There are some facts about Project Mogul that seem to get lost in the minutia of the debate so that the same errors are frequently repeated. These are facts that should not be in dispute but somehow they keep getting missed, or misused, so I thought, in an effort to annoy everyone, I would publish these truths and see how far that went.
1. Mogul Flight No. 4 was cancelled. It did not fly, there is no record of it anywhere and that number is skipped in the accounting. Contrary to what Charles Moore claimed, it did not perform as well or better than Flight No. 5 because, had it flown and done so, there would be records of it and it would be listed as the first successful flight in New Mexico.
2. All the launches made in June happened after 5:00 a.m. (0500 hours) which was after dawn. These flights were made in daylight and that was one of the requirements levied on the project by the CAA (think FAA). The purpose was for safety of aerial navigation because a train or array of balloons six or seven hundred feet long could cause a catastrophic accident.
(For those keeping score at home, I again print, from Special Report #1, Covering the Period from January 1, 1947 to April 30, 1947, the restrictions placed on flights by the CAA:
Restriction on the project is the Civil Aeronautics Authority (forerunner to the FAA) requirement that balloon flights be made only on days that are cloudless up to 20,000 feet.
3. Although it seems that Moore was suggesting that there had been flight of balloons launched around 2:30 a.m. (0230 hours) early in the morning of June 4, there is no documentation for this. CAA restrictions would not have allowed for a full array launch and Crary had already noted that the flight had been cancelled.*
4. Crary was out on the range firing test shots, which does not suggest a balloon flight. Crary had been testing ground equipment on other occasions when it was clear that there was no balloon flight. Suggesting that these notations prove the flight is to ignore the documentation available.
5. Although McAndrew, in his Roswell: Case Closed published an “illustration of a Project Mogul balloon train similar to the one found on a ranch 75 miles northwest of Roswell,” that is a misleading statement. There is no evidence that the Mogul Flight No. 4 flew and the composition of Mogul Flight No. 5 is different than the one McAndrew used as his illustration. There were no rawin radar targets on it. (I’m going to note here that this was extremely disingenuous of McAndrew. He had to know that the composition of the flights varied radically but included the illustration of Flight No. 2, which was also cancelled, as if it were typical. Rawin radar targets were not included in many of the flights until later because they were having poor luck with the radars.)
6. Project Mogul was not so highly classified that the members of the NYU team in New Mexico didn’t know the name. Repeated references to Mogul are made in Crary’s diary, so that it is clear that the name was known to those in New Mexico. This has been used as the reason that those officers in Roswell failed to recognize the balloon remains for what they were.
7. The first recorded flight in New Mexico is Flight No. 5, which is noted as the first successful flight there. No mention is made of Flight No. 4, even though Moore said that it was as successful or more so that Flight No. 5. Even Flight No. 6, which was labeled as “unsuccessful” is carried in the records.
The point where we begin to see some real controversy and the possibility of a balloon array is a note in Crary’s diary for June 4 that said, “Flew regular sonobuoy mike up in cluster of balloons…”
8. A cluster of balloons was launched later in the day on June 4. Crary noted only that it was a cluster that carried a sonobuoy. Given the restrictions on the balloon flights by the CAA, and given Crary’s descriptions of other, similar flights, it can be suggested that this was only a cluster of balloons with a limited number of balloons and a sonobuoy but no rawin radar targets.
8a. A cluster of balloons was launched later in the day on June 4. This was the delayed Flight No. 4 that carried a full array including the rawin radar targets that scattered the metallic debris found by Mack Brazel.
Another area of controversy is the interview published in the July 9, 1947 issue of the Roswell Daily Record. Both sides quote from it, as if it proved that Brazel found balloon debris or proved that he didn’t.
9. According to the story, “Harassed Rancher Who Located ‘Saucer’ Sorry He Told About It.” The article said:
Brazel said that he did not see it fall from the sky and did not see it before it was torn up, so he did not know the size or shape it might have been, but he thought it might have been about as large as a table top. The balloon that held it up, if that was how it worked, must have been 12 feet long, he felt measuring the distance by the size of the room in which he sat. The rubber was smoky gray in color and scattered over an area of about 200 yards.
When the debris was gathered up the tinfoil, paper, tape, and sticks made a bundle about three feet long and 7 or 8 inches thick, while the rubber made a bundle about 18 or 20 inches long and about 8 inches thick. In all, he estimated the entire lot would have weight maybe five pounds. There was no sign of any metal in the area which might have been used for an engine and no sign of any propellers of any kind, although at least one paper fin had been glued onto some of the tinfoil.
There were no words to be found anywhere on the instrument, although there were letters on some of the parts. Considerable scotch tape and some tape with flowers printed upon it had been used in the construction.
No strings or wire were to be found but there were some eyelets in the paper to indicated that some sort of attachment may have been used.
9a. On the flip side of all that was a last couple of paragraphs that calls some of that into question. According to the interview:
Brazel said that he had previously found two weather observation balloons on the ranch, but that what he found this time did not resemble either of these.
“I am sure what I found was not any weather observation balloon,” he said. “But if I find anything else besides a bomb they are going to have a hard time getting me to say anything about it.”
In this article there are all sorts of things for both sides of the controversy. Brazel describing the material as about the size of a table top, though a full Mogul array would have held much more material and no mention of the yards and yards of cord that held the thing together. There were also more than a few words such as “might have been,” and “must have been.” Still, the description gave certainly doesn’t reflect the type of debris you’d expect from an alien spacecraft.
Brazel, where he was quoted as opposed to paraphrased, said that he had found other weather balloons but this wasn’t like those. Mogul, of course, was made up of weather balloons. He should have recognized it for what it was.
The last two points, that is 8 and 9, have been debated at length, and this is where the controversy can be found. It is the interpretation of the documentation that is confusing, though if we remove the speculation, the picture is somewhat clearer.
*Here’s the thing with this issue. While it is very easy to give the nod to Charles Moore on the issue of atmospheric physics, that his calculations would be based on decades of experience and training that the rest of us don’t have, there is a problem with the timing of the events. It is clear from the documentation that the launches of the full arrays were not made until after dawn and every launch in June was made during daylight hours. The CAA restrictions made it clear that clouds (and not necessarily overcast) would cause cancellation. It is equally clear that they were not to launch the arrays in darkness.
We see, however, an evolution in the timing of the launch of Flight No. 4. When the only winds aloft data available came from the National Weather Service and it was clear those data were incomplete the launch time was around five in the morning. Moore estimated the time of the launch based on those data, and the times that seemed most consistent with other New Mexico launches. But then more complete data, to a much higher altitude, were discovered coming from a site near Orogrande, which is south of Alamogordo. This site was undoubtedly created for the missile launches which required wind data to a much higher altitude. Moore incorporated those data into his postulated Flight No. 4 flight path.
What these data showed was that a weather system had moved through the area and changed the dynamics of the upper atmosphere, or, in other words, the postulated flight track, given this new information, would not have moved the balloon array toward the Foster ranch. These new data showed that the flight, if launched after 5:00 a.m., would have gone somewhere else.
But, if the array was launched prior to the weather system moving through, why then the original, speculative track, could hold true. To accomplish this, the flight had to be launched very early in the morning, sometime around 3:00 a.m. This would have been the only flight launched at that time and Moore covered this by suggesting that Crary and part of the team were firing shots from midnight to six, and suggesting that the only reason to do that was if a balloon array had been launched. This, of course, is untrue and there are multiple examples in Crary’s diary where they were testing the detection equipment on the ground. In some cases, these were done before the whole team and its equipment had arrived in New Mexico.
Or, in other words, the only way for the balloons to arrive at the Foster ranch was to change the launch time, after having used a later (after dawn) time for the original calculations. Moore’s mission wasn’t to learn where this flight might have gone but to prove that it had drifted to the northeast, passing over the exotically named places which is why he remembered them, regardless of what the atmospheric data showed.
(And yes, I understand that this is not a completely unbiased representation of the data, but I believe it to be accurate. It is the accuracy of the information that is important here… the interpretation of it is another matter.)
And now let those who wish to offer the same arguments they have offered in the past, and please, don’t read the information carefully because that might just alter an opinion or two.