The Air France Flight AF3532 Near Miss UFO Encounter

Marcus Lowth
Published Date
February 29, 2020
Last Updated
October 5, 2021
Estimated Reading Time
17 min read
Posted in
UFOs, Close Encounters

We have looked very briefly the UFO encounter of Air France Flight AF-3532 in January 1994 before. However, the incident deserves a fuller and wider-reaching examination in its own right. Not least as the main witness was an experienced commercial airline pilot, Jean-Charles Duboc. Furthermore, other crew members, as well as a stewardess would also witness the bizarre event.

A picture of Jean-Charles Duboc blended into an image of an Air France jet with a superimposed UFO over the top

Did Jean-Charles Duboc witness a UFO while flying?

What’s more, some of the details of the incident prompt us to consider certain questions in relation to the true nature of UFO and alien encounters. Are these strange craft really crossing the vast reaches of space from a distant planet to visit us? Or might their origin be much closer to us? Perhaps on the same level of existence but from a different realm or dimension?

As we will discuss a little at the end of our examination of this most intriguing case, the more we learn about UFOs and the finer details that surround them, the more the connections to other areas of interest become ever more entangled.

The account took place at a time when several similar incidents involving commercial airliners were being reported. It was, however, another three years before the pilot went public with the sighting. Might these increased UFO sightings around commercial airliners have been simply due to an increase in air traffic combined with an increased willingness on the respective witness’s part to speak of the incident?

Whatever the reasons may prove to be, the following account and the many others of the same era suggest that commercial airliners were far from the only thing traversing our skies at the time. As always, it is the same key questions that remain unanswered – where did these strange crafts come from? Who controls them? And why?

An Object “Unlike Anything” Seen Before!

After leaving Nice, Air France Flight AF-3532, piloted by Jean-Charles Duboc was on its way to London on the afternoon of 28th January 1994. At just before 1:15 pm, after being in the air for around 20 minutes and at an altitude of just below 12,000 feet, the flight attendant [1] informed the co-pilot, Valerie Chauffour, of something similar to a “weather balloon” a short distance away.

The weather conditions were perfect for flying. And consequently, visibility was equally good. After viewing the strange aerial anomaly for several seconds, the Chauffour would inform Duboc of the strange craft. He too had no trouble seeing the object, and although he would initially log the object as “an airplane turning at a 45-degree tilt”, he and the rest of the crew knew the object was unlike “anything they had seen in their flying careers.”

a depiction of an orange glowing UFO in a cloudy sky

Many pilots, at least unofficially, claim to have witnessed strange objects while flying

The object itself was described as having a “variable form” and of “immense” size. Furthermore, it was a “dark red color” with “fuzzy edges”. Duboc would estimate the object was at a distance of a little over 25 miles from the left side of their plane. Later analysis and discussion would lead Duboc and investigators to estimate the craft was approximately 1000 feet across.

The object itself remained in sight for around 60 seconds. However, during this time, the bizarre encounter would take another strange twist. A twist that might prove to be one of the, if not the most important detail of the whole encounter.

A “Merging With The Environment!”

As Duboc and the crew continued to watch the strange object to their left, they noticed how it was seemingly “merging with the environment”. In short, it appeared it was fading away into nothing.

Duboc would further describe the object “becoming translucent, transparent (and) diluted in space”.

This is a detail to shows up in many other UFO reports, although ones most often witnessed at night. Does this suggest that the object was not a solid, nuts-and-bolts craft and was some kind of mirage or hallucination? Or might it have been utilizing some kind of portal or interdimensional technology? One that took it from our realm of existence into another. Might the technology have even been some kind of cloaking device that rendered the craft quite literally, invisible?

Following the craft’s disappearance, Duboc would radio a report of the incident to the Rheims control tower. However, Duboc would have reservations of producing a written report of the incident, such was the “incredible” nature of it. In fact, he would ultimately refuse to write an official report for “fear of ridicule”.

Perhaps unknown to Duboc at that time, was that the radar of the Center of Air Defense (CODA) had tracked an anomalous object for around 50 seconds in the exact same location as the Flight AF-3532 plane. What’s more, records would show that there should have been no other object in the area at the time. We will return to the radar data shortly, as it is within here that another key point resides. One that, while only speculative, might begin to shine a light on this and other cases like it.

A Three-Year Delay In Reporting!

When Duboc read about a sighting in Paris at the same time as he and his fellow crew members witnessed the strange object from their plane, he would make the decision to come forward and speak publicly of the incident.

He would submit a report to the French Police (Gendarmerie Nationale), who had a dedicated department to examine and review such UFO incidents. From there, several leading UFO bodies (such as SEPRA) would pick up on the case. And what’s more, they would appear to take the testimony of Duboc extremely seriously.

Jean-Charles Duboc in the cockpit of a jumbo jet

Jean-Charles Duboc

There were some intriguing details that surfaced from the encounter and the data available. Perhaps not least the radar tracking data. For example, Duboc would claim the object was a little over 25 miles away from their plane at the time of the sighting. However, radar data showed the distance to be barely a mile.

Is this a technical issue on the part of the radar data? It is unlikely. Nor, however, is it unlikely that Duboc is mistaken. Perhaps, then, we are looking, once more, at some kind of technology that distorts radar. While that is only speculation on our part, it is perhaps something to consider.

One other point to consider is that the object that Duboc witnessed and the object tracked on radar was, in fact, two different crafts. If this is the case, was the object that Duboc and his crew saw merely a distraction? Remember, it “faded” away as opposed to physically moving off. If this was the case, then for what purpose might such a distraction have been created? Indeed, that is where we will turn our attention next.

A Sudden Rabbit Warren Of Possibilities

If there were two objects in the skies that afternoon – one which Duboc could see and one that he couldn’t – then this opens up several avenues of possibilities. Not least why the intelligence behind such an act – wherever that intelligence resides – would carry out such an exercise.

We know, however, that many UFO researchers state that these strange crafts can be visible to one person and invisible to another. And what’s more, it often appears that it is the decision of the mysterious intelligence behind such crafts as to who does and does not see such otherworldly vehicles. This is an interesting observation in itself as many UFO witnesses – particularly those who have had repeat sightings – often speak of something similar to a telepathic-type communication of where to look overhead, and when.

A picture of an Air France plane with a UFO superimposed over the top

UFOs often come surprisingly close to planes

Even investigators would suggest, at least the possibility that both the object and the radar data were the result of fake electronic readings. One aimed specifically at the radar, and one a visual manifestation for Duboc and the crew to see? While such things are perhaps possible to achieve (at least unofficially), who would be behind such an act, and why?

If this was the result of alien intelligence why would they project artificial images and radar readings of themselves? Unless, of course, such incidents are a way of testing our response. Perhaps to see if we might act with hostility or intrigue? Would we be aggressive or welcoming? And, as uncomfortable a question as it might be, depending on our potential extraterrestrial visitors’ agenda, what might our response mean to such an intelligence, if anything, somewhere at an unknown date in the future?

A Need To Consider Even The Outlandish Possibilities?

There is also the possibility, as suggested by Duboc himself and as we highlighted above, that the object he and the witnesses could see was very real, and that the object the radar was tracking was the result of the UFO giving a “fake data” out to the radar in order to disguise its location.

This wouldn’t be that much of a stretch of the imagination, even for our own modern warfare tactics. Indeed, electronic and electromagnetic warfare are growing businesses. Might this, then, even raise the possibility that the object Duboc (and the radar operators) witnessed that afternoon were not alien in nature, but very terrestrial and part of a top-secret military experimental vehicle?

a picture of an Air France plane with a UFO superimposed over the top

What is the interest of these strange craft?

If this was the case – and we would have to truly ask if the world’s governments would indeed endanger hundreds of passengers’ lives in such a way – for what purpose would such a move serve? Is this technology – one that would appear to have been purposely made to look like a “typical alien craft” – being used to set up some twisted and fast-approaching end game?

Are, for example, such seemingly outlandish (to some) notions as a “faked alien invasion” in order to usher in a ruling elite of the entire planet not as outlandish as we might think? It is a concept that even many in the UFO and conspiracy communities find hard to lend credence to. And they could well be correct in their assessment. For the sake of covering all bases, however, and certainly so as not to be caught “off-guard”, it is still a possibility we should retain in our minds.

The Nuclear Connection!

Another detail of interest is that the area below where the incident would unfold in Taverny is home to the “strategic nuclear command center of the French military”. We have noted on several occasions that UFOs – or the intelligence behind them – appear to have a particular interest in nuclear facilities, whether they are power stations, weapons storage areas, or command centers.

There are two things to consider here. Was the UFO, or more to the point, the intelligence behind it, at the location because of the nuclear facility? Or were those at the nuclear facility, at least those high-ranking, privy to knowledge of the UFO and those who control it?

As has been pointed out previously, if there was an element of deception and of providing a distraction in the first “visual” UFO, then the other invisible craft could remain and monitor such facilities with the powers that be completely unaware of the surveillance operation.

Such suggestions or exactly that. But like the “fake alien invasion”, it is in our collective interests that we explore them, if only for hypothetical reasons.

While the Flight AF3532 incident remains unexplained, there does appear to have been a very serious effort to investigate the incident on the part of the French authorities. In fact, the visual sighting, multiple witnesses, and the radar confirmation would lead the French government to all but state that “something” was real about many of the UFO sightings that were being reported. Of course, what that something might remain a mystery.

Very Particular Details Of Airline Pilot Sightings!

We have examined other cases of the close calls with UFOs by airline pilots, many of which took place in the same regions as our encounter here, and within the same timeframe. And while we will not go over each case in detail here again, it is interesting to note several similarities in the details of the respective case.

For example, many of the reports from the respective control towers – at least publicly – only manage to report a “faint return” or one that doesn’t correspond to the coordinates and details submitted by the pilot.

A picture of an Air France plane in a cloudy sky with a superimposed UFO over the top

Might many other similar sightings remain unreported?

While some have suspected such official radar returns are, in fact, false readings put forward in order to discredit witnesses (although there is no real proof for such assertions) it might be likely, as we have discussed here, that such results are the result of intentional technological manipulation from these strange crafts, perhaps as a defense mechanism in order to not become the victim of missile attack?

Many of these sightings, although not all, often occur shortly after the plane has set out on its journey. This, then, might suggest a targeting of certain planes as opposed to random encounters. If this was to be the case, what could the reason be for such intentional aerial liaisons? Might they be concerned with who is on board these respective aircraft, in particular the pilots and crew? Or might such encounters have more to do with who might be monitoring such flights at a higher level?

Indeed, like much we have put forward here, such thinking is speculative at best. But speculation in a world where the status quo is so vehemently defended is more than necessary.

An Underlying Agenda?

There are, of course, the more obvious and even mundane corroborating details. Such things as the shape of the objects – generally oval, disc, or cigar-shaped – as well as the detail of a bright yellow or white light accompanying the respective objects.

Not only do these details often show up in sightings involving commercial aircraft, specifically those from the early-1990s onwards, but they often show up in details of UFO sightings from residents on the ground. Whoever, or whatever, might prove to be the controlling force behind these mysterious aircraft would appear to have an interest not only in our own terrestrial aerial vehicles but in what is taking place on the ground also.

A picture of an Air France plane taking off with a superimposed UFO over the top

Do airlines suppress UFO sightings during their journeys?

These insistent aerial visitors also often get uncomfortably close to the airliners in question during such encounters. Might this suggest a surveying of the aircraft or of those on board? Or might, remembering the possibilities and reasons we have discussed above, such close proximity encounters all be a part of the deception to distract our authorities to the true intentions of these UFOs? Intentions that we are simply ignorant of.

What’s more, as is almost always the case in such incidents, the sighting itself was surrounded by other incidents and encounters. Ones that appear random events when viewed by themselves, but due to location and timeframe, might just provide connections and patterns that would otherwise remain hidden.

An Increase In UFO Sightings Over France (And Other Parts Of Europe)?

What we might also wish to take note of is that during the weeks and months leading up to the Flight AF-3532 incident, UFO sightings over France, and albeit to a lesser degree other parts of Europe, were seemingly experiencing a brief increase in activity. And while the space and time here will not do such other sightings true justice (indeed a worldwide, multi-researcher collaboration is realistically the only way to achieve such an exhaustive collection), we should examine at least some of them.

As far back as September 1993, in Ile de Groix in France, a glowing object was reported hovering over a field. Even strange, in this particular instance, witnesses also reported seeing several “shadowy figures” moving around on the ground.

Another incident on the 5th December, this time in Arras, Pas d’Calais, “several white ovoid UFOs” were witnessed over a highway in the region. What’s more, several strange orb-like “satellites” appeared to orbit each object. Whether connected or not, exactly a week later, several similar objects were seen, also hovering over a road in Lincolnshire in England.

Before we examine some of the more intriguing incidents from France in the immediate run-up to the Flight AF3532 incidents in early January 1994, though, it is also worth drawing out attention to an encounter over Russian air space only 24 hours before the Flight AF3532 incident, when a “luminous UFO” would approach and fly “erratically” alongside a B747 airliner for several minutes.

Bizarre Cone-Shaped Incident, 4th January 1994

An intriguing incident can be found in the files of GEIPAN (the official UFO department of the French government) that took place in Fleury Sur Andelle. At just before midnight on 4th January 1994, a local resident was watching television at home.

He could, however, see clearly out of his window and noticed a strange “orange light” seemingly heading towards his property in a “to and fro” motion. This description of how the craft moved, incidentally, is a detail that shows up in many other UFO encounters.

As he moved to the window to see the object fully, he noticed it was a cone-shaped craft that appeared to be “turning on its own axis” as it approached. He would notice that several different colors appeared to emanate from the object.

A witness sketch of the incident

A witness sketch of the incident

Then, it suddenly shot off back into the distance before returning once more to right outside his property. It was around this time that the witness began to feel a sense of fear run through him, as well as the feeling that whoever, or whatever, was inside the craft, they were watching him. This made his retreat a little way back into the darkness of his room.

After several minutes, the witness would hear movement outside his property, as well as noticing several flashes. Even more bizarre, at the same time, he noticed a strange “contraction” feeling in his legs and back.

The next thing he knew, the craft was gone. He was, however, extremely disturbed by the incident. Perhaps even more chilling is the previous evening in Ecouis, an almost identical object was witnessed. And what’s more, it behaved in the exact same manner, approaching a house from a distance before hovering outside for some time.

The Humanoid Encounter In Tronville en Barrios, 4th January 1994

On the same evening in Tronville en Barrios, an entire family, who were just about to go to bed for the night, would witness a “bright light” hovering over the road which cut through the two fields which ran along each side of it.

As the four witnesses continued to watch, they noticed the lights decreasing in brightness. So much so that they could soon see a “bowl-shaped” object with a “transparent dome”. A little more unnerving, though, were the three “human-shaped” figures they could see inside the dome. They each had on a shiny uniform, and at least one of them appeared to have a head much too large for its body.

The family would alert their neighbors, who would also watch events unfold with fascination. Even more so when a door at the side of the strange object opened and one of the humanoid figures stepped out momentarily. He would appear to be examining the ground, which he did with a torch-like device for several moments.

He would then return inside the object which subsequently took off into the night sky. Following this close encounter, several other residents of the area would report a glowing red object overhead.

Bizarre Luminous Objects Sighted Over Nouzonville, 9th January 1994

According to another GEIPAN report, at around 7:30 pm on 9th January 1994, only five days after the cone-shaped incident, in the Nouzonville region of France, two witnesses – a young woman and her friend – would witness and report a “luminous rectangular” object in the skies overhead.

So enthralled with the bizarre object were the witnesses they would stop their vehicle in order to view it clearer. They could see that white and red lights appeared to surround the edge of the craft but it would suddenly become lost in the clouds.

A witness sketch of a similar UFO sighting

A witness sketch of a similar UFO sighting

They would quickly get back in their car and continue on the road, all the while looking for the strange object to appear once more. When it did, the pair once more brought the car to a stop and stepped outside in order to watch.

However, this time, instead of a glowing rectangular object, she could see an oval-shaped craft, once more with an outer edge of red and white lights. Whether this is the same object or a second craft is uncertain. There are, though, many cases on record of objects changing shape, sometimes right in front of the witness’s eyes.

The pair would watch the craft until it too disappeared. They would further notice how silent it was. They would report the incident. However, no explanation was ever provided to the pair and the incident remain unresolved.

Sightings Continue Well Into 1994

There were several similar sightings around Europe over the following weeks, with reports of cigar or oblong-shaped aerial objects coming from Sweden, Italy, and England between mid to late February. What’s more, on the 6th March, once more in France, came another sighting, this time of a cylinder-shaped craft in the Ardennes.

And we should also perhaps bear in mind, once more just from a speculative point of view, there could well be other sightings from airline pilots and witnesses on the ground alike from the same period in time that have simply gone unreported. After all, Duboc himself refused to submit a written report of the incident for fear of ridicule and would wait three years before making his report. Might other airline pilots have had similar feelings and still retain such sightings in their own private memories?

And what’s more, while we won’t examine then here, given that these objects can move at a blistering pace, we should perhaps include sightings from across the globe within the same time period when looking for connections, as opposed to limiting ourselves to one specific location.

However, it was an incident that took place over a decade later in 2007, near the Channel Islands only a (relative) stone’s throw away from France that would draw comparisons to the incident, and consequently, thrust it back into the UFO spotlight once again. Not least as, aside from the location, the details of the encounter are extremely similar to those of the Flight AF3532 case.

Connections To The Alderney Incident Of 2007?

The incident of 23rd April 2007 is another we have touched in passing before but given the extremely similar details of the incident to the Flight AF3532 case, it would be bordering on irresponsible to not include a more in-depth examination here. Not least as it would suggest the same intelligence is likely behind the two incidents. Incidents, remember, that are 13 years apart.

What is perhaps also interesting to note, is that in the weeks leading up to the incident with the small aircraft near Alderney, were reports and sightings of “strange lights” in the same region.

A small plane in the daytime sky

It isn’t just commercial airliners that witness such objects

On the afternoon in question, at around 2 pm, much like Flight AF3532 in perfect flying weather conditions, a small civilian airliner for Aurigny Air Travel left the runway at Southampton on its way tho the island of Alderney. It was a flight that was expected to take 45 minutes, much as it had for the eight years the pilot, Ray Bowyer, had been flying the route.

They were soon at an altitude of around 4,000 feet, and with the plane on autopilot, Bowyer was filling out the necessary paperwork. As he did so, however, he noticed a strange bright yellow glow up ahead. Thinking at first it might be the reflection of the sun playing tricks with his sight, he continued to watch the bizarre glow.

When he began to make out a very visible and distinctive shape within the glow, however, he realized he was viewing a solid object.

A Second Object Is Visible (Although Only One On Radar!)

He would report that the object was oval-shaped, relatively thin, and with very definite points at each end. What’s more, within the “brilliant yellow” of the craft was a dark band that went right the way around it.

Bowyer would contact the control tower to exclude the possibility of another aircraft in the same airspace. There was, as was expected, no other aircraft planned to be in the same region of the sky as Bowyer’s flight. The radar operator, however, would claim to have received a slight return on the radar, suggesting that something anomalous did indeed appear to be in Bowyer’s airspace.

It was as he was focusing on the object that a passenger in the aircraft spotted a second, identical craft just behind the first one. They would immediately point this out to Bowyer who quickly confirmed he too could see the second craft.

A depiction of two yellow, cigar shaped UFOs

Might these sightings one day result in a midair crash?

The closer he got to the two strange objects, the more he could see they were the shape of a “flattened disc”. What’s more, they had a “dark area to their right” and light appeared to “emanate from within” the crafts themselves.

Around this time, the radar tower received word from another pilot in the area. However, he could, like the radar operator, only see one strange object.

Why could Bowyer see two? Was it merely his closer proximity to them? Or might it, like we speculated in our main account above, suggest some kind of projection technology?

They Are “Not From Around Here!”

Bowyer continued onwards, watching the two strange crafts as he did so and consequently taking himself off course for his descent.

As he did so, the two crafts appeared to stack themselves, with one on top of the other. As they did so, Bowyer noticed an area in the middle of the crafts that appeared to “pulsate”. And what’s more, several colorful sparks appeared to fly out of this area.

It is perhaps this that raised concerns for his and his passengers’ safety that prompted Bowyer to finally begin his descent. By the time he was approaching the runway, the objects were no longer visible, hidden as they were behind the haze and cloud of the day.

This in itself is perhaps an interesting thing to think about. How often, even on a partly cloudy day might strange, otherworldly objects be hovering over us? And even then, how many equally otherworldly objects might do so that we just can not see?

For his part in the incident, Bowyer would state that he “was glad to get on the ground” following the incident. Perhaps of more intrigue, though, while he would stop short of saying the crafts were of extraterrestrial origin, he would state that they were “not from around here”.

The short video below features Bowyer speaking of the incident a little more.

A Wealth Of Possibilities To Consider!

Although the Flight AF3532 incident took place over land, the route the plane was taking would have taken it over the water. And as we mention on a weekly basis, large bodies of water (including, of course, seas and oceans) are intriguingly intertwined with UFO sightings. Might this be a connection between the AF3532 case and the more recent sighting near Alderney worth exploring?

Might the same intelligence that was behind the Flight AF3532 incident also be behind the craft witnessed by Bowyer over a decade later? If so, for what purpose are these seemingly advanced and futuristic objects appearing?

Maybe we should also consider the idea of portals and gateways being a mode of transport for these aerial anomalies? Might the conditions below – be it over water or nuclear facilities – play a part in where these strange crafts materialize (and once more we should remind ourselves of how Duboc claimed the object “faded” away). Did he, in fact, witness such a portal or gateway?

A superimposed UFO over an aerial picture of fields

Might the military be behind these strange UFO sightings?

It is also perhaps worth reminding ourselves that in more recent years, sightings of strange objects by commercial airline pilots have seemingly increased once more. Ironically, just over a decade after the Alderney incident. Might this gap in between these apparent flare-ups of high-altitude incidents by of importance?

For example, rampant speculation as it might be, might celestial positions out there in the universe play a part in what we see here on Earth? And, considering the idea of portals, might these celestial alignments and conditions also be of importance for the activation of such cosmic gateways?

Evidence Of An Explanation More Complex Than We Might Wish?

Whether there is a connection to the sighting of Captain Duboc and the other UFO sightings around France at roughly the same time remains open to debate.

Perhaps it is also worth noting that this, and many other incidents involving commercial airliners over Europe, took place in the years immediately following the much-publicized Belgian Wave. Were there more attentive eyes on the skies during this period because of such publicity.

Might the publicity of the Belgian Wave, if we subscribe to the psychic internet theory, suggest such sightings are the result of bizarre individual and group mental projections? We might remember how Duboc recalled the object “faded” away and blended within its environment. Did it become invisible or disappear?

And what should we make of the “second” object that seemingly appeared but was only visible to certain witnesses? Is this, in a similar way to the ideas expressed above, another type of holographic projection?

It is quite possible to argue that there is one overriding truth that becomes apparent to anyone who spends a prolonged amount of time researching UFO encounters. That the more you learn, the realization really is that you know less and less concerning the true nature of such bizarre and mysterious encounters.

And what’s more, the idea that such incidents can be explained as an alien visitation from another planet might just be a little too simplistic. For it appears the connections between UFO sightings and the strangest of paranormal phenomena run in multiple directions at once.

Check out the short video below. It features Duboc speaking for several minutes on the incident over France in January 1994. It certainly makes for interesting viewing.


1 1994 Flight AF 3532, OVNI UFO, January 29th, 2008

Marcus Lowth

Marcus Lowth is a writer with a love for UFOs, aliens, and the Ancient Astronaut Theory, to the paranormal, general conspiracies, and unsolved mysteries. He has been writing and researching with over 20 years of experience.

Marcus has been Editor-in-Chief for several years due to his excellent knowledge in these fields. Marcus also regularly appears as an expert on radio talk shows including Troubled Minds and Unexplained Radio discussing these topics.

Read Marcus' full bio.

You can contact Marcus via email.

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