1971 – Airport Employee Photographs UFO

Date:  14 June 1971

Time:  unknown

Location:  Auckland International Airport, Mangere, North Island

Aircraft/other:  NA

Witness(es):  airport employee (wishes to remain anonymous)


The employee took a photograph of a light aircraft (on film, not digital).  He did not see or hear anything unusual at the time.  When the film was developed, he saw there was an unusual cigar-shaped object in the distant background, which left a dark trail behind it.

The employee sent the photograph to retired Captain Bruce Cathie, who checked with ATC at Auckland airport, but nothing unusual had appeared on radar that day.  The employee had 4 photographic enlargements made showing the object, and also drew a sketch of the object using a grid enlargement.

The cigar-shaped object appears to have a pointed nose and rounded end.  The body of the object has distinct alternating bands of dark and light.

Ufocus NZ was provided with the photographs and sent them to US physicist and photographic data analyst, Dr Bruce Maccabee.  He stated the following:

“Don’t know what that is – makes me think of the ‘ghost rockets’ of 1946, or even the Newfoundland object in pictures posted a few days ago.

Assuming a shutter speed of 1/25 of a second (typical), this thing moved its in length and much less than that.  If one assumes the object is the striped ‘rocket’, it moved about 10 times its own length in fact.

If the fuzzy widening line at the upper left is a contrail, then that contrail widened VERY rapidly.  If it is a real object ‘out there’, we don’t know how far away or how big.  One can only speculate.

If we assumed a rocket 20 foot long, then at travel at 200 feet in1/25 of a second, which corresponds to 25,000 ft/sec, or 4.7 mi/sec (17,000 mph), which is approximately orbital speed!

At that speed, if it were low in the atmosphere, it would be glowing (if it were a manmade/earthly object or meteor).  With a 20 ft length, it wouldn’t be very far away because of the length of the image.

There is a very dim possibility that it is a meteor or a (manmade) rocket.  Would have made a noise!”