"Saucer" outran jet, pilot
Investigation on in secret after chase over capital
Radar spot blips like aircraft for nearly six hours - only 1.700 feet up
Military secrecy veils an investigation of the mysterious, glowing
aerial objects that showed up on radar screens in the Washington area
Saturday night for the second consecutive week. A jet pilot sent up by
the Air Defense Command to investigate the objects reported he was
unable to overtake the glowing lights moving near Andrews Air Force
The CAA reported reported the objects traveled at "predominantly
lower levels"-about 1700 feet. July 19. Air Force spokesmen said
yesterday only that an investigation was being made into the sighting of
the objects on the radar screen in the CAA Air Route Traffic Control
Center at Washington National Airport, and on two other radar screens.
Methods of the investigations were classified as secret, a spoken said.
"We have no evidence
they are flying saucers; conversely we have no evidence they are not
flying saucers. We don't know what they are," a spokesman added.
The same source reported an
expert from the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson
Air Force Base, Dayton Ohio, was here last week investigating the
objects sighted July 19.
The expert has been identified as Capt. E. J. Ruppelt. Reached by
telephone at his home in Dayton yesterday, Ruppelt said he could make no
comment on his activity in Washington. Capt. Ruppelt confirmed he
was in Washington last week but said he had not come here to investigate
the mysterious objects. He recalled he did make an investigation after
hearing of the objects, but could not say what he investigated.
Another Air Force spokesman said here yesterday the Air Force is taking
all steps necessary to evaluate the sightings.
people," this spokesman explained, "sent someone over to the control
center at the time of the sightings and did whatever necessary to
make the proper evaluation. Asked whether the radar equipment might
have been mis-functioning, the spokesman said, "radar, like the
compass is not a perfect instrument and is subject to error."
He thought, however, the
investigation would be made by persons acquainted with the problems of
Two other radar screens in the area picked up the objects. An employee
of the National Airport control tower said the radar scope there picked
up very weak "blips" of the objects. The tower radar's for "short range"
and is not so powerful as that at the center. Radar at Andrews Air Force
Base also registered the objects from about seven miles south of the
A traffic control center spokesman said the nature of the signals
on the radar screen ruled out any possibility they were from clouds or
any other "weather" disturbance.
"The returns we received
from the unidentified objects were similar and analagous to targets
representing aircraft in flight," he said.
"flying saucer or what
have you, appeared on the radar scope at the airport center at 9:08
PM. Varying from 4 to 12 in number, the objects appeared on the
screen until 3:00 AM., when they disappeared. At 11:25 PM., two F-94
jet fighters fro Air Defense Command squadron, at New Castle
Delaware, capable of 600 hundred mph speeds, took off to investigate
the objects. Airline, civil and military pilots described the
objects as looking like the lit end of a cigarette or a cluster of
orange and red lights.
One jet pilot observed 4
lights in the vicinity of Andrews Air Force Base, but was not able to
over-take them, and they disappeared in about two minutes. The same
pilot observed a steady white light in the vicinity of Mt Vernon at
11:49 PM. The light, about 5 miles from him, faded in a minute.
lights were also observed in the Beltsville, MD., vicinity. At 1:40 AM
two-other F-94 jet fighters took off and scanned the area until 2:20
AM., but did not make any sightings.
Visible two days
Although "unidentified objects" have been picked up on radar before, the
incidents of the last two saturdays are believed to be the first time
the objects have been picked up on radar-while visible to the human eye.
Besides the pilots, who last
Saturday saw the lights, a woman living on
Mississippi Ave., told the Post she saw a very,
"bright light streaking
across the sky towards Andrews Air Force Base about 11:45 PM. Then a
second object with a tail like a comet whizzed by, and a few seconds
later, a third passed in a different direction toward Suntland, she
Radar operators plotted the
speed of "Saturday night's visitors" at from 38 to 90 mph, but one jet
pilot reported faster speeds for the light he saw.
The jet pilot
reported he had no apparent "closing speed" when he attempted to reach
the lights he saw near Andrews Air Force Base. That means the lights
were moving at least as fast as his top speed-a maximum of 600 mph. One
person who saw the lights when they first appeared in this area did not
see them last night. He is E.W. Chambers, an engineer at Radio Station WRC, who spotted the lights while working early the morning of July 20
at station's Hyattsville tower.
Chamber's said he was sorry he had seen the lights because he had been
skeptical about "flying saucers" before. Now he said, he sort of
"wonders" and worries about the whole thing.
Leon Davidson, 804
South Irving St. Arlington, a chemical engineer who made an exhaustive
study of "flying saucers" as a hobby, said yesterday reports of saucers
in the East, have been relatively rare.
Davidson has studied the
official report on the saucers, including some of the secret portions
never made public, and analyzed all the data in the report.
Davidson, whose study of saucers is impressively detailed and
scientific, said he believes the lights are American "aviation
products"-probably "circular flying wings," using new type jet engines
that permit rapid acceleration and relatively low speeds. He believes,
they are either "new fighter," guided missiles, or piloted guided
missiles. He cited some of the recent jet fighters, including the Navy's
new " F-4-D, which has a radical "bat-wing," as examples of what the
objects might resemble. Davidson thinks the fact that the lights have
been seen in this area indicates the authorities may be ready to
disclose the "new aircraft" in the near future.
Previously, most of the
"verified saucers" have been seen over sparsely inhabited areas,
Davidson explained, and now, when they appear here, it may indicate
that "secrecy" is not so important any more.