It’s one of Australia’s enduring aviation mysteries.
On October 21, 1978, pilot Frederick Valentich disappeared over Bass Strait after radioing Melbourne air traffic controllers that his Cessna 182L – registered VH-DSJ – was been shadowed by something “not an aircraft” flying some 300m above him.
Plane and body were never found, which led investigators unable to determine the cause of Valentich’s presumed death.
Created by Darcy Green, Jackson Used and Elliot Vella, Delta Sierra Juliet is centred on Reginald Taylor, a Cape Otway man who took a photograph of a strange object in the sky the night Valentich disappeared. Believing it to be connected to the disappearance, Reg grows obsessed with solving the mystery and bringing the truth to light.
“Valentich’s disappearance was so fascinating and engrossing to me, simply because it actually happened,” says Green. “There are real news reports, findings, statements and paperwork surrounding the mystery. It isn’t fiction – real people are left without answers. And Valentich’s story is laced with inconsistencies, loose ends and a haunting radio transcript which asks the ultimate question: are we alone?”
Green, Used and Vella delved into a rich bank of sources to bring Delta Sierra Juliet together. “Like any true crime or non-fiction drama, our aim was to create a world in which it positions the audience as the detective – or even a potential victim.”