Was it a drug smuggler en route to Canada? Was it a top-secret military plane? Something else? Who the fuck knows.
The Warzone's Tyler Rodgoway, an aviation wonk, has an intense story of a regionally coordinated effort last month to try to figure out what the hell a plane was doing flying through Oregon. It didn't show up on radar, and commercial airline crews could only track it, temporarily, visually. Fighter jets, which took off from Portland International Airport, couldn't find it.
"Something quite out of the ordinary occurred in the skies over Oregon on October 25th, 2017," Rogoway's story starts. "A mystery aircraft was flying in daylight hours among the steady stream of airliners that traverse from south to north, between locales in California and Nevada and cities like Portland and Seattle and beyond."
Rogoway confirmed with NORAD—the North American Aerospace Defense Command—that something odd did happen:
NORAD's reply was quick and clear. An incident involving multiple airline crews, air traffic control, and F-15Cs from the 142nd Fighter Wing based out of Portland did occur. According to the limited information NORAD supplied, airliner pilots were asked by FAA air traffic controllers to help track and possibly identify a "white aircraft" traveling in the flightlevels nearby—roughly between 35,000 and 40,000 feet based on the radio recordings. NORAD also said that the incident did result in F-15s from Portland being scrambled to investigate, but by the time they got up and "looked around" the mystery aircraft couldn't be found.
Some key takeaways:
Amongst all the questions that remain, one thing is certain, an unidentified white aircraft was indeed flying over Oregon on that day in October, and the USAF and the FAA are both willing to admit that the event occurred. In the Air Force's case, the fact that they are even willing to tell us that they couldn't catch or even find the unidentified aircraft with their sensor-packed and fast F-15s is interesting to say the least. On the other hand they may not be sharing the entire story with us.
So yeah, block off 10 minutes and read the full story.