in the news 1948
Above: Comic book version of the now-classic Chiles-Whitted encounter in late July, 1948. Although the comic wasn't published until years later, copies were added to the file on the case kept by Project Blue Book -- the official U.S. Air Force investigation into the UFO phenomenon. Stories on the encounter below.
JULY 24, 1948 THROUGH AUGUST 12, 1948:
Decatur, Illinois Daily Review - 24 Jul 48
Flying Discs, King Size
Pilots Report Seeing Mystery Plane in Air
Atlanta, July 24 (AP) Two Eastern Airline pilots said they met a wingless two-deck plane early today southwest of Montgomery, Ala. They said the strange ship shooting red flames and with a blue glow underneath the fuselage, passed their ship at 5,000 feet headed toward New Orleans. The pilots said the stranger looked like a "Buck Rogers rocket ship."
The two pilots -- Captain C.S. Childs [sic, throughout, should be Chiles], and Co-Pilot J.B. Whitted -- were flying the Houston-to-Atlanta-to-Boston run. Captain Childs said that they first sighted the object up ahead when nearing Montgomery at 2:45 a.m.
"IT WAS in line almost with our flight," he said "We veered off to the left and the object turned to its left. When it came nearer to us, within better sight, its fuselage appeared to be about 100 feet in length and about four times circumference of a B-29 fuselage.
"It had two rows of windows, an upper and a lower They were square. Out of the rear of the ship red flames were shooting 25 to 50 feet. There was a blue glow underneath the fuselage. The ship appeared to be doing between 500 and 700 miles an hour, heading toward New Orleans.
"WHEN IT got along side of us it pulled up with a tremendous burst of flame out of the rear. The flames were so bright they blinded us for a second. Then the ship disappeared into the broken clouds. The ship had no wings. It seemed to have an upper deck and a lower deck and was fully lighted inside. We saw no occupants."
Of the 20 passengers on board Childs said only one was awake and saw the other ship. He gave this passenger's name as C.L. McKelvie, Henelton Pike, Columbus, Ohio.
At Montgomery, Maxwell and Dannelly army fields said they know nothing about the report.
Alexandria, Louisiana Town Talk - 24 Jul 48
Wingless, Flame-Spewing Monster of Skies Seen
ATLANTA. Ga.. July 24 -- (UP) -- Two Eastern Air Lines pilots claimed today that their plane last night passed a tremendous, wingless aircraft that shot a 40-foot flame from its tail and traveled between 500 and 700 miles an hour.
Capt. Clarence. Shipe Chiles and his co-pilot, John B. Whitted, said the fantastic airship looked like a B-29 fuselage "blown up about four times."
The aircraft was brilliantly lighted and had two decks of big square windows, they said. It passed within several hundred feet of the pilots' DC-3 and then shot up in the clouds, they said.
"We were cruising about 20 miles southwest of Montgomery, Ala., [sic, no end quote] said Chiles, who was an ATC ferry pilot for four years during the war.
"We looked out the right side of the cockpit and saw a tremendous light. The first thing that came to my attention was the long stream of flame coming out the rear end of the plane, or whatever it was.
"Then I noticed the two rows of square windows -- it was a man-made thing, all right. We couldn't see any people aboard. It was traveling too fast for that.
"The aircraft seemed to be about four times the circumference of a B-29 fuselage but it was only a little longer," Chiles said. "There were no wings whatever.
"The plane passed us on our right, then, as if the pilot had seen us and wanted to avoid us it zoomed up into the same cloud it came out of. A 40-foot red flame shot out its rear end. A luminous glow, like a giant fluorescent light, ran along the belly of the thing."
Faster Than Jet Planes
Whitted, who said he had seen the air force's best jet planes not on the secret list, estimated its speed much faster than he had seen before.
"I'd say that when it shot up into the clouds it was going between 500 and 700 miles an hour," Whitted said. "I've seen real shooting stars and meteors -- they look pretty close when you're a pilot -- but I've never seen anything like this."
Whitted added that as a B-29 pilot over Japan he had looked kamikaze suicide planes in the face and been attacked by "balls of fire" Japanese jet planes.
Feel Shock Waves
As the aircraft passed them, they said, their DC-3 fluttered in the "prop wash, jet-wash or rocket-wash," the pilots said. "It sent out tremendous shock waves."
The brilliant light of the airship and the flame of its propellant brought "lightning blindness" to their cockpit, the pilots said, and they had to turn up their instruments lights to read them.
The Eastern plane was en route to Atlanta. The mystery ship appeared headed toward Mobile or New Orleans, the pilots said.
They said they encountered the "Buck Rogers" plane in a regular "airway," a 25-mile wide strip designated by the CAA.
Louisville, Kentucky Courier - 25 Jul 48
SURPRISE IN SKY ... Capt. C.S. Chiles, right, Eastern Air Lines pilot, and copilot John Whitted tell about a tremendous, wingless craft they saw yesterday in Alabama.
Tucson, Arizona Daily Star - 25 Jul 48
KENNETT SQUARE, Pa., July 24 -- (AP) -- A mystery plane, reported sighted over Montgomery, Ala., by two Eastern Airline pilots, was described by a Columbus, O., man today as "a flash of cherry red fire."
Clarence L. McKelvie, assistant managing editor of the American Education Press, said he was the only passenger on the Eastern Airlines Houston-to-Boston plane not asleep when the phantom craft was sighted.
"I saw no shape or form," McKelvie said.
"I was on the right side of the plane, and suddenly saw this strange eerie streak out of my window," McKelvie explained. "It was very intense, not like lightning or anything I had ever seen."
The Columbus man said he was too startled, and the object moved too quickly for him to adjust his eyes to it.
Lawton, Oklahoma Constitution - 25 Jul 48
Boeing Aircraft President Knows Nothing Of Plane
SEATTLE, Wash., July 24. -- (UP) -- President William M. Allen of the Boeing Aircraft Co. said Saturday he knew of "nothing being built in this country" similar to the description of a giant, wingless plane repotted seen by two Eastern Air Lines pilots.
"I'm pretty sure it was not one of our planes," Allen said.
Boeing at present is testing huge double-deck stratocruisers around the country but not in the vicinity of Montgomery, Ala., where the pilots said they saw a flame-shooting craft, Allen said.
"We delivered several C-97's (large civilian transports) to the air force and they may be testing them down there, but we have made no wingless planes," he said.
Allen said he believed the mystery plane might be a "missile of some sort." Boeing technicians are experimenting with guided missiles in New Mexico but Allen said they were not as large as a plane and could not be seen as far away as Alabama.
Nashville, Tennessee Tennessean - 25 Jul 48
Alabama Air Monster
Last year everyone was seeing mysterious flying saucers, now a couple of airline pilots have seen a new mystery object in the air that makes flying saucers seem like toys.
The pilots saw this strange new aircraft at close range and felt the effect of its wash, which buffeted their own plane. They were also so blinded by the glare of the brilliant flames spurting from its tail they had to turn up their own instrument lights in order to read the panel.
The strange thing about the mystery plane was that it had no wings but was lighted by a double row of windows down the aide. It also apparently had a speed exceeding anything either pilot had ever observed before.
The pilots are experienced aviators and observers. One was a ferry pilot for the Air Transport Command for four years. The other had been a B-29 pilot in operations over Japan. They could not have had simultaneous hallucinations of sight and sensation.
Nobody ever saw a flying saucer at close range, but they were viewed by many. Psychologists finally developed the theory that some sort of mass hallucination, engendered by fear of the world's unsettled condition, was to blame. Yet a standing air force order went out for all personnel to keep an eye out for flying saucers.
The case of the mystery plane is different. It was seen by two men at once. and they both had the same impression.
Perhaps it would be well to remember that the wind and lightning storms of this time of year can produce some weird effects. We'll just have to wait to learn . whether anyone else gets a view of the strange new air monster, too.
New York, New York Herald Tribune - 25 Jul 48
'Flying Disc' Seen At Yakima, Wash.
Airport Men Twice Sight 'Moon-Sized Blob'
YAKIMA, Wash., July 25 (UP). -- Hundreds of telephone calls flooded the Civil Aeronautics Administration office here today from persons who had seen a silvery, "moon-sized" flying "blob" wheeling across the sky above the city.
The apparition, termed "another flying saucer" by the C.A.A., was observed by two control tower men at the Yakima Airport, both of whom agreed as to its general description. Don Hunt, airport traffic controller, and George Robinson, aircraft communicator, said they saw it wheeling west of the city about 2 p.m. today. They saw it again at 4:20 p.m.
"At first I thought it was the planet Venus," said Mr. Hunt, a veteran of six years with the C.A.A. "But when I checked, I knew that the planet couldn't be seen in our vicinity at this time of year." Mr. Robinson said when he saw the silvery, flashing ball it looked as if it had "flashing lights, something like an air liner's fog lights."
But both agreed that it couldn't have been an air liner because there were none flying through Yakima at that time. And they know it wasn't a weather balloon because it was bucking the wind.
Mr. Hunt, who was one of the first to see the object, said, "I make my living by looking at the sky, but I've never seen anything like this."
Long Beach, California Independent - 26 Jul 48
'Flying Discs' Revived
YAKIMA, Wash., July 25. (INS) A Punkin Center, Wash., farmer, Victor Kroum, touched off the latest flying disc story in the northwest today. He saw a "silvery, moon sized object" flying westward over Yakima at 10 a.m. The farmer's story later was backed by reports from two CAA employes and a Washington state patrolman.
Kroum said the object could have been the same "wingless, flame-throwing Buck Rogers-type aircraft" reported by two Eastern Airlines pilots near Atlanta, Ga., last night. He saw lights flashing underneath it.
The farmer reported it to a state patrolman who later said he also saw it, flying westward.
Two CAA control tower operators at Yakima saw a "globe" above the airport at 2 p.m. Sunday, and another 2-1/2 hours later. They said it could not have been a weather balloon, since it was moving against a strong wind.
The CAA made ready for a rush of reports from two states. The original "flying disc" was seen in the same area of Washington, just 13 months ago, on June 26, 1947.
Bonham, Texas Daily Favorite - 26 Jul 48
Flying Saucer Season Has Opened Again - CAA Officials See 'Blobs'
By United Press
The third party has ended its convention. Congress is getting ready for its special session. And top American diplomats are in London to pave the way for peace talks with Russia.
But the big news this Monday is that the Flying Saucer season has opened again.
It was just about one year ago, you'll remember when the nation began seeing objects fly through the sky [Illegible] objects said to look like saucers or discs.
The first people to report the discs this year have a new name for them -- "blobs". Two Civil Aeronautics employees at the Yakima, Washington, airport say they saw a silvery moon-sized object or "blob" wheeling across the sky above Yakima early yesterday Sunday afternoon, and saw again some hours later.
What's more say the CAA men hundreds of other people in the area saw the thing too. For the CAA office has been flooded with callers inquiring about the objects ever since.
The airport men, Don Hunt and George Robinson, both agree on general description of the new look saucer. They say it was silvery and ball-like. And Robinson adds it had flashing lights something like an airliner's fog lights.
They're both sure it couldn't have been an airliner because [Illegible] was flying through Yakima at the time. And they say it couldn't have been a weather balloon because it was going against the wind.
"Whatever [Illegible] Hunt [Illegible] a complete mystery to me," and he adds "I make my living looking at the sky, but I've never seen anything like this."
Students of unexplained sky phenomena meanwhile will probably be interested [Illegible] ...
Yuma, Arizona Daily Sun - 26 Jul 48
Flying Saucers Reappear; One Theory Is They're Space Ships For Another Planet
YAKIMA, Wash, July 26 (UP) Hundreds of persons claimed today that they saw a silvery moon- shaped object streak through the skies over Washington State yesterday.
Two employes of the Civil Aeronautics Administration were among those who claim to have sighted the object.
About the time the object was being reported over Yakima, William B. Appike of Portland, Ore., said he saw something "big, round and bright" moving west over Portland. He said it "suddenly veered southwest in an awful hurry."
Airport Traffic Controller Don Hunt and Aircraft Communicator George Robinson said they saw a silvery disc-like object flying west of here about 2 p.m. and attain at 1:20 p.m.
"At first I thought it was the planet Venus, but after checking I knew that the planet couldn't be seen here at this time of year," Hunt said.
Robinson said the object looked as if it had "flashing lights, something like an airplane's fog lights."
They said no airliners were flying in the Yakima area at the time, however.
Some officials believed the object was a Navy target balloon which broke away from its moorings where it was being used to advertise a war surplus store. The balloon was last seen headed in a westerly direction -- possibly toward the airfield.
The object was first sighted by Victom [sic] Kroum, a farmer from Punkin Center, Wash., at 10:14 a.m. He told State police about it.
Hundreds Saw It
Hundreds of other person is Yakima and surrounding counties began calling the CAA to report they had seen the disc.
"They know just as much about it as we do," the CAA said.
The object reported here and at Portland was the second apparition sighted in U.S. skies this weekend.
In Atlanta, two Eastern Airline pilots insisted that they saw a flame-shooting "space ship" near Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday.
Capt. G.S. Chiles of Atlanta and Co-Pilot John Whitted of Hapeville, Ga. armed themselves with still and movie cameras for future flights to prove that the object they saw was "man-made" and not a figment of their imaginations.
They said they passed the ship within 750 feet and got about a 15-second glimpse of it. They described it as a wingless affair, four times the circumference of a B-29 fuselage and jet propelled. It had two rows of windows which appeared to be lighted from the inside.
* * * * *
LOS Angeles, July 26 (U.P.) An expert in mysterious occurrences said today that the strange aircraft reported over Alabama Saturday by two airline pilots may have been a space ship from another planet.
R. Dewitt Miller, author of the book, "Forgotten Mysteries," expressed doubt that the flying "thing" was an army project.
"It doesn't seem reasonable that the Army would allow top-drawer secret weapons to wander over the country fouling up commercial airline routes," said Miller.
"Out scientists inform us that we may soon build space rockets so why wouldn't being on some other world beat us to it.
"The things in the sky may be from other dimensions of time and space. This seems fantastic, but science has recently discovered startling facts about the possibility of unknown dimensions."
The airline pilots had ample opportunity for observation, Miller said.
"Anyone who honestly studies the evidence for flying saucer reports must find a hard core of facts which cannot be explained away by blaming the things on weather balloons, meteorites or bad whiskey, said Miller.
Atlanta, Georgia Constitution - 26 Jul 48
Atlanta Pilots Report Wingless Sky Monster
Two Atlanta pilots of the Eastern Air Lines have baffled the nation with a bizarre story of a huge, wingless, flame-shooting, double-decked aircraft they said flashed past their DC-3 airline at 2:45 a.m., yesterday morning about 20 miles southwest of Montgomery, Ala.
The two fliers, Capt. Clarence Shipe Chiles and his co-pilot, John B. Whitted are puzzled themselves at what they saw 5,000 feet over Alabama.
"If you look at one of those fantastic Flash Gordon rocket ships in the funny papers, you've got a picture of what we saw," said Whitted.
Nearly four times larger than a B-29, it resembled a B-29 fuselage with the wings off, Chiles said, and flames were shooting out of the tail 35 to 40 feet.
Traveling at a speed they estimated at between 500 and 700 miles an hour, the mysterious aircraft was brilliantly lighted with two decks of windows. Underneath, they said there was a sort of blue fluorescent glow.
Flying a northeasterly course on a scheduled flight from Houston, Texas, via New Orleans, to Atlanta, the two pilots saw the strange object whiz past them in a southwesterly direction, toward Mobile and New Orleans.
DESCRIBE MYSTERIOUS "PLANE" -- Co-Pilot John b. Whitted (left) and Pilot Clarence Shipe Chiles, of an Eastern air Lines DC-3, tell Lockwood Doty, WCON News Director, how they saw a huge, strange, jet-propelled double-decker, wingless aircraft whiz past them early yesterday morning near Montgomery, Ala.
Both pilots, who served as Army fliers during the war; said they had never seen anything before that even faintly resembled the mystery craft, and they had no idea what it could have been.
Neither Army nor CAA officials could throw any light on the mystery, and an Air Force spokesman at Washington said that "obviously" this country has no plane resembling a double-decked, jet-propelled, wingless transport shooting a 40-foot flame out of its back end.
The pilots said there were 20 passengers aboard their plane, but all were asleep except one man, C.L. McKelvie, of 85 Hanelton [sic, should be Hamilton] Pike, Columbus, Ohio. McKelvie, said Chiles, told the pilots that he also saw the mystery aircraft.
"It was a moonlit night with some clouds," Chiles said, "and we were flying along on the regular airway, when we saw ahead and slightly above and to our right what appeared to be a tremendous jet of flame.
"We asked each other, 'what in the world is this?'
"It flashed down and we veered to the left, and passed us about 700 feet to our right and about 700 feet above us.
"Then, as if the pilot had seen us and wanted to avoid us, it pulled up with a tremendous burst of flame out of its rear and and [sic] zoomed up into the clouds. Its prop-wash or jet-wash rocked our DC-3."
The pilots said they saw two rows of square windows on the craft, and Whitted said he counted six windows, but could see no occupants because the ship was going too fast.
"It was a man-made thing all right," they said.
The light of the plane and its jet flames was so bright it almost gave them "lightning blindness," they said, and they had to turn up their instrument panel lights in their cockpit.
"After it passed us," Chiles said, [sic, no beginning quote mark] we must have sat their [sic] for five minutes without saying a word, we were so speechless."
They reported by radio what they had seen and their message went to Maxwell field at Montgomery, and to Lawson field at Fort Benning, and to CAA offices, the pilots said. They told about it again when they landed at Atlanta, they said, but everyone was incredulous.
Chiles and Whitted both said they were certain it was not a meteor or comet, because they had seen them before in the air.
"As a B-29 bomber pilot during the war, I saw some strange things over Japan," Whitted said, "but I never saw anything like that."
The United Press reported "no comment" from Maxwell Field authorities and from Capt. Eddie Rickenbacker, Eastern Air Lines president, at Jacksonville, Fla.
Air Force spokesmen at Washington suggested a possibility that the strange craft might have been a civilian version of the Boeing C-04 transport, reportedly undergoing tests now somewhere in the [Illegible].
One air Force officer said "this plane has its wings connected far back on the fuselage and this might confuse an observer into thinking it was wingless. the C-04 is propelled by convention engines."
Indianapolis, Indiana Star - 26 Jul 48
Pilots Hope To Meet 'Air Monster' Again
Atlanta, Ga., July 25 (UP) -- Two Eastern Air Line pilots who reported seeing a huge flame-shooting Buck Rogers sky monster near Montgomery, Ala., yesterday maintained stoutly today that what they saw was a "manmade gadget."
They said they will be flying the same route again this week and this time they'll be armed with still and movie cameras in case the giant craft turns up again.
Capt. C.S. Chiles of Atlanta and Co-Pilot John Whitted of Hapeville, Ga., claimed they saw the huge ship, a wingless affair four times the circumference of a B-29 fuselage, during a routine EAL flight from Houston, Tex., early yesterday morning.
TODAY THEY REFUSED to let skeptics shake their story. They denied suggestions that it might have been a meteor or comet, or an army radar observation balloon.
Whitted, an Air Force pilot during the war with the rank of first lieutenant, said he had worked with radar equipment overseas and the idea that the monster was a balloon was "fantastic."
Chiles agreed. He was an Air Force lieutenant colonel during the war, he said, and declared that "it was definitely not a balloon."
Chiles also was sure that It was not a meteor or comet. "It was a man-made gadget," he said, "and it was definitely jet-propelled." The clearest thing he saw, Chiles said, were two rows of windows, each about the size of "house-windows."
"THE WINDOWS were all lighted up from inside," he said, "either by e1ectricity or possibly by jet fuel burning inside. That's why they were so easy to see."
"You could see right through the windows and out the other side," Chiles said. Neither pilot reported any sign of life aboard the "monster."
Both agreed that they passed the ship within 750 feet and that they got about a 15-second glimpse of it.
CHILES SAID he had a camera along when they spotted the monster Saturday but that it was back in the ship and they couldn't get to it in time.
Only one of the plane's passengers aboard was awake at the time and he saw a "continuous light" at the time the pilots reportedly saw the craft.
He was C.L. McKelvie of Columbus, O. Chiles said he learned later that McKelvie also had a camera, on a strap around his neck, but he didn't have time to use it.
Yuma, Arizona Daily Sun - 26 Jul 48
Co-pilot J.B. Whitted (left) and Capt. Clarence Childs [sic, should be Chiles], aces of Eastern Airlines, talk over their experience, insisting that they saw a "huge plane, larger than a B-29, spouting a fifty-foot streak of fire from its tail section." Both saw this "phantom ship" while flying near Mobile, Ala. Authorities at government fields in this area said the story was fantastic.
Atlanta, Georgia Journal - 26 Jul 48
Flying Floor Lamp?
Everybody Seeing Speedy Sky Bogey
By CHARLES POU
Is that Thing no more than a wayward floor lamp?
Mrs. Noah Atkinson, of Brookhaven, saw it. And did that Thing look like?
"A great big floor lamp, all lit up. Oh, it was beautiful!"
And C.M. Bowles, an Exposition Mills painter who lives near the Municipal airport, Sunday night saw a "huge, brilliantly lighted object" streaking over Atlanta skies at maybe 30,000 feet. Mr. Bowles thinks the Thing was straight from Moscow.
Two Eastern Air Lines pilots first were startled by the newest astronomical "what-is-it" near Montgomery early Saturday. To them, it was "a wingless craft, spurting flame like a Buck Rogers rocket ship." Elsewhere, all over the country, that Thing was variously identified as:
What It Looked Like
1. An aluminum covered balloon.
2. An unusually bright light.
3. A ball of fire.
4. A red and blue flame that burst in mid-air.
5. A flash of cherry red fire.
6. A meteor.
Mrs. Atkinson kept her Flying Floorlamp secret three weeks. but she knew she wasn't seeing things when she saw the Thing.
She and her husband, who also saw it, kept mum. The story really sounded a little silly until the two Eastern pilots saw their Thing gamboling and fire-breathing through air-line skies early Saturday morning.
Pretty and Fast
After that, she decided her tale could be told:
"My husband and I were sitting on our front porch the night of July 5, and at a quarter to 9 o'clock we saw this Thing. Our front porch doesn't have a screen, and we were sitting near the edge where we could see good.
"I saw it first. It was not high up -- about 200 feet, I guess, but it looked like it was right above the treetops. 'Looka there', I said to my husband, and he saw it too.
"It looked like the top part of a floor lamp, and it was the prettiest thing I ever saw. It came and passed so quick -- I guess it must have been 500 miles an hour or faster."
And how about the two air-line pilots, C.S. Chiles and John B. Whitted, of Atlanta?
Well, the took off today, armed with a camera. And they hope to bring back a picture of that Thing.
Indianapolis, Indiana Star - 26 Jul 48
Sky Monster Spotted Near Indianapolis
An Indianapolis mother, daughter and son said yesterday they, too, had seen the flame-spurting wingless sky monster reported Saturday by two Eastern Airlines pilots.
Miss Janet Sayer, 15 years old, 1850 North Bosart Avenue, said she saw the strange aircraft twice Thursday night. She said it was far away, to the East.
The craft glided through the sky for a time, then shot out fire from two places on its body, the girl said. It made no sound, she said.
Miss Sayer said she called to her mother, Mrs. Thomas L. Sayer, who watched the mystery ship with her. Finally, she said, the craft shot out two long streams of flame end disappeared.
JOHNNY SAYER and a companion, Sonny Newhouse, also said they saw the strange craft independently as they walked home from an East 10th Street movie house.
The two Eastern Airline pilots -- Capt. Clarence Shire [sic, should be Shipe] Chiles and Co-Pilot John B. Whited -- told Saturday in Atlanta, Ga., how they saw the wingless, flame-driven craft while flying at 5,000 feet 20 miles southwest of Montgomery, Ala. They said the brightly lighted sky monster appeared out of a cloud, then spurted its red flames and darted back into the same cloud.
C.L. McKelvie, Columbus, 0., a passenger on the plane, said he saw no aircraft but noticed the continuous light which disappeared in the cloud.
Cumberland, Maryland News - 26 Jul 48
Mystery Of Huge Flame-Spewing Plane Deepens
Hunter, Housewife Saw Bright Light
ATLANTA, July 25 (AP) -- An Atlanta hunter told today of observing a strange light in the sky early Saturday at about the same time that two eastern [sic, uncapitalized] Airlines pilots reported seeing a wingless mystery plane.
J.V. Morris said that he and a friend, Lindsay Fall, were hunting near Covington, Ga., 30 miles southeast of Atlanta, about 3 a.m. Saturday when they saw "an unusually bright light -- as bright as a lighted room."
Morris said it seemed to be speeding westward and disappeared in a few seconds.
Woman Sees Ball Of Fire
At Indianapolis, Ind., a housewife reported she and her son and daughter saw a similar flame-spurting aircraft Thursday night, more than 24 hours before it was seen here.
The Indianapolis woman, Mrs. Thomas L. Sayer, described it as a ball of fire which shot two jets of flame downward at regular intervals. She said she watched it about three minutes after which it flared up, shot out streamers of flame and disappeared.
Mrs. Sayer said she did not mention the experience to anyone until after she read the EAL pilots' account.
Capt. C.S. Chiles, pilot of an EAL Houston-Atlanta plane, had reported that he and his co-pilot, John B. Whitted, saw a huge, wingless craft flying at a very high speed near Montgomery, Ala., about 2:45 a.m.
The pilots described it as shooting fire from the tail and having a double bank of lighted windows.
Pilots' Story Confirmed In Part
Clarence L. McKelvie of Columbus, O., a passenger on the EAL plane, confirmed the pilots' story in part. He said he saw "a flash of cherry red fire" but that it did not appear to have a definite shape.
Various military and civilian agencies have denied any knowledge of such a plane.
Chiles and Whitted, however, stuck to their story in spite of the skeptics. Preparing to leave on another round trip flight to Houston, Tex., they took along cameras in the hope of getting a chance to film the mystery craft.
Waco, Texas News-Tribune - 26 Jul 48
Camera-Armed Pilot to Invade Lair of Sky Monster Again
ATLANTA, Ga., July 25 -- UP -- Eastern Airline Captain C.S. Chiles, untroubled by skeptics, today planned to go back to the lair of the wingless Buck Rogers sky monster he reported yesterday, this time armed with a movie camera.
Air Force, Coast Guard and civilian air officials and plane manufacturers collectively declared they had never heard of anything like the air leviathan Chiles and Company-pilot John Whitted reported after landing here on a night flight from Houston.
Near Montgomery, Ala., on Saturday morning, the men claimed they saw a giant, wingless airship, propelled by a jet engine shooting a streak of flame 50 feet long. Four times the circumference of a B-29 fuselage, it had a double bank of large, square windows, they declared. A passenger on the EAL ship, C.L. McKelvie of Columbus, Ohio, said he saw a "continuous light."
Tomorrow afternoon Chiles and Whitted take off here on another round trip to Houston. Chiles, an amateur photographer, said he will take along his movie camera. Any Buck Rogers air machine coming near his plane on this trip will be recorded on film.
H-hour will be 2:50 a.m. Tuesday, when the plane passes the spot near Montgomery where the airborne Flying Dutchman flew past Chiles' plane, then zoomed back up into the clouds at a speed estimated between 500 and 700 m.p.h. by the veteran pilot and his co-pilot. Both have seen extensive duty as service and civilian fliers.
Two other EAL crews reportedly saw "streaks of light" like the one reported by passenger McKelvie Saturday morning, but said nothing because the four fliers didn't expect anyone to believe them.
Detroit, Michigan News - 27 Jul 48
While a layman with theories as to flying discs and the like is speaking out of a profound ignorance in such matters, it seems to him that the only reasonable explanation for the wingless flaming object reported by reputable witnesses over Alabama is that an experimental aircraft of some kind is using the sky thereabouts as a test course.
"Flying saucers" sighted in many sections in July, 1947, were dismissed as optical illusions or fragments of meteors, neither of which phenomenon would be likely to have the two decks of square windows plainly discerned on the sides of the Alabama mystery craft by veteran commercial pilots a few hundred feet away.
If the ship is indeed a test model of some new departure in aircraft of immense speed and size, the selection of a trial course which brings it alongside commercial planes on scheduled runs, and over thickly settled communities, is obviously open to question.
The sand wastes of the Southwest seem the site of prudent choice for potentially lethal gadgets, of which the flying cigar at first accounts would appear to be one.
Bridgeport, Connecticut Telegram - 27 Jul 48
Searchlights Cause 'Flying Saucer' Scare
Thousands of people in Fairfield county were seeing spots before their eyes last night, and a new "flying saucer" scare was in the making, until it was discovered that a Mardi Gras in Westport was operating two giant searchlights.
The switchboards at the Post and Telegram, Police headquarters and the Municipal airport were jammed with calls, as people from Norwalk to Ridgefield reported seeing two faint white circles moving in a circle in the western sky.
Camden, Arkansas News - 1 Aug 48
Fairview Group Sees "Saucers"
A group of Fairview children and the wife of the Methodist pastor of the Fairview Methodist Church Monday morning reported seeing a "flying saucer" out over Fairview. Joe Hale, student at Fairview high school, reported the incident.
"We saw the saucer at 9 a.m. and it seemed to drop from an airplane that was flying over Fairview," Joe reported.
The youth said the plane disappeared after it presumably had dropped a silver colored disc that floated downward.
Others who saw the plane and saucer were Mrs. M.E. Scott, wife of the Methodist pastor: Mary Sue Scott, Beth Scott and Mike Scott Tracy.
Aviation enthusiasts said they belive [sic] this was some form of advertising scheme.
Mason City, Iowa Globe-Gazette - 2 Aug 48
You Can Blame the Heat
I guess it was inevitable that before the summer's heat was ended there would be a sequel to the flying saucers of a year ago.
This time it was a strange, wingless plane shooting red flame "like a Buck Rogers rocket ship." Both the pilot and co-pilot on an Eastern airways plane flying the Houston-Atlanta-Boston run say they saw it -- and they're sticking to their story.
It's their claim that the mystery ship was almost in their line of flight, that it appeared to have a fuselage about 100 feet in length, and was streaking toward New Orleans when first sighted at a speed estimated at between 500 and 700 miles per hour.
The army air force and the CAA are interested, but skeptical. The fact that both Eastern Airline pilots were combat flyers during the war lends some credence to their strange report, yet skeptics have already discounted this mystery as another "flying saucer" hallucination.
Strange things seem to be skimming the skies every summer. The same day that this apparition appeared in Alabama 2 veterans of the civil aeronautics administration at Yakima, Wash., reported they sighted a "silvery, moon-shaped object" floating through the air over the city. It was too big for a repeat "flying saucer" scare and was seemingly flashing lights as it moved out of range.
Just why summer should produce an epidemic of these phenomena no one knows. Once a mystery plane is reported in one sector, a rash of reports crops out.
Until one of these Buck Rogers specials is actually photographed and tracked down, they probably will be discounted as heat waves from the silly season.
Lubbock, Texas Morning Avalanche - 3 Aug 48
Objects Seen Over Illinois, Indiana
CHICAGO, Aug. 2 (INS) -- Balls of fire and floating objects have reappeared over Indiana and Illinois.
Indianapolis residents are mystified by a large ball of fire which reportedly circled the city late last night, dripping sparks.
Observers agreed it came out of the east, moved slowly south, turned west, then north. Alternately it glowed brightly, then dimmed. Once it disappeared behind a cloud. The spectators said it was over the city for a half-hour.
A Trans-World airline pilot flew his St. Louis-bound plane off course in an effort to spot the fiery ball. However, he reported he could find nothing unusual.
The "strange, floating object" was sighted by Morgan county residents in Illinois. They said it wasn't a flying saucer, a wingless plane or a spinning disc, just an object that hovered over the area for several hours.
Police believed it was a "weather balloon."
Madison, Wisconsin State Journal - 5 Aug 48
Deflating the current "flying saucer" boom, physicists at Princeton university, Princeton, N.J., declare the neutron balloons, above, are the flowing white objects which fliers reported seeing drifting through space. The balloons, with a lead balloon on top and radio transmitter carried in the gondola below, are used to check on the intensity of neutrons on the earth from 63,000 feet.
New York, New York Times - 27 Jul 48
One Weird sky 'What's It' Plucked From 'Flying Saucers' Mythology
Princeton Identifies Visitation Over Jersey Shore as Nine Clusters of Balloons Used in Navy Neutron Research
by MEYER BERGER
Of the weird things that streaked, flared, turned, floated and tumbled in Eastern seaboard skies over the week-end and yesterday, one has been identified and removed from "flying" saucer" mythology.
It was a chain of nine clusters of balloons, three to a cluster and each balloon measuring twelve feet in diameter. It measured 350 feet from the topmost cluster to a gondola slung from the bottom formation.
In the gondola were ultra-sensitive scientific gadgets wired to a small radio transmitter to send back to earth measurements of the intensity of neutrons high in the earth's atmosphere.
But no one along the New Jersey shore knew this when the formation soared, a glowing pearl string, into sight at about 10,000 feet over Asbury Park around 9:30 A.M. yesterday. Bathers craned in awe.
Two daring Army plane crews zoomed from Red Bank Airport to intercept the "saucers." M/Sgt. E. G. Walters of Oxford, Pa., said when he came down an. hour later: "When I got to 11,000 feet, the thing was as high above me as when I was on the ground."
He, and T/Sgt. John Bostick of Fort Worth, Tex., who flew the other Army ship, had to give up their altitudinous quest. Their craft could not begin to reach where the pearl chain was headed.
Beaches and streets of shore towns hummed with superstitious blabber and ominous guesses at the "saucers' true identity. The range of ideas on the subject was astonishing.
Most speculation linked the great pearl chain of balloons -- though no one at earth level knew they were balloons -- with the "balls of fire," "the Buck Rogers rocket ship" and "the aluminum balloons" reported sighted over the week-end above Alabama, North Georgia, Indianapolis, Ind., and over Yakima, Wash.
Asbury Park's phenomenon was explained within two hours after it startled bathers. The Department of Physics at Princeton University disclosed that it is working with the Navy in neutron research and that the balloons were part of their experiments.
The chain of giant pearls that awed and baffled those who saw it, had been released from the Princeton campus at 8:15 A.M. into a clear sky. Asbury Park and Red Bank saw it vanish at about 20,000 feet, moving to the northeast.
The Princeton and Navy savants last heard from their balloon-borne radio transmitter about noon. They figure that the chain was then about 160 miles at sea and that it was dipping below the horizon where they could no longer hear it. They believed it might vanish in the sea within a matter of minutes. They also figured that at the top point of its flight it reached 63,000 feet.
The Naval Air Station at Lakehurst, N.J., got a lot of fluttery telephone calls about the "saucer" but readily identified it, from description, as a flying radiosonde that transmits weather data.
The fiery-tailed phenomena sighted in Yakima and over the Southern states may turn out to be rocket-borne radio transmitters that send stratospheric information from as high as seventy-one miles.
In Washington yesterday the Navy announced it had been testing such a device at White Sands, N.M. It is called the "Aerobee" and attains a top speed of 2,830 miles an hour.. The transmitter operates on FM on six basic radio channels and sends twenty-four different stratospheric measurements.
The Aerobee, the Navy said, is a "telemetering instrument., susceptible, even at almost 3,000 miles an hour, to changes in pressure, speed, heat, light -- all of which it transmutes into radio sound waves.
It registers such data, according to The Associated Press, as cosmic ray intensity, quality of sunlight above the earth's atmosphere, strength of the earth's magnetic field, motor performance and flight characteristics.
Ames, Iowa Daily Tribune - 12 August 48
As "space trip" begins in Griffith Observatory, Los Angeles, the projected moon appeared normal size over complicated planetarium.
Half-way to the moon, the image thrown by the projector has gradually enlarged to the illusion that the audience is traveling.
At climax of imaginary lunar voyage, the moon's image is nearly 12 feet in diameter, dwarfing planetarium instrument that projects stars to the dome of the observatory theater.
Pictures and Text
LOS ANGELES -- (NEA) -- Leaving at 8:30 p.m. from Griffith Observatory -- the trip to the Moon . . .
BY RAY MARONEY
NEA Staff Correspondent
The 500 passengers, whose imagination is their baggage, settle down in armchair seats, and night falls inside the Hollywood hilltop planetarium. In the clear evening sky, a full moon suddenly appears.
The spaceship (which also is imaginary) is in the air. The moon grows bigger and bigger, and in their armchairs the passengers have a feeling they are being lifted high into the sky.
All summer long, Dr. Dinsmore Alter, director of the observatory, has been taking passengers on this lunar voyage for a preview of space travel that science thinks is a future possibility.
The moon, in this case, comes from an elaborate projector developed in the observatory shops that increases the moon in size and brilliance as the armchair trip progresses, producing "a rather exciting spectacle of what many may observe within a generation," the observatory points out.
To pass the time during the first imaginary hours of travel, Dr. Alter describes how early lunar voyagers may travel, say in 1975. It will not be a streamlined space ship of today's comic strips, he points out, but more like a balloon, since there is no friction in the space beyond atmosphere.
A spherical shape is chosen because a sphere holds the maximum capacity for a given outside area. More important, without counter-balancing air pressure in space, the 10-ton per square-foot pressure required on the inside of the ship for normal earthside existence tends to form the ship in the shape of a sphere just as in the case of a balloon. If seen from the ground, such a ship would appear very much like a "Flying Saucer."
Dr. Dinsmore Alter: "An exciting spectacle of what men may observe within a generation."
Because "atomic fission is too tamed or not tamed enough," says Dr. Alter, ordinary chemical rockets will probably be used on the first ships to span the 238,000 miles that separate the earth and the moon. Rocket fuel would he contained in radial fins on the outside of the ship.
To control the extreme of hot and cold caused by the complete absence of heat in space and the tremendous heat developed inside the ship by the sun's rays one-half the ship will be painted the blackest black and the other half the whitest white. Small jets located on the ship's hull will rotate it so that the sun's rays will be reflected from the white surface when conditions inside the ship become too warm or toward the black surface when it is necessary to ab sorb the sun's rays for heating.
By now the observatory's imaginary space ship is within 5,000 miles of the moon. The moon image on the dome of the planetarium is nearly 12 feet in diameter. No longer do the "space travelers" see what appears to be the "Man in the Moon"; actual craters and mountains loom on its surface.
At this point the imaginary space ship is turned in its course for a moment, and headed back toward earth so the passengers may look at their homes from this great height.
Using the same instrument which produces the moon, an image of the earth is projected on the dome; continents and oceans are discernible through the atmosphere which surrounds the earth. Then the moon image returns, and the space ship resumes its journey.
When moon travel becomes a reality, Dr. Alter explains, it is believed the big space ship in which the long part or the journey will be made will remain outside the earth's atmosphere to revolve around the earth like a satellite.
The great amount of power required to move the big space ship frequently from the surface of the earth to the outer atmosphere would make such trips impractical. Once outside the earth's atmosphere, however, the ship could continue to travel indefinitely as a satellite without the expenditure of energy.
Your trip to the moon at this future date, then, will be made in three separate ships. A pilot ship will be employed to transport passengers from the surface of the earth to the satellite "master" ship outside the earth's atmosphere. Once passengers are aboard the "master" ship, rocket power will be applied and the ship will take a spiral movement outward.
Continuing on this orbit the ship is either overtaken or overtakes the moon. Once the moon is approached the big ship again assumes its position as a satellite this time around the moon. "Daughter ships" will complete the trip by transporting passengers from the big space ship riding its orbit to the surface of the moon.
Long before travel of this nature is accomplished, however, contact with the moon will be established with unmanned guided rockets fired directly. Some time later, manned space ships will be made to photograph and study the surface of the moon before the first actual landing attempted, Dr. Alter believes
The Navy is already predicting it will have unmanned rockets on the moon within a year. Any pre- diction when manned ships will approach the moon depends upon the results of these early rocket attempts.
Now the imaginary travelers are approaching within a few hundred miles of the surface of the moon. The moon image on the observatory dome is nearly one-third the size of the big planetarium. Detail of the mountains and craters are clearly visible. Obviously life on the moon would impose entirely new and different problems to an earth-born human, Dr. Alter tells his audience. Lack of oxygen and higher-than-earth temperatures are but two of the obstacles to be overcome before man can exist on the planet.
Scientific research holds one of the greatest possibilities. Telescopes unhindered by the earth's comparatively heavy atmosphere could be used to observe many times more clearly the other planets of our universe. It is believed by many that the first to conquer the moon will have in their grasp the means to conquer our earth.
The 500 passengers grip their chairs as their imaginary space ship comes within a few miles of the moon's surface. But no landing is attempted. Dr. Alter flips a switch; the moon disappears and the earth appears in the night sky, far away.
Then, as the moon did on the outward journey, earth grows bigger and bigger. What would have taken days has been condensed into half an hour in the observatory. When the lights go on and bleach the planetarium sky, the armchair voyage to the moon is over.
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