Saturday, July 04, 2015

Flying Saucers and Kenneth Arnold

(Blogger’s Note: Yes, I’ve touched on this before but in the last week or so the MSM, that is to say Time, published a UFO story that made the point that flying saucer was based on an error so of proving there is nothing to the sightings. I thought I’d take another run at this idea.)

I have seen recently more suggestions that the term, “Flying Saucer,” is a misnomer because Kenneth Arnold wasn’t describing the shape of the objects he saw but their motion through the air. Reports from June 1947, however, seemed to indicate that some objects were saucer shaped, and others, who were busy
The original drawing made by Arnold for the Army in 1947.
misidentifying mundane objects, whether natural or human constructed, began talking of flying saucers regardless of shape. It is a point that I find interesting.

When I was working on The Government UFO Files, I tried to track all this down. Looking at the newspaper reporting, at the Project Blue Book files, at the documentation that came from APRO, NICAP and other organizations, I tried to find any story published prior to June 24, 1947, that mentioned disk-shaped or saucer-shaped craft. I found virtually nothing.

Photograph by William Rhodes in July 1947.
There were many stories in the newspapers after Arnold about strange craft, and many of them referred to flying saucers even when the object reported was not saucer shaped. The term became a catchall for anything that people had seen and had been unable to identify. The best seemed to be a report in the newspaper from Cedar Rapids, Iowa, that predated Arnold, but the truth was that while it seemed the man had seen the objects on June 24 (as best as I can figure) it wasn’t reported until days after Arnold so was no help in my quest. You can read about it here:


On April 1, 1947, a series of sightings made by Walter Minczewski began near Richmond, Virginia that involved the U.S. Weather Bureau and seemed to meet my rather arbitrary conditions. This would later become Incident No. 79 in the Project Grudge final report. According to the information provided:

A weather bureau observer at the Richmond Station observed on three different occasions, during a six month period prior to April, 1947, a disc-like metal chrome object. All sightings were made through a theodolite while making pibal [balloon] observations.
On the last reported sighting, the balloon was at 15,000 feet altitude, the disc followed for 15 seconds. It was shaped like an ellipse with a flat level bottom and a dome-like top [emphasis added]. The altitude and the speed were not estimated, but the object, allegedly through the instrument, appeared larger than the balloon.
Another observer at the same station saw a similar object under corresponding circumstances, with the exception that her balloon was at an altitude of 27,000 feet and possessed a dull-metallic luster. There was good visibility on days of observation. Report of this sighting was not submitted until 22 July 1947.
AMC Opinion: There is no readily apparent explanation. If there were only one such object, it seems amazingly coincidental that it would be seen four times near the pibal of this station only. On the other hand, there would have to be a great number of these objects to rule out coincidence, and as they number of objects increases so do the chances of sightings by other witnesses.
Project Astronomer’s Opinion: There is no astronomical explanation for this incident, which, however, deserves considerable attention, because of the experience of the observers and the fact that the observations was made through a theodolite and that comparison could be made with a pibal balloon. The observers had, therefore, a good estimate of altitude, of relative size, and of speed – much more reliable than those given in most reports.
This investigator would like to recommend that these and other pibal observers be quizzed as to other possible, unreported sightings.
This series of reports, made by Minczewski, are not mentioned in the Project Blue Book Index, which lists only a couple of reports made prior to the Kenneth Arnold sighting. All were reported after the press coverage of the Arnold sighting, so there is no way to document the actual date of the sighting.

Ted Bloecher, in The Report on the UFO Wave of 1947, added some important details to the case. He wrote:

As early as the middle of April 1947, at the Weather Bureau in Richmond, Virginia, a U. S. Government meteorologist named Walter A. Minczewski and his staff had released a pibal balloon and were tracking its east-to-west course at 15,000 feet when they noticed silver, ellipsoidal object just below it. Larger than the balloon, this object appeared to be flat on bottom, and when observed through the theodolite used to track the balloon, was seen to have a dome on its upper side. Minczewski and his assistants watched the object for fifteen seconds as it traveled rapidly in level flight on a westerly course, before disappearing from view. In the official report on file at the Air Force's Project Blue Book, at Wright-Patterson Field, in Dayton, Ohio, this sighting is listed as Unidentified.
The point here is that we have a case of a disk-like object, and a date assigned by the Air Force about the sighting, but we have no documentation that I can find dated prior to the Arnold sighting. There might be something hidden away in the Weather Bureau records, or somewhere else, but I have nothing that pre-dates Arnold for this case.

And before I hear of all those sightings of disks and saucers from early in the 20th century, I was looking for something in the months prior to Arnold. I arbitrarily set a year as the outside limit though I did look at the Foo Fighter reports. The Swedish Ghost Rockets in 1946 all seemed to be of something that resembled German vengeance weapons as opposed to flying saucers.


While the claim that “flying saucers” are the result of bad reporting and people leaping onto the bandwagon, there is some evidence that saucers had been seen prior to Arnold but there is virtually nothing in the record to show these sightings were reported prior to Arnold. That might be because no one thought much about it until the Arnold sighting hit the national press, but whatever the reason, the point is, I could find nothing about a saucer-shaped object dated in the months prior to Arnold (and to beat a dead horse, I have the reports published after Arnold that refer to events before Arnold, but nothing in the newspapers or anywhere else published prior to it). 

55 comments:

Lance said...

It seems to me, Kevin, that even if you did find evidence of disk-shaped craft reported prior to Arnold's sighting, that does not negate the proposition that the "skips like a saucer"/"flying saucer" media construction was responsible for why saucers became the predominant shape that people "saw" in the skies.

The Arnold case received a huge amount of coverage. We absolutely know that press coverage precipitates copycat reports (see the windshield pitting hysteria or the Mad Gasser nonsense for proof).

Arnold didn't see a saucer--but the press reported that he did and thereafter saucers were pretty much the standard shape for UFO's. Denying the implications of this is just part of the reason that UFO belief falls outside scientific (or rational) interest.

Lance

albert said...

@Lance,
Certainly _some_ witnesses will try to shoehorn a sighting into some familiar shape or construction, but there's no reason to assume that most folks can't accurately report what they _see_. Since our culture is conditioned by 'science' to believe that all phenomena can be explained, a grey area exists between the sighting and the analysis of what it was (explanation). Some folks (way too many, IMO) are willing to ascribe 'UFO' (i.e., alien, 'flying saucer') to any light in the sky. Some folks are, with metaphysical certitude, not willing to entertain any such hypothesis. The physical description is all we have to go on. If it's not a bird, a plane, or Superman, then it has to be considered, for the moment, as unexplained. Hearing folks pontificate on what it _could_ be is usually of no interest to me, unless they have a new take on the issue. I've heard the range of possibilities, from the sublime to the ridiculous.
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I have no problem with unexplained sightings, and I really don't care if I never find an explanation. Sometimes, we gotta be satisfied with theories. Science is full of 'em.
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Bob Koford said...

Though not a from a press report, I believe the July 2 1947 Project:SIGN document on the sighting of "Supersonic Platters" is interesting. Even though the document was penned on July the 2nd, and the report was taken late June, after Arnold's sighting, the actual incident supposedly occurred on May 19th.

The term "Supersonic Platters" seems, by reason, to have come from the witnesses, as Flying Saucer was already being used internally. It is an interesting term, since it is another way of describing something akin to a "flying saucer."

albert said...

@Kevin,
I did a little research into 'pibal' (pilot balloon) stuff. Fascinating how the WWW has so much information on obscure subjects. Theodolite tracking of UFOs is a great way to get some quantitative information, especially with two systems. (http://www.pilotballoon.com)
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Modern theodolites (used for missile tracking) are much more sophisticated, with video, auto tracking, data recording, and multi-site coordination. There's an outfit (hunter.pairsite.com/theodolite/) with an iPhone app that duplicates those functions. Up to 5 units can be 'synced'. This represents the possibility of finally obtaining quantitative evidence in UFO sightings. Video, altitude, direction and speed, as well as accurate size estimations. With millions of iPhones in use, all that's necessary is some organization.

Sure would be a welcome change from the UFO BS on YouTube.
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KRandle said...

Lance -

Wouldn't the null hypothesis for this be that flying saucers were reported prior to the Arnold sighting?

We have many cases of people seeing flying saucers in the months prior to Arnold. I reject those that were reported after Arnold because there could be contamination. They might have seen something else but then said it was disk shaped or saucer shaped based on what was said in the press.

But for those reported prior to Arnold, that contamination doesn't exist. While there are sightings of saucers or disks reported prior to Arnold, those are a decade or more older. I wanted something closer to Arnold. There is also evidence that the Air Force dumped a number of cases that had been in their files that predated Arnold.

So, here is where we are. I have not found anything that predates Arnold that can be documented other than the possibility of the Minczewski case from April. At this point I have been until to document that but there is a real possibility of that.

Lance said...

Hi Kevin,

I don't think so. It's a rather common shape and is documented in earlier science fiction.
It's the huge media frenzy and the resulting reports that followed that suggest that the shape followed the press report. We have no reason to think that all of those reports were anything other than at least the standard ~90% (and I suggest more like 100%) bunk that make up all UFO cases. So among those cases, it is strongly suggested that folks had learned that they should see saucers (not the off bat-wing/half plates that Arnold saw). And they dutifully began to "see" them.

Of course nothing social like this is open and shut and completely clear cut. There very well may have been earlier reports of a saucer shape. I don't think that matters.

Albert writes:

" but there's no reason to assume that most folks can't accurately report what they _see_. "

I think there is plenty reason, particularly under media induced hysteria. I will mention the famous experiments done in the UK that David Clarke revisits in his excellent new book, "How UFOs Conquered the World: The History of a Modern Myth" as rather clear evidence of this.

Again, ignoring or trying to feebly minimize this inconvenient truth hasn't served UFO believers well in trying to get folks outside the myth to take interest.

Lance


Brian Bell said...

The shape Arnold drew, initially for ALL of the "saucers" he saw resembles a near if not perfectly drawn outline of the early 1950's AVRO Canada "Project Y" that used a radical design featuring a radial flow gas turbine engine in the center.

While that design was officially contracted for production in 1952, it has been documented that English designer Jack Frost believed the Nazis had already created saucer aircraft and he then attempted to design his own. While he arrived in Canada in June 1947, it has been discussed that he was already working on these design prototypes for the British parent company AVRO Ltd as early as 1945.

If this is true, Arnold may have reported a squadron of prototypes coming from the Avro airfields just across the border for transport to USAAF fields in the SW and California.

Project Y could travel Mach 2.5 and could easily hit the 1,500 mph Arnold estimated. The Rhodes photo of July 1947 is also one of the early prototype designs. The hole in the center is the gas turbine which Rhodes reported when he said it emitted a rushing whirlwind sound.

Don Maor said...

Lance claimed:
"that does not negate the proposition that the "skips like a saucer"/"flying saucer" media construction was responsible for why saucers became the predominant shape that people "saw" in the skies."

Strictly speaking, the proposition "skips like a saucer" does NOT negate the object being like a saucer. Of course, it was not a saucer for food, but the proposition does NOT rule out the saucer shape. In other words, saucers may also "skip like a saucer".

Another point, skeptics always fail to notice that additionally to the disc or saucer shape, many other shapes were reported, likes spheres, cylinders, pyramids, and many other odd ones. So, skeptics always like to claim that the media contamination is so strong and devastating that it caused the misnomer "saucer" from the Arnold Sighting, but in the reality, the media contamination was not so strong, allowing the reporting of other shapes of UFOs. The variety of consistent shapes reported for UFOs would tell any normal person that there is something real to UFOs.

Lance claimed:
"Arnold didn't see a saucer--but the press reported that he did and thereafter saucers were pretty much the standard shape for UFO's. Denying the implications of this is just part of the reason that UFO belief falls outside scientific (or rational) interest."

I don't know what Arnold saw, but many skeptics seem to comfortably believe that Arnold saw something with shape a boomerang. The very first drawings by Arnold (one those drawings is presented by Kevin here) do not support the boomerang shape. Indeed, the drawing is pretty much closer to the disc shape than to the boomerang.

Lance said...

Don,

I accept your first point but I don't think it is pertinent. Arnold's first descriptions, which are not well documented but seem to be something like: "half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear" isn't like what became the classic saucer shape. I realize that believers try to rationalize that away.

Don writes:

"skeptics always fail to notice that additionally to the disc or saucer shape, many other shapes were reported"

Always? I'm a skeptic. I didn't fail to notice this. That's why I used the word "predominate" above.

"many skeptics seem to comfortably believe that Arnold saw something with shape a boomerang"

Not me. I think he thought that he saw something like the shape he reported mentioned above--sort of a half pie plate with a kind of covex rear end.

And the drawing is immaterial, I suggest, since it came after the media frenzy and wasn't nearly as well publicized.

Again, I realize that, for saucer believers, this characterization doesn't fit their belief system. But it is compelling for folks outside the mythology.

Lance






Brian Bell said...

Don't forget that a month after he gave his original report he added a new type of object to the mix. In the Portland Oregonian on July 11, he was quoted saying, "I actually saw a type of aircraft slightly longer than it was wide, with a thickness about one twentieth as great as its width. ...I reckoned the saucers were 23 miles away."

This evolved into his drawing of what some claim was a flying wing - and Arnold added that this craft was at the head of the formation leading the other formerly described craft.

Interesting he did not report this initially. Did he fictionalize the new object from concepts known from the Horton or Northrup designs to somehow justify the sighting as real? Make it more believable?

Neal Foy said...

Brian,

If the AVRO Project Y was already built in 1947 then why was the contract for the prototype let in 1952? From what I can tell it never went to more than a wooden prototype and was never produced. The figures for performance appear to be theoretical. The later Avrocar was a much simplified version of a Frost design and it was an abject failure.

The flying wing was another project ahead of it's time, it proved to be unstable in flight. It wasn't until computer controlled flight became possible that the flying wing became practical.

Don Maor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Don Maor said...

Lance said:

"I accept your first point but I don't think it is pertinent. Arnold's first descriptions, which are not well documented but seem to be something like: "half-moon shaped, oval in front and convex in the rear" isn't like what became the classic saucer shape. I realize that believers try to rationalize that away."

The shape reported by Arnold is well documented in his original drawings. Make an exercise Lance, print in a paper the original drawing made by Arnold (Kevin has posted the original drawing in this post). Once printed, grab a compass (a circle-maker-tool) and _honestly_ try to inscribe or circumscribe a circle to the drawing made by Arnold. You tell then if they are so different or not.

Lance said...

It hardly takes such an experiment to see what is plain: Arnold's is circular in front but not in back which is unlike what immediately became the traditional flying saucer.

I understand why believers want this fact to go away.

Lance

Lance said...

And I did say his first descriptions. The drawing came several weeks later apparently and, as we see, Arnold had quite an imagination as evidenced by his later description of another craft.

Again NONE of that stuff matters--his description didn't sound like a traditional flying saucer.

But folks began to see mostly purely round saucers after the "saucer" word hit the media. And that meme held firm until other shapes took the fancy of the media: triangles and even crosses.

Lance

Gurkenstein said...

There were many stories in the newspapers after Arnold about strange craft, and many of them referred to flying saucers even when the object reported was not saucer shaped.

I’m comfortable with the fact the term “flying saucer” became a colloquialism until it was gradually supplanted by “ufo,” just as the term “foo fighter” became the colloquial reference among allied air crews during WWII to describe phenomena.

Statistical analysis of both Blue Book and NICAP sightings reports completely refute some random skeptic’s repeated insistence that the term dictated, let alone influenced the subsequent nature of the majority of sighting reports. As Kevin suggested, even when for example cigar shape or cylindrical objects were described in detailed follow-ups they would be loosely referred to as “flying saucers” in their initial sighting reports.

What I find far more pernicious is that the term “ufo” is presently conflated to imply extraterrestrial, and worse, “little green men” per se. This is the main reason I’ve abandoned the ufo reference completely, it’s become analogous in the popular culture with ET.

Lance said...

"Statistical analysis of both Blue Book and NICAP sightings reports completely refute some random skeptic’s repeated insistence that the term dictated, let alone influenced the subsequent nature of the majority of sighting reports."

Can you provide a link for this analysis?

Thanks,

Lance

Gurkenstein said...

http://www.nicap.org/ufoe/section_12.htm

Lance said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lance said...

Okay. And that paper, which closely follows the original Project Grudge conclusion that:

"The most numerous reports indicate daytime observation of metallic disc-like objects roughly in diameter ten times their thickness."

And indeed shows that (even considering up to 1963 --quite a ways past the time period we are discussing) the predominate reported shape was disk-like.

And that does what you say it does, how?

Lance

Gurkenstein said...

This is a waste of my time. This is a 170-page report that states quite plainly in its introduction,

An attempt was made to find groups of Unknowns for which the observed characteristics were the same. No such groups were found.. An intensive study, aimed at finding a verified model or models of "flying saucers .. led to the conclusion that neither goal could be attained using the present data.. the data conclusively failed to reveal even a rough model.. the data as a whole failed to reveal any marked patterns or trends. - Statement by U.S. Air Force (From Project Blue Book Special Report No.14, 1955, ppg. 91-94)

The data is there. It supports this conclusion. It couldn’t be any more simple. I’m done.

Lance said...

Sorry to waste your time by asking you to provide support for your assertions. Many UFO believers have plenty of time for the assertions...little time for supporting them.

The paper talks about lots of stuff unrelated to the discussion above: maneuvers and supposed flight characteristics, etc. ..that is why the paper (written by hardcore UFO buffs) decided that there was no typical UFO.

On the shape of the things (what we were discussing here, I think) the paper is quite clear: most were disc shaped.

So instead of supporting your earlier assertion, it refutes it handily.

Thanks,

Lance

Gurkenstein said...

No Lance. The assertions are yours. The paper refutes your casual assertions that somehow the term "flying saucer" has influenced the nature of sightings exactly with detailed collection of charts, tables and illustrations. More interestingly, anyone with a few seconds of time can see how you chose to structure your argument by cherry-picking a single sentence from a paragraph, and present that as the conclusive support of your repeated misrepresentation of sightings.

The paragraph you decided to do your buffet-shopping from reads:

A. PHYSICAL APPEARANCE
Shape

The Air Force Project Grudge Report of December 1949 (Technical Report No. 102-AC-49/15-100) concluded, on the basis of intelligence reports of UFOs, that the objects were of three basic types:

(1) "The most numerous reports indicate daytime observation of metallic disc-like objects roughly in diameter ten times their thickness."

(2) Rocket-like objects.

(3) "Sharply defined luminous objects" appearing as lights at night.

Thirteen years of UFO sightings have been added to the record since this evaluation was made. A statistical study of the cases listed in the chronology of this report [Section XI], covering a period of 22 years beginning with 1942, indicates that the above pattern is well-established.


In sum... not only is your characterization wrong, as more data became available it is proven more wrong.

Lance said...

I'm sorry I don't understand your point....

The above says clearly that the most numerous reports indicated saucer shaped objects. The other two types were presumedly less numerous,

And I concede that there were chart and graphs, very impressive. But they all support the basic idea that the saucer is the predominate shape reported by witnesses.

I know it is tempting to just say it is all in there but can you point out the exact point that refutes the above?

Lance

eBikesRC said...

See below...I don't think this guy was joking at all. He gave waayyy too detailed information to be a joke. This is WHY I know Roswell is part of some MILITARY UFO EARTH BASED secret program. We do NOT have a need to know! That's how the game is played. Arnold KNEW he was bugged in WA, and he starts the propaganda catching wild fire with Fate magazine too! What an amazing media campaign.

Also, the very end of the article says these sightings were happening for 10 days, so that predates Roswell too.

How many ET UFO Investigators SERIOUSLY followed-up on any of these reports? There was enough information there to track down some relatives, etc. IMO.

http://www.project1947.com/fig/1947f.htm

I thank Sentry for finding that link. His blog is blueblurrylines.com

Roswell Morning Dispatch, - July 8, 1947

Report Flying Disk Found

By The Associated Press

Two flying disks were reported found in Texas and at least one is being investigated by military officials as the total number of Texans claiming to have seen the mysterious objects passed the 50 mark yesterday.

The disks were reported found on a beach near Trinity Bay, near Houston, and near Hillsboro.

The Houston Chronicle said a great deal of mystery surrounded the one found near there by Norman Hargrave, a jeweler, Sunday. He first reported that he had found the aluminum disk floating near the beach while he and his wife were walking. He described it minutely, even giving an inscription he said it carried.

Today he said it was all a joke, but the Chronicle, after extensive checking, said "there are some mysterious facts contained in his (Hargrave's) first report that lend credence to the tale."

Hargrave first said the disk bore this wording: "Military secret of the United States of America. Army Air Forces M4339658. Anyone damaging or revealing description or whereabouts of this missile subject to prosecution by the U.S. government. Call collect at once, LD446, Army Air Forces Denot, Spokane, Wash." He said the words "non-explosive" also were carried.

It was recalled that the initial reports of flying saucers or disks originated in the Spokane area.

The Chronicle, meanwhile, telephoned Spokane, and said it "brought interest" on the part of the commanding officer, but he would not confirm or deny that the missile may have carried the message. Later he referred Houston to Wright Field, Ohio, but the commanding officer there was out of town.

In Houston, Col. R. W. Warren, commanding officer of Ellington Field, said he had been instructed by Washington to investigate.

Houston police would not say if they had the missile.

The second flying disks (sic) was reported found by Bob Scott, a farmer living two and a half miles east of Hillsboro. He said the disk fell on his place Friday, and that it resembled a saucer. He said it was so bright he could not look at it very long.

He said he was afraid people might believe he was "going to extremes in imagining things" and he told no one but his family until yesterday.

Then he notified O.F. Kissick and Joe Gerick, Hillsboro, who went to the field and investigated. Most of it had melted, they said. Gerick said one piece looked like tin foil, but when he picked it up, it appeared to be celluloid.

Another development in Houston was a suggestion by Charles Odom, 23, air force captain in the last war, that the flying disks might be "crystal balls" similar to those he said were used by the Nazis.

He said these balls were electronically operated, and while in midair would send back to a radar screen on the ground the altitude, speed and other data of bombers it approached. He said the balls would fly up to the altitude of bombers, were apparently magnetized, and then flew along with the plane formations. [...]

cda said...

eBikesRC:

I presume Charles Odom's "crystal balls" are fictitious. The ones 'used by the Nazis' are the 'foo fighters' seen by both allied forces and the Germans. Each blamed the other for those mysterious lights that appeared to follow the bombers. Perhaps Odom is basing his tale on them.

Why does the Houston Chronicle happen to report two other discs found on a beach the very same day the Roswell papers were reporting the 'disc' found on a ranch in NM? Are we supposed to believe three 'discs' were all reported on the same day? What became of the Houston 'discs', assuming they existed?

We also read that one of them is described as a 'missile'. Why? A small disc found on a beach becomes a 'missile'. Really this shows how dotty the subject had become after only two weeks in the news.

Arnold developed his paranoia about being bugged during the Maury Island case in late July, I believe. Someone can correct me if I'm wrong.

Brian Bell said...

@CDA on the term "missile"....

If you look at the 1940's use of this term it is frequently used to describe non-conventional aircraft of any kind, not just rocket propelled "missiles" as we know them today. That's why it commonly shows up when even describing Arnold's sighting and others of the time.

Brian Bell said...

@ Neal Foy - you commented:

"If the AVRO Project Y was already built in 1947 then why was the contract for the prototype let in 1952? From what I can tell it never went to more than a wooden prototype and was never produced."

Yes, but if exploration of the prototypes between 1947 and 1952 were able to demonstrate viability, and the partnerships between competing allies (Britain and the U.S.) were resolved post war, then you have contract agreement.

Of course any Punic research is going to end with nothing more than a wooden mock-up. However the project was publcally reported "cancelled" for no reasons and then "went away". Maybe it did, or maybe it was burried in yet another black project contract. The wooden mockup photos, by the way, didn't get released for decades later due to secrecy. Why so much secrecy over a wooden model?

Avrocar, of course, was nothing but a joke. A PR effort to redirect public (and Soviet) attention away from advanced working designs. It's just a hovercraft and it is not the same design or engine used in Project Y.

Why discount that Arnold's sighting illustration and commentary is an identical match to Project Y? Why discount they were coming from Canadian airspace? Why discount that AVRO operated testing and storage facilities in SW Canada just over the border?

Neal Foy said...

His description also fits the lifting body design that NASA developed to some degree. Surely no one would say he saw several of those, especially since it wasn't even powered. FYI Project Y seems to be AVRO's designation for several projects, not just the Spade as it was called. The Spade had a number of problems including heat that melted various parts and pilots visibility when trying to land. The heat problem seems to be real while the visibility problem may be theoretical since there's no record of one ever flying let alone trying to land. It appears that when the US Air Force took over the project it became Project Silver Bug, another failure for Frost inspired design.

Why discount all those things? Because no Frost design ever became a real production model. Why believe he had several working aircraft in 1947 when later he couldn't get any of his ideas to work as advertised? Essentially the Avrocar was a hovercraft, and a poor one at that.

To sum it up, to attribute the Arnold sighting to any Frost design appears to be a giant reach.

Brian Bell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Brian Bell said...

@Neal Foy...

A "giant reach"....really? GIANT? If there are sighting and witness description attributes which are identical to known designs, even if not publically acknowledged, you prefer to disregard them as a "giant reach"?

- Shape identical
- Speed identical
- Direction of origin matching source
- Designer known to favor saucer shapes
- Secret project inexplicably canceled
- Data revealed decades later

Ah....that's not a "giant leap". It's a valid hypothesis with reasonable source indicators.

A giant leap would be to automatically declare the objects ET from outer space.

Neal Foy said...

Brian,

- Shape close but not identical
- Theoretical Speed identical
- Direction of origin matching alleged source: As if aircraft never alter course. Boeing is nearby too and is has produced designs that actually work.
- Designer known to favor saucer shapes, that fail time after time.
- Secret project canceled because of problems that couldn't be overcome.
- Data revealed decades later: Just not true, the project was known about at least by the 1960's, the picture of the wooden prototype was found later.

Sorry Brian, time traveling designs work no better than time traveling dummies for explanations.

CommanderCronus said...

If the exterior of an aircraft is highly reflective, does that result in a larger radar signature? Just wondering, because the descriptions of the saucers make me think of lighter-than-air craft, maybe experimental decoys of some kind. The Army utilized inflatable tank decoys during the D-day invasion, and I wonder if, in later years, the Air Force tried something similar.

eBikesRC said...

Does this seem to be a joke? I think not. Is this how secret craft were sometimes labeled? This is very important to my understanding of the UFO wave in 1947. Did ANY UFO researcher ever attempt to follow-up on this? WHY not?????????????? [See my post above for more details and a link.]

Today he said it was all a joke, but the Chronicle, after extensive checking, said "there are some mysterious facts contained in his (Hargrave's) first report that lend credence to the tale."

Hargrave first said the disk bore this wording: "Military secret of the United States of America. Army Air Forces M4339658. Anyone damaging or revealing description or whereabouts of this missile subject to prosecution by the U.S. government. Call collect at once, LD446, Army Air Forces Denot, Spokane, Wash." He said the words "non-explosive" also were carried.

It was recalled that the initial reports of flying saucers or disks originated in the Spokane area.

The Chronicle, meanwhile, telephoned Spokane, and said it "brought interest" on the part of the commanding officer, but he would not confirm or deny that the missile may have carried the message. Later he referred Houston to Wright Field, Ohio, but the commanding officer there was out of town.

In Houston, Col. R. W. Warren, commanding officer of Ellington Field, said he had been instructed by Washington to investigate.

Don Maor said...

Lance:

"And I did say his first descriptions. The drawing came several weeks later apparently and, as we see, Arnold had quite an imagination as evidenced by his later description of another craft."

Well, if by "several weeks" you wanted to mean less than three weeks, then we are OK.

Notice also that implying that the imagination of Arnold acted to somehow distort what he really saw can be used also against the skeptic theories. One may propose that Arnold really saw a disc shape object, but that his "imagination" and his airplane background make him imagine that the object needed something like a tail-side, erasing from his memory the real shape, which had no tail absolutely, and obliging his mind to destroy the simmetry of a circular shape, and putting to it something vaguely resembling a tail side. Further months would have converted the almost-disc shape into something more airplane-like, a boomerang, flying wing, etc, etc, etc.

cda said...

eBikesRC:

I submit that the two Houston discs were fictitious, phoney.

We are told that the inscription said to call some AAF place in Spokane. OK so why didn't the guy who found it (Hargrave) do just that, instead of telling his tale to the Houston Chronicle and letting them do it? Why also did not the AAF take steps to recover the 'disc'? By telling the newspaper Hargrave had already "revealed its whereabouts" so he ought to have been prosecuted, as the inscription says. Why wasn't he? And why on earth did the Spokane office (who demanded to be notified of its discovery) then refer the newspaper to another office? And when this Col Warren "went to investigate" what did he find? Any idea?

The whole tale is a yarn - it is as simple as that.

And I am still curious as to why these two tales appeared in the press on the same day as the Roswell 'disc' was first announced.

Was the press in those parts suffering from 'landed disc-omania' maybe?

Neal Foy said...

cda

I'm going to agree with you there. I can't say I've ever seen a secret project but the inscription doesn't sound very military to me. Military inscriptions tend to be less wordy. It does seem odd that the guy who found it wasn't prosecuted. You have to wonder why the newspaper wasn't told to hold the story.

Brian Bell said...

Well it appears that from 29 June 1947 there was almost one news article per day following Arnold's original report. Regarding the Houston article and Trinity Bay, this was reported in an Abeliene paper.

On July 8, 1947 the Abilene Reporter News reported that the fragments of two purported "flying disks" were found, one disk found on a beach a Trinity Bay, near Houston and one found near Hillsboro.

Note it said "fragments" not complete saucers. The Hillsoboro caseleft synthetic plastic debris.

That area has been known to have other sightings including one photographed in 1968. Decades later there was an object that crashed there. This was reported by the San Leon paper:

"Whatever it was that crashed to Earth in San Leon on September 24th, it has generated a lot of interest from the United States government and from private investigative groups. The known facts are that on the evening of September 24th, several witnesses saw a fiery object moving at a high rate of speed fall from the sky and land in a cow pasture at 18th Street and Broadway. This occurred just after 5:30 pm.
The object reportedly exploded in a fireball upon impact, setting the field afire. The first responders to arrive were the San Leon Volunteer Fire Department. They were reportedly unaware of what had started the blaze, but battled flames that threatened to get out of control in the dry gusty conditions on that date. The fire covered about 60 acres of pasture, and no buildings were destroyed. At first. Assistant Fire Chief Scott Lyons was very cooperative, telling us that the object might have been a meteorite, or part of a falling satellite. Since then, Lyons and other officials won’t speak “on the record” about the incident, saying they cannot comment on cases that are still under investigation. They were unable to disclose exactly what is under investigation, or even whether there is any investigation regarding the incident. In the meanwhile, a team of scientists from the NASA Space Center visited the scene the morning after the fire, and closed the area off with yellow crime scene warning tape. They encamped at the spot for two days, and – judging from the mess they left behind – removed a large amount of dirt from the site. Unmarked helicopters, presumably military, have also been seen hovering above the site and flying around it on several occasions recently. A neighbor who asked not to be named, wrecker service owner Sam Adams, said that at one point a member of the NASA crew at the site asked him to bring a winch and assist in loading a truck with some debris from the site. Adams said he was not able to see what was loaded into the flatbed truck, as it was wrapped up and tied inside of a large tarpaulin. He said whatever it was weighed 600-800 pounds, and was approximately the size of a grand piano. The NASA crew at the site was wearing white-colored hazmat safety suits, but Adams said they appeared to be wearing US Air Force uniforms underneath. The one who requested Adams help had an eagle insignia, indicating the rank of Colonel. Eyewitness Jerry Long of San Leon, who saw the object fall and the subsequent explosion, then dialed 9-1-1. “I saw it fall out of the corner of my eye, I didn’t really get a good look. But as I turned that way, it hit the ground and blew up like a huge bomb. The ground shook. The flames shot out in every directions for hundreds of feet. I fell down on the ground, I was so startled and shaken.” Our attempts to get some comment from NASA was unsuccessful. We were referred to the Public Affairs Officer at the Johnson Space Center, Michael Kincaid, who said the only thing he had the authority to do would be to send us a brochure about the Space Center and Museum and tours. “Speaking off the record, and not for publication” Kincaid said, “I can tell you that the object seen by the witnesses in San Leon was most likely a reflection of swamp gases caused by decaying vegetation in the nearby bayou.”

Gilles Fernandez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gilles Fernandez said...

Hello,

Ufology is strange -sic- (pseudo-scientific?) and have proposed "points" to defend itself regarding her desire to become "scientific", but not in accordance of the modern myth they have elaborated/constructed and Arnold "princeps case"...

You guys, when you construct "scale" concerning the validity of your "pseudo" UFO sighting insist about "Multiple witnesses" and ask "agnostic" to be cautious about/if "only one witness", but this case is becomed your golden one... Wow, guys!

Same, you insist about a sighting and when the narrative doesn't change with time, despite Kenneth Arnold, have changed by time (when he meet Ray Palmer)...

Please, try to have some semblance of logic... And maybe Sciences will be interrested.

Regards,

Gilles Fernandez.

eBikesRC said...

"Military secret of the United States of America. Army Air Forces M4339658. Anyone damaging or revealing description or whereabouts of this missile subject to prosecution by the U.S. government. Call collect at once, LD446, Army Air Forces Denot, Spokane, Wash." He said the words "non-explosive" also were carried.
---------------------------
Back in those days you did NOT have a phone-address book for Spokane in Houston, nor did a jeweler know of that military address/location and specific contact information for that base. No, that part is NOT a joke, nor is that part a hoax. And, the Chronicle did find that information worked to find someone at the other end of their phone calls interested including the Spokane military base with no comment.

It's quite typical in case after case that people are told to shut-up about it afterwards, so saying it was all a joke is an easy way out. But, the logic above confirms the previous sentence here, IMO.

I don't think "joking" or "hoaxing" would be anyone's MO back in that time frame. That kind of hoax game would be played later by fraud artists typically within an established UFO community. Those leaders or groups did not exist then.

What would be happening is people would be misidentifying objects in the sky, BUT NOT crashed objects on the ground, IMO. A witness may not know exactly what it is, but the witness can describe the object debris up-close with time to look at it and report it fairly accurately vs some object high in the sky thousands of feet or more away.

Anyway, no one seems to have followed-up on these reports. These named people probably did exist. Was this military "M4339658" ID system on the object used? It's wide-open to investigation, and it should have been done long ago.

Neal Foy said...

I found this from the Oregon MUFON website, a compilation of stories published in Portland newspapers from two days to about two weeks after Arnold's sighting. This is a link to the first of three pages:

http://www.oregonmufon.com/index.php/oregon-history/44-articles-from-portland-newspapers-1

Certainly shows a lot of reports from across the country. On the top of page three is a landing story with possibly the first description of travel of the landing saucers (although described as more like washtubs) resembling "falling leaves". Something that was common in later reports.

At the bottom of page three one of the first self appointed debunkers. A lady who sold balloons at carnivals.

albert said...

AVRO-type saucer-shaped aircraft were never shown to have been flown (unlike the flying wing types that actually did fly). While both were 'aerodynamic' shapes, neither could be controlled safely by human pilots. It would be decades before flight control computers would enable even un-aerodynamic ('flying rocks') aircraft like the F-117 to fly. The idea that the military had such craft (and supersonic at that) in the forties and fifties is ridiculous, if for no other reason than the known lack of flight control technology. FC computers are relatively sophisticated, even by today's standards.
.
...

Jeanne Ruppert said...

UFOs in the Arctic, 1971

http://www.theblackvault.com/casefiles/arctic-ufo-photographs-uss-trepang-ssn-674-march-1971/#

Brian Bell said...

@Albert - you commented:

"AVRO-type saucer-shaped aircraft were never shown to have been flown (unlike the flying wing types that actually did fly). While both were 'aerodynamic' shapes, neither could be controlled safely by human pilots."

You are basing that conclusion on what is in the public domain regarding military development of saucer shaped aircraft.

Do you believe that today, all secret military and defense projects are "reported" or publically made "known"? If not, why would you assume that in the late 1940's secret weapons research would be publically shared?

albert said...

@Brian,

I DO believe that secret military technology is being developed continuously. I also said, "...known lack of flight control technology...". Saucer-shaped aircraft are extremely unstable. Either they had very sophisticated computers back then, or they had some otherworldly technology that accomplished the same thing. Saucer craft offered little improvement over existing aircraft designs. They would have (and still may have) value as decoys or disinformation devices. The public may fall for it, but the worlds militaries would know better. The world-wide IC community always knows more about us than we do.
.
...

Neal Foy said...

@ albert

Some people tried to say that the Arnold sighting was the Navy "Flying Flapjack". Trouble was there was only one of those and it was on the East Coast. To say that the sighting was of a Frost design makes no sense at all. For the reasons you mentioned and more, the Spade as it was called was a VTOL design that took off and landed vertically. Look at Space-X, they can't get their rocket to do that even with modern computers.

To assume that anyone could build nine of these things that could do what the objects in the Arnold sighting could do stretches the imagination. For one thing why would they waste the money building a wooden mock up when they already had nine that worked? Just as an aside, NASA wanted to build a wooden mock up of the External Tank for the Shuttle but it was too expensive. They ended up with a life size rendering on the wall of the assembly building.

Most people carry computers in their pockets that are more capable than the ones used for Apollo. How could they have had anything in 1947 that could provide stability to a saucer shaped craft? I'm addressing this to you because Brian doesn't want to listen, he wants to say that all sightings are secret projects. To me the numbers alone rule that out.

albert said...

@Neal,

Although I believe _some_ sightings are military projects, and some may be very advanced technology.
.
...

ufodude2010 said...

eBikesRC::

'This is WHY I know Roswell is part of some MILITARY UFO EARTH BASED secret program.'

Please site authenticated documentation provided by the U.S. government to back up these claims please.

"Military secret of the United States of America. Army Air Forces M4339658."

So we are to believe the government is going to put 'military secret' on their flying craft? I could see 'property', but not 'military secret'.

Neal Foy said...

@albert,

I agree with that, some sightings may well be secret projects with advanced technology but not the Arnold sighting and so many other sightings around the world.

If you read the newspaper accounts Portland shortly after the Arnold sighting it does appear that there was some sort of saucer mania going on around the country. Some were just plain hoax reports. Even the balloon lady was probably right about some cases. It's difficult to say that all the sightings were false though.

Neal Foy said...

oops, should have said accounts from Portland.

@ufodude2010

The jeweler admitted it was just a hoax. And the inscription does look like something a civilian would make up. You don't need to be a military expert to see that. Just look at the military section on e-bay. Here's what is printed on a box of canteen corks from WWII.

8465-377-6965
GASKET, CAP, WATER CANTEEN
100 EACH
A 3/64

As you can see nothing like what was reported on the hoax disc. The military rarely gets wordy, for instance on aircraft instead of saying "Do Not Step Here" it says simply "No Step"

Brian Bell said...

@ Neal and Albert -

Yes, saucer shaped aircraft did often result in instability tests - but using conventional propulsion systems - and not always. The Spade used a then, unconvential power plant.

Mock ups are made for many reasons - typically just for show without any "guts" on the interior. And NASA did build mock ups of the fuel tank and shuttle. You can see them in Huntsville, AL.

What Arnold reported was something more like a jet aircraft, pulse engine, or ram jet. Their reported behavior, shape and flight pattern is not what is commonly reported with classic UFO sightings. There were no right angle 90 degree turns, they did not stop and then shoot upward and out of sight, they did not hover.

I might add that Tesla demonstrated electrogravitic levitation in the 1930's, followed by Biefield-Brown.

A circular shape is the most practical design for a vehicle that doesn't need wings because it works on a different principle altogether.

Neal Foy said...

@Brian

If you're talking about the Space Museum here's what the website says:

"Shuttle Park
Explore the most complete chronology of launch vehicles in the country, including the world’s only fully-stacked Space Transportation System (STS) that includes two solid rocket boosters, genuine space shuttle main engine nozzles and a genuine external tank. This orbiter, Pathfinder, is on display in Shuttle Park and is flanked by a T-38, a twin-engine supersonic jet used in astronaut training."

So it's a real ET, not a mock up. I worked at NASA Michoud so I think I know more than you do about the tank. This was also where the first two stages of the Apollo rockets were built. We had a real Saturn V booster at the main gate. There were real engines stored in one of the bays at the assembly building.

The engineers who worked for AVRO reported the heat problems, I'm not making that up. Maybe metallurgy problems, I don't know, but what makes you think that they overcame those problems in 1947 when they couldn't do that later?

Brian Bell said...

@ Neal

I wasn't suggesting you "made-up" the heat issue. It would be a problem given the supposed speeds the Spade was to achieve...unless components of the aircraft used Titanium.

Public records indicate Kroll, a German immigrant, formulated the extrusion process in the late 1930's...but he was ignored by US aircraft designers during WW2.....until about 1946-47. What if they had actually applied Titanium to some designs in 1946 a bit earlier than publicly reported?

For example, the F-86 was operational in 1948. Design for it started in 1944, but was delayed as engineers tried to incorporate technology from German aircraft designers. It is one of the first planes to be built with significant amounts of Titanium. The metal was used on the airframe and engine.

I will agree that the 1947 sightings do defy what we publicly know about materials application in postwar aircraft giving the impression that no human manufacturing process in the 1940s could have produced operational craft in the supposed varieties and number seen by saucer witnesses.

But perhaps we have not been made privy to all the postwar projects flowing from early Cold War era competition and Nazi prototypes.

eBikesRC said...

N.F. wrote: "As you can see nothing like what was reported on the hoax disc. The military rarely gets wordy, for instance on aircraft instead of saying "Do Not Step Here" it says simply "No Step""

You're NOT taking into account that your example is really not a fair comparison, imo, because yours is simply a military part numbering or catalog system, and that has NOTHING to do with a top secret UFO that might crash and be found. Of course, the labeling will be more informative and detailed and wordy enough to help some person of any age or gender understand this is a serious matter and how to contact the authorities. Also, we are already getting a 2nd hand or 3rd hand account, since this is an AP report that may have modified the original article. We do not know if they paraphrased this, but I did NOT see quotation marks either to indicate a precise quote either.

So, this tells me serious research needs to be done about this, yet no one has done it that I'm aware of. Kevin Randle certainly knows how to follow-up on these matters, imo.