The UFO in La Joya: the plane was not attacked, the FAP pilot claimed he wanted to be ‘abducted’ and authorities did not report the event

This object was not detected by the FAP radar. (Infobae Composition: Peruvian Military History/ Díaz Vargas)

The notion that life exists on other planets can cross people’s minds every time they observe a white dot. in the sky. Someone with a rational perspective might suggest that it is a star or an artificial satellite orbiting the Earth, ideas supported by science. However, these explanations do not always convince a sector of the population that holds the belief that the ‘blue planet’ has been visited by extraterrestrial beings, and that a white light in the starry sky could be the signal of their spacecraft.

The conception that life exists on other planets is fueled, to a certain extent, by science fiction films. These audiovisual productions can stimulate people’s imagination, but they also generate fear at the idea of ​​the unknown or the possibility of encounters with extraterrestrial beings. Despite the fear experienced by a sector of citizens, there is an interest in learning more about these issues. Throughout history, images of ‘alien remains’causing shock among Peruvians and foreigners.

If we focus on Peru, we find the case of the ‘alien mummies of Nasca’, which generated a stir worldwide in 2016 due to the unique characteristics of their bodies. After the dissemination of the first snapshots of the mummified remains, people of various nationalities began to weave conspiracy theories about their origin.

The conception that life exists on other planets is fueled, to a certain extent, by science fiction films. (TikTok)

Although some believed they were extraterrestrials, the scientific community questioned claims in pseudoscientific circles suggesting they were ‘aliens’. The mummies’ three fingers on each hand, elongated skulls and narrow torsos led some people to think they were otherworldly beings.

However, the World Committee on Mummy Studies, one of the most important organizations in the study of mummies, rejected the idea that these mummified remains had an alien origin. For their part, anthropologists and archaeologists agree that part of these mummies are modified pre-Columbian human bodies.

This is not the only case that many people comment on. In 1980, a pilot from the Air Force from Peru (FAP) sighted an unidentified flying object (UFO) in the Peruvian skies. What happened to the man on the morning of April 11 at the La Joya air base, located in Arequipa, was not known to people at the time. But why didn’t people find out? Was there interest in hiding information? What happened to the pilot? These and other questions will be answered in the following paragraphs full of testimonies and history.

The routine of the members of the Peruvian Armed Forces was altered when they saw a type of hot air balloon in the sky.

In 1980, Peru was still under the leadership of Francisco Morales Bermúdez, a military man who had the mandate of strengthening the country’s military capabilities, for which he allocated a significant budget to the Armed Forces. However, this mission had already been accomplished during the government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado (1968-1975), who established closer ties with the Soviet Union and acquired war material from that country.

In relation to the weapons acquired by Peru, the magazine What’s happening? of Chile reported the following: “With long-term, low-interest rate Soviet loans, Peru began its purchase orders in Moscow, acquiring 200 T-54 and T-55 tanks, sophisticated combat aircraft, heavy artillery, etc. “They would accumulate year after year in the Peruvian regiments.”

While Velasco was president, there was strong tension between Chile and Peru. One of the reasons was the proximity of the centenary of the Pacific War. This tension did not end when the general left power in 1975, as the military continued training at La Joya air base after that year.

In dialogue with History Latin America, Julio César Chamorro, commander (r) of the Peruvian Air Force (FAP), said that “La Joya is the most important member of the national defense system” and that in 1980 “there was a tension in the border with Chile.” For this reason, hundreds of soldiers were there training.

Óscar Santa María, the pilot who shot at a UFO. (Yohanan Díaz Vargas)

The routine of the members of the Peruvian Armed Forces was altered when they saw a type of hot air balloon in the sky, an object that could constitute a threat to the military. “To obtain specific information from some sites, sensors are placed on (hot air) balloons. So, the decision had to be made to destroy it because there could be no vulnerability in this base. A plane was sent to be shot down,” Chamorro said.

The flying vehicle chosen to shoot down the ‘hot air balloon’ was a Sukhoi Su-22, a fighter aircraft developed by the Soviet Union. Precisely this ship, known for being a fighter-bomber with a variable geometry wing, was driven by Óscar Santa María, who had the courage to shoot at an unknown object that could put the country’s security at risk.

“He shoots 64 30-millimeter shells at it. A bullet of this caliber passes through a steel railroad rail, a concrete wall; It can also completely destroy a war tank,” Alfonso Salazar, an expert in aeronautical technology, told History Latin America.

Despite the shots, the ship was unharmed. Another detail that draws attention is that this object was not detected by the FAP radar, an electronic system used to monitor, track and determine the position, distance and speed of objects such as aircraft, spacecraft, missiles and ground vehicles. Those who did see the ‘hot air balloon‘There were hundreds of people who were at the air base.

Referential image of the UFO that flew through the Arequipa sky. (Peruvian Military History)

On the morning of April 11, 1980, the then pilot of the Air Force from Peru He was given a mission that would change the perception he had about certain topics. His superiors had commissioned him to destroy a ‘hot air balloon’ that was actually an unidentified flying object (UFO). He realized this when he was battling with the ship for several minutes in the Peruvian sky.

“First time that something is not destroyed when hit by shells. (When) I saw that the object began to move away, I thought that I had made a hole in it, and due to the effect of the air it was moving away (…) When I was about to reach the shooting range, the object that was stopped made a sudden acceleration on the rise that left me without the ability to shoot (…)”, he told the program The Sunday of Panamericana.

For about 20 minutes he was confronted with the ship that was moving quickly and dodging the shots. At one point she made the decision to rise quickly so that she could attack from above, but the object also rose. Both were at 19,200 meters high and a distance of one thousand meters separated them. When she was about to attack again, a light went on in her cockpit which meant she didn’t have much fuel to continue operating the plane. Before descending to the base, he got a little closer to the object.

“At 100 meters, I could see the object: it was 10 meters wide by 10 meters high, a square shape but with an oval part, like a cream-colored balloon. Its base was wide and made of metal. Then, when I got closer and looked at it completely, I saw that it had no windows, wings, engines, nothing external, everything was smooth,” he told the local media.

After the plane landed, the object was still in the Peruvian sky. Despite its presence, the authorities did not send another flying war vehicle to shoot it down.

Next to Santa María is the plane that was used to confront the UFO. (Peruvian Military History)

The authorities did not report what happened on the afternoon of April 11 at the La Joya air base. But why didn’t they do it? In dialogue with researcher Yohanan Díaz Vargas, Santa María said the following: “In the control tower there is a voice recorder, it was supposedly recorded, but later they gave no order to keep it. When we already defined what was a UFOsomeone said: ‘Wow, that attracts the public, if we mention that it is a UFO, journalists, researchers, curious people will come to us and they will see precisely what we are protecting.’”

What the military did not want was for the military forces of other countries not to know about the air base or the weapons they had. Although the then pilot prepared a report, this document was not publicly accessible. “They gave the order that no one talk about the case; I made my report and everything remained silent (…) traces were erased,” said Santa María.

For 20 years, the case was not publicized, but within the Air Force members talked about this topic. It should be noted that Santa María said that his colleagues at La Joya air base were paying attention to what was happening in the sky and that there were 1,800 witnesses.

La Joya Air Base in Arequipa. (

At another point in the conversation he had with Díaz Vargas, the retired FAP pilot told details of what happened months later in his daily life. “I packed my travel bag. After lunch I went to my room and told myself: ‘If they (the aliens) come looking for me, I’ll leave; They have respected my life, we know each other. (…) For 3 months I always carried my travel case to go with them,” he said.

Santa María wanted to be abducted by the ‘aliens’, but with one purpose: to learn about their technology, to learn, and then apply his knowledge in Peru.

Finally, this fact generated commotion when it was spread, reaching the point of criticism towards the authorities for hiding the event. Aside from this, the bravery of Santa María stands out, who risked her life for her country by confronting an unidentified flying object as if it were an act of war. Having told the details of this story, Do you believe in the existence of extraterrestrials? Naturally, two answers will arise, but the idea is to establish a debate where respect and tolerance are at the forefront.

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