Friday, July 20, 2007

Project Mogul and Roswell

Over the last several months, Kal Korff has made all sorts of allegations, charges, complaints and comments about my investigation of the Roswell case. He seems to be obsessed with my writing, and he works to prove that I have made many mistakes.

But Korff has been very sloppy when it comes to his own reporting. Take, for example, his comments about my investigation into part of the Project Mogul explanation. He wrote, in part, "...Kevin Randle has gone on the record as claiming he has ‘disproved’ the Mogul explanation by using winds aloft information for the area. This includes information pertaining to high altitude winds and it is a factor all airborne objects... must contend with. However, because Randle has no expertise in this field, his ‘explanation’ is demonstratively false has come back to haunt him [Sentence reproduced as it appears on page 154 of the hardback edition of Korff’s book]."

He goes on to reproduce, from my Roswell UFO Crash Update, an analysis of the winds data and how it eliminates the culprit. This analysis is based on the trajectories followed by Mogul Flight No. 8 and Mogul Flight No. 10. Using the winds aloft data, as well as maps of the area, I wrote and Korff reproduces about this flight:

The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, NC has microfilmed copies of the winds aloft charts for 1947. While these charts cannot prove that what fell on the Brazel ranch was a Project Mogul balloon, they can exclude it. If the winds were blowing in the wrong direction, then it is clear that the balloons would have traveled away from the ranch. If, however, they were blowing in the right direction, the winds aloft data can only show it was possible for a Mogul balloon to have fallen on the ranch, not that it did.

These data are not as complete as I would have liked them. Although the charts range from the surface to 20,000 feet, the winds at various reporting stations are often blank which means, simply, no data were available.

Four [weather tracking] stations are of relevance to us. These are the stations at Tucson, Arizona; El Paso, Texas and Albuquerque and Roswell, New Mexico. No winds data are available from Alamogordo, the launching site of Mogul balloons...

The relevant charts as those made at 8:30 P.M., MST on July 3, and at 2:30 A.M. on July 4. The only data for the 20,000 foot level on July 3 (8:30 P.M.) is from Albuquerque showing the wind was blowing at Albuquerque to the northwest at 15 knots. At 16,000 feet the wind was blowing at Albuquerque to the northwest at 15 knots.

At 2:30 the following morning, seven hours after the launch, the winds at Roswell at 20,000 feet are blowing to the northwest at 20 knots. At 16,000 feet, the wind at Roswell is blowing at 15 knots, and the wind at Albuquerque is blowing to the northeast at 25 knots. Of course, if the balloon had reached Albuquerque, the wind blowing in that direction would push it farther to the north, away from the Brazel Ranch.

Between Albuquerque and the Brazel ranch is the northern end of the San Andreas Mountains with peaks above 9,000 feet. If the balloon stayed aloft long enough to reach Albuquerque, the winds there would have pushed it back into the mountains. It would not have drifted to the Brazel ranch.

Korff wrote, "While this might be true in Kevin Randle’s mind, it does not necessarily mean that it is reality."

He continued, "When Prof. Charles Moore [of the New York University Constant Level Balloon Project now known as Mogul seen here] used Weather Service data [that I supplied to him] and NYU altitude information to stimulate the likely trajectories of the Mogul flights he launched with recorded ground trackings, his results showed conclusively that Randle is wrong, and that a Mogul balloon could easily have fallen on the Foster [Brazel] ranch. Moore is qualified to read and calculate winds aloft data and other atmospheric data, whereas Randle is primarily a writer; he has not been trained to make such calculations."

To prove his point, Korff then quotes physicist Dave Thomas, who wrote:

"[Moore] used the wind data for June 4, 1947, and assumed the flight reached altitudes comparable to those for the subsequent two flights (which were made of similar balloon trains).

Moore’s analysis indicates that after Flight 4 lifted off from Alamogordo, it probably ascended with traveling northeast (toward Arabela), then turned toward the northwest during passage through the stratosphere, and then descended back to earth in a general northeast direction. Moore’s calculated balloon path is quite consistent with a landing on the Foster ranch, approximately 85 miles northeast of the Alamogordo launch site and 60 miles northwest of Roswell. Furthermore, the debris was strewn along the ground at a southwest-to-northwest angle (as reported by Maj. Jesse Marcel); this angle is entirely consistent with Moore’s analysis.

So, what’s wrong with this? First, I notice that the notorious Jesse Marcel’s description of the orientation of the debris field is accepted as fact. We hear from the debunkers and from Korff how unreliable his testimony is unless it relates to their beliefs. Marcel [seen here] can be trusted here, but not on other aspects of the case. Isn’t this a double standard and cherry-picking facts?

Second, I notice any number of qualifications in Thomas’ analysis. "Assumed the flight reached... it probably ascended..." It seems that we must make many assumptions for this flight to work.

Not to mention that the winds aloft data end at 20,000 feet so once the balloons reached above that altitude, as they did, the winds aloft data become highly speculative. Korff, in fact, edited out of my report a paragraph that said, "At 10,000 feet, the winds are literally all over the chart. The El Paso winds are to the north at 20 knots, the winds at Roswell are to the northeast at 25 knots and the winds at Albuquerque are to the southeast at 15 knots. That last is interesting because it suggests that the balloon, reaching Albuquerque could be blown back, toward the Brazel ranch."

What this demonstrates is that the winds, at various altitudes, can be wildly different than those above or below. They can be stronger, weaker, and blowing in directions at wide variance.

Third, I see nothing to suggest that Flight No. 4 was even launched. According to a diary kept by Dr. Albert Crary, the man in charge of the balloon experiments in New Mexico, Flight No. 4, scheduled for an early morning launch on June 4 was cancelled because of bad weather.

Here’s what Crary wrote, "June 4, 1947. Out to Tularosa Range and fired charges between 00 and 06 this am. No balloon flight again on account of clouds. Flew regular sonobuoy up in cluster of balloons and had good luck on receiver on ground but poor on plane. Out with Thompson pm. Shot charges from 1800 to 2400."

So we have contradictory accounts here in the only documented source. Charles Moore, who was with Crary on these tests wrote, "My examination of his original handwritten entries suggests that he copied from other notes; the entries from June 2 through the first half of June 5 appear to have been written in one sitting with the same pencil and without any corrections or false starts."

In other words, ones that the Mogul crowd doesn’t want to hear, there is a distinct possibility that there was no Flight No. 4, and at best, for them, it was only the balloons but none of the other equipment. Moore told me that if a launch was cancelled, [Mogul launch seen here] they pulled the equipment from the array, but they let the balloons go because they couldn’t get the helium back into the bottle. If this is true, then Flight No. 4 would have had no radar reflectors to scatter debris and another leg of the Mogul explanation is kicked free.

But finally, there is the bigger problem for what Korff alleges here. Back in the beginning of the investigation, Karl Pflock came up with an explanation for the crash at Roswell. He said that it was an N-9M version of the Northrop Flying Wing. When we demonstrated that was impossible, he switched to Project Mogul, suggesting that Flight No. 9, on July 3, was the culprit because there wasn’t much in the way of details for that flight and the wreckage was not recovered. In fact, the notes, diaries and other information have almost nothing about Flight No. 9. Please notice here, I have been addressing Flight No. 9 and not No. 4.

The paragraph that precedes the one quoted by Korff said, "We can then speculate that Flight No. 9 or the culprit named by Pflock, traveled to the northwest. No compelling evidence has been presented to counter this belief. It is a reasonable extrapolation based on the evidence in hand. However, we can take this a step farther."

It is at that point that Korff begins to quote. This means that the analysis I did, and which Korff reports in such detail was not about Flight No. 4, but Flight No. 9. The next paragraph, which Korff failed to report, said, "Terrain and winds seem to effectively rule out Flight No. 9..." Korff has missed completely on this, and the analysis I did is accurate when it is applied to the correct flight. Korff either didn’t notice his mistake or simply didn’t care.


gogeunger said...

IF the project MOGUL was so secret that it was a matter of national x
WHY not let people belive that it WAS a flying saucer.. projet MOGUL would then be a secret as it should be.
WHY hurry to give avay military secrets?

Malibu's Most Wanted said...

Kevin -

I know this post is over a year old, but typical winds aloft (even to this day) on Air Force bases was conducted by the base itself. In this case, it would have been via radiosonde and would have included winds to about 60,000 feet. This data was not generally shared (as they share today) with civilian agencies. Civilian agencies did not publish winds aloft for altitudes above 20,000 - since there were few jet aircraft in those days (or civilian aircraft in general) that could reach altitudes much above 20,000. Those aircraft that could reach altitudes above 20,000 were almost exclusively military aircraft.
Finally, even if the winds at 20,000 were fairly benign, the winds at 30,000 feet may be roaring in the complete opposite direction, and yet again in another direction and a different airspeed at altitudes above 20,000 feet.
In conclusion, just because the civilian winds aloft forecast didn't include altitudes above 20,000 feet doesn't mean that it didn't exist or that it wasn't available to the Mogul team. I'm not sure why that has never been mentioned in historical accounts, but neither were the inconsistencies with Glenn Dennis' "coffin" story.

Silent Hill said...

Good article.