This case is a classic. The late Dr. James McDonald made a valiant attempt in get details from original witnesses after discovering that a major report, submitted to Blue Book by the “UFO Officer” (who was one of the witnesses!) at Davis-Monthan, was missing. A small part of this was apparently recovered and now appears in the Blue Book microfilms. The story is as follows:
An Air Intelligence Officer (who had as one of his regular duties, the analysis of UFO cases reported to the local air base), a B-36 crew, and an airman on the steps of the base hospital (just coming from having his knee treated) all attested to this event. Two shiny round objects overtook a B-36, slowed down to the speed of the B-36, stayed in formation with it for about 20 seconds, then executed a sharp no-radius 70-80-degree turn from the line of flight of the B-36, and resumed original speed and went to about one-fourth the distance to the horizon where one of the two objects made an immediate stop and hovered. There was no sound other than that of the B-36. There were no contrails from either the objects or the B-36.
Despite the detailed description (in the original report) of the maneuvers of the two shiny, silent objects, Blue Book dismissed this case as “Aircraft.” The following letter from Dr. McDonald dated July 14, 1966, was sent to Major Quintanilla, Blue Book head:
Dear Major Quintanilla:
James L. McDonald
I recall that at the time Dr. McDonald was regarded by Blue Book personnel as an outstanding nuisance. This was partly because he was interested in a scientific study of the “true” UFOs (those that completely defied simple natural explanation) and partly because he was so outspoken. He spoke his mind forcefully, and didn’t hesitate to criticize Blue Book methods whenever possible. On occasion I, too, was the target of his criticism--criticism which was entirely justified according to his very strict standards. It is unfortunate that Dr. McDonald couldn’t understand or adjust to the political-military situation, and chose instead to act only according to strict scientific dictates. A carefully planned diplomatic approach in these military circles might have proved successful, especially if Dr. McDonald had consented to work with me in a much less antagonistic manner, as I invited him to do on several occasions. I fear, however, that he regarded me as a lost cause and that his temperament would hardly have permitted it.
It is due largely to the industry and perseverance of Dr. James McDonald that this excellent case was resurrected at all.
J. Allen Hynek
The intervening years and a very mediocre memory do, of course, preclude my recalling the exact date, report data such as time, meteorological conditions (these obtained later from existing Blue Book records of this case are: Weather clear, visibility 50 miles, temp. 72 deg F., dew point 50 deg. F., wind calm. sea-level pressure 143 millibars, station pressure 27.310 inches), flight altitude (which must have been about 20,000 feet), names of observers, etc. I will, however, relate the incident to you to the best of my recollection.
While standing on the front entrance steps of the Davis-Monthan Air Force Base Hospital, I observed the approach of two UFOs upon a B-36 flying on a general east-west heading directly over the base. The UFOs appeared, from the ground, to be round in shape and metallic in color (the same color as the B-36). The objects approached the aircraft from the northeast at a speed about three or four times that of the aircraft.
The two objects appeared to be about the same size when first
observed. One object appeared to gain altitude as it approached
because it seemed to grow smaller. It stationed itself, at the
I can no longer remember the length of time of the observation, but all of the air crew members, except one who flew the aircraft during the entire incident, were able to get to the starboard observation port to see the UFO.
The objects were reported to be symmetrically convex top and bottom, about 10 or 12 feet thick from top to bottom at the middle and quite sharp at the edge. (The crew gave an appropriate figure in inches which I cannot remember.) The object was reported by the crew, as I remember, to be about 20 or 25 feet in diameter. (It fit rather snugly between spinners and elevator.)
Some of the air crew members reported seeing a pale band of red color about halfway between the top and the edge of the object. All members did not see this color band, however. Upon questioning, the pilot denied that the objects interfered with either the flying characteristics of the B-36 or the navigation or radio equipment.
Upon departure from the aircraft the UFO lost altitude, crossed under the aircraft, joined the other object, and the two departed at extremely high speed in a southerly direction. (Aircraft altitude, air-speed, heading, UFO headings, approximate speeds and exact size estimates are in the original report, but I cannot remember them.) (What a loss not to have the original detailed report! One can only wonder how it disappeared!) During the close proximity of the object the pilots did not try evasive action.The aircraft and crew were from Carswell AFB, Texas, and were on a flight to March AFB, Cal. It is possible that this report is filed in Blue Book archives under either of those base names. (Unfortunately, it is not).
Dr. J. Allen Hynek