Photo from Albert Antony on unsplash.com

By John Haughey/The Center Square

Florida has 21 military bases, more than 21 million people, and a $20 billion aerospace industry so “unidentified aerial phenomena” (UAP) and/or “unidentified flying objects” (UFO) should be common sights.

And perhaps it is – so much so that UAPs/UFOs may be underreported in the Sunshine State.

While Floridians have reported nearly 7,400 UAP/UFO sightings to the National UFO Reporting Center (NUFORC) since 1974, more than any state except California, it ranks 29th when the number of sightings is averaged out by population.

A long-awaited nine-page federal report issued Friday by the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) does not specify where UAP/UFO sightings are most common.

While the analysis cites 143 cases of “unidentified aerial phenomena,” its annex is classified and, until released, it is uncertain how many occurred in Florida.

The DNI report doesn’t mention extraterrestrials, uses the term “UFO,” dismisses foreign technology, and states more study is necessary.

“For years, the men and women we trust to defend our country reported encounters with unidentified aircraft that had superior capabilities, and for years their concerns were often ignored and ridiculed,” said Florida senior U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a statement.

“The Defense Department and Intelligence Community have a lot of work to do before we can actually understand whether these aerial threats present a serious national security concern,” Rubio continued. ”This report is an important first step in cataloging these incidents, but it is just a first step.”

The report compiled by the Unidentified Aerial Phenomena Task Force lists 144 incidents with 143 classified as unexplained between 2004-21.

Most were reported by naval aviators, who filed 80 reports involving detection by multiple sensors and 11 near-misses with UAPs.

The report presumably includes sightings by pilots flying from aircraft carriers off California and along the Atlantic Seaboard between Jacksonville and Norfolk, Va., including well-publicized sightings off Florida in 2015.

The DNI report sightings are not among those filed by rank-and-file folks with NUFORC, which logs sightings called in by observers.

In its 46 years, NUFORC has documented nearly 100,000 sightings with 14,863 in California followed by Florida (7,398), Washington (6,617), and Texas (5,555).

NUFORC maintains Florida’s 7,398 sightings per capita equals about 30 sightings for every 100,000 people – 29th in the nation.

That’s curious, analysts say.

“Notably, there were far fewer similar incidents reported to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) in other areas that also host a great deal of military activity, such as off the West Coast or around Florida,” Adam Kehoe writes June 26 in The War Zone, a military technology blog. “It is unclear if this is because fewer incidents happen in those locations or if it is because reporting practices are inconsistent, or a mixture of both.”

Between June 1-27, NUFORC reports more than 30 UFO sightings have been logged by Floridians. According to NUFORC’s May 1-21 report, of 450 “new, and newly amended, sighting reports” filed nationwide during that span, only 17 were from Floridians.

Among them:

  • May 12 at 11 p.m. in Naples. “Saw 3 UFOs hovering above – looked like they were playing games flying around each other amongst the three saucers.”
  • May 16, 5:30 a.m., Kissimmee. “Quick moving object in the sky.”
  • May 11, 5:03 a.m., on Atlantic Beach. ”I noticed the unidentified bright lights and vertically aligned square-shaped objects moving sporadically as seen on the security cam.”
  • May 10, 10 p.m., Sarasota. “String of lights.”
  • May 10, 11 p.m., Naples, “Circle for 10 min.”
  • May 10, 10:30 p.m., Tampa. ”I was driving home, headed southbound on Bayshore Blvd. approaching Gandy Blvd. driving 35 mph. Approximately 6 or 7 streets north of G St.”
  • May 9, 10: 22 p.m., Port Charlotte. “My home security camera captured two spheres of light hovering around. It appeared as if they were aware of each other.”
  • May 9, 9:30 p.m., Ocala. “Formation. 2 minutes. Flying line Formation of unidentifiable objects in the clear sky.”
  • May 3, 9:15 p.m., Jacksonville. “Fireball. 5 minutes. We saw a bright fireball in the sky that was very bright and moving slowly. Initially, we thought it was a drone.”

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