RADCAT Case Directory
  Category 9, RADAR  
Rating: 5  


RADCAT is a revitalized special project now being conducted jointly by NICAP & Project 1947 with the help and cooperation of the original compiler of RADCAT, Martin Shough, to create a comprehensive listing of radar cases with detailed documentation from all previous catalogues, including UFOCAT and original RADCAT.

B-29 Encounters High-Speed Targets Over Gulf
December 6, 1952
Gulf of Mexico

Fran Ridge:
This report is case #8, on the official clearance list of 41 formerly classified Air Technical Intelligence UFO reports cleared for Maj. Donald E. Keyhoe by Albert M. Chop, Air Force Press Desk. One of the most astonishing UFO sightings in the BB files with far-reaching implications.

Brad Sparks:

Dec. 6, 1952. About 100 miles S of Louisiana coast in Gulf of Mexico (BBU)
5:25-5:35 [5:37?] a.m. (CST). USAF crew of B-29 bomber, based at 3510th Flight Training Wing (Medium Bomber), Randolph AFB, Texas, radar observer 1st Lt Norman Karas, radar observer/Instructor Navigator 1st Lt. William W. Naumann, Jr., Staff Sgt B. R. Purcell, Staff Sgt. William J. De Rause, 2nd Lt. Robert J. Eckert, Staff Sgt. Harry D. Shogren. B-29 flying at 20,000 ft, course 320° true ground track (315° heading with wind from 276° 24 knots), 186 knots (214 mph) ground speed, 204 knots true air speed, tracked on radar one or a few high speed targets at a time moving in a straight line at about 5,240 stat. mph, followed by more targets [one or one new group about every minute for 5 minutes] also moving SE [ESE] typically at about 5,000+ mph. Initial targets, about 4 small blips in a group, approached from 330° true on a SE [ESE] heading moving 12-14 NM per 2.25 sec radar sweep [about 22,000 to 26,000 mph] passed B-29 at 15-20 (naut.) miles range at 70° true azimuth when stopwatch timing began, and disappeared at true azimuth 150° at a timed speed of 5,240 mph [apparently slowed]. Karas alerted the crew to the radar targets over the intercom. Twice radar observer Naumann called out a radar target in 3 or 4 o’clock position then visual observers Purcell and de Rause sighted corresponding blue-white flashes moving at high speed from left to right, front to rear on the right side of B-29, for 3 secs till disappearing [at roughly 5 o’clock position based on drawing in BB file] (estimated at 18,000 ft and 25 miles away). Naumann saw a group of radar targets move from 330° to 150° heading SE then “swing” around behind B-29 maintaining constant 30 (naut.) miles range for 10 secs then disappeared. Eckert saw radar targets on the left side of the B-29 move rapidly from 10 to 9 o’clock position closing in distance. Karas said up to 20 radar targets 1 or 2-3 at a time were seen mostly small round targets except one which was larger and shaped like an upright semi-circle arc open to the right moving to the right. Karas also tracked a “large” target approach from behind to 40 miles then disappear. Shogren sighted radar target moving from 10 to 9 o’clock position on scope [to the W]. At 5:35 a.m. (CST) Naumann tracked several (5?) blips merging into a ˝-inch arc about 30 nautical miles away (on 5-inch diameter radar scope set to 50 n.mi. radius thus about 10 nm arc) at 320° [true] bearing and crossed the scope moving out of range at 9,000+ mph. 10 mins  (Sparks; NICAP; McDonald; cf. Condon Rpt pp. 148-150; etc.)

Dr. James E. McDonald:
Just to cite briefly another example of a radar-visual sighting in the official unidentified category: the December 6, 1952, airborne sighting by the crew of an Air Force B-29 flying over the Gulf of Mexico at 18,000 feet in bright moonlight. More than six separate unknowns, seen on the B-29 radarscopes and by crewmen watching out side-blisters, passed at high speeds estimated at 5,000 mph from blip displacements.  Some of them were seen below the flight altitude, and others maneuvered in most unconventional patterns such as sudden course-reversals.  No meteor explanation would fit the visual sightings, and ground-return effects are essentially out of the question by virtue of the high altitude and by the features of the atmospheric laps rate at the time and area of this unusual sighting.  It remains an unidentified in USAF files.

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