Now we get to the point of the press conference and that was to talk about the sightings from Washington National Airport.
Samford is on fairly safe ground here. There are any number of reports in which the capabilities of the radars were not fully understood. During the Second World War, radars in Great Britain produced a strange phenomenon every morning as a blip came off the ground and then seemed to expand until it disappeared. They found that birds, taking off in the morning were the cause.Reporter: General, have you talked to your Air Force Intelligence Officer who is over at the National Airport when they were sighting all these bandits on the CAA screen?
Samford: Yes, sir; I have.
Reporter: And have you talked to the Andrews Field people who apparently saw the same thing?
Samford: I haven’t talked to them myself, but others have.Reporter: Well, could you give us an account of what they did see and what explanations you might attach to it?
Samford: Well, I could discuss possibilities. The radar screen has been picking up things for many years that, well, birds, a flock of ducks. I know there’s been one instance in which a flock of ducks was picked up and was intercepted and flown through as being an unidentified phenomenon.
Reporter: Where was that, General?
Samford: I don’t recall where it was. I think it might have been in Japan but I don’t recall the location of that. That’s just a recollection of what that sort of thing could happen and I do know that at Wright Field there was one of these things on radar -- that was in 1950, I think -- maybe Captain James would reinforce that. Was that in 1950?
Captain James: That’s correct.
Samford: -- in which the local radar produced the effect of the encircling phenomenon that caused quite a lot of concern and it was gone out and intercepted and found to be a certain kind of ice formation that was in the air in various parts of the atmosphere around Wright Field on that
Please note here something that the reporters failed to understand. Samford suggested a possible explanation but also said that there was no reason to believe that the sightings were related to the weather conditions. The reporters apparently didn’t hear this part of Samford’s statement.Samford: Again, there are theories like the men whose theory of light refraction which says that temperature inversion in the atmosphere can cause an image from somewhere else to be reflected in positions where it is not. If that is a correct theory, related to it is another oddity with respect to the ground effect that you get in radar.
We have one instance in which a night fighter with radar is reported to have locked on, as they say, to an object in flight, which, after he’d followed it beyond this curve, found that he was locked on to the ground and he had only a very few minutes to recover because the ground target had gone up and then misplaced this phenomena, and he locked on to it in a position where he wasn’t, but, following it, he eventually found himself directed toward the
Now, the conditions that seem to produce these temperature inversions and possibly the same kind of thing for ground targets being misplaced in altitude -- I don’t know that it is worded that they’re misplaced in azimuth -- is somewhat typical of the kind of hot humid weather that we’ve been having here in the last three or four weeks. There’s no reason to relate those phenomena to those atmospheric conditions positively, but it is a possibility.
Samford: Yes, sir?
Reporter: Did interceptors go up on any of the three
Samford: Yes, sir.
Reporter: What did they see on their radar scopes?
Samford: I don’t recall that they saw anything. Do you remember, Roger, whether anything was sighted on their radar scopes?
Major General Roger M. Ramey: There have been no radar sightings. One or two reported (inaudible) --
Reporter: There have been no airborne radar sightings, General Ramey? Is that --
Ramey: That’s correct.
Actually there were airborne radar locks. This is based on the testimony of Norman Sykes, one of the interceptor pilots who was involved in some of the attempted intercepts on July 26. He had no visual sighting, but his radar operator did, in fact, detect some of the UFOs that night.
It is possible that Ramey didn’t know this, but given the history of UFOs, I believe that Ramey would have been quite interested in these sightings and would have taken the time to learn something about them. To the reporters, however, he continued with th proper Air Force line... as his orders would have been to do.