The US navy pilot who filmed a UFO behaving “erratically” in the sky has spoken publicly for the first time since the sighting in 2004.

Chad Underwood recorded the oblong-shaped object, which he nicknamed the “Tic Tac”, from an infrared camera on the left wing of his F/A-18 Super Hornet.

Speaking in an interview with New York magazine, Mr Underwood said he had not spoken out since making the recording because he did not want to be associated with people who believe in “alien beings”,

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He added that he does not “want to be part of that community”.

Mr Underwood continued: “It is just what we call a UFO. I couldn’t identify it.

“It was flying. And it was an object.”

The video, along with two others recorded in 2015, were published by the To The Stars Academy of Arts & Science in December 2017 and March 2018.

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The US Navy confirmed the clips were genuine in September this year.

Radar operator Kevin Day had reported seeing odd and slow-moving objects flying in groups of five to ten off San Clemente Island, west of the San Diego coast, in the days before Mr Underwood’s 2004 sighting.

The clusters were said to have been moving at an elevation of 28,000 feet, with an approximate speed of 138 miles per hour.

This meant the objects were too high to be birds and too slow to be conventional aircraft.

Mr Day has also said the clusters were not travelling on any established flight path.

Radar operators reportedly spent around two weeks trying to figure out what the objects were.

David Fravor, commanding officer of the Black Aces fighter squadron, made visual confirmation of one of the objects mid-air during a flight training exercise.

Mr Underwood, who was flying an aircraft from the USS Nimitz carrier, made his infrared recording around an hour later.

Mr Underwood spotted the object in 2004
Image: Mr Underwood filmed the object on an infrared camera

He told New York magazine: “That day, Dave Fravor was landing at the same time I was getting my gear on, and we crossed paths just after he’d seen it.

“I really don’t want to get into what Dave saw, specifically, because I didn’t see it with my own eyeballs.

“But I told him the Princeton (guided missile cruiser)… which has got really good sophisticated radar, is reporting that there’s an object that they wanted us to see if we could find and, if we’re able, track.”

He added: “The Princeton had a specific object that they wanted us to hunt, for lack of a better word. And all of a sudden, I got this blip on my radar.”

The pilot captured what Mr Fravor had described as a 40-foot long white, oblong shape on his FLIR (forward-looking infrared camera).

Mr Underwood added the object was hovering somewhere between 15,000 and 24,000 feet in the air, while exhibiting no notable exhaust fumes from conventional propulsion sources.

The pilot said he watched his FLIR while he was within 20 miles of the object, adding he would not have been able to visually track the UFO unless he was within five miles of it like Mr Fravor was.

He continued: “The thing that stood out to me the most was how erratic it was behaving.

“And what I mean by ‘erratic’ is that its changes in altitude, air speed, and aspect were just unlike things that I’ve ever encountered before flying against other air targets.

“It was just behaving in ways that aren’t physically normal. That’s what caught my eye.

“Because, aircraft, whether they’re manned or unmanned, still have to obey the laws of physics. They have to have some source of lift, some source of propulsion.

“The Tic Tac was not doing that. It was going from like 50,000ft to, you know, 100ft in like seconds, which is not possible.”

Mr Underwood said he did eventually get to a distance where he could make visual contact with his own eyes.

The pilot has discounted theories that the sighting was a weather balloon because he believes such an object would not have behaved that way.

He also believes it is unlikely he witnessed a weather event.

He continued: “I’ll let the nerds, like, do the maths on what it is likely to be. I just happened to be person that brought back the video.”

Mr Underwood has become a father, a flight instructor and a civilian employee in the aerospace industry in the 15 years since he recorded the UFO.