Category 11 Case Directory
SIGHTINGS FROM AIRCRAFT
Preliminary Rating: 5
|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.
|3:00 p.m. local
Duration 2-1/2-3 mins
No radar contact
June 24, 1947; Mt. Ranier, Washington
At 3:00 P.M., pilot Kenneth Arnold, was flying his airplane near Mt. Rainier and noticed some flashes of light. He then saw the source of the flashes; a string of nine very bright metallic objects. Interesting that multiple daylight objects were the subject of the first major UFO sighting wave of the summer of 1947, all preceded by the Arnold sighting. Bloecher found 20 reports on June 24! These were mostly in the far northwestern states of Washington, Oregon and Idaho. Sightings were scattered throughout the day from morning to night. After the 24th, the sighting rate stayed at about 10 per day or higher, with sightings occurring not just in the west but throughout the country.
In the PBB records Fred Johnson's sighting occupies a unique position: it is the first of 701 UFO reports that the AF admitted it could not explain at the time PBB closed in 1969. Inasmuch as Arnold's sighting preceded Johnson's by a minute or so, the astute reader may ask why Arnold's sighting is not the first unexplained sighting (and Johnson's the second)? The answer is that the AF analysts claim to have explained Arnold's sighting as a mirage! Of course, it is difficult to imply that the objects seen by Arnold and Johnson could be both explained and unexplained.
"I spent the next twenty to thirty seconds urgently searching the sky all around - to the sides and above and below me - in an attempt to determine where the flash of light had come from. The only actual plane I saw was a DC-4 far to my left and rear, apparently on its San Francisco to Seattle run. My momentary explanation to myself was that some lieutenant in a P-51 had given me a buzz job across my nose and that it was sun reflecting off his wings as he passed that had caused the flash. Before I had time to collect my thoughts or to find a close aircraft, the flash happened again. This time I caught the direction from which it had come. I observed, far to my left and to the north, a formation of very bright objects coming from the vicinity of Mt. Baker, flying very close to the mountain tops and traveling at tremendous speed.... I observed a chain of nine peculiar looking aircraft flying from north to south at approximately 9,500 ft elevation and going, seemingly, in a definite direction of about 170 degrees."
Detailed reports and documents
The Story of the Arnold Sighting [March 2002] (Bruce Maccabee)...[Archived pdf version]
Another Failed Explanation for the Kenneth Arnold Sighting (Bruce Maccabee)
The Singular Adventure of Kenneth Arnold (Martin Shough)
Return of the Flying Saucers (Martin Shough)
The Ruppelt Version (Edward Ruppelt)
reports/470624ranier_report.htm (Dan Wilson)
Arnold's Confidential Report to AAF (Project 1947)
CIC Memo by Frank Brown (Project 1947)
UFO REPORTS (Arnold Sighting) (Project 1947)
Interview of Arnold by Edward R. Murrow (CUFOS)
Spring 1948 article (Fate)