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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 11

Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Nov 1997 23:04:47 -0500
Fwd Date: Tue, 11 Nov 1997 04:09:52 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony


>Date: Sun, 09 Nov 1997 18:56:23 -0600
>From: Michael Christol <mchristo@mindspring.com>
>Subject: Re: UFO UpDate: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

Michael wrote:

>>From: "Scott Reed" <sreed@zoomnet.net>
>>Subject: kenneth arnold's testimony
>>Date: Thu, 6 Nov 1997 21:26:43 -0500

>Hi Scott.

>Yes.  He did describe them as delta shaped, similar to what today we
>would describe as the B-2.

>I have an audio tape of his initial conversation with the reporters
>at the airport.


As you may be aware, with John Powell's permission I placed a copy of
the audio file on my web site, at URL:


For the record, the transcript of that interview is as follows:


The nation, every newscaster, and every newspaper across the nation
has made headlines out of it, and this afternoon we are honored,
indeed, to have here in our studio this man, Kenneth Arnold, who, we
believe, may be able to give us a first-hand account and give you the
same on what happened.

Kenneth, first of all if you'll move up here to the microphone just
a little closer, we'll ask you to just tell in your own fashion, as
you told us last night in your hotel room, and again this morning,
what you were doing there and how this entire thing started.  Go
ahead, Kenneth.


Well, about 2:15 I took off from Chehalis, Washington, en route to
Yakima, and, of course, every time that any of us fly over the country
near Mt. Rainier, we spend an hour or two in search of the Marine
plane that's never been found that they believe is in the snow
someplace southwest of that particular area.  That area is located at
about, it's elevation is about 10,000 foot, and I had made one sweep
in close to Mt. Rainier and down one of the canyons and was dragging
it for any types of objects that might prove to be the Marine ship,
uh, and as I come out of the canyon there, was about 15 minutes, I was
approximately 25 to 28 miles from Mt. Rainier, I climbed back up to
9200 feet and I noticed to the left of me a chain which looked to me
like the tail of a Chinese kite, kind of weaving and going at a
terrific speed across the face of Mt. Rainier.  I, at first, thought
they were geese because it flew like geese, but it was going so fast
that I immediately changed my mind and decided it was a bunch of new
jet planes in formation.

Well, as the plane come to the edge of Mt. Rainier flying at about 160
degrees south, I thought I would clock them because it was such a
clear day, and I didn't know where their destination was, but due to
the fact that I had Mt. Saint Helens and Mt. Adams to clock them by,
I just thought I'd see just how fast they were going, since among
pilots we argue about speed so much.  And, they seemed to flip and
flash in the sun, just like a mirror, and, in fact, I happened to be
in an angle from the sun that seemed to hit the tops of these peculiar
looking things in such a way that it almost blinded you when you
looked at them through your plexiglass windshield.

Well, uh, I uh, it was about one minute to three when I started
clocking them on my sweep second hand clock, and as I kept looking at
them, I kept looking for their tails, and they didn't have any tail.
I thought, well, maybe something's wrong with my eyes and I turned the
plane around and opened the window, and looked out the window, and
sure enough, I couldn't find any tails on 'em.  And, uh, the whole,
our observation of these particular ships, didn't last more than about
two and a half minutes and I could see them only plainly when they
seemed to tip their wing, or whatever it was, and the sun flashed on
them. They looked something like a pie plate that was cut in half with
a sort of a convex triangle in the rear. Now, I thought, well, that
maybe they're jet planes with just the tails painted green or brown
or something, and I didn't think too much of it, but kept on watching

They didn't fly in a conventional formation that's taught in our army,
they seemed to kind of weave in and out right above the mountaintops,
and I would say that they even went down into the canyons in several
instances, oh, probably a hundred feet, but I could see them against
the snow, of course, on Mt. Rainier and against the snow on Mt. Adams
as they were flashing, and against a high ridge that happens to lay
in between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams.  But when I observed the tail
end of the last one passing Mt. Adams, and I was at an angle near Mt.
Rainier from it, but I looked at my watch and it showed one minute and
42 seconds.  Well, I felt that was pretty fast and I didn't stop to
think what the distance was between the two mountains.  Well, I landed
at Yakima, Washington, and Al Baxter was there to greet me and he said
...[unintelligible]... and, he told me, I guess I better change my
brand, but he kind of gave me a mysterious sort of a look that maybe
I had seen something, he didn't know, and well, I just kind of forgot
it then, until I got down to Pendleton and I began looking at my map
and taking measurements on it and the best calculation I could figure
out, now even in spite of error, would be around 1200 miles an hour,
because making the distance from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Adams, in, we'll
say approximately two minutes, it's almost, well, it'd be around 25
miles per minute.

Now allowing for air, we can give them three minutes or four minutes
to make it, and they're still going more than 800 miles an hour, and
to my knowledge, there isn't anything that I've read about, outside
of some of the German rockets, that would go that fast.  These were
flying in more or less a level, constant altitude.  They weren't going
up and they weren't going down. They were just simply flying straight
and level and I, I laughed ...[unintelligible]..., they sure must have
had a tailwind. But it didn't seem to help me much.  But to the best
of my knowledge, and the best of my description, that is what I
actually saw, and, uh, like I told the Associated Press, I'll, I'd be
glad to confirm it with my hands on a Bible because I did see it, and
whether it has anything to do with our army or our intelligence or
whether it has to do with some foreign country, I don't know. But I
did see it and I did clock it and I just happened to be in a beautiful
position to do it and it's just as much a mystery to me as it is to
everyone else who's been calling me the last 24 hours, wondering what
it was.


Well, Kenneth, thank you very much.  I know that you've certainly been
busy these last 24 hours, 'cause I've spent some of the time with you
myself, and I know that the press associations, both Associated Press
and our press, the United Press, has been right after you every
minute.  The Associated and the United Press, all over the nation,
have been after this story.  It's been on every newscast, over the
air, and in every newspaper I know of.  The United Press in Portland
has made several telephone calls here at Pendleton to me, and to you
this morning, and from New York I understand, they are after this
story, and that we may have an answer ...[unintelligible]... because,
if it is some new type of army or navy secret missile, there would
probably a story come out on it from the army or navy asking, saying
that it is a new secret plane and that will be all there is to it, and
they will hush up the story, or perhaps that we will finally get a
definite answer to it.

I understand the United Press is checking on it out of New York now
with the Army, and also with the Navy, and we hope to have some
concrete answer before nightfall.  We certainly want to thank you,
Kenneth for coming into our studio.  We feel very pleased that this
news which is making nationwide news across the country, we are able
to give our listeners over KWRC a first-hand report direct from you,
of what you saw.  And we urge our listeners to keep tuned to this
station, because anytime this afternoon or this evening, and we get
something on it on our United Press teletype, which is in direct
communications with new York, Chicago, Portland, in fact, every United
Press bureau across the nation, why, we'll have it on the air".

As a general contribution to discussions -

It's an important interview in many respects and not having seen this
for a while, but having just re-read 'Resolving Arnold - Parts 1 & 2',
by Martin Kottmeyer, I note Arnold's comments, "I, at first, thought
they were geese because it flew like geese, but it was going so fast
that I immediately changed my mind and decided it was a bunch of new
jet planes in formation".

Kottmeyer writes:

"Returning to Arnold's report: 'They flew like many times I have
observed geese to fly in a rather diagonal chain-like line as if they
were linked together'. That is what they certainly seem like. Geese
do fly in chains. A number of nine makes sense. The arrangement of the
leader being higher than the others, unlike military formations, is
sensible for geese who take advantage of the downdraft turbulence of
others in the formation for easier flying. Geese chains do undulate
like kite tails. They do present a basically flat side profile when
seen edge-on.

From above they have a bilateral symmetry like the heel drawn by
Arnold. In his Congress paper he however emphatically denies this
idea, '-- but they were not geese!'

He does not explain the reasoning".

I wonder if Kottmeyer has ever seen this interview and realises that
Arnold appears to dismiss the explanation based on his estimation of
the objects' speed. If Arnold's air-speed calculations were wrong,
which is of course conceivable and at best they were subjective, there
are key aspects of Arnold's descriptions which otherwise correlate.

However, Kottmeyer also notes that 9200 feet is a rather high altitude
for geese to be flying and is doubtful whether an experienced pilot
such as Arnold would misidentify a flock of geese.

Perhaps the most important point is Arnold's initial confirmation
that the objects, "looked something like a pie plate that was cut in
half with a sort of a convex triangle in the rear".

Kottmeyer's articles can be read at the following URL's:


In the second part, he helpfully reproduces Arnold's original drawing
for the Air Force files.

This matches what Arnold describes in the interview.

Some years later, Arnold's story featured in "The Coming of the
Saucers", by Ray Palmer (and Arnold?) and although I haven't seen
this, I understand it includes a photograph of Arnold showing a sketch
of a boomerang-shaped object, with the caption, "This is a photo of
a model of the strange disk Arnold saw over the Cascades, June 1947".

This differs significantly from Arnold's original drawing and a copy
of the photograph, along with some further material on the case, can
be found on my web site at the above mentioned URL.

That material includes "The Complete Sighting Report of Kenneth
Arnold, with Comments and Analysis", by Bruce Maccabee, available
on-line with Bruce's permission.

So, why the considerable discrepancy between Arnold's sketches?

I have never seen this explained.

A further article on the Arnold case is "The Mystery of the Ken Arnold
Story", by Kathleen Andersen and this is also on-line at URL:


Kathleen claims that, "Arnold left out one important bit of data: one
of the 9 craft was different from the rest. He thought it would
diminish the story".

Perhaps Kathleen is the best person to ask and I'll do so if
necessary, but is there known evidence to substantiate this?

Whatever the reasons for the disconcerting anomalies in Arnold's
sketches, the public's perception was based not on any descriptions,
but as we know only too well, by a misconstrued comment he made about
the objects' flight characteristics, Arnold confirming in 'The Coming
of the Saucers':

"As I put it to newsmen in Pendleton, Oregon, they flew like a saucer
would if you skipped it across the water".

So far as I know, it was a reporter named Bill Begrette who first
described that Arnold had seen "flying saucers".

And the rest, as they say, is misery. ;)

Incidentally, on Kottmeyer's belief that 9200 feet is an unlikely
altitude for geese to be flying, perhaps worth considering, for ease
of reference, the information at URL:


which states:

"An Eagle may rise at least to the height of 17,000 feet, for it is
there just visible. Flocks of Storks and Geese may mount still

And that "AIP bird hazards" at URL:


[this URL has wrapped around]

shows the "spring migration route" for geese indicates a hazard "UP
TO 12,000 FEET".

It may not therefore be so unlikely that a flock of geese is the
explanation for Arnold's sighting.

Maybe it wasn't, but if we can't trust the variance in the evidence,
how can we trust his overall judgement?

Kottmeyer and Andersen also note this wasn't to prove the last time
Kenneth Arnold saw a flock of 'UFOs'.

E-mail: pulsar@compuserve.com

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