The UFO Case of Maresciallo Cecconi – June 18, 1979

The following case is from Noiegliextraterrestri, an Italian website which archives UFO encounters.

The original article was in Italian, however below, you will find the English translation.

All credit is to Noiegliextraterrestri for the below article. It is archived here, in English, for archival and research purposes.


Today we present a historical case of the Italian UFO case that happened from a military flight in 1979. A case that still today makes the public debate and divides but we look beyond and trust the testimony of Cecconi. Here’s the story.

On June 18, 1979, the then pilot marshal Giancarlo Cecconi (born in 1933, in Florence) was returning from a photographic survey carried out on the Ligurian Apennines.

He was flying over the area between Rovigo and the Colli di Abano Terme, when he received by radio from the control tower of the military airport of S. Angelo di Treviso, where he was stationed, the invitation to connect with the aerobase of Istria ( TV), whose radar had signaled an unidentified flying object, approximately on the vertical of Quinto di Treviso and therefore in the immediate vicinity of the aforementioned airport.

Mr. Cecconi, who belonged to the 14 ‘Group of the 2’ Fighter Bomber Reconnaissance Wing of the Italian Air Force, was on board a G 91 / R, equipped with four VINTEN cameras, located in this way: two on the sides of the front of the cockpit, one in the front position and the fourth in the ventral position. With these, in fact, he had carried out the photographic surveys he had been in charge of. He then arranged with the Ground Control Body staff to go and identify the object detected by the radar.

At the moment of the sighting, it occurred to him that it could be a solar UFO; then he realized it was something different. The day was beautiful and he soon realized that that “black spot” had very different characteristics.

It appeared to him in the shape of a dull black “fuel tank” and, on its slightly flattened upper part, he noticed a fairing with two “mustaches”; this was underlying something clear and white which, in his opinion, was a kind of milky white “dome”. The characteristics of the surface did not allow the refraction of light. The object appeared to have a length of about 6-8 m and a width of about 3 m.

At the time of the close encounter with the unusual “aircraft”, this was on the vertical of the Treviso military airport at a height of about 1300 m.

Having made contact with the UFO, he took a first series of photographs with the front camera and after having made, in a very short period of time, the “noose” (maneuver that consists in reversing the course), he noticed that the object was still in the same position, so that he could take another series of photographs using the side cameras this time.

He understood that it was something having a certain rigidity and deduced it from the fact that, when the plane approached him at a speed of about 300 knots (450-500 km / h), the object “… did not suffer from any turbulence…”. The pilot had had the opportunity to see UFO Solar on other occasions. However, they felt the turbulence caused by the nearby passage of the plane and their movement could last even a quarter of an hour; this object, on the other hand, appeared to remain static and did not vibrate even though Mr. Cecconi had passed it at a distance of about a hundred meters.

During the sighting, which lasted about five minutes, Mr. Cecconi was able to take more than eighty photographs that showed the object always in the same frontal position, or slightly angled; in fact, this was never completely visible from the side, it was as if the “thing” wanted to “aim” the plane.
According to the witness, he appeared to have taken a defensive attitude. It never fully exposed the side and he had never managed to photograph it entirely from the side; for this he was impressed.

While the pilot was completing a turn, the Istrana radar center told him: “we lost it! It’s no longer on the screen!”. It had suddenly vanished between hits on the radar.

Also from the control tower of the S. Angelo airport they reported that the object had inexplicably disappeared from sight within a few moments. He looked where the UFO was supposed to be, but he couldn’t see it anymore.

After the plane had returned to the Treviso base, the specialists, as usual, removed and took delivery of the film containers and took them to the laboratory of the Development and Printing Department.

As soon as the photos were developed, he checked them out and asked a friend (photo lab worker) for a copy.

Years passed and after Mr. Cecconi retired, ufologists asked the Ministry of Defense to release the documentation concerning this case, and they were told that: “the object in question, immediately identified, was photographed with edge and unequivocally identified by the personal photo interpreter in a cylindrical balloon, made with black plastic bags.”.

The answer left the ufologists baffled, especially in consideration of the experience and preparation of Mr. Cecconi who boasted a curriculum like few others and was one of the best known and esteemed pilot figures for seriousness and competence.

UFO Casebook also did a write-up about this case, which is archived here, with permission.

1979 – Military Pilot Photographs UFO over Italy

Pilot Giancarlo Cecconi, in his G-91R fighter and attached to the 14 Group 2nd Air Force Fighter Wing was returning to Treviso Air Base, Italy after having carried out a reconnaissance mission on June 18, 1979, at 11:30 AM.

The Istrana radar center (TV), registered the presence of an intruder on its radar screens, and gave Cecconi directions to approach the unidentified craft that had penetrated a prohibited area.

Having unused film in his aircraft cameras, the pilot activated them and approached the UFO up to a distance of 70-80 meters and at speeds estimated at 300 knots (450-500 km.

The airport ground staff followed the scene with binoculars. The Treviso Control Tower personnel called Cecconi to warn him that the object was discharging a strange “blue trail.”

He was in close pursuit at 7,000 feet altitude but did not know its wake. When the Pilot closed on the object it made up and down movements at 1,000 feet at a time, climbing up to 13,000 feet.

Cecconi made seven to eight passes close to the object and each time took gun camera film of the UFO resulting in a total of 82 frames depicting the intruder.

The apparent UFO was stationary relative to the G-91, but the radar center confirms to Cecconi that it was moving, course and speed defined.

The witness recalled a “gas tank” of matte black and the presence of a small white or clear “dome,” located on the upper side, of the slightly flattened object.

The “dome” was like a kind of shaped like those found on sports cars. While Cecconi was making yet another tack to get back to doing another round of photographs, Istrana radar called to report the object suddenly disappeared from theirs and other radars.

After a few seconds, the Treviso control tower confirmed the UFO had visually disappeared. A few minutes later, the plane landed and the films were removed and quickly developed.

The pilot was very curious to see the pictures that he took including the white “dome.”

The object was a cylindrical tank at least eight meters long (26 feet) with a maximum three in diameter suspended in the sky at thirteen thousand feet high.”

The case is important because of the gun camera film, radar, and visual confirmation with several witnesses including a highly respected fighter pilot.

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