine on a hot summer’s day.  After continuing to walk what he later measured as 19 paces, the air became cool again and he bent down to feel the grass.  Over the distance of the 19 paces, the grass had been very warm and dry, but here on the other side of the area, it was cold and dewy again.  He put one hand on the wet and cold grass and the other could reach the warm and dry grass about 5 feet away.  This measurement was at right angles to his estimation of the length of the object, which he estimated as being 60 feet long (wide) and 12 feet high.

The witness now returned to his vehicle and had to catch and hold his dog between his knees, as it was still circling the vehicle.  Putting the dog inside, he drove off feeling really frightened and with the odd feeling that he “could have been on the moon” and had been seeing something that nobody else on earth had seen.  He quickly went to the railway station, as was his custom to have a cup of tea with the porter on duty.  By this time, the dog had quietened down, but the porter remarked to him that he looked as though he had just seen a ghost and asked what had happened.  He related his story to the porter.

His patrol now over, he returned to his home at 4 a.m. and awoke his wife wife and related to her what he had seen before retiring to bed.  At 10 a.m. the next morning, he went to the police station to report what he had seen but was ridiculed by the person in charge, Sgt Scannell.  He then went to the Waipukurau office of the Napier Daily Telegraph newspaper, and the story was published in the issue of the same day.

The same night, some corroboration of the story came when he was contacted by two people.  One, a Mr Jock McGlone of 47 Racecourse Road, whose house would be about a half a mile to the east of the aerodrome where the UFO had been seen, said he had got out of bed at about 3:10 a.m. and had heard a loud noise which he thought had been a fast car.

Mrs Peggy Shanks, whose house is on the other side of the aerodrome, said that at about the same time in the UFO was sighted, she was woken by a loud noise.  She thought it sounded like an aircraft accelerating prior to crashing and was just going to wake up her husband when the noise stopped.

Another resident, whose home is about a half a mile from the aerodrome, was awakened just after 3 a.m. for no apparent reason.  He reported to the newspapers that on going outside, he found the sheep on his property very disturbed.  The thought of a UFO never occurred to him at the time, he said, but the sheep were highly excited for some reason which he could not explain at the time.

There was also another eyewitness to the sighting.  Christchurch man Mr S. T. Grant, who was travelling through Hawkes Bay to Gisborne, also reported what he had seen to the newspaper on October 30th.  As he descended the nearby Pukeora Hill towards Waipukurau at about the same time as the object was seen by Mr Cudby, he suddenly realized with a “kind of a sick shock” that he was seeing a UFO.  He said the object appeared to be circular and about 100 feet above the ground, when it gradually gained height and abruptly took off southward.  The position of the sighting according to the Daily Telegraph, placed the object in exactly the same area where Mr Cudby had seen the object at the same time.  Neither Mr Grant nor Mr Cudby which was aware that the other had had a sighting or had reported it to the newspaper.