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Forrest Wenyon, from Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, a pilot with more than 30 years experience, reported that he had seen an object shaped like "un pot de mayonnaise" cross in front of his plane as he was flying north over Lewes, Delaware. It was the second time he had seen an object of that description - the first sighting took place in September, 1946. (This earlier case in the Air Force files has the name as Horace P. Wenyon)
Mr. Wenyon said the object was flying on a "true course" eastward at an estimated speed of 10,000 to 12,000 miles an hour. The pilot was flying at an altitude of 1,400 feet in a Stinson 4-passenger plane when the second sighting took place. The object crossed his flight path at approximately the same altitude. Although it was going at a tremendous speed, Mr. Wenyon was able to note several things: the silvery, "jar-shaped object" flew with the lid part aft, and appeared to have some kind of rocket propulsion, The "lid" appeared to be perforated, and from these openings he could see white flames escaping. The object disappeared within a few seconds.
Worried because this projectile had been flying through commercial air lanes, and fearing a possible connection with a disastrous C-54 airliner crash just two days before at Port Deposit, Maryland, Wenyon notified the CAA, the FBI, and Eastern Airlines and told them about his observation. The FBI was not interested, and told him so. The CAA and Eastern listened to his report and said they would investigate. But more than a month later he heard of no results.
This sighting is included in the Air Force files -- possibly as a result of Wenyon's report to the CAA. It is explained as a "missile," which is in itself a mystery, as it is inconceivable that the U.S. Government would be testing experimental rockets on the east coast at that time, particularly in commercial air lanes.
Just before sundown, Roy Walter, airplane and engine mechanic at the Cedar City Municipal Airport, and a private pilot, was flying a small plane northeast of the airport when he saw a "silvery streak" approach him at high speed at about his own altitude. It disappeared to the east between Cedar City and Parowan, he later reported.
Royce R. Knight, airport manager, reported that he, too, had seen the object, but from the ground. He said that as it went out of sight to the east, it "appeared to disintegrate in a ball of blue flame." When he first saw it approaching the airport, he thought it was "a silver-colored plane" -- until he noticed the "terrific speed" at which the object was traveling (Case 69).
Charles Moore, manager for Western Airlines, was driving to the airport when he, too, saw the object. He dismissed it as a "large meteor" or "falling star," he said (Case 70).
In his statement about "meteorites" being "larger and coming closer to earth" (I-6), Lt. Colonel Harold R. Turner, White Sands Commander, said that "two reports" of "falling bodies" were being investigated, one in Tularosa and another near Engle, New Mexico. The Engle sighting was an air-to-air observation made by "Captain Dvyan, an Alamogordo Air Base pilot," who was flying in a private plane near the area of Engle at 3,000 feet when he "looked down and saw a ball of fire, with a fiery blue tail behind it." The object was about 2,000 feet below him, and he said he was certain that "it was a meteorite." The pilot reported that as he watched, the object "disintegrated in the air." Engle is a small town ten miles east of Hot Springs (now Truth or Consequences), New Mexico.
In his same statement (made in El Paso and carried by AP on June 28), Colonel Turner gave brief details of two other sightings that had been made at 9:50 a.m. on the 27th -- neither one of them in the Tularosa area. The first was reported by W. C. Dodds, a "track" or "train" inspector at White Sands; he had seen a "flame high in the sky" about one-half mile south of Hope, New Mexico, about 70 miles east of Alamogordo (Case 75).
The second report was made by Captain E. B. (sic) Detchmendy, of the Ordnance Department at White Sands, who saw the "same flame" while driving through the St. Augustine Pass, about 20 miles northeast of Las Cruces, near the missile test center (Case 74). No information was provided by Turner concerning the "falling body" seen at Tularosa (Case 82).
In checking the 1947 edition of The Army Register to verify the dubious name of "Dvyan," no such name could be found. With the assistance of Miss Lynn Catoe of the Library of Congress, the Military Personnel Center in St. Louis was contacted, and they verified the fact that no "Dvyan" was registered in 1947. However, the records show a Captain Robert D. Dwan, who was born in Texas and was on active duty in 1947; he may be the pilot who made the air-to-air observation at Engle. The only Detchmendy on record at that time was Captain John L. Detchmendy, who had gone off active duty in 1944 but who was still active in the Reserves in 1947.
Since no specific time was given for the Engle report, it cannot be definitely connected with the sightings made at Hope and the St. Augustine Pass; there are, however, other reports in various parts of New Mexico at about 10:00 a.m. that might be independent confirmations of the sightings by Dodds and Detchmendy.
Hollis O. Cummins, of Capitan, 45 miles north northeast of Alamogordo, wrote to the Albuquerque Journal to report that on June 27 his mother and a neighbor had both seen a "shiny object" streak through the sky over Capitan at about 10:00 a.m. No direction is given, but according to Cummins, the neighbor, Irv Dill, said he believed the object had landed "to the left of the C (for Capitan) on Wilson Hill" (Case 77).
And in San Miguel, eight miles south of Las Cruces, Mrs. David Appelzoller reported that at 10:00 a.m. a "white object" that "looked like an electric light bulb," but larger, with a "yellow flame trailing from the rear," whistled over her house so low she thought "it would hit her." The object came from the northeast and disappeared to the southwest. The witness thought it had landed in a nearby cotton field, but a search of the area failed to uncover anything unusual (Case 76).
If directions could be confirmed, the observations at Capitan, Hope, San Miguel and St. Augustine Pass might show that the same object -- possibly a bolide -- had been observed from four different locations. But whatever was seen at Engle was not a meteor, as no meteor would be seen flying 2,000 feet below a plane.
Lt. Eric B. Armstrong, Air Corps pilot of Brooks Field, San Antonio, left Brooks at 2:00 p.m. CST for Portland, Oregon. An hour and 15 minutes later, at 1:15 PST, about 30 miles northwest of Lake Mead over Nevada wasteland, he saw a formation of five or six objects streak by his plane. He described them as white and circular and said they were in close formation in the four o'clock position off his right wing, at about 6,000 feet, flying a southeast course at an estimated speed of 285 miles an hour. They flew in a straight, horizontal path and seemed to Armstrong to be about three feet in diameter. They quickly flew out of sight in the opposite direction, behind the pilot. The Air Force explanation for this sighting is "balloon cluster."
Lt. William McGinty sees two objects plunge straight down to the ground (II-12).
At Astoria, Oregon, Irving C. Allen, Chief of Airports Operations and Management in the 7th Region for the Civil Aeronautics Administration, reported that he had spotted a "disc-like" object while flying southward from Coeur d'Alene to Lewiston, Idaho, in the vicinity of Moscow, at 10:30 a.m. PST.
"The disc proceeded north across my plane's course from right to left and on a regular course. It was first spotted by my assistant manager, William Farrell, a passenger in the plane," Allen reported. The pilot said the object was "remarkably white" and moved north at a uniform altitude with a kind of "wavering" flight pattern. He estimated that it was "larger than the largest plane" as it crossed several miles in front of him as he was flying slightly east of Moscow. He and his passenger had it in view for five minutes.
Private pilot Dan Whelan, of 1611 North Hudson Avenue, Hollywood, and a companion, Duncan Underhill, of the same address, had taken off from the Santa Monica Airport at about 5:00 p.m. PST in a private plane, bound for San Diego. Twenty-five miles to the south, approximately west of Long Beach, while flying at an altitude of 5,000 feet, they saw a disc-shaped object about 2,000 feet above them.
"It was traveling 400 to 500 miles an hour," Whelan said. "It was not spinning, but looked exactly like a skeet" (a rifle practice target). He said that the object was flying in a north by northwest direction, and both he and Underhill estimated the disc was "about 40 to 50 feet in diameter." Whelan admitted to the press that the appearance of the object "scared me silly."
United Air Lines Flight Trip 105 left Gowan Field, Boise, bound for Seattle, at 9:04 p.m. MST, with Captain Emil J. Smith at the controls and First Officer Ralph Stevens in the co-pilot's seat. Before they boarded the plane in Boise, someone had asked them if they had seen any flying saucers, and Smith jokingly retorted, "I'll believe them when I see them." Eight minutes later, both he and Stevens were converted into believers. As they flew over Emmett, Idaho, approaching a cruising altitude of about 7,000 feet, Stevens reached over to blink his landing lights, believing he had seen a plane ahead at about the same level as the airliner. He called Smith's attention to it. They immediately saw four more, arranged in a "loose formation."
"At first I thought it was a group of light planes returning from some Fourth of July celebration," said Smith, "but then I realized the things were not aircraft, but were flat and circular." Not believing their eyes, they called the stewardess, Miss Marty Morrow, forward. Without telling her what to look for, they directed her attention to the sky ahead of them. Looking out the cockpit window, Miss Morrow exclaimed, "why, there's a formation of those flying discs!"
The objects appeared "huge" and were dark grey, silhouetted against the bright evening sky. The pilots thought they were much larger than ordinary aircraft, although they couldn't be certain since they didn't know how far off they were. At no time was there any possibility of colliding with them. The discs were "smooth on the bottom, and rough on top," according to the witnesses.
As soon as Miss Morrow had confirmed their observation, Smith called the control tower at Ontario, Oregon, giving his position and flight direction. He asked the tower operators to step outside to see if they could see anything unusual in the direction from which the plane was approaching. The tower operators saw nothing, which led Smith to believe that the discs were larger and farther away than they originally estimated -- possibly as far away as 30 miles.
The objects appeared to "merge," and then disappeared to the northwest. No sooner had they gone out of sight when another group came into view to the left and ahead of them (Case 286). By this time the airliner had reached its cruising altitude of 8,000 feet, and was flying over rugged country toward the Blue Mountains, in eastern Oregon. In the second group, the discs were arranged in a straight line, three together and the fourth off by itself. "This group seemed to be higher than our flight path," reported the pilot, "and when they did leave, they left fast!"
The nine objects had been in view for at least twelve minutes, seen over a distance of more than 45 miles. Smith was certain that the objects had to be considerably larger than a DC-3 to have been seen for such a great distance. "They were nothing from the ground in the way of fireworks, reflections, or anything like that," he asserted. "They weren't smoke and I know they weren't aircraft. . . . They were bigger than aircraft."
These objects may fall into the category of Satellite Object Cases, as they were described as "merging" and separating at one point during the observation. The sighting is Unidentified in the Air Force files. Dr. McDonald was able to contact Captain Smith and learned he is currently Flight Manager for UAL at Kennedy Airport in New York City. Smith emphasized that he hasn't kept up with the UFO problem, and his recollections of that early sighting were somewhat vague. He did confirm having seen two separate groups of discs, neither of which could have been aircraft. He recalled that Stevens had spotted them first and mistook them for aircraft, flashing his landing lights as a warning. Smith asked him why he'd flashed them, and Stevens called his attention to the objects. In his phone conversation with Dr. McDonald, he said it was difficult to recall the details but he thought that they had passed rather quickly out of view. They saw the second group just southeast of Ontario, Oregon, This time both he and Stevens saw them simultaneously. He recalled having called the stewardess up to the cabin, and she verified their observation. The sky was clear at the time -- not a cloud anywhere. They had radioed the tower at Ontario and asked the operator to step outside, but he must have looked toward the UAL plane, rather than into the twilight sky, for he saw nothing. Their radio conversation with the Ontario tower was overheard by other stations, so when they arrived at Pendleton for a scheduled landing, reporters were waiting for their story. He told McDonald that he recalled the bottoms of the objects as being flat, but their upper surfaces were less distinct. They might have been rounded or might have had some kind of superstructure, he thought. Smith had no UFO theories and emphasized that he did not wish to be tied in with any “suppositions," although he was willing to discuss as much of the sighting as he could remember with Dr. McDonald.
Major Archie B. Browning, Army Air Corps B-25 pilot, was flying from Ogden, Utah to Kansas City when, at 1:45 p.m. CST, he and his crew saw a bright, round, silver-colored object flying off the left wing of the plane at an estimated ten miles away. Browning was flying at 10,000 feet at the time, and the object appeared to be at a somewhat lower altitude. He described the object as "disc-shaped," and said it was flying in the same direction as the B-25 (eastward) in straight, level flight. It appeared to close in to several miles of the aircraft. Browning reported that it was about 30 to 50 feet in diameter, and said that when he turned the B-25 toward it for a closer look, the object accelerated and disappeared at a high rate of speed. In the Air Force files, the sighting is explained as "astronomical." How it got this assignment seems to be as puzzling as the object itself, unless, perhaps, the position of the object -- "at nine o'clock" -- was somehow confused with the time of day.
Kenneth Jones, a pilot and flight instructor with the Elkhorn Air Service, reported that at 11:30 a.m. CST, while he was practicing take-offs and landings with a flight student about 15 miles from Elkhorn, he saw a "white ball" moving along at an altitude of about 3,000 feet.
Captain R. J. Southey, a pilot living in Burlington, heard of the sighting made earlier the same day by Jones and, with Clem Hackworthy, a friend, took a private plane aloft to "look around." At 2:00 p.m. CST, the two men saw a fast-moving, "silver thing," flying southeast over Eagle. They tried to photograph it, but the object quickly disappeared, and suddenly reappeared approximately ten miles away from the pilots.
A young Dishman, Washington war veteran and student pilot said he had spotted a "flying disc" from his plane as he was flying at a 500-foot altitude in the Mount Spokane area during the afternoon. The pilot, James Davidson, a Spokane Naval Supply Depot employee, said "It was not flying fast. It appeared to be the size of a wagon wheel. The side of the disc exposed to the sun was shiny. It looked like it had a hole in the center," he added. He reported that he had tried to take a photograph of the object. The negatives, however, "did not reproduce well." He said he hadn't believed reports of flying discs at first, "but I do now."
An aviator who declined to make his name public told the Birmingham papers on the 8th that he had seen an object during a flight and wanted to know if there had been any other reports of "flying saucers" at the time. He had taken his plane up for an early morning flight, he explained, and at 7:05 a.m. CST had seen the object as he flew over Cook Springs. His attention had been caught by a bright reflection ahead of him, "like that from a mirror held against the sun." He changed his course, believing he had gotten "on the beam" of an approaching plane, but none appeared. Then, in the direction of the source of the flash, he saw silhouetted against the mountains a "round object about the size of an automobile wheel." He tried to catch up with it, but the speed of the object was too great for his plane. The object diminished to "about a foot in diameter and then disappeared into the haze."
He said he spent 30 or 40 minutes searching the area around Highway 78, ten miles east of Leeds, over which the object had first been seen, looking for a water tank or something else that might have caused the bright reflection. But he found nothing. Later, a check with the airport control tower at Birmingham revealed that no other planes had been in the air in the area at that time.
Thomas Dale, 26, son of Governor Charles M. Dale, and a veteran of more than eight years of flying, was piloting a private plane from Laconia to Portsmouth during the afternoon. With him was a friend, Jere Stetson, of Newfields. At 4:26 p.m. EDT, as they flew southwestward over Alton at an altitude of 2,800 feet, Dale and his companion saw a strange object about two miles away to the east and some 1,500 feet below their plane. It was approaching the young men at an "excessive speed," and in 15 to 18 seconds it had veered to the north, out over Alton Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee, toward Moultenboro, where it was lost to view. "I'm not saying it was a 'flying saucer,' or 'disc'," Dale told newspapermen later, "but whatever it was, it wasn't a conventional airplane." He said that it did not "in any way, shape or manner" resemble any type of known aircraft.
The two observers described the object as "definitely of metal construction," about 20 feet long, and "not exactly round in shape." When it was first seen, the object was observed in profile against the trees on the ground below and to the left of the witnesses. Both Dale and Stetson said they "had never seen anything like it" in the air before, and added that its appearance left them both "flabbergasted." Dale had been an ATC pilot during World War II and was thoroughly familiar with all types of conventional aircraft.
Chet Proud, private pilot of 3040 N. 36th Street, was flying a seaplane over Puget Sound off Ballard at 9:00 a.m. PST when he saw "two or three" disc-like objects to the west, over the Olympic Mountains. In an unfortunately abbreviated account in the Seattle Post-Intelligencer (7/9), he described the objects as flying "high and going very fast."
While numerous UFO sightings were reportedly taking place during the evening in Philadelphia and southern New Jersey (see Case 758, II-17), an anonymous sportsman-pilot bound for Trenton from Philadelphia reported that he saw an object described as "a red ball" traveling in a northeasterly direction over New Jersey. The object passed the pilot on his right and quickly outdistanced his small plane.
About 4:00 p.m. PST, an F-51 pilot from Muroc Air Base, flying about 40 miles south of the base over the northern suburbs of Los Angeles, sighted a "flat, light-reflecting" object high in the sky above him. He was flying at 20,000 feet when he first spotted it, and he tried to climb up to it but was unable to get high enough. According to the Air Force files, this object was a "balloon."
About 12:15 p.m. MST, on his third day of aerial search for flying objects, on assignment for his newspaper, the Idaho Daily Statesman, pilot-newsman Dave Johnson's search paid off. While circling Gowan Field at 14,000 feet, preparing to land after having spent the morning searching in vain, he saw a dark object against a massive cloudbank to the east of Boise.
"I saw it clearly and distinctly," he wrote in his account for the Statesman next day. "I turned the airplane broadside to it and pulled back the Plexiglas canopy so there would be no distortion. The object was still there. It was rising sharply and jerkily toward the top of the towering bank of alto-cumulus and alto-stratus clouds. At that moment it was so round in shape I thought it was a balloon.
"I opened my radio and called the Boise Civil Aeronautics Administration communications station. . . . . I asked if the Weather Bureau had just released a balloon. The answer was no, that a balloon had not been released for several hours. With that I snatched my camera out of the map case and began firing. I held the button down for ten seconds and then looked again. The object was turning so that it presented its edge to me. It then appeared as a straight black line. Then, with its edge still toward me, it shot straight up, rolled over (at) the top of this maneuver, and I lost sight of it."
Johnson said that at one point during his observation, which lasted 45 seconds (the Air Force files record duration as "at least 12 to 15 seconds," and AP as "nearly two minutes"), he saw the "sun flash from it." Checking with Gowan Field tower for other aircraft in the vicinity, Johnson learned that there was a P-51 behind him, which he couldn't see, and a Fairchild C-82 packet flying over Boise, which he could see as it passed below him. The P-51, according to Johnson, was requested to search for the object, but he reportedly found nothing.
Later in the afternoon Johnson discovered that ground observers at Gowan Field had seen an object similar to the one he reported. Observers included National Guard pilots Warren Noe, Bob Ayers, and Ferm Sabala, the latter a Guard photographer. The time of their sighting, however, was about 2:00 p.m. (Case 800). The film Johnson had taken of the object, when developed, showed no sign of it. Johnson's report is among the Unidentified sightings in the Air Force files.
A report of a 1947 sighting was given to Dr. Frank Salisbury, botanist with Utah State University, by Earl Page, a relative and private pilot. The account was first published in the APRO Bulletin in May, 1962.
Page, who lived in Kennewick, Washington, was flying from Las Vegas, Nevada, to Salt Lake City with his wife Beulah and their son Ron. When they were over Lake Utah, flying north, they saw "six or eight objects coming towards us and slightly to our right. They were at the same altitude as we. I did not notice them until we were practically to them. As they passed I banked the plane sharply and flew after them for a few minutes, during which time they left us as if we were standing still.
"Size is difficult to estimate in the air, but I would guess they were not over six feet in diameter. They were silver-white, oval top and bottom, much like two saucers face to face. They were closely spaced. They fluttered as a group for a second or two and then stabilized for a second or two, alternately between these two modes." According to Page's log, the incident took place at 2:30 p.m. PST.
Reported by San Francisco news columnist Jack Burket, this sighting was made by an observer with impressive qualifications: Colonel Frank A. Flynn, a veteran Army airman, a lawyer, and an examiner for the Civil Aeronautics Board. He was flying from San Francisco to Sacramento in a Vultee BT-13 when, at 12:15 p.m. PST, over Concord, he saw what he first thought was a flock of large birds heading towards him.
"But as they passed me, they took on a different form. They were shaped something like giant birds but they had no necks or tails. There were from a dozen to fifteen of them and they yawed along in a sort of see-saw manner, flying at three different levels, down to 3,500 feet, and about 200 feet apart."
Colonel Flynn estimated their size as about 15 feet across. He swung his plane around in pursuit of the objects but they quickly outdistanced him. Their speed was "far in excess of 200 miles an hour," according to the pilot.
Flynn described the objects as being very white on top and when they flipped he was able to see they were grey and black underneath. Colonel Flynn said there was no place where a pilot could have been seated. At their closest point, Flynn estimated them to be about a mile away. They reminded him of the radio-controlled target ships developed by the Navy during the war, and although he looked for one, Flynn could not see any master ship in the area.
Captain Charles F. Gibian and First Officer Jack Harvey, of United Air Lines Flight Trip 105 (the same as Captain Smith's on July 4), were about to begin their let-down over Mountain Home, preparatory to landing at Boise, 45 miles to the west, when Harvey saw an object ahead of and to the south of their plane, silhouetted against the bright western sky. The time was 8:34 p.m. MST. Harvey thought at first the object was a plane, and turned his attention to the instrument panel to reduce power for the let-down. When he looked back, the object, which at first appeared to have "considerable substance," was seen rapidly diminishing in size.
Captain Gibian reported that Harvey had called his attention to the object "as he would have done if it had been an airplane." The co-pilot had asked, "Is that plane going east or west?" When the object began to diminish rapidly in size, it appeared to be going toward the northwest at very high speed. Gibian described it as "going like hell when it disappeared." Both men watched it vanish from view.
Gibian said the object appeared to be at 9,000 feet as their airliner began descending from an 8,000-foot altitude. It also appeared to be "weaving," as if "it were going through choppy air." Gibian said that the air at that time was somewhat bumpy. He was convinced the object was no airplane. Although he couldn't estimate its distance, he said that if it was "40 miles or so distant from the airliner, it was as big as an airplane." Both pilots agreed that they had never seen such a thing before, and they expressed their concern over possible military experiments being carried out in commercial air lanes.
While flying en route to Tacoma to investigate the Maury Island "mystery" (see I-15), Kenneth Arnold was approaching the airport at La Grande, Oregon, for a refueling stopover. He began his let-down over North Powder, about 20 miles southeast of La Grande. He was directly over Union, at an altitude of 5,000 feet, when he looked down at the clock on his instrument panel. It was 6:55 a.m. MST.
"As I looked up from my instrument panel and straight ahead over the La Grande Valley, I saw a cluster of about twenty-five brass-colored objects that looked like ducks. They were coming at me head on and at what seemed a terrific rate of speed. I grabbed my camera and started rolling out film. Even though I thought they were ducks when I first saw them, I wasn't taking any chances.
"The sun was at my back and to my right. These objects were coming into the sun. I wasn't sighting through the viewfinder on my camera, but was sighting along the side of it.
"As this group of objects came within 400 yards of me they veered sharply away from me and to their right, gaining altitude as they did so and fluttering and flashing a dull amber color. I was a little bit shocked and excited when I realized they had the same flight characteristics of the large objects I had observed on June 24.
"These appeared to be round, rather rough on top, and to have a dark or a light spot on the top of each one. I couldn't be absolutely positive of this because it all happened so suddenly. I attempted to make a turn and follow them but they disappeared to the east at a speed far in excess of my airplane. I know they were not ducks because ducks don't fly that fast."
Arnold described the formation as a "cluster more like blackbirds than ducks," but each object was larger than a duck, about 24 to 30 inches in diameter. He said "they rather wheeled on edge, flipping as they went as efficiently as when they were flat in reference to the surface of the ground." He made a few inquiries around the field while his plane was being refueled at La Grande, but no one there had seen the objects.
He learned later, however, that "several farmers in the vicinity of Union had observed what they thought was a peculiar cluster of birds that morning." Understandably, Arnold did not report this sighting to the newspapers, nor to the Air Force. He told Dave Johnson about it, but the first published account appeared in The Coming of the Saucers.
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