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The McDonald Report - December 1969

From: Francisco Lopez <d005734c@dc.seflin.org>
Date: Sat, 11 Jul 1998 12:53:48 -0400 (EDT)
Fwd Date: Sun, 12 Jul 1998 19:58:08 -0400
Subject: The McDonald Report - December 1969

Note from the UFOR editor: This reposted article, from the AAAS, can be of
special interest when considering Dr. Sturrock's group report on a similar

Archived in http://www.ufobbs.com/ufo



Subject       Science in Default: 22 Years of Inadequate
                 UFO Investigations

Author        James E. McDonald, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Address       The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona, 85721

Time          9:00 a.m., December 27, 1969

Place         Sheraton Plaza Ballroom

Program       General Symposium, Unidentified Flying Objects

  Address     Sheraton Plaza Hotel

                                                RELEASE TIME
                                                A.M,'s December 28

     No scientifically adequate investigation of the UFO problem has been
carried out during the entire 22 years that have now passed since the
first extensive wave of sightings of unidentified aerial objects in the
summer of 1947. Despite continued public interest, and despite frequent
expressions of public concern, only quite superficial examinations of the
steadily growing body of unexplained UFO reports from credible witnesses
have been conducted in this country or abroad. The latter point is highly
relevant, since all evidence now points to the fact that UFO sightings
exhibit similar characteristics throughout the world.

     Charging inadequacy of all past UFO investigations, I speak not only
from a background of close study of the past investigations, but also from
a background of three years of rather detailed personal research,
involving interviews with over five hundred witnesses in selected UFO
cases, chiefly in the U. S. In my opinion, the UFO problem, far from being
the nonsense problem that it has often been labeled by many scientists,
constitutes a problem of extraordinary scientific interest.

     The grave difficulty with essentially all past UFO studies has been
that they were either devoid of any substantial scientific content, or
else have lost their way amidst the relatively large noise-content that
tends to obscure the real signal in the UFO reports. The presence of a
percentually large number of reports of misidentified natural or
technological phenomena (planets, meteors, and aircraft, above all) is not
surprising, given all the circumstances surrounding the UFO problem. Yet
such understandable and usually easily recognized instances of
misidentification have all too often been seized upon as a sufficient
explanation for all UFO reports, while the residue of far more significant
reports (numbering now of order one thousand) are ignored. I believe
science is in default for having failed to mount any truly adequate
studies of this problem, a problem that has aroused such strong and
widespread public concern during the past two decades. Unfortunately, the
present climate of thinking, above all since release of the latest of a
long series of inadequate studies, namely, that conducted under the
direction of Dr. E. U. Condon at the University of Colorado, will make it
very difficult to secure any new and more thorough investigations, yet my
own examination of the problem forces me to call for just such new
studies. I am enough of a realist to sense that, unless the present AAAS
UFO Symposium succeeds in making the scientific community aware of the
seriousness of the UFO problem, little immediate response to any call for
new investigation is likely to appear.

     In fact, the over-all public and scientific response to the UFO
phenomena is itself a matter of substantial scientific interest, above all
in its social-psychological aspects. Prior to my own investigations, I
would never have imagined the wide spread reluctance to report an unusual
and seemingly inexplicable event, yet that reluctance, and the attendant
reluctance of scientists to exhibit serious interest in the phenomena in
question, are quite general. One regrettable result is the fact that the
most credible of UFO witnesses are often those most reluctant to come
forward with a report of the event they have witnessed. A second
regrettable result is that only a very small number of scientists have
taken the time and trouble to search out the nearly puzzling reports that
tend to be diluted out by the much larger number of trivial and
non-significant UFO reports. The net result is that there still exists no
general scientific recognition of the scope and nature of the UFO problem.

                              * * *

     Within the federal government official responsibility for UFO
investigations has rested with the Air Force since early 1948.
Unidentified aerial objects quite naturally fall within the area of Air
Force concern, so this assignment of responsibility was basically
reasonable, However, once it became clear (early 1949) that UFO reports
did not seem to involve advanced aircraft of some hostile foreign power,
Air Force interest subsided to relatively low levels, marked, however, by
occasional temporary resurgence of interest following large waves of UFO
reports, such as that of 1952, or 1957, or 1965.

     A most unfortunate pattern of press reporting developed by about
1953, in which the Air Force would assert that they had found no evidence
of anything "defying explanation in terms of present-day science and
technology" in their growing files of UFO reports. These statements to the
public would have done little harm had they not been coupled
systematically to press statements asserting that "the best scientific
facilities available to the U. S. Air Force" had been and were being
brought to bear on the UFO question. The assurances that substantial
scientific competence was involved in Air Force UFO investigations have, I
submit, had seriously deleterious scientific effects. Scientists who might
otherwise have done enough checking to see that a substantial scientific
puzzle lay in the UFO area were misled by these assurances into thinking
that capable scientists had already done adequate study and found nothing.
My own extensive checks have revealed so slight a total amount of
scientific competence in two decades of Air Force-supported investigations
that I can only regard the repeated asseverations of solid scientific
study of the UFO . problem as the single most serious obstacle that the
Air Force has put in the way of progress towards elucidation of the matter

     I do not believe, let me stress, that this has been part of some top-
secret coverup of extensive investigations by Air Force or security
agencies; I have found no substantial basis for accepting that theory of
why the Air Force has so long failed to respond appropriately to the many
significant and scientifically intriguing UFO reports coming from within
its own ranks. Briefly, I see grand foulup but not grand coverup. Although
numerous instances could be cited wherein Air Force spokesmen failed to
release anything like complete details of UFO reports, and although this
has had the regrettable consequence of denying scientists at large even a
dim notion of the almost incredible nature of some of the more impressive
Air Force-related UFO reports, I still feel that the most grievous fault
of 22 years of Air Force handling of the UFO problem has consisted of
their repeated public assertions that they had substantial scientific
competence on the job.

     Close examination of the level of investigation and the level of
scientific analysis involved in Project Sign (1948-9), Project Grudge
(1949- 52), and Project Bluebook (1953 to date), reveals that these were,
viewed scientifically, almost meaning less investigations. Even during
occasional periods (e.g., 1952) characterized by fairly active
investigation of UFO cases, there was still such slight scientific
expertise involved that there was never any real chance that the puzzling
phenomena encountered in the most significant UFO cases would be
elucidated. Furthermore, the panels, consultants, contractual studies,
etc., that the Air Force has had working on the UFO problem over the past
22 years have, with essentially no exception, brought almost negligible
scientific scrutiny into the picture. Illustrative examples will be given.

     The Condon Report, released in January, 1968, after about two years
of Air Force-supported study is, in my opinion, quite inadequate. The
sheer bulk of the Report, and the inclusion of much that can only be
viewed as "scientific padding", cannot conceal from anyone who studies it
closely the salient point that it represents an examination of only a tiny
fraction of the most puzzling UFO reports of the past two decades, and
that its level of scientific argumentation is wholly unsatisfactory.
Furthermore, of the roughly 90 cases that it specifically confronts, over
30 are conceded to be unexplained. With so large a fraction of unexplained
cases (out of a sample that is by no means limited only to the truly
puzzling cases, but includes an obJectionably large number of obviously
trivial cases), it is far from clear how Dr. Condon felt justified in
concluding that the study indicated "that further extensive study of UFOs
probably cannot be justified in the expectation that science will be
advanced thereby. "

      I shall cite a number of specific examples of cases from the Condon
Report which I regard as entirely inadequately investigated and reported.
One at Kirtland AFB, November 4, 1957, involved observations of a wingless
egg- shaped object that was observed hovering about a minute over the
field prior to departure at a climb rate which was described to me as
faster than that of any known jets, then or now. The principal witnesses
in this case were precisely the type of witnesses whose accounts warrant
closest attention, since they were CAA tower observers who watched the UFO
from the CAA tower with binoculars. Yet, when I located these two men in
the course of my own check of cases from the Condon Report, I found that
neither of them had even been contacted by members of the University of
Colorado project! Both men were fully satisfied that they had been viewing
a device with performance characteristics well beyond any thing in present
or foreseeable aeronautical technology. The two men gave me descriptions
that were mutually consistent and that fit closely the testimony given on
Nov. 6, 1957, when they were interrogated by an Air Force investigator.
The Condon Report attempts to explain this case as a light-aircraft that
lost its way, came into the field area, and then left. This kind of
explanation runs through the whole Condon Report, yet is wholly incapable
of explaining the details of sightings such as that of the Kirtland AFB
incident. Other illustrative instances in which the investigations
summarized in the Condon Report exhibit glaring deficiencies will be
cited. I suggest that there are enough significant unexplainable UFO
reports just within the Condon Report itself to document the need for a
greatly increased level of scientific study of UFOs.

     That a panel of the National Academy of Sciences could endorse this
study is to me disturbing. I find no evidence that the Academy panel did
any independent checking of its own; and none of that 11-man panel had any
significant prior investigative experience in this area, to my knowledge.
I believe that this sort of Academy endorsement must be criticized; it
hurts science in the long run, and I fear that this particular instance
will ultimately prove an embarrassment to the National Academy of

     The Condon Report and its Academy endorsement have exerted a highly
negative influence on clarification of the long-standing UFO problem; so
much, in fact, that it seems almost pointless to now call for new and more
extensive UFO investigations. Yet the latter are precisely what are needed
to bring out into full light of scientific inquiry a phenomenon that could
well constitute one of the greatest scientific problems of our times.

                               * * *

Some examples of UFO cases conceded to be unexplainable in the Condon
Report and containing features of particularly strong scientific interest:
Utica, N.Y., 6/23/55; Lakenheath, England, 8/13/56; Jackson, Ala.,
11/14/56; Norfolk, Va., 8/30/57; RB-47 case, 9/19/57; Beverly Mass.,
4/22/66; Donnybrook, N.D., 8/19/66; Haynesville, La., 12/30/66; Joplin,
Mo., 1/13/67; Colorado Springs, Colo., 5/13/67.

Some examples of UFO cases considered explained in the Condon Report for
which I would take strong exception to the argumentation presented and
would regard as both unexplained and of strong scientific interest:
Flagstaff, Ariz., 5/20/50; Washington, D. C., 7/19/52; Bellefontaine, O.,
8/1/52; Haneda AFB, Japan, 8/5/52; Gulf of Mexico, 12/6/52; Odessa, Wash.,
12/10/52; Continental Divide, N.M., 1/26/53; Seven Isles, Quebec, 6/29/54;
Niagara Falls, N.Y., 7/25/57; Kirtland AFB, N.M., 11/4/57; Gulf of Mexico,
11/5/57; Peru, 12/30/66; Holloman AFB, 3/2/67; Kincheloe AFB, 9/11/67;
Vandenberg AFB, 10/6/67; Milledgeville, Ga., 10/20/67.


      James E. McDonald, Institute of Atmospheric Physics
                  University of Arizona, Tucson

          (Material presented at the Symposium on UFOs,
           134th Meeting, AAAS, Boston, Dec, 27, 1969)


                        ILLUSTRATIVE CASES

      The following treats in detail the four principal UFO
cases referred to in my Symposium talk. They are presented as
specific illustrations of what I regard as serious shortcomings
of case-investigations in the Condon Report and in the 1947-69
Air Force UFO program. The four cases used as illustrations are
the following :

            1.   RB-47 case, Gulf Coast area, Sept. 19, 1957

            2.   Lakenheath RAF Station, England, August 13-14,

            3.   Haneda AFB, Japan, August 5-6, 1952

            4.   Kirtland AFB, New Mexico, Nov. 4, 1957

      My principal conclusions are that scientific inadequacies
in past years of UFO investigations by Air Force Project
Bluebook have _not_ been remedied through publication of the
Condon Report, and that there remain scientifically very
important unsolved problems with respect to UFOs. The
investigative and evaluative deficiencies illustrated in the
four cases examined in detail are paralleled by equally serious
shortcomings in many other cases in the sample of about 90 UFO
cases treated in the Condon Report. Endorsement of the
conclusions of the Condon Report by the National Academy of
Sciences appears to have been based on entirely superficial
examination of the Report and the cases treated therein. Further
study, conducted on a much more sound scientific level are


(AAAS UFO Symposium, Boston, Dec. 27, 1969.)

Case 1. USAF RB-47, Gulf Coast area, September 19-20, 1957.

Brief summary: An Air Force RB-47, equipped with ECM (Electronic
Countermeasures) gear, manned by six officers, was followed over
a total distance in excess of 600 miles and for a time period of
more than an hour, as it flew from near Gulfport, Miss., through
Louisiana and Texas, and into southern Oklahoma. The
unidentified object was, at various times, seen visually by the
cockpit crew (as an intense white or red light), followed by
ground-radar, and detected on ECM monitoring gear aboard the
RB-47. Simultaneous appearances and disappearances on all three
of those physically distinct "channels" mark this UFO case as
especially intriguing from a scientific viewpoint. The incident
is described as Case 5 in the Condon Report and is conceded to
be unexplained. The full details, however, are not presented in
that Report.

1.  Summary of the Case:

     The case is long and involved and filled with well-attested
phenomena that defy easy explanation in terms of present-day
science and technology. The RB-47 was flying out of Forbes AFB,
Topeka, on a composite mission including gunnery exercises over
the Texas-Gulf area, navigation exercises over the open Gulf,
and ECM exercises in the return trip across the south-central
U.S. This was an RB-47 carrying a six-man crew, of whom three
were electronic warfare officers manning ECM (Electronic
counter-measures) gear in the aft portion of the aircraft. One
of the extremely interesting aspects of this case is that
electromagnetic signals of distinctly radar-like character
appeared definitely to be emitted by the UFO, yet it exhibited
performance characteristics that seem to rule out categorically
its having been any conventional or secret aircraft.

     I have discussed the incident with all six officers of the crew:

     Lewis D. Chase, pilot, Spokane, Wash.
     James H. McCoid, copilot, Offutt AFB
     Thomas H. Hanley, navigator, Vandenberg AFB
     John J. Provenzano, No. 1 monitor, Wichita
     Frank B. McClure, No. 2 monitor, Offutt AFB
     Walter A. Tuchscherer, No. 3 monitor, Topeka

Chase was a Major at the time; I failed to ask for information
on 1957 ranks of the others. McClure and Hanley are currently
Majors, so might have been Captains or Lieutenants in 1957. All
were experienced men at the time. Condon Project investigators
only talked with Chase, McCoid, and McClure, I ascertained. In
my checking it proved necessary to telephone several of them
more than once to pin down key points; nevertheless the total
case is so complex that I would assume that there are still
salient points not clarified either by the Colorado
investigators or by myself. Unfortunately, there appears to be
no way, at present to locate the personnel involved in ground-
radar observations that are a very important part of the whole
case. I shall discuss that point below.

      This flight occurred in September, 1957, just prior to the
crew's reassignment to a European base. On questioning by
Colorado investigators, flight logs were consulted, and based on
the recollection that this flight was within a short time of
departure from Forces to Germany, (plus the requirement that the
date match a flight of the known type and geography) the 9/19/57
date seems to have emerged. The uncertainty as to whether it was
early on the 19th or early on the 20th, cited above is a point
of confusion I had not noted until preparing the present notes.
Hence I am unable to add any clarification, at the moment; in
this matter of the date confusion found in Thayer's discussion
of the case (1, pp. 136-138). I shall try to check that in the
near future. For the present, it does not vitiate
case-discussion in any significant way.

     The incident is most inadequately described in the Condon
Report. The reader is left with the general notion that the
important parts occurred near Ft. Worth, an impression
strengthened by the fact that both Crow and Thayer discuss
meteorological data only for that area. One is also left with no
clear impression of the duration, which was actually over an
hour. The incident involved an unknown airborne object that
stayed with the RB-47 for over 600 miles. In case after case in
the Condon Report, close checking reveals that quite significant
features of the cases have been glossed over, or omitted, or in
some instances seriously misrepresented. I submit that to fail
to inform the reader that this particular case spans a total
distance-range of some 600 miles and lasted well over an hour is
an omission difficult to justify.

     From my nine separate interviews with the six crew members,
I assembled a picture of the events that makes it even more
puzzling than it seems on reading the Condon Report -- and even
the latter account is puzzling enough.

     Just as the aircraft crossed the Mississippi coast near
Gulfport, McClure, manning the #2 monitor, detected a signal
near their 5 o'clock position (aft of the starboard beam). It
looked to him like a legitimate ground-radar signal, but
corresponded to a position out in the Gulf. This is the actual
beginning of the complete incident; but before proceeding with
details it is necessary to make quite clear what kind of
equipment we shall be talking about as we follow McClure's
successive observations.

     Under conditions of war, bombing aircraft entering hostile
territory can be assisted in their penetrations if any of a
variety of electronic countermeasures (ECM techniques as they
are collectively termed) are brought into action against
ground-based enemy radar units. The initial step in all ECM
operations is, necessarily, that of detecting the enemy radar
and quantitatively identifying a number of relevant features of
the radar system (carrier frequency, pulse repetition frequency,
scan rate, pulse width) and, above all, its bearing relative to
the aircraft heading. The latter task is particularly ample in
principle, calling only for direction-finding antennas which
pick up the enemy signal and display on a monitor scope inside
the reconnaissance aircraft a blip or lobe that paints in the
relative bearing from which the signal is coming.

      The ECM gear used in RB-47's in 1957 is not now
classified; the #2 monitor that McClure was on, he and the
others pointed out, involved an ALA-6 direction-finder with
back-to-back antennas in a housing on the undersurface of the
RB-47 near the rear, spun at either 150 or 300 rpm as it scanned
in azimuth. Inside the aircraft, its signals were processed in
an APR-9 radar receiver and an ALA-5 pulse analyser. All later
references to the #2 monitor imply that system. The #1 monitor
employed an APD-4 direction finding system, with a pair of
antennas permanently mounted on either wing tip. Provenzano was
on the #1 monitor. Tuchscherer was on the #3 monitor, whose
specifications I did not ascertain because I could find no
indication that it was involved in the observations.

      Returning now to the initial features of the UFO episode,
McClure at first thought he had 180-degree ambiguity in his
scope, i.e., that the signal whose lobe painted at his 5 o'clock
position was actually coming in from the 11 o'clock position
perhaps from some ground radar in Louisiana. This suspicion, he
told me, was temporarily strengthened as he became aware that
the lobe was moving upscope. (It is important here and in
features of the case cited below to understand how a fixed
ground-radar paints on the ECM monitor scope as the
reconnaissance aircraft flies toward its general direction:
Suppose the ground radar is, at some instant, located at the 1
o'clock position relative to the moving aircraft, i.e., slightly
off the starboard bow. As the aircraft flies along, the relative
bearing steadily changes, so that the fixed ground unit is
"seen" successively at the 2 o'clock, the 3 o'clock, and the 4
o'clock positions, etc. The lobe paints on the monitor scope at
these successive relative azimuths, the 12 o'clock position
being at the top of the scope, 3 o'clock at the right, etc. Thus
any legitimate signal from a fixed ground radar must move
downscope, excluding the special cases in which the radar is
dead ahead or dead astern. Note carefully that we deal here only
with direction finding gear. Range is unknown; we are not here
speaking of an airborne radar set, just a radar-frequency
direction-finder. In practice, range is obtained by
triangulation computations based on successive fixes and known
aircraft speed.)

     As the lobe continued moving _upscope_, McClure said the
strength of the incoming signal and its pulse characteristics
all tended to confirm that this was some ground unit being
painted with 180-degree ambiguity for some unknown electronic
reason. It was at 2800 megacycles, a common frequency for S-band
search radars.

     However, after the lobe swung dead ahead, his earlier
hypothesis had to be abandoned for it continued swinging over to
the 11 o'clock position and continued downscope on the port
side. Clearly, no 180-degree ambiguity was capable of accounting
for this. Curiously, however, this was so anomalous that McClure
did not take it very seriously and did not at that juncture
mention it to the cockpit crew nor to his colleagues on the
other two monitors. This upscope-downscope "orbit" of the
unknown was seen only on the ALA-6, as far as I could establish.
Had nothing else occurred, this first and very significant
portion of the whole episode would almost certainly have been
for gotten by McClure.

     The signal faded as the RB-47 headed northward to the
scheduled turning point over Jackson, Miss. The mission called
for simulated detection and ECM operations against Air Force
ground radar units all along this part of the flight plan, but
other developments intervened. Shortly after making their turn
westward over Jackson, Miss., Chase noted what he thought at
first were the landing lights of some other jet coming in from
near his 11 o'clock position, at roughly the RB-47's altitude.
But no running lights were discernible and it was a single very
bright white light, closing fast. He had just alerted the rest
of the crew to be ready for sudden evasive maneuvers, when he
and McCoid saw the light almost instantaneously change
directions and rush across from left to right at an angular
velocity that Chase told me he'd never seen matched in his
flight experience. The light went from their 11 o'clock to the 2
o'clock position with great rapidity, and then blinked out.

      Immediately after that, Chase and McCoid began talking
about it on the interphone and McClure, recalling the unusual
2800 megacycle signal that he had seen over Gulfport now
mentioned that peculiar incident for the first time to Chase and
McCoid. It occurred to him at that point to set his #2 monitor
to scan at 2800 mcs. On the first scan, McClure told me, he got
a strong 2800 mcs signal from their 2 o'clock position, the
bearing on which the luminous unknown object had blinked out
moments earlier.

     Provenzano told me that right after that they had checked
out the #2 monitor on valid ground radar stations to be sure it
was not malfunctioning and it appeared to be in perfect order.
He then checked on his #1 monitor and also got a signal from the
same bearing. There remained, of course, the possibility that
just by chance, this signal was from a real radar down on the
ground and off in that direction. But as the minutes went by,
and the aircraft continued westward at about 500 kts. the
relative bearing of the 2800 mcs source did not move downscope
on the #2 monitor, but kept up with them.

     This quickly led to a situation in which the entire 6-man
crew focussed all attention on the matter; the incident is still
vivid in the minds of all the men, though their recollection for
various details varies with the particular activities they were
engaged in. Chase varied speed, to see if the relative bearing
would change but nothing altered. After over a hundred miles of
this, with the 2800 mcs source keeping pace with the aircraft,
they were getting into the radar-coverage area of the Carswell
AFB GCI (Ground Controlled Intercept) unit and Chase radioed
that unit to ask if they showed any other air traffic near the
RB-47.  Carswell GCI immediately came back with the information
that there was apparently another aircraft about 10 miles from
them at their 2 o'clock position. (The RB-47 was unambiguously
identifiable by its IFF signal; the "other aircraft" was seen by
"skin paint" Only, i.e., by direct radar reflection rather than
via an IFF transponder, Col. Chase explained.)

      This information, each of the men emphasized to me in one
way or another, made them a bit uneasy for the first time. I
asked McClure a question that the Colorado investigators either
failed to ask or did not summarize in their Report. Was the
signal in all respects comparable to that of a typical ground
radar? McClure told me that this was what baffled him the most,
then and now. All the radar signature characteristics, as read
out on his ALA-5 pulse analyser, were completely normal -- it
had a pulse repetition frequency and pulse width like a CPS-6B
and even simulated a scan rate: But its intensity, McClure
pointed out, was so strong that "it would have to had an antenna
bigger than a bomber to put out that much signal." And now, the
implications of the events over Gulfport took on new meaning.
The upscope- downscope sweep of his #2 monitor lobe implied that
this source, presuming it to be the same one now also being seen
on ground radar at Carswell GCI, had flown a circle around the
RB-47 at 30-35,000 ft altitude while the aircraft was doing
about 500 kts.

     Shortly after Carswell GCI began following the two targets,
RB-47 and unknown, still another significant action unfolded.
McClure suddenly noted the lobe on the #2 monitor was beginning
to go upscope, and almost simultaneously, Chase told me, GCI
called out that the second airborne target was starting to move
forward. Keep in mind that no visual target was observable here;
after blinking out at the 12 o'clock position, following its
lightning-like traverse across the nose of the aircraft, no
light had been visible. The unknown now proceeded to move
steadily around to the 12 o'clock position, followed all the
while on the #2 monitor and on the GCI scope down at Carswell
near Ft. Worth.

     As soon as the unknown reached the 12 o'clock position,
Chase and McCoid suddenly saw a bright red glow "bigger than a
house", Chase said, and lying dead ahead, precisely the bearing
shown on the passive radar direction-finder that McClure was on
and precisely the bearing now indicated on the GCI scope. _Three
independent sensing systems_ were at this juncture giving
seemingly consistent-indications: two pairs of human eyes, a
ground radar, and a direction-finding radar receiver in the

     One of the important points not settled by the Colorado
investigations concerned the question of whether the unknown was
ever painted on any radar set on the RB-47 itself. Some of the
men thought the navigator had seen it on his set, others were
unsure. I eventually located Maj. Hanley at Vandenberg and he
informed me that all through the incident, which he remembered
very well, he tried, unsuccessfully to pick up the unknown on
his navigational radar (K-system). I shall not recount all of
the details of his efforts and his comments, but only mention
the end result of my two telephone interviews with him. The
important question was what sort of effective range that set
had. Hanley gave the pertinent information that it could just
pick up a large tanker of the KC-97 type at about 4 miles range,
when used in the "altitude- hold" mode, with antenna tipped up
to maximum elevation. But both at the start of its involvement
and during the object's swing into the 12 o'clock position, GCI
showed it remaining close to 10 miles in range from the RB-47.
Thus Hanley's inability to detect it on his K-system
navigational radar in altitude hold only implies that whatever
was out there had a radar cross-section that was less than about
16 times that of a KC-97 (roughly twice 4 miles, inverse
4th-power law), The unknown gave a GCI return that suggested a
cross-section comparable to an ordinary aircraft, Chase told me,
which is consistent with Hanley's non-detection of the object.
The Condon Report gives the impression the navigator did detect
it, but this is not correct.

     I have in my files many pages of typed notes on my
interviews, and cannot fill in all of the intriguing details
here. Suffice it to say that Chase then went to maximum
allowable power, hoping to close with the unknown, but it just
stayed ahead at about 10 miles as GCI kept telling them; it
stayed as a bright red light dead ahead, and it kept painting as
a bright lobe on the top of McClure's ALA-6 scope. By this time
they were well into Texas still at about 35,000 ft and doing
upwards of 500 knots, when Chase saw it begin to veer to the
right and head between Dallas and Ft. Worth. Getting FAA
clearance to alter his own flight plan and to make sure other
jet traffic was out of his way, he followed its turn, and then
realized he was beginning to close on it for the first time.
Almost immediately GCI told him the unknown had stopped moving
on the ground-radarscope. Chase and McCoid watched as they came
almost up to it. Chase's recollections on this segment of the
events were distinctly clearer than McCoid's. McCoid was, of
course, sitting aft of Chase and had the poorer view; also he
said he was doing fuel-reserve calculations in view of the
excess fuel-use in their efforts to shake the unknown, and had
to look up from the lighted cockpit to try to look out
intermittently, while Chase in the forward seat was able to keep
it in sight more nearly continuously. Chase told me that he'd
estimate that it was just ahead of the RB-47 and definitely
below them when it instantaneously blinked out, At that same
moment McClure announced on the interphone that he'd lost the
2800 mcs signal, and GCI said it had disappeared from their
scope. Such simultaneous loss of signal on what we can term
three separate channels is most provocative, most puzzling.

     Putting the aircraft into a left turn (which Chase noted
consumes about 15-20 miles at top speed), they kept looking back
to try to see the light again. And, about halfway through the
turn (by then the aircraft had reached the vicinity of Mineral
Wells, Texas, Chase said), the men in the cockpit suddenly saw
the bright red light flash on again, back along their previous
flight path but distinctly lower, and simultaneously GCI got a
target again and McClure started picking up a 2800 mcs signal at
that bearing: (As I heard one after another of these men
describe all this, I kept trying to imagine how it was possible
that Condon could listen, at the October, 1967, plasma
conference at the UFO Project, as Col. Chase recounted all this
and shrug his shoulders and walk out.)

     Securing permission from Carswell GCI to undertake the
decidedly non- standard maneuver of diving on the unknown, Chase
put the RB-47 nose down and had reached about 20,000 ft, he
recalls, when all of a sudden the light blinked out, GCI lost it
on their scope, and McClure reported loss of signal on the #2
monitor: Three-channel consistency once more.

     Low on fuel, Chase climbed back up to 25,000 and headed
north for Oklahoma. He barely had it on homeward course when
McClure got a blip dead astern and Carswell radioed that they
had a target once more trailing the RB- 47 at about 10 miles.
Rear visibility from the topblisters of the RB-4 now precluded
easy visual check, particularly if the unknown was then at lower
altitude (Chase estimated that it might have been near 15,000 ft
when he lost it in the dive). It followed them to southern
Oklahoma and then disappeared.

2. Discussion:

    This incident is an especially good example of a UFO case in
which observer credibility and reliability do not come into
serious question, a case in which more than one (here three)
channel of information figures in the over-all observations, and
a case in which the reported phenomena appear to defy
explanation in terms of either natural or technological

    In the Condon Report, the important initial incident in
which the unknown 2800 MC source appeared to orbit the RB-47
near Gulfport is omitted. In the Condon Report, the reader is
given no hint that the object was with the aircraft for over 600
miles and for over an hour. No clear sequence of these events is
spelled out, nor is the reader made aware of all of the "three-
channel" simultaneous appearances or disappearances that were so
emphatically stressed to me by both Chase and McClure in my
interviews with them. But even despite those degrees of
incompleteness, any reader of the account of this case in the
Condon Report must wonder that an incident of this sort could be
left as unexplained and yet ultimately treated, along with the
other unexplained cases in that Report, as calling for no
further scientific attention.

    Actually, various hypotheses (radar anomalies, mirage
effects) are weighed in one part of the Condon Report where this
case is discussed separately (pp. 136-138). But the suggestion
made there that perhaps an inversion near 2 km altitude was
responsible for the returns at the Carswell GCI unit is wholly
untenable. In an Appendix, a very lengthy but non-relevant
discussion of ground return from anomalous propagation appears;
in fact, it is so unrelated to the actual circumstances of this
case as to warrant no comment here. Chase's account emphasized
that the GCI radar(s) had his aircraft and the unknown object
on-scope for a total flight-distance of the order of several
hundred miles, including a near overflight of the ground radar.
With such wide variations in angles of incidence of the
ground-radar beam on any inversion or duct, however intense, the
possibility of anomalous propagation effects yielding a
consistent pattern of spurious echo matching the reported
movements and the appearances and disappearances of the target
is infinitesimal. And the more so in view of the simultaneous
appearances and disappearances on the ECM gear and via visible
emissions from the unknown. To suggest, as is tentatively done
on p. 138 that the "red glow" might have been a "mirage of
Oklahoma City", when the pilot's description of the luminous
source involves a wide range of viewing angles, including two
instances when he was viewing it at quite large depression
angles, is wholly unreasonable. Unfortunately, that kind of
casual ad hoc hypothesizing with almost no attention to relevant
physical considerations runs all through the case-discussions in
the treatment of radar and optical cases in the Condon Report,
frequently (though not in this instance) being made the basis of
"explanations" that are merely absurd. On p. 265 of the Report,
the question of whether this incident might be explained in
terms of any "plasma effect" is considered but rejected. In the
end, this case is conceded to be unexplained.

    No evidence that a report on this event reached Project
Bluebook was found by the Colorado investigators. That may seem
hard to believe for those who are under the impression that the
Air Force has been diligently and exhaustively investigating UFO
reports over the past 22 years. But to those who have examined
more closely the actual levels of investigation, lack of a
report on this incident is not so surprising. Other comparable
instances could he cited, and still more where the military
aircrews elected to spare themselves the bother of
interrogation,by not even reporting events about as puzzling as
those found in this RB-47 incident.

    But what is of greatest present interest is the point that
here we have a well-reported, multi-channel, multiple-witness
UFO report, coming in fact from within the Air Force itself,
investigated by the Condon Report team, conceded to be
unexplained, and yet it is, in final analysis, ignored by Dr.
Condon. In no section of the Report specifically written by the
principal investigator does he even allude to this intriguing
case. My question is how such events can be written off as
demanding no further scientific study. To me, such cases seem to
cry out for the most intensive scientific study -- and the more
so because they are actually so much more numerous than the
scientific community yet realizes. There is a scientific mystery
here that is being ignored and shoved under the rug; the
strongest and most unjustified shove has come from the Condon
Report. "unjustified" because that Report itself contains so
many scientifically puzzling unexplained cases (approximately 30
out of 90 cases considered) that it is extremely difficult to
understand how its principal investigator could have construed
the contents of the Report as supporting a view that UFO studies
should be terminated.

Case 2. Lakenheath and Bentwaters RAF/USAF units; England,
        August 13-14, 1956.

Brief summary: Observations of unidentified objects by USAF and
RAF personnel, extending over 5 hours, and involving
ground-radar, airborne-radar, ground visual and airborne-visual
sightings of high-speed unconventionally maneuvering obJects in
the vicinity of two RAF stations at night. It is Case 2 in the
Condon Report and is there conceded to be unexplained.

1.   Introduction:

     This case will illustrate, in significant ways, the
     following points:

     a)   It illustrates the fact that many scientifically
     intriguing UFO reports have lain in USAF/Bluebook files
     for years without knowledge thereof by the scientific

     b)   It represents a large subset of UFO cases in which
     all of the observations stemmed from military sources and
     which, had there been serious and competent scientific
     interest operating in Project Bluebook, could have been
     very thoroughly investigated while the information was
     fresh. It also illustrates the point that the actual
     levels of investigation were entirely inadequate in even
     as unexplainable and involved cases as this one.

     c)   It illustrates the uncomfortably incomplete and
     internally inconsistent features that one encounters in
     almost every report of its kind in the USAF/Bluebook files
     at Wright-Patterson AFB, features attesting to the dearth
     of scientific competence in the Air Force UFO investigations
     over the past 20 years.

     d)   It illustrates, when the original files are carefully
     studied and compared with the discussion thereof in the
     Condon Report, shortcomings in presentation and critique
     given many cases in the Condon Report.

     e)   Finally, I believe it illustrates an example of those
     cases conceded to be unexplainable by the Condon Report
     that argue need for much more extensive and more thorough
     scientific investigation of the UFO problem, a need
     negated in the Condon Report and in the Academy endorsement

    My discussion of this case will be based upon the 30-page
Bluebook case-file, plus certain other information presented on
it in the Condon Report. This "Lakenheath case" was not known
outside of USAF circles prior to publication of the Condon
Report. None of the names of military personnel involved are
given in the Condon Report. (Witness names, dates, and locales
are deleted from all of the main group of cases in that Report,
seriously impeding independent scientific check of case
materials.) I secured copies of the case-file from Bluebook, but
all names of military personnel involved in the incident were
cut out of the Xerox copies prior to releasing the material to
me. Hence I have been unable to interview personally the key
witnesses. However, there is no indication that anyone on the
colorado Project did any personal interviews, either; so it
would appear I have had access to the same basic data used in
the Condon Report's treatment of this extremely interesting

    For no Justified reason, the Condon Report not only deletes
witness names, but also names of localities of the UFO incidents
in its main sample of 59 cases. In this Lakenheath case,
deletion of locality names creates much confusion for the
reader, since three distinct RAF stations figure in,the incident
and since the discharged non-commissioned officer from whom they
received first word of this UFO episode confused the names of
two of those stations in his own account that appears in the
Condon Report. That, plus other reportorial deficiencies in the
presentation of the Lakenheath case in the Condon Report, will
almost certainly have concealed its real significance from most
readers of the Report.

    Unfortunately, the basic Bluebook file is itself about as
confusing as most Bluebook files on UFO cases. I shall attempt
to mitigate as many of those difficulties as I can in the
following, by putting the account into better over-all order
than one finds in the Condon Report treatment.

2. General Circumstances:

    The entire episode extended from about 2130Z, August 13, to
0330Z, August 14, 1956; thus this is a nighttime case. The
events occurred in east-central England, chiefly in Suffolk. The
initial reports centered around Bentwaters RAF Station, located
about six miles east of Ipswich, near the coast, while much of
the subsequent action centers around Lakenheath RAF Station,
located some 20 miles northeast of Cambridge. Sculthorpe RAF
Station also figures in the account, but only to a minor extent;
it is near Fakenham, in the vicinity of The Wash. GCA (Ground
Controlled Approach) radars at two of those three stations were
involved in the ground-radar sightings, as was an RTCC (Radar
Traffic Control Center) radar unit at Lakenheath. The USAF
non-com who wrote to the Colorado Project about this incident
was a Watch Supervisor on duty at the Lakenheath RTCC unit that
night. His detailed account is reproduced in the Condon Report
(pp. 248-251). The Report comments on "the remarkable accuracy
of the account of the witness as given in (his reproduced
letter), which was apparently written from memory 12 years
after the incident." I would concur, but would note that, had
the Colorado Project only investigated more such striking cases
of past years, it would have found many other witnesses in UFO
cases whose vivid recollections often match surprising well
checkable contemporary accounts. My experience thereon has been
that, in multiple- witness cases where one can evaluate
consistency of recollections, the more unusual and inexplicable
the original UFO episode, the more it impressed upon the several
witnesses' memories a meaningful and still-useful pattern of
relevant recollections. Doubtless, another important factor
operates: the UFO incidents that are the most striking and most
puzzling probably have been discussed by the key witnesses
enough times that their recollections have been thereby
reinforced in a useful way.

    The only map given in the Condon Report is based on a
sketch-map made by the non-com who alerted them to the case. It
is misleading, for Sculthorpe is shown 50 miles east of
Lakenheath, whereas it actually lies 30 miles north- northeast.
The map does not show Bentwaters at all; it is actually some 40
miles east-southeast of Lakenheath. Even as basic items as those
locations do not appear to have been ascertained by those who
prepared the discussion of this case in the Condon Report,
which is most unfortunate, yet not atypical.

    That this incident was subsequently discussed by many
Lakenheath personnel was indicated to me by a chance event. In
the course of my investigations of another radar UFO case from
the Condon Report, that of 9/11/67 at Kincheloe AFB, I found
that the radar operator involved therein had previously been
stationed with the USAF detachment at Lakenheath and knew of the
events at second-hand because they were still being discussed
there by radar personnel when he arrived many months later.

3.  Initial Events at Bentwaters, 2130Z to 2200Z;

    One of the many unsatisfactory aspects of the Condon Report
is its frequent failure to put before the reader a complete
account of the UFO cases it purports to analyze scientifically.
In the present instance, the Report omits all details of three
quite significant radar-sightings made by Bentwaters GCA
personnel prior to their alerting the Lakenheath GCA and RTCC
groups at 2255 LST. This omission is certainly not because of
correspondingly slight mention in the original Bluebook
case-file; rather, the Bentwaters sightings actually receive
more Bluebook attention than the subsequent Lakenheath events.
Hence, I do not see how such omissions in the Condon Report can
be justified.

    a) _First radar siqhting, 2130Z._ Bentwaters GCA operator,
A/2c ______ (I shall use a blank to indicate the names
razor-bladed out of my copies of the case-file prior to release
of the file items to me), reported picking up a target 25-30
miles ESE, which moved at very high speed on constant 295 deg.
heading across his scope until he lost it 15-20 miles to the NW
of Bentwaters. In the Bluebook file, A/2c _____ is reported as
describing it as a strong radar echo, comparable to that of a
typical aircraft, until it weakened near the end of its path
across his scope. He is quoted as estimating a speed of the
order of 4000 mph, but two other cited quantities suggest even
higher speeds. A transit time of 30 seconds is given, and if one
combines that with the reported range of distance traversed,
40-50 miles, a speed of about 5000- 6000 mph results. Finally,
A/2c _____ stated that it covered about 5-6 miles per sweep of
the AN/MPN-llA GCA radar he was using. The sweep-period for that
set is given as 2 seconds (30 rpm), so this yields an even
higher speed- estimate of about 9000 mph. (Internal
discrepancies of this sort are quite typical of Bluebook
case-files, I regret to say. My study of many such files during
the past three years leaves me no conclusion but that Bluebook
work has never represented high-caliber scientific work, but
rather has operated as a perfunctory bookkeeping and filing
operation during most of its life. Of the three speed figures
just mentioned, the latter derives from the type of observation
most likely to be reasonably accurate, in my opinion. The
displacement of a series of successive radar blips on a
surveillance radar such as the MPN-11A, can be estimated to
perhaps a mile or so with little difficulty, when the operator
has as large a number of successive blips to work with as is
here involved. Nevertheless, it is necessary to regard the speed
as quite uncertain here, though presumably in the range of
several thousand miles pr hour and hence not associable with any
conventional aircraft, nor with still higher-speed meteors

    b) _Second radar siqhting, 2130-2155Z._ A few minutes after
the preceding event, T/Sgt _____ picked up on the same MPN-11A a
group of 12-15 objects about 8 miles SW of Brentwaters. In the
report to Bluebook, he pointed out that "these objects appeared
as normal targets on the GCA scope and that normal checks made
to determine possible malfunctions of the GCA radar failed to
indicate anything was technically wrong." The dozen or so
objects were moving together towards the NE at varying speeds,
ranging between 80 and 125 mph, and "the 12 to 15 unidentified
objects were preceded by 3 objects which were in a triangular
formation with an estimated 1000 feet separating each object in
this formation." The dozen objects to the rear "were scattered
behind the lead formation of 3 at irregular intervals with the
whole group simultaneously covering a 6 to 7 mile area," the
official report notes.

        Consistent radar returns came from this group during
their 25-minute movement from the point at which they were first
picked up, 8 mi. SW, to a point about 40 mi. NE of Bentwaters,
their echoes decreasing in intensity as they moved off to the
NE. When the group reached a point some 40 mi. NE, they all
appeared to converge to form a single radar echo whose intensity
is described as several times larger than a B-36 return under
comparable conditions. Then motion ceased, while this single
strong echo remained stationary for 10-15 minutes. Then it
resumed motion to the NE for 5-6 miles, stopped again for 3-5
minutes, and finally moved northward and off the scope.

    c) _Third radar siqhting, 2200Z._ Five minutes after the
foregoing formation moved off-scope, T/Sgt _____ detected an
unidentified target about 30 mi. E of the Bentwaters GCA
station, and tracked it in rapid westward motion to a point
about 25 mi. W of the station, where the object "suddenly
disappeared off the radar screen by rapidly moving out of the
GCS radation pattern," according to his interpretation of the
event. Here, again, we get discordant speed information, for
T/Sgt _____ gave the speed only as being "in excess of 4000
mph," whereas the time-duration of the tracking, given as 16
sec, implies a speed of 12,000 mph, for the roughly 55 mi.
track-length reported. Nothing in the Bluebook files indicates
that this discrepancy was investigated further or even noticed,
so one can say only that the apparent speed lay far above that
of conventional aircraft.

    d) _Other observations at Bentwaters._ A control tower
sergeant, aware of the concurrent radar tracking, noted a light
"the size of a pin-head at arm's length" at about 10 deg.
elevation to the SSE. It remained there for about one hour,
intermittently appearing and disappearing. Since Mars was in
that part of the sky at that time, a reasonable interpretation
is that the observer was looking at that planet.

      A T-33 of the 512th Fighter Interceptor Squadron,
returning to Bentwaters from a routine flight at about 2130Z,
was vectored to the NE to search for the group of objects being
tracked in that sector. Their search, unaided by airborne radar,
led to no airborne sighting of any aircraft or other objects in
that area, and after about 45 minutes they terminated search,
having seen only a bright star in the east and a coastal beacon
as anything worth noting. The Bluebook case-file contains 1956
USAF discussions of the case that make a big point of the
inconclusiveness of the tower operator's sighting and the
negative results of the T-33 search, but say nothing about the
much more puzzling radar-tracking incidents than to stress that
they were of "divergent" directions, intimating that this
somehow put them in the category of anomalous propagation, which
scarcely follows. Indeed, none of the three cited radar
sightings exhibits any features typical of AP echoes. The winds
over the Bentwaters area are given in the file. They jump from
the surface level (winds from 230 deg. at 5-10 kts) to the 6000
ft level (260 deg., 30 kts), and then hold at a steady 260 deg.
up to 50,000 ft, with speeds rising to a maximum of 90 kts near
30,000 ft. Even if one sought to invoke the highly dubious
Borden-Vickers hypothesis (moving waves on an inversion
surface), not even the slowest of the tracked echoes (80-125
mph) could be accounted for, nor is it even clear that the
direction would be explainable. Furthermore, the strength of the
individual echoes (stated as comparable to normal aircraft
returns), the merging of the 15 or so into a single echo, the
two intervals of stationarity, and final motion off-scope at a
direction about 45 deg. from the initial motion, are all wholly
unexplainable in terms of AP in these 2130-2155Z incidents. The
extremely high-speed westward motion of single targets is even
further from any known radar-anomaly associated with disturbed
propagation conditions. Blips that move across scopes from one
sector to the opposite, in steady heading at steady apparent
speed, correspond neither to AP nor to internal electronic
disturbances. Nor could interference phenomena fit such observed
echo behavior. Thus, this 30-minute period, 213O- 2200Z,
embraced three distinct events for which no satisfactory
explanation exists. That these three events are omitted from the
discussions in the Condon Report is unfortunate, for they serve
to underscore the scientific significance of subsequent events
at both Bentwaters and Lakenheath stations.

4. Comments on Reporting of Events After 2255Z, 8/13/56:

     The events summarized above were communicated to Bluebook
by Capt. Edward L. Holt of the 81st Fighter-Bomber Wing
stationed at Bentwaters, as Report No. IR-1-56, dated 31 August,
1956. All events occurring subsequent to 2200Z, on the other
hand, were communicated to Project Bluebook via an earlier,
lengthy teletype transmission from the Lakenheath USAF unit,
sent out in the standard format of the report-form specified by
regulation AFR200-2. Two teletype transmissions, dated 8/17/56
and 8/21/56, identical in basic content, were sent from
Lakenheath to Bluebook. The Condon Report presents the content
of that teletype report on pp. 252-254, in full, except for
deletion of all names and localities and omission of one
important item to be noted later here. However, most readers
will be entirely lost because what is presented actually
constitutes a set of answers to questions that are not stated!
The Condon Report does not offer the reader the hint that the
version of AFR200-2 appearing in the Report's Appendix, pp.
819-826 (there identified by its current designation, AFR80-17)
would provide the reader with the standardized questions needed
to translate much of the otherwise extremely confusing array of
answers on pp. 252-254. For that reason, plus others, many
readers will almost certainly be greatly (and entirely
unnecessarily) confused on reading this important part of the
Lakenheath report in the Condon Report.

    That confusion, unfortunately, does not wholly disappear
upon laboriously matching questions with answers, for it has
long been one of the salient deficiencies of the USAF program of
UFO report collection that the format of AFR200-2 (or its sequel
AFR80-17) is usually only barely adequate and (especially for
complex episodes such as that involved here) often entirely
incapable of affording the reporting office enough scope to set
out clearly and in proper chronological order all of the events
that may be of potential scientific significance. Anyone who has
studied many Bluebook reports in the AFR200-2 format, dating
back to 1953, will be uncomfortably aware of this gross
difficulty. Failure to carry out even modest followup
investigations and incorporate findings thereof into Bluebook
case-files leaves most intriguing Bluebook UFO cases full of
unsatisfactorily answered questions. But those deficiencies do
not, in my opinion, prevent the careful reader from discerning
that very large numbers of those UFO cases carry highly
significant scientific implications, implications of an
intriguing problem going largely unexamined in past years.

5. _Initial Alerting of Lakenheath GCA and RTCC:_

    The official files give no indication of any further UFO
radar sightings by Bentwaters GCA from 2200 until 2255Z. But, at
the latter time, another fast-moving target was picked up 30 mi.
E of Bentwaters, heading almost due west at a speed given as
"2000-4000 mph". It passed almost directly over Bentwaters,
disappearing from their GCA scope for the usual beam-angle
reasons when within 2-3 miles (the Condon Report intimates that
this close in disappearance is diagnostic of AP, which seems to
be some sort of tacit over- acceptance of the 1952
Borden-Vickers hypothesis), and then moving on until it
disappeared from the scope 30 mi. W of Bentwaters.

    Very significantly, this radar-tracking of the passage of
the unidentified target was matched by concurrent visual
observations, by personnel on the ground looking up and also
from an overhead aircraft looking down. Both visual reports
involved only a light, a light described as blurred out by its
high speed; but since the aircraft (identified as a C-47 by the
Lakenheath non-com whose letter called this case to the
attention of the Colorado Project) was flying only at 4000 ft,
the altitude of the unknown object is bracketed within rather
narrow bounds. (No mention of any sonic boom appears; but the
total number of seemingly quite credible reports of UFOs moving
at speeds far above sonic values and yet not emitting booms is
so large that one must count this as just one more instance of
many currently inexplicable phenomena associated with the UFO
problem.) The reported speed is not fast enough for a meteor,
nor does the low-altitude flat traJectory and absence of a
concussive shock wave match any meteoric hypothesis. That there
was visual confirmation from observation points both above and
below this fast-moving radar-tracked obJect must be viewed as
adding still further credence to, and scientific interest in,
the prior three Bentwaters radar sightings of the previous hour.

     Apparently immediately after the 2255Z events, Bentwaters
GCA alerted GCA Lakenheath, which lay off to its WNW. The
answers to Questions 2(A) and 2(B) of the AFR200-2 format (on p.
253 of the Condon Report) seem to imply that Lakenheath ground
observers were alerted in time to see a luminous object come in,
at an estimated altitude of 2000-2500 ft, and on a heading
towards SW. The lower estimated altitude and the altered
heading do not match the Bentwaters sighting, and the ambiguity
so inherent in the AFR200-2 format simply cannot be eliminated
here, so the precise timing is not certain. All that seems
certain here is that, at or subsequent to the Bentwaters
alert-message, Lakenheath ground observers saw a luminous object
come in out of the NE at low altitude, then _stop_, and take up
an easterly heading and resume motion eastward out of sight.

     The precise time-sequence of the subsequent observations
is not clearly deducible from the Lakenheath TWX sent in
compliance with AFR200-2. But that many very interesting events,
scientifically very baffling events, soon took place is clear
from the report. No followup, from Bluebook or other USAF
sources,'was undertaken, and so this potentially very important
case, like hundreds of others, simply sent into the Bluebook
files unclarified. I am forced to stress that nothing reveals so
clearly the past years of scientifically inadequate UFO
investigation as a few days' visit to Wright- Patterson AFB and
a diligent reading of Bluebook case reports. No one with any
genuine scientific interest in solving the UFO problem would
have let accumulate so many years of reports like this one
without seeing to it that the UFO reporting and followup
investigations were brought into entirely different status from
that in which they have lain for over 20 years.

    Deficiencies having been noted, I next catalog, without
benefit of the exact time-ordering that is so crucial to full
assessment of any UFO event, the intriguing observations and
events at or near Lakenheath subsequent to the 2255Z alert from

6.  Non-chronological Summary of Lakenheath Sightings,

    a. _Visual observations from ground._

        As noted two paragraphs above, following the 2255Z
alert from GCA Bentwaters, USAF ground observers at the
Lakenheath RAF Station observed a luminous object come in on a
southwesterly heading, stop, and then move off out of sight to
the east. Subsequently, at an unspecified time, two moving white
lights were seen, and "ground observers stated one white light
joined up with another and both disappeared in formation
together" (recall earlier radar observations of merging of
targets seen by Bentwaters GCA). No discernible features of
these luminous sources were noted by ground observers, but both
the observers and radar operators concurred in their
report-description that "the objects (were) travelling at
terrific speeds and then stopping and changing course
immediately." In a passage of the original Bluebook report which
was for some reason not included in the version presented in the
Condon Report, this concordance of radar and visual observations
is underscored: "Thus two radar sets (i.e., Lakenheath GCA and
RATCC radars) and three ground observers report substantially
same." Later in the original Lakenheath report, this same
concordance is reiterated: "the fact that radar and ground
visual observations were made on its rapid acceleration and
abrupt stops certainly lend credulance (sic) to the report."

    Since the date of this incident coincides with the date of
peak frequency of the Perseid meteors, one might ask whether any
part of the visual observations could have been due to Perseids.
The basic Lakenheath report to Bluebook notes that the ground
observers reported "unusual amount of shooting stars in sky",
indicating that the erratically moving light(s) were readily
distinguishable from meteors. The report further remarks thereon
that "the objects seen were definitely not shooting stars as
there were no trails as are usual with such sightings."
Furthermore, the stopping and course reversals are incompatible
with any such hypothesis in the first place.

    AFR200-2 stipulates that observer be asked to compare the
UFO to the size of various familiar objects when held at arm's
length (Item 1-B in the format). In answer to that item, the
report states: "One observer from ground stated on first
observation object was about size of golf ball. As object
continued in flight it became a 'pin point'." Even allowing for
the usual inaccuracies in such estimates, this further rules out
Perseids, since that shower yields oniy meteors of quite low

    In summary of the ground-visual observations, it appears
that three ground observers at Lakenheath saw at least two
luminous objects, saw these over an extended though indefinite
time period, saw them execute sharp course changes, saw them
remain motionless at least once, saw two objects merge into a
single luminous object at one juncture, and reported motions in
general accord with concurrent radar observations. These
ground-visual observations, in themselves, constitute
scientifically interesting UFO report-material. Neither
astronomical nor aeronautical explanations, nor any
meteorological-optical explanations, match well those reported
phenomena. One could certainly wish for a far more complete and
time-fixed report on these visual observations, but even the
above information suffices to suggest some unusual events. The
unusualness will be seen to be even greater on next examining
the ground-radar observations from Lakenheath. And even stronger
interest emerges as we then turn, last of all, to the
airborne-visual and airborne-radar observations made near

b. _Ground-radar observations at Lakenheath._

    The GCA surveillance radar at Lakenheath is identified as a
CPN-4, while the RATCC search radar was a CPS-5 (as the non-com
correctly recalled in his letter). Because the report makes
clear that these two sets were concurrently following the
unknown targets, it is relevant to note that they have different
wavelengths, pulse repetition frequencies, and scan-rates, which
(for reasons that need not be elaborated here) tends to rule out
several radar-anomaly hypotheses (e.g., interference echoes from
a distant radar, second-time-around effects, AP). However, the
reported maneuvers are so unlike any of those spurious effects
that it seems almost unnecessary to confront those possibilities

    As with the ground-visual observations, so also with these
radar-report items, the AFR200-2 format limitations plus the
other typical deficiencies of reporting of UFO events preclude
reconstruction in detail, and in time-order, of all the relevant
events. I get the impression that the first object seen visually
by ground observers was not radar-tracked, although this is
unclear from the report to Bluebook. One target whose motions
were jointly followed both on the CPS-5 at the Radar Air
Traffic Control Center and on the shorter- range,
faster-scanning CPN-4 at the Lakenheath GCA unit was tracked
"from 6 miles west to about 20 miles SW where target stopped and
assumed a stationary position for five minutes. Target then
assumed a heading northwesterly (I presume this was intended to
read 'northeasterly', and the non-com so indicates in his
recollective account of what appears to be the same maneuvers)
into the Station and stopped two miles NW of Station. Lakenheath
GCA reports three to four additional targets were doing the same
maneuvers in the vicinity of the Station. Thus two radar sets
and three ground observers report substantially same." (Note
that the quoted item includes the full passage omitted from the
Condon Report version, and note that it seems to imply that this
devious path with two periods of stationary hovering was also
reported by the visual observers. However, the latter is not
entirely certain because of ambiguities in the structure of the
basic report as forced into the AFR200-2 format).

    At some time, which context seems to imply as rather later
in the night (the radar sightings went on until about 0330Z),
"Lakenheath Radar Air Traffic Control Center observed object 17
miles east of Station making sharp rectangular course of flight.
This maneuver was not conducted by circular path but on right
angles at speeds of 600-800 mph. Object would stop and start
with amazing rapidity." The report remarks that "...the
controllers are experienced and technical skills were used in
attempts to determine just what the objects were. When the
target would stop on the scope, the MTI was used. However, the
target would still appear on the scope." (The latter is
puzzling. MTI, Moving Target Indication, is a standard feature
on search or surveillance radars that eliminates ground returns
and returns from large buildings and other motionless objects.
This very curious feature of display of stationary modes while
the MTI was on adds further strong argument to the negation of
any hypothesis of anomalous propagation of ground-returns. It
was as if the unidentified target, while seeming to hover
motionless, was actually undergoing small-amplitude but
high-speed jittering motion to yield a scope- displayed return
despite the MTI. Since just such jittery motion has been
reported in visual UFO sightings on many occasions, and since
the coarse resolution of a PPI display would not permit
radar-detection of such motion if its amplitude were below, say,
one or two hundred meters, this could conceivably account for
the persistence of the displayed return during the episodes of
"stationary" hovering, despite use of MTI.)

     The portion of the radar sightings just described seems to
have been vividly recollected by the retired USAF non-com who
first called this case to the attention of the Colorado group.
Sometime after the initial Bentwaters alert, he had his men at
the RATCC scanning all available scopes, various scopes set at
various ranges. He wrote that "...one controller noticed a
stationary target on the scopes about 20 to 25 miles southwest.
This was unusual, as a stationary target should have been
eliminated unless it was moving at a speed of at least 40 to 45
knots. And yet we could detect no movement at all. We watched
this target on all the different scopes for several minutes and
I called the GCA Unit at (Lakenheath) to see if they had this
target on their scope in the same geographical location. As we
watched, the stationary target started moving at a speed of 400
to 600 mph in a north- northeast direction until it reached a
point about 20 miles north northwest of (Lakenheath). There was
no slow start or build-up to this speed -- it was constant from
the second it started to move until it stopped." (This
description, written 11 years after the event, matches the 1956
intelligence report from the Lakenheath USAF unit so well, even
seeming to avoid the typographical direction-error that the
Lakenheath TWX contained, that one can only assume that he was
deeply impressed by this whole incident. That, of course, is
further indicated by the very fact that he wrote the Colorado
group about it in the first place.) His letter (Condon Report,
p. 249) adds that "the target made several changes in location,
always in a straight line, always at about 600 mph and always
from a standing or stationary point to his next stop at constant
speed -- no build-up in speed at all -- these changes in
location varied from 8 miles to 20 miles in length --no set
pattern at any time. Time spent stationary between movements
also varied from 3 or 4 minutes to 5 or 6 minutes..." Because
his account jibes so well with the basic Bluebook file report in
the several particulars in which it can be checked, the
foregoing quotation from the letter as reproduced in the Condon
Report stands as meaningful indication of the highly
unconventional behavior of the unknown aerial target. Even
allowing for some recollective uncertainties, the non-com's
description of the behavior of the unidentified radar target
lies so far beyond any meteorological, astronomical, or
electronic explanation as to stand as one challenge to any
suggestions that UFO reports are of negligible scientific

    The non-com's account indicates that they plotted the
discontinuous stop- and-go movements of the target for some tens
of minutes before it was decided to scramble RAF interceptors to
investigate. That third major aspect of the Lakenheath events
must now be considered. (The delay in scrambling interceptors is
noteworthy in many Air Force-related UFO incidents of the past
20 years. I believe this reluctance stems from unwillingness to
take action lest the decision-maker be accused of taking
seriously a phenomenon which the Air Force officially treats as

c.  Airborne radar and visual sightings by Venom interceptor.

    An RAF jet interceptor, a Venom single-seat subsonic
aircraft equipped with an air-intercept (AI) nose radar, was
scrambled, according to the basic Bluebook report, from
Waterbeach RAF Station, which is located about 6 miles north of
Cambridge, and some 20 miles SW of Lakenheath. Precise time of
the scramble does not appear in the report to Bluebook, but if
we were to try to infer the time from the non-com's recollective
account, it would seem to have been somewhere near midnight.
Both the non-com's letter and the contemporary intelligence
report make clear that Lakenheath radar had one of their
unidentified targets on-scope as the Venom came in over the
Station from Waterbeach. The TWX to Blue book states: "The
aircraft flew over RAF Station Lakenheath and was vectored
toward a target on radar 6 miles east of the field. Pilot
advised he had a bright white light in sight and would
investigate. At thirteen miles west (east?) he reported loss of
target and white light."

    It deserves emphasis that the foregoing quote clearly
indicates that the UFO that the Venom first tried to intercept
was being monitored via three distinct physical "sensing
channels." It was being recorded by _ground radar_, by _airborne
radar_, and _visually_. Many scientists are entirely unaware
that Air Force files contain such UFO cases; for this very
interesting category has never been stressed in USAF
discussions of its UFO records. Note, in fact, the similarity to
the 1957 RB-47 case (Case 1 above) in the evidently simultaneous
loss of visual and airborne-radar signal here. One wonders if
ground radar also lost it simultaneously with the Venom pilot's
losing it, but, loss of visual and airborne-radar signal here.
One wonders if ground radar also lost it simultaneously with the
Venom pilot's losing it, but, as is so typical of AFR200-2
reports, incomplete reporting precludes clarification. Nothing
in the Bluebook case-file on this incident suggests that anyone
at Bluebook took any trouble to run down that point or the many
other residual questions that are so painfully evident here. The
file does, however, include a lengthy dispatch from the
then-current Blue book officer, Capt. G. T. Gregory, a dispatch
that proposes a series of what I must term wholly irrelevant
hypotheses about Perseid meteors with "ionized gases in their
wake which may be traced on radarscopes", and inversions that
"may cause interference between two radar stations some distance
apart." Such basically irrelevant remarks are all too typical of
Bluebook critique over the years. The file also includes a case-
discussion by Dr. J. A. Hynek, Bluebook consultant, who also
toys with the idea of possible radar returns from meteor wake
ionization. Not only are the radar frequencies here about two
orders of magnitude too high to afford even marginal likelihood
of meteor-wake returns, but there is absolutely no kinematic
similarity between the reported UFO movements and the
essentially straight-line hypersonic movement of a meteor, to
cite just a few of the strong objections to any serious
consideration of meteor hypotheses for the present UFO case.
Hynek's memorandum on the case makes some suggestions about the
need for upgrading Bluebook operations, and then closes with
the remarks that "The Lakenheath report could constitute a
source of embarrassment to the Air Force; and should the facts,
as so far reported, get into the public domain, it is not
necessary to point out what excellent use the several dozen UFO
societies and other 'publicity artists' would make of such an
incident. It is, therefore, of great importance that further
information on the technical aspects of the original
observations be obtained, without loss of time from the
original observers." That memo of October 17, 1956,is followed
in the case-file by Capt. Gregory's November 26, 1956 reply, in
which he concludes that "our original analyses of anomalous
propagation and astronimical is (sic) more or less correct"; and
there the case investigation seemed to end, at the same casually
closed level at which hundreds of past UFO cases have been
closed out at Bluebook with essentially no real scientific
critique. I would say that it is exceedingly unfortunate that
"the facts , as so far reported" did not get into the public
domain, along with the facts on innumerable other Bluebook
case-files that should have long ago startled the scientific
community just as much as they startled me when I took the
trouble to go to Bluebook and spend a number of days studying
those astonishing files.

    Returning to the scientifically fascinating account of the
Venom pilot's attempt to make an air-intercept on the Lakenheath
unidentified object, the original report goes on to note that,
after the pilot lost both visual and radar signals, "RATCC
vectored him to a target 10 miles east of Lakenheath and pilot
advised target was on radar and he was 'locking on.'" Although
here we are given no information on the important point of
whether he also saw a luminous object, as he got a radar
lock-on, we definitely have another instance of at least
two-channel detection. The concurrent detection of a single
radar target by a ground radar and an airborne radar under
conditions such as these, where the target proves to be a highly
maneuverable object (see below), categorically rules out any
conventional explanations involving, say, large ground
structures and propagation anomalies. That MTI was being used on
the ground radar also excludes that, of course.

     The next thing that happened was that the Venom suddenly
lost radar lock- on as it neared the unknown target. RATCC
reported that "as the Venom passed the target on radar, the
target began a tail chase of the friendly fighter." RATCC asked
the Venom pilot to acknowledge this turn of events and he did,
saying "he would try to circle and get behind the target." His
attempts were unsuccessful, which the report to Bluebook
describes only in the terse comment, "Pilot advised he was
unable to 'shake' the target off his tail and requested
assistance." The non-com's letter is more detailed and much more
emphatic. He first remarks that the UFO's sudden evasive
movement into tail position was so swift that he missed it on
his own scope, "but it was seen by the other controllers." His
letter then goes on to note that the Venom pilot "tried
everything -- he climbed, dived, circled, etc., but the UFO
acted like it was glued right behind him, always the same
distance, very close, but we always had two distinct targets."
Here again, note how the basic report is annoyingly incomplete.
One is not told whether the pilot knew the UFO was pursuing his
Venom by virtue of some tail-radar warning device of type often
used on fighters (none is alluded to), or because he could see a
luminous object in pursuit. In order for him to "acknowledge"
the chase seems to require one or the other detection-mode, yet
the report fails to clarify this important point. However, the
available information does make quite clear that the pursuit was
being observed on ground radar, and the non-com's recollection
puts the duration of the pursuit at perhaps 10 minutes before
the pilot elected to return to his base. Very significantly, the
intelligence report from Lakenheath to Bluebook quotes this
first pilot as saying "clearest target I have ever seen on
radar", which again eliminates a number of hypotheses, and
argues most cogently the scientific significance of the whole

   The non-com recalled that, as the first Venom returned to
Waterbeach Aerodrome when fuel ran low, the UFO followed him a
short distance and then stopped; that important detail is,
however, not in the Bluebook report. A second Venom was then
scrambled, but, in the short time before a malfunction forced it
to return to Waterbeach, no intercepts were accomplished by that
second pilot.

7.  Discussion:

    The Bluebook report material indicates that other radar
unknowns were being observed at Lakenheath until about 0330Z.
Since the first radar unknowns appeared near Bentwaters at about
2130Z on 8/13/56, while the Lakenheath events terminated near
0330Z on 8/14/56, the total duration of this UFO episode was
about six hours. The case includes an impressive number of
scientifically provocative features:

     1)  At least three separate instances occurred in which one
     ground-radar unit, GCA Bentwaters, tracked some unidentified
     target for a number of tens of miles across its scope at
     speeds in excess of Mach 3. Since even today, 12 years
     later, no nation has disclosed military aircraft capable of
     flight at such speeds (we may exclude the X-15), and since
     that speed is much too low to fit any meteoric hypothesis,
     this first feature (entirely omitted from discussion in the
     Condon Report) is quite puzzling. However, Air Force UFO
     files and other sources contain many such instances of
     nearly hypersonic speeds of radar-tracked UFOs.

     2)  In one instance, about a dozen low-speed (order of 100
     mph) targets moved in loose formation led by three
     closely-spaced targets, the assemblage yielding consistent
     returns over a path of about 50 miles, after which they
     merged into a single large target, remained motionless for
     some 10-15 minutes, and then moved off-scope. Under the
     reported wind conditions, not even a highly contrived
     meteorological explanation invoking anomalous propagation
     and inversion layer waves would account for this sequence
     observed at Bentwaters. The Condon Report omits all
     discussion of items 1) and 2), for reasons that I find
     difficult to understand.

     3)  One of the fast-track radar sightings at Bentwaters,
     at 2255Z, coincided with visual observations of some
     very-high-speed luminous source seen by both a tower
     operator on the ground and by a pilot aloft who saw the
     light moving in a blur below his aircraft at 4000 ft
     altitude. The radar-derived speed "as given as 2000-4000
     mph. Again, meteors won't fit such speeds and altitudes,
     and we may exclude aircraft for several evident reasons,
     including absence of any thundering sonic boom that would
     surely have been reported if any near hypothetical secret
     1956-vintage hypersonic device were flying over Bentwaters
     at less than 4000 ft that night.

    4)   Several ground observers at Lakenheath saw luminous
     obJects exhibiting non-ballistic motions, including dead
     stops and sharp course reversals.

    5)   In one instance, two luminous white objects merged
     into a single object, as seen from the ground at
     Lakenheath. This wholly unmeteoric and unaeronautical
     phenomenon is actually a not-uncommon feature of UFO
     reports during the last two decades. For example,
     radar-tracked merging of two targets that veered together
     sharply before Joining up was reported over Kincheloe
     AFB, Michigan, in a UFO report that also appears in the
     Condon Report (p. 164), quite unreasonably attributed
     therein to "anomalous propagation."

    6)   Two separate ground radars at Lakenheath, having rather
     different radar parameters, were concurrently observing
     movements of one or more unknown targets over an extended
     period of time. Seemingly stationary hovering modes were
     repeatedly observed, and this despite use of MTI. Seemingly
     "instantaneous" accelerations from rest to speeds of order
     of Mach 1 were repeatedly observed. Such motions cannot
     readily be explained in terms of any known aircraft flying
     then or now, and also fail to fit known electronic or
     propagation anomalies. The Bluebook report gives the
     impression (somewhat ambiguously, however) that some of
     these two-radar observations were coincident with
     ground-visual observations.

    7)   In at least one instance, the Bluebook report makes
     clear that an unidentified luminous target was seen
     visually from the air by the pilot of an interceptor while
     getting simultaneous radar returns from the unknown with
     his nose radar concurrent with ground-radar detection of
     the same unknown. This is scientifically highly
     significant, for it entails three separate
     detection-channels all recording the unknown object.

    8)   In _at least_ one instance, there was simultaneous
     radar disappearance and visual disappearance of the UFO.
     This is akin to similar events in other known UFO cases,
     yet is not easily explained in terms of conventional

    9)   Attempts of the interceptor to close on one target
     seen both on ground radar and on the interceptor's nose
     radar, led to a puzzling rapid interchange of roles as
     the unknown object moved into tail- position behind the
     interceptor. While under continuing radar observation
     from the ground, with both aircraft and unidentified
     object clearly displayed on the Lakenheath ground
     radars, the pilot of the interceptor tried
     unsuccessfully to break the tail chase over a time of
     some minutes. No ghost-return or multiple-scatter
     hypothesis can explain such an event.

     I believe that the cited sequence of extremely baffling
events, involving so many observers and so many distinct
observing channels, and exhibiting such unconventional features,
should have led to the most intensive Air Force inquiries. But I
would have to say precisely the same about dozens of other
inexplicable Air Force-related UFO incidents reported to
Bluebook since 1947. What the above illustrative case shows all
too well is that highly unusual events have been occurring under
circumstances where any organization with even passing
scientific curiosity should have responded vigorously, yet the
Air Force UFO program has repeatedly exhibited just as little
response as I have noted in the above 1956 Lakenheath incident.
The Air Force UFO program, contrary to the impression held by
most scientists here and abroad, has been an exceedingly
superficial and generally quite incompetent program. Repeated
suggestions from Air Force press offices, to the effect that
"the best scientific talents available to the U.S. Air Force"
have been brought to bear on the UFO question are so far from
the truth as to be almost laughable, yet those suggestions have
served to mislead the scientific community, here and abroad,
into thinking that careful investigations were yielding solid
conclusions to the effect that the UFO problem was a nonsense
problem. The Air Force has given us all the impression that its
UFO reports involved only misidentified phenomena of
conventional sorts. That, I submit, is far from correct, and the
Air Force has not responsibly discharged its obligations to the
public in conveying so gross a misimpression for twenty years. I
charge incompetence, not conspiracy, let me stress.

    The Condon Report, although disposed to suspicion that
perhaps some sort of anomalous radar propagation might be
involved (I record here my objection that the Condon Report
exhibits repeated instances of misunderstanding of the limits of
anomalous propagation effects), does concede that Lakenheath is
an unexplained case. Indeed, the Report ends its discussion with
the quite curious admission that, in the Lakenheath episode,
"...the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved
appears to be fairly high."

    One could easily become enmeshed in a semantic dispute over
the meaning of the phrase, "one genuine UFO", so I shall simply
assert that my own position is that the Lakenheath case
exemplifies a disturbingly large group of UFO reports in which
the apparent degree of scientific inexplicability is so great
that, instead of being ignored and laughed at, those cases
should all along since 1947 have been drawing the attention of a
large body of the world's best scientists. Had the latter
occurred, we might now have some answers, some clues to the real
nature of the UFO phenomena. But 22 years of inadequate UFO
investigations have kept this stunning scientific problem out of
sight and under a very broad rug called Project Bluebook, whose
final termination on December 18, 1969 ought to mark the end of
an era and the start of a new one relative to the UFO problem.

    More specifically, with cases like Lakenheath and the 1957
RB-47 case and many others equally puzzling that are to be found
within the Condon Report, I contest Condon's principal
conclusion "that further extensive study of UFOs probably cannot
be justified in the expectation that science will be advanced
thereby." And I contest the endorsement of such a conclusion by
a panel of the National Academy of Sciences, an endorsement that
appears to be based upon essentially _zero_ independent
scientific cross-checking of case material in the Report.
Finally, I question the judgment of those Air Force scientific
offices and agencies that have accepted so weak a report. The
Lakenheath case is just one example of the basis upon which I
rest those objections. I am prepared to discuss many more

8. The Extraterrestrial Hypothesis:

    In this Lakenheath UFO episode, we have evidence of some
phenomena defying ready explanation in terms of present-day
science and technology, some phenomena that include enough
suggestion of intelligent control (tail-chase incident here), or
some broadly cybernetic equivalent thereof, that it is difficult
for me to see any reasonable alternative to the hypothesis that
something in the nature of extraterrestrial devices engaged-in
something in the nature of surveillance lies at the heart of the
UFO problem. That is the hypothesis that my own study of the UFO
problem leads me to regard as most probable in terms of my
present information. This is, like all scientific hypotheses, a
working hypothesis to be accepted or rejected only on the basis
of continuing investigation. Present evidence surely does not
amount to incontrovertible proof of the extraterrestrial
hypothesis. What I find scientifically dismaying is that, while
a large body of UFO evidence now seems to point in no other
direction than the extraterrestrial hypothesis, the profoundly
important implications of that possibility are going
unconsidered by the scientific community because this entire
problem has been imputed to be little more than a nonsense
matter unworthy of serious scientific attention. Those overtones
have been generated almost entirely by scientists and others who
have done essentially no real investigation of the problem-area
in which they express such strong opinions. Science is not
supposed to proceed in that manner, and this AAAS Symposium
should see an end to such approaches to the UFO problem.

    Put more briefly, doesn't a UFO case like Lakenheath warrant
more than a mere shrug of the shoulders from science?

Case 3.  Haneda Air Force Base, Japan, August 5-6, 1952.

Brief summary: USAF tower operators at Haneda AFB observed an
unusually bright bluish-white light to their NE, alerted the GCI
radar unit at Shiroi, which then called for a scramble of an F94
interceptor after getting radar returns in same general area.
GCI ground radar vectored the F94 to an orbiting unknown target,
which the F94 picked up on its airborne radar. The target then
accelerated out of the F94's radar range after 90 seconds of
pursuit that was followed also on the Shiroi GCI radar.

1.  Introduction:

    The visual and radar sightings at Haneda AFB, Japan, on
August 5-6, 1952, represent an example of a long-puzzling case,
still carried as an unidentified case by Project Bluebook, at my
latest check, and chosen for analysis in the Condon Report. In
the latter, is putatively explained in terms of a combination of
diffraction and mirage distortion of the star Capella, as far as
the visual parts are concerned, while the radar portions are
attributed to anomalous propagation. I find very serious
difficulties with those "explanations" and regard them as
typical of a number of rather casually advanced explanations of
long-standing UFO cases that appear in the Condon Report.
Because this case has been discussed in such books as those of
Ruppelt, Keyhoe, and Hall, it is of particular interest to
carefully examine case-details on it and then to examine the
basis of the Condon Report's explanation of it, as example of
how the Condon Report disposed of old "classic cases."

    Haneda AFB, active during the Korean War, lay about midway
between central Tokyo and central Yokohama, adjacent to Tokyo
International Airport. The 1952 UFO incident began with visual
sightings of a brilliant object in the northeastern sky, as seen
by two control tower operators going on duty at 2330 LST (all
times hereafter will be LST). It will serve brevity to introduce
some coded name designations for these men and for several
officers involved, since neither the Condon Report, nor my
copies of the original Bluebook case-file show names (excised
from latter copies in accordance with Bluebook practice on
non-release of witness names in UFO cases):

     Coded                  Identification
  Designation               --------------

   Airman A       One of two Haneda tower operators who first
                   sighted light. Rank was A/3c.

   Airman B       Second Haneda tower operator to first sight
                   light. Rank was A/1c.

   Lt. A          Controller on duty at Shiroi GCI unit up to
                   2400, 8/5/52. Rank was 1st Lt.

   Lt. B          Controller at Shiroi after 0000, 8/6/52, also
                   1st Lt.

   Lt. P          Pilot of scrambled F94, also 1st Lt.

   Lt. R          Radar officer in F94, also 1st Lt.

    Shiroi GCI Station, manned by the 528th AC&W (Aircraft
Control and Warning) Group, lay approximately 20 miles NE of
Haneda (specifically at 35 deg. 49' N, 140 deg. 2' E) and had a
CPS-1 10-cm search radar plus a CPS 10- cm height-finding radar.
Two other USAF facilities figure in the incident, Tachikawa AFB,
lying just over 20 miles WNW of Haneda, and Johnson AFB, almost
30 miles NW of Waneda. The main radar incidents center over the
north extremity of Tokyo Bay, roughly midway from central Tokyo
to Chiba across the Bay.

    The Bluebook case-file on this incident contains 25 pages,
and since the incident predates promulgation of AFR200-2, the
strictures on time-reporting, etc., are not here so bothersome
as in the Lakenheath case of 1956, discussed above.
Nevertheless, the same kind of disturbing internal
inconsistencies are present here as one finds in most Bluebook
case reports; in particular, there is a bothersome variation in
times given for specific events in different portions of the
case-file. One of these, stressed in the Condon Report, will be
discussed explicitly below; but for the rest, I shall use those
times which appear to yield the greatest over-all internal
consistency. This will introduce no serious errors, since the
uncertainties are mostly only 1 or 2 minutes and, except for the
cited instance, do not alter any important implications
regardless of which cited time is used. The over-all duration of
the visual and radar sightings is about 50 minutes. The items of
main interest occurred between 2330 and 0020, approximately.

    Although this case involves both visual and radar
observations of unidentified objects, careful examination does
not support the view that the same object was ever assuredly
seen visually and on radar at the same time, with the possible
exception of the very first radar detection just after 2330.
Thus it is not a "radar-visual" case, in the more significant
sense of concurrent two-channel observations of an unknown
object. This point will be discussed further in Section 5.

2.  Visual Observations:

    a.   First visual detection.

At 2330, Airmen A and B, while walking across the ramp at Haneda
AFB to go on the midnight shift at the airfield control tower,
noticed an "exceptionally bright light" in their northeastern
sky. They went immediately to the control tower to alert two
other on-duty controllers to it and to examine it more carefully
with the aid of the 7x50 binoculars available in the tower. The
Bluebook case-file notes that the two controllers already on
tower-duty "had not previously noticed it because the operating
load had been keeping their attention elsewhere. "

b.   Independent visual detection at Tachikawa AFB.

About ten minutes later, according to the August 12, 1952, Air
Intelligence Information Report (IR-35-52) in the Bluebook
case-file; Haneda was queried about an unusually bright light by
controllers at Tachikawa AFB, 21 miles to their WNW. IR-35-52
states: "The control tower at Tachikawa Air Force Base called
Haneda tower at approximately 2350 to bring their attention to a
brilliant white light over Tokyo Bay. The tower replied that it
had been in view for some time and that it was being checked."

This feature of the report is significant in two respects: 1) It
indicates that the luminous source was of sufficiently unusual
brilliance to cause two separate groups of Air Force controllers
at two airfields to respond independently and to take
alert-actions; and 2) More significantly, the fact that the
Tachikawa controllers saw the source in a direction "over Tokyo
Bay" implies a line-of-sight distinctly south of east. From
Tachikawa, even the north end of the Bay lies to the ESE. Thus
the intersection of the two lines of sight fell somewhere in the
northern half of the Bay, it would appear. As will be seen
later, this is where the most significant parts of the radar
tracking occurred subsequently.

c. Direction, intensity, and configuration of the luminous

IR-35-52 contains a signed statement by Air man A, a sketch of
the way the luminous source looked through 7-power binoculars,
and summary comments by Capt. Charle"s J. Malven, the FEAF
intelligence officer preparing the report for transmission to

Airman A's own statement gives the bearing of the source as NNE;
Malven summary specifies only NE. Presumably the witness'
statement is the more reliable, and it also seems to be given a
greater degree of precision, whence a line-of-sight azimuth
somewhere in the range of 25 to 35 deg. east of north appears to
be involved in the Haneda sightings. By contrast, the Tachikawa
sighting-azimuth was in excess of 90 deg. from north, and
probably beyond 100 deg., considering the geography involved, a
point I shall return to later.

Several different items in the report indicate the high
_intensity_ of the source. Airman A's signed statement refers to
it as "the intense bright light over the Bay." The annotated
sketch speaks of "constant brilliance across the entire area" of
the (extended) source, and remarks on "the blinding effect from
the brilliant light." Malven's summary even points out that
"Observers stated that their eyes would fatigue rapidly when
they attempted to concentrate their vision on the object," and
elsewhere speaks of "the brilliant blue-white light of the
object." Most of these indications of brightness are omitted
from the Condon Report, yet bear on the Capella hypothesis in
terms of which that Report seeks to dispose of these visual

Airman A's filed statement includes the remark that "I know it
wasn't a star, weather balloon or venus, because I compared it
with all three." This calls for two comments. First, Venus is
referred to elsewhere in the case-file, but this is certainly a
matter of confusion, inasmuch as Venus had set that night before
about 2000 LST. Since elsewhere in the report reference is made
to Venus lying in the East, and since the only noticeable
celestial object in that sector at that time would have been
Jupiter, I would infer that where "Venus" is cited in the
case-file, one should read "Jupiter." Jupiter would have risen
near 2300, almost due east, with apparent magnitude -2.0. Thus
Airman A's assertion that the object was brighter than "Venus"
may probably be taken to imply something of the order of
magnitude -3.0 or brighter. Indeed, since it is most unlikely
that any observer would speak of a -3.0 magnitude source as
"blinding" or "fatiguing" to look at, I would suggest that the
actual luminosity, at its periods of peak value (see below) must
have exceeded even magnitude -3 by a substantial margin.

Airman A's allusion to the intensity as compared with a "weather
balloon" refers to the comparisons (elaborated below) with the
light suspended from a pilot balloon released near the tower at
2400 that night and observed by the tower controllers to scale
the size and brightness. This is a very fortunate scaling
comparison, because the small battery-operated lights long used
in meteorological practice have a known luminosity of about 1.5
candle. Since a 1-candle source at 1 kilometer yields apparent
magnitude 0.8, inverse-square scaling for the here known balloon
distance of 2000 feet (see below) implies an apparent magnitude
of about -0.5 for the balloon-light as viewed at time of launch.
Capt. Malven's summary states, in discussing this quite helpful
comparison, "The balloon's light was described as extremely dim
and yellow, when compared to the brilliant blue white light of
the object." Here again, I believe one can safely infer an
apparent luminosity of the object well beyond Jupiter's -2.0.
Thus, we have here a number of compatible indications of
apparent brightness well beyond that of any star, which will
later be seen to contradict explanations proposed in the Condon
Report for the visual portions of the Haneda sightings.

Of further interest relative to any stellar source hypothesis
are the descriptions of the _configuration_ of the object as
seen with 7-power binoculars from the Haneda tower, and its
approximate _angular diameter_. Fortunately, the latter seems to
have been adjudged in direct comparison with an object of
determinate angular subtense that was in view in the middle of
the roughly 50-minute sighting. At 2400, a small weather balloon
was released from a point at a known distance of 2000 ft from
the control tower. Its diameter at release was approximately 24
inches. (IR-35-52 refers to it as a "ceiling balloon", but the
cloud-cover data contained therein is such that no ceiling
balloon would have been called for. Furthermore, the specified
balloon mass, 30 grams, and diameter, 2 ft, are precisely those
of a standard pilot balloon for upper-wind measurement. And
finally, the time [2400 LST = 1500Z] was the standard time for a
pilot balloon run, back in that period.) A balloon of 2-ft
diameter at 2000-ft range would subtend 1 milliradian, or just
over 3 minutes of arc, and this was used by the tower observers
to scale the apparent angular subtense of the luminous source.
As IR-35-52 puts it: "Three of the operators indicated the size
of the light, when closest to the tower, was approximately the
same as the small ceiling balloons (30 grams, appearing 24
inches in diameter) when launched from the weather station,
located at about 2000 ft from the tower. This would make the
size of the central light about 50 ft in diameter, when at the
10 miles distance tracked by GCI.... A lighted weather balloon
was launched at 2400 hours..." Thus, it would appear that an
apparent angular subtense close to 3 minutes of arc is a
reasonably reliable estimate for the light as seen by naked eye
from Haneda. This is almost twice the average resolution-limit
of the human eye, quite large enough to match the reported
impressions that it had discernible extent, i.e., was not merely
a point source.

But the latter is very much more clearly spelled out, in any
event, for IR-35-52 gives a fairly detailed description of the
object's appearance through 7-power binoculars. It is to be
noted that, if the naked-eye diameter were about 3 minutes, its
apparent subtense when viewed through 7X-binoculars would be
about 20 minutes, or two-thirds the naked-eye angular diameter
of the full moon -- quite large enough to permit recognition of
the finer details cited in IR-35-52, as follows: "The light was
described as circular in shape, with brilliance appearing to be
constant across the face. The light appeared to be a portion of
a large round dark shape which was about four times the diameter
of the light. When the object was close enough for details to be
seen, a smaller, less brilliant light could be seen at the lower
left hand edge, with two or three more dim lights running in a
curved line along the rest of the lower edge of the dark shape.
Only the lower portion of the darker shape could be determined,
due to the lighter sky which was believed to have blended with
the upper side of the object. No rotation was noticed. No sound
was heard."

Keeping in mind that those details are, in effect, described for
an image corresponding in apparent angular size to over half a
lunar diameter, the detail is by no means beyond the
undiscernible limit. The sketch included with IR-35-52 matches
the foregoing description, indicating a central disc of
"constant brilliance across entire area (not due to a point
source of light)", an annular dark area of overall diameter 3-4
times that of the central luminary, and having four distinct
lights on the lower periphery, "light at lower left, small and
fairly bright, other lights dimmer and possibly smaller."
Finally, supportive comment thereon is contained in the signed
statement of Airman A. He comments: "After we got in the tower I
started looking at it with binoculars, which made the object
much clearer. Around the bright white light in the middle, there
was a darker object which stood out against the sky, having
little white lights along the outer edge, and a glare around the
whole thing."

All of these configurational details, like the indications of a
quite un- starlike brilliance, will be seen below to be almost
entirely unexplainable on the Capella hypothesis with which the
Condon Report seeks to settle the Haneda visual sightings.
Further questions ultimately arise from examination of reported
apparent motions of the luminous source, which will be
considered next.

d.   Reported descriptions of apparent motions of the luminous

Here we meet the single most important ambiguity in the Haneda
case-file, though the weight of the evidence indicates that the
luminous object exhibited definite movements. The ambiguity
arises chiefly from the way Capt. Malven summarized the matter
in his IR-35-52 report a week after the incident; "The object
faded twice to the East, then returned. Observers were uncertain
whether disappearance was due to a dimming of the lights,
rotation of object, or to the object moving away at terrific
speed, since at times of fading the object was difficult to
follow closely, except as a small light. Observers did agree
that when close, the object did appear to move horizontally,
varying apparent position and speed slightly." Aside from the
closing comment, all of Malven's summary remarks could be
interpreted as implying either solely radial motion (improbable