Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Accounts of UFOs Tracked on Radar

Toronto Ontario – July 12, 2008 On Larry King Live last night radar expert Glen Schulze and Robert Powell, MUFON Director of Research released their findings concerning UFOs in the Stephenville Texas area in January 2008. The 77 page report is replete with data received from the FAA, National Weather Service, nearby military bases and other official sources.

Among the expert analysis of the data received by the investigators from official sources, charts and radar data clearly show the track of an unidentified non-military craft with no transponder beacon vectoring towards Crawford Texas, the location of the Bush Ranch – also known as the Western White House.

From October 1989 throughout 1990, hundreds of reports of lighted objects, frequently described as enormous and triangular in shape were recorded in Belgium. Air Force supersonic F-16 jets chased these strange objects, which were simultaneously tracked by both airborne and ground radars. The Belgian Government cooperated fully with civilian UFO investigators, an action without precedent in the history of government involvement in this field...

Although many aspects of this case still remain unexplained, Meessen and SOBEPS have basically accepted the Gilmard-Salmon hypothesis that some of the radar contacts were really "angels" caused by a rare meteorological phenomenon. This became evident in four lock-ons, "where the object descended to the ground with calculations showing negative [emphasis added] altitude... It was evidently impossible that an object could penetrate the ground, but it was possible that the ground could act as a mirror."

Meessen explained how the high velocities measured by the Doppler radar of the F-16 fighters might result from interference effects. He points out, however, that there is another radar trace for which there is no explanation to date. As for the visual sightings of this event by the gendarmes and others, Meessen suggests that they could possibly have been caused by stars seen under conditions of "exceptional atmospheric refraction."136

May 1986

In November, 1986, a Japanese crew of a jumbo freighter aircraft witnessed three unidentified objects while flying over Alaska, USA. This sighting gained international attention when the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) announced that it was going to officially investigate this sighting because the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Anchorage, Alaska, had reported that the UFO had been detected on radar. The UFOs in this case were tracked on both ground and airborne radar, witnessed by experienced airline pilots, and confirmed by a FAA Division Chief.

Japan Air Lines Captain Kenju Terauchi describes the encounter with three UFOs over Alaska.

Illustration of the object, with the Boeing 747 airplane on the right. (International UFO Reporter)...
The FAA conducted an investigation of the incident, and did not issue its final report until March 5. CSICOP's (Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal)Phil Klass issued a premature statement on January 22 claiming that the UFOs were the planets Jupiter and Mars - an impossible solution because the UFO was seen in a part of the sky opposite the position of these planets and because the UFOs moved from positions one above the other to side by side. CSICOP later issued a second explanation that the UFO was light reflecting off of clouds of ice crystals - also unlikely because the sky was clear at the reported altitude of the UFO. The FAA attributed the radar images received by ground radar to a "split radar return from the JAL Boeing 747."
March 27, 1983; 50 nautical miles north of Gorky, Russia
Evening. Russian Air Traffic Controllers had radar-visual reports of a steel-gray colored UFO, the shape of a cigar and the size of an airliner, in view and on their screens for 40 minutes. It was first picked up 50 nautical miles north of Gorky, Russia and vanished about 25 nautical miles from the city. (Source: International UFO Reporter, September-October 1984, p. 13, citing Popovich).

Debunking the Debunkers - Rendlesham Forest UFO Events, 1980

One UFO at RAF Bentwaters Appeared on Radar: Skeptics Claim Witnesses Mistook a Lighthouse for a UFO but Two Air Traffic Controllers Say They Tracked an Otherworldly Craft

Although debunkers have tried to explain away the numerous UFO sightings at the twin RAF bases as due to misidentified prosaic objects, including a nearby lighthouse, one of the UFOs at Bentwaters was actually tracked on radar, by two different military units—one American, the other British.
Plot summary for "UFO Files" Mexico's Roswell (2005) 
Coyame, Mexico is a small town not far from the US border. It's home to three thousand people and possibly the best-kept secret of all-time. In August of 1974, the USA military was tracking a mysterious object over Mexico; then suddenly it disappeared from radar near Coyame. At the same time a civilian plane headed in the opposite direction is reported missing. What follows next is the stuff Hollywood blockbusters are made of: a crash site, a spacecraft, dead bodies, a covert recovery mission, and a government cover-up. Is this the story of the century, or just a piece of Mexican folklore? Over the last 15 years, Mexico has experienced an unprecedented UFO wave. While the sheer volume of encounters garners attention, it's the apparent quality, or credibility, of these incidents that has our attention. Through interviews with witnesses and experts we examine the evidence, and controversial footage released by the Mexican military reveals never before seen video.

Run time 60
Audio/Visual sound, color
Language English
Another case of a most disturbing nature occurred on 9 June 1974. A Japanese Air Force Phantom was sent to intercept a radar target assumed to be a Soviet spy plane. The two-man crew locked onto the object with their radar but then were struck by the unknown aircraft and forced to eject as their plane split apart. One pilot survived, but the other died when his parachute was destroyed by burning debris. According to the survivor, Major Shiro Kubota, the other object they intercepted was no aircraft but a glowing red disk with windows on its edge. This made an instant reverse in direction as the Phantom armed its gun to shoot it from the sky. The UFO then flew straight at the jet, clipping its wings as it made a hasty escape and thus leading to the tragedy. 

One impressive case from Japan occurred at Itazuke on 17 December 1956. Two aircraft were performing a combat exercise to test their new radar setups, with one jet acting as a target as the other sought an intercept. Suddenly, a strange blip appeared on the screen and the intercepting aircraft was scrambled to investigate. The pilot saw a huge fuzzy glow ahead, where the radar had indicated. As the fighter screamed towards the object, it clarified as a golden disk shape and the aircraft radar was inexplicably blocked by a mass static. The UFO then shot away at phenomenal speed and the radar system returned to normal.
 - Excerpts from the Little Giant Encyclopedia of UFOs
Invisible Radar Targets: Mr. Sato introduces many stories. One is exceptionally from the Maritime Self-Defense Force (the navy). Around 1968. Mr. Sumihiko Kawamura (retired Rear Admiral) was the captain of an anti-submarine patrol plane (P2V-7) of Shimofusa Air Base (Chiba Prefecture) near Tokyo. When his plane was flying over the Pacific Ocean, his radar captured an object in front. The object made a rapid approach. As his plane was in clouds, he could not see the object. He made a left-turn in a hurry to avoid a collision with it. “But nothing was seen, and there was no change,” says Mr. Kawamura. He did not make a report on this event, because his plane had gotten into no trouble. (Introductory Chapter)
1956 – At 3:20 p.m. at Itazuke AFB in Japan a brownish-golden colored UFO was sighted from the air by a pilot and co-pilot. It flew at a high rate of speed and was tracked on radar. Radio interference between the warplane and the base was also noted at the time.
Radar Observations of Unknown Craft over Bentwaters - August 1956

The Venom fighter was vectored by RATCC radar to the site of the object which according to the night watch supervisor was stationary at the time at an altitude of 15,000-20,000 feet and was about 16 miles south west of Lakenheath, soon after Lakenheath informed the pilot that the target was dead ahead of him. The pilot acknowledged the transmission and said he had his radar fire-control system locked on target. After a brief pause the pilot radioed back and said he had lost the target and asked Lakenheath if they still had the object on radar. Lakenheath RATCC informed the pilot that the target had made a swift circle movement and was now behind the aircraft, the pilot confirmed and said he would try and shake it. The pilot then tried a number of evasive manoeuvres but was unable to loose the object, during this time the object was still being picked up on radar and a 500 feet distance was registered between the object and the aircraft.

According to the Project Blue Book report the pilot said he was not able to shake the object and requested assistance. After around 10 minutes the first venom pilot said he was returning to base as he was very low on fuel, according to the Lakenheath night watch supervisor the object followed the aircraft a short distance as the pilot headed south south-west towards London and then resumed a no movement state.
The Lakenheath Radar/Visual UFO Case

August 13-14, 1956

Gordon D. Thayer:

The following story -- a second example of the type of observation which forms the core of the UFO issue -- has been selected by the UFO Subcommittee of the AIAA for publication not only because of its puzzling content, but also because of the multiplicity of observations. The author, a former member of the "Condon Committee" (University of Colorado UFO study team), discusses the case, but does not offer an explanation. The same was true for the first case, published in the July 1971 A/A, where the principal observers were highly qualified professionals making sightings in their line of duty. Both case studies are intended to give the reader a flavor of the observational residue material which underlies the UFO controversy. We hope he will give it his independent assessment as engineer or scientist. 

On a pleasant August evening in 1956, the night-watch supervisor at the Lakenheath, England, Radar Air Traffic Control Center (RATCC), a U.S. Air Force noncommissioned officer, was startled by a telephone call from the Bentwaters GCA (Ground Controlled Approach) radar installation (see map) asking, "Do you have any targets on your scopes traveling at 4000 mph?" Thus began one of the strangest and most disturbing radar-visual UFO episodes on record. 

There is a very large, confusing report on the Lakenheath- Bentwaters incident in the U.S. Air Force Project Bluebook files (Project Bluebook was the name of the U.S. Air Force UFO investigation). At least three separate times unidentified radar echoes (UREs) were tracked by the GCA unit at Bentwaters before the telephone contact with Lakenheath; and although these are highly interesting events in themselves, they did not involve confirmatory visual and airborne radar contacts. A detailed account of these first three radar contacts can be found in an earlier paper by James McDonald (Flying Saucer Review 16, "UFOs over Lakenheath in 1956," 1970, pages 9-17). Scientific Study of Unidentified Flying Objects (Bantam Books, 1969; hereafter refered to as the "Condon Report") contains no account of these because the pertinent Bluebook files were obtained too late for inclusion. The Condon Report does contain an independent account of the primary incident at Lakenheath, as reported by the night watch supervisor, not found in the Bluebook file; this separate report forms the most coherent account of the events at Lakenheath. Following a brief description of the events at Bentwaters based on the Bluebook file, the Lakenheath incident will be described here based mainly on the night-watch supervisor's account. 

The Account at Bentwaters:

The four events at Bentwaters GCA (see map for plots of these radar tracks) took this order: 

1. At 21:30Z a URE (No.1 in map) was picked up on the Bentwaters AN/MPN-11A GCA radar about 25-30 mi. to the ESE. (Note that Z time -- zero meridian time --, or GMT, is also local time in the Lakenheath-Bentwaters area.) This URE moved steadily on a constant azimuth heading of 295 deg until contact was lost about 15-20 mi. to the WNW of Bentwaters. The radar operator estimated the apparent speed of the URE as 4,000 mph; but the transit time of 30 sec yields an estimate of 4,800-6,000 mph, and the operator's estimate of 5-6 mi. covered by the URE between PPI sweeps (2 sec apart) gives an estimate of 9,000-10,800 mph. "The size of the blip when picked up was that of a normal aircraft target. [It] diminished in size and intensity to the vanishing point before crossing the entire radar screen." 

2. A "few minutes later," say roughly 21:35Z, a group of 12-15 UREs was picked up on the PPI about 8 mi. SW of Bentwaters (No. 2 in map). These echoes "appeared as normal targets," and "normal checks made to determine possible malfunctions of the GCA radar failed to indicate anything was technically wrong." These URE's appeared to move as a group toward the NE at varying speeds reported as 80-125 mph. The group covered a "6-7-mi. area" on the scope. These echoes "faded considerably" at a point 14 mi. NE of Bentwaters, but were tracked to a point about 40 mi. NE of Bentwaters when they merged into a single strong echo "several times larger than a B-36 return under comparable conditions." This single echo remained stationary at the point 40 mi. NE of Bentwaters for 10- 15 min., then moved to the NE for 5-6 mi., stopped again for 3-5 min., and finally moved out of range (50 mi.) of the radar at 21:55Z. The average apparent speed of the URE group for the time it was in motion can be readily calculated as between 290 and 700 mph (58 mi. in 5-12 min -- again differing from the operator's estimate. 

3. At 2200Z another URE (No. 3 in map) was picked up about 30 mi. east of Bentwaters and tracked to a point about 25 mi. west of the station; the tracking period was about 16 sec. The radar operator estimated the apparent speed of this URE to be "in excess of 4000 mph" but the time and distance figures indicated a speed of roughly 12,000 mph. All the returns "appeared normal, except for the last, which was slightly weaker than the rest." The radar operator indicated that the "[return] disappeared ... by rapidly moving out of the GCA radiation pattern." No further UREs are mentioned in the Bluebook report on the Bentwaters incident; and considering the confusion prevailing in reported times in Bluebook reports and the similarity of the reported tracks and speeds, possibly this URE and No. 4, which instigated the phone call to Lakenheath, may in fact be the same. 

4. According to the Bluebook report on the Lakenheath incident, the Bentwaters GCA radar, at 22:55Z, picked up a URE 30 mi. east (of Bentwaters) moving to the west at an apparent speed of "2000 to 4000 mph." In the map shown at right, the track of the URE appears identical with No. 3 except for the vanishing point. This URE then "disappeared on scope 2 mi. east of station and immediately appeared on scope 3 mi. west of station ... it disappeared 30 mi. west of station on scope." If the word "immediately" means that the URE was picked up on the same PPI sweep, after 180 deg. rotation from east to west, it would imply that the apparent motion covered 5 mi. in 1 sec, an inferred speed of some 18,000 mph. At this rate the URE would have covered the 60 mi. track in about 12 sec (6 PPI sweeps). As pointed out, this may have been URE No. 3 from the Bentwaters Bluebook report, which is estimated at 12,000 mph, although the reported times are different . 

At this point, someone at the Bentwaters GCA station called the Lakenheath RATCC station asking the night-watch supervisor there if he had any "4,000-mph targets" on his Scopes and describing the track of URE No. 4. The caller stated that the control tower at Bentwaters had reported seeing "a bright light passing over the field from east to west at terrific speed at about 4000-ft altitude," while at the same time the pilot of a C-47 aircraft flying over the station at 4000-ft altitude reported a "bright light streaked under his aircraft traveling east to west at terrific speed." The Lakenheath watch supervisor, although admittedly skeptical of this report, "immediately had all controllers start scanning the radar scopes ... using full MTI (moving target indicator), which eliminated entirely all ground returns." 

Shortly after this search began, one of the controllers noticed a stationary echo on the scopes at an indicated position 20-25 mi. SW of Lakenheath (No. 5 in map). Note the position of this initial contact on the map; it is almost directly in line with the path of UREs 3 and 4 from the Bentwaters report. Although the MTI should have eliminated the return from any target moving at less than 40-50 knots, the radar personnel could detect "no movement at all" from this URE. The watch supervisor called the GCA unit at Lakenheath to see if they had the same echo on their scope and "they confirmed the target was on their scope in the same location." As the Lakenheath RATCC personnel watched this URE, it suddenly began moving in a NNE direction at a speed that they subsequently calculated to be 400-600 mph. In their words "there was no ... build-up to this speed -- it was constant from the second it started to move until it stopped." 

The watch supervisor contacted local AFB command personnel and kept them informed of the happenings from this point on. The URE made several changes in direction always in a straight line, always at about 600 mph with no acceleration or deceleration apparent -- the changes varying in indicated length from 8 to 20 mi., with stationary episodes of 3-6 min intervening. 

There were visual sightings at Lakenheath during this time, but the reports of these are confusing and inconclusive. Perhaps of greater significance are the investigating officer's statements that "two radar sets [Lakenheath GCA and RATCC] and three ground observers report substantially the same," and "the fact that radar and ground visual observations were made on its rapid acceleration and abrupt stops certainly lend [credence] to the report." 

After "about 30-45 min," or 23:40 to 23:55Z, the RAF "scrambled" a de Havilland "Venom" night fighter aircraft to investigate the Lakenheath UFO. 

(At this point, the account of the Lakenheath night-watch supervisor and that of the Bluebook report diverge. First, the watch supervisor says the aircraft was from a field near London and was picked up on the RATCC radar inbound from the southwest at a range of 30-45 mi. from Lakenheath. According to the Bluebook file, the fighter took off from Waterbeach RAF station (see map), which is only 20 mi. SW of Lakenheath and well within radar range -- given as 50-60 mi. for targets at 5000 ft or above. Second, the watch supervisor relates that the Venom was vectored to the then stationary URE (No.5) at a position about 16 mi. SW of Lakenheath, and that this was the aircraft's first and only contact with any UFO. According to the Bluebook account, "the a/c flew over Lakenheath and was vectored to a radar target 6 mi. east of the field (No. 6). Pilot advised he had a bright white light in sight and would investigate. At 13 mi. west [of Lakenheath] he reported loss of target and white light [N.B. -- this implies that the pilot had the unknown on his airborne radar as well as having had visual contact]. Lakenheath RATCC vectored him to (presumably) another target 10 mi. east of Lakenheath and pilot advised target was on radar and he was "locking on." This target would be URE No. 5, identified by the watch supervisor as being about 16 mi. SW of Lakenheath. Except for this discrepancy, the account of the Lakenheath watch supervisor agrees with the Bluebook file from here on in virtually every detail.) 

The Venom fighter was vectored by the RATCC radar to the sight of the URE, which (according to the night-watch supervisor) was stationary at the time at 15,000-20,000 ft about 16 mi. SW of Lakenheath. Shortly after Lakenheath told the pilot the URE was one-half mile dead ahead of the interceptor, the pilot radioed, "Roger, ... I've got my guns locked on him." (The pilot refers to a radar fire-control system.) This pilot later told a U.S. Air Force investigator that the URE was "the clearest target I have ever seen on radar." There was a brief pause after the Venom pilot said he had gunlock on the URE and then he said, "Where did he go? Do you still have him?" The Lakenheath RATCC informed him that the URE had made a swift circling movement and had gotten behind the Venom. The pilot then confirmed that the target was behind him and said that he would try to shake it. Since no tail radar is mentioned, the pilot presumably saw the UFO behind him. 

The pilot of the Venom interceptor tried numerous evasive maneuvers, but he was unable to lose the URE, which the Lakenheath RATCC radar continuously tracked as a distinct echo behind the aircraft echo; this implies that the separation was greater than about 500 ft. According to the Bluebook report, "Pilot advised he was unable to `shake' the target off his tail and requested assistance." After about 10 min., the first Venom pilot, who reportedly sounded "pretty scared," said that he was returning to base because he was running low on fuel. He asked Lakenheath RATCC to tell him if the URE followed him on the radar scopes. According to the Lakenheath watch supervisor, the URE appeared to follow the Venom only a "short distance" as the pilot headed SSW toward London [or Waterbeach], and then it resumed a stationary aspect. 

A second Venom was vectored by Lakenheath RATCC toward the position of the URE; but before he got close enough to pick up anything, he radioed that he W.lS experiencing engine malfunction and was returning to his base. The following conversation was monitored by the Lakenheath watch supervisor between the two Venom pilots: 
Number 2: "Did you see anything? " Number 1: "I saw something, but I'll be damned if I know what it was."
Number 2: "What happened?"
Number 1: "He - or it - got behind me and I did everything I could to get behind him and I couldn't. It's the damnedest thing I've ever seen."
The pilot of Venom Number 1 also stated that he had radar gun lock for several seconds so "there was something there that was solid." 

Following this strange "chase," the URE did not immediately disappear from the Lakenheath RATCC radar. In the words of the night watch supervisor, "The target made a couple more short moves, then left our radar coverage in a northerly direction -- speed still about 600 mph. We lost target outbound to the north at about 50-60 mi., which is normal if aircraft or target is at an altitude below 5,000 ft (because of the radiation lobe of that type radar [a CPS-5])." The time of loss of contact was not given by the watch supervisor; according to the Bluebook file the time was about 03:30Z. 

The night-watch supervisor also stated "all speeds in this report were calculated speeds based on time and distance covered on radar. This speed was calculated many times that evening...." 


The interpretations and analyses that have been made of this intriguing UFO incident are almost as numerous as the investigators themselves. The investigating U.S. Air Force officer wrote: "My analysis of the sightings is that they were real and not figments of the imagination. The fact that three radar sets picked up the targets simultaneously is certainly conclusive that a target or object was in the air. The maneuvers of the object were extraordinary; however, the fact that radar and ground visual observations were made on its rapid acceleration and abrupt stops certainly lend [credence] to the report. It is not believed these sightings were of any meteorological or astronomical origin." We quote this statement. although these are hardly the words of a careful, scientific investigator. 

J. Allen Hynek, the well-known UFO consultant to the Air Force, wrote in part "It seems highly unlikely, for instance, that the Perseid meteors could have been the cause of the sightings, especially in view of the statement of observers that shooting stars were exceptionally numerous that evening, thus plying that they were able to distinguish the two phenomena. Further, if any credence can be given to the maneuvers of the objects as sighted visually and by radar, the meteor hypothesis must be ruled out." 

The Condon Report in its analysis of this incident states: "In conclusion, although conventional or natural explanations certainly cannot be ruled out, the probability of such seems low in this case and the probability that at least one genuine UFO was involved appears to be fairly high." The meaning of this last statement (by the present author) has puzzled some later investigators; in this context a "genuine UFO" was meant to imply precisely that: there was a material object, it was flying (in the sense of moving through the air), and it was (obviously) unidentified. Hence, the conclusion that there was a "genuine UFO" was not meant to imply, for example, that the UFO was necessarily of extraterrestrial origin. 

In Chapter 5 of the Condon Report, "Optical and Radar Analyses of Field Cases," the analysis of this report concludes with: "In summary, this is the most puzzling and unusual case in the radar-visual files. The apparently rational, intelligent behavior of the UFO suggests a mechanical device of unknown origin as the most probable explanation of this sighting. However, in view of the inevitable fallibility of witnesses, more conventional explanations of this report cannot be entirely ruled out." 

Philip Klass (private communication) believes that the Lakenheath RATCC radar was malfunctioning because of a faulty MTI unit; he feels that once the radar evidence has been explained, the rest can be accounted for by either confusion of witnesses or conventional causes.
The reader may draw his own conclusions as to which of the above "explanations" seems the most likely. However, a few things are worth pointing out in summary: 

1. The possibility that meteors might have accounted for these events seems to be easily ruled out, and it was so discounted by early investigators. 

2. Visual mirage is ruled out by the large angles (i.e., simultaneously seen over a control tower and under an aircraft) at which the UFOs were observed and by the manner and directions of movement. 

3. Anomalous propagation of radar seems equally unlikely as an over-all explanation. All but No. 2 of the UREs at Bentwaters were apparently moving either almost opposite to or across the prevailing winds, ruling out ground objects seen by partial reflections from moving elevated inversions (or other layered structures). Such reflections produce false targets that appear to be at twice the range and twice the height of the reflecting layer, and appear to move in the direction of the prevailing wind but at an apparent speed twice as great. Thus the group of echoes (No. 2) observed from 21:35 to 21:55Z moved generally from the SW (exact azimuth not given) at "80-125 mph," commensurate with winds of 40-63 mph from the same direction. The actual winds are given as 260 deg/45 mph at 10,000 ft and 260 deg/63 mph at 16,000 ft. Although the reported stationary episodes of the merged echoes at the two points shown on the map would, taken at face value, rule out the moving layer reflection hypothesis, there remains a possibility that this may have been the cause of the No. 2 URE contact at Bentwaters. This hypothesis can be ruled out, however, for the other URE episodes at Bentwaters, and particularly for those at Lakenheath. 

The "disappearance" of URE No. 4 as it over flew the Bentwaters GCA station was mentioned in the Condon Report as being "suggestive of AP" [anomalous propagation], and so it is. The elevated-layer partial reflection phenomenon that causes this type of AP involves a reflection coefficient that is typically proportional to the inverse sixth power of the elevation angle of the radar beam (cf. Wait, 1962; Thayer 1970). Thus caused by a moving layer, if such a false target appears to approach the radar site, the signal will drop below the noise level when the beam elevation exceeds some critical angle; the false target will often reappear on the other side of the radar when the beam angle once more drops below the critical value. With a fixed-elevation PPI display radar. this results in a "zone of invisibility" around the site with a radius on the order of 5-15 mi. in which the target disappears. 

Two additional factors seem to point to AP as a possible cause for URE No.4 : 

1. Radar operators who are familiar with their sets will not normally report the "disappearance" of a target unless they do not expect it, which would preclude targets that enter the radar's normal "blind zone" (if it has one). 

2. The target was "lost" at 2 mi. east but reacquired at 3 mi. west, an asymmetry that is possible with AP but not usual with radar "blind zones." 

However, a strong factor argues against the AP hypothesis in this instance: the URE was moving almost opposite to the prevailing winds. In addition, because of the apparent speed of the URE, it should have reappeared about 3.5 mi. west of the radar on the second PPI sweep after "losing" it 2 mi. east (on the first sweep it should have been almost over the radar, and probably not visible to it), so that the "asymmetry" can be assigned to the "digital" sampling by the PPI sweep-scan display. It is therefore most unlikely that URE No. 4 was caused by AP, a conclusion also reached in the Condon Report. 

The Lakenheath episode (URE No. 5) is even more unlikely to have been caused by AP. That the complicated, stop-and-go maneuvers described by the Lakenheath night watch supervisor could have been caused by AP returns, and at that on two different radars operating on different frequencies and scan rates, is almost inconceivable. Ghost echoes have often been observed that will appear to "tail" an aircraft echo -- sometimes the radar will even track a jet-exhaust plume -- but such echoes never stop following the aircraft and become stationary, as did the Lakenheath URE. 

In summary, although AP may possibly have been a factor in the No. 2 Bentwaters sighting, it is not possible to assign the rest of the events reported to propagation effects, even aside from the visual confirmations. 

Possible malfunction of radar equipment, and especially possible malfunction of the MTI on the Lakenheath RATCC radar, has been suggested as a cause of these UREs. It is true that a malfunctioning MTI unit could conceivably produce false echo behavior similar to that observed at Lakenheath. However, the coincident observation of the URE by the Lakenheath GCA radar, a different type, and later by the Venom's airborne radar, seems to rule out this hypothesis. The detection of an apparently stationary target while the radar was on MTI is not as surprising as it seems. A vibrating or rapidly rotating target will show up on MTI radar even if it is not otherwise in motion. 

Thus, none of the conceivable "simple" explanations for the events at Bentwaters and Lakenheath seems to hold up under investigation. Moreover, the credibility of the accounts is increased by the number of redundant radar and visual contacts made coincidentally. The table [at the end of this text] summarizes these redundancies, which are seen to be present primarily for events No. 4 and 5 (Bentwaters URE-UFO No. 4 and the Lakenheath UFO). 

One slightly disturbing aspect of these contacts is that the Lakenheath RATCC radar operators failed to "pick up" Bentwaters UREs I through 4, even though thcy should have been well within range. (A target at 5,000 ft, for example, should have been visible anywhere west of the coastline in the vicinity of Bentwaters). Note that URE No. 1 was headed almost directly at Lakenheath at the time it was lost by Bentwaters GCA. Of course, it is possible that the radar did pick up these objects and that, for various possible reasons, the operators did not notice or report them. 


In conclusion, with two highly redundant contacts -- the first with ground radar, combined with both ground and airborne visual observers, and the second with airborne radar, an airborne visual observer, and two different ground radars -- the Bentwaters-Lakenheath UFO incident represents one of the most significant radar-visual UFC) cases. Taking into consideration the high credibility of information and the cohesiveness and continuity of accounts, combined with a high degree of "strangeness," it is also certainly one of the most disturbing UFO incidents known today.
2. Case 36. Nowra, Australia, September, 1954
The first UFO case to command general press attention in the Australian area seems to have been a combined radar-visual sighting wherein the pilot of a Hawker Seafury from Nowra Naval Air Station visually observed two unknown objects near him as he flew from Canberra to Nowra (Ref. 43). Press descriptions revealed only that the pilot said "the two strange aircraft resembling flying saucers" were capable of speeds much beyond his Seafury fighter. He saw them flying nearby and contacted Nowra radar to ask if they had him on their scope; they informed him that they had three separate returns, at which juncture he described the unidentified objects. Under instructions from the Nowra radar operator, he executed certain maneuvers to identify himself on the scope. This confirmed the scope-identity of his aircraft vs. the unknowns. As he executed the test maneuvers, the two unknowns moved away and disappeared. No explanation of this incident was offered by Naval authorities after it was widely reported in Australian and New Zealand papers about three months after it occurred.
Discussion. -- It is mildly amusing that the press accounts indicated that
"the pilot, fearing that he might be ragged in the wardroom on his return if he abruptly reported flying saucers, called Nowra by radio and asked whether the radar screen showed his aircraft."
Only after getting word of three, not one, radar blips in his locality did he radio the information on the unknowns, whose configuration was not publicly released. This is in good accord with my own direct experience in interviewing Australian UFO witnesses in 1967; they are no more willing than Americans to be ridiculed for seeing something that is not supposed to exist.
On the night of November 23, 1953, an Air Defense Command radar detected an unidentified "target" over Lake Superior.   Kinross Air Force Base, closest to the scene, alerted the 433rd Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Truax Field, Madison, Wisconsin, and an F-89C all-weather interceptor was scrambled.  Radar operators watched the "blips" of the UFO and the F-89 merge on their scopes, in an apparent collision, and disappear.  No trace of the plane was ever found. 
3. Case 37. Capetown South Africa, May 23, 1953
In November 1958, the South African Air Force released a brief announcement concerning radar-tracking of six successive passes of one or more unknown high-speed


objects over the Cape. On January 1, 1967, in a transoceanic shortwave broadcast from South Africa, the authenticity of this report was confirmed, though no additional data beyond what had been cited earlier were presented. In the six passes, the target's altitude varied between 5,000 and 15,000 ft, and its closest approach varied between 7 and 10 miles. Speeds were estimated at over 1200 mph, well beyond those of any aircraft operating in that area at that time.
Discussion. -- This report, on which the available information is slim, is cited to indicate that not only visual sightings but also radar sightings of seemingly unconventional objects appear to comprise a global phenomenon. By and large, foreign radar sightings are not readily accessible, and not easily cross-checked. Zigel (Ref. 88) briefly mentions a Russian incident in which both airborne and ground-based radar tracked an unidentified in the vicinity of Odessa, on April 4, 1966, the ground-based height-finding radar indicating altitudes of well over 100,000 ft. Such reports, without accessory information, are not readily evaluated, of course.

5. Case 39. Port Huron, Mich., July 29, 1952
Many of the radar cases for which sighting details are accessible date back to 1953 and preceding years. After 1953, official policies were changed, and it is not easy to secure good information on subsequent cases in most instances. A radar case in which both ground-radar and airborne-radar contact were involved occurred at about 9:40 p.m. CST on 7/29/52 (Refs. 4, 5, 7, 10, 25). From the official case summary (Ref. 7) one finds that the unknown was first detected by GGI radar at an Aircraft Control and Warning station in Michigan, and one of three F-94s doing intercept exercises nearby was vectored over towards it. It was initially coming in out of the north (Ref. 5, 25), at a speed put at over 600 mph. As the F-94 was observed on the GCI scope to approach the unknown, the latter suddenly executed a 180° turn, and headed back north. The F-94 was by then up to 21,000 ft., and the pilot spotted a brilliant multicolored light just as his radarman got a contact. The F-94 followed on a pursuit course for 20 minutes (Ref. 7) but could never close with the unknown as its continued on its northbound course. At the time of first radar lockon, the F-94 was 20 miles west of Pt. Huron, Mich. The GCI scope revealed the unknown to be changing speed erratically, and at one stage it was moving at a speed of over 14000 mph, according to Menzel (Ref. 25), who evidently drew his information from the official files. Ruppelt (Ref. 5) states that when the jet began to run low on fuel and turned back to its .base, GGI observed the unknown blip slow down, and shortly after it was lost from the GGI scope.

Discussion. -- This case is still carried as an official unknown. The case summary (Ref. 7) speculates briefly on whether it could have been

"a series of coincident weather phenomena affecting the radar equipment and sightings of Capella, tut this is stretching probabilities too far."

Menzel, however, asserts that the pilot did see Capella, and that the airborne and ground radar returns

"were merely phantom returns caused by weather conditions"

No suggestion is offered as to how any given meteorological condition could jointly throw off radar at the ground and radar at 21,000 feet, no suggestion is offered to account for 180° course-reversal exhibited by the blip on the GCI scope just as the F-94 came near the unknown, no suggestion of how propagation anomalies could yield the impression of a blip moving systematically northward for 20 minutes (a distance of almost 100 miles, judging from reported F-94 speeds), with the F-94 return following along behind it. With such ad hoc explanations, one could explain away almost any kind of sighting, regardless of its content. I have examined the radiosonde sounding for stations near the site and time of this incident, and see nothing in them that would support Menzels interpretations. I have queried experienced military pilots and radar personnel, and none have heard of anything like "ground returns" from atmospheric conditions with aircraft radar operated in the middle troposphere. If Menzel is not considering ground-returns, in the several cases of this type which he explains away with a few remarks about "phantom radar returns", then it is not clear what else he might be thinking of. One does have to have some solid target to get a radar return resembling that of an aircraft. Refractive anomalies of the "angel" type have very low radar cross-section and would not mislead experienced operators into confusing them with aircraft echoes.
INTERVIEW: DR. KEVIN RANDLE - UFOlogist and author of Invasion Washington: UFOs Over the Capitol -- discussed the 60th anniversary of the Washington D.C. incident. This month marks the 60th anniversary of the Great Alien Invasion of 1952 or, as it might more appropriately be called, the Great Alien Reconnaissance of 1952. The UFOs allegedly just flew around; no one saw them land. But were they aliens? This much is undisputed: Late on the evening of July 19, 1952, air traffic controllers at Washington National Airport spotted a curious cluster of seven blips on their radar screens. Similar blips were sighted by radar operators at Andrews and Bolling Air Force bases. National's control tower contacted commercial aircraft in the vicinity and asked their pilots if they had seen anything unusual. Why yes, Capt. S.C. "Casey" Pierman of Capital Air Flight 807 radioed back. He saw six bright lights streaking across the sky, "like falling stars without tails." F-94 jets were scrambled from Delaware's New Castle Air Force Base (the runway at Andrews was under repair), but the pilots saw nothing. The Pentagon was already studying the escalating number of UFO sightings — under the aegis of Project Blue Book — and the officer in charge added the Washington outbreak to his growing list. Then, the next weekend, it happened all over again. National Airport's air traffic controllers tracked a dozen unexplained blips. Fighter jets were again scrambled, and on their second circuit, pilots saw bright lights speeding away from them. "I tried to make contact with the bogies below 1,000 feet," pilot William Patterson later told investigators. "I was at my maximum speed but . . . I ceased chasing them because I saw no chance of overtaking them." The media had a field day. A headline on the front page of The Washington Post read: " 'Saucer' Outran Jet, Pilot Says; Air Force Puts Lid on Inquiry." After the earlier outbreak, a reporter for the Washington Daily News had written: "Recent attempts to explain 'saucers' as optical illusions have been shaken by recent radar sightings. Illusions don't show up on a radar screen."

1. Case 35. Fukuoka, Japan, October 15,1948.
A very early radar-UFO case, still held as an official Unidentified, involved an attempted interception of the unknown object by an F-61 flying near Fukuoka, Japan, at about 11:00 p.m. local time on 10/15/48. The official file on this incident is lengthy (Ref. 42) ; only the highlights can be recounted here. The F-61 (with pilot and radar operator) made six attempts to close with the unknown, from which a radar return was repeatedly obtained with the airborne radar. Each time the radarman would get a contact and the F-61 pilot tried to close, the unknown would accelerate and pass out of range. Although the radar return seemed comparable to that of a conventional aircraft,
"the radar observer estimated that on three of the sightings, the object traveled seven miles in approximately twenty seconds, giving a speed of approximately 1200 mph"
In another passage, the official case-file remarks that
"when the F61 approached within 12,000 feet, the target executed a 180° turn and dived under the F-61"
adding that
"the F-61 attempted to dive with the target but was unable to keep pace"
The report mentions that the unknown
"could go almost straight up or down out of radar elevation limits"
and asserts further that
"this aircraft seemed to be cognizant of the whereabouts of the F-61 at all times ..."
The F-61 airmen, 1st Lt. Oliver Hemphill (pilot) and 2d Lt. Barton Halter (radarman) are described in the report as being
"of excellent character and intelligence and are trained observers."
Hemphill, drawing on his combat experience in the European theater, said that
"the only aircraft I can compare our targets to is the German ME-163."

The airmen felt obliged to consider the possibility that their six attempted intercepts involved more than one unknown. Hemphill mentions that, in the first attempted intercept,
"the target put on a tremendous "burst of speed and dived so fast that we were unable to stay with it."
After this head-on intercept, Hemphill did a chandelle back to his original 6000-ft altitude and tried a stern interception,
"but the aircraft immediately outdistanced us. The third target was spotted visually by myself,"
Hemphill's signed statement in the case-file continues.
"I had an excellent silhouette of the target thrown against a very reflective undercast by a full moon. I realized at this time that it did not look like any type aircraft! was familiar with, so I immediately contacted my Ground Control Station ..."
which informed him there were no other known aircraft in the area. Hemphill's statement adds further that,
"The fourth target passed directly over my ship from stern to "bow at a speed of roughly twice that of my aircraft, 200 mph. I caught just a fleeting glance of the aircraft; just enough to know he had passed on. The fifth and sixth targets were attempted radar interceptions, but their high rate of speed put them immediately out of our range"
(Note the non-committal terminology that treats each intercept target as if it might have been a separate object.) A sketch of what the object looked like when seen in silhouette against the moonlit cloud deck is contained in the file. It was estimated to be about the size of a fighter aircraft, but had neither discernible wings nor tail structures. It was somewhat bullet-shaped, tapered towards the rear, but with a square-cut aft end. It seemed to have "a dark or dull finish".
Discussion. -- Ground radar stations never detected the unknown that was seen visually and contacted by airborne radar. The report indicates that this may have been due to effects of "ground, clutter", though the F-61 was seen intermittently on the ground units. The airmen stated that no exhaust flames or trail were seen from this object with its "stubby, clean lines". The total duration of the six attempted intercepts is given as 10 minutes. We deal here with one of many cases wherein radar detection of an unconventional object was supported by visual observation. That this is carried as Unidentified cannot surprise one; what is surprising is that so many other comparable instances are on record, yet have been ignored as indicators of some scientifically intriguing problem demanding intensive study.

RAF chase across the North Sea to Holland in January 1947.
1947 – At 11:30 at night in the North Sea an RAF Mosquito pilot picked up a strange object on radar 50 miles north of the coast of Holland. The UFO seemed to be taking evasive maneuvers when approached by the fighter aircraft. The UFO was pursued for 30 minutes until over the Norfolk, England coast, at which point the object darted away. (Source: APRO Bulletin, December 1977, p. 7).
On the evening of 16 January 1947 Flight Lieutenant David Richards was a senior controller and 2nd in Command of the filter room of RAF No. 11 Group, Bentley Priory. This was situated in the grounds of Hill House, a large Victorian mansion at Stanmore, northwest of London. A Bullseye exercise was in progress, involving mosquitoes of 25 and 29 Squadrons, from RAF West Malling in Kent. Two aircraft from 29 Squadron were operating off the East Coast under the control of the GCI at Trimley Heath, near Felixstowe, Suffolk. GCIs reported to 11 Group Operations Room at Uxbridge, who 'told' their plots to the Filter Room at Stanmore. The first clue that something unusual had happened came when Richards received a call on a landline. He recalled:

"Trimley came up on my direct phone to report a strange plot which was either stationary at a great height or moving erratically at a great speed and then stopping again. If this was a conventional aircraft it would have travelled in a straight line, but it did not do that. This was not an aircraft, it was something very odd. 400 mph [quoted in the Daily Mail] is a pretty disappointing figure, as it is within the range of some 1947 aircraft types. Somebody – either at one of the [radar] stations or at Uxbridge [11 Group Operations Room] – had computed speed between the rather intermittent plots and had come up with a startling figure of 1,000 mph." [4]

A speed of 1,000 mph was truly startling, for it was not until October 1947 that US test pilot Chuck Yeager first broke the sound barrier (760 mph/1,220 kph at sea level) in a Bell X-1 rocket plane. Richards continues:

"This [estimated speed] emphasises that the thing did not appear to move in a straight course, but faded and reappeared and sometimes stood still, before fading again. Without visual identification – there was none – it would be impossible for the [crew] to be certain it was investigating the same object. Note that it [the Mosquito] carried out an interception on a Lancaster during the 40 minutes between. In this time, at even 400 mph a straight course would take the aircraft from the East Coast to Scotland! I can recall this question of plot identification arising in conversations between us, our stations and Uxbridge at the time. They [Trimley Heath GCI] were looking at the tube and could judge if the echoes were the same object or a new one. This probably gave rise to the estimated speed, based on reappearances in a different place and a different height. Trimley were interrogated on this both by ourselves and Uxbridge, but stuck to their guns. After some talk between Uxbridge and the scientific officers at the stations making the observation on the validity of their plots, not a meteorological balloon etc (which I had already done), it was decided to [divert] a Mossie to investigate." [5]

If the target was a plane, it was displaying unheard of flight characteristics. Yet if it wasn't a plane, what could it be?...

Other expert opinion attributed the unusual radar blips to freak weather conditions. Operation Charlie coincided with the arrival on 24 January 1947 of a deep cold weather front over southern England, a fact that did not escape attention at the Air Ministry. Before the 1950s, knowledge of the role played by freak weather conditions in the production of "false" echoes nick-named "angels" was in its infancy. Although little understood at the time, the astronomer Dr J. Allen Hynek, who was employed as a consultant to the US Air Force Project Blue Book, believed "atmospheric inversion effects" were the most likely explanation for the English "ghost plane" reports. [21] This explanation is challenged in a technical assessment of the evidence by Martin Shough (see Appendix).

The Air Ministry may have decided it could dismiss the majority of the mysterious blips on its screens as balloons, but in July when the US authorities began to investigate reports of "flying saucers," the RAF continued to list the North Sea incident as "unexplained". Dr Hynek's notes on this case read: "The object observed here was obviously not astronomical. From the information given, it appears that this was definitely an aircraft..." [22] This raises an obvious question: if it was an aircraft, then where was it from?...

This investigation into the British records has established that six months before Kenneth Arnold's sighting, the RAF had logged its first official report of an "unidentified flying object." Furthermore, by July 1947 when the first sightings of "flying saucers" were made in the USA, the Air Ministry remained unable to explain the intruder it had logged in January of that year. This implies that an exchange of intelligence on "unidentified flying objects" between the USA and UK began in 1946-47 with the ghost rocket and ghost planes.