UFO UpDates
A mailing list for the study of UFO-related phenomena
'Its All Here In Black & White'
Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 1998 > Jul > Jul 29

Re: Catalog of Levelland concentration, Nov 1957

From: David Rudiak <DRudiak@aol.com>
Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 18:03:10 EDT
Fwd Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 23:55:36 -0400
Subject: Re: Catalog of Levelland concentration, Nov 1957

>From: Mark Cashman <mcashman@IX.NETCOM.COM>
>Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 00:07:03 -0400
>Fwd Date: Wed, 29 Jul 1998 07:25:20 -0400
>Subject: P-1947 Re: Catalog of Levelland concentration, Nov 1957

>One of the most interesting things about Levelland is how much
>information can be gleaned from nothing more than press
>accounts. We have witnesses who see the metallic skin of the UFO
>through the luminosity, we have a correlation between the
>brightness of the UFO and the presence of the effect. We have an
>apparent look at the side and the front of the UFO. We have
>witnesses right in front of the object and witnesses at various
>distances. We have a description of ammeter behavior during the
>event. We have an engine restart without human intervention. If
>only there had been a real investigation!

Another interesting thing about Levelland is that we now know
how to replicate the reported physical effects. High intensity
radio frequency pulses will stall cars, and also create
sensations of heat if you get in the way. It is clear from a
recent report from the A.F. Scientific Advisory Board published
on the Web that such a weapon is currently in the A.F. arsenal
awaiting future deployment.

One famous report of such effects came from James Stokes, a
rocket engineer at White Sands. He reported cars being stalled
in N.M. by a similar or same object (two days after Levelland)
and a "wave of heat" associated with it. The Lorenzens also
reported that Stokes seemed to have some sort of heat rash when
he came and reported the incident to them.

While the A.F. tried to debunk these sightings 40 years ago,
obviously some of the Air Force people were taking notes and
realized this would make a lovely weapon. Robert Loftin of NICAP
later reported this rather interesting quote from the El Paso
Texas Times, Nov. 7, 1957:  "Some of the nation's top scientists
are 'pretty shook up' about the mysterious flying objects
sighted in New Mexico and West Texas skies this week," said
Charles Capen (a scientist at White Sands). "This is something
that hasn't happened before."

Apparently they were shook up, but then settled down and
eventually figured out how to duplicate some of the effects.

I'd love to see the arrogant PSH'ers who regularly post here try
to attribute such now lab-reproducible physical effects to their
standard hallucinations and social hysteria. And remember --
first came the eyewitness reports of cars stalling, heat, etc.
from places like Levelland, then much later came the weapon, not
the other way around. The witnesses weren't contaminated by what
they saw on "X-files."

>The main thing I wish we had was a higher level of certainty on
>the size of the object. With the typically estimated 200 foot
>length, and the elliptical shape, the object would have to be
>somewhere between fifty and a hundred feet in vertical diameter
>at the center. This is truly an awesome object, possibly close
>to the scale of that in some of the satellite object / cloud
>cigar cases - yet the object is reported as having exceptional
>performance, and making near landings. One might profitably use
>the density of an aircraft applied to an object of such a size
>to get an idea as to how much thrust might be required to attain
>the reported performance.

>For instance, realize that at the reported dimensions, the size
>of the Levelland object is comparable to a C5A Starlifter. This
>implies a weight of between a quarter million and three quarters
>of a million pounds.

In the absence of further information, this is certainly a very
reasonable starting point. However, typically half or more of
such an aircraft's weight is devoted to fuel and payload. This
is unlikely to be the case with a UFO, which doubtlessly does
not use jetfuel as an energy source, nor is concerned with
delivering heavy payloads from points A to B. Furthermore, I
would expect such a high-performance craft to be using advanced
materials which are of greater strength and lighter in weight
than what we typically use in building our aircraft. This is all
speculative, yet I think reductions in overall mass by factors
of 3 or 4 are not unreasonable. This would lessen the energy
demands on the propulsion system considerably. But for now,
let's stick with Mark's higher estimate. Thus, the numbers
computed below likely represent more of a worst-case scenario.

>If the object rose 200 feet in 3 seconds
>(one possible estimate of "rose swiftly"), the acceleration
>would be 3 gravities and the speed at the end of the three
>seconds would be 240 mph.

Unfortunately there are some math errors here. The acceleration
would be given by 2*distance/time^2 or 2*200/3^2 = ~ 44
ft/sec^2. This is about 1.3 g, not 3g. The speed would be
acceleration * time = 44 * 3 sec = 132 ft/sec = 90 mph. This all
points to much more relaxed demands on the propulsion system
than in Mark's calculation.

>The thrust required would seem to require T=mag= 48,300,000 lbs
>of thrust at a 500,000 lb weight (assuming no drag and no
>losses). This is eight times the thrust >of a Saturn V rocket.

Fortunately, the required thrust isn't not anywhere near this
bad. The math is as follows:

Net accelerating force = Thrust - Weight


Thrust = Net accel force + Weight


Thrust = Ma + Mg = M (a + g) = Weight/g (a + g) = Weight (a/g + 1)

Here   M = Mass of the craft
            g = gravitational acceleration
            a = acceleration of craft = 1.3 g

So Thrust = Weight (1.3 + 1 ) = 2.3 * Weight = 2.3 * 500,000 lb
= ~1.2 million pounds

The main error in Mark's calculation was assuming the mass and
the weight were the same, which led to the calculated thrust
being 32 times greater than it should have been. (Note: actually
mass in English units = weight/32, expressed in the horrific
English unit, the "slug."  Slugs plus PSH'ers and English food
are not the among the high points of British civilization.)

Thus the required thrust is about 1/5th of a Saturn's, not 8
times as much (whew!). On the other hand, it's still about 6
times greater than the maximum thrust of a 747. Larger jet
engines, however, can put out about 100,000 pounds thrust each,
or roughly double that  of a 747. Nonetheless you would still
need about a dozen such engines to duplicate the performance.
This would be somewhat daunting from a engineering standpoint,
but still doable. On the other hand, had we assumed a much
lighter weight UFO, as outlined above, the required thrust might
be only 50 to 100% greater than a 747, which becomes very
managable. In fact, all we have to do to meet this requirement
would be to substitute the larger jet engines for the 747's
standard ones.

> No wonder this UFO was occasionally heard
> to emit sound - but still, where was this terrific level of
> energy emitted, since no effects on the ground were discovered,
> other than mild heating? In fact, with those energy levels, if
> the Levelland object were a rocket, one would expect a large
> portion of the town to have been vaporized.

Since the calculation was in error, this wouldn't be the case. Still we have
to deal with the problem of energy dispersal from the rough equivalent of six
747's (in the more conservative or worst-case estimate) taking off at the same

One difference between a jet engine (or rocket) and a UFO is
that a jet engine confines the thrust to a relatively narrow
area, whereas a UFO may ionize a large mass of air around it and
thus spread it's thrust over a much greater area. Thus the
thrust per unit area (pressure) might be considerably less than
that of a jet engine.

E.g., the exhaust ports of those dozen large jet engines of
100,000 pounds thrust each would cover, say,1000 square feet of
area total (very roughly), or 1200 pounds thrust per square foot
for the 1.2 million pounds thrust total. In comparison, lets say
the ionized air beneath the Levelland UFO occupied an area
comparable to the footprint of the craft itself, or very roughly
10,000 square feet. The same thrust is spread over an area 10
times greater, so the thrust per square foot drops to 120

If the ionized air "footprint" was  four times the figure used
above, or 40,000 square feet (this assumes the region of
effective ionization is double the dimensions of the craft
itself), then the thrust/area drops to a very gentle 30 pounds
per square foot, or double atmospheric pressure. (And for a UFO
of 1/3rd the mass of the worst-case above, this drops to a
"miniscule" 10 pounds per square foot.)

Heating effects are also dramatically reduced because the energy
is spread over a much greater volume. The hypothesized air
ionization or plasma around the craft which is used as part of
it's EM propulsion system wouldn't be very hot to begin with.
Although plasmas can have very hot electron temperatures (on the
order of 20,000 deg. K), the electrons hold very little heat
because of their low mass. On the other hand, the ionized
positive ions, primarily nitrogen, would be responsible for most
of the heat content of the plasma because of their very high
mass compared to the free electrons, yet have a relatively low
actual gas temperature (on the order of only 300 deg. K, room
temperature, or maybe a little hotter) because of their
comparatively low speed. This is one reason why a fluorescent
tube, itself holding a glowing plasma, is only a little warm to
the touch. The kinetic energy of the electrons inside make them
"hot" as blazes, but most of the heat resides in the sluggish,
heavy rarefied gas.

How much would the air heat up as the UFO takes off and
accelerates upward? The Levelland UFO is dumping it's energy
into a very large volume, so air heating is relatively minor. A
little calculation shows that the combined kinetic plus
potential energy of a 500,000 lb craft rising 200 feet to an air
speed of 90 mph is roughly 300 million joules. If an equal
amount of energy was dumped into the ionized column of air this
craft passes through (assuming the smaller 10,000 sq. foot
footprint but now 200 feet high) the total volume of air
affected would be roughly 2 million cubic feet. This contains
about 2.5 million mole of nitrogen/oxygen gas, which when
multiplied by the univeral gas constant (8.3 joules/mole/deg K)
gives a net heat capacity of roughly 20 million joules/deg K.
Thus the column of air would be raised in temperature by 300
million/ 20 million or only about 15 deg Celius, or 27 deg
Fahrenheit. And of course, the average heating of the air would
be only 1/4 of this if the actual ionization footprint was four
times the area of UFO footprint itself, and even less than that
if the craft was of much lower mass than assumed in the
calculation. These are very rough numbers, but again demonstrate
that the good people of Levelland were probably in no danger of
being fried. It's a much different situation than standing in
back of a jet engine with its very hot, high speed gases rushing
out. UFOs have "kinder and gentler" propulsion.

>This, in a nutshell, is the core of the UFO as a technological problem.

Mark, I think if you look at the problem using the numbers
above, the required technology doesn't become so daunting.

I would like to add here that I consider Mark Cashman to be a
very serious researcher, and I've enjoyed his very thoughtful
and intelligent posts in the past. I hope he isn't upset at
having some mistakes pointed out. I totally agree with Mark that
a great deal about the physics of the UFOs can be deduced by
careful examination of the reports. I am very greatful to his
past work in this regard, such as the energy output as deduced
from luminosity reports.

One of the reasons I wrote this post correcting some of Mark's
numbers is I didn't want to give the scientifically illiterate
debunkers who regularly post here additional ammunition with
which to dismiss the UFO phenomenon. UFOs don't need some
pie-in-the-sky, gee-whiz Star Trek Sci-Fi dilithium crystal
technology to do many of the things they are reported as doing.
'Nuff said for now.

David Rudiak