As a student pilot in late 2001, I was flying the pattern at Ledgedale airpark while my CFI (Instructor) was on the ground observing. While half way on the downwind leg at pattern elevation (1,000 ft agl), I noticed a small grey round object at my 12:00 O'clock that was keeping pace with my Piper at about 50 yards away. I veered slightly to the right to avoid any contact, but in a matter of moments the object closed the distance and was within 20 feet at my 10 O'clock and again keeping pace with my 90 knots airspeed for about 20 to 30 seconds.
Following the encounter at close range, the object was no longer in sight. Im not sure what direction it departed as I was too busy being nervous and trying to fly the airplane. I was a bit shaken and decided it would be wise to land as soon as possible. After landing and shutting down the airplane, I immediately approached my instructor and asked if he had witnessed the object and his reply was, "no".
At first sight I was thinking it was a helium balloon, but when witnessed at 20 feet I knew it was anything but a balloon. It was dull grey metallic in appearance and had a texture to it that is difficult to describe. During the days that followed I have shared my story with a few friends and had asked the question, "can ufos be small and round? At the time of the incident I was not a sky watcher and had little knowledge of UFO encounters except to say that the comic book saucer-shaped ships are all that I knew. After much research and hundreds of other similar witnesses that have come to light in recent years I thought it was time to share my story.
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