Radio Interview with Kenneth Arnold

Bequette, William: WKPG,
s1Christol, Mike < Powell, John s2Smith, Ted: KWRC s3Lagrange < Gross, P.: "La (soi-disant) interview sur la radio WKPG le 25 juin 1947", Les ovnis vus de près, 27 mai 2009

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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