in the news 1948
Above: Comic-book version of the incident which would come to be known as the "Gorman dogfight". A copy of the above was later added to the Project Blue Book file on the incident. Story below.
OCTOBER 1, 1948 THROUGH OCTOBER 31, 1948:
Life Magazine - 1 Oct 48
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2,700-MILE ARC OF HORIZON is photographed from an oblique angle by camera in the V-2. The perspective is considerably distorted; for example, from a point midway along the bottom of the photograph it is actually 700 miles to any point along the curved horizon, although the distance to either extremity appears far greater than that to the top. Numbered localities are: 1) Mexico; 2) Gulf of California; 3) Lordsburg, N.Mex.; 4) Gila River; 5) Black Range mountains; 6) Mount Taylor, N.Mex.; 7) Albuquerque, N.Mex.; 8) Rio Grande River; 9) Hyannis, Neb.
EARTH IS PHOTOGRAPHED FROM ROCKETS
Camera equipped U.S. Navy missiles soar 70 miles into the atmosphere and come down with panoramas which stretch from Nebraska to Mexico
More of the earth's surface than has ever before been seen at one time is revealed in these composite photographs just released by the Navy. Taken by automatic cameras mounted in rockets fired near White Sands, N.Mex. during research on the guided missile problem, they show a broad stretch of the western U.S. from upper Wyoming south into Mexico. The strip above, shot from a German-type V-2 rocket which reached a height of 60 miles, shows a 2,700-mile segment of horizon. Because the pictures were made at an oblique angle as the rocket swung from side to side, the perspective is distorted. (Compare distance between Albuquerque, N.Mex. and Hyannis, Neb. as shown on chart at left with distance between the same cities on the photograph above.)
The strip below taken from an American Aerobee rocket 70 miles up, also shows a distorted view -- in this case because the camera shot straight downward during part of the series and obliquely at the two horizons. The composite at first glance appears to reveal a belt of the earth stretching from pole to pole, such as night be seen from an altitude not of 70 miles but of 100,000. However the camera merely photographed a 1,400-mile panorama, vastly larger but basically no different from the view which an observer might obtain from an airplane. A glance to the north (right) would show a broad sweep of curving horizon; a glance straight down (center) would show a narrow stretch of flat land; a glance to the south (left) would show another broad sweep of curving horizon. (Compare the hourglass-shaped area in the chart at right with the beltlike photograph below.)
1,400-MILE PANORAMA taken by the Aerobee camera extends as far north as Wyoming and south to central Mexico. Numbers identify: 1) Zacatecas, Mexico; 2) Rio Grande River (which appears at right and left); 3) Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; 4) El Paso, Texas; 5) Biggs Field Army Air Base; 6) Southern Pacific railroad tracks; 7) V-2 and Aerobee launching sites; 8) White Sands National Monument area; 9) Alamogordo Army Air Base; 10) Alamogordo, N.Mex.; 11) Tularosa, N.Mex.; 12) New Mexico lava beds, which from this 70-mile altitude resemble a huge lake; 13) test site for first atomic bomb; 14) Albuquerque, N.Mex.; 15) Montpelier, Idaho; 16) Hyannis, Neb.
Popular Science - Oct 48
Keep Away From Point Mugu!
The Navy's test station for guided missiles is being made into the world's biggest proving ground for weapons of push-button war at sea.
By Andrew R. Boone
THE young Naval officer jabs his red pencil at an air map of the California coast. That red dot is now a pin-point target. Its exact position, 100 miles or farther out in the Pacific Ocean, is calculated.
Soon, one of the Navy's secret guided missiles roars from a launcher and arcs high into the sky. If its electronic brain responds swiftly and surely to radioed commands, the missile will plunk into the sea on or very near its mark, far over the horizon.
"At least," the launching control officer tells you, grinning, "we'll scare a helluva lot of sea gulls."
Hitting tiny targets 150 miles away, far beyond the horizon, is serious business with the Navy's Air Missile Test Center experts at Point Mugu, Calif. Since the station began operation Oct. 1, 1946, hundreds of missiles have smoked seaward. Upwards of $15,000 drop into the drink as each ends its flight. In time, improvements from these launchings will bring guided missiles that can be fired from surface ships with the accuracy of a 16-inch rifle- -- but with far greater range and destructive power.
The Navy isn't shooting fireworks for fun. These experimental missiles are not rockets, but miniature planes with wings. They carry instruments that receive their guidance from within, or from a remote station -- on land, ship, or plane. They fly toward one of several islands forming a natural V out in the Pacific. On all the islands are observation stations, in constant touch with the mainland by radio, radar, and other means of communication.
Guided missile is about to be launched from an improved version of the "split-tube" type catapult used by the Nazis. Lighter, it uses powder instead of hydrogen peroxide as a propellant.
By tracking a missile from several points, it's fairly easy to determine its position in space throughout a flight. At the same time, the missile telemeters back to headquarters a running account, reporting with a series of dots and wavy lines exactly how it functions, from the temperature inside its combustion chamber to response of the rudder to radioed commands.
For tracking the missile in flight, this theodolite, pointed seaward, is another improvement over a German original. At Point Mugu it has been modified to permit faster sweeping.
Point Mugu has been operated for some time as a temporary base. Now it's going to work in earnest. Recently, Congress authorized the Navy to spend $30,000,000 on construction to keep it ahead of all comers in this field. Within three years it will grow into a huge control center outfitted with the latest in radar and other tracking devices. Scores of workers will be supervising flights from a battery of launchers. In time, as many as 96 launchers may be installed. Elsewhere on the 7,000-acre station, shops and test facilities will continue to perfect missiles and components made by manufacturers to Government specifications. Only the best will join the fleet.
Tests for Fitness
Right now, the engineers and workshoppers are laying plans with ingenious gadgets to improve the aiming of missiles still under wraps. You will read about some of these in months to come, but not until the Navy knows their delicate innards can withstand the severe shock of sudden take-offs from the launchers; that they will respond instantly and accurately to remote control; that they will hit their targets with more than a fair degree of accuracy and reliability.
In the Point Mugu shops and along the shore, experts soon will be working with a trio of machines that will submit new weapons to grueling punishment. If the electronic brains and other controls housed in guided missiles can't take it, and be ready for more, they will be either toughened or discarded.
Components of new missiles must stand up under tough tests in this proposed centrifuge. Whirled by a 75-hp. electric motor at 198 r.p.m., it will submit parts to a load of 100 G. The swirling container, balanced by a weight, can hold a package 3 by 3 by 2 feet in size.
Dropped 10 feet in device sketched above, complete missile will be brought to a stop in 3/100 second. Tester will be built to check reaction at deceleration loads up to 20 G.
They're dropped in one test. Mounted on a piston, complete medium missiles, such as the buzz bomb, will be dropped 10 feet and jerked to a stop in 3/100 of a second.
But missiles must withstand even greater stress before they're pronounced fit to be launched. A mighty little centrifuge will submit assemblies to a pull 100 times greater than the force of gravity. And then there'll be an even tougher test, known as linear acceleration. Take a compact little package weighing 200 pounds and place it on a simulated launcher. Say it contains the controls that will actuate a missile's rudder and elevators. Place it within a torpedo-shaped form, and lay it on its side in a sled at one end of a steel track about a mile long. Now hit it with the blast of high-powered rocket motors. Almost as quick as a wink, this little runaway, accelerating at hundreds of G, will pass the sonic barrier.
Although rushing down the track nearly three times faster than sound, the assembly must be halted, swiftly and safely, so that the effects of acceleration may be evaluated. For this purpose, brakes of some type, possibly water scoops, must be developed.
Thus the missile withstands battering and shocking starts and stops. How efficiently and over what range will it transmit and receive signals? To find out, missiles weighing a full ton will be mounted on a 50-foot, nonconductive tower, made of wood or plastic.
To determine antenna radiation patterns, missiles will be mounted on a tower like the one shown above. The missiles may be rotated 360° horizontally, or rolled 90° from level.
As the missile is turned a full 360 degrees and rolled 90 degrees from level, the radiation pattern of its antennas will be charted by electronics experts in a test room a mile distant. When a missile of the same configuration takes off on a 150-mile flight, its transmitting and receiving ranges in all directions will be known.
Five classes of missiles are being developed:
Ground-to-air, like the interceptor airplane, is fast and of short range. It is intended to knock down incoming aircraft or missiles.
Air-to-ground takes over the bomber's functions for destruction of enemy ships, military installations, and other primary targets.
Air-to-air serves the same function as the fighter plane.
Ship-to-ship suggests the torpedo plane. This missile would go in low and fast.
Ship-to-shore, flying in a long, high trajectory, becomes a high-level bomber.
The Navy expects to continue employing ships as fighting bases for a long time to come. Point Mugu missileers envision the necessity of launching their weapons from rolling decks, in fair weather and foul. When a new missile arrives at the base under wraps, eager minds begin to throw questions. Can it be launched? Once off a catapult, will it fly? If it flies, will it respond to remote control? Finally, how must the flame-belching weapon be discharged from a surface vessel to insure an accurate trajectory -- and a hit?
An F-80 Shooting Star jet fighter takes off in pursuit of each missile that is launched. The pilot's job is to shoot down those that misbehave by turning back toward shore, not responding to commands, or flying beyond the designated target area. Already more than one of Point Mugu's winged missiles have gone into the drink under fire from the guardian fighter.
Out on the wind-swept island of San Nicholas in the Pacific, some 63 miles from the Naval Air Missile Test Center, the Navy maintains a staff of approximately 50 people. From this island they obtain information to aid telemetering the progress of flight and performance of the missile. In the not too distant future, it will be used as a site to launch missiles that are considered too dangerous to launch from shore installations at Point Mugu.
Thus guided missiles are being groomed for a big future with the fleet.
Just how big, you're told, depends upon the scientists, the weather, and the dogged, day-by-day, try.-'em-and-fly-'em project assigned to the men of Point Mugu.
Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune - 2 Oct 48
Fargo F-51 Pilot Tells of Dogfight With Flying Disk
FARGO -- (AP) -- A fighter pilot, two control tower operators and a doctor resurrected the flying saucer story in Fargo Saturday -- with embellishments.
In a signed statement for air force intelligence, the pilot, Lt. George Gorman of the 178th Fighter Squadron, North Dakota air national guard, claimed he chased and did aerial maneuvers Friday night with a lighted, disk-like object which outran and outmaneuvered him.
Watching him and the object with binoculars were Lloyd Jenson and I.E. Johnson, both of Fargo, control tower operators at Hector airport here. Both said in statements Saturday that no other aircraft had reported to the tower besides Gorman's F51 fighter and a Cub, whose pilot, Dr. A.E. Cannon of Fargo, also reported watching Gorman and the object dogfight around Fargo.
Gorman said he first caught sight of the lighted object between his ship and the city's lights at about 4,500 feet. The F151 [sic] pilot said he attempted to intercept the object, making head-on passes, but that it out-turned and out-ran him for nearly an hour until he lost it at 17,000 feet. Gorman said his speed at various times throughout the engagement ranged from 270 to 400 miles an hour.
All four men identified the object as a round light, perfectly formed, with no rays leaving its body and travelling at a speed considerably faster than the F-51.
"I've never seen anything like it," Gorman said. "If anyone else had reported such a thing I would have thought they were crazy."
Adelaide, Australia News - 4 Oct 48
Was it just a flight of fancy?
"FLYING saucers" have come into the news again, to provide some distraction from the cares of the times.
Mysterious objects in the sky were first reported more than a year ago. Explanations offered at the time ranged from meteors to air conveyances of people from the lost continent of Mu.
Now comes a report from a U.S. National Guard fighter pilot of an encounter with an illuminated disc over North Dakota. The pilot says he was out-run and out-manoeuvred by a lighted, disc-like object he first encountered at 4,500 ft.
Most people have been content to accept "flying saucers" as illusions. But what if they do presage some thing like an invasion from Mars?
This, at all events, would probably result in unity among the, nations of the earth. It seems, at the moment, about the only thing that could do so.
Long Beach, California Press-Telegram - 5 Oct 48
Disc 'Fought' by Plane Also Eludes Investigators
DAYTON, Ohio, Oct. 5 (AP) The flying disc business shows no signs of fading out.
People still are "seeing things in the air" in all sections of the country, and whether its a case of jitters in an atomic age or illusions of aerial "phenomena" is something Wright-Patterson Field officers would like to know.
Today, Col. C.H. Welch, public relations officer of the Air Materiel Command, said he wanted the public to know the Army is investigating such reports, regardless of the place or type or occurrence.
"That way," he said, "the public can be assured there's nothing going on we don't know about."
The colonel said Wright Field officers were in Fargo, N.D., Sunday, investigating a report of a National Guard officer who claimed he chased and did aerial maneuvers with a lighted disc-like object which outran and out-maneuvered him.
Asked the results of the investigation, the colonel said:
"Nothing to report."
Then he explained military intelligence is charged with investigating any reports regarding such "flying discs" and that the matter is purely routine in nature.
"If one of these things turned out to be something strange and new -- the public will be informed," he said. Otherwise, he added, reports of such investigating teams remains the property of military intelligence.
The colonel didn't have the number of cases of "flying discs" investigated in recent months, but he said such reports are received daily -- and are followed up by investigators.
He cited one instance which he said was common to investigating teams. That was a report of a citizen seeing varicolored "pulsating jets" on a flying disc speeding through the sky.
A routine check, he said, showed what the person had seen was a fast-moving Army plane, and the "pulsating jets" were the red and green lights flashing on and off on each tip of the wings.
Beatrice, Nebraska Daily Sun - 6 Oct 48
The Upper Room
Flying discs are here again, luminous objects hurling through the upper air, maneuvering, slipping and sliding, evading pursuit. This time, the pursuing pilot states the speed of the mysterious thing tells of its quick turns and dives and zooms ... [sic, entire sentence] Remember when these speeding bodies were observed all over the. country? Sometimes great crowds turned out to watch the amazing thing. In every state in the union and in most of the counties, at least a few observers reported their observations.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota Argus-Leader - 7 Oct 48
Odd Sights in the Skies:
Aviators saw in the skies above Fargo last week a peculiar round object. It was luminous and out-ran fast planes. All of this, as well as the other reports of flying saucers and so forth, may be hokum but we wonder. It is true, of course, that many reports obviously were based on imagination but the Fargo version, for example, seems well authenticated. It is possible that the top men in our aerial and research forces know more about these weird developments than they disclose publicly.
Jackson, Mississippi Clarion-Ledger - 7 Oct 48
'Flying Objects' Seen In Magee Same As Dakota
Magee, Oct. 6 -- After reading about flying objects in Fargo, North Dakota, Marvin W. Blair, of this place, declared that on October l, he saw "two flying lights", and he added: "I will say this, that there is not an airplane or ever will be one that will travel as fast as that light can travel."
Blair stated that one of the lights came within 20 feet of him, that it appeared around 7 p.m., and "flew around for at least 30 minutes."
And, he says, "There were at least 10 other people who saw these lights beside myself."
Nashville, Tennessee Tennessean - 8 Oct 48
Stranger and More Certain
Since World War II ended, the world has been treated to fantastic reports of everything from mysterious rockets in Sweden to flying saucers all over this country.
Most of the evidence has been somewhat inconclusive. Pilots have spotted curious objects in the sky that moved mysteriously. Occasionally people on the ground have seen strange streaks across the heavens.
A report a few months ago from two airline pilots who spotted an unusual, wingless object flying the airlanes over Georgia and Alabama has not yet been explained.
Now we have a most provocative report from a national guard pilot in North Dakota. He saw something strange and went after it in a P-51, a speedy and maneuverable plane. He was eluded after a half-hour chase. It was round and glowed with a curious light.
Had he alone spotted it, he could have dismissed it as a figment of his imagination. But a pilot in another plane saw it, and two air tower operators at a local field all observed the phenomenon.
Of course, there is always the chance that all of them observed a rare electrical storm manifestation. But the visibility in this case indicated the likelihood that it was something else.
Four people on the ground and in the air at different emotional and psychic levels cannot all simultaneously imagine the same vision in the sky.
Something was there.
During the flying-saucer craze, the public generally accepted a psychologist's explanation of mass hallucination and imagination. It is significant, however, that even after that explanation air force pilots had official instructions to be on the lookout for strange aerial phenomena.
Whether man-made or a natural oddity, we need to know more about it. The matter has been reported to air force intelligence.
Obviously the findings, unless harmless, will not be released to the public.
Meanwhile the rest of us can only agree with Hamlet's statement that "there are more things in earth or heaven than are dreamt of in your philosophy, Horatio."
Sioux Falls, South Dakota Argus-Leader - 8 Oct 48
The Aviator and the Saucer
At first the stories of flying saucers met with widespread skepticism. Moonshine, said the scoffers. People were just seeing spots in front of their eyes. But the stories persisted. And last week end came one that won't easily be laughed off.
Lieut. George Gorman of the North Dakota Air National Guard was cruising over Fargo in an F-51 fighter when a luminous, round object came flashing through the air. He tried to intercept it, but it dodged. They played cat-and-dog in the air over Fargo for about a half hour before the saucer outraced the F-51 and disappeared at an altitude of about 17 thousand feet. Lieutenant Gorman says his plane traveled up to four hundred miles an hour during the "engagement." The saucer was faster.
Not an unsupported story, this one.
The goings-on in the air were watched through binoculars by two men in the control tower of the Fargo airport. A physician, flying his own small plane, also saw part of the skirmish.
Not the least significant aspect of the story is the fact that Lieutenant Gorman made a formal report to Air Forces intelligence, which apparently consented to its publication. It is reasonable to deduce that the Air Forces do not regard the saucer as a hallucination.
But if it is real, what precisely is this apparition [sic] in the skies? A guided missile or an eerie aircraft operated by human beings? A diabolical Russian contraption, or a creation of the American armed forces?
For the present, no answers. But unless Lieutenant Gorman and the two airport attendants and the Fargo physician and the Air Forces have perpetrated a magnificent hoax, more will be heard of the saucer one of these days. Whatever its nature and whatever its origin, it appears to be coming out of the haze of skepticism and speeding into the bright light of reality.
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Inquirer - 8 Oct 48
Gossip of the Nation
... Army pilots are under orders not to discuss "flying saucers" or any other aerial phenomena which may possibly be new aircraft being developed by our Air Force ...
Lubbock, Texas Evening Journal - 8 Oct 48
Parachuting Spiders May Be Key To Flying Disc Question
SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 8 (AP) -- No, ma'am. Those weren't men in parachutes you saw drifting down toward the thundering surf north of the Golden Gate. They weren't flying discs, either. Take the word of the U.S. Air Force and assorted professors -- they were spiders. Parachuting spiders, that is.
They created quite a stir yesterday, at that. Mrs. Wilma E. Huff of Stinson beach phoned the sheriff; who called Hamilton field, and air force search planes and a helicopter were rushed into action to seek the "parachutes" she reported.
Coast Guard Acts
The Coast Guard sent three more planes and a cutter. Civilian and service authorities formed ground parties.
An air force searcher, came up with the answer. He found the filmy, wind-borne web of what he called "a parachute spider." And maybe all America's reports of flying discs were just spiders, he said.
These tiny spiders sail around simply because of the housing shortage, professors of entomology explained. Many kinds of spiders break up their family groups in the autumn; sometimes as many as 1,000 go forth from each home to seek housing of their own.
Climb Weed Stalk
They depart by climbing a weed stalk and spinning a spiderweb scarf. When the scarf is big enough, the wind carries it away, with the little spider hanging on. Sometimes, with weather conditions just right, the airborne spiders rise to altitudes of 2,500 feet, says Prof. Edward O. Essig of the University of California. Sometimes their webbed scarfs are as much as four feet long, and can look remarkably like a full-sized parachute at a distance.
Or maybe like a-flying disc...
And if one should drift across your field of vision at close range against a far-away mountain background, the professor said, maybe you'd think they were big, distant objects going like blazes.
Hagerstown, Maryland Morning Herald - 11 Oct 48
Flying Saucer Back Over County Sunday
Funkstown Resident Sees One Of Mysterious Objects At 1 P.M.
The flying saucers -- or at least one of them -- returned to Washington county yesterday.
A resident of the Funkstown section reported seeing one of them in the eastern sky about 1 p.m. yesterday afternoon. She didn't want her name published, because she was afraid people would think she was crazy.
Recuperating from a case of the flu, she was lying in bed and looking through a nearby window when she saw the disc-shaped object.
It looked about the size of a bushel measure, round like a saucer except for what appeared to be a tail and propellor.
The woman said that it was traveling northeastwardly very rapidly. It quickly disappeared, then a few minutes later reappeared for a brief time, much higher in altitude.
Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe - 15 Oct 48
Flying Designs Are Seen Over Badger Cities
By The Associated Press
"Hey, May -- them things is here again."
Assorted geometric designs were reported invading Wisconsin skies yesterday.
The good people of Reedsburg squinted at an airborne triangle, while over at Jefferson county a soaring sphere bobbed around all day long.
Observers, who watched through colored glass, reported the Reedsburg triangle gadding about the sky at high noon, floating up and down and "giving off a sparkle like a star."
The sphere possibly was less spectacular, but was reported at Jefferson at 5 a.m. and still was in plain sight at Fort Atkinson at sundown.
Ray Hansen, managing editor of the Jefferson County Union and a former wartime navigator with the navy air force, described it as "about half as big as the moon was Thursday night."
Hansen said the object might have been a weather balloon, but "if it was, it was unusually large in size." He quoted weatherman John J. Williams as saying he never had seen one like it.
Erling Mickalson, manager of the Mid-City Airport, and Walter Habeck, of Jefferson, another pilot, took off late in the afternoon to have a closer look at the 1948 model flying disc.
Mickalson said they climbed beyond 6,000 feet, but didn't seem to be getting any closer to the shining silver sphere.
They landed when it began to get dark, and the ball was still there, but before darkness was complete, the sphere obliged its watchers by reflecting a beautiful red just at sundown.
Anybody seen a parallelogram?
Sioux Falls, South Dakota Argus-Leader - 15 Oct 48
Letters . . .
To the Editor of The Argus-Leader:
So much has been written and printed in The Daily Argus-Leader in regard to the flying saucer. I would like to ask the readers how many people saw the will-o-the wisp the past summer. I saw two, or the same one twice, the first one seemed stationary on the ground, the other was dancing around in my strawberry patch. They resemble a ball about the size of an English walnut, white --like an electric light.
They were the first I had seen since the spring of 1909, they are sometimes called jack-o-lanterns.
Does anything know the cause of this strange phenomenon?
-- MRS. CHAS. HINELINE
Fort Pierre, S.D.
Long Beach, California Independent - 17 Oct 48
Flying Discs? Ha!
This is in regard to the mysterious "flying discs" so often mentioned in newspapers in the recent years.
I was visiting in a home just outside of the city limits on a hill in Eugene, Ore. This was in July of this year.
One night my sister called to me to come and see what awful things were happening in the sky overhead. Three of us watched these "flying discs" for about 10 minutes -- we were frightened.
Suddenly we heard someone laugh and discovered boys at the foot of the hill. They were in some way making the "flying discs" fly.
We were no longer afraid, because the show was over when the boys went on their way.
Neosho, Missouri Daily Democrat - 18 Oct 48
For Sale -- One Way Ticket to the Moon
Los Angeles -- (UP) -- You can take a rocket flight to the moon, but it will have to be a one-way trip.
Hall L. Hibbard, Lockheed Aircraft corporation chief engineer, told the American Society of Tool Engineers yesterday that science has solved the problems of building a rocket that can travel into outer space.
"The trouble is that we can't figure out how anyone in the rocket would get back to earth," he said.
Lincoln, Nebraska State Journal - 18 Oct 48
Moon Rocket Rumored Project For New Secret Science Unit
By ROBERT S. ALLEN
WASHINGTON. -- The formation of a government-financed corporation to conduct research in the whole field of the basic sciences will be announced within a few weeks by the department of defense.
Probable name for the new project will be the "Rand corporation." Rand is a derivative from the words research and development.
Defense chiefs consider the plan the most important research undertaking since the historic Manhattan district project that developed the atomic bomb during the recent war. It was declared that the work done by "Rand" will be as secret as that of the Manhattan district.
HOWEVER, there will be one major difference between the two projects:
Unlike the Manhattan district, "Rand" will be civilian-directed and controlled, altho [sic] its funds will come chiefly from the armed forces.
The new corporation, it was explained, will be modeled after the reconstruction finance corporation. "Rand" will have the power to underwrite research projects and to employ scientists. But, it was emphasized, "Rand" will be independent of the military.
THE CHIEF emphasis of "Rand" research will be on projects of high military value. Long-range rockets, remote-controlled devices, exploration in the stratosphere, weather reporting and radar will be high on the "Rand" program. Similarly, the development of new devices for increasing the effectiveness of submarines and their detection.
Defense authorities would not comment on rumored projects. One of these is the development of a rocket to be placed on the moon within three years. Others are the establishment of weather-reporting "satellite" rockets around the earth, the construction of remote-controlled missiles of great range and of devices capable of accurately detecting submarines at any depth.
REPORTS OF SUCH developments have been current for some time. The continued alleged appearances of such unexplained phenomena as the "flying saucers" have given a certain amount of credence to these reports. Responsible authorities have consistently refused to discuss these matters on the ground of military security.
It was pointed out, however, that the major objective of the new "Rand" project will be research in the unknown stellar world and in the depths of the ocean.
Fort Madison, Iowa Evening Democrat - 19 Oct 48
A Missouri man recently visiting friends here still claims he saw the mysterious "flying saucers" that caused such a sensation a year or so ago. He was standing near the west window of his office located near Kansas City and chanced to look out. Far away just above the horizon were a number of tiny discs, or something very like them.
He called a fellow worker to look and asked him if he saw anything out there in the sky. The fellow worker said he did and described the same discs. Together the men watched the discs till they vanished shortly afterward.
Neither thought anything about it till next day when they saw the newspaper account of the flying saucers being sighted in the Northwest states. A few days later when the idea of flying saucers was generally discredited. [sic] They decided to say no more about his experiences, although among friends both still swears [sic] that they saw discs, whatever they were, that afternoon.
Which calls to mind the appearance of "flying saucers" last summer, which were seen at one time floating around the night sky far to the south, and later in the summer to the west. The explanation was simple. They were beams of searchlights at a carnival in Keokuk, and again at the Donnellson fair, which reflected off cloud layers high in the night sky. Due to atmospheric conditions the reflections were seen as flat discs of light swinging around the sky without any supporting beam of light from the ground to identify them for what they were.
Unusual atmospheric conditions were the only way to account for a mysterious beam of light seen over Fort Madison years ago, a faint, flashing irregular beam very much like that of the airway beams which had just been installed through this part of the country on the Chicago-Kansas City flyway.
The mysterious beam caught the attention of a Fort Madison man on his way to Burlington, and to be sure wasn't imagining things, he took several friends out into the open country when he got to Burlington and had them check the beam, too.
The only explanation seemed to be that the beam was that of the newly installed Lindbergh Beacon on top of the Wrigley building in Chicago with its millions of candle power, a phenomenon caused by a condition of the atmosphere miles above this point.
The man wrote to the management of the Wrigley building about his experience and asked if it was possible that he had actually seen the beam here. A return letter from the manager said it didn't seem possible since there was no record of even the highest flying pilots having ever sighted the beam farther west than a point somewhere between 50 and 75 miles east of Fort Madison.
Sioux Falls, South Dakota Argus-Leader - 20 Oct 48
Flying Comets Are Aberdeen Mystery
Aberdeen, S.D., Oct. 20 -- (AP) -- Glimpses of comets, red and green lights or possibly planes zooming earthward were rumored in the Aberdeen vicinity today. It was almost like the days when everyone was seeing flying saucers.
An Aberdeen hunter said he saw red and green lights north of Britton this morning high in the eastern sky. The lights seemed to dart into a cloud bank, he reported, and plummet to earth. The Marshall county sheriff, however, said there had been no reports of such an incident there.
A farm woman from near Aberdeen told this story. She was up early doing chores when she noticed what she believed might be a comet shoot across the sky and disappear into the earth. She said it was a spectacle she would never forget within an illuminated cone shaped head and a tail of red lights.
Opelousas, Louisiana Daily World - 20 Oct 48
FLYING SAUCERS have been spotted again, most recent being a report a couple of weeks ago from Idaho, if we recall properly, where an army pilot chased one for a time. Now, we aren't one to pay much attention to such things, but Bill Mansfield swayed us.
Bill was up for the Yambilee -- he's the representative in the state for The Packer, newspaper for the produce industry.
Bill blew in the day before the Yambilee, and we had hardly shaken hands before he began to wax eloquent about this flying saucer he'd seen.
"Haven't had a drink for days" he prefaced. "Honest, I saw the thing, and watched it."
He was driving along the airline highway between New Orleans and Baton Rouge on Yambilee eve, Bill said.
It was a shiny thing, high up, he said, and moving fast.
We told Bill that our theory has been that folks were spotting meterological [sic] balloons, but Bill, who served in, we believe, army intelligence, swore that he saw it on October 5, and that it was moving in an erratic course and was definitely propelled, and fast.
It couldn't have been an airplane because of its shape and speed ... and on he went.
Thus we have at last seen a guy who saw a flying saucer, and we can report to you that those saucer-seeing people are certainly convinced.
Bill even wanted us to move the story on our wire service, so that whoever the powers-that-be are that are tracking down such saucer stuff will know that one was spotted over Louisiana on October 5 at about 3 p.m.
Des Moines, Iowa Register - 20 Oct 48
A Solution To 'Flying Discs'
Observers at the Des Moines weather bureau station at municipal airport Tuesday night believed they had learned the secret of those "flying saucers" and "balls of fire" that persons periodically report.
It's nothing more than sun reflections on a passing plane under certain atmospheric conditions, they contend.
The explanation came after the observers noticed one of those so-called "balls of fire" about 6 p.m. It appeared in the western sky, was a bright orange and seemed to be some three feet in diameter.
Both observers on duty watched for a few moments -- and soon there appeared a westbound plane.
The observers said the "ball of fire" appearance was caused by the sun shining on the aluminum plane going through a light smoke glare hanging about 1,000 feet in the sky.
Gastonia, North Carolina Gazette - 21 Oct 48
See Strange Flying Objects Over City
South Gastonia residents were craning their necks shortly after noon Thursday, searching the sky for signs of more flying "balls" that gave off vapor streams that were hanging in the blue overhead for 30 or 40 minutes after the speeding "balls" had disappeared.
One South Gastonia man who stopped his car en route home for lunch when he noticed some little boys looking up, got out and took a close look himself. Here is what he reported:
"Two silver balls were traveling across the sky at a terrific rate of speed and soon disappeared in the horizon. They left a vapor trail behind and the vapor paths seemed parallel -- like railroad lines. For a long time afterwards, the vapor trail was still distinct. I noticed it again when I was driving back to Gastonia after eating lunch."
The man said it wasn't an airplane for sure and didn't look like a rocket. He never saw a rocket, but has seen pictures of them. Maybe it was another appearance by those strange flying saucers, he admitted.
Fort Myers, Florida News-Press - 23 Oct 48
Rocket Camera Maps Western Area
From 60 Miles Up
This composite photograph, made from a sequence camera shot 60 miles above earth in a V-2 rocket launched at White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico, makes it possible to identify a great area in the western part of the country. Landmarks identified follow: 1 -- Mexico; 2 -- Gulf of California; 3 -- Lordsburg, New Mex.; 4 -- Peloncillo mountains; 5 -- Gila river; 6 -- San Carlos reservoir; 7 -- Mogollon mountains; 8 -- Black range; 9 -- San Mateo mountains; 10 -- Magadalena mountains; 11 -- Mount Taylor; 12 -- Albuquerque, New Mex.; 13 -- Sandia; 14 -- Valle Grande mountains; 15 -- Rio Grande river; 16 -- Sangre de Cristo range. Note curvature of earth's surface.
Hannover, Pennsylvania Evening Sun - 23 Oct 48
Rockets In Peace Or War
The remarkable photographs of the earth taken by rocket-borne cameras at altitudes of sixty and seventy miles provide a preview of things to come in an age of rockets and guided missiles. What the eye of the camera sees today from its rocket window the eye of man conceivably will see tomorrow. For scientists hope, possibly within the lifetime of present generations, to perfect rocket design, engineering and operation to a point where rockets can be used not only as missiles but as passenger-carrying craft. Indeed, some rocket enthusiasts alrady [sic] are studying the possibilities of using rockets for lunar exploration.
(From The Washington Star)
Evidence of the progress being made in developing rocket propulsion and control is revealed in the photographic experiments conducted recently by the Navy at the White Sands Proving Grounds in New Mexico. In these tests an all-American rocket, the Navy's liquid-fuel Aerobee, took pictures from a height of seventy miles -- ten more miles than the peak altitude of a camera-equipped German-type V-2 rocket. The rockets snapped more than two hundred photographs each during their flights, during which they reached speeds of approximately 2,700 miles an hour. The curvature of the earth was plainly visible in the panorama, stretching from Mexico to Wyoming and from the Pacific to Eastern Colorado.
The grimmer prospect in rocket research is that once an area is properly mapped, a rocket with atomic warhead will be able to crash its cargo onto an indicated base or war center with deadly accuracy. And, more awesome still, the ultimate development will be an atom-propelled atomic missile capable of international and possibly of interplanetary flight. What every person should keep in mind is that we are not the only nation experimenting in these seemingly fantastic fields. There can be no real peace of mind until the world is assumed [sic] that rockets, whether atomic-powered or otherwise, will be used only for peaceful purposes --such as exploration, travel and scientific research.
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