Date: Fri, 07 Jun 2002 20:58:48 -0400

From: joel carpenter <>, Nuclear Connection Project
Subject: The Kirtland UFO Incident, 4 Nov 1957
To: Fran Ridge, Nuclear Connection Project Coordinator

Case Directory

Our June 2002 estimate of where UFO hovered near WSA

Apparently the UFO flew right-to-left along the East-West runway, then turned SW toward the tower, stopping near the nuclear weapons storage area visible in the lower right corner of the image -- that's assuming it was there then...

I'd suggest that this is the unspoken context of the sighting that made the event so scary. The UFO must have flown right past the WSA and other bunkers visible in the image to the S of the E-W runway.

Fran - a couple additional items - I dug out a copy of aero historian Jay Miller's massive history of the B-58 bomber, since McDonald mentioned that the UFO stopped near the Kirtland "Drumhead Area" where the B-58 operated.

Incredibly, Miller has a bit of info that relates here. The B-58 was still in the R&D phase in 1957 and was _just_ beginning its nuclear qualification testing at Kirtland at the time. In fact, the first special nuclear bomb pod for the plane was delivered to the base on 15 Nov 57, eleven days after the incident, and the B-58 arrived to begin drop testing on the 25th.

The B-58 was the first operational supersonic bomber and had a special type of bomb contained in an external pod that needed extensive testing at White Sands:

The other thing that's interesting about Kirtland is that if you look just to the SE of the end of the E-W runway, you can see an installation known as the Trestle. It blasts full-sized planes with electromagnetic pulse to simulate nuclear explosions. It wouldn't have been there in '57 of course, but it's indicative of what goes on at Sandia.

Here's a better map of the Kirtland incident.

Update: 14 Sept 2010
By great luck, has the next 1957 map of the base which clarifies a big question I had when I did that original diagram -- exactly where the old control tower was on the base. This is important because the controllers saw the object coming directly toward them. Now that I know exactly where it was, things are a lot clearer. It's excellent luck for us that somebody happened to post a 1957 map.

The following map, credit