On October 26, 1954 Brazilian Air Force (F.A.B.) recognized the popularly-termed flying saucers as real; that they are circular objects resembling no familiar aeroform, silvery in color at daylight, which are capable of speeds and maneuvers far beyond any known aircraft; they are not to be confounded with know celestial bodies, or meteorological balloons. This startling official statement was released to the press by Air Force Command at Gravatai Air Force Base, in Rio Grande do Sul, 5th Air Zone. It was the first Air Force admission that the saucers existed. It read as follows!
“On October 24, 1954, between 1:00 pm and 3:00 pm strange objects were observed over the base. It was impossible to measure their altitude and speed with accuracy. However, it is reasonable to say the bodies' speed and altitude were far beyond anything known to the Base. General shape of the objects appeared to be circular and they looked to be silvery-dull in color. Considering their altitude, erratic course and reversion to former places or positions in space, it is impossible to confound them with known celestial bodies. At the time of the sighting no meteorological balloons were in the air over the region.
The sighting was witnessed by a number of Air Force military personnel: officers, sargents (sic) and soldiers. And also by civilians. The Base reported the sighting to the Air Force General Command and asked for an investigation. We request on the part of the civilian population to report to this command all information on similar sightings. Reports will include, in sofar (sic) as possible, careful description of the object(s), time of sighting, manner of observation, location of observer, location of object(s) with respect to observer and identifying information of observer(s) and witness(s). If possible, personal contact with the base is desirable.”
Colonel Hardman, the Base Commander in Chief, prohibited the unauthorized transmission or revelation to the press of any information about the sighting, not released in this official report, but promised a full release of all evidence pertaining to the sighting by Headquarters F.A.B., after examination and analysis of the reports by Air Force experts.
The promise was fulfilled a few weeks later. On November 16, 1954, in a press conference, Brigadier Gervasio Duncan — Commander, Air Defence Command, Aeronautics Headquarters, Rio de Janeiro — released for publication purposes, summaries from five of sixteen reports selected by the Air Force from the original reports on sightings over Rio Grande do Sul, in October. Only two of the summaries were concerned to the Air Base case. All sightings reported came from veteran pilots and officers of excellent reputation. Brigadier Duncan refused to answer any questions on the subject and made no comment or speculation about the origin of the strange craft. He stated: “You have the facts...It would have been hard to find a group of better qualified and reliable observers... It is impossible to explain away the sightings...The objects are real, but we can't say positively what they are...We have no conclusion...”
It is interesting to know how the public took the news when the Air
Force reports hit the headlines all around the country. After the
initial impact, most of the people took the thing very lightly. The
majority refused either to believe, or if they believed, to take
the matter seriously. This was inevitable in view of the suprising
of the mystery and the opposition the subject met with on the part of orthodox Science and Religion. No saucer-scare, no mass-hysteria or collective panic was burst among the population.
Quite different was the reaction among high staff officers from the Air Force and Navy, authorities, scientists and technicians. The Air Force was puzzled, and some officials were worried about the increasing number of unexplained sightings. Then, it was revealed a secret investigation on the subject had been started since 1952. Colonel João Adil de Oliveira, Chief of Air Force Intelligence was in charge of this research.
On December 2, 1954 came the last and most important development on this matter. A conference was performed at the Army Technical School, patronized by A.D.E.S.G. (Superior Army School Graduates Association), a very responsible entity. The selected audience included important military personnel and civilian authorities. The subject to be discussed was entitled: “Flying Saucers.” Colonel Adil de Oliveira was in charge. He made a careful evaluation of all information and evidence collected through the world since 1947. He analysed Project Blue Book and studied seven outstanding cases from the projects files. He discussed the best Brazilian sightings and concluded making the following statements:
“1. Evidence shows that the saucers are real. No government could afford to ignore the reports about UFO's and all investigations should be made to determine the identity of any UFO sighted over the country. The problem could be of military interest.”
“2. The saucers appear to be some kind of revolutionary aircraft. They are not conventional phenomenon or illusions. There are too many responsible people involved to say that the whole thing was an hallucination.”
“3. We don't know where they come from, and we don't know the purpose of their survey. I hope some day we can solve the riddle and know the answers.”
Colonel Adil de Oliveira finished his statement and walked back to the first row of the spectator section. The room was quiet. The audience stood motionless, some faces worried, some confused or perplexed, a few bewildered, none of them absentminded. Then an analysis of the best sightings was started and, at the witness chair, three observers reported what they had seen. They were: Lieutenant Hernani Ferraz de Almeida, jet pilot; Major-Aviator João Magalhaes Mota; and Mr. Thelmo Braga, civilian.
Finally, closing the conference, Brigidier (sic) Guedes Muniz, said a few words: “We, military technicians and aeronautic engineers, have not tried in the past to discuss the technological and scientific probability of these space vagabonds. And we are not trying to discuss it now, because we remember an old story, very good to be recalled here:
“Years ago, the best aeronautic engineers in the world assembled together to study the horn-beetle flight. They analysed the horn-beetle, its aerodynamic shape entirely wrong, its flight surface tremendously deficient, its heaviness and its incredible power. After a great deal of reasoning and scientific experimentation, they had made certain that the horn-beetle could not fly. But the horn-beetle, knowing nothing of this, is still flying.”
I don't feel qualified for the purpose of making comparisons between the Brazilian Air Force statements and those made recently in the U.S. Air Force Special Report No 14 of Project Blue Book. I do not intend to discuss whether those statements are true or false. Anyway, I would like to emphasize the courage and bravery revealed in the reports released by the Brazilian Air Force. For the first time in this world a military organization recognized officially the existence of strange aircraft in our skies, dismissing, categorically the possibility that the objects could have been explained as conventional aircraft, balloons, meteors, natural phenomenon or hallucinations.
Maybe the saucer fans are not satisfied with this. Maybe they would like to see a more final conclusion, to hear that they are machines from outer space. But how could a high official authority make such a statement, if he doesn't know all the answers? The reports only prove that the saucers do exist. No more. Of course we have here a partial conclusion. But maybe a very important one, the first step to solve the mystery.