Category 11 Case Directory
SIGHTINGS FROM AIRCRAFT
Preliminary Rating: 2
|AVCAT is a special
project being conducted by NICAP, with the
help and cooperation of the original compiler
of AIRCAT, Dr. Richard Haines, and other
sources, to create a comprehensive listing of
sightings from aircraft with detailed
documentation from these sources, including
Projects SIGN, GRUDGE & BLUE BOOK.
|3:15 p.m. local
Duration 2 hrs
aircraft Piper Apache & a B-47
No radar contact
Oct. 23, 1957; Lake Wales and Bartow AFB, Florida (BB)
3:15 p.m. (approx) A large oblong object with a tail projecting north horizontally was observed high in the sky by five pilots in a Piper Apache aircraft The object was described as too shiny to be a weather balloon. The object stayed stationary over Haines City for more that two hours as the plane flew approximately 10 mile circles around it. All the witnesses were licensed pilots who have been flying for many years and have seen many weather balloons, and therefore, discounted the weather balloon theory on the basis of their experience. A B-47 aircraft with the call sign Venice 37 also observed the object as well as others on the ground in central Polk County. The object was estimated to be at 66,500 to 76,500 feet in altitude. Winds were reported to be 22 mph at 50,000 feet. The object was kept in sight until 5:42 p.m. when at that time the object appeared to be ascending rapidly and the next circling of the aircraft the object had completely disappeared.
One suspects a large stratosphere balloon, not a weather balloon. The descriptions are a bit confusing, but the use of the word “dirigible”, the pilot report that it appeared to have a “gondola” attached, the report that it was seen from all over Polk County, the very slow progress at a very high estimated altitude (around 70,000ft), and the bright reflectivity in conditions of low sun angle, are all suggestive of a stratosphere balloon of some type. The sun would have been low in the West, about 30 min before before sunset, and might cause a reflected light on one side.
Detailed reports and documents
reports/571023lakewales_report.htm (Dan Wilson)