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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1997 > Nov > Nov 26

Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

From: bruce maccabee <brumac@compuserve.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 1997 00:19:37 -0500
Fwd Date: Wed, 26 Nov 1997 02:49:59 -0500
Subject: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony

>Date: Sun, 23 Nov 1997 23:11:25 -0500
>From: James Easton <pulsar@compuserve.com>
>Subject: UFO UpDate: Re: Kenneth Arnold's testimony
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <updates@globalserve.net>

<big snip>

>What if the "the length of the 'chain' of objects'" wasn't "about
>5 miles"?

>Your reference to "paragraph H above", relates to a statement
>which Arnold made in his letter to the USAF, in which he says:

>"I observed the chain of these objects passing another
>snow-covered ridge in between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, and as
>.the first one was passing the south crest of this ridge the last .
>object was entering the northern crest of the ridge. As I was
>flying in the direction of this particular ridge, I measured it
>and found it to be approximately five miles so I could safely
>assume that the chain of these saucer like objects were at least
>five miles long".

>This is a subjective calculation, Arnold claiming he was watching
>"saucer like objects", when he may have been observing pelicans,
>something he apparently didn't account for.

Let's see, now.  Arnold had the impression the length of the
chain was the same as the length of a 5 mile ridge at a distance
of about 5 miles. If the Superpelicans were at 3,000 ft  then the
length of the line was about (5/20) x 3000 = 750 ft. At a
distance of 3000 ft some 3 ft sized Superpelicans subtend an
angle of about 1 mr. Allowing that Arnold could resolve better
than 1 mr, he presumably could have detected wing beating
effects. However, let's assume this distance and size anyway..

Arnold started timing when the first object passed the southern
edge of Mt. Rainier. Objects, if initially at the distance of
about 20 miles, traveled the distance of about 50 miles (45 +5)
to disappear near Adams in a mere 102 seconds for a rate
calculated at about  1760 mph. In so doing, the sighting line
from Arnold to the ob jects rotated southward by about 65

      The same angle would be crossed for objects
 initially at 3000 ft distance if they were traveling at about
 1760 x 3000/(20 x 5280) = 50 mph.   Hence here is a real speed number
the Superpelicans must match.   If they were closer the speed would be
lower, but they would be more likely to be recognized as birds.
Thus, at 2000 ft they were traveling at a mere 34 mph (at about 9200 ft).

>Do you think Arnold's mention of "saucer like objects" might have
>been influenced by the "flying saucer" hysteria his story was
>responsible for?

WHOA THERE... Sounds like a circular argument here.  Which came
first, Arnold's saucer description, or the newspaper reports of
flying saucers and the subsequent "hysteria"?

>Arnold of course never having originally claimed to see "saucer
l>ike objects" at all...

>>Incidently, you should check with the bird experts to find out how
>>high the pelicans typically fly....or maximum height and speed.

>I had already asked about this and in view of the uncertainty,
>I'm looking for a more definitive answer. A copy of "All You Ever
>Wanted to Know About the American White Pelican", would be
>useful, but in the absence of that, it's a case of asking various
>people who might be able to offer an informed opinion.

>I'm quite happy to do so as time permits, although I can't help
>wondering why it's apparently taken 50 years for such obvious
>enquiries to be made.

Perhaps because people were "happy" with the previous half dozen
or more explanations and didn't feel the need for a new
"explanation." But now that the previous explanations have been
shown to be "doubtful" (doubted, would be a better word), we find
"neoArnoldskeptics" proposing birds (Kottmeyer and followers) and
meteors (Klass/Davidson) to replace mirages, clouds, haze layers,
reflections on airplane window, motes in the eye, etc.

>Maybe if this scenario had already been examined by "ufologists"
>and proven to be impossible, there might be something to laugh

Perhaps, but the skeptics slipped up on their "duty" to explore all
explanations. Instead they obeyed the First Rule of Debunking...
outlined in a previous message.... and then they went on to the
Second Rule and the Corollary.

>>If mistaken by Arnold for distant aircraft flying (apparently) nearly
>>at horizon level to him, then they would have been essentially at
>> his level.

>Not necessarily.

Oh yes, necessarily, unless you want to reject Arnold's claim that
the objects seemed to be at about his altitude (but were actually
more like 2 degrees below his local horizon).

>This is also subjective and as Arnold comments
>in that early interview, "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
l>ooked at them through your plexiglass windshield".

>It could therefore be argued that Arnold was looking down on the
>"tops of these peculiar looking things".

Yes, on the tops, but because the objects were TILTING a large
amount as they flew.   And, incidently, this strange flight
pattern of tilting was also reported by Fred Johnson near Mt.
Adams.  He said he last saw them "standing on edge" while banking
(turning ) into a cloud.

>>And, I suppose Arnold could see the white bodies but not the

>Obviously this is possible. So far as I know, he didn't have
>binoculars with him, or was blessed with telescopic vision.

Yes, but this is further reason to keep the birds far from the
plane in order to be sure Arnold wouldn't recognise them as
birds. And the farther from the plane, the faster they must go.


>The suggestion that Arnold's unidentified objects are perhaps
>consistent with the characteristics of American White Pelicans
>was not mine, and the factual correlations I took time to
>highlight, were a contribution to the investigation of this

>There are clear objections to this conceivable explanation; let's
>look at them in perspective and consider the respective merits.

>Introducing new evidence doesn't mean I'm on a mission to

Yes, let's set up all the straw men we can for knockdown. Then we
can publish all the rejected explanations.

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