UFO Conjecture(s)

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Luke Ford [UFO DNA] Analyzes the Chiles-Whitted sighting and Heflin's Photos


We received this missive from our friend Luke Ford of the UFO DNA site:

Hi, I've started doing some original research again after a delay of a couple years and the first results are:

Chiles Redux - a reexamination of the classic Blue Book unknown Chiles case, going back to original source documents, showing conclusively it was an earth-grazing meteor, not a B-29-sized cigar-shaped spacecraft: 

Heflin Again - absolutely positively proving again the photos were faked, of a very small object close to the camera - but why the interest of aerospace companies in the sighting? 

I would be glad if you could link to them or repost if you find them of value.

Luke Ford

Luke's scrutiny of the 1948 Chiles-Whitted sighting and Heflin's saucer photos noted here are worth your examination.



  • Rich:

    I have just looked at Luke's analysis of the Chiles-Whitted case. I only have a few moments to comment, right now; I will give a more extensive reply later.

    At first blush, I would say Mr. Ford has done a commendable job of proving that the Chiles-Whitted object was NOT an Earth grazing meteor.

    More to come.....

    By Blogger Larry, at Sunday, April 28, 2013  

  • I agree with Mr Ford.

    However, Menzel, Hartmann, Hynek and others had reached the same conclusion decades earlier. As it was, Blue Book spent a lot of time analysing many aircraft routes that night and even the Prandtl theory of lift (in aerodynamics), to try and make sense of it.

    The wide publicity given to the ET 'spaceship' idea caused this sighting to assume great importance in the early UFO era, an importance, it turns out, it never deserved.

    By Blogger cda, at Sunday, April 28, 2013  

  • Regarding Heflin's photos, in 1968 there was a TV documentary in the UK about UFOs which included Heflin's photos.

    It also included the remark that Heflin was a known skilled model maker and photographer for some years before his sighting. Ufologists, and even skeptics, were apparently unaware of this.

    By Blogger cda, at Sunday, April 28, 2013  

  • I second Larry's comments with respect to the Heflin photos. The small model theory, especially on a fishline, has been around for years. If you want to believe it, fine. Since I've raised numerous objections to this (on this blog)in the past I will not repeat myself. "Absolutely, positively" proof of fakery? Not by a long stretch.

    By Blogger Dominick, at Sunday, April 28, 2013  

  • The Chiles-Whitted case is a classic one where UFO witnesses estimate an unknown object to be low and close, and skeptics want it to be high and far away so it won't be so mysterious. The object, whatever it was, was a self-luminous object seen at night, and so the problem of being able to estimate distance in the absence of the visual cues that would be available during daytime is a real one.

    Chiles and Whitted estimated the object to be a half mile away in the horizontal direction and 500 ft above their altitude and moving opposite their direction at about 700 mph. Ford claims that it was actually 80 miles away, at 90,000 ft altitude, and moving at 18 miles/second, as that would generate the same viewing angles and apparent speed. He proposes that it was “clearly” an earth-grazing fireball (meteoroid).

    Clearly, it was not. Ford’s argument is basically one of geometry and he can do the mathematics of geometry. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know anything about the physics of meteoroids. An earth-grazing meteoroid cannot exist that low in the atmosphere (≈ 27 km). Meteoroids break up at 50 to 95 km altitude. If it starts breaking up, then it is not earth-grazing; it augers in. If that had happened, there would have been massive sonic booms and phenomena similar to what recently happened in Russia.

    By Blogger Larry, at Monday, April 29, 2013  

  • I agree with the other Larry (somebody else can make the obligatory Bob Hope reference), that explaining away this famous sighting as an earth-grazing meteoroid is just that, desperate hand-waving.

    Let's not forget that Chiles and Whitted were as experienced pilots as you could find (combat and civilian experience) and that Hynek, even as he latched on to it, called the meteor explanation "far-fetched".

    By Blogger Lawrence, at Monday, April 29, 2013  

  • Yes Chiles & Whitted were experienced pilots. So what? The object they saw was one of those 'once in a lifetime' things, i.e. an exceptionally bright fireball (exploding). It was NOT a common meteor or shooting star. The two pilots had never seen its like, and that is the nub of the matter. The clues are all there and W. K. Hartmann goes to some lengths in the Condon Report to explain it. Very rare event but there were others like it. (Re-entry of Zond IV debris was one, 1913 fireball was another).

    It was identified more or less at the time, but because the press, Project Blue Book and many subsequent UFO authors took it into their heads to publicise it as a 'spaceship' (it gave rise to the famous 'Estimate of the Situation' as given in Ruppelt's book, chapter 3 which some enthusiasts still love to talk about), it still remains as a popular 'huge cigar-shaped spacecraft' in the ETHers eye.

    There was also the unfortunate mistake of the Battelle scientists including it among their top 12 cases in Blue Book Special Report 14. But remember that Battelle never investigated one single UFO sighting. They merely took the descriptions directly from AF files.

    Hynek went too and fro on the case, but eventually agreed it was a bright meteor.

    So forget the "as experienced pilots as you could find" idea. It means zilch for an event that is a real rarity.

    As Ford says, the rocking of the plane was an added embellishment.

    By Blogger cda, at Monday, April 29, 2013  

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