Fort Monmouth Incident
UFO Updates Rebuttal
By Brad Sparks

From: Brad Sparks
Date: Thu, 26 Apr 2001 04:55:55 EDT 
Subject: Re: Ft. Monmouth Revisited 

>From: Manuel Borraz <> 
>Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001 03:00:54 +0200 
>Fwd Date: Mon, 23 Apr 2001 16:11:07 -0400 
>Subject: Re: Ft. Monmouth Revisited - Borraz 

>On September 10, 1951, while flying at 20,000 ft from a Delaware 
>to a Long Island airbase, two experienced fighter pilots in a 
>T-33 jet spotted an object "round and silver in color" which at 
>one stage of the attempted intercept appeared flat. The T-33 was 
>put into a descending turn to try to close on the object but the 
>latter turned more tightly (the airmen stated) and passed 
>rapidly eastward towards the coast of New Jersey and out to sea, 
>at an estimated speed of around 900 mph. 

>The official explanation pointed to a balloon. In fact, two 
>balloons were launched in the area shortly before the incident. 

Hi Manuel, 

I am curious (to use one of the favorite words of my friend Phil Klass) why you suddenly developed an interest in this case at this time?  Are there other similar cases you are planning to examine? 

I am puzzled that you recognize the fact right here at the outset that there were _TWO_ balloons not one, launched together at the same time from the same location (which you fail to mention), but there was only _ONE_ UFO, yet you never mention the two Balloons again?  In a few places you mention "balloons" plural vaguely but in several Places you misleadingly talk about "the balloon" and "a balloon."  Is there any reason why you never mention two balloons again?  I am impelled to point this out each time below because this omission is fatal to your analysis. 

How did you know there were two balloons launched?  Why didn't you mention that they were not just vaguely "launched in the area" _as if_ unrelated to each other and in different locations, but launched at the exact same time at the exact same location?  Both balloons were tracked by radar together until they exploded at 104,000 feet some 79 minutes later, at an average ascent rate of about 1,300 ft/min, which will be very important for the analysis below. 

The facts refuting the balloon theory are many: 

1.  There were TWO BALLOONS ascending together but only ONE UFO.  Two objects were never seen by the two pilots in the T-33. 

2.  The two balloons were ABOVE the T-33 and could never have been seen "silhouetted" against the ground and water as the UFO was during the entire sighting, but would _always_ have been seen against the blue sky. 

(The balloons were at about 27,000 feet rising to about 30,000 feet, but the T-33 was at 20,000 feet descending to 17,000 feet.  The UFO was at an estimated height of 5,000 to 8,000 feet descending to about 2,000 feet.) 

3.  If the T-33 was located at about 3 miles northeast of Asbury Park, heading NNE, as shown on an aeronautical chart in the Project Grudge file, then the two balloons near Asbury Park would not have been first seen nearly in front of the aircraft (at 11 o'clock position) as reported but nearly _behind_ the aircraft (at about 7 o'clock position). 

4.  If the balloons were somehow at the 11 o'clock position or slightly to the left of straight ahead, then the T-33 in making a left turn to head towards the UFO (supposedly the balloons) would have been heading straight at them in only 30 seconds and there would have been no reason to continue the 120° turn off of course for the Mitchel (not "Mitchell") Field base. Continuing the turn, the balloons would have been on the _RIGHT_ of the T-33 from then on.  Yet the crew always saw the UFO on the _LEFT_. 

5.  The two balloons were so small and so far away according to the Grudge map they would not have been noticed as they would have been near the threshold of human visual resolution. 

6.  The UFO was observed descending.  The two balloons ascended. 

7.  The UFO was seen as a flat disc shape when banking.  The balloons were approximately spherical. 

8.  The UFO was roughly plotted at a speed estimated at about 1,050 to 1,740 mph (30-50 nautical miles in 2 minutes) and the T-33 at 550 mph was not able to overtake the balloons.  As the T-33 finished its 360° turn it should have ran right into the alleged balloons. 

>But many years later, J. E. McDonald questioned this 
>explanation, concluding: 

>"The possibility that a pilot can be misled by depth perception 
>errors and coordinate-reference errors to misconstrue a weather 
>balloon as a fast-maneuvering object must always be kept in 
>mind. But in the Ft. Monmouth instance, as in many others that 
>could be discussed in detail, there is a very large gap between 
>the balloon hypothesis and the facts." 

>A good deal of information about this incident and its surroundings 
>can be found at: 


Since you very commendably refer to the above NICAP website did you read over the material there before launching your revisitation of the long refuted balloon explanation below? 

>I will try to show that the balloon explanation was very 
>probable indeed. To follow the discussion below I strongly 
>recommend to take a look at the map at: 

Here are some strong arguments against the weather balloon theory in the material at the NICAP website which you do not mention had been made by the T-33 pilot Lt Wilbert S. Rogers literally on Day One of the public reporting back in 1951.  Fifty years later we should recognize that this faulty theory has been challenged right from the outset by the key witnesses. 

"This couldn't have been a balloon," Rogers said, "because it was descending and no balloon goes that fast." 

(United Press, Sept 11, 1951:; Wash Daily News, Sept 11, 1951: See also NY World-Telegram & Sun, Sept 11, 1951: 

"This couldn't have been a balloon, because it was descending" he said.  "And besides, no balloon goes that fast."  (Associated Press, Sept 11, 1951:

"Lt. Rogers reported . . . It was descending in an arc or boomerang fashion dispelling the idea that it might be a weather balloon, one of the explanations Air Force and Navy officials have given for flying saucers." (NY Herald Tribune, Sept. 12, 1951:

"Said Rogers: 

" 'This couldn't have been a balloon.  It was describing a descending arc as we got within 8,000 feet of it.  And it was going at twice our maximum speed.  No balloon flies that fast.  Why, we couldn't have caught it in a World's record F-86 Saber jet.' "  (INS, Sept 12, 1951:

According to Ruppelt's unpublished papers, "It is interesting to note that weeks later, when we proved at least to my satisfaction that the UFO was a balloon, the two officers said that we were nuts. They found several holes in our analysis." 


>(I thank Matias Morey -Fundacion Anomalia's webmaster- for 
>putting up the image in the net.) 

>I've taken the map from Willy Smith's book "On Pilots and UFOs" 
>(UNICAT PROJECT, 1997; chapter 1). According to Smith, it's "a 
>copy of the overlay included in Project Grudge, Report No. 1, 30 
>Nov. 1951, p.28, with the exact initial and final locations of 
>the balloons added." 

That doesn't make the map accurate -- it isn't.  It was fudged to try to fit the sequence of sighting lines to the balloons that you drew in that was in fact first suggested by Project Grudge.  Grudge personnel could not even agree as to how much of an alleged discrepancy there was in the T-33 ground track between the two pilots -- in the interrogation report transcript this is said to be 10 nautical miles, in the Grudge Special Report this is given as 5 nautical miles.  There shouldn't be any difference in these two numbers at all, it's a simple matter of measuring with a ruler.  The initial location of the T-33 shown on the aeronautical chart in the Grudge files from interviews with the pilots is about 10 nautical miles from the Pt. Pleasant location stated by Lt. Rogers. 

>Let's take, for instance, five equally spaced points along the 
>trajectories of the T-33 and the UFO and let's draw a line 
>connecting each pair of points for a given time (that is, 
>assuming -to do the things simpler - that both the T-33 and the 
>UFO didn't vary their speed; in fact, the object is said to have 
>kept a constant speed, but the jet increased its speed when it 
>started to turn). What we obtain -see the red lines added to the 
>map- are the approximate directions of the line of sight from 
>T-33 to UFO during the incident. 

>Surprisingly, all the lines cross at a small area (the blue 
>triangle marked in the figure). 

This is feigned "surprise" and an intentionally designed result.  Project Grudge specifically drew the map so as to see if it could create a flight path that would cross at approximately the same location so as to fit the balloon hypothesis. 

Everything about this map is wrong -- the T-33 is located wrong and the balloons are located wrong.  Your convergence zone in the triangle is almost directly above the launch site near Belmar and would require that the winds were only 5 mph or less from nearly due S instead of about 12-17 mph (10-15 knots) from the SSW. 

>Therefore it's conceivable that 
>a fixed or slow moving object located there were misperceived as 
>the fast moving and more distant object reported by the airmen. 
>As we can see in the map, the assumed distance to the UFO 
>throughout the incident evolve likewise the distance to this 
>area where the lines of sight cross. 

>Before going on, note that 
>the area in question is near the launching site of the balloons 
>(though it doesn't coincide exactly with their estimated 

Why does it not "coincide exactly"?  The intersection area is several miles too far to the west of where the two balloons would have been. 

>But if the observers saw a balloon, why did they report it 
>banking? If the balloon was below the jet, it should have been 
>seen "descending" on approach. It's just a perceptive illusion. 

The UFO was seen silhouetted against the ground whereas the balloons were higher and against the blue sky.  It's not "a" balloon or "the" balloon but _two_ balloons and they were ABOVE the T-33, at about 27,000 feet rising to nearly 30,000 feet in the two minutes of the _one_ UFO observation. 

If the balloons were lower than the T-33 how is it possible that the T-33 did not fly right over or into the balloons if they were nearly dead ahead and the T-33 turned left into the direction of the balloons. 

There is no perspective illusion here.  If the T-33 made 120° of its turn in the 2 minutes of the sighting then the T-33 would have turned the approximately 30° to head straight towards the UFO (the supposed balloons) in only 30 seconds.  Why was the T-33 never able to head straight towards the balloons? 

The answer is simple:  The UFO made a "banking" left turn and curved in towards the inside of the T-33's left turn.  The T-33 could not bring its nose to point straight towards the UFO which OUTMANEUVERED the T-33. 

>And how to reconcile the estimated altitude of the balloons of 
>about 17,000-18,000 feet and the reported UFO altitude of only 
>5,000-8,000 feet? 

The two balloons were _not_ at 17,000-18,000 feet but at about 27,000-30,000 feet.  Their ascent rate was about 1,300 feet/min.  They were launched at 11:12 the UFO sighting was 23 minutes later at 11:35.  Do the math. 

After 79 minutes both balloons burst at 104,000 feet.  Do the math. 

>What the map indicates after calculations is 
>that if the airmen at 20,000 feet over Point Pleasant were to 
>see the balloon aligned with the UFO over Sandy Hook, the 
>altitude of the balloon should be of the order of 15,000-17,000 
>feet. All of this makes sense. 

No it doesn't make sense, it's all fabricated, forced to try to fit multiple balloons that were still in the wrong location and high above the T-33. 

>What about  the disappearance of the object over the ocean? I've 
>found contradictory data about the time of the event (same time 
>quoted as EDST or EDT depending on the source). 

These are the _same_ time zones/standards.  EDST is the same as EDT.  If the T-33 sighting time was really EST as you seem to imply then you will have shot your balloon theory in the head because the Evans Signal Labs teletype clearly reports launch time of the balloons as "EDST."  That means a sighting by the T-33 at 11:35 EST would be 12:35 EDST and that is 4 minutes after the two balloons burst at the same time at 104,000 feet at 12:31 EDST.  These daylight savings times are also confirmed in the ATIC interrogation report transcript (see:

So if the T-33 sighting was using EST then the two balloons would have burst already at extreme altitude totally invisible to the naked eye. 

>In any case, 
>what matters is that the Sun was S or ESS at about 50º over the 
>horizon. Hence it should be considered the reflection of light 
>rays on a balloon getting more and more against the sun light, 
>from the position of the moving observers. 

If the two balloons were in fact _ABOVE_ the T-33 up against the bright sky. Background in the sun's glare they might have never been visible in the first place, aside from being too small in subtended angular size to be noticeable to the human eye. 

>At this point, we may wonder why did J. E. McDonald reject the 
>balloon explanation. If we reread his arguments the answer 
>becomes apparent. 

>Basically, McDonald stated that "at no time in the interval
>involved could the line of sight from T-33 to balloon have 
>intersected Freehold" and, also, that the balloon "would have 
>subtended an arc of only 0.6 min, as seen from the T-33 when the 
>latter passed over Pt. Pleasant", an angular size much too small 
>to fit the airmen's descriptions of the object. The problem is 
>that McDonald assumed that the balloons had been released from 
>the Evans Signal Laboratory "near Ft. Monmouth". But according 
>to Willy Smith (who doesn't appear to realize that MacDonald was 
>in error), these facilities were near Belmar, south of Ft. 
>Monmouth. With the correct location of the launching point in 
>mind (see map) the above arguments doesn't apply anymore. 

If the T-33 was really at Pt. Pleasant (this is in doubt) and started turning left immediately (as Lt. Rogers reported he did), the balloons almost due north near Asbury Park would never have been seen off farther to the left near Freehold, NJ.  McDonald's point stands. This is simple geometry. 

For the T-33 to fly to a position from which the balloons over Asbury Park could be seen lying to the W towards Freehold, the T-33 would have had to fly straight along its original course towards Mitchel Field _without_ turning left _at all_ until nearly at the end of the sighting (about 1-1/2 minutes into the 2 minutes, so that it could travel the 12 miles or so to a spot east of Asbury Park).  This contradicts Lt. Rogers account that he had immediately started his left turn towards the UFO upon first seeing it. 

Brad Sparks

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