Frederick Valentich Vanishes

It Happened on
October 21, 1978

FEATURED IMAGE CREDIT: Petoskey News-Review, Petoskey, Michigan · Monday, October 23, 1978

The story of Frederick Valentich’s vanishing is one of the most intriguing and mysterious incidents in aviation history. Here is a detailed account of the events surrounding his disappearance:


  • Frederick Valentich: Valentich was a 20-year-old Australian pilot with about 150 hours of flying experience. He was a member of the RAAF Air Training Corps and had received his private pilot license.
  • Flight: On October 21, 1978, Valentich rented a Cessna 182L light aircraft for a training flight from Moorabbin Airport in Victoria, Australia, to King Island in Bass Strait.

The Disappearance

  • Departure: Valentich departed Moorabbin Airport at 18:19 local time. The weather was clear, and visibility was good.
  • Radio Communication: At approximately 19:06, Valentich contacted Melbourne Flight Service to report an unidentified aircraft following him at 4,500 feet. The communication continued for about six minutes, during which Valentich described the aircraft as having four bright lights and moving at high speed.
  • Last Transmission: Valentich’s last transmission to Melbourne Flight Service was at 19:12. He reported that the unidentified aircraft was hovering above him and that his engine was rough-idling. His final words were, “It’s not an aircraft.”
  • Silence: After the last transmission, radio contact was lost. No further communications were received from Valentich.

Search and Investigation

  • Search Efforts: A search and rescue mission was launched, covering over 1,000 square miles. Despite extensive efforts, no trace of Valentich or his aircraft was found.
  • Theories and Speculations:
    • UFO Encounter: Given Valentich’s description of the unidentified aircraft, some believe he was abducted by a UFO. This theory is supported by several reported UFO sightings in the area around the time of his disappearance.
    • Pilot Error or Disorientation: Some aviation experts suggest that Valentich might have become disoriented and crashed into the sea. The lights he reported could have been reflections from his own aircraft.
    • Staged Disappearance: Another theory is that Valentich staged his disappearance, though there is no substantial evidence to support this claim.

Legacy and Cultural Impact

  • Ongoing Mystery: Valentich’s disappearance remains unsolved, continuing to fuel speculation and debate among aviation experts, UFO enthusiasts, and the general public.
  • Media and Literature: The incident has been featured in numerous documentaries, books, and articles, highlighting its enduring intrigue and the broader questions it raises about unexplained phenomena.

Key Points

  • Time and Date: October 21, 1978
  • Aircraft: Cessna 182L
  • Pilot: Frederick Valentich, 20 years old
  • Last Known Location: Over Bass Strait, between Victoria and King Island
  • Final Communication: 19:12 local time
  • Search Outcome: No trace of Valentich or the aircraft was ever found

The story of Frederick Valentich’s vanishing continues to be a fascinating and mysterious chapter in aviation history, with no definitive answers yet uncovered.

9 months later is born…

Jason Momoa who plays Aquaman and Duncan Idaho, on Dune.

born on August 01, 1979

Jason Momoa

American actor

born on June 09, 1958

Frederick Valentich

Australian pilot who disappeared while on a 125-nautical-mile

People featured in this post:

Frederick Valentich

Australian pilot who disappeared while on a 125-nautical-mile