January 16, 1957; northwest of Ft. Worth, Texas:32

Lt. Col. Howard Wright was resting while his co-pilot flew their B-25 home to Reese AFB, Lubbock, Texas, the first of a flight of three B-25s returning from Birmingham, Alabama. Wright’s crew and the B-25 following 25 minutes behind them flew a straight line “dark” route (without constant radio beacons), while the third B-25, with a less-experienced pilot, took the longer way. About 90 miles from Sweetwater, Texas, Wright saw a bright light source and alerted his co-pilot to a possible aircraft. The source had an apparent size smaller than the full moon and was a round, soft light. The Colonel immediately noticed that his plane’s radio compass was pointing directly at the object. A radio compass is not a common compass that points towards a magnetic field, but is, rather, a radio beacon detector. Its function is to allow pilots to locate the radio beacons of a distant landing field (in this case, the B-25’s compass was pointing towards and “seeking” Lubbock), and to keep a straight flight path. This new object, however, had overpowered the Lubbock signal, and therefore was a radio source of some power. Shortly, the object came swiftly down from above the plane and ahead of it to a position more or less level and off the right wing. At this time the light seemed smaller, thus a bit more distant. Then the entire object began blinking on and off. Wright gathered himself and, using a flashlight, tried to blink a signal back in Morse code. There was no obvious response, but the thing kept blinking away for an hour in its 3 o’clock position. One of the crew, thinking that maybe this was some kind of code, took four pages of notes. During this hour, the object would occasionally speed up and fall back, (rarely) move up and down, and sometimes come a little nearer. Always the radio compass needle followed it. At the object’s closest approach, it had a markedly larger size, but what this amounted to is not possible to determine from the words used in the interview. The term was “as big as a basketball” in apparent size, but whether Wright meant “at arm’s length” (which is the normal way of relating this) or at some greater distance (such as the tip of the wing), we cannot say. Either way, Wright and his crew felt that the object had some significant size. Through much of this time, the crew tried to get into contact with ground stations but was unable to do so. Once in range of Lubbock, the object broke away and flew off on a straight-line course in about twelve seconds.

Upon landing, Wright and the crew demanded to talk immediately to the base intelligence officers and make their report. While they were doing so, the trailing B-25 landed, and its excited crew rushed in, asking, “Did you see what we saw?” Wright said that the second crew seemed to have been followed by an identical, blinking light source, but that it was probably a second object. Reports plus the code notes were taken all around, and a B-25 was refueled, outfitted with some of the same crews and intelligence agents, and went up to look for the object or objects. Four hours later, having found nothing, the airmen returned. All this is interesting enough. What Blue Book did with the case adds a little bitter flavor. They evaluated the case as “insufficient data.” The only material in their file was a bare-bones telegraphic description ­no full interviews, no pages of code, no mention of the radio compass effects! Where did all this material go? Was it stopped at Air Defense Command (ADC) headquarters? Was it lost at Blue Book? However one views it, the adequacy of the UFO project looks worse and worse. The details that are available come from the fortunate circumstance that things like this became very puzzling and interesting to Colonel Wright, and when he had the opportunity he told Donald Keyhoe and later had even more extensive interviews with Dr. James McDonald. One wonders what could have been learned, even in terms of physical forces, about the phenomenon if people had been paying attention.