Independent Aerial Phenomena Research (IAPR) Phillip Robertson's
Brief Review of Radar Cases Submitted by the Air Intelligence
Liaison Office ATILO) of the Far East Air Force for the Early 1952
Korean Radar/Visual UFO Incidents Reported by US Navy Ships

By Jan L. Aldrich

Phillip Robertson observed in Issue number 3 of Independent Aerial Phenomena Research (IAPR):

"In 1976, the Air Force files on UFOs were made available to independent researchers and are now obtainable on microfilm to all interested individuals.  Do these files reveal any startling conclusions or proof of visitation or invasion by extraterrestrials?"

"They do not!

"What the Air Force files on UFOs do reveal with all-too convincing clarity is superficiality and confusion on the part of those associated with the official investigations.  The most elementary questions were often overlooked by Air Force investigators in their ostensible attempts to clarify details of sightings.  The most basic items of supplementary information — e. g. balloon tracks, aircraft flight routes — were routinely omitted from investigatory reports.  Even at the height of the Air Force's interest in the phenomenon, during the wave of UFO reports that flooded air bases in the summer of 1952, investigations of sightings seldom rose above amateur level."

A strong indictment indeed and one shared by late Dr. James McDonald who carefully examined many reports in the Project Blue Book files.

Robertson reviewed UFO cases involving radar for the first six months of 1952.  Below we have extracted those FEAF cases which were covered in Air Technical Intelligence Liaison Office Intelligence Report 29-52.  Robertson states in his introduction: "It is quite possible that many of these unexplained cases would be resolved with the addition of supplementary information, but it is manifestly obvious that the assumption that ALL such cases would or could be resolved is pure hypothesis."

Robertson's observations on the radar contacts of the USS Philippine Sea are dealt with in a separate appendix.

Page #
1 520202 1935 off E. Coast of Korea UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED
2 520202 1030 off E. Coast of Korea UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED
2 520202 1040 off E. Coast of Korea UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED
24 520216 1440 NE of Pohang, Korea UNIDENTIFIED UNIDENTIFIED
24 520216 1550 NE of Pohang, Korea AIRCRAFT UNIDENTIFIED

(*The summary of the April 18, 1952, Japan case is missing from IR 29-52, but is listed in the final review of such cases.  The April 25, 1952, North Korean case was used in IR 29-52, but is listed here as a FEAF case which Robertson considered.)

Robertson observes that both Feb. 16, 1952, Northeast of Pohang radar contacts: "data are not sufficient to determine whether returns did or did not have a conventional origin.  The high speed targets noted….travelling 4320 and 1320 knots, respectively were said to have the characteristics of jet aircraft, but no jet in 1952 could fly at these speeds and data are far too nebulous for further evaluation."

The USS Philippine Sea radar contacts of Feb. 2, 1952 and aircraft contact of May 26, 1952 North Korean "are not adequately explained with the information available.  It must be emphasized that NONE of these…cases is particularly good and it is entirely possible that most, if not all, of these cases [targets] would be explainable in conventional terms if more data were available."

For the April 17, 1952, Japan case: "Radar tracked a target that travelled from 2 to 310 to 280 degrees azimuth (north to northwest to west) at high altitude and a computed speed of 2700 miles per hour. Target displayed normal brightness.  Duration: 2 minutes, UNIDENTIFIED in BLUE BOOK files.

For the May 26, 1952, North Korea case: "Pilot and radar operator aboard F-94 observed a brilliant blue or white light.  The aircraft made seven passes at the light, approaching to within 50 feet, directly below it.  Ground radar personnel then informed the F-94 crew that there was a target behind their aircraft.  Radar operator apparently caught a glimpse of this object, but there was no visual contact after F-94 began pursuit guided by AIRBORNE radar on the F-94.  Radar target ascended steadily at an accelerated away at tremendous speed.  The F-94 went to afterburner, but the target drew away and disappeared in 14 seconds.  The intelligence officer investigating this case computed the acceleration of the radar target at 20 g's [20 gravities].  The terminal speed for the target was 6420 miles per hour.  The light initially observed was NOT the 'object' pursued and may have been a lighted balloon.  Two balloons, one with brilliant lighting, were shot down by jets in the same general area and within an hour either way of the F-94 pursuit.  Obviously, the radar target was not a balloon or aircraft and no malfunctions could be found in the radar set during ground inspection following the landing of the F-94. BLUE BOOK's evaluation of this sighting as a 'POSSIBLE BALLOON' obviously refers only to the 'brilliant light' originally observed." [Emphasis is Robertson's in the original article.]

Robertson ended his article on radar cases in the first half of 1952 with the following:

Keep in mind the fact that the nine radar cases classified as unexplained in this summary took place in the first half of 1952.  Whatever the cause(s) of these unexplained returns may be, it is obvious that they were not caused by any form of known aircraft.

"Due to insufficient investigation by the Air Force and due to insufficient supplementary data — adiabatic lapse rates, humidity distributions, radar data, etc. — the possibility of anomalous propagation effects and various other radar artifacts CANNOT be ruled out.

"On April 5, 1966, Major Hector Quintanilla, then head of PROJECT BLUE BOOK, testified before the United States Congress that, 'We have no radar cases which are unexplained.'  Yet Quintanilla's own files list thirty-six percent of the BLUE BOOK radar cases as unexplained for the first six months of 1952 alone!

"Conspiracy fans will see Quintanilla's 'un-fact' as proof of a plot to deceive, but those who have carefully studied the BLUE BOOK files will recognize a familiar pattern: confusion and incompetence.

"Quintanilla simply did not know his own files."

Ruppelt did comment about receiving good reports from Far East Air Force.  However, after midyear Wallace Bush's name was no longer on such items. Perhaps he left for another assignment.  Very puzzling reports continued to come in from the FEAF area.  Some indicated possible Soviet technological jumps ahead of the 1952 aircraft performance.  We have found no follow up on such reports, however both the Navy and Air Force would probably have at least made a cursory look at such possibility.

Ruppelt did not acknowledge the efforts of the FEAF Air Technical Intelligence Liaison Office nor the Air Technical Intelligence Branch of USAF, Europe in his book nor his personal papers.  This seems rather strange because besides the number of reports sent directly to Project Blue Book, the FEAF ATILO and 6004th Air Intelligence Service Squadron shipped vast quantities of enemy equipment to ATIC.  Ruppelt, himself, worked on recovered MiG aircraft crashed material.

The lack of radar scope photographs and other important technical data presents a problem.  Dr. Luis Alvarez, according to notes by Dr. Thornton Page at the Robertson Panel in 1953, decried the lack of such technical radar data in Project Blue Book UFO reports.  Alvarez did not care for radar operators' opinions or feelings about scope presentations rather he wanted quantitative data generally missing from most of the radar reports.

Finally Brad Sparks commented from the illustrations in the ATILO intelligence report: "Several of the incidents involve obvious radial inward/outward interference patterns."

Back to FEAF Index
Return to MAIN PAGE