An Alien Expert in the Algarve

After videos taken by multiple Navy pilots recording strange objects with “no visible engine” flying up to 30,000 feet and then going hypersonic speeds were leaked in 2019, the Pentagon was eventually forced to confirm their authenticity. In a long-awaited report on UFOs released a few months ago, the US government admitted that there is simply no good explanation for these unidentified aerial phenomena (UAPs). 

Retired F-16 Air Force fighter pilot, author and YouTuber Chris Lehto heard about the military pilots’ involvement and decided to investigate. A devout atheist and avid believer in scientific processes, the evidence that emerged made Lehto question both his own beliefs and the laws of physics.

“I never believed in UFOs, and certainly not in aliens,” he says emphatically. “But these videos were filmed by pilots using technology that I’m familiar with and they are undeniably real.” As Lehto began to examine the current footage, as well as the long history of reports by military pilots involving alien sightings and unexplained objects, he was amazed by the consistency of the descriptions and the similarities of the objects’ shapes across decades and around the world. Intent on finding the truth, Lehto found more and more evidence that these unexplained objects seen by multiple pilots and using multiple radars at the same time are simply not of this world. 

According to the former US Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe, the objects exhibit “movements that are hard to replicate, that we don’t have the technology for or are travelling at speeds that exceed the sound barrier without a sonic boom.” 

Already a YouTuber covering various topics of personal interest — from investing in NFTs to Cryptopunk trends to surfing in Portugal– Lehto decided to speak out about his opinions of the controversial UAP sightings. Far from a typical Top Gun pilot, Lehto is a progressive mixture of blonde Tom Cruise and James Dean rebel. After 20 years of military service, he retired to Lagos for the great weather, good healthcare, excellent education and welcoming expat community.  

“I’m a jack of all trades and a master of none,” Lehto says. This may explain his long list of accomplishments, including two published books entitled Stay on Target and Military Millionaire

Lehto was born in a snail-shaped adobe house in New Mexico. His hippie parents managed to avoid the Vietnam draft in the West and made a living selling art and leather. When he turned two, they moved to Houston. There they shifted from hippie artists to computer software sales and business start-ups. From an early age, Lehto felt trapped and suffocated by the upper-class, privileged, fundamentally religious society surrounding him in Texas. A good student and accomplished athlete with the typical teenage dreams of becoming a rock star, Lehto had another side. He secretly smoked pot and snuck out to play video games a mile away at the local Dairy Queen. 

“I was a high functioning stoner,” he jokes with an impish smile. “I was also a devout atheist and I wanted out of white suburbia.”

Yet he never imagined his ticket out would involve a drug-free academy education, pilot training and 20 years without marijuana. After a good friend suggested the Air Force Academy, Lehto sent his application on a lark.

“I had good grades and I was a good athlete, but I didn’t think I’d be one of the 1,000 they chose out of 1,000,000 applications. It kind of blew my mind.” 

In 1996, Lehto accepted the challenge and left for Colorado Springs, gave up smoking marijuana cold turkey and threw himself into a chemistry degree. “I like learning new things and I was good at chemistry, but ultimately I realised I couldn’t be a scientist because it’s too boring,” he says. Although the hazing was incredibly difficult, Lehto explains that his natural inclination to push back kept him from walking away. When senior officers taunted him to leave and pushed him to quit, his determination only increased. 

By the time he graduated — and only 640 of the 1,000 did – Lehto was mentally stronger and capable of handling far more than he ever imagined. In yet another whimsical come-what-may move, he applied for pilot training. “I wasn’t driven to be a fighter pilot like a lot of my classmates. It just happened. I think because I didn’t care so much about succeeding, I was good under pressure,” he explains. “It wasn’t my lifelong dream, but I was always a talented flyer. I could make the plane do things that others couldn’t. I think it was all the video games I played,” he says with another mischievous grin.

In Phoenix, Arizona, he spent eight months learning how to fly F-16s. Fortuitously, his younger sister’s college roommate Claire was also in Arizona working as a park ranger. They started dating after Lehto coerced his sister to share Claire’s phone number. When he got orders to move to South Korea on his first exchange abroad (a location he pulled out of a hat), he proposed to Claire and she accepted.

For the next 20 years, the couple moved around the world on exchange missions, including South Korea, Alaska, Italy, Turkey and eventually Spain. “Being in the exchange program kept us out of the traditional military life that we found insufferable — especially Claire in the officers’ wives club — and it kept me from going to war and killing people, which I am completely against.”

After being arrested on the base in Alaska for driving into a gate drunk in 2012, the career possibilities shifted and so did his life. That night Lehto gave up alcohol and has never touched it again. After his last mission in Spain ended, he decided to retire.

Rather than return to the United States and become a commercial pilot like 95% of the Air Force retirees, he and Claire chose Portugal as their new home. They wanted to raise their three children with a more European outlook that focuses on education, good health, and enjoying life rather than constant work and making money. “Lagos was a good choice for us because it’s not such a consumer society, it’s got great surf, good weather, a large international community and it accepts immigrants.” 

This spring, when Lehto began speaking out about his views on the military videos and pentagon reports, his YouTube channel started to garner followers. Ever since then, his channel has been growing rapidly and is now over 6,000 subscribers. “I was a complete atheist and I didn’t believe in anything supernatural that science couldn’t prove, but these unidentified phenomena are doing some inexplicable things that break our laws of physics and there is simply no explanation. Too many pilots have reported the same thing and too many instances have been recorded.”

Over the last 12 years, the Pentagon files recorded 144 incidents of which only one of them could be identified: a weather balloon. The rest, no one can explain. Of the 143 inexplicable sightings, 18 of them have videos doing amazing manoeuvres that are impossible in our world — simply appearing in the sky at 3,000 meters and then reappearing instantly at three meters above the sea, for example. In 11 different instances recorded by the Pentagon, pilots had to change course to avoid running into these strange objects but often could not see them with the naked eye. Most of the data is recorded by radar systems owned and controlled solely by the military and the government. 

When seen, the objects are often described as round spirals of light or black boxes surrounded by spheres of white light. Many were recorded by multiple radar devices at the same time and in two separate cases, large groups of these strange objects followed carrier ships — one off the coast of California and the other leaving the east coast on its way to Iraq. 

“A lot of people are keeping quiet about this because they don’t want to be seen as crazy, but this footage is real. This is happening and no one has any explanation. The government knows about it, but they are trying to keep it quiet.”

Lehto’s goal is to find the truth and bring the knowledge into the public domain. Although he is sometimes attacked and harassed, his determination is unwavering. “I am afraid of the consequences of being truthful, but as long as it won’t kill me, I’ll keep going.”

Emphatic about the importance of this, he vows to find out what these objects are and where they are coming from. “I will find out what these are and when I do, I am going to make sure that information is available to everyone. The public deserves to know the truth — no matter what it is.”

Chris’s Channel on YouTube

Gimal video (pilot documenting strange object):


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