Projet "Soucoupe" - Memorandum pour la presse

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ETABLISSEMENT MILITAIRE NATIONAL
BUREAU DES RELATIONS PUBLIQUES
Washington 25, D. C.

Memorandum pour la presse   NO. M 26 - 49
Diffusion immédiate 27 Avril 1949 RE 6700 Ext. 3201

Le rapport qui sui est un résumé des études préliminaires réalisées par l'Air Material Command, Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, sur les "Soucoupes Volantes."

Projet "Soucoupe"

Le Mardi 24 Juin 1947, à Boise, un homme d'affaire de l'Idaho nommé Kenneth Arnold regardait depuis son avion et repéra une chaîne de 9 objets semblables à des soucoupes [playing tag] avec les crêtes déchiquetées du Mont Rainier de Washington à ce qu'il décrivit une vitesse fantastique.

Le signalement d'Arnold déclencha une véritable réaction en chaîne céleste. Et en quelques jours, les fabuleuses "soucoupes volantes" étaient placées sous les projecteurs nationaux. Les observateurs rapportaient voir des enjoliveurs chromés, des pièces de monnaie volantes, des gouttes de pluie volantes, des feux follets volants, des cornets de glace, et des plats à tarte volants.

Mais pour le renseignement militaire cet pot-pourri céleste arriva sous une seul désignation — celle de "Phénomène Aérien Non Identifié". Des enquêtes approfondies sur chaque observation signalée furent déclenchées. Et le projet "Soucoupe" fut né.

Aujourd'hui, près de 2 ans plus tard, le projet "Soucoupe" n'a jusqu'ici pas disparu ni n'est oublié car l'Air Material Command de l'U. S. Air Force à Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio, s'en préoccupe.

L'anniversaire officiel de "Soucoupe" fut le 22 Janvier 1948. Depuis lors, la Division de Renseignement Technique de l'AMC, chargée de la collecte, l'investigation et l'interprétation des données relatives aux objets volants non identifiés, a examiné plus de 240 incidents domestiques et 30 incidents étrangers. Avec l'aide de plusieurs autres agences gouvernementales et privées, et avec l'ensemble des installations des laboratoires de Wright Field à sa disposition, le personnel du projet "Soucoupe" est déjà parvenu à identifier que près de 30 % des observations étudiées jusqu'ici étaient des objets aériens conventionnel. On pense que d'autres sondages d'incidents relatifs à des localisations de ballons météo, etc., fourniront des réponses communes à au moins un nombre équivalent des énigmes du ciel.

Les réponses ont été — et seront — établie sur la base de facteurs tels que l'activité de recherche sur les missiles guidés, les ballons d'étude météo ou atmosphérique, les phénomènes astronomiques, les vols d'appareils commerciaux et militaires, les vols d'oiseaux migratoires, les tirs de pistolets à fusées, les blagues de plaisantins, les victimes d'illusion d'optique, les phénomènes hallucination collective, etc.

Mais à ce jour des des questions restent posées dans "l'Histoire des Soucoupes".

Bien sûr, la possibilité que certains des incidents signalés au renseignement de l'AMC puissent représenter des développements techniques en avance considérable sur les connaissances accessibles aux ingénieurs et scientifiques américains a été largement envisagée. Mais les observations basées sur l'expérience des recherches sur les réacteurs atomiques dans ce pays désignent comme hautement improbable l'existence sur Terre de moteurs de taille et poids suffisamment réduits pour propulser les capricieuses "soucoupes". L'autres possibilité évidente — des visites de Mars, Venus, ou d'autres planètes éloignées d'autres systèmes stellaires — est également considérée comme une impossibilité presque totale.

En résumé, alors que les équipes d'évaluation du projet "Soucoupe" indiquent qu'aucun élément définitif et concluant n'est à ce jour disponible pour prouver ou infirmer l'existence d'au moins une partie des objets restant non identifiés en tant qu'appareils réels ou inconnus et de configurations non conventionnelles, les enquêtes approfondies ont débouché sur des probabilités non alarmantes.

Les questions posées par le projet "Soucoupe" ne sont pas des questions dangereuses.

Pas plus qu'il n'y ait de signalements d'objets volants non identifiés spécifiques à notre époque. Dans Les livres de Charles Fort de Tiffany Thayer, publié en 1941 par Henry Holte and Company, New York, des phénomènes similaires sont décrits comme ayant été observés à différentes époques tout au long des siècles passés.

Mais ceci est l'Histoire des Soucoupes de 1947 à 1949.

Qui a vu les soucoupes

Bien que des observations occasionnelles d'objets aériens étranges aient été signalées aussi loin qu'en Janvier 1947, c'est l'incident du Mr. (sic) Ranier qui a [touched off] le sensationnel des soucoupes à la fin de Juin suivant.

Kenneth Arnold, représentant d'une compagnie d'équipement de contrôle incendie à Boise (Idaho), était en route depuis Chehalis (Washington) vers Yakima (Washington) le 24 juin, dans son propre avion privé lorsqu'il vit le reflet d'un éclair brillant sur son aile. Arnold déclara qu'il regarda alentours et observa une chaîne de 9 appareils inhabituels approchant le Mont Ranier.

Je pouvais voir leur silhouette assez pleinement devant la neige lorsqu'elles s'approchaient de la montagne, rapporta-t-il. Elles volaient très près des sommets de la montagne, directement du Sud vers le Sud-Est descendant de l'autre côté de la chaîne, volant comme des oies selon une ligne diagonale en chaîne, comme si elles étaient liées entre elles.

Arnold observa que les objets semblaient plus petits qu'un DC-4 à sa gauche, mais il jugea leur envergure comme étant aussi large que les moteurs les plus en avant de chaque côté du fuselage du DC-4.

Elles étaient 20 ou 25 miles de distance environ, et je n'ai pas pu voir de queue sur elles déclara-t-il. J'ai regardé pendant près de 3 mn... une chaîne de choses ressemblant à des soucoupes au moins sur 5 miles, faisant des écarts à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur des hauts pics de la montagne. Elles étaient plates comme un plat à tarte et si brillantes qu'elles reflètaient le Soleil comme un miroir.

Je n'ai jamais rien vu d'aussi rapide, dit-il aux enquêteurs.

Arnold indiqua il qu'il avait chronométré la vitesse des "Soucoupes" à près de 1200 miles/h. Par la suite, cependant, des hommes du Laboratoire Aéro-Médical déclarèrent qu'un objet voyageant aussi vite n'aurait pas été visible à l'oeil nu.

L'histoire d'Arnold, lorsqu'elle éclata dans les journaux, fut en majorité traitée avec amusement et incrédulité.

Irrité par ce qu'il appela le ridicule de la presse, Arnold retorqua Ils peuvent m'appeler Einstein, Flash Gordon, ou juste [a screwball], mais je suis absolutement certain de ce que j'ai vu. Il ajouta que s'il voyait jamais un jour à nouveau un phénomène dans le ciel... même si c'était [a 10 story building] volant dans les airs... il n'en dirait plus un mot.

Aujourd'hui, personne ne sait simplement ce qu'Arnold a vu sur le Mont Ranier. Mais les objets ont été jugé comme n'étant pas d'origine astronomique d'après un rapport d'interim récemment soumis au projet "Soucoupe" par le professeur Joseph A. Hynek, astro-physicien de l'Université d'Etat de l'Ohio et directeur de l'Observatoire O.S.U.. Le docteur Hynek travaille sous contrat avec l'AMC sur une enquête indépendante sur les incident de "soucoupe" afin de déterminer quel pourcentage pourrait en définitive être attribué à des phénomènes astronomiques.

Dans son examen de l'incident d'Arnold, cependant, le docteur Hynek a débouché sur ce qu'il appelle certaines incohérences dans les estimations d'Arnold des taille, vitesse et performance de ces "soucoupes".

Il semble probable, rapporte Hynek, que quels que furent les objets observés ils voyageaient à des vitesses sub-soniques et pourraient par conséquent avoir été une quelconque sorte d'appareil connu.

Dans les jours qui suivirent l'observation d'Arnold, les signalements de disques commençèrent à faire boule de neige. A Muroc (Californie), un groupe d'officiers de l'Air Force signala avoir repéré des objets sphériques de forme discoïdale tourbillonnant dans le ciel à des vitesses dépassant les 300 miles/h.

A Portland (Oregon), plusieurs policiers déclarèrent aux enquêteurs qu'il avaient vu un groupe de disques qui vacillèrent, disparûrent et réaparûrent plusieurs fois. Ils furent décrits comme ressemblant à des enjoliveurs chromés.

Ces objets n'étaient pas d'origine astronomique, d'après le rapport du docteur Hynek.

Concernant l'incident de Portland, il déclara : Il n'y pas quoi que ce soit dans cet incident qui puisse suggérer que les objets observés êtaient d'origine astronomique. Les manoeuvres des objets et le temps relativement long durant lequel ils furent en vue exclurent définitivement qu'ils soient astronomiques.

Seulement quelques jours après l'observation d'Arnold, on signala l'observation d'un disque au-dessus de sa ville de Boise — la forme d'un demi-cercle, s'accrochant à un nuage et paraissant simplement tout aussi brillant et argenté qu'un miroir pris dans les rayons du Soleil.

Au début d'Août 1947, 2 pilotes d'un service de vol de Bethel (Alabama) racontèrent aux enquêteurs qu'ils avaient repéré un énorme objet noir plus grand qu'un C-54 se dessiner devant le ciel luisant du soir. Afin d'éviter une collision ils dirent qu'ils tirèrent le manque jusqu'à 1200 pieds et regardèrent l'objet traverser leur itinéraire avec des angles droits.

Les 2 pilotes told of swinging in behind the object and following it à 170 miles/h jusqu'à ce qu'il les sème et disparaisse de vue 4 mn plus tard environ. Ils décrivirent qu'il ressemblait à un C-54 sans moteurs, ailes ou moyens de propulsion visibles... de surface lisse et streamlined. Aucun ballon de fut signalé dans la zone.

Quelques jours plus tard, à Fort Richardson (Alaska), 2 officiers parlèrent d'une observation d'un objet sphérique d'environ 10 pieds de diamètre volant à travers les airs à une vitesse énorme, sans laisser de traînée de vapeur.

Un autre incident toujours dans le Dossier des "Soucoupes" Non Identifiées eut lieu à 5000 pieds au-dessus du niveau de la mer dans les Montagnes Cascade. Fred M. Johnson, un prospecteur de Portland, dit aux autorités avoir remarqué un reflet étrange dans le ciel et, regardant vers le haut, repéra 5 ou 6 disques d'environ 30 pieds de diamètre. Johnson dit avoir attrapé son télescope et regardé les disques pendant près de 50 s alors qu'ils banked in the sun. Il les décrivit comme étant ronds avec des tails, ne faisant aucun bruit et n'adoptant pas de formation de vol.

Johnson dit que tandis que les disques étaient en vue the hand on his compass-watch weaved wildly from side to side.

Peut-être la "soucoupe" la plus super-sized jamais observée fut une à Oklahoma City qu'un homme rapporta comme semblant être du volume de 6 B-29s. L'observateur, qui détient une licence de pilote privé, repéra l'objet depuis le sol. Il dit qu'au premier abrod il ressemblait à un gros avion blanc, mais qu'en se rapprochant il devint parfaitement rond et plat sans protrusions. Il n'entendit aucun bruit et rapporta que sa vitesse était probablement 3 fois celle d'un jet.

A la recherche fatale d'une soucoupe

La tragédie frappa l'histoire des soucoupes volantes dès 1948. Le 7 janvier, un objet non-identifié ressemblant à un cornet de glace avec du rouge à son sommet fut observé au-dessus de la base aérienne de Godman, à Ft. Knox (Kentucky), par plusieurs observateurs militaires et civils. La tour de Godman demanda à un vol de 4 F-51 de la Garde Nationale dans le voisinage d'enquêter sur le phénomène.

3 des avions se rapprochèrent de l'objet, et rapportèrent qu'il était métalique et de taille énorme. Un pilote le décrivit comme rond comme une goutte d'eau, et parfois presque fluide.

Le chef d'escadrille, le capitaine Thomas F. Mantell, contacta la tour de Godman avec an initial report that the object was travelling at half his speed at 12 o'clock high.

"I'm closing in now to take a good look," he radioed. "It's directly ahead of me and still moving at about half my speed...the thing looks metallic and of tremendous size."

"It's going up now and forward as fast as I am...that's 360 MPH," Captain Mantell reported from his F-51." "I'm going up to 20,000 feet and if I'm no closer, I'll abandon chase."

The time was 1515 hours.

That was the last radio contact made by Mantell with the Godman tower.

Later that day his body was found in the wreckage of his plane near Ft. Knox.

Five minutes after Mantell disappeared from his formation, the two remaining planes returned to Godman. A few minutes later, one resumed the search -- covering territory 100 miles to the south as highas 33,000 feet -- but found nothing.

Subsequent investigation revealed that Mantell had probably blacked out at 20,000 feet from lack of oxygen and had died of suffocation before the crash.

The mysterious object which the flyer chased to his death was first identified as the Planet Venus. However, further probing showed the elevation and azimuth readings of Venus and the object at specified time intervals did not coincide.

It is still considered "Unidentified."

On the same day, about two hours later, a sky phenomena was observed by several watchers over Lockbourne Air Force Base, Columbus, Ohio. It was described as "round or oval, larger than a C-47, and travelling in level flight faster than 500 MPH." The object was followed from the Lockbourne observation tower for more than 20 minutes. Observers said it glowed from white to amber, leaving an amber exhaust trail five times its own length. It motioned like an elevator and at one time appeared to touch the ground. No sound was heard. Finally, the object faded and lowered toward the horizon.

Signalements étrangers

While the vast majority of saucers reported to Air Force intelligence have been seen over the continental United States, they have also appeared around the globe. Sightings have ben reported, for example, over Newfoundland, Alaska, Asuncion, Paraguay; Gadbjerg, Danemark ; Lake Dorian (à la frontière Yugoslavo-Grèque), Suède, Norvège, Danemark, Hollande, Turquie, Hawaii, etc.

En avril 1948, le 1er lieutenant Robert W. Meyers de la 67ème escadrille de chasseurs, 18ème groupe de chasseurs, dans les Iles Philippines, dirigeait un vol de 4 F-47s lorsqu'il observa un objet aérien non identifié à environ 3 miles de distance. As Meyers wheeled his fighter around, the object made a simultaneous 90° turn left and disappeared in about five seconds. No exhaust trails were observed. Meyers said the object appeared to be a flying wing type of aircraft, silver in color and resembling a half moon with what seemed to be a dorsal fin barely perceptible.


Le 8 Mai 1948, les citoyens de Middleport (Ohio), ont signalé plusieurs objets en forme de disque voyageant à travers le ciel à 2 mn d'intervalles. Un observateur a déclaré qu'ils resemblaient à "une grande façade de montre couverte de radium et naviguant dans les airs."

Vaisseau spatial

Perhaps the fantastic saucer sighting in Technical Intelligence records was the widely-publicised "space ship" which two Eastern Air Lines pilot reported encountering in the skies around Montgomery, Alabama, last July. Presumably the same object was seen by ground observers at Robbins Air Force Base, Macon, Georgia, about an hour before. All reports agreed it was going in a southerly direction, trailing vari-colored flames and that it behaved like a normal aircraft insofar as disappearing from the line of sight was concerned.

Les pilotes des EAL, le capitaine C. S. Chiles et John B. Whitte(d) described the phenomena as a appareil sans ailes, 100 feet long cigar shaped and about twice the diameter of a B-29 with no protruding surfaces."

"We saw it at the same time and asked each other,"What in the world is this?" Chiles told investigators. "Whatever it was, it flashed down toward us and veered to the left. It veered to its left and passed us about 700 feet to our right and above us. Then, as if the pilot had seen us and wanted to avoid us, it pulled up with a tremendous burst of flame from the rear and zoomed into the clouds, its prop wash or jet wash rocking our DC-3."

The flame-shooting mystery craft, as described by the EAL pilots had no fins, but appeared to have a snout similar to a radar pole in front, and gave the impression of a cabin with windows above.

Captain Chiles declared the cabin "appeared like a pilot compartment, except brighter. "He said the illumination inside the body itself approximated the brilliance of a magnesium flare.

"We saw no occupants," he told investigators. "From the side of the craft, came an intense, fairly dark blue glow that ran the entire length of the fuselage...like a blue fluorescent factory light. The exhaust was a red-orange flame, with a lighter color predominant around the outer edges."

The pilots said the flame extended 30 to 50 feet behind the object and became deeper intensity as the craft pulled up into a cloud. Its speed was said to be about 1/3 faster than common jets.

In their investigation of the incident, Project "Saucer" personnel screened 225 civilian and military flight schedules and found that the only other aircraft in the vicinity at the time was an Air Force C-47. Application of the Prandtl theory of lift to the incident indicated that a fuselage of the dimensions reported by Chiles and Whitted could support a load comparable to the weight of an aircraft of this size at flying speeds in the sub-sonic range.

L'objet est toujours considéré comme "Non Identifié."


Another fantastic saucer tale came "out of the mouths of babes" in Hamel, Minn. Two children playing in their back yard one afternoon last August reported seeing a strange object about 12 feet off the ground descending between them.

"It hit the ground, spun around once, made a whistling noise and then shot straight up into the sky about 20 feet, stopped again and made more whistling noises," the children reported.

They told their parents the object then shot up about 10 feet more, maneuvering around tree branches and telephone wires, and suddenly sped off to the northwest. They said the disc was about two feet in diameter and of a dull gray color. Soil analysis of a recession in the earth where the children claimed the disc had landed proved negative.


A unique chapter in the saucer story was written last October by Lt. George F. Gorman of the North Dakota National Guard who said he had a 27-minute dogfight with a flying saucer in the skies over Fargo.

Gorman, manager of a Fargo construction company, told this story to project investigators.

La nuit du 1er Octobre 1948, he was preparing to land at the Fargo airport after a routine F-51 patrol flight. Cleared by the tower to land, Gorman noticed what appeared to be the tail light of another plane about another 1,000 yards away. He queried the tower and was told that the only other aircraft over the field was a Piper Cub which he could see outlined plainly below him. He saw no outline of anything around the moving light.

Gorman closed in to take a look at the mystery light.

"It was about six to eight inches in diameter, clear white and completely round with a sort of fuzz at the edges." he said. "It was blinking on and off. As I approached, however, the light suddenly became steady and pulled into a sharp left bank. I thought it was making a pass at the tower.

"I dived after it and brought my manifold pressure up to 60 inches but I couldn't catch up with the thing. It started gaining altitude and again made a left bank," Gorman told investigators.

"I put my F-51 into a sharp turn and tried to cut the light off in its turn. By then we were at about 7,000 feet. Suddenly it made a sharp right turn and we headed straight at each other. Just when we were about to collide I guess I got scared.

"I went into a dive and the light passed over my canopy at about 500 feet. Then, it made a left circle about 1,000 feet above, and I gave chase again."

Gorman said he cut sharply toward the light which was once more coming at him. When collision again seemed imminent, the object shot straight into the air. Gorman climbed after it to 14000 feet when his plane went into a power stall. The object turned in a northwest north heading and disappeared.

During the "dogfight" Gorman said he noticed no deviation on his instruments, no sounds, odors or exhaust trails from the object.

Its speed, he said was excessive. At times during the chase, his F-51 was under full power with speed varying from 300 to 400 MPH. In all, the light was observed more than 27 minutes. Gorman described it as having depth although it appeared flat.

The mystery light was also seen by L.D. Jensen, Airport Traffic Controller at Fargo, who watched it with a pair of binoculars. He said he was unable to distinguish any shape or form other than what appeared to be the tail light of a very fast-moving craft.

Dans une déclaration certifiée Gorman, qui était pilote instructeur pour les élèves militaires français pendant la 2nde guerre mondiale, dit être convaincu qu'il y avait de la "pensée" derrière les manoeuvres. Il déclara, Je suis aussi convaincu que l'objet était gouverné par les lois de l'inertie parce que son accélération était rapide mais pas immédiate et bien qu'il fut capable de tourner de manière assez serrée à une vitesse considérable, il suivait toujours une courbe naturelle.

L'objet pouvait out-turn and outspeed the F-51 and was able to attain a much steeper climb and to maintain a constant rate of climb far in excess of the Air Force Fighter.

"When I attempted to turn with the object I blacked out temporarily due to excessive speed," Gorman stated. "I am in fairly good physical condition and I do not believe there are many if any pilots who could withstand the turn and speed effected by the light and remain conscious."

From a psychological aspect, the Gorman incident raised the question, "Is it possible for an object without appreciable shape or known aeronautical configuration to appear to travel at variable speeds and maneuver intelligently?"


Les observations de soucoupes se sont multipliées en 1949. Le jour du Nouvel An de cette année-là, M. et Melle Tom Rush de Jackson (Mississippi), were coming in for a landing at Dixie Airport, Jackson, in a Stinson civilian plane when they sighted an unidentified aerial object they first described as being cigar-shaped with short, stubby wings and resembling a rocket. The Rushes later changed their description to a "wingless aircraft." They said it was about 60 feet long and 10 feet in diameter, with one end tapered to a four foot trailing edge. It crossed 500 feet in front of them, they reported, turned to the southwest, accelerated from a speed of about 200 miles/h à 500 miles/h and flew out of sight. Rush is a former USAF pilot and both he and his wife hold private pilots licenses.

Origines astronomiques

Preliminary study of more than 240 domestic and 30 foreign incidents by Astro-Physicist Hynek indicates that an overall total of about 30 percent can probably satisfactorily be explained away as astronomical phenomena.

For example, on February 18, 1948, a terrific explosion high in the sky over Northern Kansas rocked buildings, broke windows and terrified residents over a wide section of Kansas, Nebraska and Oklahoma.

Fantastic tales were associated with the phenomena. A Stockton, Kansas, farmer reported that shortly before the explosion he saw a strange "saucer" hovering over his home. He said when he came within about six feet of the object it stopped in the air almost level with his face and "wobbled around for an instant with fire belching out and then being sucked back in."

The farmer described the object as about four feet long and shaped "something like a funnel."

Suddenly sparks showered from it, and the fire increased as if a fuse had been lighted, he declared.

"It took off in a northwest direction very fast, gaining altitude as it went," he told investigators. "My wife came out and watched it fly off leaving a trail of smoke. Suddenly a great cloud of smoke appeared in the sky and a few seconds later we heard a terrible explosion. I could feel the heat from where the object had come near the ground."

Scores of residents over the country side reported seeing flashes of light and hearing the explosion. The object left a smudge of bluish-white smoke extending across a wide segment of the sky.

Although the phenomena was immediately thought to be a fireball, some mystery and "saucer talk" surrounded it until definite proof came the following April. Oscar Manning, Texas astronomer, reported that meteorites had been recovered, including a 109 pound piece which was discovered embedded about two feet in the soil. It was an "achondrite," -- technical name for an unusual type of stony meteorite.

On the same day that Kenneth Arnold saw his Mt. Ranier saucers, Lt. Gov. Donald S. Whitehead of Idaho said he spotted a comet-shaped object hanging motionless in the western Idaho sky, which seemed, after a time, to disappear below the horizon with the rotation of the earth.

In his recent report, Dr. Hynek said it seemed likely Lt. Governor Whitehead observed either the planet Saturn or Mercury. A bright planet shining though the cirrus clouds could give the impression of a comet-like object, he stated.

On July 20, 1947, observers off the Newfoundland coast reported seeing a series of silver to reddish flashes in the sky, although the object from which they came was not visible. Dr. Hynek states in his report these flashes were probably nothing more than a fireball.

Early in the saucer sensation -- mid July of 1947 -- capture of a "flying disc" excited residents of Jackson, Ohio. Later, however, the "saucer" was identified as a U.S. Army Signal Corps Radiosonde Transmitter used for gathering weather data.

Ballons

Various weather and research balloons have been found at the source of a great number of saucer incidents.

One of the most startling occurred last November at Camp Springs, Maryland. From a plane, an object illuminated by a continuous glowing white light was observed flying on a 360° pattern west to east over Andrews Air Force Base. As the pilot made a pass to check on the object he said it took definite evasive action. He switched his wing and tail navigation lights off, but as he again tried to close in, the "saucer" flew up and over his plane. He reported the mystery craft's speed as seeming to alternate from 80 MPH to five or six hundred MPH. The pilot said it appeared like an oblong ball with one light and no wings or exhaust flames visible. Smaller than a T-6 aircraft, this "saucer" was reported to be highly maneuverable and capable of near-vertical flight.

The mystery was cleared up when the object was identified positively as a cluster of cosmic ray research balloons.

Le 8 avril 1948, several witnesses reported seeing an object variously described as "an oblong silver streak" "a large cylindrical body resembling an opalescent mother of pearl stick" "a vaporous cylinder" and "a white sphere," was seen by several ground observers over Ashley and Delaware, Ohio. At Delaware, the airport and the Perkins Observatory were alerted, but both were unable to sight the object. Later, it was determined that weather balloons were in the area at the time of the sightings.

Weather balloons also appeared to be the answer to a long objet cylindrique sighted in the skies between Everett and Bedford, Mass., by the pilot and navigator of a Pan American Airlines plane. They described it as being about the length of a P-40 fuselage and blunt at both ends.

Another strange "silver disc" sighted by an Air Force Lt. Col. over Tyndall Air Force Base, Montgomery, Ala. later was definitely identified as a weather balloon. Balloons were also blamed for a flurry of "disc" sightings which occurred in and around Indianapolis late last July.

Columbus, Ohio residents had their eyes on the skies early last August when several citizens reported seeing a round flying object, 20 to 30 feet in diameter, with a constant gray-black perimeter and transparent center. The object seemed to move at a slow, steady pace over the city, making no noise and occasionally issuing a thin trail of smoke. This was later positively identified as a carnival balloon.

Often, Wright Field laboratories are called on to make analysis of objects claimed to be fragments salvaged from "flying discs." The "flaming wheel" which fell on Bellefontaine, O., last December and stirred up the populace to a new saucer scare lost its mystery origin in Wright Field Labs. Remains of the "Wheel" underwent analysis which revealed they contained zinc, magnesium, sodium and lead, typical constituents of flares and other explosive devices. It is assumed the "wheel" was in reality a pistol flare fired from the ground.

Canulars

The nation's practical jokers and publicity seekers also have played a role in project "Saucer."

One of the biggest tempests was stirred up by two Tacoma, Wash., men, Fred Chrisman and Harold A. Dahl. In July, 1947, a few days after Kenneth Arnold's Mt. Ranier saucers hit the headlines, Dahl reported sighting six discs from a boat in which he was patrolling off Maury Island, Washington.

Dahl said one of the discs fluttered to earth and disintegrated, showering his boat with fragments which caused some damage and killed his pet dog. He and Chrisman then attempted to sell the story to a Chicago adventure magazine which in turn contacted Kenneth Arnold in Boise and asked him to check its authenticity.

Arnold went to Tacoma with Capt. Emil J. Smith, United Airlines pilot, who had also received "saucer" publicity when he reported seeing discs on the Fourth of July while on a routine flight over Boise.

From Tacoma, Arnold summoned two officers of Army A-2 Intelligence to aid in the investigation of Dahl and Chrisman's claim. Thus began a story of secret hotel meetings and mysterious anonymous telephone calls which ended in death for two of the participants and exposed the Tacoma disc story as a hoax.

At a meeting in the Winthrop Hotel, Dahl produced some fragments which he alleged came from the disc which damaged his boat. He related his entire story of the incident to Arnold, Smith and the two Army Intelligence men. The next day the two officers left to return to Hamilton Field, Calif., to participate in an Air Force Day program, taking some of the fragment with them for technical analysis.

But tragedy struck en route. The plane crashed, killing both officers although the crew chief and a hitch hiker -- the other two passengers -- parachuted to safety.

Shortly after the crash, newspapers and wire services in Tacoma began receiving a series of anonymous telephone calls informing them that the fallen B-25 had been carrying "flying disc" fragments and that the plane had been shot down from the air with a 20mm cannon by saboteurs. While one Tacoma paper hinted that the plane had been sabotaged because of the disc fragments it carried, a thorough investigation of the crash revealed no indication of foul play. (The crash was caused by a burned exhaust stack which in turn caught the left wing afire. The blazing wing broke from the fuselage and tore off the plane's tail.

The mysterious called added that a U.S. Marine Corps plane found a few weeks before on Mt. Ranier had also been shot down by the unidentified "saucer saboteurs."

On the day of the crash, Chrisman and Dahl took Captain Smith to view the the boat which allegedly had been damaged by the falling disc.

"I saw what may have been repairs to the windshield and lights, but I was not personally satisfied that they were made as a result of the claimed incident," Smith told investigators.

Later under questioning, Chrisman and Dahl broke and admitted that the fragments they had produced were really unusual rock formations found on Maury Island and had no connection with the "flying discs".

They admitted telling the Chicago magazine that the fragments "could have been remnants of the discs" in order to increase the sale value of their story.

During the investigation, Dahl's wife consistently urged him to admit that the entire affair was a hoax, and it is carried as such in Project "Saucer" files.

July of 1947 was a banner month for the practical jokers. A Seattle, Wash., woman excitedly reported to police that a flaming flying disc had landed on her roof. The object, which was quickly extinguished, was turned over to the Federal agents and examined by Navy bomb and electronics experts. It consisted of a 28 inch circular piece of plywood cupped up on two sides and held in position by a wire stretched across the center. The letters "USSR" and "EYR" and a hammer and sickle were painted on the disc in white. Two radio tubes and a quart cylindrical shaped oil can were mounted on pieces of bakelite inside the object and a cloth saturated with a turpentine-like substance and charred from burning was attached to it. Final consensus was that the disc could not fly and was undoubtedly the work of practical jokers.

The population of Shreveport, La., had its share of disc excitement when a resident reported seeing a "saucer" whirl through the air, shooting smoke and fire, and come to rest on a downtown thoroughfare. A police investigation, however, revealed that the "saucer" was the work of a prankster who launched the homemade disc from the top of a downtown office building as a joke on his boss. This "Saucer" employed a starter from a fluorescent light and two electric fan condensers.

A flying disc became big business in Black River Falls, Wisc., where the finder charged 50 cents admission for a look at the "saucer" until local police stepped in and shut it up in a bank vault. The contrivance, which was fashioned from plywood and cardboard was supposedly seen in flight near Black River Falls shortly before an electrician said he found it lying in deep grass on the town fairgrounds. After analysis at Mitchell Field, the following report was made:

"This contrivance is patently a hoax...it will be held for a reasonable length of time and then disposed of in the nearest ash receptacle."

Other remains of "grounded discs" were also determined to be hoaxes. Usually they were crudely contrived practical jokes. Analysis of the pieces of one "flying saucer" which crashed to the ground in a farmer's field at Danforth, Ill., and burned the weeds in the area to a fine ash, revealed plaster of paris fragments, part of an outmoded magnetic speaker diaphragm, bakelite coil forms wrapped in enameled copper wire, a metallic box, the remains of an electronic condenser manufactured in New York City, and the vestiges of a metallic magnetic ring.

Of such things are some of the saucers made.


Letters voicing opinions on the origin of the saucers and advice on how to deal with them have teemed into Project "Saucer" headquarters.

A Los Angeles man sent a wire to the Commanding General, USAF, advising that we "shoot down flying saucers, discs, skeet and wash tubs if of foreign origin and not American."

From an Oregon woman who reported seeing a series of saucers form up and spell out "PEPSI" came a suggestion that some foreign power was practicing code in our skies.

Another letter writer suggested that the saucer scare was in reality a "world-wide mapping survey expedition" being made by a world government of the "empire of oppressed and subjugated people of the earth" and led by "The Ancient Three' -- Who Were, Who Are and Who Will Be."

Comment sont menées les enquêtes sur les incidents

Mais les canulars et lettres d’illuminés ne jouent en réalité qu’un rôle mineur dans le projet « Soucoupe ».

En réalité, c’est un problème scientifique réel qui fait l'objet d'une investigation, d'une analyse et d'une évaluation constantes, qui jusqu'ici ont démontré que la plupart de la peur des soucoupes n’est que rarement fondée, mais peut être attribuée à des phénomènes astronomiques, des objets aériens conventionnels, des hallucinations et à la psychologie des masses.

Mais la simple existence de certains objets volants encore non identifiés nécessite une vigilance constante de la part du personnel du Projet "Soucoupe", et de la part de la population civile. L'investigation du phénomène est largement avancée lorsque les observateurs signalent les incidents dès que possible auprès de l'installation militaire la plus proche ou des Quartiers-Généraux de l'AMC, directement.

Lorsqu'un incident vient à l'attention du personnel du Projet "Soucoupe" il est d'abord enquêté par les agences de renseignement existantes présentes dans le voisinage de l'observation — généralement une base de l'Air Force voisine, le FBI, ou la police locale. Dans certains cas les membres du personnel de la Division de Renseignement Technique de l'AMC se rendent eux-mêmes sur le scène pour une interrogation sur les lieux.

Une questionnaire standard est rempli par l'observateur sous la direction des interrogateurs et toute information disponible supplémentaire est glanée par les enquêteurs. Des questions standards sont posées simplement et orientées de manière à pouvoir être répondues avec une précision raisonnable par les observateurs les plus inexpérimentés. Dans chaque cas, les heures, lieu, taille et forme de l'objet, l'altitude approximativement, la vitesse, les manoeuvres, la couleur, durée d'observation, son, etc. sont notés avec attention. L'information est envoyée dans sa totalité, avec tous fragments, spécimens de sol, photographies, dessins, etc., pertinents pour l'incident aux Quartiers-Généraux de l'AMC. Là, des équipes d'évaluation particulièrement formées prennent le relais. L'information est découpée et remplie sur des feuilles de synthèse, tracée sur des cartes et des graphiques et intégrée avec le reste du matériel du Projet, fournissant ainsi une image d'ensemble facilement compréhensible du projet "Soucoupe".

Puis, des copies des données de chaque incident sont envoyées à d'autres agences enquêtrices, dont les labos techniques au sein de l'AMC. Ces rapports sont étudiés en relation avec de nombreux facteurs tels que l'activité de recherche sur les missiles guidés, la météo et de nombreux autres lancers de ballons sondant l'atmosphère, vols d'appareils commerciaux et militaires, vols d'oiseaux migrateurs et une myriade d'autres considerations qui pourraient fournir des explications. Sur la base de la possibilité que les objets pourraient être des appareils non identifiés et de types non conventionnels, certains des rapports font l'objet d'une analyse technique afin de déterminer les caractéristiques aérodynamiques, de propulsion et de contrôle qui seraient requises chez les objets en question pour réaliser les performances décrites dans les rapports.

Généralement, les objets volants sont divisés en 4 groupes ; disques volants, corps en forme de torpille ou de cigare sans ailes ou alierons visibles en vol, objets de forme sphérique ou de ballons et boules de lumière. Les 3 premiers groupes sont capables de voler par des moyens aérodynamiques ou aérostatiques et peuvent être propulsés et contrôlés par des méthodes connues des concepteurs aéronautiques. Quant aux lumières, leurs actions — à moins d'être suspendues d'un objet plus élevé ou d'être le produit d'hallucinations — restent jusqu'ici inexpliqués.

Finalement, les rapports de laboratoires et agences coopérants sont retournés aux quartiers-généraux du Projet "Soucoupe", marquant souvent les incidents comme clos. Le projet, cependant, est jeune — la plupart de l'investigation est toujours en cours.

Une analyse psychologique est actuellement menée par le laboratoire Aéro-Médical de l'AMC afin de déterminer quel pourcentage des incidents est probablement basé sur des erreurs de l'esprit et des sens humains. Les rapports préliminaires disponibles indiquent aujourd'hui qu'un grand nombre d'observations peut être expliqué par des événements ordinaires ayant été mal représentés suite à ces erreurs humaines.

A cet égard, l'étourdissement le plus commun connu par la médecine sous le terme de "vertige" est considéré comme un facteur important. Le vertige, qui peut être facilement causé par les manoeuvres et les accélérations soudaines d'appareils, fait apparaître les objets comme se déplaçant dans diverses directions bien qu'ils puissent être en réalité stationnaire. L'opinion des hommes de l'aéro médicale est qu'au moins un partie des incidents de lumières rapides et hautement maneuvrables signalées par des pilotes étaient en fait dues au vertige où à des illusions d'optique.


La plupart du travail du personnel de "Soucoupe" implique l'élaboration de graphiques précis et le répertoire des localisations géographiques des incidents. Un graphe de fréquence récemment compilé montre que les observations de soucoupes ont commencé dans ce pays à une faible échelle en janvier 1947, et ont atteint un pic en juillet de cette année-là, peu après l'incident du Mont Rainier. Puis elles ont chuté brusquement pour le reste de l'année, mais ont réapparut en fréquence relative en janvier, juillet et novembre de 1948. Les rapports arrivant à l'AMC indiquent maintenant un niveau d'observations bas — environ 12 par mois jusqu'à aujourd'hui.


D'une autre planète

Depuis que les soucoupes volantes ont fait la Une des journaux il y a presque 2 ans de cela, il y a eu une large spéculation sur le fait que les phénomènes aériens soient en fait une forme de pénétration de la Terre depuis une planète.

Kenneth Arnold fut désigné pendant des mois comme l'homme qui a vu les Hommes de Mars.

En fait, des astronomes sont largement d'accord sur le fait que un seul membre du Système Solaire en plus de la Terre est capable d'héberger la vie. C'est Mars. Même Mars, cependant, semble être relativement désolée et inhospitalière, de sorte que la race martienne devrait être plus préoccupée de survivre que nous le sommes sur Terre.

Sur Mars, il existe un an excessively slow loss of atmosphere, oxygen and water against which intelligent beings, if they do exist there, may have protected themselves by scientific control of physical conditions. This might have been done, scientists speculate, by the construction of homes and cities underground where the atmospheric pressure would be greater and thus temperature extremes reduced. The other possibilities exist, of course that evolution may have developed a being who can withstand the rigors of the Martian climate, or that the race -- if it ever did exist -- has perished.

In other words, the existence of intelligent life on Mars, where the rare atmosphere is nearly devoid of oxygen and water and where the nights are much colder than our Arctic winters, is not impossible but is completely unproven.

The possibility of intelligent life also existing on the Planet Venus is not considered completely unreasonable by astronomers. The atmosphere of Venus apparently consists mostly of carbon dioxide with deep clouds of formaldehyde droplets, and there seems to be little or no water. Yet, scientists concede that living organisms might develop in chemical environments which are strange to us. Venus however, has two handicaps. Her mass and gravity are nearly as large as the Earth (Mars is smaller) and her cloudy atmosphere would discourage astronomy, hence space travel.

Reports of strange objects seen in the skies have been handed down through the generations. However, scientists believe that if Martians were now visiting Earth without establishing contact it could be assumed that they have just recently succeeded in space travel and that their civilization would be practically abreast of ours. This because they find it hard to believe that any technically established race would come here, flaunt its ability in mysterious ways over the years, but each time simply go away without ever establishing contact.

Astronomers, however, feel it particularly unlikely that a Martian civilization would be within a half century of our own state of advancement. Yet, in the last 50 years we have just begin to use aircraft and in the next 50 we will almost certainly start exploring space. Thus, it appears that space travel from another point within the Solar System is possible but very unlikely. Reports in Project "Saucer" files call the odds against it "at least a thousand to one."

Autres systèmes stellaires

Outside the solar system other stars -- 22 in number -- besides the sun have satellite planets. The sun has nine. One of these, Earth, is ideal for existence of intelligent life. On two others there is a possibility of life. Therefore, astronomers believe reasonable the thesis that there could be at least one ideally habitable planet for each of the 22 other eligible stars.

In this line of reasoning the theory is also employed, of necessity, that man represents the average in advancement and development. Therefore, one half the other habitable planets would be behind man in development and other half ahead. It is also assumed that any visiting race could be expected to be far in advance of man. Thus, the chance of space travelers existing at planets attached to neighboring stars is very much greater than the chance of space-traveling Martians. The one can be viewed as almost a certainty (if you accept the thesis that the number of inhabited planets is equal to those that are suitable for life and that intelligent life is not peculiar to earth.) Whereas the possibility of space visitors from Mars is very slight indeed.

There is only one stumbling block to a trip from such a distant planet to Earth. But it is a formidable block.

The nearest eligible star is one called Wolf 359. This is eight light years away. Travelling at 1/10th the speed of light -- that is 18000 miles per second -- it would take a space ship pilot 80 years for a one-way trip to earth. And this speed is completely beyond the reach of any predicted level of rocket propulsion.

If a process could be created to convert a nuclear material into jet energy the time could be cut from 60 (sic) to 16 years from Wolf 359 to Earth.

Vaisseaux spatiaux

Les problèmes liés à la création d'un vaisseau spatial longuement idéalisé tel que celui de "Buck Rogers" sont innombrables. While a special purpose rocket can be made as maneuverable as is desired with very high performance, a high performance, a high performance space ship would be large and unwieldy and could hardly be designed to maneuver frivolously in the earth's atmosphere as the reported discs have done.

Also, such an aircraft could not carry sufficient extra fuel to make repeated descents into the earth's atmosphere.

Scientists say a vertically descending rocket might well appear as a luminous disc to a person standing directly below. Yet observers at a distance would surely be able to identify the rocket as such, and the exhaust should be easy to see.

Distribution has proved another factor in debunking the Man From Mars solution to the saucer riddle. With few exceptions all discs have been reported within the continental limits of the United States, whereas spacemen could be expected to scatter their visits more or less uniformly over the globe. The small area covered by the disc barrage points strongly to the belief that the flying objects are of earthly origin, be they physical or psychological.

Thus, although visits from outer space are believed to be possible, they are thought to be highly improbable. In particular, detailed reports made on study of individual incidents and the overall picture of project "Saucer" point to the fact that actions attributed to the flying objects reported during the last two years are inconsistent with the requirements for space travel.

The possibility that the "saucers" were supported by means of rays or beams was investigated and debunked. By "rays" or "beams" are meant either purely electromagnetic radiation or else radiation which is largely corpuscular like cathode rays, cosmic rays or cyclotron beams.

Any device thus propelled would have to be fundamentally a reaction device. The basic theory of such devices is that a given amount of energy is most efficiently spent if the momentum thrown back or down is large. This means that a large mass should be given a small acceleration -- a theorem well understood by helicopter designers.

Beams or rays to the contrary, a small mass is given a very high velocity, and consequently enormous powers -- greater than the total world's power capacity -- would be needed to support even the smallest object by such means.

Several unorthodox means of supporting or propelling a solid object have been considered, including the fiction writers old stand by, the anti-gravity shield, but all have been found impractical. This, in the opinion of investigating scientists lends credence to the assumption that the unidentified flying objects are supported and propelled by some normal means, or else they are not solids.

Possibilities that the saucers are foreign aircraft have also been considered. But the reported performance of the discs is so superior to anything we have yet approached in this country that it is considered only an accidental discovery of "a degree of novelty never before achieved" could suffice to explain such devices.

The possible existence of some sort of strange extra-terrestrial animals has also been remotely considered, as many of the objects described acted more like animals than anything else. However, there are few reliable reports on extra-terrestrial animals.

Résumé

Toute l'information jusqu'ici présentée au projet "Soucoupe" sur l'existence possible de vaisseau spatial d'une autre planète ou d'un appareil propulsé par un type avancé de réacteur atomique ont été largement une conjecture.

To sum up, no definite conclusive evidence is yet available that would prove or disprove the possibility that a portion of the unidentified objects are real aircraft of unknown or unconventional configuration.

De nombreuses observations par des témoins qualifiés et apparemment fiables ont été signalées. Cependant, chaque incident a des caractéristiques insatisfaisantes comme la courte durée d'observation de l'objet, la grande distance depuis l'observateur, la vagueté des descriptions ou des photographies, les incohérences entre observateurs individuels, le manque de données descriptives, etc.

In so far as the aero dynamic superiority of the disc-like phenomena is concerned the circular platform has not been used in representative aircraft, either military or civilian, because the induced drag is excessively high.

Spherical or balloon shaped objects are also not usually considered as efficient aircraft. Drag is high and the energy expended to develop lift by aerodynamic means is excessive.

L'explication évidente pour la plupart des objets de forme sphérique signalés, comme cela a déjà été mentionné, est qu'il s'agit de ballons méteorologiques ou de type similaire. Ceci, cependant, n'explique pas les signalements les décrivant voyager à grande vitesse ou manoeuvrer rapidement. Mais les hommes de "Soucoupe" font remarquer que le mouvement pourrait être expliqué as an optical illusion or actual acceleration of the balloon caused by a gas leak and later exaggerated by observers.

L'explication la plus raisonnable pour les "boules de lumière" signalées est qu'elles étaient suspendues depuis des ballons ou d'autres moyens de soutien non visible de nuit, et que les manoeuvres violentes parfois signalées dan ces cas étaient dues à des illusions d'optique.

Il y a des multitudes d'explications possibles pour les multitudes d'observations de type différent rapportées. De nombreux phénomènes aériens ont été identifiés avec certitude. Cependant, la qualification correcte du pourcentage restant reste le travail du Projet "Soucoupe".

Les "soucoupes" ne sont pas une plaisanterie. Pas plus qu'elles sont un motif d'alarme pour la population. Nombre des incidents ont déjà des explications, météores, ballons, étoiles filantes, oiseaux en vol, appareillages d'essai, etc. Certains d'entre eux restent des questions.

C'est la mission du projet "Soucoupe" de la Division de Renseignement Technique de l'AMC de fournir les points de suspension.

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