Boise Flyer Maintains He Saw 'Em

Bequette, Bill: East Oregonian de Pendleton (Oregon),
Kenneth Arnold
Kenneth Arnold

Kenneth Arnold Sticks To Story of Seeing Nine Mysterious Objects Flying At Speed Of 1200 Miles An Hour Over Mountains

Kenneth Arnold, a six-foot, 200-pound flying Boise, Ida., business man, was about the only person today who believed he saw nine mysterious objects -- as big as four-engined airplanes -- whizzing over western Washington at 1200 miles an hour.

Army and civilian air experts either expressed polite incredulity or scoffed openly at Mr. Arnold's story, but the 32-year-old one time Minot, N.D. football star, clung to his story of shiny, flat objects racing over the Cascade mountains with a peculiar weaving motion "like the tail of a Chinese kite."

A CAA inspector in Portland, quoted by the Associated Press, said: "I rather doubt that anything would be traveling that fast."

A Washington, D.C., army spokesman was quoted as saying, "As far as we know, nothing flies that fast except a V-2 rocket, which travels at about 3500 miles an hour -- and that's too fast to be seen."

No High-Speed Tests In Area

He added that there were no high-speed experimental tests being made in the area where Mr. Arnold reported seeing the mysterious objects.

The Boise man, who owns the Great Western fire control supply which handled automatic fire fighting systems, described the objects as "flat like a pie pan and somewhat bat-shaped" and so shiny they reflected the sun like a mirror.

He said the reflection was so brilliant that it blinded him "as if someone had started an arc light in front of my eyes."

Mr. Arnold reported he was flying east at 2:50 p.m. Tuesday toward Mt. Rainier when the objects appeared directly in front of him 25-30 miles away at about 10,000 feet altitude.

By his plane's clock he timed them at 1:42 minutes for the 50 miles between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams. He said he later figured their speed by triangulation at "about 1200 miles an hour."

Admits Might Has (sic) Erred

He admitted he might have erred 200-300 miles in his figuring but added "they still were the fastest things I ever saw."

When first sighted, he thought the objects were snow geese.

"But geese don't fly that high -- and, anyway, what would geese be doing going south for this time of year?"

Next he thought they were jet planes. He said he had heard so many stories of the speed of this type of craft traveled so he determined to clock them.

However, he quickly realized "their motion was wrong for jet jobs."

"I guess I don't know what they were -- unless they were guided missiles," he said.

"Everyone says I'm nuts," he added ruefully, "and I guess I'd say it too if someone else reported those things. But I saw them and watched them closely."

"It seems impossible -- but there it is."

Mr. Arnold, who flies 60 to 100 hours monthly throughout five western states, said he was 25-30 miles west of Mt. Rainier, en route from Chehalis to Yakima, when he sighted the objects.

Searching for Lost Plane

He explained that he had been cruising around the western slope of the mountain in hope of seeing a marine corps plane, missing since last January.

"I heard there was a $10,000 reward offered to anyone who locates it," he added.

He said the "planes" remained visible by the flashes of reflected sunlight for some seconds after they passed Mt. Adams, perhaps for as far away as 50 miles.

Mr. Arnold admitted the angle from which he viewed the objects would make difficult precise estimation of their speed, but insisted any error would not be grave "for that speed."

The DC-4 was closer than the objects, but at 14,000 feet and somewhat north of him. He said he could estimate the distance of the objects better because an intervening peak once blocked his view of them. He found the peak was 25 miles away, he related.

The Boise flyer said they flew on the west sides of Rainier and Adams, adding that he believed this would make it more difficult for them to be seen from the ground.

He said he "measured" the formation by a snow-covered ridge over which they passed and estimated the "train" was five miles long.

Thought Window Was Cause

He said that at first he thought the window of his plane might be causing the reflections, but that he still saw the objects after rolling it down.

He also described the objects as "saucer-like" and their motion "like a fish flipping in the sun.".

Mostly, he said, he was surprised at the way they twisted just above the higher peaks, almost appearing to be threading their way along the mountain ridge line.

"No orthodox plane would be flying like that," he commented.

"Ten thousand feet is very low for anything going at that speed."

Mr. Arnold was flying a three-passenger, single-engined plane at 9200 feet at the time, he reported. His speed was about 110 miles an hour.

The Boise man, who is married and has two children, landed here yesterday and said he would remain another day or two before returning to Boise.

He described himself as a "fire control engineer" and emphasized he is not employed by the forest service but is a free-lance contractor.