RAF Flying Review Photo


Updated: 11/29/04:

Francis Ridge:
We are doing a service by re-checking our work time to time, but some things get a little redundant. Then sometimes new findings come out. For example, the date was found to be 1957; not 1954. Anyway, I realize we do not have the backup we need on the Rouen report and we will have to relegate the incident to its proper location. Those looking for information on it will find what we have learned on the NICAP site as soon as I post it. Our thanks to Clas Svahn for the images of the article below:

Clas Svahn:
Please see the link below to get the four pages from RAF Flying Review. July 1957:
Clas Svahn


Jan Aldrich:
The RAF Flying Review also had other articles and book views of the more silly aspects of UFOs during the 1950s.  I don't think you can transfer the authoritative aspect of the magazine to the photograph.  If there ever was an insufficient information case, it is this one!

Dick Hall:
Well, the comparison and analysis is very interesting, though some of his assumptions seem questionable, and I don't see how the "mast" can be determined to be a "tail fin"  How de we know what direction the object is headed?  If it is a "tail fin," then it would fit with other early Blue Book reports including BB Special #14n and cases like Ravenna, Ohio, in 1966 which had a prominent "tail fin."
I got the 1954 date for Rouen somewhere, very possibly from the editors of RAF Flying Review. Where is the documentation that it was instead taken on a specific date in 1957? Patrick Gross is still around, is he not?  What is his source, and can it be documented, that a French AF pilot took the photo while intercepting a radar UFO? That would certainly strongly increase the value of the case regardless of the date it was taken.

Brad Sparks:
Based on the various postings from 1999 to 2002 the RAF Flying Review for July 1957 apparently states "UFO photographed over Rouen in March, THIS YEAR [1957]."  V-J Ballester Olmos has a reference to a publication in the Bolton Observer (UK) in April 1957 that is earlier than FSR or RAFFR but I do not know if he or anyone has a copy of the article or knows what it says.  I've emailed asking him.  Bruce Maccabee posted on UpDates in 1999 that in the mid-70's he had written to the RAFFR asking for more info but they had nothing.  Bruce mentioned that Clade Poher had pursued inquiries with the French AF trying to identify the alleged pilot and the case but found nothing.

Report: Vicente Juan Ballester-Olmos:
Date: 5 March 1954 (non-event) Actual date: 5 March 1957
Location: Rouen, Seine Maritime (France)
Format: Picture
Photographer: Not known
Explanation: Probably a reproduction of the May 11, 1950 McMinville, Oregon UFO photograph.
References: The first source to this photo seem to be the Bolton (UK) Observer of April 1957 (mentioned by J.B. Delair, E. Cox and R. Twine in their “Provisional Catalogue of UFO Photographs.
Part One: 1883-1957”, The UFO Register, Volume 6, Number 2, November 1975). No one else seems to
have taken access to the primary source, which is probably the key to this issue.   Second source is the Flying Saucer Review, Volume 3, Number 3, May-June 1957, page 2. Just an illustration to an article on a RAF radar picking up a UFO, the photo appeared with the sole following caption “UFO photographed over Rouen, France, at 08.13 hours on March 5”. The third initial source was a Geoffrey Norris article entitled “Something in the Sky” printed in the July 1957 issue of the Royal Air Force Flying Review, Volume 12, Number 11, page 15. The mere few words devoted to the photo follows: “UFO photographed over Rouen in March, this year. Photos of UFOs are rare, never very clear. This is one of the few which seems authentic”.

The next published reference to this photo was Richard Hall's The UFO Evidence (NICAP, 1964), where the year 1954 was first mistakenly introduced. From this onwards, the photo has been reproduced in hundred of places, dated either 1957 or 1954. Deep historical and bibliographical research on the photo has been contemporarily made by investigators like Claude Maug? in France and Dr. David Clarke in the United Kingdom.

Remarks: Dr. Willy Smith, in a unreleased paper dated June 20, 1990, reviews part of the above and concludes that both the 1950 McMinville and the 1957 Rouen photos “are one and the same, i.e., the Rouen photo (which lacks any background details) is only a copy, many generations removed, of the Trent photo”. The paper's last sentence reads: ”As it stands now, the Rouen incident is only a phantom”. I support that as well. In a January 7, 2004 discussion in the SHG e-List, Dr Bruce Maccabee wrote that the
“aspects (of the two photos) are different”. Next, forum member Mary Castner replied that a comparison performed two years ago “concluded they were one and the same object”. Similarly, Loren E. Gross, in UFOs: A History. 1954: October,1991, page 68, writes: “...the Rouen photograph which bears such a strikingly compatible profile with the famous 1950 McMinville, Oregon, picture”.

Mary Castner:
Whoever, Joel, Brad and I did a review on this topic back in Jan 2002 as VJ mentioned. After much digging and Joel's QuickTime movie overlaying the two images  Rouen and McMinnville, which is impressive, along with a month long discussion about tracing the source, publication dates, descreening and other techniques used by newspapers, etc. it comes across strongly they are one and the same.
Yes, we found all the references VJ refers too (don't have the UFO Register article just reference) and a few more. I wanted to post yesterday, but Joel is too busy to write something and Brad told me its all ready been hashed out on the lists. Well apparently NOT!  I wanted a IUR article out of this even if short.
Here is the full J. Trent reference I found:
Facciamo alcuni esempi: Rouen. 5 marzo 1954. Un pilota francese, J. Trent, riprende un disco a forma di piatto. La foto è relativamente nitida. L'osservazione dei dettagli buona. Sulla calotta del disco si scorge un'antenna, identica a quella scorta sopra un disco volante comparso nel maggio 1950 sopra la cittadina statunitense di McMinville. All'epoca, Trent era riuscito a scattare un'immagine.  by Claude Poher,

"We make some examples:  Rouen.  5 March 1954.  A French pilot, J.  Trent, resumes a disc to plate shape.  The photo is relatively clear.  The observation of the details good.  On the cap of the disc an antenna, identical is noticed to that supply over an appeared disc flying in May 1950 over the American citizen of McMinville.  To the age, Trent was successful to release an image.  by Claude Poher, GEPAN.."
(Just put this thru the translater as in Italian. The a internet posting no longer there. How acturate this quote by Poher is I can't tell you. Maybe someone could check that one out.

Mary Castner:
I thought one of Joel's comments was most telling: 
Mary Castner:
That little movie you made (really cool) and Brad's measurements rather cinched it I think.
Joel Carpenter:
It would even be difficult for a professional SFX person to duplicate the  angles that closely with later models, and why go to the trouble. Photoretouching was a common art in those days -- I once went through
the  photo archives of the former Washington Star newspaper in DC and was amazed at how many of the prints had been heavily retouched. The reason was that the quality of reproduction in newspapers was so poor that they often had to  boost the contrast or define edges between areas of similar contrast in  order for things to be visible when actually printed in the paper. In some cases you'll see major differences between the _same photo_ printed in different papers because they retouched them to suit their own


In the case of the Rouen photo, I bet what happened was that someone wanted  to "regularize" the edges of the Trent image because it sort of fades out to  nothing on the edges, especially the right edge. If they straightened the antenna too, that would explain most of the changes.


Now Joel didn't say 100% it was one and the same rather it was the most plausible explanation.

VJ do you or anyone else have a copy of the Bolton (UK) Observer of April 1957 article? BTW: I when thru a NICAP folder of old 1954 French UFO clippings and nothing was mentioned about Rouen
not even something that could be mistaken for it. You would think something like that would have been mentioned sometime during 1954.
The only thing I found in the clippings that came close was from 1951. (I did not research beyond the file I had.)
"I was looking at the NICAP file of typed newsclippings and spotted something that got me to thinking that maybe French sighting was a composite or distorted and confused, deliberate or otherwise of another sighting and the photo got tagged to it.

It's from Point de Vue (French weekly), Sept 23, 1954.

Orange, France - 15 June 1951
At 1047 local time, two French pilots, Prie and Gallibert, of French Airbase #115 at Orange, took off in pursuit of an object "of circular form and metallic luster." The base at Orange received a minute-by
minute radio report of the chase by Lt. Gallibert.

"I am turning  toward the 'engine'. The disc is tilting on itself, and is movine off at increasing speed. We are pursuing it in the direction of Aspec-sur-Buech. Impossible to follow the object's climb; it is following and ascending trajectery at about 1000 km/hour." The chase lasted six minutes." (Translated by A. Melbane)

If the above was published you would think something on Rouen would have been found in the French clippings. If anyone out there has a 1954 French collection of clippings maybe you could check thru them for anything that comes across as the Rouen sighting."
Brad Sparks:

Yes, it is a copy of McMinnville heavily retouched or falsified, filling in the chopped off left edge, broadening the "pole," and sharpening the near edge of the bottom of the disk making it seem like it is tilted slightly more towards the camera -- when it is not.  Both pics have the "pole" off center about 4% of disk diameter to the left, coincidence??  I think not. 

Bruce Maccabee:
What you are saying is that, if this is a fake, then the faker did not simply photograph the second Trent photo (re-photoraphy) with, perhaps some defocus thrown in.  Instead, someone made a different picture and photographed it...a more complicated fake. As nearly as I can tell the Trent pole tilts to the left by about 10 deg relative to thebottom draw a line connecting the left and right extremeties to get an "average"
of the bottom edge which is slightly curved;  it was not photographed perfectly edge-on.)

Brad Sparks: 
The retouching has filled in the "pole" making it fatter and so it looks straight instead of tilted 10 degs.

Bruce Maccabee:
The top of the pole is more distinct.  This and other features prove what I said... it is not simple rephotography...a simple "copy of McMinnville."   The 4% off center comparison does not prove anything when combined with the difference in poll tilt.  The presumed hoaxer had to put some effort into making a different but very similar Trent-type UFO image.   Obviously, if one allows that the picture could be of a redrawn Trent type image, or an approximate model (hanging from an electric wire?) then it could be a hoax,   Virtually any single picture could be a hoax. My bottom line is that the picture is unprovable either way and remains in limbo since there is no evidence trail.   I would not go so far as to say it is a proven

Brad Sparks:
No what I am saying and said all along is that Rouen is a HEAVILY RETOUCHED Trent photo.  We can see what retouching in 1950 could do to sharpen the near edge bottom rim of the OTHER Trent photo and sharpen the point of the "pole" barely sticking op over that edge, in the Philadelphia Daily News version of the Trent photo on June 12, 1950.  When I told you about the Philly version a few years back you assured me it was simply newspaper retouching techniques of the day, 1950, nothing more. 

I have seen a heavily retouched Trent photo in some junky European UFO book that looks like the Rouen photo.  It is quite possible some European newspaper in 1950 heavily retouched the Trent photo -- after all it was a German newspaper on April 1, 1950, that fabricated for April Fool's Day the famed "little alien" between the two tall g-men photo, so they were not above outright hoaxes. 

Bruce Maccabee:
Quite possibly a poor copy of the Trent drawing in the UFO Evidence

An Italian summary of Rouen on the Internet names the "pilot, J. Trent."  Amusing.   Obviously the Italians didn't know what they were talking about.  So what?

Brad Sparks:
It proves that someone in Europe is confusing or fabricating the Trent case into becoming the Rouen case either unintentionally or deliberately.  

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