Part 2 - 6:  The Accident Report


 

On June 1, 2006, while we waited on the 127-page accident report from Rod Dyke's Archives for UFO Research, Dan Wilson located some of documents in the BB Archive files.

Dan Wilson:
A few pages of the Accident Report are located here. (USAF-SIGN1-310, bottom line, says "Oxygen system was not serviced: System was in working order." (BTW, these documents are "reverse" print, with white type on black background. - Fran Ridge)
Dan Wilson:
39-page AF Report of Major Accident was found and posted.
MAXW-PBB3-748 is same doc as USAF-SIGN1-310 above.
which lists all of the following documents, MAXW-PBB3-746-782
 
Frame 6 (of 32), Part 1 of 4 of full Accident Report
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/MantellAccRptPages1-32.pdf
is
UFOArchivePage006
also is
MAXW-PBB3-743
States that Capt. Mantell did not have oxygen or oxygen mask. One must be careful when reading USAF aircraft accident reports for what I have found, they do not always tell the truth.

Raymond E. Fowler was born in Salem, Massachusetts and received a B.A. degree (magna cum laude) from Gordon College of Liberal Arts. His career included a tour with the USAF Security Service and 25 years with GTE Government Systems. He retired early after working as a Task Manager and Senior Planner on several major weapons systems including the Minuteman and MX Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles. Ray Fowler's contributions to UFOlogy are respected by UFO researchers throughout the  world. His investigation reports have been published in: Congressional Hearings, 

Ray Fowler:
In one of my courses on UFOs, I quoted from a declassified document which I no longer have but may have on a slide. "pilots Hammond NG737 and Clements NG800 climbed to 22,000 feet with Mantell in NG869, then continued on to their original destination because of lack of oxygen". This could imply that Mantell continued the chase because he HAD oxygen. I will try to find the slide of the government document. I believe the actual document is now with Barry Greenwood who purchased my non-abduction UFO files.

Fran Ridge:
Ray, since it was probably a BB doc, and we have looked at most of them recently, I did some checking. The Accident Report says:

"The object was still visible, and the Flight Commander was requested to investigate and attempt to determine the nature of the UFO if his mission allowed. The Flight Commander, Captain Mantell, stated he was on a ferry mission, but would investigate. Captain Mantell then started a spiraling climb to 15,000 feet, then continued to climb on a heading of 220 degrees, the approximate direction of the UFO from Godman Field.  At 15,000 feet the wing men turned back because they were not completely outfitted for flights requiring oxygen."

"Not completely outfitted" may mean all they lacked was tanks, but implies Mantell may have been equipped. Then later they say he wasn't equipped. <snip>. Also shown on our March 8 entry, specifically note MAXW-PBB3-668, which may be the doc you are referring to) 

"It is believed that Captain Mantell never regained consciousness.  This is borne out by the fact that the canopy lock was still in-place after the crash, discounting any attempt to abandon the aircraft. The UFO was in no way way directly responsible for this accident. However, it is probable that the excitement caused by the object was responsible for this experienced pilot conducting a high altitude flight without the necessary oxygen equipment." (Note: the object was referred to as a "UFO".)


On this day during the re-investigation sequence, a very controversial aspect of the Mantell tragedy came up. One source had mentioned Mantell's plane and his body were riddled with tiny pinholes. A short discussion ensued.

Don Ledger:
I have heard this story (holes in fuselage) as well a few times over the years, but I'd  be surprised if there weren't hundreds of holes in the aircraft's skin. It was held together with thousands of countersunk rivets, many of which could have pulled through from the stress of the spiral dive and the impact. I wonder if  pulled through rivets holes is where the story (began).....

Dan Wilson:
21 Jan 1948 cover letter and 35 pages from Accident Report that might have something in there.:
MAXW-PBB3-746-782
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs12.htm
(The following page, page 3 of that document group, is a better version of the one saying Mantell had oxygen, although un-serviced. See Frame 310, Part 1-4 - Fran Ridge)
MAXW-PBB3-748
 
Don Ledger:
I noticed two discrepancies in the Mantell incident as compared to the AAF report. First it mentions that the weather was CAVU-Ceiling And Visibility Unlimited which doesn't square with the mention of clouds in some reports. Also it states that Mantell "Violated AAF Reg. 60-16 Par. 45. However, Capt. Mantell was requested by Godman Field Control Tower to investigate objects in the sky causing this officer to go above limits of AAF Reg. 60-16." Note that (objects) was mentioned. Not object, indicating more than one bogey might have been seen in the sky by Godman Tower controllers.

Brad commented on this later on September 12 (2008) and it is placed here for its contextual value: "Yes, as I discovered earlier this year, there were two (2) UFO's, the main object at 205-210 degrees azimuth chased by Mantell, and the second one at 240-250 degrees tracked intermittently by theodolite on the roof of the hangar at Godman Field at the same time."

Actually, Dan Wilson had found the documents citing this information two years prior and we posted them on May 28, 2006.  Jean Waskiewicz had provided the transcripts.


 
 
Lt. Paul Orner:
NG800 gassed up and got more oxygen and flew a second mission on the same heading of 210° to a position of about 100 miles south of Godman Field to an altitude of 33 thousand feet and did not sight the object. At about 1645 CST when NG800 reported not seeing the object I left the Control Tower.

At about 1735 CST I returned to the Control Tower and a bright light different than a star at a position of about 240° azimuth and 8° elevation from the Control Tower. This was a round object. It seemed to have a dark spot in the center and the object moved north and disappeared from the horizon at a point 250° from the Tower. The unusual fact about this object was the fact that it remained visible and glowed through the haze near the Earth when no other stars were visible and did not disappear until it went below the level of the earth in
a manner similar to the sun or moon setting. This object was viewed and tracked with the Weather Station theodolite from the hangar roof.

Brad Sparks:
Mary and Joel have obtained the map from Barry who got it from C B Moore. The shocker is that Moore apparently even lied about Camp Ripley as the Skyhook launch site.  It was NOT launched from Camp Ripley but from Milaca, Minn., almost 50 MILES from Camp Ripley!!!  This guy can't tell the truth about ANYTHING especially when he alone has the documentation in front of him.

Re: Maps Just to clarify:  Barry Greenwood had it in his files all along since 1994, which is when he got it from Moore, not that he recently got it from Moore.  However Mary pried it out of Barry who had to scan it in several sheet segments then email it and then Mary got Joel to stitch the scans together, which he should be done with soon.  Also they are highlighting the 1-6-48 launch in red otherwise it is hard to tell which one is it.

(Joel's working on the map) Nashville Int'l Airport/Berry Field has Winds Aloft / Upper Air twice a day in Jan 1948 up to an average height of about the 257 mb level or 33,000 ft.  Louisville should have similar. Maybe you can navigate to see if the data is actually online or whether NCDC in Asheville NC has to be called by phone to get it.

Fran Ridge:
Transcript of WFIE-TV Show (already sent to a few on the list) was now posted on the NICAP site.
http://nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107_WFIE.htm



June 2, 2006

I asked Jean to send the file on Mantell from Loren's UFO History to Brad ASAP.

Fran Ridge:
What about the State Police report of an object 250' in diameter moving at a good clip? This is how it all started and they called Godman.

Brad Sparks:
All those initial reports are confused in my mind.  We need solid BB (Sign) reports to sort them out and I didn't find them in the BB files (yet).  Obviously size estimates like that 250-ft are notoriously unreliable -- could have been ten times closer and only 25 ft in size, etc.

(Blue Book documents regarding this was among the first ones we had in 2005 before the re-investigation started. Fran Ridge).
Also USAF-SIGN1-371 presented in Part 1-4..

Brad Sparks:
(Col. Hix report discussion).

Dr. Kevin D. Randle is a major in the Iowa National Guard as well as a prominent UFOlogist. Within the UFO Community he is often regarded as one of the leading experts on the reported crash of a UFO near Roswell New Mexico in July 1947.

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

Fran Ridge:
Mantell didn't violate any regs. He was ordered to pursue this object. When the military asks you to do something, that's an order.

Kevin Randle:
While the skyhook balloons might not have been classified, the project was, and Mantell and those with him and those in the tower were unfamiliar with the skyhook balloons. The evidence available today suggests that Mantell was attempting to intercept a skyhook that was at 80 to 100,000 feet, or something like 10 to 12 miles above him. ......... weather balloons of fifteen or twenty five in diameter, a skyhook that was four of five times as large and made of shiny material, seen at such a distance would certainly fool them. If you look at the drawings of the object made by the men in the tower, it is clear what they were describing.

Brad Sparks:
I believe the NY Times had a big article on Skyhook balloons in Sept 1947 when they were first launched and I think the article was reprinted in papers across the country.  I know of no way that an eyewitness observer can "see" a "project" whether secret or not, a "project" is an intangible and invisible structuring of human organization.  A person can only "see" a balloon, a physical object (and only if big enough and close enough).

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.

Joel Carpenter:
This is the famous statement "declassifying" the research applications of the Skyhook balloon system. "SKYHOOK BALLOONS PUBLICLY REVEALED, This article was published in the daily newspaper The Evening Telegraph, of Dixon, Illinois, USA, on February 13, 1951. "The physicist (Liddel) said 2,000 reports of 'flying saucers' were checked, and those considered 'whimsical' were eliminated. Of the 'reliable' reports, he said, "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons.'  " (See transcript below and actual document on the link provided).

If You Saw 'em You Were
Right, They Were Saucers

NEW YORK, (AP) -- A navy official confirmed today that "flying saucers" really existed, but actually were huge plastic balloons used in high altitude cosmic ray studies.

Dr. Urner Liddel, chief of the nuclear physics branch of the Office of Naval Research, made this disclosure in an article in the current magazine.

Liddel, in Washington, discussed the story further when newsmen queried him.

The Navy balloons, Liddel declared, were 100 feet in diameter and sometimes rose to a height of 19 miles. He added that winds might sweep them along at 200 miles an hour.

Sun did it

At dusk, the slanting rays of the sun lighted up the balloons' bottoms, giving them the saucer like appearances, Liddel said.

He added that many of the disks were sighted as the sun set. Liddel said the existence of the big balloons was kept secret because the project was connected with atomic developments.

Liddel, who was in charge of the balloons tests, said they carried instruments to record the results of collisions between cosmic rays and atoms in the earth's atmosphere.

No Longer Secret

He added that secrecy was "no longer necessary."

Liddel said he was convinced that a "saucer" photographed at 77,000 feet altitude over Minnesota was a Skyhook.
The physicist said 2,000 reports of "flying saucers" were checked, and those considered "whimsical" were eliminated. Of the "reliable" reports, he said, "there is not a single observation which is not attributable to the cosmic balloons."

These balloons, called Skyhooks by the Navy, were first used in 1947, about the time the disk were first sighted. Liddell said reports of "flying saucers" increased or decreased in proportion to the number of balloons sent aloft.

 
Fran Ridge:
That's interesting, Joel. We'll make that part of the record that it was "officially" announced in 1951, a little over three years after the Mantell incident. The part about the physicist checking 2,000 "flying saucer" reports, and after eliminating the "whimsical" ones there wasn't a single case that could not be attributed to "cosmic balloons" (Skyhooks) reminds me of the report about the U-2 years back. Same old bull crap.. The piece was obviously released as a debunking ploy, not as accurate information.

For the record, the May 1948 issue of Popular Science. "Are Secret Balloons The Flying Saucers?" spilled the beans three years earlier: Popular Science, May 1948

Brad Sparks:
This is secrecy revelation-mongering where the alleged secrecy has to be played so that the revelation seems all the more sensational.  What about NY Times news stories in Sept 1947 when the Skyhooks were first launched?  Kinda deflates the whole super-secrecy aspect.

Brad Sparks:
Response to Mary Castner's balloon/wind data.

Jean:
(I) attached pages from Loren's 1948 UFO History to Fran & Brad. (later posted to list)
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/Mantell_Gross1948.pdf

Brad:
(Gives OK to post preliminary analysis).

I would only add one more comment:  Maximum possible range to see a 100 ft Skyhook is 50-60 miles, otherwise it is smaller than the MAR subtended angle of about 1 arcminute.  And that 50-60 miles is assuming very generously that ALL 100 feet of the Skyhook is lit up by sunlight in the daytime of course (NOT visible at all at NIGHT) which I doubt very much.  Looking at the 1994 CAUS article photos of the Jan 6, 1948, launch NOT from Camp Ripley (Moore lied even about that) but launched from 50 miles away at Milaca, Minn., it looks like maybe the 100 foot length includes about 50 feet of cabling to the instrument package and about 50 feet of balloon.

Dan Wilson:
Incident 30 & 32 at Columbus, Ohio. Hard to read. Says UFO was Venus.
MAXW-PBB3-379- 386, 389 - 402
A far better version exists in
NARA-PBB2-489

------------------------------

(Note: Transcripts for these documents, created by Jean Waskiewicz and released on Aug. 10, 2006, are moved up in this chronological timeline to match these documents secured by Dan Wilson).

Incident 30, Captain Charles McGee statement:


Very bright white light southwest of the field. The light did not cast a beam and seemed the size of a flood light. From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation. At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking at a large spot light. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away.

AIRDROME OPERATIONS                             CH?/wew
LOCKBOURNE ARMY AIR BASE
Columbus 17, Ohio

ADGP/319.1 14 January 1948

SUBJECT:       Report of' Unusual Circumstance.
TO:                  Commanding Officer, 332d Fighter Wing, Lockbourne Army Air Base, Columbus 17, Ohio.

1.  At approximately 1925 EST on the 7 January 1948 I turned to runway 23 for an overhead approach at traffic altitude (1500 ft). Just prior to break-away saw a very bright white 1ight southwest of the Field. I began my 360° approach. It struck me that the light was very unusual and it was not on the ground so I looked in its direction at again from my base leg position, It appeared the same and as though it were about 3000 feet is the air. While on my base leg the light suddenly disappeared. The light did not cast a beam and seemed the size of a flood light. While on my approach it flashed on and off again immediately. I landed and taxied to the ramp thinking that it may have been a reflection from the ground or the like.

2.  Before flying I had heard part of an interphone conversation from Letterson Center to Olmstead Center relative to a circular object seen over Tennessee. I returned to the Operations Building. While there, the airways operator, Mr. Eisele, said the tower operator, Mr. Boudreaux, reported seeing something unusual southwest of the field. I stated that I had seen an unusual light and suggested calling him to check. We called the tower on the "squawk" box, and Mr. Boudreaux, said the light was what he had been watching about 15 minutes or so and that through the field glasses it appeared to have bluish streaks like a jet effect out from the right. He stated that it went out while I was in the pattern.

During the conversation he said it could be seen again (1935-1940). We went to the door to observe.

3.  From the ground the light appeared to move westward. It was further west and lower than I saw it in the air, also the light was similar to that of a lantern light in that it was glimmering. The light varied yellowish to orange and appeared to be descending and burning out. It moved very slowly and finally disappeared. The latter observation may be that in its westward movement it appeared to be fading out and descending, however the light was not nearly as bright on the second observation.

Ltr. Subj: Report of Unusual Circumstance (13 Jan 48) cont'd
At first it was very white and did not appear to be moving though when it flashed on and off it appeared as in a fast descent. With the naked eye I could at no time make out any shape other than the light being oval shaped as though looking directly at a large spot 1ight.

4.  This object was too large and too sharp a light to be a reflection from the ground. It was not a heavenly body of any type in that the sky was solid overcast in the Lockbourne area and the object’s movement outweighs such a thought. I heard no noise in connection with the object. I estimated at the first observation that it was 4-5 miles southwest of the base. At the second appearance it was 6-7 miles west and moved westerly in a hovering manner but moving away. The winds at this time were west-southwest averaging 6 miles per hour.

                    Charles E. McGee
                    Captain USAF
Ass’t Opns Officer 


Transcripts available for Incident 32, Lt. C.W. Thomas statement

USAF-SIGN1-275 (also MAXW-PBB3-390)
Lt. C. W. Thomas and Lt. Sims were making a regular cross country flight and reported in to Columbus Airways who asked them if they saw any unusual object in the sky. This report was relayed to Lockbourne ­ See Eisele’s report ­ Incident 30c.

Lt. C. W. Thomas and Lt Sims (??-0226) were making a regular cross country flight. They reported in to Columbus Airways who asked them if they saw any unusual object in the sky. They could see a large bright light off to the west. They estimated it to be below them, or about 3000 ft. It seemed stationery. The light was amber and looked like a large star or planet. It was about 15 miles away from them. The night was dark and overcast.




 

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