Washington D.C UFO Overflights, July 26/27, 1952
(Uncl) Material for Project Blue Book
|Chief, Air Technical||Department of the Air Force||11 Aug 52|
|Intelligence Center||Hq USAF - AFOIN-2A2||Maj Fournet/vg/71016|
1. Inclosed are summary reports of observations as telephoned to AFOIN-2A2 during the past two weeks plus a report on radar observations at Washington National Airport on the night of 26/27 July 52. In all cases, the outline specified for electrical messages in paragraph 7c of AFL 200-5 has been utilised for the sake of expediency with appropriate notations as necessary.
2. No attempt has been made to follow-up on any telephone reports taken by the Estimates Duty Officer nor was any attempt made to obtain great detail in the other telephone reports. Wherever possible, a general statement of weather conditions, usually reported by observer, has been included. In all cases where pro-forma items are omitted, they are negative.
3. No further action is contemplated on any of these incidents.
BY COMMAND OF THE CHIEF OF STAFF:
Rpts of U/I Flying Objects
originated by AFOIN-2A2
This incident involved u/i targets observed on the radar scopes at the Air Route Traffic Control Center and the tower, both at Washington National Airport, and the Approach Control Radar at Andrews AFB. In addition, visual observations were reported to Andrews and Bolling AFB and to ARTC Center, the latter by pilots of commercial a/c and one CAA a/c. Two flights of interceptors were dispatched from Newcastle, Del., but their official reports have not been received by this office; comments on their conversations with ARTC Center personnel are included herein. It has been impossible to collect all facts for a single report. The Base Intelligence Officer, Bolling AFB, is submitting a report covering the Bolling and Andrews aspects of the incident. This report covers the facts obtained from Washington National A/P personnel, the USAF Command Post and the AFOIN Duty Officer log. As yet, the commerical and CAA pilots who reported visuals have not been contacted, nor have other potential sources been investigated. Such action will not be possible by this office.
1. Varying numbers (up to 12 simultaneously) of u/i targets on ARTC radar scope. Termed by CAA personnel as "generally, solid returns", similar to a/c return except slower. No definable pattern of maneuver except at very beginning about 2150 EDT, 4 targets in rough line abreast with about 1 1/2 mile spacing moved slowly together (giving about 1" trace persistency at an estimated speed of less than 100 mph) on a heading of 110. At the same time 8 other targets were scattered throughout scope. ARTC checked Andrews Approach Control by telephone at 2200 EDT, following which weak and sporadic (unsteady) returns were picked up intermittently for another 3+ hours. Washington National Tower radar crew reports only one target positively u/i. This return was termed a "very good target" which moved across the scope from West to East at about 30 to 40 mph. However, the radar operators stated that there could have been other u/i targets on their scopes, particularly outside their area of a/c control, which they would not have noticed or would have assumed to be a/c under ARTC Center control. However,
they noticed no other unusual (i.e. very slow or erratic) returns. ARTC Center controllers also report that a CAA flight inspector, Mr Bill Schreve, flying a/c #NC-12 reported at 2246 EDT that he had visually spotted 5 objects giving off a light glow ranging from orange to white; his altitude at time was 2200'. Some commercial pilots reported visuals ranging from "cigarette glow" (red-yellow) to "a light" (as recorded from their conversations with ARTC controllers). At 2238 EDT the USAF Command Post was notified of ARTC targets. Command Post notified ADC and KADF at 2245, and 2 F-94s were scrambled from Newcastle at 2300 EDT. ARTC controlled F-94's after arrival in area and vectored them to targets with generally negative results (flew through "a batch of radar returns" without spotting anything). However, one pilot mentioned seeing 4 lights at one time and a second time as seeing a single light ahead but unable to close whereupon light "went out" (these comments from ARTC controllers). One ARTC controller worked a USAF B-25 (AF8898 ?) for about 1 hour 20 mins about 2230 EDT. B-25 was vectored in on numerous targets and commented that each vector took him over a busy highway or intersection. Maj Fournet (AFOIN-2A2) and Lt. Holcomb (USN, AFOIN-2C5) arrived at ARTC Center about 27/0015 EDT. Lt. Holcomb observed scopes and reported "7 good, solid targets". He made a quick check with airport Weather Station and determined that there was a slight temperature inversion (about 1°) from the surface to about 1000'. However, he felt that the scope targets at that time were not the result of this inversion and so advised the Command Post with the suggestion that a second intercept flight be requested. (2nd intercept flight controlled by ARTC, but no strong targets remained when they arrived. They were vectored on dim targets with negative results.) Maj. Fournet and Lt. Holcomb remained in ARTC Center until 0415, but no strong targets were picked up; many dim and unstable targets (assumed due to temperature inversion) were observed throughout the remainder of the period.
2. Intermittently between 26/2150 and 27/0100 EDT July 52. Periods of observation vary.
3. Electronic: VG-2 radar (ARTC) and ASR-1 radar (Tower). Others visual from air (details unknown).
4. Radar located at Washington National Airport, Washington, D.C. (Alexandria, Va.), a/c #NC-12 believed in vicinity of Aberdeen/Baltimore, Md., commercial a/c reporting visuals located in general area vicinity Washington National A/P.
5. ARTC Center radar crew and
|Austin M. Staff||)|
|James M. Ritchey||)||All are CAA employees with varying|
|Harry Barnes||)||levels of experience (ARTC radar in-|
|James M. Copeland||)||stalled Jan. 52). All appeared to|
|Stewart Dawson||)||be serious, conscientious and|
|Phil Ceconi||)||sincere although somewhat vague about|
|Mike Sankow||)||details of their experience on 26/27|
|Jerome Biron||)||July. Considered fairly reliable.|
|Lester G. Woodahl (2yrs radar)||)||Conscientious and sincere.|
|Salvatore Marinello (1 1/2 years radar)||)||Direct manner. Appeared|
|sure of themselves. Con-|
|sidered very reliable.|
6. Weather clear, scattered thins (alt unknown).
Temperatures at 26/2200Z as reported by
7. See 6. Others negative.
9. See 1. Official reports not received.
10. Normal commercial traffic inbound and outbound Washington National Airport plus some USAF a/c - all known and identified.
ARTC crew commented that, as compared with u/i returns picked up in early hours of 20 July 52, these returns appeared to be more haphazard in their sections, i.e. they did not follow a/c around nor did they cross scope consistently on same general heading. Some commented that the returns appeared to be from objects "capable of dropping out of the pattern at will". Also that returns had "creeping appearance". One member of crew commented that one object to which F-94 was vectored just "disappeared from Scope"
shortly after F-94 started pursuing. All crew members emphatic that most u/i returns were "solid". Finally, it was mentioned that u/i returns have been picked up from time to time over the past few months but never before had they appeared in such quantities over such a prolonged period and with such definition as was experienced on the nights of 19/20 and 26/27 July 52.
A transcript of a conversation between the towers at Washington National and Andrews which took place at 2130 EDT 26 July is attached. The "Center" mentioned is the ARTC Center at Washington National. The number of the National Airlines flight referred to is unknown.
- 4 -
July 26, 1952
Transcription fro (sic) the record at WNA:
(2130 EDT 26 July)
|Washington Tower:||Andrews Tower, do you read? Did you have an airplane|
|in sight west-northwest or east of your airport east-|
|Andrews:||No, but we just got a call from the Center. We're looking|
|Washington:||We've got a big target showing up on our scope. He's just|
|coming in on the west edge of your airport--the northwest|
edge of it eastbound.
|He'll be passing right through the northern portion of your|
|field on an east heading. He's about a quarter of a mile|
|from the northwest runway--right over the edge of your|
northwest runway now.
What happend to your target now?
|Washington:||He's still eastbound. He went directly over Andrews Field|
and is now five miles west.
Where did he come from?
|Washington:||We picked him up ourselves at about seven miles east, slightly|
|southeast, and we have been tracking him ever since then. The|
Center has been tracking him farther than that.
Was he waving his course?
Holding steady course, due east heading.
|Andrews:||This is Andrews. Our radar tracking says he's got a big fat|
|target out here northeast of Andrews. He says he's got two|
more south of the field.
|Washington:||Yes, well the Center has about four or five around the|
Andrews Range Station.
|The Center is working a National Airlines--the Center is|
|working him and vectoring him around his target. He went|
|around Andrews. He saw one of them--looks like a meteor.|
|(Garbled)..Went by him..or something. He said he's got|
|one about three miles off his right wing right now.|
|There are so many targets around here it is hard to tell|
as they are not moving very fast.
What about his altitude?
|Washington:||Well, must be over 8,000 feet as we don't have him in|
|radar any more.|