Talk:Disappearance of Frederick Valentich

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Added two external links, one to The Valentich Mystery by John Auchettl, and the other, perhaps more engaging, to the Frederick Valentich Accident report by --Chr.K. 02:21, 22 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Changing the "so-called" wording, since what else is it supposed to be? His completely vanishing from any societal knowledge of his whereabouts openly qualifies his disappearance as a genuine one. --Chr.K. 10:28, 28 January 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

"More mundane explanations have been put forward (that Valentich ... played a prank before committing suicide by deliberately crashing his Cessna), but none of these explanations is entirely satisfactory" - How is him playing a prank before committing suicide not a satisfactory explanation? It seems like a perfectly plausible explanation to me. A prank gone wrong or a pre-suicide prank is much more believable than the other possibilities.

If you'd bother to do any study of the material at all, you'd know that there were plenty of other sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena in the days leading up to, as well as following, 21 October 1978 in the southern Australian region, with the day of Valentich's disappearance being the most intense day of "activity"; also, if you'd check, you'd understand that an a plane like a Cessna 182 would leave behind some trace near where it had gone down, instead of all investigation, up to the degree of sounding of the seas in a 200-mile radius of his last reported location, yielding nothing. To put it another way, if it was a successful suicide attempt, then I'm sure the United States military would love to get their hands on his methods, for use of molecular disintegration of a given target. -- 10:54, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Might want to think about some 200-300-400 level physics courses, because you are really leaving it hanging way out there, making yourself an easy target. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:16, 21 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]
On further thought, I'll put up a Wikisource page giving the public-domain detailed report issued by the Australian Department of Transport, for the perusal of any and all. -- 10:56, 4 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Done. --Chr.K. 12:49, 8 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]

It seems incredibly unlikely to me that someone would feel in a "prank-ish" mood before deliberately taking their own life. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:03, 23 March 2010 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Well, it's happened before, many times. Crazed individuals have strange senses of humour. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:15, 21 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

I think we should be more careful with hyperbole. If you call someone deliberately dressing his suicide as an extraterestrial abduction "incredibly unlikely", then how would you describe something obviously much more unlikely--such as, say, an actual extraterrestrial abduction? Disguising a suicide is at most merely unusual. TheScotch (talk) 14:29, 26 June 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

1978 Sightings[edit]

I add this comment as "one who was there". In October 1978, my family and I lived in Hobart Tasmania. Indeed, in the weeks that followed the incident my father and I were two of many who saw lights over this part of Australia. I can well remember the incident and a wave of other sightings that were reported in the newspapers at the time (The Murcury). For what it is worth, when considering this incident, you should not think of what happened to Valentich in isolation. There were sightings of lights and objects over S. Australia, the Bass Strait and New Zealand (i.e. the same geographical region) during the later half of 1978 and on into 1979. Some of these were even filmed and photographed, this together with witness statements must make these sightings one of the best reported UFO flaps to have taken place. With this in mind, I think that the Valentich dissappearence is one of the most credible instances of a UFO encounter, particularly since it may have been witnessed from the ground at the same time. As to an explination- UFO equals Unidentified Flying Object i.e. something given the circumstances we cannot then explain. It does not have to mean "little green men".

Bass Strait and NZ are in "the same geographical region"? They are actually further apart than London and Athens. Moriori 06:05, 13 July 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And as such, are comparable to the UFO waves that have occasionally occurred over Europe. The region in question is Oceania in general. --Chr.K. 22:18, 5 September 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
As a complete aside, I need to thank you for being one of the most sensible commentators on the subject of unexplained aerial phenomena I've ever seen. --Chr.K. 12:05, 10 March 2006 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Australians in Victoria and Tasmania consider New Zealand to be pretty close. We have a different sense of distance to Europeans.--Senor Freebie (talk) 17:09, 14 February 2011 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Unless one has to swim it, sharks and humboldt squid and all that lot .... — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 11:18, 21 October 2020 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Is it still unexplained? Not necessarily, so it is "purportedly unexplained".[edit]

I added the word "purportedly" to the introductory sentence, i.e., "The Valentich disappearance refers to the purportedly unexplained disappearance...". It was subsequently removed by Dmol with the justification that "It's still unexplained." In fact, the article itself contains at least seven referenced explanations for the disappearance (along with a probable reappearance of the plane). At least one is by a pilot who has written widely on similar subjects. You may choose to believe none of these explanations, but that does not mean that the disappearance is "still unexplained", just that you choose not to accept any of the offered explanations. Since obviously some people do accept one or more of the explanations and some don't, the proper phrase is something like "purportedly unexplained." Insisting that it is still unexplained in the face of existing explanations is an editorial judgement. I will hold off reverting this change, but I would ask Dmol to please reconsider his decision or offer alternative phrasing. Joalkap (talk) 01:38, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Joal, which of the "exisiting explanations" you mention is/are a testable, referenced explanation, not a hypothesis or guess? Moriori (talk) 03:02, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Moriori: Historical explanations are not testable in the same way that experimental scientific hypotheses are, but if we abandon them for that reason then we abandon much of our potential understanding of history. Instead, we ask if the explanation is consistent with what facts we do have (both observables and historical documentation) and with natural law. If you have an explanation that fits those criteria, then the event is no longer unexplained. Just as in experimental science, the explanation is tentative and can be abandoned if data is discovered that does not fit the explanation.
In the mid 1800s, the Fox Sisters demonstrated many effects that they claimed were the product of spirits or dead souls. All of them can be readily explained via non-spiritual means though we cannot go back test to see if those were the techniques actually used by the sisters. Later the sisters admitted that their spirit manifestations were hoaxes. Still later they recanted. Nonetheless historians properly do not insist that the Fox Sisters manifestations are “unexplained”, because there are indeed perfectly reasonable explanations that meet the criteria I offered above.
We cannot go back and test the non-spiritual explanations for the Fox Sisters’ phenomena because we cannot precisely know and thus recreate the exact environment. That does not and should not stop us from claiming we have explanations. For those who reject either our explanations or their sufficiency and wish to maintain that an unknown and perhaps unknowable spirit participated, we can compromise and say that that the Fox Sisters’ claims are “purportedly unexplained.” (Is there a more graceful way to phrase that? Maybe. That’s what I invited Dmol to do. )
In the case of the Valentich disappearance, the scenario presented by McCaha and Nickell, op. cit., can explain the available data in a robust manner. It may be incorrect in part or in whole, but until that is demonstrated, we have an explanation and the event is no longer unexplained. Since there are apparently people who are of the ‘’opinion’’ that none of the explanations offered in the article are sufficiently defensible and thus the incident remains unexplained, we can call the incident “purportedly unexplained.” Joalkap (talk) 18:56, 5 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No we can not. There is good reason why Valentich disappearance is listed at Unexplained disappearances, as are Amelia Earhart and Kingsford Smith. They all disappeared and we don't know what caused their disapperance.
You have it back to front. The disappearance is not purportedly unexplained. It is unexplained, because scenarios given to explain it are themselves purported. The Nickell-McGaha scenario is a possible explanation, but Wikipedia cannot say it is the explanation. It and the other proposed explanations do not prevent us from accurately describing the incident as being unexplained. Your "can explain the available data" does not equate with explains". Moriori (talk) 08:29, 7 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yea, if we don't know what happened, we don't know what happened. So, in that sense, it's definitely unexplained. But, perhaps the word "unexplained" is misleading, in that we don't know exactly what happened to Amelia Earhart, but you don't typically call her disappearance "unexplained". (In fact, I just checked, and the word "unexplained" is never used in her Wiki page.) So, my only problem with this word is that some people try to infer that "unexplained" = "abducted by aliens." But, while there are various theories about what happened (some far more plausible than others,) it's clear that we don't have a definitive answer. JoelWhy?(talk) 15:08, 7 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Moriori: Then virtually every conjuring trick performed by Houdini or Blackstone is "unexplained", even if a contemporary magician can reproduce the effect and show us how to do it. And, in fact, it might have even been "real magic", no matter what anyone says. This reduces the concept of "unexplained" to triviality. The fact is that there are explanations for the Valentich disappearance consistent with the data, one of which might even be the explanation. There are in this world enough accounts or phenomena for which we currently have no explanations. We would be wise to reserve the word "unexplained" for those.
Joel: As I have noted previously, I would welcome a more graceful phrasing of the opening sentence that remains consistent with the fact that we have explanations, even if there is disagreement as to whether any of them are "definitive". Moriori argues that Wikipedia cannot say that the Nickell-McGaha explanation is the explanation. I concur. But Wikipedia should also not assert that something is "unexplained" when multiple explanations have been offered. Perhaps the answer is simply to strike the word "unexplained" from the opening sentence and leave the disappearance for what it objectively is: a disappearance. Joalkap (talk) 03:54, 8 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
No, sorry, just because someone has speculated about what happened, that doesn't mean the event is unexplained. By that logic, nothing is ever "unexplained," so long as someone is willing to propose an explanation, no matter how unlikely or devoid of evidence the explanation may be. JoelWhy?(talk) 22:13, 11 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Joalkap, you state - "But Wikipedia should also not assert that something is "unexplained" when multiple explanations have been offered." Of course that is what we should say. The underlying fact is that this disappearance IS still unexplained. And until there is overwhelming evidence to explain that a particular event occurred, it remains unexplained.--Dmol (talk) 20:13, 8 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Oh, dear…historians take note: now for something to no longer be unexplained we require not just reasonable explanations, but something called “overwhelming evidence”. And apparently, anything without “overwhelming evidence” is unexplained, despite the existence of any number of explanations.
While it might be interesting to know what Dmol believes constitutes “overwhelming evidence” (apparently the expert analysis of a pilot and astronomer who studied the records and the discovery of an aircraft closely matching the one Valentich was flying are insufficient), whether one uses the word “unexplained” to categorize the Valentich disappearance ultimately boils down to an opinion. Dmol's seems to be that despite the existence of explanations that fit the data, the disappearance is unexplained. Mine is that once we have an explanation that fits the data, the observables, and natural law, the disappearance is by definition no longer without explanation. (One may still argue that is it not “proved”. That’s different.)
In fact, nowhere in the official reports relating to this disappearance from the Australian Department of Transport, the Australian Bureau of Air Safety Investigation, or the Australian Department of Science and the Environment is the word “unexplained“ even used. Just who decided this incident is “unexplained”? Reference please.
Since there remains disagreement as to whether the Valentich disappearance is at this time explained or unexplained, the neutral position for Wikipedia to take would be to use neither word and classify it objectively as just “a disappearance” (and, I might add, a likely reappearance). Joalkap (talk) 19:09, 10 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Joal. You say official reports do not use the word “unexplained“. They said it using different words, as the article shows with "A two-week long Department of Transport (DOT) investigation into Valentich's disappearance was unable to determine the cause", and it's referenced.
The word "unexplained" is self explanatory and can stand on its merit. As intelligent people we know that unable to determine the cause means they couldn't explain it, so "unexplained" is perfectly appropriate, and it is one word instead of five saying the same thing. Check the UFO article -- the word "unexplained" appears sixteen times in the text, without refs.
Regarding your "at this time", various theories have been given over the years claiming to explain what happened, most of them from wacksville. But one stands out, McGaha and Nickell's proposition that Valentich crashed after being distracted and disoriented. However, if the article offered that as the explanation, would you propose it be called called a "purported explanation", just as you propose the intro say the incident was a "purportedly unexplained disappearance"? Moriori (talk) 00:58, 11 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Moriori: The response to your question is exactly why I proposed that we refer to it simply as "a disappearance". Two researchers with some expertise in such investigations believe the disappearance is (to use their word) "solved". I would be more cautious and say that it has an explanation that fits the data (i.e., not unexplained). You appear to contend that it still is "unexplained". Thus there is a difference of opinion amongst those acting in good faith (I presume) as to the mature of the disappearance. The objective stance, which I believe Wikipedia endorses, would be to call it neither explained or unexplained (or purportedly unexplained or purportedly explained), but rather simply "a disappearance". That's in fact what it was. Joalkap (talk) 03:44, 16 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
I can't believe this argument is still being pushed. Despite claims to the contrary, there is still no reliable, indisputable, explanation. It is therefore still unexplained. Time to stop flogging the WP:DEADHORSE and let this rest. --Dmol (talk) 04:17, 16 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
And I cannot believe that Dmol is rejecting the neutral characterization WP:NPOV of simply calling this “a disappearance”, especially given the fact that researchers with significant expertise in studying such claims have published an explanation in which they call the incident “solved”. Characterizing the disappearance as either explained or unexplained is an opinion, and citing WP:DEADHORSE to preserve one’s disputed opinion is disingenuous. An “indisputable” explanation should not be a requirement, else much of history would have to be labelled “unexplained”. Joalkap (talk) 20:03, 16 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
An “indisputable” explanation is the only acceptable requirement for this to change. This is my last comment on the subject. If you wish to continue against consensus then that is your issue. --Dmol (talk) 20:11, 16 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
So as soon as anything is disputable by anyone it is unexplained. Nonsense. Joalkap (talk) 03:34, 17 February 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

By this logic, Jack the Ripper would be a "purportedly unidentified murder", because numerous identities have been proposed over the years, by many people who were certain the case was now solved. While I do agree that there can be a limit where an explanation is *generally* accepted, that doesn't seem to be the case here. Actually, I'd go one step further -- the most generally accepted explanation seems to be "abducted by aliens". Granted, that is because most people who are aware of this are coming at it from one end of the UFO spectrum or the other, not because it is the most logical -- but that's the point, you can convince a bunch of people of something with a loud voice, but that doesn't make it a fact. Just the possible explanation that has the most support. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:26, 30 October 2015 (UTC)Reply[reply]

For Future Good Editors[edit]

If your looking for a start point that was stable before the skeptic blitz the page... try going back to this edit.

or this older one... its

Just scroll down to see all the text... good luck you will need it.

Vufors (talk) 14:45, 5 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

  • Please note that 'good editors' are expected to comply with Wikipedia policy - which includes (per WP:NPOV policy, which is unambiguous over this point) not giving 'equal weight' to fringe theories about Valentich being abducted by extraterrestrials, and other such credulous hogwash. AndyTheGrump (talk) 14:55, 5 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
    • Wahahahahahaha! And in comes the problem. right on cue... Wahahahahahaha! Fear at work, no place for the Outlier as if the subject will go away... Wahahahahahaha! classic Dissociation & so funny as if someone can hold back thought, as I said good luck you need to deal with the above... Best Regards Vufors (talk) 02:41, 6 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
"Wahahahah!" - are you quite right in the bean, old boy?
I generally don't like to feed comments that seem trollish but... um... what? Simonm223 (talk) 02:45, 6 March 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Thanks Vufors, these are more balanced. (talk) 14:32, 9 May 2021 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Flying upside down?[edit]

In the introduction to this article there is reference to a 'speculation' by officials that he could have been flying upside down and seeing his lights reflected or ground lights. There were many speculations by DOT, why pick this particular discredited one? I should be removed and does not belong in the introduction.

Why is this speculation in there when it has been shown to be untrue? For example, according to one of the documents amongst the set of documents on the matter released by DOT, the head of the Transport Department took the possibility of a UFO encounter seriously. [1] This thus was one of their speculations, just as the flying upside down theory was.

The recent contributors to this article removed the DOT ufo speculation, but left this 'flying upside down' one in. This is Bias, because both speculations originate from a primary source, no matter what us editors 'believe'. Why not leave the DOT drug smuggling theory in or the DOT suicide one in? After investigation these have been found to be equally and unlikely as the 'flying upside down seeing reflections or ground lights' theory.

Flying upside down has been shown to be impossible in this plane as the plane would have ceased to function (gravity fuel feed). He was traveling at 1372 meters elevation (4500 feet) and to overcome gravity's acceleration he would need to be going faster than 9.8 meters per second towards the Earth. The time from when he first reported the lights to the time when he removed his finger from the microphone button was exactly 6.5 minutes.

To just match Earth gravity acceleration for 6.5 minutes he needed 3822 meters, yet he only had 1372 meters. Matching the Earths pull would have immersed the plane a zero G effect, and the fuel would not flow in this instance.

To pull one positive G while inverted (One G is needed for the fuel to flow optimally) accelerating downwards at twice the rate of gravity, he would have needed 7644 meters. Clearly this is not what happened. Some kind of barrel roll, maybe, but even in a barrel roll he could not have been descending faster than 211 meters per minute overall, so this barrel roll would have needed to be extreme as he would have been flying almost horizontally while spiraling in the barrel roll. The question is, can a horizontal barrel roll produce a 2G effect? Or maybe only 1.5 G was needed for the fuel to continue flowing.

The planes 'rough idling' started at about the 5.5 minute point into the Valentich's radio conversation, so he must have had fuel up until near then. Therefore the flying upside own theory, as opposed to the barrel roll theory, needs to be removed as it is a scientifically impossible to have happened. (talk) 04:36, 8 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]


  1. ^ Kemp, Miles (6 July 2012). "'Truth' was out there after all". The Advertiser
This article, like all Wikipedia articles, is based on published sources, rather than original research by contributors. So unless you can provide a credible source for that, it is of no relevance to article content. AndyTheGrump (talk) 05:15, 8 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Also, claims and interpretations of government statements made by ufologists like this guy don't receive much, if any, weight compared to statements made directly by government officials. - LuckyLouie (talk) 12:36, 8 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Putting aside my solid reasoning above, the DoT report puts forward a number of speculated theories which just include the flying upside down one. Why have you cherry picked the Flying upside down theory for the intro to this article and omitted the others? It is mentioned below a 2nd time anyway. Have either of you got a copy of the DOT report and read it? (talk) 16:08, 18 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Our article does not state that the DOT report put forward the theory that Valentich was flying upside down. It says that some DoT officials speculated that he was - which is what the source cited says. AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:29, 18 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
(edit conflict) The DOT official's speculation about flying upside down is attributed to DOT sources and cited to an AP article [1] which doesn't mention any other theories or speculation by the DOT. To comb though a primary source like the DOT report and extract the detail we think is pertinent would be original research. We leave such analysis to reliable secondary sources. - LuckyLouie (talk) 16:33, 18 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Yup - and in any case, the DoT report simply states that "The reason for the disappearance of the aircraft has not been determined". AndyTheGrump (talk) 16:45, 18 September 2014 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Coordinate error[edit]


The following coordinate fixes are needed for

2409:4055:682:904F:E307:9EB5:E5F:1FB1 (talk) 04:25, 29 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]

Since you haven't explained what you think is wrong with the coordinates or what you think that they should be, I can't act on this report with any degree of confidence. The sources cited in the article (those that are online, at least) give no indication of where exactly this incident took place. I've nevertheless changed the coordinates to avoid a false appearance of precision and to indicate an area over the strait nearer King Island rather than one on Cape Otway, which seems more consistent with the sources. If you had provided some sort of explanation of your error report, I or someone else may have been able to address the matter in a better fashion. Deor (talk) 14:53, 29 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]
Are the coordinates supposed to represent his last known location, or the spot where he went down, or just some arbitrary point near where he was supposed to be? We need a source, per WP:V, that specifies what the given coordinate represents. Anything else is WP:OR- LuckyLouie (talk) 18:00, 29 August 2018 (UTC)Reply[reply]