The UFO Iconoclast(s)

Saturday, April 28, 2007

A Clue to Vallee's UFO Work Today?

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Click here for a paper by Jacques Vallee, in conjunction with J. Allen Hynek, that may indicate Vallee’s approach to UFO studies he’s conducting at the present time; reworked, of course, with UFO data.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Original sources of the 1947 Roswell Balloon and Mogul Episodes

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From 1946:

This trip was made in support of Project Helios. The primary purpose was to visit present or potential suppliers of materials need for the project. A major point of interest is the view on plastic films under consideration for the balloons. Pliofilm still seems to have most potential; nylon and polythene (polyethylene) are nowhere near mature enough to be seriously considered.

Content

Since 1946 when the first plastic balloon program was started at General Mills, our engineering staff has been extremely interested in the prospects of contributing to stratospheric manned flight experiments. On project HELIOS, a gondola and balloon system was designed and built. In subsequent years, tremendous improvements in plastic balloon systems have taken place. This proposal covers the design and fabrication of two gondolas and of two balloons. It is planned that one gondola will be instrumented and flown unmanned on a 128 TT balloon to an altitude of approximately 90,000 feet. The second gondola would be a demonstration flight with a human observer to 115,000 feet on a balloon of 2,700,000 cubic feet capacity.

Content

This report describes the first outdoor inflation and flight attempt of a full-size pliofilm balloon on April 24, 1947. Purpose of the test was to obtain data on (1) proposed method of inflation; (2) use of plastic ground cover; (3) behavior of the aerostat at low wind velocity; (4) weighing off the aerostat; (5) rate of ascent; (6) operation of appendix; (7) excess lift for safe take-off without dragging; (5) balloon suspension system; (9) behavior of suspended parachute. Several preconceived opinions on these points were found wanting. A suspension harness failure precluded an actual flight. Nevertheless, the experiment was very revealing, producing information vital to any future attempt. Prior to the first outdoor inflation, a trial inflation had also been successfully made at the balloon loft.

Content

Between June 1946 and May 1947 the contractor has designed and built the gondola and auxiliary equipment for Helios to within 75% of completion, and has tested and built seven large, and several small balloons made of various plastic films. Through trial and error it has been shown that the present design will fly if the proper plastic film is used. The ideal balloon material has not yet been found, but an adequate plastic film, polyethylene, is now in production and 500 lbs. of this film will be available for assembling in June. A balloon which loses practically no lift in twelve hours has been developed. It has a diameter of 70 feet and a volume of 165,000 cubic feet. By stressing the cellophane-taped seams, it is possible to use a film of lower tensile strength and keep the weight of each cell below 100 pounds.

Content

The New York University Balloon Group was organized in November, 1946 to develop and fly constant level balloons that would carry Army Air Forces' instruments aloft for the long range detection of nuclear explosions. In 1947, while awaiting the delivery of the polyethylene balloons to be used in these flights, tests were made using clusters of neoprene, meteorological sounding balloons. In June, flight operations started in Alamogordo AAF, NM where three full-scale flights were launched. One of these, NYU Flight #4, was last reported over Arabela, NM. From a recent examination of the Weather Bureau winds aloft reports and of the ground tracks of the two subsequent NYU flights, it appears that Flight #4 is a likely candidate to explain the debris later recovered north-northwest of Arabela

N.B. The 1940s Project Helios should not be confused with the recent Helios Project

The full reports from which these excerpts derive may be found at our UFO web-site.

The Anomalist

A blogger recently pondered why The Anomalist (http://www.anomalist.com) would include our postings in their daily listings of web-site and blog renderings.

Since The Anomalist only occasionally transports our serious musings to the daily links, we assume they prefer our goofier efforts, as a kind of comic relief.

The Anomalist is an equal-opportunity source for materials and thoughts at the edge of practical life, never editorializing or censoring (except by omission perhaps), and always providing fair shot to all of us who deign to be noticed.

We recommend visitors here use the link above to give The Anomalist site a go, and buy a book or two while you’re there.

(We’ll buy some books ourselves, once The Anomalist finds all our blogs, even the obscure, serious ones.)

The Navy's Roswell Accident -- Part Two

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Augmenting our post about the Navy and a dirigible crash at Roswell, we provide this (which might clarify the distorted and incorrect information that a blogger posted to discredit our effort):

"The airships employed by the Navy after WW II included the operating types used in the war, as well as some modified and several new types/classes. The G and L-types were used briefly in the postwar period. By 1947 all of the L-types had either been sold, stricken or placed in storage. Some of the G-types were still in service with the Naval Airship Training and Experimentation Command in 1947.

During WW II the designations that applied to these four airship classes were ZNP-K for the K-types, ZNN-G and ZNN-L for G and L-types and ZNP-M for the M type.

In 1947, the Navy’s General Board modified the airship designation system by dropping the “N” which stood for non-rigid. This was done because the board had scrapped the rigid airship program. A f t e r t h e “ N ” was dropped, the designations became ZPK, ZTG, ZTL (T was used for training vice N) and ZPM."

The United States Navy didn’t just fly blimps and dirigibles willy-nilly as a discontented blogger makes out.

The Navy experimented with – seriously experimented with – balloons of all sorts, from the pre-1947 period until 1961, with even a few attempts to employ ballooning for its missions after that.

We present the crash episode, in as much detail as we have so far, elsewhere.

As to why we don’t open those files to the UFO rabble, the superficial accounts by others – using public records rather than private, archived records (not available in a cursory search of the internet) – causes us to share our findings only with those who don’t have self-serving agendas they need to bolster.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

UFOs are NOT the Meaning of Life

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UFOs are neither the black plague nor the Second Coming.

UFOs are neither cancer nor untold wealth.

UFOs are a benign (if one discounts some of the abduction stories) phenomenon that a few have dedicated their waking moments to.

But having UFOs as one’s “hobby” isn’t a bad thing. It’s equivalent to hunting, gardening, painting, playing golf and a hundred other innocuous activities that usurp the time of human beings.

In all the years that UFOs have been spotted, none have brought disaster such as that of 9/11 or the Holocaust.

But for a rabid few, UFOs bring out the worst in human behavior. Persons who normally would be genteel and civilized often turn into mad dogs when someone teases their hobby or raises questions that provoke the importance that they’ve errantly given to the phenomenon.

Of all human activity, only terrorism and murder are worse than the mean-spirited attitude of most UFO mavens.

Sure, there are a handful of sincere and dedicated UFO researchers who’ve put the phenomenon in perspective. But the bulk of the UFO community consists of hard-boiled cranks and dispirited individuals.

Why this is so baffles us, as does the tendency of some in the UFO community to pretend they are truth-seekers but who have warped some events and incidents that, if the truth were known, the real truth, would destroy their narcissism and self-aggrandizement.

UFOs are interesting, and evoke curiosity. But sane persons place them in context, of the world and the ultimate reality that confronts all of us.

Unfortunately, insane persons will continue to denigrate and attack anyone who deems to belittle the inordinate importance that they put upon the mystery and themselves.

And that is a reality only a psychiatrist should deal with….

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Ufology's "modus operandi"

Bona fide (real) UFO researchers, such as Stanton Friedman, Jerry Clark, Kevin Randle, Brad Sparks, and Bruce Maccabee, have done the legwork for us and the rest of the UFO community.

(We didn’t add David Rudiak, who is imaginative and thorough to a fault, to the list because he allows too many “maybes” and “could haves” to his presentations, as he did in this exchange about Roswell for UFO UpDates:

“Bessie Brazel could conceivably have been at the Foster on July 4 & 5. The first day of the annual regional rodeo in Capitan was July 4 and it was the big event of the year. Mack Brazel might very well have picked up his family in Tulerosa, driven to the rodeo in Capitan on July 4, then taken the family on up to the ranch later the same day. At this point, on July 4, the family maybe picked up debris, as reported in Brazel's interview. Maybe Bessie Brazel's memories stem from this. In one account from Bill Brazel, his father first drove the family home before proceeding to Rowell to report his find. So if this happened, Bessie Brazel would have been there maybe late July 4 through early July 6. Another possibility is Brazel driving them home on July 5, then going to Corona that night, mentioning what he had found, and first being told about the flying saucers.”)

The bonafides investigate UFO episodes by visiting sighting locales, interviewing witnesses, perusing archival materials; then write books, or flesh out their web-sites and, blogs, and sometimes attend conferences to present their findings and conjectures.

UFO side-liners glom on to that work and those conjectures, rather than doing their own homework or studies and nit-pick or attempt to refute something minute among the vast enterprise that the group above produces or has produced.

With UFOs there are often hints of things that might explain or clarify the enigma, and actual researchers try to find out more from those hints.

Interlopers, too lazy to pursue sightings or data on their own, seek to undermine the work mustered by true ufologists.

(Even David Rudiak, despite his surmising, as noted above, has provided more relevant material than almost anyone else in the UFO community, but he’s often found in the backwaters of ufology because his work is too imaginative or unique for the common UFO maven or media to follow.)

We find that blogs and web-sites have provided a haven for those not able to set up their own sites where comments are the coin of the realm, and often those comments are based upon the work of others.

Connect the dots one comment-generator told us recently. We told him to connect the dots himself. We provided some clues, gathered from searches and our raft of UFO materials gathered over the years, and hoped that this might lead some to go further with our suggestions or meager hypotheses.

But our gadfly couldn’t extrapolate from the material presented, and if he found it wanting, ignore it – which is what a sane person would do.

We think he should get off his ass and do some original work himself, not parasitically use our efforts (as lame as they are) to try and score points with the rest of the laggard UFO crowd.

But it’s the true investigators who get short-changed by that kind of UFO mooch.

The work of James McDonald, John Mack, Ron Story, Brad Steiger, and dozens of others, who’ve paved the way for the current crop of UFO hobbyists, should not be besmirched by a few informational ruffians, using pseudonyms or anonymous as a crutch to criticize work they are incapable of doing on their own.

And bloggers, even us, can’t presume to have attained the heights that the persons named above have attained.

This doesn’t mean we’ll be less iconoclastic. It just means that we know who is the wheat and who is the chaff.

Monday, April 23, 2007

The 1947 Dirigible Crash near Roswell

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From 1931 on, the United States Navy conducted test flights of dirigibles and blimps, contracted with the Goodyear Company.

World War II brought a recovery in the early 1940’s when the Litchfield Naval Air Facility and the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation employed as many as 7,500 people at one time. Dirigibles or “blimps” were built at the Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.

In the summer of 1947, the Navy was testing newly configured dirigibles, using the Army Air Force Holloman Base in New Mexico, then known as the Alamogordo Air Field:

Built by Goodyear Aircraft Corporation.
M-1 to M-4
M-1 Length 310 ft. Helium capacity 625,000 cu ft.
Powered by two 550 hp Pratt & Whitney Wasp engines. Cruising speed 60 mph.
M-2 - M-4 Length 310 ft. Helium capacity 647,000 cu.ft.
Powered by two 600 hp Pratt & Whitney engines.
Lift of 10,000 lbs.

Dirigibles were flown from Alamogordo to various air bases in New Mexico and Texas.

In July 1947 a flight from Alamogordo to the Roswell Auxiliary Army Air Field No. 2 was struck by lightning and crashed in an area East of Arabella.

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What details we have been able to muster can be found at our password-protected UFO site, open to bona fide UFO researchers and investigators.