FROM (Agency) :   Laredo Air Force Base, Texas
REPORT NO:        ATRC IR-PP-52  
   
1. On the night of 4 December 1952, 1st Lt. Robert 0. Arnold was flying locally in a T-28 type aircraft for the purpose of completing AFR 60-2 requirements. After flying in the local area for approximately two hours, Lt. Arnold returned to the airfield to enter traffic and land. Student training in T-33 Jet aircraft was in progress and the landing period was in session. Lt. Arnold received this information from the tower and therefore remained aloft until the landing period was over so that he might enter normal traffic and land.

2. While waiting for permission from the tower to land, Lt. Arnold circled the field in a counter clockwise manner and observed the Jet aircraft in the pattern and landing from an altitude of 6000'. After approximately 45 minutes of holding a lot, Lt. Arnold ascertained there were only three Jet aircraft remaining in traffic. A surveillance of the immediate area around the field to see if any other aircraft remained aloft was made by Lt. Arnold to determine how much longer he would be required to hold before landing. It was at this time he noticed a rapidly moving bluish light at approximate traffic altitude (1500' to 2000'). It was approximately 8 o'clock low to his position, which was about two miles southeast of the base at 6000', and the light appeared to be over the Heights residential area, directly southwest of the base, and traveling on a southeasterly course. Lt. Arnold considered the object to be a fourth Jet aircraft still outside the traffic pattern until he noticed the absence of position, passing and fuselage lights.

3. At this point, Lt. Arnold steepened his turn to the left to keep the object in sight. The object continued on a southeasterly course until approximately six miles southeast of Lt. Arnold's position, which was approximately where he had originally sighted the object. At this time the object rose immediately to Lt. Arnold's altitude of 6000' and began a wide sweeping counter clockwise orbit of the Air Base. The terrific speed of the object still led Lt. Arnold to think it was a Jet aircraft until he realized from previous Jet experience that the speed should have been considerably dissipated after such a maneuver. At a position approximately three miles north of the airfield in the objects orbit it immediately descended to approximately 1500 to 2000' again continued its orbit to the left around the city of Laredo, Texas, until it reached approximately the center of the business district, at which time the object made a very rapid flitting ascent due south to approximately 15,000'. the rate of climb was terrific. At this point, the object was approximately 6 to 8 miles southwest of Lt. Arnold's position (which was directly over the ramp on a southerly heading). The object then turned eastward and immediately descended to Lt. Arnold's altitude of 6000' again and proceeded eastward until approximately 6 miles southeast of the base again and it seemed to stop as if it were hovering, going straight away or coming straight toward Lt. Arnold's aircraft. At this time, Lt. Arnold added full power and declined the pitch of his aircraft to proceed directly southeastward toward the object. Lt. Arnold's intentions sere merely curiosity. Approximately two seconds after this action was taken by Lt. Arnold, the object appeared to close at a terrific rate in a head on approach. At approximately 100 yards in front of Lt. Arnold's aircraft, the object seemed to waver slightly in a vertical plane as if determining on which side of his aircraft to pass. The object passed very closely off the left wing of Lt. Arnold's aircraft within a distance of 50 yards and Lt. Arnold noted a blurred reddish-blueish haze of undetermined size and shape, but definitely no larger than his aircraft. This action happened so rapidly that Lt. Arnold was unable to take any evasive action. Immediately after the object passed, Lt. Arnold broke sharply to the left in order to keep the object in sight. The object rapidly made a flitting ascent again to approximately 15000' and circled to the left and began to descend as if positioning itself for another pass on Lt. Arnold's aircraft. At this point, out of sheer fright, Lt. Arnold turned off all his running lights and spiraled steeply to the left, keeping the object in sight, and leveled off at 1500'. At this time the object seemed to level off from its circling descent towards Lt. Arnold's aircraft, turn sharply to the right on a southerly heading and made another rapid flitting ascent into the atmosphere until out of sight.

4. The objeet was observed by Lt Arnold for approximately seven minutes and the exact time of the head on pass was 2053.   The object has been referred to as an object because it was identifiable only by the small flickering blueish light bywhich the observer was able to track its flight path. The size of the light was described by the observer as approximately 1/2 the size of the glow emitted by a normal position light on a T-33 type aircraft.  Its speed was estimated to be in excess of 500 MPH, and its maneuvers, which consisted mainly of rapid flitting ascents and descents, were unusually outstanding because they were certainly not conventional.

5. The observer parked his aircraft on the Laredo Air Force Base ramp at exactly 2105 and shortly thereafter reported the incident to the proper authority.

6  Sketch of observer's flight path and the object's flight path is attached.