OXYGEN
Our report on file on the Mantell Incident file by the end of 2005 had documents that 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 1, 2006 but we actually had it in December of 2005. The bottom of document USAF-SIGN1-310 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 evidence in the Accident Report that we obtained and transcribed for our use and supplied to him.
Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 10:55:38 +0000
From: Martin Shough <parcellular@btinternet.com>
Hi Fran and all involved
Well done, fascinating stuff. One thought about the oxygen issue:
The statement in the Accident Report
"Oxygen system was not serviced. System was in working order."
seems possibly ambiguous. It could be interpreted to mean that the system was considered by the accident investigator to have been in working order at the time of the accident. It could also be interpreted to mean that ground staff believed (possibly mistakenly) that the system appeared to be in working order and therefore did not service it. Obviously the latter interpretation leaves open the possibility of an undetected fault.
I was unable to read the small type on the jpg and pdf versions of this page of the Report to clarify the context of the quoted remark. Brad and others have probably looked into this in detail. Could there have been a scheduled service that did not take place?
Martin.
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 11:14:09 -0400
From: Don Ledger <dledger@ns.sympatico.ca>
It could be interpreted to mean that since the system was in working order it was not thought neccessary to service it. If there was no service order on the system or if its mandatory inspection time was not due ( usually included in the 50 hour and 100 hour inspections) then there would have been no need to service it.
In any event, lack of oxygen was the cause of the crash. There seems to be no argument over that point except by some of the fringe who want or wanted to make this event a shootdown by 'the aliens".
What is in question is what Mantell was chasing.
<>Don Ledger
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 11:54:23 +0000
From: Martin Shough <parcellular@btinternet.com>
But I have now had time to download the complete pdf. And I find that the relevant Section I, 'Special Equipment', is subheaded: 'Use if special equipment was a contributing cause factor in the accident' and has the instruction: "Describe how the special equipment contributed to the accident or its result".  <>In this context I would have to interpret the words  <>"Oxygen system was not serviced. System was in working order."
as meaning that not servicing the oxygen system was being recorded as a contributing factor to the accident.
<>I appreciate there may be other information that alters this conclusion. Can anyone clarify this please?
Martin
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 07:41:51 -0600
From: Francis Ridge <nicap@insightbb.com>
Oxygen system was not serviced. System was in working order."
Martin, List,
Brad may want to comment on that, but I just want to say that the issue of oxygen gets lost in the full discloseure of facts discovered in this case. I lean toward oxygen system failure that caused his death, but am amazed at what came out regarding the entire incident.
Brad did an excellent preliminary analysis. I just wish that we would have come out with the full report sooner (2008?) and therefore would have had others to comment sooner and conduct their own independent analyses. I do hope this will still happen and I welcome that. I also will date Brad's analysis so that any updating will show the most recent version.
Fran
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 11:14:09 -0400
From: Don Ledger <dledger@ns.sympatico.ca>
It could be interpreted to mean that since the system was in working order it was not thought neccessary to service it. If there was no service order on the system or if its mandatory inspection time was not due ( usually included in the 50 hour and 100 hour inspections) then there would have been no need to service it.
In any event, lack of oxygen was the cause of the crash. There seems to be no argument over that point except by some of the fringe who want or wanted to make this event a shootdown by 'the aliens".
What is in question is what Mantell was chasing.
<>Don Ledger
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 16:01:37 +0000
From: Martin Shough <parcellular@btinternet.com>
<>
Well, the oxygen issue was raised three times in Fran's summary of this large multi-participant investigation and given its own paragraph heading. I have now also had the opportunity to look at Brad's impressive analysis of the accident report which refers to the oxygen issue no fewer than 100 times. I don't think the interpretation of it is a "fringe" concern.  Having said that I now understand the meaning of "serviced" differently. I assumed it referred to a mechanical service of the oxygen system. Brad's interpretation - backed up by the same usage elsewhere in the Accident Report - is that not serviced means not resupplied with oxygen. On that basis I agree with his conclusion that the Accident Report is internally inconsistent and highly suspect.
Martin
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 13:40:35 -0400
From: Don Ledger <dledger@ns.sympatico.ca>
I believe if you read what I said below you will see that I said that the lack of oxygen was the cause of the crash while I also noted that some on the fringe were more interested in making this into some alien shootdown.
Certainly the oxygen problem was not a fringe concern.
I'm looking for it and might find the right wording to indicate that an oxygen system was "topped up" or "fully charged" or whatever the American AF term was for it. In today's terms, 'serviced' doesn't work for me. But these terms change over a period of 62 years.
Don
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 17:58:37 +0000
From: Martin Shough <parcellular@btinternet.com>
Perhaps I misunderstood. I took you to imply that the oxygen issue did not merit attention because "what is in question is what Mantell was chasing."  I disagree with this because the argument for a cover up is rather strong in my opinion and it is necessary to understand the nature, extent and motivation of such a cover up in order to interpret the evidence. I'm quite impressed with the job Brad has done on this.  <>As for the meaning of the term "serviced" in this context, the ANG Accident Report itself says on p.31 under Recommendations that "No aircraft be cleared for Cross-Country unless it be serviced with oxygen." 
Martin
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Date: Sun, 19 Dec 2010 14:27:25 -0400
From: Don Ledger <dledger@ns.sympatico.ca>
Perhaps you are right, Martin, re the cover-up and the use of the oxygen question. I don't think we will ever know.
<>It could be that Mantell thought he had oxygen although the checks in place re the metering of oxygen (self regulating) should have given him pause to continue his climb without oxygen through a restricted area above 12,500 to approx. 15,000 feet during daylight hours. He had the hight altitude training. 
I'm not new to this investigation. When this first came up Brad , myself, Joel Carpenter, Dan and several others took a look at the case when Fran first brought up his doubts about what Mantell was chasing and I agreed with him. Then the floodgates opened and we were at first hammered about this event being an accident caused by a pilot flying too high and without oxygen- that this case had been settled. But the main problem was not that he crashed due to the lack of oxygen but that he was chasing something that as of this date has not been definitively identified.
Fran wasn't convinced that this was a Skyhook balloon, I wasn't and then Brad, after an initial look, wasn't either. But Brad picked up the raines and went with it. 
I've read the accident reports which by today's standards were poor.
<>But accident report by its very nature implies that Mantell had oxygen and that his aircraft had been serviced OR that the tanks were charged but perhaps not fully charged. The P-51D pilot had the option of going pure oxygen or staying with the metered (pressure altitude corrected) stream coming through his mask. The former option was there to give the pilot bailing out at high altitudes a chance to charge himself with pure oxy then holding the last gasp for his descent to lower altitudes. 
Don
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Date: Mon, 20 Dec 2010 20:47:13 -0500 (EST)
From: KRandle993@aol.com
Fran, all --
I have been reading, with great interest, the
analysis of the Mantell case and I noticed a
couple of assumptions that might not be valid. I
though I would comment on them.
<>First, was the idea that a suggestion from Colonel
Hix was the same as an order. We’re into aviation
here and things are a little different. Colonel Hix
was not the flight leader, Mantell was. If he believed
that the suggestion from Hix would have endangered
his mission or his aircraft, then Mantell was under
no obligation to follow it. He might have to provide
an explanation later, but Mantell was the ultimate
authority in this situation.
Second, it is my understanding that this was a ferry
flight which meant that it was a one time flight to
move aircraft from one location to another. It means
that the aircraft could be flown under what we later
called a circle Red-X, meaning a one time flight. It
means that the aircraft could be flown one time in a
condition that would otherwise ground it.
Third, I saw nothing that said the oxygen system in
Mantell’s aircraft had oxygen in it. Yes, the system
was working but that doesn’t mean it held any
oxygen. The ground crew, knowing that it was a ferry
flight might not have bothered with charging the
system.
<>Fourth, just because they were all flying the same
model of aircraft, that doesn’t mean all the aircraft
operated in the same way. Don can confirm this. I
know from my experience that range of capabilities
of aircraft of the same make and model can vary
greatly. We knew which of our D-model Hueys were
powerful, which were weak and which had trouble
catching up to flight lead. We called one the
Chinook because it was much more powerful than
any of the other aircraft.
Finally, I’m not sure that Mantell understood how
quickly he could lose conscious at the altitudes he
was flying. Each person reacts differently, but
according to aeromed studies, at 25,000 feet he
would lose consciousness rapidly... and at those
altitudes the decision-making process is totally
compromised. The people don’t even realize the
trouble they’re in.
<>These are just a couple of observations based on
my experience as a military pilot, although that
experience was twenty years later and in helicopters
and not fighters. Still, some of the circumstances
apply. 
Kevin
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