From: LTJG xxxxxxxxx, USNR
29 NOV 1950
Washington 25, D.C.
Via: Commanding Officer, Air Development Squadron THREE
Subj: Encounter with strange phenomena while night flying
1. November 1950, the following incident took place. I was flying an AD-4Q, returning from seaward, and homing in on NAS, Lakehurst. As we approached Lakehurst at approximately 3,500 feet, I became aware of a single steady white light to my starboard about five (5) miles, which I judged to be another aircraft’s fuselage light. This light was slightly above me, at about 4,000 feet and moving in a southeasterly direction at approximately my airspeed or slightly greater. Because of the steady light, I believed this was another military aircraft operating from Lakehurst or Atlantic City and instructed my crewman to switch our radar to “intercept” so we could test out this part of our gear before returning to base. The time was about 1915R, as we were due on land at 1930. Then I pulled up in a slight climbing turn in order to get on this object’s tail. The visibility was extremely excellent with no overcast, and with all the stars and planets showing brightly. It was no effort to discern the motion of this object because of the background of the stars. After rolling out on this object’s course, it turned a little more southerly and seemed to settle down and I presumed I was directly behind it, still somewhat lower. In less time than it takes to tell, this light, without making any kind of reversal turn, bore down on me in a slight dive, passing directly over my canopy, at an incredible speed, about 100 to 200 feet above. Puzzled at this, my first reaction was that we had originally met head on, and that this was some aircraft without running lights and that it had been a close miss for both of us. Informing my crewman of what took place; he disregarded his radar operation and proceeded to witness the following events. I then pulled into a tight “flipper” reversal turn in order to see this light again. As before, it was still slightly higher than I, and this time I was positive we were on his tail. Pushing to normal rated power and blimbing (sic), I attempted to hold the light in front of me, thin (sic) object made another head on pass, veering slightly port and below so that my crewman could see it too. Still nothing but a single white light, close to 10 to 12 inches in diameter, it moved with fantastic speed. Since we were close aboard Navy Lakehurst, about five (5) miles north, I tried contacting their tower twice on 142.74 mcs. with no response. Still engaging in this cat and mouse tag game with this light, and recalling that our own squadron had some jets and other AD’s airborne, I switched to our squadron common frequency, and requested assistance from any “confine” aircraft in the vicinity. The Commanding Officer and his wing-mand in two F9F’s answered, and set course for Lakehurst. In the meanwhile, after 5 (five) to six (6) passes, this object and I get into a port orbit. I frequently checked my instruments for altitude and engine limitations, and flew in a 60° climbing port bank, indicating 130-135 kts. This light continued to turn about me in wider climbing turns, making about two orbits to my one. At 11,500 feet I abandoned the chase and simply orbited in order to keep the object in sight. When the Commanding Officer reported over McGuire AFB at 14,000 feet I turned my lights from “Dim” to “Bright”, reporting that we were still in a port orbit, but I estimated the object’s height at about 18,000 feet still climbing in a wide orbit and growing dimmer. By the time they arrived over me, the object still appeared, though faint, at about 25,000 feet. All this took place in a period of 25 to 30 minutes, and at the Commanding Officer’s suggestion we returned to base. The Commanding Officer never did sight the light, but his wingman did.
Having had experience with jets against conventional in “Dog Fights”, I have a good idea of their speed, but this object in the encounter described previously was making at least twice that speed, or approximately 800 kts. While it was passing I tried hard to distinguish a shape or form of wing or airfoil, but could see nothing but this white light. Pulling up even more after it passed, I tried to see if I could hit its wash or slipstream, but there was none. Only this single steady white light that could move with phenomenal speed and maneuverability.