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The Air Force is now ready to concede that many saucer and fireball
sightings still defy explanation; here LIFE offers some scientific
evidence that there is a real case for interplanetary saucers.
(The following is a report taken from the above article):
On Jan. 20, 1951, at 8:30 p.m., Captain Lawrence W. Vinther of Mid-Continent Airlines was ordered by the control tower at the Sioux City airport, to investigate a "very bright light" above the field. He took off in his DC-3 with his copilot, James F. Bachmeier, and followed the light. All at once the light dived at the DC-3 almost head on; it passed silently and at great speed about 200 feet above its nose. Both pilots wrenched their heads back to see where it had gone, only to discover that the thing had somehow reversed direction in a split second and was now flying parallel to the airliner heading in the same direction. It was a clear moonlight night and both men got a good look at the object. It was as big or bigger than a B-29, had a cigar-shaped fuselage and a glidertype wing, set well forward, without sweepback and without engine nacelles or jet pods. There was not exhaust glow. The white light appeared to be recessed in the bottom of the plane. After a few seconds the object lost altitude, passed under the DC-3 and disappeared. A civilian employee of Air Intelligence was a passenger on the flight, saw the object and confirms the description by the pilots.
The conditions for observation were excellent. One fact alone -- the astonishing reversal of direction performed by the object -- suffices to classify it as a device far beyond the known capacities of aeronautical science. Although its shape is different, the soundlessness of the object and the absence of observable means of propulsion relate it to the saucer class of phenomena.