My experience with the Phoenix Lights March 13, 1997

Ahwatukee, Arizona - Approximate path of the lights shown in red © R. Hawkins 2008 - 2012

Copyright © R. Hawkins 2008 – 2012.
All rights reserved.

What We Observed

The map at right, shows the area where my husband and I witnessed the Lights in a Perfect “V” shaped formation, travel the night sky on March 13th, 1997.

This particular night, we left the house at almost exactly 8:30 PM.  I’m certain of the time, because we had just finished watching the Jerry Seinfeld comedy which began at 8:00, and we left immediately thereafter for my daughter’s home, several blocks away. We drove Northwest on 43rd Place towards South Mountain Park, which was very near to our home.  About one block from home  my husband noticed an unusual  formation of lights, just coming into view from above South Mountain directly in front of us.

He pulled over the curb, and got out to observe, as did I. What we saw was a huge “V” shaped formation of  lights almost above us, moving silently and slowly towards the east.

We observed the lights, moving past us very slowly, they then appeared to bank over, as would an airplane, and headed in the direction of Tucson (see Map above), parallel to I-10. Our neighbors, who were out in their opened garage, ran out to observe the very same thing we are describing here. To the West in the night sky, quite visible that night, was the “Hale-Bopp Comet”.

The “V” shaped object was not only silent, appearing huge, but as we could not see the stars as it passed in front of them, it leads us to believe that it was a solid object.

The Controversy

Later on that same evening, around 10:00 PM, there were massive reports of lights in the sky, over Phoenix. This is the event which is most often incorrectly referred to by news organizations and in numerous UFO documentaries, as a UFO sighting.

The 10:00 event is a completely separate from and has nothing to do with my 8:30 observation of a UFO over Ahwatukee, Arizona and South Mountain, as well as the observation of others across the state of Arizona.

The lights associated with the event I described above, were sighted by witnesses over a number of hours, all the way from Northern Arizona and as far south as Tucson before finally disappearing. It’s trajectory was tracked and a timeline was constructed based upon the observations of these witnesses. This event took place before the much publicized and well photographed subsequent event, (known as the Phoenix Lights) at approximately 10:00 PM.  It has since been proven, in my opinion, by the Discovery Channel to have been flares dropped by the Maryland National Guard over the Estrella Mountains, from Luke Air Force Base.

We feel it is a very important distinction that has been overlooked by most all historians, even the History Channel and Discovery Channel seem to have forgotten there were two separate events which took place that evening. One as we described above, and another at approximately 10:00 PM. Over time they have been merged somehow into one event known simply as The Phoenix Lights. This is a gross misrepresentation and confusion over what actually occurred, which may actually be by design. It think it is worthwhile to point out that there have been no reports or photographs of flares dropped by anyone before or after the night of March 13, 1997.

Until these two events are separated and examined individually as they should be, the UFO skeptics and debunkers can dismiss this as one easily explainable sighting.



  1. Take a closer look at the footage they show in the TV productions. It was altered to make the case for flares!

    The original footage has one lone light that is separate from the big boomerang array. This separate light is on the RIGHT side of a foreground tree on the videographer’s property in the original footage. On closer inspection, during ‘their analysis’ on the TV show, you will see that the lone light is either on the LEFT side of that tree, or absent all together.

    There was a local FOX TV report that illustrated clearly that the true footage was in FRONT of South Mountain, over Phoenix, NOT disappearing behind the mountain, as the show would have us believe – over and over again. The footage in the national TV program was blatantly altered to make the case for flares. Look at it. Whatever the real footage was, it was NOT flares.


  2. while my coworker and I were driving back home from work we saw lights similar to these.

    I can’t remember the exact date but I’m pretty sure it was mid Oct 2007. We were getting on the 51 North from the 10 east between 5:30 and 6:30pm (again I wish I could be more specific).

    The lights looked to be in a straight line and there were 5-7 of them. The were lined up from east to west. The seemed stationary.

    I spotted them and pointed them out to my coworker and we watched them for as long as we could (we were driving).

    I completely forgot about the entire thing until tonight when I saw on the news about the incident in 1997 and the governors opinion.

    I’ve tried searching to see if anyone else saw these in October but have turned up nothing.


  3. What I find interesting is how in one TV broadcast many in the audience laughed out loud when Dennis Kucinich said he saw a UFO. He had to stop them and explain that UFO simply means ‘unidentified flying object.’ Jimmy Carter said the same thing… that he saw a UFO but didn’t know what it was. That’s what UFO means!


  4. I seen this very same formation in Mountain Home, Idaho in 2003. It was very near the Air Force Base there, silent, non moving, hovering just north of the airforce base. I was so baffled, that I stopped at the gate, and asked the military personel what do they suppose it is… They seemed clueless, was it flares? Who knows, I can tell you for certain, it hovered in place longer than an hour… Very strange… My guess, is that they aren’t unknown to everyone… Someone somewhere can identify what these are, whether flares, sundogs, crafts, or new inventions of our military. They can’t be unidentified by all, when they are so close to a military base….


  5. You people are idiots. It’s either military flares or balloons with flares tied together by fishing wire…as happened recently. You, of course, wouldn’t be able to see the stars behind any bright lights in the sky…for the same reason that you can’t see stars in the city.


  6. Funny enough I was just in Phoenix today being interviewed for the UFO Hunters show on the History Channel (I live in the Dallas area now)

    I also lived in Ahwatukee at the time and had been filming the lights since the evening of March 10 (each evening).

    This Wednesday the show is flying witnesses to the desert in California for a flare drop of the same types of flares the government claimed to drop that evening. I will be using the same video camera I used March 10, 11, 12 and 13, 1997 to film these flares to see if they anything like the lights I caught on camera which were featured on the Discovery Channel and many other shows. If you go to my Website it loads with a flash movie of what was shot from the balcony of my home at 10:00 pm on March 13.

    I also filmed the lights from 8:30 to 9:30 that night. My sense is that there were lights all over the sky in Arizona that night..this was not an either/or situation with the triangle or the lineup with the offset light.

    Look for the UFO Hunters episode on the History Channel in October. I look forward to seeing the flares and hope that this story continues to evolve towards the truth. It is sad that the governer felt pressured to malign the sighting with both the alien press conference and staged flare drop for the news media to eat up. I feel his recent disclosure of being a witness speaks to either some misplaced responsibility to help reduce public panic or more likely following orders to make the sighting go away.


    • My husband and I were driving downtown as we looked up and seen this huge ship above hovering over the buildings. March 13 1997. My daughter was born the end of December. Can’t seem to find any related stories. Angelleo72371@yahoo


  7. I saw these in Mtn. Home as well. I was visiting family and was out near Rattlesnake Station when a silent, v-shaped formation of lights seemed to drift overhead. The lights were big and white. The object itself was very, very big.

    I told myself that it must be something to do with the Air Force Base and dismissed it — although, really, I didn’t believe it could possibly be anything that was out at the base. A few years later I heard about the Phoenix lights and realized that whatever I saw in Mtn. Home perfectly matched the descriptions of the Phoenix lights.


  8. I was 7 and living in Chandler,AZ during the events, but did not see a thing becuase my mom would bring me in the house as soon as the sun went down. But I remeber watching it on the news and looking out my window to see if I saw anything, but didn’t. However, fast foward years later to around 2005 (I forgot the exact date). My brother and I were at a Quicktrip in Chandler,AZ pumping gas in his car like usual when I saw a bright light in the sky out of the corner of my eye for about 1/10th of a second followed by a loud “boom” in the sky. The sound was so loud that we and another man ducked down thinking it was an explosion at one of the gas pumps. There was another odd thing though. It seemed that only the man next to us, my brother , and I were the only ones who noticed it even though there were several other people there pumping gas. The others (about 4-6 people) at that gas station acted like it didn’t even happened or just ignored it. Shocked, my brother and I headed home, but it wasn’t over yet. Just when we turned into our neighorhood (about 4-5 minutes after the bright light and boom) we saw 3 huge bright white lights in the sky which formed a triangle with a very low altitude. The lights stood in the sky with out moving and were noticable because they were so bright. They were not planes, helicopters, or any recognizable aircraft because all of those things have blinking warning lights and don’t stay in one place. These lights were too bright, too low, too big, weren’t blinking, and didn’t make a sound at all. The lights lasted for about 30 seconds but disappeared right when I was about to record them on my cell phones and was never seen again. A few days later, this sighting was on the news and the same lights we saw were recorded. I think some ladies came foward to FOX news and it was stated that they were the only ones who reprted it. My brother and I have never came foward, but kept it a seceret to ourselves. I also noticed that on Wikipedia, it is listed as a UFO sighting in Chandler and it mentions the loud boom and lights. So obviously other people saw it, I still wonder what it was to this day.


  9. “flares tied together with fishing line”. Well , there you have it folks , thousands of witnesses including the governor of Arizona are idiots and john the genius solves this one.


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