Kurt Russell Claims to be the Pilot Who Reported the Phoenix Lights

The actor and pilot described the encounter in a recent interview with the BBC.

Back in April, Kurt Russell and Chris Pratt appeared on the BBC's The One Show to promote Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, which isn't a big deal two months later, because they did plenty of interviews. But this particular interview featured an incredibly interesting anecdote that only recently caused people to do a double-take, because Russell admitted that he was the "unidentified pilot" who reported the phenomenon known as the Phoenix Lights on March 13, 1997.

As BBC’s Gyles Brandreth explained, the pilot was flying near the airport with his son “when he spotted six lights in the night sky.” The pilot called air traffic control to report the lights because he “wasn’t expecting any other planes,” and he needed clarification. He was told there were no other planes, but the pilot insisted, “I’m seeing six bright lights coming toward me.”

And then Russell dropped the bombshell that hilariously blew Pratt’s mind, and while it first feels like it’s made up, with the way Russell nonchalantly stated his tail number, he certainly told and sold the story well enough to make a believer out of the most devout skeptic.

“I was flying [Oliver, his son] to go see his girlfriend, and we’re on approach and I saw six lights over the airport, absolute uniform in a V-shape,” he recalled. “I’m just looking at them, we’re maybe half a mile out, and Oliver says, ‘Pa, what are those lights?’ Then I came out of my reverie and I said, ‘I don’t know what they are.’”

Russell said he called to report it and was told there was nothing else in the sky. He landed and went back to L.A. and “never said a word about it” until two years later when his wife, Goldie Hawn, was watching a TV special about UFOs. That’s when he realized that he was the pilot they were talking about in the special, and he even went back to his logbooks to confirm it. “Had I not seen that show,” he concluded, “I would have never thought of it again.”