Meet the Top Gun Pilot Who Chased a UFO in an F/A-18F Super Hornet

A former Navy aviator had no intention of becoming a UFO celebrity.

WINDHAM, New Hampshire — In 2004, Commander David Fravor, an aviator in the U.S. Navy, saw something in the skies he'd never seen before. He wasn't sure what it was, but he decided to follow it in his F/A-18 Super Hornet, and he became convinced that the object's maneuvering could not be explained by the existing capabilities of modern aircraft.

“It was far beyond the technology that we have,” he told VICE News.

For a long time, Fravor, a skeptic of the notion of extraterrestrial visitors, said nothing. But in 2017, he and his co-pilot went public with their stories in the New York Times. The response was immediate: The UFO community saw their accounts as proof of extraterrestrial life, and Fravor became a sort of messiah. The newfound notoriety made Fravor deeply uncomfortable.

“I’m not that kind of person," he said. “I underestimated the power of a New York Times article. I’ll never do that again.” He also vowed to stay out of the spotlight. But last month, Fravor reluctantly agreed to be a featured speaker at the McMenamins UFO Fest, in McMinnville, Oregon, the world's premier extraterrestrial expo.

VICE News was there for Fravor's first public appearance since the article in the Times — and, he swears, his last.

This segment originally aired June 4, 2019, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.