Date: Sat, 10 Jun 2006 08:37:15 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brad Sparks <RB47x@AOL.COM>
Subject: Re: MANTELL Not Venus, Not Balloon

As I said at the start of the present controversy I don't know if this is a
UFO or an IFO.  But if it is a Skyhook balloon it is not very well documented. 
If it is a UFO it is not very well documented. 

But a little more background on Mantell might be pertinent from his "closest
friend" Capt Richard L. Tyler, Operations Officer at Standiford Field,
Louisville, who was also the official Accident Investigator. 

Mantell was co-owner of a flight school, the Elkins-Mantell Flying School,
Louisville, thus a flight instructor.  He had been a flight instructor during
WWII and trained Chinese pilots.  He flew over Normandy on D-Day (and won the
Distinguished Flying Cross according to news reports).  He had a total of about
3,000 flight hours as of the time of his crash, 2,300 hours military flight
time.  About 70 hours of flight time in the F-51 (P-51) since Mantell started
flying it about May 1947. 

Tyler states that he believed that Mantell had "seen something more than a
star or balloon" and that Mantell "did respect the airplane and the dangers of
anoxia."  He concluded that:

     "If some outside force did not cause his death, I
     think he passed out too quickly to change his line of

That's a pretty dramatic internal AF/ANG investigator statement we never
heard before in all of the 58 years of this case.  Why is that?

From all of the evidence I have seen to date and I am still reviewing new
material every day (including deciphering nearly illegible docs) a Skyhook-type
balloon, probably the one launched by General Mills from Milaca, Minn. (NOT
from Camp Ripley 43 miles away) on 1-6-48, the day before, which would have had
to travel first S then SE at an average speed of about 25 mph over the course
of 1-1/2 days to reach W Kentucky and then N-Central Tennessee. 

News reports of sightings made by telescopes, etc., pinpoint the Skyhook's
location between Nashville and Columbia, 40 miles SSW of Nashville at about
4-4:30 PM (CST).  Astronomer Carl Seyfert in Nashville sighted the balloon to the
South (SSE).  Observers in Columbia sighted it to the North.  Thus the
Skyhook's location is neatly bracketed midway between Nashville and Columbia, let's
say 20 miles from each city. 

That would mean the Skyhook was about 140 miles from Godman Field, which had
the UFO in sight from about 2:15 to 3:50 PM at azimuth 215 degs until it
disappeared behind a cloud.  Mantell crashed 90 miles or so from Godman while
chasing the UFO, at about 3:18 PM about 4 miles south of Franklin near the KY-Tenn

PROBLEM:  A 70-foot Skyhook balloon is smaller than the smallest resolution
ability of the human eye beyond about 45 miles distance (when it is 1 arcminute
in subtended angular size, the definition of 20/20 visual acuity).  The
observers in Nashville and Columbia were roughly 20 miles away and that seems
feasible, though no details would be visible to the naked eye at that distance
(many people used telescopes and binoculars, the ones describing a balloon shape,
a "glassy" appearance like sunlight on a nearly transparent Skyhook balloon
plastic, a cable with "lumps" which were the instruments, etc.). 

If you do not believe this I suggest you do an experiment:  A 70-foot object
at 45 miles is the same as a 5-foot automobile at about 3 miles distance.  Try
driving on a LONG STRAIGHT FREEWAY where you can mark your distance with your
odometer against a distant overpass or landmark you can identify.  Try to see
how far away you can see a car traveling in your direction in the distance. 
Mentally mark it against the landmark nearest the car then note your odometer
reading.  Drive to your landmark and measure the distance.  I seriously doubt
any of you can even see a 5-foot wide car even from 1 mile away let alone 3
miles away.  And certainly you cannot possibly see a 5-foot wide car from 9
MILES AWAY which is the actual equivalent of the seventy-foot Skyhook supposedly
seen from Godman Field at about 140 miles. 

QUESTION:  How could the Skyhook balloon have been seen by numerous naked eye
observers at Godman Field when it was about 3 times too far away, about 140
miles distant? 

Even at that distance the Skyhook would only be a pinpoint in the sky, with
no resolvable shape or detail. 

QUESTION:  How could Mantell and his wingmen Clements and Hammond have seen
the Skyhook from about 70 miles away when they saw the bright object (UFO) as
they flew near the vicinity of Bowling Green, Ky.?  Again the maximum possible
distance the Skyhook could have been seen was about 45 miles. 

Mantell's wingman Lt Albert Clements returned to base, refueled and reloaded
his oxygen, and went back up to find the UFO and his flight leader Mantell at
4:05 PM.  Clements went up to 33,000 feet and headed out 100 miles from Godman
right over Franklin, Ky., and Mantell's crash site without knowing it (not
reported yet and/or report hadn't reached the right people yet) and went beyond,
crossing the border into Tennessee at 4:25-30 PM according to Capt Tyler's
report.  At that same time Dr Seyfert in Nashville was watching the Skyhook
balloon to the south of him, roughly 20 miles away (while others in Columbia to
the south saw it from the other direction to their north).  The Skyhook would
then have been only roughly 40 miles from Lt Clements who searching.

QUESTION:  Why didn't Lt Clements see the Skyhook from about 40 miles away
when Skyhooks purportedly (according to pro-Skyhook partisans) should have been
visible from 140 miles?  Isn't it because 40 miles is right at the borderline
of the 45-mile visibility limit?  Does that not further reinforce the fact and
prove that a seventy-foot Skyhook could not be seen at 40-45 miles but could
be seen from around 20 miles away?

An amateur astronomer, as reported in Nashville papers, sighted the balloon
and noticed that it turned yellow at 4:50 PM then red in the reddish light of
sunset at 5:05 PM then disappeared in the earth's shadow at 5:12 PM.  A balloon
would have had to be at about 80,000 feet (15 miles) altitude in order to
catch the last rays of the setting sun while the ground around Nashville was
already 1/2 hour in twilight darkness after sunset. 

This 80,000 feet was in fact the tracked maximum altitude reached by the
1-6-48 Skyhook launch, and not the 60,000 or 100,000 feet altitudes postulated by
Moore and others who should have known better.  This helps establish that it
was in fact the 1-6-48 Skyhook Flight B.  That would mean the Skyhook was not
descending or leaking yet and it eliminates any attempted self-serving
scenarios where the balloon comes down to 50,000 feet in order to force fit sighting
details.  As of 5:12 PM the Skyhook was still at maximum height 80,000 feet
southeast of Nashville.