The July 17th, 1957 sighting of a UFO or UFOs is touted by some ufologists as one of the best, or the best, evidence for the reality of UFOs.
A full account of the episode may be found at http://www.ufologie.net/htm/rb47.htm
And here some excerpts from the text found at the above web-site:
[The radar on the RB-47] detected electromagnetic signals that were actually emitted by an object itself.
the signal moved up the scope, as it would if the scope was 180° out of alignment.
it had moved up the scope on the right-hand side of the aircraft, it then crossed the path of the RB-47 and proceeded to move down the scope on the left-hand side. In other words, whatever was emitting the signal flew a ring around the RB-47
the pilot, Lewis Chase, saw a light coming in from the left, at approximately the same altitude as the RB-47. At first he thought it was another plane, but it was only a single white light, It then blinked out at a point to the right front of the aircraft.
At 4:39, Chase spotted a huge light to the right front of the RB-47
At 4:40, McClure reported two signals, at 40° and 70°. Chase and McCoid reported seeing red lights at those locations.
At 4:48 AM, radar station Utah requested the position of the signals that McClure was receiving, and they immediately confirmed that their radar had detected the objects at the same location.
As the RB-47 attempted to pursue, the object appeared to stop suddenly. Chase could see that they were gaining on it, and they over shot it. At 4:52 it blinked out, and simultaneously vanished from McClure's scope and the ground radar!
the object suddenly blinked on again, simultaneously reappearing on McClure's scope and the ground radar at 4:52! They began to close to within 5 miles of the object, when it suddenly dropped to 15,000 feet and then blinked out again, once again vanishing from the scopes and ground radar.
it finally faded as they neared Oklahoma City
As one can see, the UFO was not a tangible object visually, but a light source.
Radar on the plane and ground saw the “object(s)” as tangible.
There are other cases similar to the RB-47 episode – the Coyne helicopter incident of 1973 and the 1976 Tehran sighting.
Such sightings, and the RB-47 sighting in particular, are evidence of nothing; well almost nothing.
They are merely (and we use the word “merely” explicitly here) quantum manifestations – not at the usual infinitesimal level but at a macro-cosmic level, as we are argue elsewhere.
The electromagnetic manifestations of the RB-47 incident mimic Dirac’s studies of the electromagnetic radiation light, which produces particle and wave results to observers, which can be measured with radar and other instruments.
And specifically Max Born’s 1926experiments with quantum mechanical probability provide the clue as to what the RB-47 crew experienced:
“The probability amplitude for an electron in the state n to scatter in the direction m provides its own intensity wave…and the absolute value…turns out to be a physical probability of the associated particle’s presence.”
What the RB-47 crew saw and measured (eliciting changes in the light because of the effect of measurement/observation of quantum artifacts) was a quantum manifestation that, for us, represents most if not all “lights-in-the-sky” sightings.
For ufologists to posit the extraterrestrial hypothesis, sometimes subliminally (Clark, Hall, Sparks, et al.) but usually overtly (Friedman) rather than explore the quantum possibilities shows that ufologists are not familiar with what physicists are thinking, especially how quantum may be a reality at local and non-local levels, and manifesting in ways that can be experienced optically rather than only theoretically.
[See Kaku, Susskind, and Greene]
As for flying saucers – the “nuts-and-bolts” sightings, we’ll continue to deal with those as mostly misidentification of secret and not-so-secret military aircraft, or the fabrications of persons seeking to validate their humdrum existences.