Submitted to the House Committee on Science and
Astronautics at July 29, 1968, Symposium on Unidentified Flying
Objects, Rayburn Bldg., Washington, D.C.
by James E. McDonald, Senior Physicist, Institute of
Atmospheric Physics, and professor, Department of Meteorology,
The University of Arizona, Tucson, Arizona.
Case 38. Washington, D.C., July 19, 1952.
By far the most famous single radar-visual sighting on
record is the one which occurred late in the evening of July 19,
and early on July 20, 1952, in the vicinity of Washington, D.C.
(Refs. 2, 4, 5, 10, 24, 25). A curiously similar incident
occurred just one week later. The official explanation centered
around atmospheric effects on radar and light propagation. Just
before midnight on July 19/20, CAA radar showed a number of
unidentified targets which varied in speed (up to about 800 mph)
in a manner inconsistent with conventional aircraft. A number of
experienced CAA radarmen observed these returns, and, at one
juncture, compatible returns were being received not only at the
ARTC radar but also on the ARS radar in a separate location at
Washington National Airport, and on still a third radar at
Andrews AFB. Concurrently, both ground and airborne observers
saw unidentifiable lights in locations matching those of the
blips on the ground radar....