June 29, 1954
Captain James Howard was in command of a British Overseas Airways Corporation (now British Airways) Boeing Stratocruiser, G-ALSC, Flight 510-196 from New York to London via Goose Bay, on 29 June 1954, which left New York at 21:03 GMT. About thirty minutes later, nearing the boundary of New York Air Traffic Center, Boston informed Captain Howard to hold at a position somewhere near the coast of Rhode Island. No reason for the hold was given, but Howard assumed that there was conflicting traffic ahead. After about ten to twelve minutes he pointed out to Boston that his fuel reserves were not limitless, and requested onward clearance. Control then said he could proceed providing that he accepted a detour via Cape Cod, rejoining the original track well north of Boston.
About three hours later, crossing the St. Lawrence estuary near Seven Islands, Quebec, flying at 19,000 feet above broken cloud at about 14,()00 feet, Captain Howard saw some strange objects:
"They were moving at about the same speed as we were (230 knots approx) on a parallel course, maybe 3 or 4 miles to the north west of us (we were heading NE). They were below the cloud at this time, at a guess at 8,000 ft. Soon after crossing the coast into Labrador, the cloud layer was left behind and the objects were now clearly in view, seeming to have climbed more nearly to our altitude. At this time the sun was low to the northwest, sky clear, visibility unlimited."
Captain Howard and the crew had ample time to study and sketch the objects as they accompanied the airliner for twenty minutes. Some passengers had also seen the objects and were staring out of the windows on the port side. Howard reported:
"There was one large object and six smaller globular things. The small ones were strung out in a line, sometimes 3 ahead and 3 behind the large one, sometimes 2 ahead and 4 behind, and so on, but always at the same level. The large object was continually, slowly, changing shape, in the way that a swarm of bees might alter its appearance. They appeared to be opaque and hard-edged, gray in color, no lights or flames visible."
After watching the UFOs for ten minutes or so, Captain Howard judged that he was now within VHF radio range of Goose Bay, Labrador, so he asked his co-pilot, Lee Boyd, to request information from control.
"They asked us to describe what we were seeing, and told us that they had an F-94 on patrol and would vector him toward us. (The F-94 was a radar-equipped two-seat fighter.) A little later Goose Bay asked us to change frequency and talk direct to the fighter. On doing so we learned that he had us in radar contact-no mention of anything else visible. I gave him a bearing of the objects from us, and as I did so I noticed that the small objects had disappeared. (My navigator who was watching them closely at this time said that they appeared to converge on, and enter, the large one.)
As the F-94 approached, the large object dwindled in size, still on the same relative bearing as the Stratocruiser, and after a few seconds disappeared. Captain Howard then started his descent into Goose Bay for the refueling stop, and landed at 01:45 GMT. "We were questioned at length by USAF Intelligence at Goose Bay (who, incidentally, seemed totally unsurprised at the sighting - they told us there had been several others in the Labrador area recently)," said Howard. "We left Goose Bay at 03:14 GMT for London, arriving at 12:27 on the 30th."
Captain Howard subsequently learned that a doctor and his wife, who were on holiday in Massachusetts, had seen a number of objects flying overhead in a northeasterly direction at about the time the Stratocruiser was being held near the coast of Rhode Island. Unfortunately, Goose Bay had only short range airfield control radar at the time, and the F-94 did not report having tracked the objects on its radar equipment. Since the Stratocruiser left for .London before the fighter returned, Captain Howard had no opportunity to question the crew. But if the hold was caused by unidentified traffic in the Boston control area, Howard surmised, the objects were presumably tracked on radar there.
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