UFO Conjectures

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Howard Hughes: Socorro (and Roswell?)

Howard Hughes’ Tool Company and Hughes Aircraft were employed by the U.S. military to devise various space craft and satellite equipment, including lunar landing modules in the 1950s, 1960s, 1970s.

Both Hughes’ constructs were CIA connected and some Hughes’ operations were CIA fronts: Maheu & Associates were a CIA front in the Hughes empire. (See Age of Secrets: The Conspiracy that Toppled Richard Nixon and the Hidden Death of Howard Hughes by Gerald Bellett, 1995.)

Hughes and Raven Industries (a CIA front) worked on LEMs and tested them in the southwestern deserts of The United States in the 1960s (footnoted at the RRRGroup blog)

Howard Hughes also worked with Soviet agencies and engineering counterparts, with CIA approval, to acquire technical information about the Russian advances in space materials, especially lunar landers.

Here are three prototypical drawings of what Hughes Aircraft/Toolco derived from those internecine contacts with the Soviets.




(Note the similarity to the Socorro craft – image 1 and 2 -- spotted by Lonnie Zamora in Socorro, 1964, and the propulsive thrusters in image 3; Zamora’s rocket blast!)

Howard Hughes was for atomic disarmament, and struggled with the AEC to thwart atomic explosions in the Nevada desert in the 1950s. He was generally rebuffed. (Ibid, Age of Secrets)

Hughes also was enamored of pychics and connected with Peter Hurkos on various occasions, ostensibly about the insinuations of George Adamski, who imparted dire warnings that supposedly came from Venusian visitors about atomic testings. (Ibid, Age of Secrets et al.)

(We have also stumbled across indications of a secret Hughes Aircraft test for the Navy in 1947 that might account for the Roswell incident and debris. More on this upcoming.)

Hughes’ operations were also employed by the United States Navy. Late 1969: the CIA wanted to use the Hughes Tool Company as a front to build a high-tech "The Hughes Glomar Explorer" vessel to salvage sunken submarines. "The Jennifer Project" was to retrieve a sunken Soviet sub 750 miles northwest of Hawaii…but Hughes pulled out of the plan. (Ibid, Age of Secrets)

That UFO buffs and investigators have overlooked the Hughes connection to U.S. military testings of prototypical space vehicles, one of which we contend is what Lonnie Zamora saw in Socorro in April 1964, goes to the heart of the lacunae in “ufological” research, especially when such research tends to reference prosaic explanations for some esoteric UFO incidents, Roswell, Socorro, Shag Harbor among them.



  • Interestingly, Hughes was friends with George Van Tassel and his wife, when VT worked at Hughes, and they remained friends after.

    And there's an odd story about Hughes in the FBI's UFO files which I wrote about at UFOMystic a few years ago. Here's the link:


    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Yes, Nick...

    Hughes and his operations are all over the UFO map if one takes the time and makes the effort to look.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Rather notably, while Van Tassel was at Hughes, he actually helped a now-deceased FBI agent named Walter Bott on a number of espionage ops.

    So, VT wasn't just the pain in the neck that the FBI viewed him as in the 50s and 60s (as his FBI files reflect).

    He had some interesting ties to officialdom that bear further digging...

    By Blogger Nick Redfern, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • I have to put this to you:

    Don't you think that had either the Roswell craft or the Socorro craft been a Hughes prototype air or space machine, the USAF investigation would have identified it as such soon after the said event?

    In the Socorro case Quintanilla went to great lengths to identify such craft and got a big fat zero. Did he overlook something?

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • CDA:

    If the Hughes operation was CIA oriented, and I think it was (although the idea isn't solely mine), Quintanilla wouldn't or couldn't even come clsoe to finding out.

    Nor could the Army Air Force at the time of Roswell.

    The Hughes operations were leadened by cold war concerns.

    The U.S. Air Force has little or nothing to do with UFOs. It's the Navy that UFO buffs should be looking at, and the CIA psy-operations.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Hughes, the occultists, and contactees wanted nuclear disarmament, which. along with other things, involved them in state policy and also associated them with the Communists and the USSR...one reason they were of interest to CI.

    The Space Brothers had a political agenda.

    Several famous sf writers and editors were Party members or members of Party organizations during the 1930s (Some were fascists, though).
    I recall giving you a reference to the same for Shaver, even. There were the political critiques from the Forteans, especially Thayer, too.

    Occultists, sf writers, saucerians, Forteans were, in Cavitt's language "not reliable", "not solid citizens", and therefore persons of interest to the state.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Sorry, but that is a poor 'get out'. The USAF (and Blue Book) were specifically charged with investigating UFO reports and identifying them. It is easy to claim that certain things were beyond their reach. such as CIA-oriented craft. There was nothing to stop the AF (had it been strongly motivated) to identify any such experimental Hughes air or space craft.

    Why bring the Navy into it? Did the CIA operate over the seas or over land? Presumably these Hughes craft operated over secluded desert spots, not oceans.

    There was nothing to stop the CIA or any other agency from saying to Blue Book "sorry this is top secret, but it was one of our craft that caused the UFO report". In which case Blue Book could, and would, have made public something like: "we have identified the UFO but can say no more at present as it is a matter of national security".

    You are employing a 'cop out' to make the Socorro object into some supersecret object that even the USAF was not told about.

    And even if it was supersecret, would it still be after 47 years?

    Was Quintanilla was given the runaround or not?

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • CDA, you're so sweet and naive that one has to luv ya.

    The Air Force's Blue Book enterprise was a farce, and you know that.

    The Navy, aside from the inference that it is only ocean or water oriented, is belied by the facts and history of that military construct.

    Quintanilla, like Ruppelt and Hynek, was a patsy -- a tool of the CIA's disinformation tactics.

    The Socorro craft wasn't necessariy a super-secret craft, but it was a prototype that wasn't ready for prime-time outage, in context with cold war machinations.

    Why do you Brits think the U.S. Air Force is such a magnificent adjunct of the U.S. government?

    Why it hasn't even played an integral part in the Iraq or Afghan war(s).

    It's no RAF certainly.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • In my humble opinion, it wouldn't matter which group (CIA, Hughes, etc) would have been the builders, and testers of such craft, the facts remain that we never test such devices out in the open, for anyone, or all to see.

    Though you might say, "but Bob, the Socorro craft was out in the middle of the desert," I would counter that wasn't quite the whole truth. A police officer chasing a speeder miles from testing zones witnessed the object land, and the take off again. If it had been a prototype, of any sorts, it would have been accompanied by dozens of chasers/spotters. They would have arrived simutaneously, or quickly after the officer.

    These things are not released into the wild blue yonder until they have reached a huge level in abilities, with several, or most bugs worked out.

    Since it took off on its own power, it would have proved to be more than ready for use. When was it used? It certainly wasn't the design used for Apollo, which needed the reduced gravity of the moon to successfully launch.

    And no prototype that I am aware of had gained this type of ability. They were all barely able to stay aloft, a few feet off the ground, without lilting to one side or the other.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Bob:

    A superficial understanding of what Hughes was doing, in 1945 onward, for the government.

    Your LEM knowledge is wanting.



    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • CDA: "Why bring the Navy into it? Did the CIA operate over the seas or over land?"

    Don't forget the US Navy was in the desert, Los Alamos for example. "The Analysis of Flying Object Incidents in the U.S." was a product of both the AF Directorate of Intelligence and The Office of Naval Intelligence. The Navy had an intelligence officer assigned to Menzel's Coronagraph project in Climax, Colorado -- no other branch of service was represented to my knowledge.

    It was only through the efforts of General LeMay that the US Navy didn't get the monopoly of satellite R&D funding after Korea.

    Rich is not wrong to highlight the US Navy, although I disagree with dismissing the USAF. There was room for both. They were in bitter competition, especially since the services were "unified" after WWII.



    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • "A superficial understanding of what Hughes was doing, in 1945 onward, for the government."

    I agree

    "Your LEM knowledge is wanting."

    I know this much:

    Our Lunar Lander could not take off from the moon with its landing structure intact. Instead, it used a method similar to exploding bolts, as it disengaged from the box and landing struts. This explosion was calculated to give the desired thrust for re-establishing Lunar Orbit.

    The only similarity with the 1964 affair was an initial explosion of sorts. After that it differs. So if the Hughes craft was so superior why wasn't the method stolen from him, or his idea actually used, instead of the one we did use?

    I think its a fair question, regardless of my lack of knowledge.

    By Blogger Bob Koford, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Bob:

    It was a prototype, one of many tried by Hughes and others.

    That the thing was discovered or sighted by Zamora came about because of a mechanical failure.

    It shouldn't have been where it ways I think, and if it was cited for what it really was, a lot of CIA cover would have been blown.

    I like that you provide hypotheses, like my own, but citations for your views would be helpful.

    Don't get angry, as Don has become, because I'm being critical.

    I'm just trying to keep postings and comments here tied to the topic.

    I'm trying to foster seriously rooted discussions to salve those in my gang who think that we're all loose here with our thinking.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • "The Air Force's Blue Book enterprise was a farce, and you know that."

    Actually I don't know that.

    Agreed, they certainly had shortcomings. But you are implying that projects associated with Blue Book were farces also, such as Battelle (don't tell Tony Bragalia), Condon, Twinkle, and others. These ultimately all came under USAF control, and therefore were an adjunct of Blue Book to an extent.

    I think we have to accept that the AF (i.e. Blue Book) did a useful service on a limited budget, and they did have access to highly classified projects. (See the Skyhook project and Mantell for example). They COULD have identified the Socorro saucer, whatever the CIA tried to do to thwart them.

    I do not pretend to know how the US military works in all cases. I am merely stating that there is no way, apart from severe negligence on the part of Blue Book, that any Hughes experimental craft would still be unidentified after nearly 5 decades, if that was indeed what Zamora saw.

    Please don't bring in the RAF, Libya, Iraq, etc. Perhaps all the UK UFO investigations were a farce too? (Don't tell Dave Clarke).

    By Blogger cda, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Christopher:

    Any study of U.S. government protocols and accompanying shenanigans would make it obvious that the Air Force, and even Battelle, Rand, et al. were not and are not privy to lots of things that one would think fall into their bailiwick.

    The Air Force may know, now, what Hughes, NASA, the CIA, and Raven were up to, have been up to, but why go back to "correct the record"?

    That would surely show the world that the AF was pimped.

    Socorro was an aberration, a prototype testing that went off the range as it were -- which Hughes and his minions often did.

    And the rest is UFO history,


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • I have often heard this idea of Socorro being a lunar module test gone astray.

    I think this idea shows a lack of knowledge of what our technology level was and what we were testing.

    Landing and taking off by rocket on the Moon is a far cry from landing on Earth--the energy expenditure is tremendously different.

    The known Lander test modules used jet power to take off and land with rockets assisting slightly--they carried 1 passenger and were a miraculous feat of technology for the time.. Their total flight time was 10 minutes at 40mph.

    3 of 5 of them were destroyed in crashes.

    Let's say that the thing Zamora said he saw at Socorro was a lander test craft that had gone off-course. This alone is highly unlikely.

    But the thing that takes us into the realm of stuff that just didn't happen, is the idea that the lost pilots jumped back in and took off again rather than wait for help to arrive. I don't see how this could make sense at any point.


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Lance:

    Hughes Aircraft (and others) were testing prototypes!

    They didn't have to do what they would eventually be expected to do: they were prototypes!

    You guys would do well to look at the aviation history for Hughes Aircraft and other enterprises.

    Try to access the early, arcane NASA files, which might be able to be located by hacking (legitimately) into the root files of the NASA web-site.

    I accent, again, that the items tested were protoypical!

    Geez, doesn't anyone understand the concept of prototype testing?

    I'd expect such stupidity from a Don Ledger but not from any of you fellows.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Sure, I understand prototypes.

    I work on prototype products all the time (like right now).

    It is the idea that during a test of a prototype, that something went wrong, the craft went off-course and the pilots decided to jump back in and continue the test in these extremely fragile and unreliable craft (by the way, the known examples, all prototypes themselves, NEVER took off landed and then took off and landed again. They could only do one cycle).

    This doesn't seem to be a rational possibility .


    By Blogger Lance, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • In the world of UFOs, Lance, you know anything is possible.

    The scenario for how the prototypical event played out appears earlier here in a posting or at the RRRGroup blog.

    While that scenario is complex and hypothetical, it isn't any weirder that the idea that Zamora saw an extraterrestrial craft with two "pilots."


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, September 27, 2011  

  • Lunar landers are, by definition, designed to perform soft landings on the Moon, where there is no sensible atmosphere and the force of gravity is only about 1/6 that of Earth’s. In the 1960’s, as today, there are only 3 conventional methods by which a material object may be maintained in flight above a gravitating body. They are 1) hydrostatic lift (buoyancy), 2) aerodynamics (lift due due to fluid motion), and 3) reaction thrust (rocket propulsion). That’s it; there is no other method. On the Moon, buoyancy and aerodynamics don’t work because there is no atmosphere. So, all lunar soft landers are designed to use rocket thrusters. Rocket thrusters are designed to deliver a specific amount of thrust, but may be throttled by about a factor of two. To soft land on any planetary surface, the specific rocket thrust near the moment of touchdown must be approximately equal and opposite to the force of gravity on that surface. That means that the maximum thrust a lunar lander can generate is about 1/3 Earth’s gravity. If you look at the specifications of the JPL Lunar Surveyor lander that some skeptics have suggested was the source of the Socorro report, you will see that it is far too underpowered to take off from the Earth under its own power. The same is true of the Apollo lander or any of the Soviet robotic landers that landed on the Moon. Lunar landers do not have enough thrust to land and take off from the surface of the Earth.

    And this doesn’t even take into account the aerodynamic problems of trying to fly a lunar lander inside the Earth’s atmosphere. Because lunar landers are designed without regard to aerodynamics, trying to fly them inside the Earth’s atmosphere would generate huge aerodynamic forces and torques that the lander structure is not designed to take. As a general rule, a spacecraft designed to operate in the absence of an atmosphere would tumble and break up if moved at speed through an atmosphere.

    Whatever it was that Zamora saw in Socorro, it was NOT a lunar lander; not a prototype, not an operational version, not built by JPL, Hughes Aircraft, the CIA, New Mexico Institute of Technology students or anyone else. It was something else.

    By Blogger Larry, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • It's important to remember that Zamora never saw an aircraft land. He heard a loud sound and saw some flame and followed up on that before, in a matter of moments, saw a vehicle on the ground with two "disembarked occupants."

    He was a very good witness especially under the circumstances.

    By Blogger Frank Stalter, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • Thanks, Larry:

    You know your stuff, however....

    You fellows don't seem to understand or know how prototypes are tested or what prototypes really are.

    The instruments are engineered with the caveats in place for other environments, such as the Moon or Mars.

    You guys sure like to show off your expertise but, again, that expertise is short-circuited by a lack of knowledge or research about what, in this instance, Hughes Aircraft was doing or testing.

    I've suggested the source material to help you guys out, but you all insist upon pushing forth your shallow knowledge about landers and prototypes.

    I appreciate the defense of the Zamora/Socorro ET craft hypothesis, but it's goofier than the LEM testing hypothesis.

    (Again, my bitchin' here is part of the debate procedure; it's not personal or autocratic. I hope you understand that.)


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • A few comments. The lunar lander was tested on terra firma, and on one occasion nearly killed one of the test pilots. A manned versus unmanned lander is an important distinction which is related to the history of the Northrup flying wing which was notoriously unstable. However with the advent of advanced software, we have it's offspring, the B-1. In that time frame, there was nothing existing that could have provided both stability and unmanned avionics.
    Look at the history of the VTOL craft, same scenario. While the probability of a covert test is tempting, the developmental time lines don't appear to line up, although there is always a nagging doubt that we currently know the real story whose development was shrouded in secrecy, just as the military space shuttle has been. I see that both of us are taking a look at Hughes over at The Anomalist. I think Bigleow is the proverbial reincarnation of Hughes as a player.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • Bruce:

    Because most commenters here haven't seen the Hughes Toolco or Hughes Aircraft papers on their unauthorized, but not secret, testing of LEMs and Mars landers, I'll try to place links to those papers from our private UFO web-site.

    This will show the failures and successes, some of which mimic the Socorro scenario that Zamora provided.

    That might help clarify what prototype testing is, since most visitors here haven't a clue, because they haven't researched the matter -- the cavalier approach to investigation and study that is endemic to UFO hobbyists.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • Hi Rich,

    I (from the depths of my ignorance) would like to see what you are referring to.



    By Blogger Lance, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • Lance:

    Since no one wants to search for the Hughes Aircraft papers, I'll make an attempt to provide links (to our UFO web-site) to what we've found.

    I'm not sure which venue I'll use to provide those links, since I have to be careful that the material isn't purloined by other bloggers or web-masters who have a tendency to rip-off such items.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • One aspect of this is the alleged insignia which I think is a strong possibility of being an intentional red herring, which has proved successful to further obfuscate the craft's origin. I don't think a potential cold war weapon platform developed by private contractors would have an identifiable corporate logo on it's flank.
    Prior to my retirement I was a project and process engineer, and I can attest that you cannot be assured of absolute certainty if a project will fly until it is prototyped and tested. There are always revisions regardless of the critical path. I doubt this was a federally funded project. It is more likely to have been a private developmental project. Having been a federal contractor, I can tell you there is a great deal of funding scrutiny in regard to failures, return on investment etc, regardless of public access to such budgetary games versus corporate security on proprietary projects. Quite a few R&D projects are funded in house for this reason for a free hand. No strings.
    No reporting. Look at Hughes history in terms of being investigated ( stung) by Congress for alleged cost over runs on the experimental Spruce Goose. He also had a long history of using his own money to do R&D.
    So..as you suggest corporate records versus federal records would be a potentially more fruitful avenue.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • That damn insignia has been a bone of contention for us, Bruce.

    One of our fellows did find a connection to Hughes using the original, "fraudulent" insignia.

    (That evaluation is online here, at this blog, via the archives.)

    Then we were apprised that the symbol was a concoction and not what Zamora really saw.

    And we started over, to find a connection to Hughes or other industrial or military constuct, using the alleged real symbol that Zamora saw.

    So far, nada.

    Hughes was funded by the CIA and used Raven Industries as a front also.

    Knowing about Hughes predilection for doing things his way, I imagine that he used a lot of his own funds for many of his experimentations.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • There's another more obvious advantage.If you do the work under federal contract, when it is done, they (not you) own it. If you do this using your own R&D you have a huge bargaining chip. I have X that will do ABC and a strong potential for D. Whats it worth to you?
    I think it's called capitalism.

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

  • Thanks, Bruce for your private missive.

    The information is fascinating, and a tip of an unknown iceberg I bet.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Wednesday, September 28, 2011  

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