This summation and preliminary
analysis deals with what our team found during the re-investigation of
the Mantell Incident that I began on March 8th of 2006 as a result of
Channel 14 (Evansville, Indiana) Drew Speier's request to do a story I
originally objected to, which aired on May 23rd, 2006. This summation
try to expound on this without re-hashing my
seven reasons for thinking there was more to the case than the current
wisdom suggested. In other words, prior to this re-investigation I was
willing to accept the conclusion
of my colleagues, that Mantell had died in an accident chasing a
balloon of some type.
When the re-investigation began on March 8th, the first thing we did
was to re-examine the old Mantell case file. There were three documents
in that file that we had not paid too much attention to. One that
mentioned a "Plan 62" which had no real significance to us at that
time. Another, a hard-to-read inverted image in black with white
letters at the bottom that read, "Oxygen system was not serviced.
System was in working order." Yet another document that said Mantell's
body was removed before the Air Force accident team got there.
Somewhere in an old email from Dan Wilson is a report he filed on Plan
62. The report was not tied to any particular sighting, so the file got
sidestepped and was lost. But Wendy Connors document # 6 had
mentioned "Plan 62". Three months into our
re-investigation Plan 62 became the topic of discussion in the Mantell
case. Brad Sparks had a pretty good idea of what he thought it was, and
found more details. In the fall of 2008 Dan Wilson was able to get an
official document from the Air Force Historical Studies Office.
My research into Mantell led
me to examine Captain Ed Ruppelt's unedited manuscript for his book,
"The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects". It mentioned the Plan, but
not by number. This then, was
an important early discovery. Ruppelt's slip-up in his manuscript had
mentioned that "The people on Project SIGN worked fast on the Mantell
Incident, [in fact they heard about it through Flight Service while it
was all in progress.]..." Our investigation was to show
that Air Force personnel mentioned hearing about
sightings that infamous day at the other bases as the event was
Here is what Brad
Sparks added in June: "The Air Defense
Command (ADC) used
the Plan 62 intercom system, through the Air Transport Command's Flight
Service Centers, and the air traffic controllers of the Airways and Air
Communications Service (AACS) in those centers and outlying bases, to
coordinate the use of air traffic control towers and radars to track
the UFO. This was because at that time the ADC had only two operating
radars in the nation, both too far away, across the continent on the
West Coast (at Half Moon Bay, Calif., and Arlington, Wash.)."
Ruppelt had said in his published book (page 33) that "rumor had it
tower had carried on a running conversation with the pilots and that
there was more information than was so far known." Ruppelt stated the
rumors were not true. The evidence proves him wrong or a liar. We now
know that a lot of people heard Mantell and his men. Project SIGN was
even in on
Our report on file on the Mantell Incident file by the end of 2005 had
strongly suggested that something strange had been going on in the
region, and one of those documents
was USAF-SIGN1-310. A
better version of this document was uncovered by Dan Wilson on June
1st of 2006, but we actually had it in December of 2005. The bottom of document USAF-SIGN-310 clearly
reads, "Oxygen system was not serviced.
System was in working order." Regarding
Mantell having oxygen, my take was that the system, like an automobile
with a gas tank, carburetor and fuel pump, was in working condition,
except it had not been fueled or topped off with oxygen. Brad believes
Mantell not only had to have had oxygen, but has found supporting
in the Accident Report that we obtained and transcribed for our use and
USAF-SIGN1-372 documents that State Police officer Joe Walker arrived
at the crash scene and
stated that the pilot's body had already been removed. We later learned
that the ambulance crew had done this
and it was reported in a newspaper. The source was the Franklin
(Kentucky) Newspaper of January 8, 1948. "Mrs. Joe Phillips said she
telephone operator and asked for an ambulance and for help to be sent
to the crash site." And the very next line read: "The body of the
deceased pilot has been removed from the scene by ambulance men and
to the Booker Funeral Home, waiting for the family's instructions,
which was to be informed of the tragedy by
the authorities at Fort Knox."
NOT A BALLOON
Later on in the same document mentioned above, it states that a Dr.
Seyfert from Vanderbuilt University had spotted an object SSE of
Nashville, Tennessee. This turned out to be the infamous Skyhook that
the Air Force tried to blame for the object that fooled everybody and
subsequently lured Mantell to his death.
So, on March 8, 2006, the re-investigation began. My first interview
was on May 23rd, with Drew Speier on Channel 14 on the
On May 27, 2006 we found another version of USAF-SIGN1-372. It was
NARA-PBB2-854 and it mentioned again the famous Skyhook SSE of
Who in the Air Force investigated the Mantell incident? Early on in our
re-investigation it was clear that the Air Force took the case
seriously. And by 1952 it had still shaken the Air Force up. Michael D.
Swords wrote: "The core personnel for the
project were probably the most talented group to work on UFOs until the
Air Force ended its investigation in 1969. Aiding chief officer, Capt.
Robert R Sneider, were two outstanding aeronautical engineers, Alfred
Loedding and Alfred B. Deyarmond. Completing the group was nuclear and
missile expert Lawrence Truettner. The quality of these people
indicates the seriousness (and the comparative difference in later
years) with which the Air Force considered the flying disk problem."
On May 28, 2006, Dan Wilson found document MAXW-PBB3-714, that mentions
Loedding from Project SIGN. Wilson: "The cover-up of the Mantell case
begins with the timely discovery of a
document (MAXW-PBB3-714) signed by
base commanding officer, Colonel Guy F. Hix. In the document below it
clearly states that the civilian investigator (Alfred Loedding) from
Godman Field on January 9, 1948 and made a thorough investigation.
After obtaining statements and full information on the matter, he
(Loedding) issued instructions that no report on the subject would be
made until further instructions were given."
We also discovered on MAXWELL-PBB3-713 that two other aircraft had taken
off from Standiford
Field and might have been directed to go after the object. But nothing
else was found to verify this.
By May 29 Brad Sparks was checking on balloon launches and found
impossibilities and extreme
coincidences all over the place. The big skyhook balloon could not have
from Camp Ripley. More lies and evidence of a cover-up.
By May 31, Rod Dyke advised that the Archives for UFO Research
had a copy of the Official
Accident Report (Inquiry # 10-480107-1) It was essential that we order
the FULL official accident report, and this was done
immediately. Up until then we had pages from it, but
not the entire document. It was supposed to be 450 pages;
then was supposed to be 250 pages, and when we finally got it, it was
127 pages. What happened to the other pages, and what's on those
missing documents? We don't know.
By June 3 we had the great maps from Mary Castner & Joel Carpenter.
On June 3, Dan Wilson found docs that showed that even nine months
Mantell incident, it was listed as unexplained. Pages
from a restricted Routing
and Record Sheet document, signed by A. B. Deyarmond, Asst. Deputy for
Technical Analysis, AMC, part of which is presented here from frame 28:
7 Jan 1948 : Reference is
made to your
conversation with Capt. Sneider on 19 October 1948 concerning your
desire for a check on the position and visibility of Venus on 7 Jan
1948 between the hours 1330 and 1350 as compared to the position
of an unidentified aerial object. "4. The
obtained from MCREXE44
conclusively proves that
this object was not the planet Venus."
On June 5. Dan found the interview of Pickering by Bill Jones. One
of a UFO that "dipped down touching a grass strip that was a cleared
extension of the runway."
Brad checked Pickering's 1948 account that we
posted which specifically places the object maneuvering
over Commercial Point 3-5 miles to the WSW of Lockbourne and
into the high overcast at 120 degrees (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)." Albert Pickering's testimony nailed down the object's position
relative to Mantell. It was no longer guesswork.
Kevin Randle stated that Mantell's death was a tragic accident
complicated by his violations of AF regulations. But Mantell was asked
to investigate this object and in the military if you are asked, that's
the same as an order. This strongly implies he had oxygen because he
knew the limitations of flying above 14,000'.
By June 9, Brad made it clear, Mantell could not have seen any kind of
balloon 160 miles away. On the tenth he mentioned that he didn't know
if the sighting was of an IFO or a UFO, but if it was a Skyhook or a
UFO, it wasn't very well documented either way. By now even Tom DeMary
is convinced, by new calculations, that Godman Tower couldn't have seen
a balloon at 160 miles. Nor could the object, described by state police
as 250-300 feet wide moving a pretty
On June 13 Jean received the Accident Report. Jean was able
to reproduce the entire report in four pdf files so that Brad and
do their own analyses. On the same day Brad pointed out that
USAF-SIGN7-26 clearly states that Deyarmond was convinced the UFO was
not Venus. This was the first time such an anti-IFO statement had ever
been made by the Air Force, and at a time when they were scrambling to
explain a case
that had badly shaken them.
On July 26 (Airedale) my second interview with Drew Speier on Channel
took place. Our findings to-date were discussed.
The picture presented of Mantell chasing a Skyhook balloon to his death
with the region filled with IFO reports is false. There were UFO
reports in the region. The story of how Mantell said some things but
nobody was sure exactly what, is a lie. Everybody heard what went on
through Plan 62, even Project SIGN people heard it. Mantell didn't just
go above 14,000' and violate regulations. He was under orders and he
knew what he was doing. If he had oxygen problems that resulted in
anoxia and passing out, it was due to a problem, not him going
hell-bent-for-leather after a pinpoint of light in the afternoon sky.
And he reported more than that. The biggest balloon available that day
was too far away to be a factor. The case was covered up and declared
as unsolved, and was still unsolved and shook up the Air Force five
During the next few months we went over the data we had compiled,
including the accident
report records. Although our team had made many important new
discoveries, the importance of the Mantell case came into sharp focus
with Brad Sparks analytical skills on the Accident Report. After
several delays due to other pressing matters Sparks wrote the first
draft of his
analysis. Our report presented here includes our preliminary analyses
findings. Others wanting to provide their own separate analyses are
welcome to do so and their reports will be made part of the case record
as provided.Francis RidgeInvestigator & ResearcherNICAP Site Coordinator &