June 3, 1957
Near Shreveport, LA
An account of a Radar-Visual sighting by the captain of a Trans-Texas airliner illustrates not only the prototype of these cases but, once again, the ever- present reluctance, especially on the part of technically trained people, to report a UFO. The member of the 4602nd Air Force intelligence squadron who interviewed the pilot in this case and prepared the report to Blue Book wrote:
SOURCE was reluctant to talk about object as he was somewhat upset because he was being interviewed on the sighting. He felt that he had nothing to do with originating the preliminary report other than asking the AC&W [radar] site if he had company on his flight. After an explanation by the investigator he became cooperative and should be considered reliable.
There follows in the original Blue Book report:
SOURCE'S description of the sighting: one object was sighted on takeoff from Shreveport, Louisiana, airport at approximately 2030 CST, 3 June 1957. Altitude of object was approximately 400 feet when first sighted. SOURCE stated that the control tower called his attention to the object, which appeared as a small light. Landing lights of SOURCE's aircraft were flashed on and off, and the object responded momentarily with very brilliant light directed at his aircraft. Object then gained altitude from a seemingly hovering position, at a high rate of speed. At this time another object was sighted at about the same altitude and having the same appearance of the first object. SOURCE stated he then contacted the tower to ascertain whether they had both objects in sight. Tower had both objects in sight, using binoculars. Objects then paralleled course of SOURCE's aircraft, moving at about the same speed, which was approximately 110 knots, only at a higher altitude than that of his own aircraft. At Converse, Louisiana, objects were still with them, so SOURCE decided to call GOATEE [radar site] to see if they had object on their weapon [sic]. An affirmative answer was received. SOURCE compared the size and appearance of objects to that of a star; however, he mentioned that at one time he could see the silhouette of objects but would not make a definite statement to that effect.
When interviewed, the co-pilot fully confirmed the pilot's statement but added that the object was at 1,000 feet and a half mile distant when first noted. He said that the light moved on a course of 170 degrees while rising to an altitude of approximately 10,000 feet at considerable speed, after which it appeared to maintain the same relative position to the SOURCE's aircraft for the next hour. He stated also that the radar site reported that they had two objects at 9,700 feet.
The brief statements of the two pilots and the reported reply from the radar site are unsatisfactory and incomplete and therefore frustrating. Project Bluebook lists the case as "Unidentified," but as so many tirnes before and after this incident, the unknown nature of the cause was not a spur to inquiry and assiduous follow-up. The UFO had been satisfactorily identified as Unidentified. With the object in view for approximately an hour, if the report is correct, a detailed and conscientious investigation surely could have determined whether the unknown could possibly have been a misperception of natural objects by both pilot and co-pilot, the tower observers, and, presumably, by the radar operator, although it was never firmly established that the radar was indeed sighting the objects that were sighted visually. Of course, if the radar wasn't sighting the visually sighted objects, what was it observing?
THE UFO EXPERIENCE: A SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY
(This web page was produced for the NICAP site by Francis Ridge)