in the news 1948
Above, top: From the February 5, 1948, edition of the San Bernardino, California, Sun, an advertisement for the "Whirl-Wing Kite". Below: From the December 8, 1947, edition of Life magazine, article and images on the Whirl-Wing. More on the Whirl-Wing below.
FEBRUARY 1, 1948 THROUGH MARCH 5, 1948:
Des Moines, Iowa Register - 1 Feb 48
The People's Open Forum
Flying Saucers And Army Drill
To the Open Forum Editor:
I wonder if it has occurred to anyone else that "flying saucers" are always seen by a number of individuals just preceding the time that congress is to take up some "universal military training" bill.
Last year when the bill was mentioned in the news there was a wave of saucer-hysteria which swept the country. It is a well-known psychological fact that when a great deal of publicity is given to those who have seen a miraculous thing soon a great number of people "see" similar things wherever they have read the publicity stories. But is not it strange that when it became a well-known fact that the military training bill would not be passed any more in that session of congress, the stories of saucers immediately disappeared from the press? No one reported having seen any more flying saucers.
That was quite a coincidence in itself at the time, but now that the military training bill is again in the news, the stories of miraculous things in the sky are back again too -- this time flying balls of fire and other flaming objects.
I am not suggesting that no one ever saw any of these objects. Maybe someone did. This last wave of stories has come from states nearby to some atomic research projects, and it is conceivable that some new discovery might be the basis for the flying objects. Some have been seen near air fields. But it is the time of their appearance which is either a miraculous coincidence or part of a clever scheme. Militarists once promised us that America would be swept by a cleverly-planned propaganda such as she had never seen before. Is this the beginning?
I wish someone with more experience and more influence in the news than I have would take this hint and look into it until it was tracked down. There are two powerful countries eyeing each other these days. Which one of them is someone trying to scare? And who is responsible for the scare?
-- (The Rev.) Milton Nothdurft, Linden Methodist church, 601 Nevada st., Waterloo, Ia.
Fort Myers, Florida News-Press - 1 Feb 48
Rocket-Propelled 'Cigar' Flits Over St. James City
A variation on last summer's flying saucers, a flying cigar, apparently rocket-propelled, was reported yesterday morning from St. James City by Mrs. Elmo Pearce. She declared the object passed overhead about 11:30 am with a tremendous noise "like 20 airplanes."
"While feeding my chickens," said Mrs. Pearce, "I heard a roar and looked up to see what at first glance looked like a burning plane falling. I looked at it again and saw it was a big cigar-shaped thing with smoke coming out of the back travelling at a tremendous rate of speed and making a deafening noise. From the sound you would think 20 planes were overhead.
"The object came out of the southeast over the Gulf and headed into the northwest over St. James City. Everyone here heard it and rushed out but it was out of sight before they could get to see it. It wasn't a flying saucer but looked like a flying cigar and must have been jet-propelled. It didn't have any wings."
At least one Fort Myers resident confirmed Mrs. Pearce's story as to the noise and time of occurrence, although she did not see the object itself.
The Page Field Civil Aeronautice [sic] Authority said it had received no word of such a flight but added that if it were a military craft the flight would not have been cleared through them.
Among those in Fort Myers observing the 'flying cigar' were C.M. Parnell, News-Press linotype operator, who reported that the rocket ship zoomed in from the southeast around 11:30 am, circled the city and then vanished.
Bremen, Indiana Enquirer - 5 Feb 48
They Are Flying Again!
Reports of recent "flying saucers" will probably set off another phase of the national hysteria that resulted from the original reports.
Appearances are cited in Kentucky and adjoining states, with a report from an army air base in Ohio, which tells of the "sky phenomenon" which hung suspended at intervals and then gained and lost altitude at what appeared to be terrific bursts of speed.
No doubt the observers saw something, especially the army men in Ohio, but this will not mean that every observer who reports a "flying saucer" will have seen anything in the sky.
Bowen, Australia Independent - 6 Feb 48
Strange Object Over Inveroona
A strange object was seen in the air over Inveroona yesterday afternoon, by at least three responsible persons, and their stories seem to indicate that Bowen has a "flying saucer" all its own. Our interest was aroused when reports reached us this morning that at least two people laid seen a strange shining object in the air over Inveroona at about 5.15 p.m. yesterday, because one of our staff driving along the Showgrounds road at that time had also seen it. From descriptions it appears that the object was partly circular in shape, without wings, and it made no noise. It was seen at a height not exceeding five thousand feet, and at first glance gave the impression of a polished airliner reflecting the sun's rays. However, the absence of sound, the apparent absence of wings, and the fact that it gradually appeared to diminish and vanish towards the North, intrigued the beholders.
Here are the stories:
Our reporter was driving a car along the Showgrounds road about 5.15 p.m. yesterday when he saw a brightly shining object in the sky towards the mouth of the Don River. As the car's engine did not enable him to notice the absence of sound he took it to be an aircraft catching the sun's rays, and took no further notice.
Miss Leslie Kenny, of the Town Council staff, was riding a bicycle to her home at Inveroona when she saw a shining object in the air, not more than 5000 feet up, and probably less. This was also at about 5.15 p.m. She described it as resembling a waning moon in shape. She was struck by the absence of sound, which would have been apparent from a plane, and the lack of wings. It appeared to be moving towards the mouth of the Don, diminishing in size until it disappeared. Miss Kenny rode on home, and called her mother, Mrs. H.E.G. Kenny, to see it, but by this time it appeared to Miss Kenny as a distant star, while her mother could not locate it.
Mrs. Helen Richards, who also lives in the Inveroona area, saw the object at the same time, in company with her husband, who also saw it. Mrs. Richards said at first she thought it was a small aeroplane catching the sun's rays, but as with Miss Kenny, she noticed the apparent absence of noise and of wings. The object's shape was indefinite, and as she watched it disappeared in the direction of the Don mouth.
Inquiries today at the offices of A.N.A. and Qantas airlines showed that they had no planes in the air over this area on Thursday, around 5.15 p.m., and, they knew, of no others. This paper's representative has reported the matter to Brisbane, in the hope of having some light thrown on the mystery.
On mentioning the occurrence to several other people, they recall see seeing a shining object in the sky towards Inveroona on Wednesday afternoon, about, the same time as it appeared on Thursday, and they took it to be a helicopter, because of its bulky shape and slow progress. The circumstances are intriguing, to say the least.
Long Beach, California Independent - 7 Feb 48
Here We Go Again, Folks, More Saucers!
They're in the air again!
Yes, those mysterious glowing "flying saucers" were reported again soaring through skies in this vicinity late yesterday afternoon.
Three Long Beach residents declare they saw a "squadron" of 15 silver discs spinning at lightning speed over the oil derricks on Signal Hill.
They weren't geese or sea gulls or airplanes or clouds -- "they were "flying saucers," declared Mrs. C.S. Norris, who with her mother, Mrs. H.E. Hinelman, and her housekeeper, Miss Frances Lane, viewed the spectacle from her home at 4552 Lime avenue.
"I looked," Mrs. Norris said, "and there they were -- 15 flying discs in the sky. It was like a jolt of electricity, but I knew what they were because I read about them last summer. We watched them until they disappeared in the direction of the ocean."
"Flying saucers" became the fad to look at -- or for -- last summer. Long Beach residents galore saw them in the sky and brought witnesses to prove it.
Walter Winchell said the discs actually were flying wings which were being developed for the armed services.
Some observers said they were miniature planets dispatched by unknown scientists.
Others said the discs were a new kind of guided missile.
Here Today, Gone Tomorrow
Then, as suddenly as they appeared, flying saucers disappeared. The last flying discs seen sailing over Long Beach were a dozen paper plates painted silver which a couple of reporters tossed from a downtown office building as a prank.
In its new appearance, the saucer was described as "about the size of a small racing plane, all glowing inside."
Mrs. Norris went on to explain that during the brief seconds she and her companions watched, the saucers moved from formation and then back into a body. All the while they were flickering, she said.
"It would be difficult to estimate the height," she continued, "but they must have been flying at from 1000 to 2000 feet above the ground."
In brief seconds they were gone and Mrs. Norris returned to her task of preparing dinner.
Lubbock, Texas Avalanche-Journal - 8 Feb 48
Controlled Flight Of V-2 Rocket Hailed As Major Accomplishment
WHITE SANDS, N.M., Feb. 7 -- Army officials today hailed the first controlled flight of a German V-2 rocket as the most important advance in guided missile development since the end of the war.
The army said, however, that a "long series of steps" in research and experiments would be necessary before a push-button flight could be made from launching to the target.
70 Miles Up
American and German scientists succeeded in maneuvering the V-2 in a test flight from the proving ground here yesterday. They used an electronic guidance system to steer the rocket from right to left and up and down during its flight to an altitude of 70 miles.
The rocket was controlled only during the portions of its flight when it was under power on its flight upward. After it went into free flight on its own momentum it could not be controlled.
Major J.B. Dickey, army public relations officer here, said the new system was an outgrowth of a "beam guidance control" used in earlier rocket flights. The beam-control merely kept the missile on a desired flight path, he said, and did not allow any changes after leaving the ground.
Nazi Rockets Inaccurate
Top army ordnance men and German scientists have been working on flight control here since shortly after the end of the war.
The big rockets and parts of the launching equipment were captured when Allied forces swept past the launching sites in Germany and Holland.
The Germans shot many of the high explosive rockets into London and other parts of England, but they never attained any high degree of accuracy.
They were able to "aim" for their target only by adjusting the fuel load for the distance and tilting the launching platform for direction.
Followed By Radar
The rockets, fueled with a mixture of oxygen and alcohol, are launched from "a nearly vertical position. They climb out of sight quickly and their path can be followed only by radar equipment.
When the fuel is consumed they level off and start plummeting downward for the target. In addition to correcting unexpected deviations from wind and other atmospheric conditions, it is expected that the electronic control may lengthen the distance flight [sic] after the missile reaches the rarified air of high altitudes.
Los Angeles, California Times - 12 Feb 48
By Zeanette More
It flies like an airplane, this revolutionary new type of strutless, tailless kite. It's controllable by 6 or 60-year-olds and can be made to go through all the maneuvers of an airplane simply by pressures of the control stick.
Flying disks are assembled easily from a kit that contains all the parts and complete instructions. Wind velocity of five miles per hour is required for the kit to sustain flight. Once launched, it may soar to 1000 feet spinning in the wind. It will climb, bank, dive, loop or land.
This super toy was developed originally for use in antiaircraft gunnery practice, and it has been assembled with the application of the exact science of aerodynamics.
To learn name of shop that sells these, telephone MA-2345, Station 358 (this department closed Saturday and Sunday) or write to me, care of Women's Service Bureau, The Times, Los Angeles 53, inclosing a stamped, self-addressed envelope.
New York, New York Times - 13 Feb 48
'Noiseless' Plane Held Successful
Aviation Trades Meeting Here Told of Tests -- Industry Chided on Backwardness
A practically noiseless personal airplane has been developed and flown at Boston by the Aeronautical Research Foundation, a nonprofit organization.
Dr. Lynn L. Bollinger, researcher for the Harvard School of Business Administration, described the craft at the first annual meeting of the New York Aviation Trades Association here yesterday.
The difficulties that face members of the association, airport operators, plane salesmen and instructors, he said, was due to the failure of the private plane makers to market a noiseless airplane and one containing technical advances made available since the war.
The practically noiseless small plane referred to by Dr. Bollinger was developed, in principle, two years ago at Langley Field by sound specialists of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. They proved that most small plane noises comes from the propeller rather than the engine and that by increasing the number of propeller blades and decreasing their speed of rotation the noise was decreased.
Such a four-bladed propeller was constructed by Aeronautical Research and, together with the necessary speed reduction gears and an engine muffler, proved satisfactory in many flights over the congested Boston suburban areas this winter. No manufacturer, however, has adapted the devices for a production plane because of their cost.
"You must make the airplane a good neighbor and a useful vehicle," Dr. Bollinger warned his audience. "A man will buy five automobiles, one after another; but an airplane, on the average, has five owners in a short life. At present it is just not a useful vehicle.
"The difficulties of the airlines are temporary. The big aircraft and engine makers can count on military orders to keep them alive. But the personal aircraft industry is up against a complete and immediate crisis. The next eighteen months will tell whether much of it can survive.
He blamed the situation on the desire of manufacturers to reap quick sales with airplanes little different from those sold before the war and on the tendency of members of the aviation trades throughout the country to depend on what he called the unsound student fees under the GI Bill of Rights.
He provoked a controversy with his assertion that the Government should abandon this training program and turn its available money to the development of a personal airplane with greater safety and utility.
He said that though the Civil Aeronautics Administration had developed a cross-wind landing gear, no manufacturer had produced a plane so equipped. Massachusetts alone, he asserted, has authorized the construction of small, close-in air strips where such planes, with almost silent propellers, could be operated usefully without disturbing near-by residents.
Dr. Bellinger's remarks attracted particular interest because he announced during the day the completion of a survey he had directed for the Harvard business school on personal aircraft business at a wide variety of airports. He said the report would be published in from sixty to ninety days.
A paper read for Rear Admiral Luis de Flores, USN, Ret., expert in special devices for Navy training, said more effort should be devoted to the development of landing aids. The admiral, it was learned, recently suffered a broken leg in a minor landing accident.
Jerome Lederer, former head of the Civil Aeronautics Board Safety Bureau, modified his recent indictment of private flying as unsafe.
"We all know of pilots with thousands of hours who have fine safety records," he said. "Schools, charter operators and big corporations with executive planes have made fine safety records. But discrimination is still necessary. You cannot, with confidence, hail any private flyer for a ride, as you can a taxicab."
Bowen, Australia Independent - 13 Feb 48
Flying Saucer Or What?
Following last week's reports of a strange shining object seen in the air over Inveroona, we learn that on the Thursday afternoon, around the same time as it was seen near Bowen, the mystery object was sighted at the 14-1/2 mile stop on the Collinsville line, by a railway employee. He thought it was a meteor, and said it came from the direction of Collinsville and went towards Bowen.
Strangely enough, on the previous Monday, Collinsville police reported to the local Civil Aviation officers that a number of people there had seen an object like a plane in Haines, which seemed to disappear into a hill about 40 miles from Collinsville, to the South-East. This occurred about 6.30 p.m. On that afternoon, a woman resident of Queens Beach saw a shining metallic body flying through the air from West to East, and this one emitted distinct flames in the form of a tail. It headed out to sea over King's Beach. In every case, no known air craft were in the vicinity. Enquiries in Brisbane have thrown no light on the identity of the object. Guesses locally range from meteor to jet plane or rocket.
Adelaide, Australia News - 16 Feb 48
... FLYING saucers are reported to have been seen over Southern Natal and Cape Province. One saucer is said to have "glowed, with a green body and red tail"! ...
Life Magazine - 16 Feb 48
In the middle of the lifeless California desert, 30 miles west of Death Valley, lies a modern, gleaming town of 12,000 people. It is a community of scientists brought together by the U.S. Navy to help solve the problems of modern warfare. Here, in a setting of sand flats and jutting peaks, 500 top-flight chemists, physicists and engineers, supplied with the best of scientific equipment, have created one of the great research centers of the world.
Desert community is center for secret research
Photographs for Life by J.R. Everyman
The town is officially called the Inyokern Naval Ordnance Test Station, and its main purpose is to develop the superrockets [sic] and guided missiles with which wars of the future probably will be fought. One group of Inyokern scientists, to which the chemists above belong, is specifically assigned to this work. They concentrate on such problems as the development of rocket propellants and the improvement of ram jet engines. The second group, which includes leading scientists from universities all over the country, is free to use Navy equipment for "pure" research, ranging from the study of cosmic rays to the cause of night glow in the sky. The Navy reviews the findings in the hope of discovering something useful for military purposes. In return for the privilege of working with Navy money and equipment the scientists must put up with the secluded life of the desert community. The living area, research laboratories and the factories which make rockets and other ordnance are surrounded by high fences and guarded by marines. Rarely does one group of scientists know what the others are doing. But they are reminded of the seriousness of their research by the thud of a rocket landing on the desert floor.
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Inyokern is a community created for a specific purpose. Built over the past four years at a cost of more than $100 million, it is located in the center of a military reservation which covers 1,000 square miles and is almost as large as the state of Rhode Island. Economically there is no reason for the town's existence. It is surrounded by some of the deadest land on earth. On the dry lake bottoms which make up most of the area only tumbleweeds, sidewinders and desert mice can survive. But the very inhospitality of the setting makes the station ideal for developing secret weapons. When rockets are tested on any of its 10 firing ranges, the only prying eyes are those of an occasional hawk soaring overhead.
Isolation and desert environment insure secrecy of the rocket tests
IN A DESERT BASIN sheltered by the high Sierras, the town of Inyokern spreads out in an orderly array. The houses in foreground are two-family dwellings which the Navy rents for average of $40 monthly per family. The big building on the far side of town (above, center) is six-block-square, $8 million Michelson Laboratory. Food and all other supplies must be trucked in, mainly from Los Angeles, 140 miles away. The navy operates Inyokern's grocery stores and all other services except the bank and post office.
The entire population of Inyokern lives and works within a large fenced-in area to which no one is admitted without a pass. During the day hundreds of workers disappear into secret, isolated plants and laboratories. Civilians, who comprise about 80% of the population, are carefully screened by the FBI. Although they may quit at any time, they are under oath not to reveal any secrets. Mindful that scientists in some other government towns have been resigning because of allegedly tight military rule, the Navy has named a civilian, Dr. L.T.E. Thompson, to head Inyokern's scientific program. The Navy also encourages civilians to assist in general administration of the community (below).
GOVERNING BODY meets every Monday. Rear Admiral W.G. Switzer, "mayor," is at center with both hands on table, facing camera. Dr. L.T.E. Thompson is at his left.
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THE ROCKET IS MOUNTED on the ramp's steel tracks by two range workmen and made ready for firing. Behind the main rocket, which has tail fins, is a booster rocket.
OBSERVATION POST has four mirrors, set at different angles, in which the scientists can see most of the rocket's travel while crouching the protection of a steel hut.
A TIMING DEVICE is tested before the rocket is fired down the ramp's track. Activated by a small magnet on the rocket's side, it records the missile's rate of acceleration.
SPEWING FLAME, rocket nicknamed "Tiny Tim" heads down 1,500-foot ramp which serves as a kind of wind tunnel in which the rocket's performance is studied.
TINY TIM APPROACHES first blockhouse, which contains magnetic device for measuring its acceleration. Other blockhouses serve as shelters for range engineers.
THE ROCKET SHOOSHES ALONG, accelerating to a speed of 1,300 feet a second. High-speed cameras and electronic devices record every detail of its performance.
TINY TIM leaves only a trail of smoke in its wake. As rocket leaves the ramp, it smashes through a target of heavy armor plate and flies off into the desert.
Inyokern's research program covers everything from fundamental physics to optics but is mainly directed toward the development of rockets. Elsewhere in the country other rocket projects are also being carried on, but while most of these involve testing of existing types like the German V-2, Inyokern's research is concerned with the basic nature of rocket flight and propulsion. The ramp, above, which runs 1,500 feet along the ground, is equipped with testing, measuring and clocking devices designed to analyze every aspect of rocket behavior during take-off. Flight through the air is checked by radio and radar. In the laboratories, engines, fuels, explosives and new designs are tested.
Flaming missiles roar down tracks
of Inyokern's long testing ramps
LAUNCHING RAMP, 450 feet long, is among the most important installations at Inyokern. The nature of the guided missiles launched from its tracks is one of the most closely guarded of the nation's military secrets. but no secret is the fact that the Germans launched their 4,000-mph rockets from similar-looking ramps during the war.
The information obtained through this elaborate study may solve some of the problems that have so far prevented the development of effective long-range rockets. The German V-2 failed because of its inaccuracy and short (450-mile) range. To exceed that range, a rocket must carry more fuel. But more fuel means a bigger engine to get the missile off the ground, and a bigger engine in turn requires more fuel. On the basis of present knowledge, the solution of any one problem leads to the creation of another and greater one. Only when scientists like those employed at Inyokern produce a more efficient engine and a more powerful propellant will the intercontinental guided missile become a reality.
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MINIATURE ROCKETS which operate on the same principle as the full-sized guided missiles are used to test small amounts of newly developed propellants.
ROCKETS ARE TESTED prior to the range trials by being fired from static mounts inside concrete chambers. Exhaust flames are aimed at a desert hill.
In Inyokern's laboratories eminent scientists like Dr. Carl Anderson (below) are working side by side with bright young men just out of Harvard University or Cal Tech on projects which seem wholly unrelated to rockets or warfare. The study of cosmic rays and the upper atmosphere of the earth is about as "pure" as research can get. So is the field of microtime, in which Inyokern scientists are learning how to examine phenomena which occur in a 50th of a millionth of a second. Sooner or later rocket analysts will use the microtime method to study shock waves. The cosmic-ray work and other pure research will be put to some military use. That is why many of the scientists, whether they are mathematicians or ballistic experts, are uneasy about their role. But most agree with Dr. L.T.E. Thompson, Inyokern's technical director, who says, "When men finally know without a doubt that to start a war will mean to destroy themselves, there will be no more wars."
Research covers many fields
THE NEW LOOK among Inyokern scientists is exemplified by Charles D'Ooge, a 1943 graduate of Amherst College. Only 25 years old, D'Ooge works on cosmic-ray program with Dr. Anderson.
COSMIC RAY STUDY is directed by (left to right) Dr. W.R. Brode, Dr. Christian Elvey, and Dr. Carl Anderson. The scientists are gathered around a cosmic-ray cloud chamber inside a B-29.
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Santa Rosa, California Press Democrat - 18 Feb 48
THE FLYING SAUCERS of yesteryear have their counterpart in France, where people are seeing mysterious white balls of light, airplanes and descents by parachute. As usual, one reports [sic] stirs up others. At least it takes the minds of the French off their other troubles.
Decatur, Illinois Herald - 18 Feb 48
New Jet, Rocket Plane Passes Flight Tests
Washington, Feb. 17 (AP) The Douglas Skyrocket, needle-nosed jet and rocket research plane, has successfully completed its first flight tests.
The navy said the plane was flown at the air force test center, Muroc, Calif., by John Martin, Douglas test pilot. He flew at "relatively low speeds" to determine its general flying behavior.
The Skyrocket, technically known as the D-558-2, is designed to reach 1,000 miles an hour. It was built to study flight problems at speeds near that of sound -- 650 to 750 miles an hour.
Escanaba, Michigan Daily Press - 20 Feb 48
Flying Disc Seen By Lansing People
Lansing, Feb. 20 (AP) -- Several Lansingites reported seeing an object variously described as "a meteor" and "a flying disc" last night.
Telephone reports received on the object it [sic] as "a light darting back and forth and occasionally shooting out flames."
Bend, Oregon Bulletin - 1 Mar 48
Teacher Reports Seeing Air Disc
Delia While, who teaches school at Grizzly, has come to the defense of John W. Wood, of the Bend City police force, who reported seeing a "flying saucer" about noon December 29 in Bend.
In a communication to a Portland newspaper, Mrs. White wrote:
"The same day a 'flying disc' was reported at Bend, the same object, or one like it, was seen flying over a wooded area in the vicinity of Grizzly, in Jefferson county.
"I had a very good look at the top. It was exactly like a saucer turned upside down. The edges were rounding [sic], like a stove-pipe placed lengthwise. I teach school at Grizzly, and the children saw the flying saucer, too. It passed over Grizzly December 19, at 12:30 p.m. As the edges appeared to be folded over, it could have been molded of one piece of shiny aluminum.
Los Angeles, California Times - 2 Mar 48
LATEST PLANE -- Here's Curtiss XP-87, first four-jet engined fighter developed for U.S. Air Force. Gigantic craft was test flown for hour yesterday at Muroc Field Force [sic] Base.
Giant Four-Jet Fighter Gets Hour Test Flight
The Air Force's first four-jet fighter -- the Curtiss XP-87 -- was test flown for an hour yesterday at Muroc Air Force Base by B. Lee Miller, company pilot with Bob Park, flight engineer.
One of the largest fighters ever produced, the XP-87 weighs almost as much as the Flying Fortress bomber of World War II fame and is designed to operate in the 600 m.p.h. class, Air Force spokesmen said.
Its jet engines are slung in single-nacelle pairs under either side of the 60-foot wing and its two-man crew sit side by side under a bubble canopy that affords complete fore-and-aft visibility.
The out-sized fighter is expected to operate in the most extreme weather conditions, with a ceiling above 35,000 feet and a range of 1500 miles.
Company engineers will put the XP-87 through an exhaustive flight testing program at the Muroc base before turning it over to the Air Force.
Phoenix, Arizona Republic - 4 Mar 48
A captured ME-262 on display at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. Picture provided for illustration, and not part of the following article.
Red's Mass Production of Jet Fighters Told
By JACK R. Reed
Republic's Washington Bureau
1397 National Press Building
WASHINGTON, Mar. 3 -- The piecemeal story of what happens behind the Iron curtain had another chapter added today when reports reached semi-public circulation in Washington, that the mass-production of jet fighter planes in Russia is concentrated on the German ME-262.
Semi-official statements indicated a belief on the part of the U.S. military leaders that Russian production of the fast twin-jet job is probably greater than American production of any comparable plane.
The ME-262, in terms of production problems, is a much less difficult development than any fast conventional model, utilizing as it does a type of ram-jet motor, believed, in its most modern version, to be rocket-assisted.
THE ONLY American-owned ME-262 which is in flying condition is a rebuilt model turned over to the air force at Muroc Lake, Calif., by Howard Hughes a few days ago, for competitive testing and engineering evaluation in comparison with the P-80 and P-84.
Not known in the United States is the type of metal used in the explosion chamber of the ship's motors, or the thrust rating of the peculiarly bulged "stovepipes" which drive the plane through the air. Some reports indicate that the Nazi "dream ship" may outperform anything the U.S. now has in the air on a production basis.
The plane never reached combat production in Germany. There were a few models beyond the flight-test stage when the war ended. It was designed by the Messerschmidt [sic] company.
IT HAS MANY structural novelties. The elevator surfaces at the tail are higher than the wings. The rudder is extraordinarily high. The elevators serve as "flippers" for the control of altitude direction, with only the narrowest of ailerons along the wing's trailing edge. It has a tricycle landing gear which pulls into the ship's belly, cushioned against the engine housings. It is needle-nosed and slim, with the pilot wedged into its cockpit with finger-tip controls scarcely visible to him.
Guns fire through the leading edge of the wing and are aimed by the "flippers" while timed by electronic triggers.
Still not mastered is the greatest military problem of the jet plane, which is a firing speed for its guns fast enough to provide coverage of its field of fire.
Circleville, Ohio Herald - 5 Mar 48
U.S. AIR FORCE'S six-jet bomber, the Martin XB-48. speeds over the Chesapeake bay area as the first craft of its kind to fly. Ship carries a crew of three and 10-ton bomb load.
Minneapolis, Minnesota Star - 5 Mar 48
12 German Scientists Aid U.S. Rocket Work
Byrd Reveals Guided Missile Brain Trust
Special to The Minneapolis Star
WASHINGTON -- A super brain trust headed by 12 key German scientists who helped develop the V2 rocket and jet planes is working with the air force on the development of new weapons, Senator Byrd (D., Va.) disclosed today.
He said the scientists are employed at the air force technical center, Wright field, Dayton, Ohio; at the guided missiles proving ground, White Sands, N.M., and at industrial and college laboratories in New York, Boston, Mass., St. Louis, Mo., and Columbus, Ohio.
Byrd, writing in the March issue of American magazine, said there are nearly 200 German specialists in the United States.
Military sources recently disclosed the army and air force have 475 German scientists and the navy, 40.
Byrd listed the following Germans who are working on air force projects:
• Dr. Werner Von Braun, director of the big German research center at Peenemunde, Germany, where the V2 was developed.
• Dr. Anselm Franz, research chief of the Junkers plant at Dessau, Germany, where some Nazi jet planes were produced.
• Dr. Theodor Zobel, wind tunnel expert from Germany's leading research institute.
• Dr. Bernhard Goethert, specialist in high speed airflow research.
• Dr. Rudolf Hermann, aero-dynamic authority and expert on wind tunnels for testing guided missile models.
• Dr. Alexander Lippisch, rocket power fighter expert and leading authority on the flying wing who had done research on supersonics (faster than sound flight) and ballistics.
• Dr. Ernst Eckert, expert on thermos-dynamics now working on jet and ram jet engines.
• Dr. Richard Vogt, chief designer of the German Blohm and an Voss planes.
• Joseph Shugt, specialist on bomb sights.
• Dr. Helmut Heinrich, developer of the ribbon type parachute.
• Dr. Otto Gauer, of the German aero-medical institute.
Byrd said the Germans are kept under constant surveillance. Their mail is censored and movements controlled. Many of them have been joined by their families.
Byrd quoted Brig. Gen. Donald L. Putt, engineering chief at Wright field as saying the Germans will save this country 10 years time and several billion dollars on guided missile development alone.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 5 Mar 48
For Use In Future Wars
Fight For Bases On Moon For Attacks Against Earth Seen
By TOM CHASE
Associated Press Staff Writer
LONDON, March 4. -- A grim war for bases on the moon "from which to launch guided missiles against the earth", may develop within 50 years, says a report published in the Journal of the British Interplanetary society.
The Interplanetary Society numbers among its members many prominent British scientists noted for work in the fields of propulsion, dynamics, design, biology and astronomy. Its technical director is L.B. Shepherd. He Is assisted by G.Y.E. Thompson and J. Humphries.
The article, written by A.V. Cleaver, chairman of the organization's council, outlined possible development of interplanetary conflict far more terrible than the atomic bomb.
"No doubt it will sound farfetched to many people now," Cleaver wrote, "but I find it very easy to believe in a future race to establish national bases on the moon, a territory grabbing competition closely analogous to the one already so familiar on earth.
"If such bases could include facilities for manufacturing fuel and other products, as eventually they might," he said, "then there could be no better site from which to launch guided missiles against the earth."
Moon's Gravity Weak
Cleaver explained the "fundamental advantage of moon-based projectiles is simply a matter of gravity. The relatively small gravitational pull encountered on the moon will provide a much more favorable ration of payload to fuel than on earth.
"This means whoever first establishes a working base on the moon will be able to launch infinitely bigger and better missiles than any earth-bound enemy."
Cleaver predicted as "still more futuristic the possibility of man carrying his wars with him into the rest of the solar system, if intelligent life is found there to oppose him."
"Super State" Possible
"In morale [sic] principal," he added, "there is no difference between men killing one another by shooting arrows across a stream and by flinging guided missiles from moon to earth."
Cleaver emphasized that it was up to mankind to seek new knowledge and experience to prevent some such war of the spheres becoming reality.
He said formation of an interplanetary project by a "super state" or a large association of states, possibly the United States, Russia or a more closely unified British commonwealth, might come within 50 years "unless the crass stupidity of mankind in the meantime has imposed an indefinite postponement."
"This organization will probably lay down a program something like this, in a series of stages, each to be successfully performed before proceeding to the next...
"1. Construction of high altitude research rockets capable of doubling or trebling the then-existing height record, carrying crews.
"2. Construction of a manned ship to circle the moon and return without landing.
"3. Construction of a ship to carry men to the moon, land and return.
"4. Construction of ships capable of longer interplanetary voyages (than in step three), possibly using the moon as a refueling station."
Cleaver added that the "first application of atomic energy to rocket propulsion" probably would have to be made before the interplanetary project took these steps.
Kalispell, Montana Daily Inter Lake - 6 Mar 48
Navy Rocket Sets Two New Records
Washington, Mar. 6 -- (AP) -- A new navy rocket has spurted 78 miles into the sky and hit a speed of 3,000 miles an hour, the army and navy said today.
It is the highest and fastest an American missile is disclosed to have gone. The wartime German V-2 reached 114 miles and about 3,500 miles an hour in tests at the White Sand [sic], N.M., proving grounds. The navy rocket, called the Aerobee, was tested there yesterday, the joint announcement said.
The performance of the liquid-fueled Aerobee greatly exceeds the 34-mile altitude, 2,100-mile speed of the only other American rocket so far announced. This was the army ordnance "Wac Corporal." However, both still are far short of marks achieved by the V-2.
Cincinnati, Ohio Enquirer - 6 Mar 48
The mystery of the flying saucers is explored by Kenneth Arnold in the first issue of FATE, a new quarterly now on the newsstands. Convinced that he wasn't seeing things last summer when he counted nine of the disks, Arnold set out to interview every reputable person he could find who claimed he had seen the flying objects. Evidence never before made public is presented, with the magazine devoting one-third of its space to the disk mystery.
Fate Magazine - Spring 1948
I Did See The Flying Discs!
by Kenneth Arnold
The following story of what I observed over the Cascade mountains, as impossible as it may seem, is positively true. I never asked nor wanted any notoriety for just accidentally being in the right spot at the right time to observe what I did. I reported something that I know any pilot would have reported. I don't think that in any way my observation was due to any sensitivity of eyesight or judgment other than what is considered normal for any pilot.
On Tuesday, June 24th, 1947, I had finished my work for the Central Air Service at Chehalis, Washington, and at about two o'clock I took off from Chehalis, Washington, airport with the intention of going to Yakima, Washington. My trip was delayed for an hour to search for a large marine transport that supposedly went down near or around the southwest side of Mt. Rainier in the state of Washington. (This airplane has been discovered at the time of this writing -- July 29, 1947).
I flew directly toward Mt. Rainier after reaching an altitude of about 9,500 feet, which is the approximate elevation of the high plateau from which Mt. Rainier rises. I had made one sweep of this high plateau to the westward, searching all of the various ridges for this marine ship and flew to the west down and near the ridge side of the canyon where Ashford, Washington, is located.
Unable to see anything that looked like the lost ship, I made a 360 degree turn to the right and above the little city of Mineral, starting again toward Mt. Rainier. I climbed back up to an altitude of approximately 9,200 feet.
The air was so smooth that day that it was a real pleasure flying and, as most pilots do when the air is smooth and they are flying at a higher altitude, I trimmed out my airplane in the direction of Yakima, Washington, which was almost directly east of my position and simply sat in my plane observing the sky and terrain.
There was a DC-4 to the left and to the rear of me approximately fifteen miles distant and, I should judge, at 14,000 feet elevation.
The sky and air was clear as crystal. I had not flown more than two or three minutes on my course when a bright flash reflected on my airplane. It startled me as I thought I was too close to some other aircraft. I looked every place in the sky and couldn't find where the reflection had come from until I looked to the left and the north of Mt. Rainier where I observed a chain of nine peculiar-looking aircraft flying from north to south at approximately 9,500 foot elevation and going, seemingly, in a definite direction of about 170 degrees north to south.
They were approaching Mt. Rainier very rapidly, and I merely assumed they were jet planes. Anyhow, I discovered that this was where the reflection had come from, as two or three of them every few seconds would dip or change their course slightly, just enough for the sun to strike them at an angle that reflected brightly on my plane.
These objects being quite far away, I was unable for a few seconds to make out their shape or their formation. Very shortly they approached Mt. Rainier, and I observed their outline against the snow quite plainly.
I thought it was very peculiar that I couldn't find their tails but assumed they were some type of jet. I was determined to clock their speed, as I had two definite points -- Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams -- to clock them by, and the air was so clear that it was very easy to see objects and determine their approximate shape and size at almost fifty miles.
I remember distinctly that my sweep second hand on my eight day clock, which is located on my instrument panel, read one minute to 3 P.M. as the first object of this formation passed the southern edge of Mt. Rainier. I watched these objects with great interest as I had never before observed airplanes flying so close to the mountain tops, flying directly south to southeast down the hog's back of a mountain range. I would estimate their elevation could have varied a thousand feet one way or another up or down, but they were pretty much on the horizon to me which would indicate they were near the same elevation as I was.
They flew, as I have frequently observed geese fly, in a rather diagonal chain-like line as if they were linked together. They seemed to hold a definite direction, but swerved in and out of the high mountain peaks. Their speed at the time did not impress me particularly, because I knew that our army and air forces had planes that went very fast.
What kept bothering me as I watched them flip and flash in the sun right along their path was the fact that I couldn't make out any tail on them, and I am sure that any pilot would justify more than a second look at such a plane.
I observed them quite plainly, and I estimate my distance from them, which was almost at right angles, to be between twenty to twenty-five miles. I knew they must be very large to permit me to observe their shape at that distance, even as clear a day as it was. In fact I compared a zeus fastener or cowling tool I had in my pocket with them, holding it up on them and holding it up on the DC-4 that I could observe at quite a distance to my left, and they seemed smaller than the DC-4; but, I should judge their span would have been as wide as the farthest engines on each side of the fuselage of the DC-4.
The more I observed these objects the more upset I became, as I am accustomed and familiar with most all flying objects whether I am close to the ground or at higher altitudes. I observed the chain of these objects passing another high snow-covered ridge in between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams and as the first one was passing the south crest of this ridge the last object was entering the northern crest of the ridge.
As I was flying in the direction of this particular ridge, I measured it and found it to be approximately five miles, so I could safely assume that the chain of these saucer-like objects was at least five miles long. I could quite accurately determine their pathway due to the fact that there were several of them as well as higher peaks on the other side of their pathway.
As the last unit of this formation passed the northernmost high snow-covered crest of Mt. Adams, I looked at my sweep second hand and it showed that they had travelled the distance in one minute and forty-two seconds. Even at the time this timing did not upset me as I felt confident after I landed there would be some explanation of what I had seen.
A number of news men and experts suggested that I might have been seeing reflections or even a mirage. This I know to be absolutely false, as I observed these objects not only through the glass of my airplane but turned my airplane sideways where I could open my window and observe them with a completely unobstructed view.
Even though two minutes seems like a very short time to one on the ground, in the air in two minutes' time a pilot can observe a great many things and anything within his field of vision probably as many as fifty or sixty times.
I continued my search for the Marine plane for another fifteen or twenty minutes and while searching for this Marine plane, what I had just observed kept going through my mind. I became more disturbed, so after taking a last look at Teton Reservoir I headed for Yakima.
I might add that my complete observation of these objects, which I could even follow by their flashes as they passed Mt. Adams, was around two and one-half or three minutes -- although by the time they reached Mt. Adams they were out of my range of vision as far as determining shape or form. Of course, when the sun reflected from one or two or three of these units, they appeared to be completely round; but, I am making a drawing to the best of my ability, which I am including, as to the shape I observed these objects to be as they passed the snow covered ridges at Mt. Rainier.
When these objects were flying approximately straight and level, they were just a black thin line and only time I could get a judgment as to their size was when they flipped.
These objects were holding an almost constant elevation; they did not seem to be going up or to be coming down, such as would be the case of rockets or artillery shells. I am convinced in my own mind that they were some type of airplane, even though they didn't conform with the many aspects of the conventional type of planes that I know.
Although these objects have been reported by many other observers throughout the United States, there have been six or seven other accounts written by some of these observers that I can truthfully say must have observed the same thing that I did; particularly, the descriptions of the three Western Air Lines employees of Cedar City, Utah, the pilot from Oklahoma City, the locomotive engineer in Illinois, John Corlett, a United Press correspondent of Boise, Idaho, Dave Johnson, news editor at the Boise Daily Statesman, Captain Smith, a co-pilot Stevens, and Marty Morrow of United Air Lines, and Captain Charles F. Bergian and Jack Harvey of United Air Lines both of whom on July 28, 1947, made their observation on United Air Lines flight 105 westbound of Boise.
It is my opinion that descriptions could not be very accurate taken from the ground unless these saucer-like discs were at quite a great height and there is a possibility that all of the people who observed peculiar objects could have seen the same thing I did; but, it would have been very difficult from the ground to observe these for more than four or five seconds, and there is always the possibility of atmospheric moisture and dust near the ground which could distort one's vision, while air observers I would judge to be much more accurate.
I have in my possession letters from all over the Unites States and Europe from people who profess that these objects have been observed over other portions of the world, principally Sweden, Bermuda, and California.
I would have given almost anything that day to have had a movie camera with a telephoto lens and from now on I will never be without one.
When I landed at Yakima, Washington airport I described what I had seen to my very good friend, Al Baxter, who is the General Manager of Central Aircraft Company. He listened patiently and was very courteous but in a joking way didn't believe me.
I did not accurately measure the distance between these two mountains until I landed at Pendleton, Oregon, that same day where I told a number of pilot friends of mine what I had observed and they did not scoff or laugh, but suggested they might be guided missiles or something new. In fact several former Army pilots informed me that they had been briefed before going into combat overseas that they might see objects of similar shape and design as I described and assured me that I wasn't dreaming or going crazy.
I quote Sonny Robinson, a former Army Air Forces pilot who is now operating dusting operations at Pendleton, Oregon: "What you observed, I am convinced, is some type of jet or rocket-propelled ship that is in the process of being tested by our government or even it could possibly be by some foreign government."
Anyhow, the news that I had observed these spread very rapidly and before the night was over I was receiving telephone calls from all parts of the world; and, to date, I have not received one telephone call or one letter of scoffing or disbelief. the only disbelief that I know of was what was printed in the papers.
I look at this whole ordeal as not something funny as some people have made it out to be. To me it is mighty serious and since I evidently did observe something that at least Mr. John Doe on the street corner or Pete Andrews on the ranch has never heard about, is no reason that it does not exist. Even though I openly invited an investigation by the Army and the FBI as to the authenticity of my story or a mental and physical examination as to my capabilities, I received no interest from these two important protective forces of our country until two weeks after my observation; I will go so far as to assume that if our Military Intelligence was not aware of what I observed and reported to the United and Associated Press, and over the radio on two different occasions which apparently set the nation buzzing, they would be the very first people I could expect as visitors.
I have received lots of requests from people who told me to make a lot of wild guesses. I have based what I have written here in this article on positive facts and as far as guessing what it was I observed, it is just as much a mystery to me as it is to the rest of the world. I saw them and I know they are real.
My pilot's license is 333489. I fly a Callair airplane; it is a three-place single engine land ship that is designed and manufactured at Afton, Wyoming as an extremely high-performance, high-altitude airplane that was made for mountain work. The national certificate of my plane is NC-33355.
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