UFO Conjecture(s)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Observational mistakes: The Chiles-Whitted sighting and The Roswell "accident"

In this paper...

Dead on Arrival?
The Development of the Aerospace Concept, 1944–58

School of Advanced Airpower Studies


...one will find much relevant information that impacts the UFO topic.

For instance, these footnotes...

31. RAND, Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, Douglas Aircraft Co., Inc., Santa Monica Plant Engineering Division, Report Number SM-11827, Contract Number W33-038 AC-15105, 2 May 1946, 1.

33. RAND, Preliminary Design of an Experimental World-Circling Spaceship, 10.

... created an explanation for the Chiles-Whitted UFO rocket sighting of 1948, that has been addressed by Wikipedia, Project 1947, and a terrific exegesis by the Living Moon site:




But the paper also details the internecine struggle for space exploration and technical development of space vehicles between the nascent United States Air Force and the United States Navy, in the context of the post World War II/Soviet environment:

If in the summer of 1947 the aerospace concept appeared to be taking hold within the Air Force, encouraged by Air Force leaders clearly thinking about the prospect of an operational domain that naturally extended beyond the atmosphere, within three years the concept had all but died. 

Without the external influence provided by the other services, by 1947 the aerospace concept arguably would have still been confined to the pages of Arnold’s 1945 report to Secretary Patterson. Thus between 1944 and mid-1947, the combined influence of the Army and the Navy’s actions highly encouraged its development.

Almost immediately the aerospace concept’s technology push element slowed to a crawl. Budget reductions, which began in the summer of 1947 and continued for another three years, took their toll on all Air Force R&D programs. However, those specifically supporting aerospace became the earliest casualties. Convair’s early ballistic missile study was cancelled in July 1947 as soon as the budget crunch hit, although an increased re-source flow which began following the opening of the Korean War, offered room again in early 1951 to reopen it. Satellites, interestingly, despite having lost its only rocket connection for three and one-half years, man-aged to garner the funding for RAND to at least continue its studies.

Naval thinkers ushered in the maritime vision a century ago. Perhaps it is time for airmen to lift the ceiling on airpower theory.

That last sentence of the paper gives a clue to why the U.S. Navy became and is the primary investigator of UFO sightings and, perhaps, the source of the Roswell event, which, I (and others) contend was an Earthian accident from a White Sands/Rand experiment.

UFO aficionados and ersatz researchers would do well to mine the information in this paper and others to find possible explanations for UFO sightings and the so-called Roswell incident, which is confluence of nonsense -- The Mac Brazel finding of Mogul or balloon debris, the sensationalized Haut press release based on Brazel's opportunistic salvaging of that debris, Roswellian hysteria instigated by the 1978 Friedman ET insertion into the "accident."



  • Huh? I guess I'm missing the connection between the Rand Corporation study on the feasibility of man-made Earth-circling satellites and the Chiles-Whitted sighting. What are you thinking the connection is?

    By Blogger Larry, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Larry...

    "The World-Circling Spaceship" is the connection as the provided links indicate.

    The Earth-Circling satellites are a different facet of the Rand space race.

    Their "ship" is what produced the conjecture(s)in the linked material.

    I'm surprised that you're confused by the bifurcation.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Your material is a provocative indicator of what could be described as a potential backdrop for a testing phase gone a muck and subsequently killed as unworkable.
    If it went nowhere and if covered over with a "black budget", no one could advertise it's failure.

    The well established U.S based Soviet intelligence operatives would have swarmed over any testing.

    A misdirection of attention would have been a handy aid to bury the dog with the bone.


    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Rich

    I think ive said this on another post of yours but ill mention again

    You say Roswell could be a possible Earthly accident with an Earthly explanation.

    Whilst i agree thats possible i am wondering why this hasnt yet been admitted it was an accident of some sort by the Government since they have admitted to lots worse than simple accidents before today, eg radiation test/ experiments etc.

    By Blogger Al12, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • AI12:

    It depends on the nature of the accident, the vicissitudes.

    Bruce's comment, above, seems to get at what might have been involved.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • A further thought on the possibility of any past disclosure in terms of a concept failing. You would prefer to have your adversaries go down the same dead end rather than cross it off their list of candidates.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • RR,

    I'm afraid I have to agree with Al12.

    Your conjecture that Roswell can be accounted for by the failure of a test vehicle from White Sands fails to explain the ongoing coverup/classification/misinformation/whatever-you-call-it of the incident, given that the government has been more than willing to confess to incidents that would reasonably seem much more serious (for example, the loss of a fully-functional thermonuclear weapon in Wassaw Sound in 1958).

    It also doesn't make sense to me that the government would release information regarding the KH9/KH11 spy satellites but won't fess up to the crash of an experimental rocket back in 1947.

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Fellows.....let's take your thinking and apply it to the ETH for Roswell:

    Why wouldn't the U.S. military or government, if a flying saucer had crashed in Roswell and aliens were aboard, proclaim, so the Soviets would hear, "We now have alien technology, so watch your asses. We can annihilate you any time and in any way we wish."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • RR,

    In that scenario you wouldn't want to confirm anything, just let the rumors persist. That would cause the Soviets to cast doubt upon their own espionage network and waste time trying to infiltrate a project that may or may not actually exist.

    But to the original point: if you were to try to spin the crash of a test vehicle from White Sands as the crash of an alien vehicle as some sort of disinformation ploy, you'd probably fail miserably. Keep in mind that not only were the Soviets really good at the spy business and had penetrated the Manhattan Project but that the Venona intercepts hint at at least one Soviet asset in White Sands as well.

    It seems doubtful that you'd be able to execute a disinformation scheme substituting a crashed rocket for a UFO very successfully.

    [As an aside, it would be interesting to go through the KGB archives and see what they thought of Roswell...]

    By Blogger Capt Steve, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • So you think they (whoever "they" are) went from a paper study to a re-entered "Earth-circling spaceship" that flew by Chiles and Whitted within a couple of years?

    To get to orbit, you have to attain a minimum of about 7.5 kilometers per second, burnout velocity--that's not just a good idea, it's Newton's law. Even now, almost 70 years later, we've never been able to do that with a rocket vehicle that uses less than two stages and uses high energy fuels (with exhaust velocity greater than about 3.5 kilometers per second. We didn't have either the fuel combination or a rocket motor capable of using it in 1948.

    We also didn't have the technology for bringing it back from orbit from those speeds and flying it around in order to scare DC-3 pilots. That wasn't worked out until the early 1950's by Harvey Allen.

    The whole point of the RAND study was to lay out all the scientific and technical challenges in the way of achieving an Earth-circling spaceship so that the nation's decision makers could fund that effort in a systematic manner.

    But they didn't, for almost a decade. Your conjecture is equivalent to suggesting that the US actually engaged in and won the space race twice--first, secretly, in the period 1946-1948 and then again, publicly, in 1957-1969.

    As a student of aeronautics and astronautics, I am familiar with the history of the subject from that period--both classified and non-classified. There is no room in there for an Earth-circling spaceship in 1948.

    When the various conjectures around the UFO phenomenon invoke conventional aerospace vehicles as part of the explanation, those conjectures are subject to verification/falsification. We may not know with any certainty how Unconventional Flying Objects operate or where they come from, but when it comes to Conventional Flying Objects, we have a well-documented history of how they work and where they come from.

    By Blogger Larry, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Larry...

    That's the point.

    The title of the post is "Observational mistakes..." with the URLs to web-sites indicating an explanation for Chiles-Whitted.

    Now do you get it?


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • One aspect of secrecy is the mind boggling backlog of documents requiring reclassification.For a balanced perspective for conspiracy theorists and others is the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan's study entitled "Secrecy" published by Yale Press. A must read.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Larry
    From my experience ( not in avionics) a study was a first step in a larger process in the development of a scope of work with specifications.
    In terms of hidden histories, one department keeping secrets from others was way out of control, so much so that the President was kept out of the loop.
    From a synopsis of the "Secrecy" study:
    "Senator Moynihan begins with the intriguing story of the Venona project, the Soviet spy cables intercepted during World War II and decrypted by the U.S. Army - but never passed on to President Truman. The divisive Hiss perjury trial and the McCarthy era of suspicion might have had a far different impact on American society, says Moynihan, if government agencies had not kept secrets from one another as a means of shoring up their power."
    The old saying "stranger things have happened "might be true...

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • I tend to discount sightings reports that contain "flames," "exhausts," and the like as ET since that reeks more of our technology than otherworldly. But since I don't have any particular in with EBE's and know how they operate, it's just a filter I use to keep from going overboard on this stuff. Nonetheless,the Chiles-Whitted sighting has always intrigued.

    On a similar note, why would ET bother with running lights/collision lights? It's not like they can't spot or outmaneuver ancient jet or prop aircraft, so why advertise in that way? Again, more of an earthly concern, I imagine.

    By Blogger Ron, at Monday, August 25, 2014  

  • Rich

    you said " we now have alien technology so watch your asses "

    In my opinion they may well of thought it was Russian that crashed given the hysteria with Russia at the time.

    Only then to discover it was something perhaps much more, and this Russian angle has been looked at lots of times, most recently by Annie Jacobs which Bragalia did a piece on.

    By Blogger Al12, at Tuesday, August 26, 2014  

  • The Chiles-Whitted sighting was important in that it was the impetus for the (in)famous top secret "Estimate of the Situation" drawn up by some members of Project Sign in late 1948.

    This sighting was such a mighty blow to the staff of Sign that it converted some of them to ETH. The "Estimate" most likely would never have been written but for Chiles-Whitted.

    Hence the RAND analysis and the reference, somewhere, to the Prandtl theory of lift.

    But I assume the more, shall we say, sober personnel paused and reflected and realised the true nature of what was seen. As did Hynek and others. A very bright fireball/meteor.

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, August 26, 2014  

  • I'm one of those "ersatz investigators," and Chiles-Whitted has always fascinated me, for a variety of reasons: 1) J. A. Hynek declaring that there was not a meteorological explanation, then immediately offering a meteorological explanation; 2) Walter Massey, the ground support man in Macon, seeing a ship of the same description an hour earlier than Chiles, Whitted and McKelvie, even though he was in a later time zone; 3) the fact that Massey was one of the few humans alive in 1948 who had seen both jet airplanes and rocket ships in flight, and was able to clearly distinguish between the two. It's no wonder Project Sign tied itself in knots trying to explain the sighting and ended up, as they so often did, looking entirely clueless.
    Could someone with an aeronautics background clear up something? It has always seemed strange to me that a wingless rocket would be flying around in a horizontal trajectory at 5,000 feet; wouldn't it need to be soaring at a much higher altitude?

    By Blogger Mark OC, at Tuesday, August 26, 2014  

  • In terms of Hynek's theories, It was Jacques Vallee's rare criticisms of him was playing along with the military's games in exchange for information. Unfortunately, Vallee's opinion largely went unsubstantiated as he never provided any specific examples, to my knowledge, of this behavior. Just how many of Hynek's "professional opinions" were tainted?
    We will never know...

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Tuesday, August 26, 2014  

  • Quite a few of Hynek's analyses were tainted, as he later freely admitted. Chiles-Whitted was one of the very first cases he was faced with after joining Project Sign, so he had a very strong "natural explanation" bias at that point, and he was not to meet Jacques Vallee for another 10 or 12 years.

    By Blogger Mark OC, at Tuesday, August 26, 2014  

  • Just taking the sightings at face value and using the descriptions given by experienced pilots and observers I find it odd that no one seems to take into account the blue glow on the bottom of the craft. The best and only similarity to any technological development would be the Brown-Biefeld effect which has been delegated to obscurity. This could in turn be powered by an atomic device which ATIC had pointed out would be required. Shortly after the surrender in Northern Europe the U-234 turned up at Plymouth with a cargo which included a half ton of enriched uranium that should never have existed according to General Groves. Could this technology have continued to be developed in Spain under the auspices of Franco ....apparently Lionel Shapiro thought so and published several articles in the North American press stating just that.

    By Blogger Frank in New Orleans, at Tuesday, September 23, 2014  

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