This has evolved in the last few days and it’s not the original theory that I was going to point out. I had noticed that most of those who published the typical Mogul array train used the composition of Flight No. 2, which was launched on the east coast, and contained several rawin radar targets. The first “successful” flight in New Mexico, Flight No. 5, contained no rawin targets. According to what Charles Moore, one of the engineers working at Alamogordo, New Mexico, launch site in what we now know is a part of Project Mogul, told me early in the investigation was that Flight No. 4 was the same configuration as Flight No. 5.
Since I have been involved with attempting to understand all this for about thirty years, and although the original purpose was to discuss the composition of Flight No. 4, this has become something a bit more complicated. The first problem encountered is Dr. Albert Crary’s field notes and diary. Crary was, of course, the man in charge of the experiments. According to that document, as published in multiple locations and dated June 4:
Out to Tularosa Range and fired charges between 00 [midnight] and 06 this am. No balloon flights again on account of clouds. Flew regular sono buoy up in cluster of balloons and had good luck on receiver of the ground but poor on plane. Out with Thompson pm. Shot charges from 1800 [6:00 p.m.] to 2400 [midnight].
This seems to suggest there was no Flight No. 4. However, it mentions the cluster of balloons that lifted a sonobuoy for an experiment testing the ability of the microphone to detect explosions on the ground. In the documentation produced by the New York University that ran the experiments in New Mexico, there is some information about the composition of these clusters. Unfortunately for us, that information is somewhat contradictory.
Flight No. 5 is listed in New York University Technical Report No. 1, Constant Level Balloon and dated April 1, 1948, as Figure 31, “Train Assembly, flight 5,” (meteorological cluster). This does suggest that a cluster of balloons might, in fact, be of the same composition as the true flights. It means that it can be argued that when Crary mentioned they flew a cluster, it might have been the balloons that were to have been launched earlier in the day as Flight No. 4. However, it should also be noted that there were no rawin radar targets on Flight No. 5. And finally, there is additional information about the composition of Flight No. 4, which will be noted later.
The other complication is the requirement that the flights be preceded by a NOTAM, that is a Notice to Airmen. These were issued by the CAA, forerunner to the FAA, and provided information about conditions at airfields and other temporary problems that might adversely affect aerial navigation. The launching of a long array of balloons, especially those that were about six hundred feet long, could present just such a hazard to aerial navigation. This becomes an important part of the story.
A final note about Flight No. 4. It does not appear in the documentation in the technical report. Table VII, labeled, “Summary 0f NYU Constant-Level Balloon Flights,” jumps from Flight No. 1 (April 3, 1947) to Flight No. 5 (June 5, 1947). In the critique section for Flight No. 5, it said, “First successful flight carrying a heavy load. 3 Lifter balloons, 26 main balloons.”
Charles Moore, who received an honorary doctoral degree from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico, where he taught, was interviewed about Project Mogul by several UFO researchers, military officers and reporters about the situation in Alamogordo, New Mexico in June and July 1947.
|Charles Moore at a microfilm reader reviewing the winds aloft data I supplied.|
Photo copyright by Kevin Randle
Moore would become the leading proponent to the idea that Flight No. 4 was the culprit in the Roswell UFO crash case. On March 16, 1995, he published The New York University Balloon Flights During Early June 1947. It was his belief that one of the array trains from their project was responsible for the debris found by Mack Brazil and later recovered by members of the 509th Bomb Group stationed at the Roswell Army Air Field. He wrote in the abstract, “One of these, undocumented Flight #4, was last reported over Arabela, NM. From recent examination of the Weather Bureau winds aloft reports and of the ground tracks of the two subsequent NYU flights, it appears that Flight #4 is a likely candidate to explain the debris later recovered on the Foster Ranch about 23 miles to the north-northwest of Arabela.”
Of importance to understanding the sequence of events on June 4, Moore wrote, “One interpretation of the June 4 entry [from Crary’s diary] is that the launch scheduled for shortly after 0230 MST [emphasis added] was canceled because of clouds but, after the sky cleared around dawn [emphasis added], the cluster of already-inflated balloons was released, later than planned.”
Later in the report, he provided an explanation for some of the discrepancies that had been noticed. He wrote:
The June 4th flight apparently caused a change in our method of tracking. Up to that time, we planned to use radar targets and the flight train configuration show in Figure 2 (except that no radiosondes were to be used in the New Mexican operations). Since we had spent the time after our arrival at Alamogordo in preparing a full scale flight, I think that we would not have improvised on the morning of June 4, [emphasis added], after the gear was ready and the balloons were inflated; we would have launched the full-scale cluster, complete with the targets for tracking by the Watson Lab radar. The tracking was essential whenever an acoustic instrument was flown so that the microphone location could be determined, relative to the surface and air-borne explosions Crary created.
I have a memory [emphasis added] of J. R. Smith watching the June 4th cluster through a theodolite on a clear, sunny morning and that Capt. Dyad reported that the Watson Lab radar had lost track of the targets while Smith had them in view. It is also my recollection [emphasis added] that the cluster of balloons was tracked to about 75 miles from Alamogordo [emphasis added] by the crew in the B-17. As I remember this flight [emphasis added], the B-17 crew terminated their chase, while the balloons were still airborne (and J.R. was still watching them), in the vicinity of Capitan Peak, Arabela and Bluewater, NM. … From the note in Crary’s diary, the reason for the termination of the chase was due to the poor reception of the telemetered acoustic information by the receiver on the plane. We never recovered this flight and, because the sonobuoy [emphasis added], the flight gear and the balloons were all expendable equipment, we had no further concern about them but began preparation for the next flight.
Since we obtained no altitude information from this flight because of inadequate tracking by the Watson Lab radar, we pressured Dr. Peoples into letting us carry radiosondes on the subsequent flights. It is interesting to note that the drawing of the balloon train for Flight#5 shows a radiosonde but no radar targets; after Flight #4, I think [emphasis added] we no longer relied on them for our primary performance and location information.
Finally, Moore provides some analysis of the flight tracks as he calculated them based on the winds aloft data. He wrote:
However, to land on the Foster Range, it is necessary that Flight #4 had a flight profile when an entry into the stratosphere and a transport to the west of its tropospheric track, just as were experienced by Flights #5 and #6. Since we planned to make all of these early cluster flights with the Flight #2 configuration we adopted after our learning experiences in Pennsylvania, I think [emphasis added] that Flight #4 probably performed about as Flight #5 did and had an adequately long residence in the stratosphere.
Given the nature of Moore’s paper, and given the expertise of Charles Moore, it would seem, at first glance, that this does explain the debris recovered by Mack Brazel in early July 1947, and subsequently taken to Roswell and eventually to the 509th Bomb Group.
But that wasn’t the end of the discussion. There were discrepancies in the report. These seemed to contradict part of Moore’s analysis. First, was the timing of the balloon launch. Documentation available in the Air Force report, The Roswell Report, Fact vs. Fiction in the New Mexico Desert, made it clear that the regulations under which the NYU team operated in New Mexico, prohibited flights at night and in cloudy weather. The long arrays, although shorter than those used on the east coast, were still considered a hazard to aerial navigation. That means, quite simply, that a launch time of 0230 hours, that is, 2:30 a.m., would be at night. This means that the flight was not scheduled for an early morning launch and the notation that it was cancelled then, at 2:30, is inaccurate.
|The "official" balloon flight records as published by NYU and the Air Force. Please|
note that there is no entry for Flight No. 4.
It should also be noted that the idea of a 0230 hours launch probably originated in the notation for June 3 launch. Crary’s notes said, “Up at 0230 am to fly balloon but abandoned due to cloudy skies.” That doesn’t mean the launch was set to 2:30, but that Crary rose at 2:30 to prepare for a later launch, but the clouds forced a cancelation.
Instead, when written that the flight was cancelled due to clouds, that was at dawn. It means that the flight did not take place then. It would have been released later in the morning. Unfortunately, this changes the atmospheric dynamic because, according to Moore, a front moved through the area about dawn and the winds aloft changed. If that is true, then the estimated path of Flight No. 4, would have been significantly different and would have landed nowhere near the Foster ranch. In that case, Flight No. 4 is eliminated as the culprit for the debris.
That isn’t the end of the problems. According to the chart published by Moore in the book UFO Crash at Roswell: Genesis of a Modern Myth. Flight No. 4 took flight at 3:00 a.m. The Summary of New York University’s First Balloon Flight Attempts for Watson Laboratories in 1947, that Moore included with his analysis, clearly lists the date and time of release as “4 June (probably around 0300 MST).”
|The balloon flight records as recreated by Moore that now includes data for |
Flight No. 4. It does not match the official record.
But that contradicts his earlier report in which he said the flight was cancelled at 2:30 because of clouds, but then was launched about dawn, when the clouds cleared. As noted, if it was launched that late, or just after 5:00 a.m., then the atmospheric conditions he wrote about excluded the flight.
It is noted there that there was no data for the maximum altitude, that the tracking was “theodolite to Arabela”, the flight duration was unknown, but (calculated duration 466 min), recovery was the Foster Ranch? and “telemetry failed over Arabela; B-17 pilot then terminated tracking.”
But again, reading from Moore’s documentation in his first report, we learn, based on his language, that he was speculating about the timing and what must have happened. He had nothing to support his speculations other than his memory, which, he himself contradicts.
In fact, he provides more information about all this. I had raised the specter of those NOTAMs. As mentioned, these things had nothing of historical significance and were probably destroyed when they expired. I had contacted several FAA facilities that might have records but was unsuccessful in recovering any. However, the question of NOTAMs did serve another purpose and that was more information about Flight No. 4.
In a letter dated August 10, 1995, Moore, explaining the situation in Alamogordo on June 4, 1947, wrote:
The jury-rigged flight #4 of meteorological balloons [emphasis added] that we launched as AMC contractors from Alamogordo Army Air Field on July 4, 1974 [sic] was no big deal, it was a test flight, the first in a series and there was no announcement of our plans, either on base or to the Army Air Forces authorities. Since we launched from just within the restricted air space associated with the White Sands Proving Ground and expected the balloons to rise above the civil air space, we did not notify CAA in El Paso. As I remember [emphasis added], we launched before sunrise without our Watson Laboratories associates and the B-17 crew knowing about the ascent. This flight was not successful [emphasis added] due to the failure of the Watson Lab radar to track the balloons and the poor transmission of the acoustic data caused by use of out-dated World War II batteries.
This language changes the perspective of Flight No. 4. Now it was jury-rigged rather than a late launch of originally prepared array for the flight. In other words, on March 16, 1995, he wrote that he didn’t think they would improvise, but in the August 10, 1995, letter, he said it was “jury-rigged.” Moore later would say that Flight No. 4 was a full flight complete with rawin radar targets, but Crary’s notes suggest a cluster that carried only a sonobuoy. It mentioned nothing about rawin targets. It was only Moore’s undocumented speculation that equipped the cluster of balloons with the radar targets.
Let’s recap what we know. Flights of the balloon arrays were prohibited by rule and regulation from launch at night or in cloudy weather. Crary’s diary suggests that the June 4 flight was cancelled at dawn because of clouds. Moore wrote that the flight was cancelled around 2:30 a.m. because of clouds, but the clouds cleared at dawn, so the flight was then launched. Later, he wrote, that the flight was launched “probably around 0300 MST”. But given everything, including his changing times in his own writings, we know this is untrue.
We have Moore’s claim that Flight No. 4 was a duplicate of Flight No. 2, and this unmodified flight took place on June 4. But Moore also wrote that Flight No. 4 was jury-rigged, which suggests that it was modified. It was not a duplicate of Flight No. 2. But to drop debris on the Foster ranch, he needed the rawin targets as shown in the diagrams of Flight #2.
The final point here is that Moore himself, wrote that they hadn’t bothered to file a NOTAM because, “Since we launched from just within the restricted air space associated with the White Sands Proving Ground and expected the balloons to rise above the civil air space, we did not notify the CAA in El Paso.”
He also wrote, “As I remember, we launched before sunrise with only our Watson Laboratories associates and the B-17 crew knowing about the ascent. This flight was not successful due to the failure of the Watson Lab radar to track the balloons and poor transmission of the acoustic data caused by the use of out-dated World War II batteries.”
This is quite revealing because later, Moore would claim that Flight No. 4 was as successful as Flight No. 5. In the book, UFO Crash at Roswell: Genesis of a Modern Myth, he wrote, “I think that Flight #4 used our best equipment and probably performed as well as or better than Flight #5.” If it had performed as well as or better than Flight #5, then wouldn’t it have been the first successful flight, which would have provided the various data points needed?
Here is a direct contradiction provided by Moore, who apparently forgot what he had written earlier. He can’t have it both ways. Either Flight #4 was unsuccessful, which is why it wasn’t listed, or it was as successful as Flight #5, and it would have been listed as the first successful flight.
What we see is that as the interest in the Roswell case grew, Moore began to modify what he “remembered” to keep up with the data being developed. If there were no rawin targets, then how did one end up in General Ramey’s office with the claim that it was Roswell debris? If there were no rawin targets, then there were no large, metallic looking components to fool Mack Brazel and later Jesse Marcel. If the flight wasn’t launched until after dawn, then the proposed track, based on the winds aloft data, wouldn’t have come near the Brazel (Foster) ranch.
|The degraded rawin radar reflector displayed in General|
Ramey's office. Where did it originate?
Moore himself was originally less than sure about this proposed track. Using the weather data that I originally supplied to him (and acknowledged in his early report and in letters to me, even requesting that I send him additional information charts) plotted a track that suggested they lost the balloons within seventeen miles of the Foster ranch. But in some of the original correspondence about this, said that they lost contact with Flight No. 4 about seventeen miles from the ranch, which is not quite the same thing.
Another analysis of the weather data shows that by tweaking the variables in the data, the balloons end up, not in New Mexico, but more than 150 miles away. Moore himself acknowledged this when he noted that a minor change in one of the variables could have placed the array 150 miles away, which would have put the landing site somewhere in Oklahoma or Kansas.
What all this analysis does is ignore some of the witness testimony. Let’s not forget that the field where the debris was found was one that Brazel was in every other day and sometimes every day. That field was one of the watering locations for the livestock. Others, such as Tommy Tyree, who sometimes worked for Brazel as a ranch hand, told Don Schmitt and me that Brazel complained about all the debris that was so densely packed that he was forced to drive the sheep around it to the water. He wondered who was going to clean it all up. Why then, did it take him more than a month to get from the ranch near Corona to Roswell to report the find if it was the remains of Flight No. 4?
Mack Brazel picked up samples of the debris and took it to the Roswell sheriff, George Wilcox. We know this because we have eyewitness testimony telling us that. Jesse Marcel saw that debris in Wilcox’s office before returning to talk to Colonel Blanchard. Apparently, Marcel was unable to identify that debris. Blanchard told Marcel to take Sheridan Cavitt with him. This is important, because they, Marcel and Cavitt, returned to the sheriff’s office to meet Brazel.
Cavitt was unable to identify the debris in the office. However, Cavitt told Colonel Richard Weaver, that when he saw the debris in the ranch pasture, recognized it as a balloon. But Cavitt told Don Schmitt and me that he had never been involved in the recovery of any balloons because he was too busy with his investigations.
The point is that before either Marcel or Cavitt followed Brazel back to the ranch, they had the opportunity to see debris prior to making the long drive to the ranch. But they couldn’t identify the debris in the sheriff’s office.
Bill Brazel talked about a gouge that ran down the center of that pasture. Bud Payne also saw the gouge and the military personnel on the site. Jesse Marcel talked about a large area of debris that was three-quarters of a mile long and two hundred yards wide. General Arthur Exon flew over the site and mentioned tracks from several military vehicles, again suggesting something more than a Mogul array. All of this suggests something more substantial than the remains of a weather balloon array train.
Bill Brazel also told Don and me about the items he had found in the field in the weeks after the crash. He said that his father, Mack Brazel, told him the debris looked like some of that contraption he had found. Items that resembled fiber optics, a piece of material that was light like balsa but so strong he couldn’t cut it with his knife, and, of course, the foil-like material that when wadded up would return to its original shape. There was nothing like that on the Mogul arrays,
Others reported similar things including Sallye Tadolini, who talked about the foil-like material, as did Frankie Rowe. Jesse Marcel, Sr. and Jesse Marcel, Jr., described the debris, none of it that resembled anything found in the Mogul arrays.
I could continue in this vein, but it is something of a digression. To understand what fell on the ranch, it is necessary to understand what the witnesses who saw the debris and the pasture said. Charles Moore said that if there was a gouge, then Mogul was not the culprit.
We now have enough information, much of it supplied by Moore, to eliminate Flight No. 4. The documentation available establishes that the flight was not a full array but a jury-rigged combination of balloons and a sonobuoy. It was not expected to leave the confines of the White Sands Proving Ground which is the excuse for not issuing a NOTAM according to Moore. It did not contain any rawin targets and it did not fall on the Brazel ranch. For those who examine the totality of the evidence, they will see the problems with Flight No. 4 as the answer. For those with an open mind, they will see that there is no known terrestrial answer that accounts for all the facts from the eyewitnesses and the documentation available to us today. Eliminate the misinformation and the outright lies, and the puzzle remains. Just what did Mack Brazel find?