Air Liner Crew Confirms Flying Discs Over State

The Oregonian, Saturday, July 5, 1947

Many Seen During Day Over City

Reports of two to 20 fantastic "flying discs" over the Portland-Vancouver area Friday were confirmed by the crew of a westbound Boise-to-Portland United Airlines plane.

Their report, detailed enough to shake the most incredulous, left them equally shaken.

No object I know of could disappear so quickly, Capt. E. J. Smith, veteran pilot of the plane, reported in an interview at Portland.

Three Sight Objects

He, First Officer Ralph Stevens and Stewardess Marty Morrow all saw the objects, which appeared to be 30 or more miles away, eight minutes after take-off from Boise at 9:04 PM, and had them ? nine in all ? under observation for an estimated 10 to 15 minutes.

Seen from approximately the same altitude, the UAL crew could give no clue to their shape, other than that they were "very thin, very flat on the bottom, and appeared to be rough or irregular on top. They are not aircraft. They are bigger than aircraft."

Scores of persons in the Portland area Friday reported seeing, "flying discs" or something like them. Most observers agree the objects were moving rapidly, apparently in formation at about 10,000 feet.

Coincidentally, the Associated Press and army officers at Fort Lewis, Wash., announced a flight of six bombers and 24 P-80 jet-propelled Shooting Stars were making a holiday demonstration flight at great altitude over Portland about the time the first "discs" were reported.

Police Cars Alerted

The first "saucers" sighted were said to be "right over" Oaks amusement park. Don Metcalfe, Oaks employee, told William LeRoy, park superintendent, that he had seen them.

An "all car" alert by Portland police radio brought reports from Patrolman Earl Patterson, in car 13, and Patrolmen Walter Lissy and Robert Ellis, in car 82, that they had spotted them.

Patterson, an air corps veteran who was at S. E. 82nd avenue and Foster road, said the discs came from the west, passed under the sun and proceeded southwesterly. They were either aluminum or eggshell white, did not flash or reflect the sun, and were traveling fast, Patterson said. It was his opinion they were not airplanes and would have to be radio controlled. They were erratic in flight, wobbling and weaving, he said.

Veterans Spy Objects

Lissy and Ellis, both veterans and civilian pilots, said they saw three discs which remained in sight about 30 seconds. They could not judge speed or height because the objects near Oaks park were traveling at "terrific speed." They heard no sound but said they saw flashes and noted erratic flight including sudden changes of direction.

Capt. K. A. Prehn of the harbor patrol, Harbor Pilot A. T. Austed and Patrolman K. C. Hoffi, who were at the Irving street headquarters of the harbor patrol, said they saw the discs going south over the Globe mills at about 10,000 feet. They seemed to oscillate, weave and turn until sometimes a full disc, sometimes only a crescent was visible.

All three said they were undecided, whether there were three or six discs because of the flashes. Captain Prehn described the sight as a "wobbling hubcap." A regular plane was in the sky at the time, but these were not planes, they agreed.

Deputies Report Streaks

Sgt. Claude Cross reported seeing two objects from state police headquarters, 9200 S. E. McLoughlin boulevard. They looked like toy balloons, almost pure white and traveled sidewise with no flashing lights, he said.

Sheriff's Deputies John Sullivan, Clarence McKay and Fred Krives of the Clark county, Wash., sheriff's office, reported seeing 20 streak over Vancouver in a straight line, traveling west and south. They heard a low hum or "drone," and described the objects as "dark, not flashy and more like a bunch of geese."

Harry Hale, production manager of The Oregonian, said he saw a shiny object in the sky just west of Beaverton, while driving toward Portland Friday morning. The object was moving swiftly in a southerly direction, but disappeared suddenly.

Additional details and other eyewitness accounts, page 11.