The UFO Files
Chiles-Whitted UFO Incident:
jkrog08, on May 30,
2009 at 12:42 GMT
This thread will conclude the series of threads I have made regarding what were called “The three classic UFO cases of the late forties” by the Blue Book head, Captain Edward J. Rupplet. Remember Roswell at that time had not been broken open and everyone accepted the USAFs explanation. This was the first reported commercial airliner UFO incident and as far as witness credibility goes this case again provides solid witnesses. This case ranks right up with the JAL-1628 case (which ATS member internos so expertly laid out for this board last year) as far as commercial airliner-UFO encounters are concerned. Out of the three cases I have covered very recently this one has the least acceptable ‘alternate’ explanation. This case also is likely the most interesting in regards to it showed a clear attempt by USAF personal to really find out what was going on. There were even divided sides of what it was between an ET craft and a Russian secret craft. The conclusions reached by the USAF personal in this case lead many to believe that this and others were truly of extraterrestrial nature. So I hope this case opens some eyes out there to the fact that regardless of what you think the cause, something IS going on in our skies and has been for many decades or more.
On July 24th, 1948
two pilots of an Eastern
airliner witnessed something extraordinary and
truly ‘out of this world’,
but what was it? The airliner took off from Houston
on a seven hour flight
and was cruising northeast between Mobile and
Montgomery, Alabama on route
to Atlanta, Georgia. They were cruising at 5,000
feet with twenty passengers
onboard at an airspeed of 150 knots (around 200mph).
The following is a
brief overview of the witnesses, then I will
continue with the actual sighting.
Airline passengers, especially those who have purchased first class airline tickets in advance, do not expect their flight to be interrupted by a UFO encounter. Executives and government employees who travel on first class airline tickets are used to keeping a tight schedule so any type of disturbance greatly affects their plans.
The days around and early morning hours of July 24th, 1948 were full of reports of a UFO from both ground and air in the region. See the following links that point to the fact that obviously something was in the skies in the days around the incident and that night.
At 2:45AM on July 24th Eastern flight 576 in transit from Houston to Atlanta noticed a strange light dead ahead in the horizon. Captain Clarence Chiles was the first to spot it as the crew were on a “visual flight plan” and thus highly alert to their surroundings. The reddish-orange glowing object seemed to be closing rapidly on them. Chiles mentioned over to his First Officer, Whitted that he thought it was a new military jet approaching. The object continued its course directly at the DC-9 in a slight dive, when it appeared the object was going to collide with the airplane Chiles banked the plane to the left to avoid a mid-air collision. Strangely enough the object in turn banked to its left as if to avoid collision itself! Whitted looked outside his window and saw the object “streaking silently by” about half a mile from their wingtip(on his side) and 500 feet higher. Whitted reported that it looked like a “rocket ship” straight out of Buck Rogers. It was roughly 100 feet long with two rows of brightly lighted windows. They estimated the crafts speed at least 700mph as the sighting took place in only 5 seconds. The craft was giving of a “blue glow” off its underbelly. As the craft passed its “exhaust plume” nearly blinded the pilots, who had been in the darkness of night for hours. The plume reportedly was an orange-red type of color. This sighting made front page new headlines across the country.
This encounter was taken very seriously by the military, as the craft resembled German V-2 rockets and the war was not yet 5 years old. Also the fears of advanced Soviet craft to counter the U.S. nuclear threat was a possibility in the minds of many officials. Not to mention this just added to the huge surge in sightings between 1947-1948, which is when the UFO phenomena really took off and the term “Flying Saucer” was coined. The witnesses of this case were again solid and in addition the numerous reports of a similar craft in the area in the days prior, during, and after the sighting gave huge credibility to this case. Keep in mind also that no craft at that time were known to be capable of speeds in excess of 700mph, let alone able to fit the description of the windows on the craft.
Aftermath of Sighting
After the plane safely landed in Atlanta the two pilots were giving reports of the incidents to reporters, Eastern Airline officials, and military officials. Project Sign was again called to investigate. The pilots made sketches of the craft for the Sign personal:
Images of Chiles and Whitteds sketch of craft courtesy of nicap.org
Here are the official statements from the two pilots courtesy of bluebookarchive.org:
Captain Chiles statement….
First Officer Whitteds statement….
|Here is some
on the post-event ‘chaos’ that surrounded this event
The first thing Project SIGN wanted to do was to impress airline pilots with the idea that they should not reveal such incidents to the press before they reported them to the Air Force. On July 30, Alfred Loedding, Project SIGN's civilian engineering analyst, arrived at Eastern's office in New York and and personally asked the airline's vice president of operations to forward any future flying object sightings directly to Col McCoy at Wright Field. Eastern's President, Eddie Rickenbacker, was suspicious about Loedding and wrote directly to McCoy to confirm the instructions. When Rickenbacker was satisfied that Loedding was who he said he was, he issued orders to his pilots to do as Project SIGN asked.
Here is some more information
for you all:
The Air Force was besieged with questions. Major General Charles P. Cabell, Director of Air Force Intelligence, personally ordered a Project SIGN investigation of the Chiles-Whitted report. Air Force insiders must have shocked by the sketches the two pilots produced - they looked exactly like the RAND "World-Circling Spaceship" and the Navy HATV studies. General George Kenney, the chief of Strategic Air Command, said wistfully in Santa Monica, Project RAND's headquarters, that the Air Force didn't have anything like the object, but he "wish[ed] it did." The Chiles-Whitted sighting was long considered one of the most significant early UFO reports by both Air Force and civilian researchers, but the existence of the secret space launcher designs, with their strong resemblance to the object, provides an important clue to the urgency and magnitude of the Air Force reaction to the report.So what we have here is probably one of the best cases, if not the best EVER in Ufology. We literally have the military running around trying to find answers and addressing the public. Here is a press memorandum issued to the press on April 27th, 1949. Maybe now we can understand why the military feels the need to suppress this information, even if we don’t agree one can understand the anticipation of mass fear considering there is technology out there that is FAR more advanced than ours is even now. Luckily for us this was still a time before the real cover-up began (in my opinion as always).
courtesy of bluebookarchive.org
MEMORANDUM TO THE PRESS
2) Alternate Explanations and Official USAF Explanation
There are four alternate explanations I should mention, only one seems possible and that would still leave us with a conspiracy!
First put forth but quickly dismissed for obvious reasons.
A New Navy Plane?
The Navy RV-6 Constitution was put forth as a possible explanation for at least the shape of the craft, it is obvious the USAF was really trying here, even though this is obviously not what was seen.
But for this to be true one would have to assume that the pilots imagined the flame and speed of the craft due to fatigue of a long flight. Yes the airplane is cigar-type shaped and has two rows of windows but the final word from the Navy does this one in. It was proven by the Navy that no such craft was in the area at the time, so this one is definitely out. But we can see that this case was of the most importance, the frenzy to find a solution to the problem was without question.
But SIGN went much further than that. It began the herculean task of attempting to determine the positions of all aircraft in the southeastern United States on the night of 23-4 July 1948 in order to rule out a near-miss with any other plane. The case file is crammed with scores of teletype messages to airports, military air bases and airline operations offices, requesting departure and arrival times of all flights at their location, as well as identity and type of aircraft involved. Within hours, bewildered air traffic controllers and dispatchers began replying with the requested information, and when all 255 flight reports had been received, SIGN compiled the data into a huge table that served mainly as evidence of the intense pressure the Wright Field technical intelligence personnel were feeling from their superiors.
A ‘Ghost Rocket’?
The two main explanations that
divided the Sign team
were this one and the ET hypothesis. As many know
the Germans had developed
the V-2 rocket by the end of World War Two and were
well on their way to
developing newer generation rocket systems.
Fortunately for us they never
got the chance, at least that is what we thought.
When the U.S. and Soviets
split Germany in half after the war, there was a mad
rush to get as many
of the remaining German scientist as possible before
the other side did.
In the U.S. this was code named Project
Paperclip. It was postulated by Sign that this
was possibly one of
Here is a sketch of the craft the pilots saw in comparison with rocket craft in development at the time:
The pilots sketch, about 100 feet long..…
The RAND spaceship, about 70 feet long……
The Navy/Martin HATV(High Altitude Test Vehicle), about 77 feet long…
The Navy/North American HATV, about 86 feet long….
All rocket images courtesy of project1947.com
So was it one of these that was seen? Well no unless one can explain how these rockets were at an altitude of 5,000 feet and in a controlled flight for many hours or days(length of sightings). Not to mention these did not exist at the time, so if you believe this theory then you must believe that the U.S. covered up having advanced rocket technology immediately following World War Two. Alternatively you could believe this was a secret Soviet craft but then again we must believe that the Soviets were FAR more advanced then we have been told, not to mention what the hell was Soviet rockets doing over United States airspace? This theory can not hold unless either the U.S. or U.S.S.R had developed some type of rocket craft that defies all known rocket science by being able to maintain a stable horizontal flight and then drastically change course and become vertical! So either way this one leads to a conspiracy, so I say dead end on this, but who knows. Here are some additional links to this theory:
This is now the official story, but like always the first official story was “unknown” but in the later years changed to meteor despite the counter evidence and the USAFs OWN personal believing this was a true extraterrestrial spacecraft! It was put forth by Major Boggs after retracting an earlier hypothesis that the object was a mirage. Boggs postulated that what the pilots had seen was a “horizontal moving meteor” from the Delta Aquarid meteor stream, but gave no explanation as to how it could take a non-ballistic 90 degree upward turn (when it was last seen by Whitted). It is also noteworthy to point out that this stream was no where near the object that was seen, and even if it was this does not account for the non-ballistic course of the object. I think Major Boggs had some very poor advice.
After this candid admission of his intentions, the Project consultant earnestly attempts to fit the two pilots' space ship description to a slow-moving meteor.
There are a few issues with this now official explanation:
3) Final Conclusions
This case is truly a “monster” and clearly shows that at least at one point the USAF was truly trying to find the truth. This case remained classified as unknown for many years until being changed officially in the 60’s to the meteor theory, despite the obvious lack of evidence. Cover-up? It doesn’t have to be, it could have been due to Blue Book being closed and officials wanting closure on the UFO phenomena, so the open cases could have been hurriedly closed.
In my opinion the only thing that fits here is that a truly unknown intelligently flown object was seen that morning. Apparently the USAF originally agreed as well. This is one of the best cases in Ufology as any alternate explanation given or could possibly be given for that matter is inadequate to describe and explain what Captain Chiles and First Officer Whitted saw. Was this case a rare combination of a strange moving meteoroid and physiological stress as the USAF would now have us believe? Or was it some secret, super-advanced rocket test by the Soviets or Americans in the short years following World War Two? I think if we apply Occam’s Razor to this case then the simplest explanation would be that this was simply a craft of unknown and non-Earthly origin.
This case added to the growing number of seasoned pilots seeing UFOs and reporting them. This case became the first case involving a commercial airliner, and it was not the last. Is one to believe that all these cases are simply “mistaken identities”? I think not, and I further think that it is cases like these, that were heavily documented by both civilian and military researchers that truly clinch the fact that YES there are UFOs, or better, unknown objects of unknown origin (UOUO,lol). Another fact that I would like to mention is that many people on average do not know of this case or other very solid cases, because they either happened so long ago or were not popularized by the media due to whatever reasons. Just because a case doesn’t have pictures of the UFO does not make it a bad case, there is usually a lot of other information on it. That is the bad thing with a lot of the good cases, they don’t have many or any pictures so people tend to shy away from them without digging deeper.
Again the final decision is all of ours individually to make based on the available evidence. Think what would happen today if this occurred! This would be all over the news for weeks. This was a very serious event and taken very seriously by our military officials here in the states. I sure want to know what is going on and what all these people have been encountering for all these years, I also want to know how safe it is to fly in the air considering these things appear everywhere! While I doubt their intent is to harm (or they would have already) I still think this is an issue for air safety. Any logical minded person would look at cases like this and the many others and see (if they just did some research into this topic) that there really is something going on, hell you can tell by the way the USAF acted in this case alone! It is now easy to see why this was included in Captain Rupplets “three classic cases of the late 40’s”.
In my opinion it is time for all who haven’t to wake up and realize that all these experienced pilots and witnesses are not mistaking normal things for UFOs, are some? Sure, but for all of them to the odds would be ridiculous. This is a serious topic as I believe others and myself have shown, so it is time for everyone to take a serious perspective on this and attempt to find out what really is going on here. I want to leave you this quote from the head of Blue Book himself about the incident:
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