In May 1952 a Civil Aeronautics Administration Aviation Safety Agent
from Seattle wrote to Project Blue Book about a sighting
during World War II:
In 1943 I was an Instrument Flying Instructor
assigned to the 6th Ferrying Group of the Air Transport Command and
based at Long Beach, California. My daily routine consisted of
flying four, one hour instructional periods in the morning with a
different student for each hour. On one flight while proceeding on
the southwest leg of the Long Beach radio range at 5000 feet
altitude at the normal cruising airspeed of a BT-13A type trainer,
my student and I witnessed an object at this point which to this
date defies logical explanation.
This object appeared from the northeast on a
level flight path and turned while decelerating from a great speed
to fly parallel to us for approximately 30 seconds before it
disappeared from view at a slight climbing attitude (5 degrees)
bearing to the right across out ship's nose and at speed which I can
now estimate to be between 2000 to 5000 miles per hour.
So many years have since passed that it is
difficult to reconstruct the appearance of the object but a few
prominent facts are still clear and vivid in my mind. They are:
A series of unusual events contributed to the
fact that this object made no striking impression on my student and
me. There had been a rumor at this time that Lockheed Aircraft
Company were building a jet aircraft and we thought we had witnessed
the flight of it. I learned much later that the first flight of the
Lockheed P-80 did not take place until over a year from this period
1) This incident occurred above a fog overcast with clear
and unlimited sky condition above.
2) The object was an International Orange in color, had
an elliptical or rounded forward structure, was proportioned in a
manner as a conventional aircraft's fuselage.
3) The rear of the object either had no significance or I
am unable to remember its profile.
4) No propellers or jet orifice were visible; nor was any
flame, smoke or vapor trailed.
5) It decelerated in an unstable manner. (IE) Wobbling
outward from its banked attitude while turning and dipping
longtitudinally up to ten degrees from its flight path.
6) It flew exactly abeam at our altitude and while in
this position exhibited no other motion than the identical forward
speed of our ship.
7) Its departure from the area also appeared unstable at
the start of its acceleration. It seemed to lurch forward with the
rearward portion wobbling until its direction was established.
8) From its position abeam to ten degrees to the right of
our nose and five degrees high until out of sight took approximately
one and one half second.
Furthermore, I had a camera in the aircraft at
this time and although it was hanging on the 'oil dilution' control
nob and ready to use, I did not use it for fear of photographing a
highly secret aircraft.
I can (remember) telling the student through the
intercom: "Come out from under the hood. Lockheed's jet is flying
formation with us."
The student pushed back the hood and both of us witnessed the object flying alongside and its flight out of sight. Then the student went back under the hood and the episode was ended. In retrospect, I believe the fact that neither of us at that time
attached anything unusual about it must imply that it resembled
something which would have encompassed known aerodynamic outlines.
Until I first witnessed an early flight of the P-80, I was under
this impression. Immediately upon seeing the relative slowness of
the P-80 and its easily identifiable outlines, I realized we had
witnessed some inexplicable object...."
This case is an example of what Dr. Hynek call "escalation of
hypotheses" in extreme slow motion. It was only after the observer
saw a jet aircraft that he realized that a conventional answer would
not work for his observation.
The writer did not remember the name of the student, but he enclosed
a drawing of the object and a list of students who could have been
the other witness. The 1952 UFO flap was just starting, but
hundreds of letter poured into Project Blue Book. They had
no time to even acknowledge the letter let alone investigate what
they considered an old case. So they simply filed the letter along
with hundreds of others they received on many different subjects in
a "catch all" file. They did not include this report as a case file
nor did they count it in the Blue Book statistics. - J.L.A.