triangular UFO
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Pilot’s Bizarre Encounter With 30-Foot-Tall Triangular UFO Prompts Aviation Safety Concerns

A baffling incident unfolded in the skies above Frederick County, Maryland, last month as a private pilot reported a mid-air encounter with a 30-foot-tall triangular UFO, newly released audio recordings reveal.

The pilot, flying a Piper Cherokee Arrow (P28R), registration N30024, was flying from Allegheny County Airport in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Frederick Municipal Airport in Maryland at the time of the incident, which occurred on December 20, 2023.

Approximately 50 miles northwest of his destination, the pilot contacted air traffic controllers (ATC) to report sighting an object he described as appearing to be “approximately 30 feet tall” as it passed him flying “at about 6500-6800 feet.”

“Not sure what it is,” the pilot can be heard saying in an audio recording of the incident uploaded to the YouTube channel You Can See ATC, which specializes in reconstructions of non-standard and emergency situations that occur in flight.

“It was 30 feet tall?” an obviously perplexed ATC operator can be heard replying.

“It was pretty tall, probably about 30 feet tall,” the pilot confirms. “It was going opposite direction of us.”

Asked if the object was moving at a fast pace, the pilot, just prior to entering his descent, also confirmed that the object appeared to be moving quickly as it passed him.

“Arrow to 024, what does the object look like?” the ATC operator can then be heard asking.

“It’s kinda hard to describe,” the pilot responds. “It was just, uh, tall and, uh, pointy.”

“Like a triangle?” the ATC operator then asks.

“It was in the shape of a triangle. It was bottom and flat on top. I’m not sure what it is.” Intriguingly, the pilot then adds, “[I] do have a picture of it,” clarifying that there “did not appear to be any danger” resulting from the appearance of the unusual flying triangle.

“It was pretty far away from us. Just noticeable enough for caution to other aircraft,” the pilot says.

Following this exchange, the ATC operator can then be heard advising the pilot to call his supervisor due to safety concerns that were raised after the pilot’s bizarre sighting.

“Just wanna make sure everything is safe up there, uh, for future aircraft flying through that. So give him a call once you’re on the ground safely please.”

The Debrief has reached out to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for comment on the December 2023 incident. The pilot who reported the sighting of the strange object has not been identified, nor has the alleged photograph of the object the pilot references in the recorded communications with ATC surfaced.

For decades, observations of flying objects of unknown origin, which the Department of Defense now calls unidentified anomalous phenomena (UAP), have often involved triangular UFO sightings. Beginning on November 29, 1989, a wave of sightings involving large, triangular aircraft erupted over Belgium, culminating in an intercept attempt involving two Belgian Air Force F-16s in the early morning hours of March 31, 1990. Sightings of the unusual craft continued until April of that year.

Artist’s concept based on an alleged photograph depicting a triangular UFO observed by U.S. Navy aviators. (Credit: Dave Beaty/The Debrief)

Remarkably similar sightings involving large, triangular UFOs have continued to be reported for decades, including an incident involving observations by multiple law enforcement officers located in St. Clair County, Illinois, during the early morning hours of January 5, 2000.

Given that few details apart from its estimated size and general shape were conveyed about the object reported in the December 20 incident, it is unclear whether anything beyond a superficial resemblance to these earlier sightings of large triangular UAP exists.

Earlier this week, members of the House Oversight Committee were scheduled to receive a classified briefing on UAP conducted by Thomas Monheim, the current Inspector General of the Intelligence Community (IC IG).

Last June, The Debrief was the first to report on a complaint filed to the IC IG by whistleblower David Grusch, alleging that secret U.S. government programs involved in the recovery of craft believed to be of non-human origin had been illegally withheld from Congress.

Currently, the Department of Defense’s All-domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO) is responsible for evaluating UAP incidents reported by U.S. military personnel and is expected to release the first installment of a two-part historical review in the weeks ahead.

Established in 2022, the office received some criticism for the slow pace of its operations, with its official website having not appeared online until August 30, 2023. At that time, a congressionally mandated reporting mechanism for military personnel to report their sightings did not yet appear on the website. Although added sometime later, the site’s current reporting mechanism only accepts unclassified information related to possible knowledge of U.S. government UAP programs.

Last November, Sean Kirkpatrick, the first individual named as director of AARO, announced he would be stepping down from his position. Currently, those duties are being performed by Timothy A. Phillips, who had only been named as AARO’s Deputy Director shortly before the Pentagon confirmed Kirkpatrick’s retirement.

Kirkpatrick officially retired from his duties on December 1, 2023, and is currently employed at Oak Ridge National Laboratory as its Chief Technology Officer for Defense and Intelligence Programs.

If you have additional information about the December 20, 2023, incident over Maryland or have observed similar unexplained aerial phenomena, please consider contacting The Debrief

3:44 PM ET, 01/10/24: This article has been updated to further clarify that the photograph of the object the pilot is heard referencing in the audio recordings of his communication with ATC operators has not surfaced, nor is the pilot’s identity presently known.

Micah Hanks is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-Founder of The Debrief. He can be reached by email at Follow his work at and on X: @MicahHanks.