Part 2-13:  "Appeared to Touch the Ground"



 

June 5, 2006

Dan Wilson:
Pickering re-interviewed by Bill Jones, April 12, 1977. Taken from UFO's: A History 1948 - Loren Gross. (Text in previous chapter)
The Pickering interview was just presented in full in previous chapter, Part 2-12.

Brad Sparks:
Where is the part about how the UFO "dipped down touching a grass strip that was a cleared extension of the runway"?

Fran Ridge:
The UFOH 1948 is where that came from, but two docs I found say "came very near". Doc USAF-SIGN8-217 is the Pickering questionnaire, followed by the page in question, frame 218, which can be found at the end of this "chapter".
In fact, this is one Wendy Connors found a long time ago

Brad Sparks:
I thought your other postings already answered this, it was a 1977 APRO interview of Pickering. That Jan 14, 1948, doc states it "appeared to touch the ground or was very close to touching it," which confirms the 1977 interview.

Fran Ridge:
I don't know (without looking) about the interview, but FTR we will have to go with the two docs that say "very near the ground". Don't you think?

Brad Sparks:
No. I wasn't challenging it, just wondering.  The Jan 14, 1948, report fully confirms it, that it "appeared to touch the ground" or came very close (an apparent caution about saying too much that would sound too unbelievable). 

Fran Ridge:
Dan, Since earlier documents (two of them) say "very near the ground" it would seem that the 1977 interview might reflect either Pickering's thoughts that year or an error in the interview notes. But as Brad pointed out, Pickering probably was afraid to put into the 1948 report (remember landing cases were rare in 1948) what he really saw, especially when he was warned not to even talk about the incident.

Brad Sparks:
Yes but .... the Jan 14, 1948, report DOES say it "appeared to touch the ground" or come close to it, so the impression was not invented only decades later in 1977 for APRO, it was reported all along just not elaborated on because of understandable sensitivities.

Tom DeMary:
The "Wendy" document is at at the Blue Book site. In the 1977 interview Pickering also claims that the object made a circle around the entire air base, something not claimed in anyone's (including Pickering's) 1948 Blue Book statements. That seems more than "a little off" to me. The 1977 interview is included in K. Randle's Mantell article at UFO updates.

Brad Sparks:
Well I beg to differ.  Pickering's 1948 account specifically places the object maneuvering over Commercial Point 3-5 miles to the WSW of Lockbourne and disappearing into the high overcast at 120 degs (ESE) at the end of 20 minutes of maneuvers which had included a landing or near-landing.  This makes a circling of the base consistent with appearing on both sides of Lockbourne, east and west.  Can't make it out to be in one direction only so as to make it Venus -- which was not in the ESE at 120 degs azimuth. Thanks for locating the BB Archive doc refs as it led me to the unsanitized name of the Lockbourne amateur astronomer Control Tower operator I previously discussed who turns out to be Frank M. Eisele. This is now bringing to memory that maybe McDonald investigated this case and maybe interviewed Eisele and others (it's a vague memory, not sure). 

Fran Ridge:
I won't put this (transcript) on CE and SHG yet. Want you to read it first, then I'll post it. Be ready to respond to

Brad Sparks:
Well in a way it's laughable.  Mantell chased the object for 90 miles from Godman to Franklin.  A 100-foot Skyhook isn't even visible to the naked eye from 90 miles distance.  That's an angular size of 0.7 arcminute and Minimum Angle of Resolution is about 1 arcminute.  Sorry doesn't wash, it's a violation of the laws of physics and physiological optics. Kevin seems to think that Mantell could climb vertically straight up to a Skyhook at 100,000 ft (notice even Moore does not say the Skyhook went that high).  Does he not realize that the F-51D had a maximum climb angle of only 17 degrees?  It couldn't go straight up like some later jets could. Also the 10 minutes at 20,000 ft without oxygen reminds me of a comment that was reported of Mantell's radio conversation in AF files where Mantell said he would fly that way for 10 minutes then break off.  That could mean Mantell knew exactly how long he had and was well aware of what he was doing.  Also the oxygen mask blocking the clear reception of voice reminds me that the last transmission was garbled and could not be understood.
 
Drew Speier:
I may do a follow-up report on the Mantell case in July.

Kevin Randle:
Read the transcript and I think there are a couple of points that need to be made for the sake of accuracy. Thomas Mantell was not an "ace." He was a transport pilot who received the Distinguished Flying Cross for action during the Normandy Invasion, but he did not shoot down five enemy aircraft (the requirement to be an ace). That is not to say he wasn't brave, as the DFC proves, just that he didn't fly fighters during the war.

Fran Ridge:
Kevin, I wasn't aware of that, so when WFIE did the story I didn't make any comments. I was more concerned about the fact that they wanted to use the story because it was somewhat "local", and I did strongly suggest that we had about 1500 unknowns and that the Mantell case was not listed AS an unknown. It still isn't, but there are far too many problems with the evidence gleaned from BB docs recently to write it off as a Skyhook. I suspect that it will remain a mystery, if nothing else.

Fran Ridge:
There were about 100 launchings of Skyhooks per year, about two a week. Skyhooks were written about (highly publicized) and discussed in unclassified documents. But, there is no launch date and location that even comes close to producing a Skyhook over Godman at that time. There WAS, but that has been changed twice and apparently turns out to be completely wrong. I'm open to new evidence and won't be upset if it indeed turns out to be a balloon explanation, but now is the time to place these events where they properly belong for the record.

Kevin Randle:
Thomas Mantell died in a tragic mistake of misidentification complicated by his violation of regulations. It is a sad tale but it is time to retire this from the UFO lore.

Mary Castner:
Boy did I stir up a mess. Just a FYI we will be posting the Skyhook tracking chart as well as some other data by the weekend I hope. So stay tuned.

Fran Ridge:
Mary, by the time this is all over we will have the case presented where it rightfully belongs, Skyhook or no Skyhook. Too many loose ends and problems as Brad has skillfully pointed out. But not for long. Then on to bigger and better things. I think you are doing all of us a favor. Anxious to see your report.




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