Washington National Sightings
July 26/27, 1952
The UFOs Return To Washington

Operators at CAA Radar Traffic Control Center at Washington's
National Airport tracked UFOs at speeds up to 7,000 mph. Senior Controller
Harry Barnes, center, still thinks "there was something out there."

Francis Ridge:
At 9:08 PM on the 26th of July, the UFOs once-again descended on the Nation's Capitol. It was a repeat performance. The same controllers tracked them, Andrews Field & Washington National confirmed the maneuvers, pinpointing them simultaneously at places where lighted objects were reported by airline pilots. And again, the jet interceptors were delayed in getting to the scene. But this time when the fighters arrived some UFOs were still in sight. Lt. William Patterson tried to chase one of them at 600 mph, but it quickly left him behind. 

This time, Washington National's radar room had some extra visitors. The Pentagon's ACE UFO investigator, Major Dewey Fournet, was there; along with Albert M. Chop (Air Force Press Desk) and a Lieutenant Holcomb (radar specialist). Reporters and photographers were asked to leave the radar room on the pretext that classified radio frequencies and procedures were being used in vectoring the interceptors. (Ruppelt, himself, said that the reason the press was cleared out, was that not a few people in the radar room were positive that this night might be the big night in UFO history - the night when a pilot would close in on and get a better look at a UFO - and they didn't want the press to be in on it). Nowhere have I found any mention of Air Force, radar or tower personnel, or civilian press, taking pictures of the UFOs. All civilian traffic was cleared out of the area and the jets moved in. 

F-94 Starfire

By 12:30 AM, 4-5 of the targets were continually being tracked at all times, so once again a call went out for jet interceptors from Newcastle County AFB. By midnight two F-94's were airborne and headed south. But just as the jets arrived, the targets disappeared! The jets returned to base. 

A few minutes later, the UFOs were back on the scopes in that same area. At one point, a few minutes after the objects left the radarscopes in Washington people in the area around Langley AFB near Newport News, Virginia, began to call Langley Tower to report weird lights that were "rotating and giving off alternating colors". The tower also saw the lights and called for an interceptor. The jet was in the area for several minutes and got some visual and radar lock-ons, but had them broken within a few seconds. A few minutes after the F-94 over Newport News had the last lock-on broken, the targets came back on the scopes at Washington National!!! The controllers called the Air Defense Command again and two F-94's roared south toward Washington. This time the targets stayed on the scopes when the jets arrived.   

Simulation from documentary, "U.F.O."

In later years Chop was asked  how everyone in the scope room felt when one of the pursuing pilots (Red Dog One) was surrounded by UFOs visually and on radar. Was there a sense of helplessness or disbelief? Chop: "Disbelief…No! Helplessness…Yes!" he insisted. "As we looked up at each other while watching that intercept attempt, you could imagine each of us trying to think of something that would be helpful. I might also add there were no disbelievers around that scope. We all knew these objects represented something with which we could not cope." 

After about a half an hour the jets were running low on fuel and had to return to base. Right after that the sky began to get light and the objects and the targets were gone. 

Each time, the radar sets were checked for malfunctions. There were none. Three ground stations were picking up the UNKNOWNS, plus airborne radars. At the time of the trackings, controllers noted both anolamous propagation and the objects. The UNKNOWNS were NOT weather targets. The objects were not aircraft. They would loaf along at 130 mph, then put on a burst of tremendous speed, flight reversals, etc. No jet was ever able to get close. At one time there were 18 unidentifiable objects on the scopes!!! 

Francis Ridge
NICAP Site Coordinator

Source: Edited version of Donald Keyhoe's, "Flying Saucers From Outer Space", page 68. Report cleared by the Air Force, item 23. 

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