Despite many seeing the very concept of UFO sightings as laughable, the past few months have ushered in a plethora of new reports of strange objects in the sky, often offered up by reputable, competent individuals with little to gain for their candor. Indeed, as a recent report released by Senator Harry Reid showed, U.S. Navy fighter pilots that were scrambled to intercept one of these strange occurrences were met upon their return by crew members prepared to debrief them while wearing tin foil hats — not unlike the response many journalists get from their audience when covering such stories.

The realization that the U.S. Defense Department had been spending millions of dollars to investigate these reports when made by military professionals prompted all the same factions of the UFO and defense communities to batten down the hatches, retreating into well-worn arguments about fraudulent payments to defense contractors (Bigelow) and complete dismissals of the topic on one side, and the frustrated chants of “the truth is out there” on the other — but increasingly, there’s been a new category of people finding an interest in the topic: those who may not buy the concept of flying saucers — but aren’t sure what the hell is going on out there.

This new category’s numbers have been bolstered by reports not only provided by first-hand accounts, but through official records released by government agencies — like this audio recording released by the FAA (and since edited to include only the UFO sighting) that captures communications between the pilot of a Piper PA-32R Saratoga flying over Long Island at the end of May.

“I have an object in front of me, I don’t know what it is,” the pilot says over the radio. The air traffic controller responds by asking if what he sees is a drone, “I don’t know if it’s a drone … It’s bigger than a drone.”