in the news 1948
Above, top: The Douglas Skyrocket on the dry lakebed at Edwards AFB. Below: A Douglas Skyrocket launched from a Navy P2B-1S. The Skyrocket was among the early transonic research airplanes, such as the famed X-1. In 1953 test pilot Scott Crossfield became the first person to fly faster than twice the speed of sound when he piloted the D-558-II to its maximum speed of Mach 2.005 (1,291 mph) at 62,000 feet altitude. Story on its introduction, below.
JANUARY 15 THROUGH MARCH 5, 1948:
Mexico, Missouri Ledger - 15 Jan 48
'Flying Swordfish' Has Jets, Rockets
The skyrocket, the Navy's newest plane in the search for supersonic speeds, is equipped with both rockets and jets. The needle-nosed craft, resembling a flying swordfish, is a Douglas-built plane, called the D-558-2. It has swept-back wings and tail, and is expected to perform at speeds between 650 and 750 miles per hour. This is an official U.S. Navy artist's sketch.
Odessa, Texas American - 15 Jan 48
Testing carrier aircraft and V-bombs together, the Navy hopes to adapt rocket warfare for surface vessels. First firing was with a captured German V-2 from the deck of USS Midway at sea.
Ironwood, Michigan Daily Globe - 15 Jan 48
'Flying Disc' Talk Revived
Green Bay, Wis. -- (AP) -- "Flying dick" [sic] talk was revived here by reports of a fast moving object at high altitude observed by two St. Norbert college officials late yesterday, but a federal weather observer here said the object could have been a large weather balloon.
Col. Losis [sic, should be Louis] F. Rutte, head of the ROTC unit at St. Norbert college, and Rev. A.M. Keefe, dean of the college, observed the object through army binoculars about 5 o'clock yesterday afternoon. They said it was moving in a southeasterly direction.
"It looked like a balloon," Col. Butte said. "It was very brightly illuminated on the inside and moving very fast. It was pinkish red in the middle and bluish lavender toward the bottom It was round on top and tapering off toward the bottom.
The U.S. Weather observer at Green Bay, Herbert H. Bomaloski said he, too, had seen the object although he just had a glimpse of it. He added, however, that from the description furnished him, he had concluded that the object "could very easily have been a large weather balloon."
"Seen at sunset, such an object might look like a golden disc," said Bomaloski.
Shippensburg, Pennsylvania News-Chronicle - 16 Jan 48
Air Makeup Is Described Before Lions
Roy Dibert Is Speaker for Meeting of Club Here Monday Evening
Roy Dibert, member of the science department faculty of Shippensburg State Teachers college, spoke before the Shippensburg Lions club Monday evening in the B and G restaurant. Taking as his topic "A Trip to the Moon," he told his hearers such a journey would be impractical.
Describing the nature and conditions of the upper layers of the earth's atmosphere, Mr. Dibert told the club members that an explorer seeking to penetrate these upper layers on his way to the moon would find many difficulties to be overcome.
The layer of quiet, rarified atmosphere at a height of about 10 miles, however, offers great promise for future flight development, he said. This layer of air is free from storms and roughness which interfere with the speed and comfort of air flights, and Mr. Dibert suggested that when planes are developed to use it they will be able to rise into this layer of quiet air and make swift, smooth flights to their destinations.
It Gets Warm
"Most people have the idea that the upper air is extremely cold," said Mr. Dibert. "The temperature for the first few miles drops at a rate of about one degree for every 300 feet of ascent. But then at a height of about 25 miles a layer of ozone is encountered, and the temperature in this layer of ozone is about 170 degrees.
"As altitude increases beyond the ozone layer, it has been found, temperature also increases, until at the outer edge of the earth's atmosphere the temperature is around 2,000 degrees. That's as hot as it is in the center of the earth.
"No man has ever flown into the ozone layer, instruments have been carried on balloons into it to learn what the conditions are there. The V-2 rocket tests in New Mexico have enabled instruments to be carried far beyond the ozone layer, to a height of 112 miles.
"At first the experimenters had a great deal of difficulty recovering their instruments after these rocket flights, for the first plan was to allow the rocket head to carry them back to the earth. However the rockets upon striking the earth buried themselves so deeply and were so badly damaged that this plan did not work.
"Now an explosive charge breaks the head after the rocket starts down, and the instruments are carried down to the earth on parachutes. They land in very good condition, but scattered over an area about 20 miles square, and they aren't all picked up yet.
"Some distance above the ozone layers are the ionized layers, full of free electrons broken away from air particles by the action of the ultra-violet rays from the sun.
"These ultra-violet rays, in the upper part of the ozone layer and beyond are so intense that they would kill a man almost instantly. In the ionized layers and beyond, man would encounter also cosmic rays from the sun, which would penetrate his body with ease and do a great deal of damage.
Place in Radio
The ionized layers are important in radio communication, for they intercept radio waves in a certain range of frequencies and reflect them back to the earth, enabling radio to reach around the earth, despite its curvature. It is because of the failure of these layers to reflect television waves that television in general use is so far in the future. Television waves are of such a high frequency that they penetrate even the outer ionized layers.
"If man succeeded in protecting himself so as to be able to penetrate all these layers and reach outer space, he would encounter meteorites which are whizzing around at a pretty fast speed. If he reached the moon, he would find it rough and mountainous, without atmosphere or moisture, and he would have the problem of slowing his flight before striking the planet. As there would be no atmosphere upon which to use any sort of brake, I don't quite know what he would do on the moon after he got there." ...
Cumberland, Maryland News - 16 Jan 48
On The Line
By BOB CONSIDINE
NEW YORK -- (INS) -- If this is a "cold" war, I'm a bad judge of fahrenheit.
The only thing cold about it is that nobody has pulled a trigger.
War, to the human mind, means an ear-splitting explosion. At least, it's been way since the Chinese built a firecracker big enough to kill an enemy. War can also be a state of mind.
The Russians, or rather the people who operate them and the 100,000,000 people who live behind the Iron curtain, declared war on the west nearly a year ago. As a matter of fact, it was declared, and began being combatted in a quiet way, before World War II stopped.
The first, "shot" of the new war probably was the scramble for the German scientists which began shortly after our side took Aachen and the Russians, coming in from the other side, cleared Poland and crossed the old Polish-German border.
We and the British grabbed Halm and Strassman, who with Lise Meitner, first realized the founts of explosive power within the uranium atom.
The Russians seized the German rocket people, or a vast majority of them, put them to work on bigger and more awesome rockets and have most certainly produced V-2 type weapons with ranges four or five times that of the V-2 that helped flatten London.
We bombed a uranium and pitch blende concentration a few miles ahead of the advancing Red Army before V-E Day. The Russians have invoked an iron-banded "commercial" pact with its captive states which turns a great portion of Europe into a war arsenal.
The controlled Russian press in Asia is calling Gen. Douglas MacArthur "the last remaining Fascist." The controlled Polish press dutifully calls President Truman a "Gauleiter."
Secretary of State Marshall is viciously caricatured in all Russian and communist papers. The campaign against "American imperialism" has been fullfledged and in the bald open for months.
We flex our A-muscles at Bikini, talk of a radar screen across the Arctic to detect missiles being sent over by the Russians. Maps in the Pentagon today clearly point out distance between the geographical center of the United States and the principal Russian cities. We think of buying Greenland for air-bases.
The Russians diligently try to break the back of U.N. through use of the veto and the boycott. American correspondents in Moscow are, by and large, confined to what amounts to their quarters.
We still look upon the League of Nations as one of man's great failures to achieve a sense of neighborliness. Every nation of the League of Nations enjoyed the veto privilege. Yet it was invoked only twice in the 20-year history of that body. Russia alone has cast more than 20 vetoes in the two years of U.N. life.
People who feel about as we do in Eastern Europe are today terrorized and enslaved by what sometimes amounts to less than five per cent of the populations -- that five per cent taking daily instructions from the Kremlin.
The Marshall plan, which is as much a part of the new war as was the military break-through at St. Lo in World War II, is boycotted by Russia and its operatives in Poland, Czechoslovakia, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia, the Ukraine and White Russia.
We have invoked a kind of tacit censorship on military affairs in this country. The air force's testing grounds at Muroc Lake have been closed to foreign missions and to reporters.
The Department of Justice, Air Secretary Symington revealed the other day, is "investigating" a report in an aviation magazine that the Bell VS-1, our rocket job, broke through the sound barrier some time ago.
The Navy has announced that it squirted a V-2 off the flight deck of one of its carriers, and the budget request calls for a tremendous increase in the air force's appropriation -- the air force being the only arm we can first depend upon when and if the Red Army over-runs Europe. Russia has told us to get out of Europe. Gen. Clay has mused around over the prospects of being captured.
Gen. Groves, who was about to be shelved in Washington, after the tremendous job he did in producing the A-bomb, is suddenly restored to a position of authority. President Truman orders the co-ordination of the armed forces in a message from sea.
Two blind spots still exist ... and perhaps they are the last oases of peace.
1. The Congress, always edgy in an election year, is hesitant to endorse universal military training -- and is forgetful of the fact it almost defeated selective service at a time when the Jap carriers were furtively en route to Pearl Harbor.
2. The people at U.N. still believe it would be a world calamity if Russia quit the lodge and took with it its God-forsaken stooges.
"It could then no longer be called the United Nations," one of the top-flight U.N. delegates said in a shocked, awed voice when we suggested to him the other day that Russia was using U.N. only as a sounding board, and because of that, should get the tramp's toss.
As I was saying, what makes this war cold?
Freeport, Illinois Journal-Standard - 17 Jan 48
Grim Reminder Of Atomic War -- If And When
By JAMES MARLOWE
Washington, Jan. 17 -- (AP) -- The war starts. A rocket, maybe an atomic rocket, comes whooshing out of the stratosphere and hits an American city.
It travels so fast -- more than a mile a second -- it's invisible. And then it crashes, unseen till it hits and explodes.
Can this happen to us, separated from Europe and Asia by two oceans? Maybe, in the next war.
Can we find some way of searching out that rocket in the stratosphere and exploding it before it lands? Maybe, but we don't know right now.
The ideas mentioned here so far are not new. You've heard talk of them before. Maybe they sounded like pipe-dreams or just the talk of army and navy men who wanted more money to spend.
But they are given new weight this week by an important body, President Truman's air policy commission, made up of five distinguished civilians.
Mr. Truman appointed this commission last summer to find out, among other things, what we should do to be strong in the air in case of another war.
The commission made a careful study and this week issued a long report called "Survival In The Air Age."
It's a grim document, one of the most grim of our time. And some of its language is shocking because it says blood-chilling things casually.
It seems to accept as inevitable another war. For example, it says "In intercontinental warfare of the future ..."
We must be prepared against weapons like rockets plunging down upon us from the stratosphere.
True, World War II produced rockets that couldn't travel much more than 200 miles and do any good. The Germans fired
them at England from Europe.
Yet, the commission says, in another war:
"We must be prepared to intercept and destroy invisible missiles that will plunge toward our cities out of the stratosphere at speeds of over a mile per second.
"The practical difficulties involved in detecting, tracking, intercepting and destroying them with other missiles miles above the earth are enormous. Whether or not this can ever be done is not clear.
"The rapid development of long-range missiles for offense, and of accurate, high-altitude target-seeking missiles for defense are of great importance to our national security. Research in these areas must be given the highest priority."
How the Germans made their rockets that traveled 200 miles now is well known to army men.
But if there's a war between continents, of course, the rockets of the future will
have to travel a lot farther than 200 miles.
The commission says developing such rockets will be a huge problem and will cost a lot of money for experimenting "before we can hope to produce a pilotless weapon ... that will have a reasonable chance of hitting a distant target."
But the report is loaded with other things which the commission thinks we must do if we are to be prepared for another war.
It says we must be prepared by Jan. 1, 1953.
New Castle, Pennsylvania News - 16 Jan 48
Urges Guarding Of Air Secrets
WASHINGTON, Jan 16 -- Gen. Hoyt S. Vandenberg, vice-chief of staff of the air force and former director of central intelligence, called today for voluntary censorship on aeronautical research and development to protect whatever scientific advantage the United States might have in the air.
Vandenberg, in an exclusive interview, declared he agrees with the report of President Truman's air policy commission which said that "rigid enforcement of wartime security measures with regard to advanced aeronautical development is necessary now."
On Voluntary Basis
The youthful appearing general added, however, that censorship would have to be on a voluntary basis. He declared:
"In this country you couldn't have anything else."
Vandenberg agreed With Thomas K. Finletter, chairman of the air policy commission, who asserted that much material is being kept secret that does not have to be concealed, but that other material that merited secrecy is common knowledge.
The general said that voluntary censorship on the part of news media could exist only during the research and development stage of aircraft, guided missiles, engines or weapons. Vandenberg declared:
"After you reach the tactical stage, with planes in operation, you can't keep them secret.
"Besides, if we have them in the tactical stage, we are two years ahead then."
Pretty Hard Secret
He explained that it would be a practical impossibility to keep secret an [sic] airplanes that had been delivered, even in comparatively small quantities, for operational use.
But, the general said, we should keep secret the development of "anything that might possibly give us an advantage over another country -- anything that has to do with progress."
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Telegraph - 17 Jan 48
Salt Lake City, Utah Tribune - 17 Jan 48
Uncle Ray's Corner
A week ago we had some questions about rockets from a high school boy. Here are other questions from students in the same school:
"Would it be necessary to be in a water tank in the rocket to keep from being crushed?"
"How would you manage the landing?"
"How could we keep from breaking our necks by the speed of the takeoff?"
"How could you keep from running into meteors on such a trip?"
"Is it true that we never see the other side of the moon from the earth?"
Those questions came from John Manwarren and Donald Schneider. Let me answer the last question first. It is quite true that we never have seen the other side of the moon. That is because the moon twists around once in the same time it revolves around the earth once.
The only way for men to keep from being jarred too much by the takeoff of a rocket would be to allow plenty of time for increase in speed. If the rocket kept gaining speed over a period of, say, one hour, before reaching seven miles a second, the people inside probably would live through it.
Some way of taking care of pressure would have to be worked out. The greatest danger would be in having too much pressure inside. With a vacuum outside, the rocket might be blown apart by the pressure inside. It would have to be very strong to keep its shape.
I should never advise people to stay in a water tank on such a voyage. In the first place there would be the danger of drowning. In the second place something might go wrong with [sic] heating system, and the water might become frozen. It would hardly be pleasant to be held inside a cake of ice!
There would be danger of being struck by meteors during a rocket trip. The meteors would be like bullets and cannon balls. Many rockets might escape being struck, but others probably would suffer from this danger.
Landing a rocket safely would be a hard task. I shall take up this matter at a later time.
Ogden, Utah Standard Examiner - 18 Jan 48
Power Unit For Flying Saucer?
Wesley B. Wagner, 25-year-old Ogden inventor looks over the power unit of his "mechanical levitator" Into which has gone six years of study and engineering. This machine employs the principle of centrifugal force as applied against inertia.
Ogden Inventor Perfects Power Unit Which May Run Ships of the Future
Looking forward to a trip to Mars -- or maybe Venus? Well -- if you do make the trip, chances are you will be traveling in a space ship with unlimited speed and without wings, propellers or jets, according to Wesley H. Wagner, 25- year-old inventor of 388 Irving street, Bonneville Park.
Very earnest and sincere, "Wes" says your space ship stands a good possibility of being powered by a "mechanical levitator" which uses centrifugal force as applied against inertia for its power.
Wagner stated it was "very possible" the principle of mechanical levitation motivates the "flying discs." He added that "almost anything can be expected in this day and age."
Uses Old Principle
Working on the knowledge that centrifugal force is exerted in all 360 degrees of a circle and that it must be concentrated in only one direction to be of benefit, Wagner says he has worked out such a machine.
To back up his statement, Wagner has made a working model of the levitator, powered by a quarter horse power electric washing machine motor, which pulled its own weight of some 20 pounds across a table on skids. The force may also be used to overcome gravity, the young inventor believes, and by applying the direction of thrust upward, the machine would lift itself from the ground.
In explaining his creation, Wagner said he is sure he has been able to apply centrifugal force of a spinning lever in one direction by constructing two counter-rotating eccentrics on a shaft. These in turn contain two weighted levers on each of the four ends which also counter rotate opposite each other on parallel planes. The rotation speed of both eccentrics and the weighted levers are geared. By changing the position of the eccentrics in relation to each other in the rotation cycle, Wagner says, he is able to control the direction of thrust of the eight spinning levers.
The weighted ends of the levers pass each other at the some point in the 360 degree cycle, thus exerting thrust in two directions, he explained. By having counter rotating eccentrics and gearing them in such a manner that all eight levers cross on the same side of their individual cycles, Wagner says the full centrifugal force of the eight rapidly spinning levers will be applied in that one direction.
Belvidere, Illinois Daily Republican - 21 Jan 48
Flying Disks Passe, It's Flying Man Now
CHEHALIS, Wash., Jan 21 -- The state of Washington where the first flying saucers were reported, outdid itself today.
A woman reported that she had sighted a "flying man."
Mrs. Bernice Zaikowski, 61, Chehalis, said she saw a man with wings attached to his back fly over her barn at an altitude of 200 feet and disappear to the south.
Mrs. Zaikowski said the upright birdman made a "sizzing [sic] and whizzing" noise as he climbed and banked in flight, but that his wings neither flapped nor rotated. She said she could see no motive power such as a propeller either above or in front of him.
Authorities greeted the report with an oblique "huh?"
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania Press - 21 Jan 48
By Maj. Al Williams
It has been my hunch that it was about time for some folks to start "seeing strange things in the air" again. This time, however, it was a responsible officer of a military service who saw "a strange thing."
I had rather expected it would be "flying dishes" this time as a follow-up of the "flying disks." But it was something big, white about half the size of a full moon, or a big balloon with a red streamer, and appeared to be revolving and traveling so fast that even P-51's couldn't catch it.
I guess the "flying disks" were cooked up to scare the kids. The latest one is for the adults.
Four P-51's enroute from Atlanta, Ga., to Louisville, Ky., are alerted by radio from the commanding officer of an Air Force post, warning them that he had seen a strange thing in the sky. One of the four pilots (probably one of the less humorous pilots) went right on to Louisville. The other three dashed up to about 15,000 feet -- reporting that even at that altitude "the big nonsense" was still above them and moving too fast to be caught.
The C.O. Babbled
The C.O. who first had "seen" the "thing" says he watched it through binoculars until it was obscured by clouds. Well, I guess that proves we are still at war because in peacetime C.O.'s don't do much mooching about outdoors -- especially in the winter -- scanning the skies, with or without binoculars.
Here is a responsible, commanding officer of an Air Force post babbling about seeing a "thing" in the sky that he couldn't describe. We are all well aware of the damage done to public morale when the flying disks were popular.
C.O.'s of the military services usually do not see or hear things and publish their opinions before checking with the higherups. Regulations specifically cover such a situation. Anything unusual, especially if so unusual it may be detrimental to the welfare of the country, immediately is reported to the local Corps Area C.O., or to Washington. And at either of these two points the decision is made to release or not to release the "news."
It is high time the big brass in the services recognized the damage "seeing things in the air" is doing to public morale. The Air Force recently made quite a point of turning over to the Department of Justice the release by an aviation magazine of some secret aviation news. If the services can control anything, the release of comments and opinions by its officers certainly is within their jurisdiction.
Pushbutton War, They Said
Sometime ago certain loose-tongue service personnel, of considerable rank, began to scare the daylights out of the public by premature and completely unsound guess estimates on the imminence of pushbutton warfare. A little later when the services went to Congress to obtain appropriations for airpower equipment, the big brass were shocked to find Congress turning a cold shoulder on more orthodox fighters and bombers.
The military services are thoroughly justified in withholding valuable war secrets that must be kept secret in the interest of public safety. It is just as appropriate that the military services silence responsible officers on what they "think" they are seeing in the air. The health and stability of public morale is as important to the safety of the country as is the possession of ultra-modern weapons.
Sydney, Australia The World's News - 24 Jan 48
The Secret Weapon Scare Is On Again
Germany's secret robot bombs are outdated.
Deterioration of diplomatic relationships among the major world Powers, and continued talk of the possibility of a World War III, has brought forth a fresh crop of rumors of secret weapons in being and under development.
The USA has hinted it now has bacteriological and atom-cloud weapons more efficient and more terrifying than the atom bomb. Britain is known to have developed rocket projectiles very much more powerful than those which smashed Hitler's European fortress, and there have been strong suggestions that Britain, too, has a bacteriological weapon. But other "World's News" special correspondents have uncovered stories of secret weapons. They are reputedly being built by: --
By Lionel Shapiro
THREE German scientists, working under the personal sponsorship of General Franco, have developed two highly advanced weapons of war, according to specifications and blueprints smuggled out of Spain by the agent of an independent European spy organisation.
The first weapon is an electro-magnetic rocket which, it is claimed, is responsible for the "flying saucers" seen over the North American continent last year, and for at least one and perhaps two hitherto unexplained accidents to transport aircraft.
The second weapon is an artillery warhead, employing the principal of nuclear energy, and described as having a startling disintegrating power.
Blueprints of the weapons have been offered for sale to at least three of the major Powers. The degree of credence placed in them by the military intelligence sections of these Powers is indicated by the fact that two of them -- of whom I have certain knowledge, have made strenuous efforts to acquire the blueprints.
I came upon the story last November by accidental interception of a document cataloguing the weapons. This was being circularised through Europe's intricate network of secret agents. Since then, careful checking among agents and military intelligence organisations in several countries has disclosed: --
• That the major Powers fully believe Franco has been developing new weapons.
• That the weapons, and particularly the electro-magnetic rocket, do actually exist, and are now being manufactured in Spain.
According to the information available, the weapons were developed in secret laboratories, located near Marbella, on the south coast of Spain, just east of Gibraltar. They were tested in Franco's presence early last summer.
The rocket, known as KM2, after its inventors, Professors Knoh and Mueller, was tested off Malaga while Franco watched from the deck of his yacht.
The rocket is described as having a range of 9942 miles. Its flight can be controlled by radio for at least the first 3107 miles, and when the control is removed the rocket is attracted by electric vibrations of flying planes or the magnetism of the nearest mass of metal. It explodes when it reaches the attracting element. ...
Amarillo, Texas Daily News - 27 Jan 48
Rocket Expert Claims Space Travelers Will Meet Martians
NEW YORK, Jan. 26 (UP) -- Dr. James R. Randolph, Army major, college professor and rocket expert who believes that men some day will fly to neighboring planets, said today he believes that life exists on Mars -- a life higher in culture than that on earth. He said he based his theory on new studies of the so-called "canals" which have been observed on the surface of Mars.
These canals, he said, actually may be strips from 10 to 30 miles wide "in which more vegetation grows than in the country farther away." He pointed to the even, symmetrical design of the canals, an indication, he said, that the Martians know how to get along together.
In contrast to Earth, he said, Mars apparently has no areas where certain peoples suffer from economic or social handicaps. He believes that Mars may have one government -- and that this government may have been in existence for 1,000 years.
Dr. Randolph said he believed the "strips of vegetation" on Mars followed the laying down of railroads, along which the Martians settled. The symmetrical design indicates, he said, that the railroads may have been built by private enterprise, but that they were under direction of a single planetary government.
Dr. Randolph is editor of the Journal of the American Rocket Society and has written numerous articles on the possibility of flying a space ship to Mars. He also is professor of mechanical engineering at Pratt Institute, Brooklyn.
Previously, he has speculated that a colony of earthmen could be landed on the planet but that these first invaders would have to build another rocket ship on Mars to make the return flight. He estimates that a one-way flight would take about six months.
Such a rocket ship, he said, first would have to circle the earth as a satellite, then move through space until it reached the orbit of Mars. There again, he said, the rocket would have to circle Mars as a satellite.
"On the first trip," he said, "the main rocket ship might have to land an exploratory party of men to make a check on ground conditions."
Dr. Randolph believes that a colony of Martians may have landed on earth some 1,000 years ago. He said he based this theory on the legends of strange men, such as the Brownies and Leprechauns, of Irish folklore.
"If such a colony of Martians landed here," he said, "they died off in time. They were unable to build a ship for the return to Mars."
This failure, he said, could be cause [sic] of the difference in the gravitation pull of Mars and Earth. The Mars men, he believes, would not have had the strength to work against the Earth's gravitation. The pull on Mars, he said, is only 3/8100th of that on earth.
Salem, Oregon Statesman - 30 Jan 48
'Grandpappy' of Flying Discs Seen
LA GRANDE, Jan. 29 -- (AP) -- Another flying phenomenon was reported today, and this one sounded the worst yet.
It was described as a snake-like object, 100 feet long, composed of disc-like sections like "flying saucers". A La Grande music teacher, Leo C. Bryant, contended he's seen it.
"It was traveling due east over the city at about 2,000 feet altitude and was going at about the speed of an airplane," Bryant said. "It seemed to be made up of disc-like sections -- saucers maybe."
Pendleton, Oregon East Oregonian - 31 Jan 48
'Flying Discs' Book Declared Closed
WASHINGTON -- Remember the flying saucers?
Last July the entire United States was talking about the bewildering phenomenon of the celestial crockery. Dozens of people in 44 states, Canada, Mexico, England, Australia and South Africa solemnly testify that they saw the discs whizzing through the sky.
Military and Government scientific authorities Sunday said that they still have no positive explanation for the flying saucers and, furthermore, had no intention of doing anything about it.
The Joint Research and Development Board, the Government's top scientific body, advanced a number of theories informally. It is satisfied that these theories are the answer to the reported phenomenon that had the nation in a stew last summer.
A spokesman said the board experts dismiss the flying saucers as a mirage induced by mass self-hypnosis.
The scientists declare that the discs were nothing more than optical illusions and say that no evidence has ever been found to show that the saucers were either man-made or products of nature.
Theorizing further, the experts contend that it is possible the flying discs were either a form of natural electricity, the sun mirrored in the clouds, reflections of passing airplanes or flashes of light from the silver weather kites sent aloft all over the country by the Army Air Forces.
The descriptions of the flying saucers varied from the garden-variety of whirling discs to smoking rings and -- the ultimate as reported by a Nebraska farmer -- "flaming straw hats."
Army and Navy experts on such matters as guided missiles, rockets, and buzz bombs, have closed their books on the flying saucers.
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