'Things' Sighted Twice in 7 Days
Pilot Reports Seeing Lights That His Ship Is Unable to Follow
July 28, 1952
Washington, July 27, UP. -- Jet fighter planes scanned the night sky over Washington last night and early today after unknown aerial objects were spotted intermittently on radar screens over a six hours period.
No contact was made with any of the subjects, which pilots said looked like "lights."
It was the second time within a week that unidentified flying objects in the sky had been tracked by radar in the Washington area.
The Air force said tonight that the latest unknown objects were spotted on radar screens at the Washington National Airport for at least six hours.
They were first detected at 9:08 p.m. Saturday by the Air Route Traffic Control Center at the airport.
The Air Force was notified.
Between four and 12 unidentified objects over the Washington vicinity were detected by radar, the Air Force reported.
Two jet fighter-interceptor planes were ordered aloft and searched the area, and later another pair took over the search.
But neither group made any direct contact with the unknown objects, which appeared to one pilot as being four lights that disappeared before he could overtake them.
After the planes had returned to their base, the unknown objects continued to be observed for some time on the radar screens at the airport, the Air Force said.
The jet pilots gave no description of what the aerial objects might have been beyond saying they looked like lights.
The jet planes came from Newcastle, Del. approximately 90 miles from Washington.
These pilots appeared on the CAA radarscopes at approximately 1:25 p.m. and were guided on several of the unknown objects.
The Air Force said in its statement:
"One of the jet pilots reported sighting four lights in front approximately 10 miles and slightly above him but he reported that he had no apparent closing speed. They disappeared before he could overtake them." Later the same pilot reported a steady light that disappeared in about a minute."
Sightings of unidentified things in the sky by radar indicate that something of substance was involved, not only light. It could, however, be small or large, as radar is capable of picking up a bird in flight. Radar also can detect such things as cloud formations.
The Air Route traffic control center made several further attempts through its radar observation of the unidentified objects to guide the jets to a contact. It was unsuccessful, the Air Force said, until about 11:49 p.m. When the same pilot who reported the first visual contact again reported sighting what he described as "a steady white light." The light disappeared within a matter of one minute, the Air Force said.
The CAA radar operator at the traffic control center, located at the Washington National Airport, calculated the unknown object's position at approximately 10 miles east of Mount Vernon, Va., which is near the airport.
The pilot said this light was about five miles ahead of his aircraft.
The Air Force said no further contact, either visual or by radar, was made by the planes, although the "unknowns" were still apparent at 2:20 a.m. on the CAA radarscope.