Pilot’s Book Causes Stir May 20, 5:57 PM
Source: Florida Today
The periscope inside the museum that the blockhouse at Pad 14 has become works like a prop from a submarine movie. But swimming into view during the two-handled, 360-degree swivel comes some unexpected symbolism. The massive firing rooms that once ignited America’s earliest space shots hump out of Canaveral Air Force Station’s dense scrubby wilderness like cement anthills. A flashback to the spectral pyramids of the Yucatan passes quickly.
On this white-hot Sunday morning, history is re-materializing around a dismantled gateway to the cosmos. Official history, that is. Meaning that certain subjects are simply not talked about. Even if the pioneer initiates the discussion.
Forty years ago, Gordon Cooper strapped himself into a Mercury capsule named Faith 7, then rode a pillar of fire into “Right Stuff” legend aboard an Atlas rocket. Today, the supporting cast has reunited, dozens strong, perhaps for the last time, beneath a tent within a stone’s throw of Pad 14. With admiration, Lt. Col. Thomas Eye of the 45th Space Wing at Patrick Air Force Base revisit’s Cooper’s claims to immortality:
The Faith 7 mission logged more than 34 hours, more than the five previous Mercury astronauts combined. Two years later, Cooper became the first pilot chosen for a second orbital flight, in the Gemini sequence. The “trailblazer” was on the cutting edge of a communications revolution when, in orbit, he chatted with Mercury colleague Scott Carpenter, 205 feet beneath the California waves in Sealab II. It is an impressive tribute.
Access to Cooper is a traffic jam. They want to shake hands, to chat, to get autographs. But no one submits a copy of his controversial autobiography, published in 2000. In fact, a spot check of half a dozen old-timers fails to find anyone who’s read it, although they’ve heard the buzz. There are chuckles, puzzled brows.
“I don’t believe there’s anything such as UFOs,” offers Cal Fowler, former Atlas launch director and longtime acquaintance of Cooper. “They’ve never landed, anyway. Maybe they came and left after they didn’t find anything here to exploit.”
Cooper’s memoir, “Leap of Faith: An Astronaut’s Journey Into the Unknown,” takes a fearless, if not downright exuberant, plunge into the taboo waters of unidentified flying objects. Although “Leap of Faith” scuttles enduring urban legends contending he and other early astronauts observed UFOs in orbit, the retired Air Force colonel is convinced of their existence and calls for official dialogues and government transparency. In 1978, he lobbied unsuccessfully for the United Nations to play a leading
role in future studies.
Not only does Cooper elaborate on his 1951 sightings of metallic discs while serving with a jet fighter squadron in West Germany, he details his role in a UFO landing at Edwards Air Force Base in 1957. The latter, he says, was photographed by two military photographers, with stills and 35 mm footage. Before dispatching the images to the Pentagon, from which they never re-emerged, Cooper got a look at the negatives and reports the object was a “classic saucer” extruding tripod landing gear before it took off.
UFO skeptics such as Jim Oberg of Houston have teed off on “Leap of Faith.” He can find no Air Force colleagues to verify Cooper’s West German encounters. Advocates such as Stanton Friedman of Canada credit Cooper for being “gutsy” but lament his association with one of the UFO contacted, whom Friedman
calls “a phony.”
Surrounded by impatient co-workers, none of them addressing the autobiographical indelicacies, Cooper manages to find a few moments. He looks frail, but his mind is calculating. He blows off his critics with a shrug.
“UFOs, assuming they’re real, are not going to show us what they’ve got until they’re ready to show us,” the old astronaut says. “Until then, we’re not going to force it.”
Liberated by history to speak his mind, the enigma is escorted into the air-conditioned bunker, where they will talk of other things.
Omaha Pilot Sees UFO
This report is from an air traffic controller for Minneapolis Center that reported on March 25, 2004, at 1900 hours the pilot of an air carrier that was under my control reported two flights of two aircraft. There were no other aircraft in the vicinity at the time. He said they were 15 miles in front of him at 35,000 feet travelling away from him in a westerly direction. The UFO’s stayed out in front of his aircraft for fifteen minutes until the pilot said that the UFO’s were so far out in front of him that he could hardly see them anymore. After being relieved of my duties I reported to my supervisor who put me in contact with the Military Air Defence. The person at the other end of the phone said that they saw no objects in the area of this aircraft.
Peru, Pisco – 26th February, 2004: Aircrew Sees UFO
An airline pilot rated on B-737 B-757 and B-767 aircraft reported to Air Traffic Control abeam Pisco, Peru that he and other witnesses noticed three very bright slowly moving large objects. They passed by us at a distance of 25 miles flying at 20,000 feet. We were at 31,000 feet and there were four crewmembers on our B767-300er that saw it. There also was a Mexicana airliner overhead that noticed the objects as well. The objects were too large and bright to be aircraft and they were flying over the ocean. We called the local Air Traffic Controllers in Lima, but they did not acknowledge they had them on radar.
Corporate Jet Pilots See UFOs
Edmonton, Alberta, May 10th, 2004
The witness stated:
“I am a highly experienced corporate jet pilot operating out of the West Coast of British Columbia. I was a crew member on our company aircraft during the early morning hours of Sunday, May 10, 2004 on a flight from Syracuse, New York to Calgary, Alberta. No passengers were on board, only the two pilot crew. As we approached Empress, Alberta at 39,000 feet and preparing for descent, we noticed a very bright light in the northwest sky at about 12 degrees above the horizon. As the bright light (same intensity as Venus or Jupiter) travelled southeast and came closer it “seemed” to transform into nine plus objects. The other pilot maintains that there were twelve objects. The salient feature was that the three trailing objects were 1/3 of the brightness of the forward numbers which were at least as bright as Venus at 12:23 AM. The objects appeared to be flying in an organized formation at 700 to 1000 nautical miles per hour and possibly very much faster. There was no apparent trajectory and the lights appeared to maintain a perfectly level altitude throughout the duration.
We were in perfectly clear conditions and we have the absolute conviction this was NOT a meteor, nor a meteor breaking up because of a total lack of trajectory. The objects were flying at about 10,000 feet at a distance of perhaps 5-15 nautical miles at their closest point. Distances and altitudes can be extremely hard to judge with certainty. Both pilots agree the duration of the event was about 15 seconds. There was no other aircraft in the vicinity this early Sunday morning since this occurrence was definitely spectacular enough that other aircraft would have asked Edmonton Centre what this was?
The following article was published in “Naval History Magazine”.(The magazine attracts many high ranking current and former military officers to it’s reading ranks, and is well known for it’s seriousness regarding naval military history.)
by Commander Edward P. Stafford, US Navy (Retired)
Half a century ago, three Navy aviators saw something high above their Greenland base that baffled them. It was August 1952. I was officer in charge of a detachment of three Navy patrol planes operating out of the new US air base at Thule, in northwest Greenland, some 80 miles from the North Pole. The primary mission assigned our four engine, World War II Privateers was “ice recon- naissance.” That meant flying out over the Kennedy Channel, Smith Sound, Baffin Bay, and the Davis Strait and plotting the location of the pack ice and large bergs. That data was relayed to the ships that each summer re-supplied the chain of arctic radar stations known as the DEW (distant early warning) line.
Our secondary job, not to interfere with ice reconnaissance , was to support a group of scientists conducting cosmic ray research. About once a week, when weather conditions were right, they sent up a huge, translucent “Skyhook” bal- loon with a package of sensitive photographic plates sus- pended under it. The balloons would drift downwind at an altitude of 90,000-100,000 feet, where the atmosphere (spun thinner near the poles by the rotation of the earth) was sufficiently attenuated to permit the cosmic rays to make their telltale traces on the photographic plates. When the plates had been exposed for a few hours, the scientists would send a radio signal to the balloon, exploding a small charge, cutting the plates loose, and returning them to earth under a large, bright red parachute.
Our job was to fly above any overcast, keep the high balloons in sight, and report the landing location of the parachuted plates for recovery by helicopter. The high-flying gas bags were equipped by low power, low frequency radio transmitters to which we would tune our radio compasses so their needles always pointed toward the balloons. These were easy flights, always in good weather and always at an altitude safely above the tall, cloud-shrouded bergs and coastal rocks we often had to dodge on ice patrol. Each of us had two or three of those “milk runs” while deployed to Thule, and we rather enjoyed the change of tactics and routine, as well as the
virtuous feeling that we were helping to advance the cause of science. This is why I was surprised to find one of the other plane commanders as tense and pale on return from a balloon chase as though it had been a hairy combat mission or a close encounter with a berg or a mountaintop. Lt. John Callahan was a salty, steady professional pilot, so I knew when I saw him walking in from his plane that something serious had happened on that flight.
“What the hell’s the matter John?” I asked him. “You look as if you’d just survived a midair!”
“Ed, you’re not going to be lieve it. I’m not even sure I do…and I SAW it. And so did O’Flaherty and Merchant. At least most of it. And I don’t think they believe it either.”
I followed John into the line shack where he wrote up some minor gripes on his airplane, then into our little ready room where we poured ourselves coffees and sat down. John was not acting at all like the Callahan I knew. Although he was an experienced and highly competent naval aviator, John Callahan’s normal manner
was outgoing and cheerful, even jovial, with lots of smiles and laughter and banter…even after a low-level hurricane penetration or a long patrol in instrument weather. Not this day. Now he was deadly serious and obviously shaken. The last time I had seen a man like this was in wartime.
Here is John Callahan’s story:
He was flying at 10,000 feet in the clear with the balloon in sight high above and the radio compass needle locked on to the balloon’s transmitter. Through the one set of binoculars carried in each aircraft, he and his co-pilot, Lt. (jg) Bill O’Fla-
herty, occasionally inspected the balloon and its instrument package, trailing beneath like the tail of a kite. Everything looked normal for most of the flight. Then, on a routine check with the binoculars, John found something very ab- normal about the balloon and its payload. He looked for a long time and then
passed the glasses to O’Flaherty.
“Take a look at our target,” he told the young officer, “and tell me what you see.” O’Flaherty looked, lowered the glasses and glanced sharply at John, then looked again. “Well?” “Jesus Christ, John there are three bright silver discs attached to that instrument pod! They weren’t there the last time I looked.
Where the hell did they come from?”
Callahan took the glasses back and looked again. They were still there exactly as the copilot had described, three shining, saucer-shaped metallic objects clustered on the hanging trail of the balloon just above the black dot of the science pack- age. On the intercom Callahan called the plane captain to the cockpit and handed him the binoculars.
“Take a look Merchant. What do you think?” The captain’s reaction was the same as the co-pilot’s. “What the hell are they? Where did they come from?”
Callahan took the glasses back and studied the strange objects for several minutes while O’Flaherty maneuvered the Privateer to keep the target in sight. Suddenly Callahan sucked in his breath and held it. What he was seeing could not be happening. The three objects had detached themselves from the tail of the
balloon and formed up into a compact vee. As Callahan watched incredulously, they executed what looked at that dis- tance like a vertical bank to the left and accelerated to a blinding speed that took them out of sight, climbing in about three seconds. Callahan handed the glasses back to O’Flaherty. “They’re gone,” he said slowly, “CLIMBING from 90,000 feet. Never saw anything turn so tight or move so fast.” Back in the ready room after the instrument pod had landed and its position had be reported, this was the aspect of the phenomenon that most affected Callahan.
“Jesus, Ed,” he told me, “from the angle of the sky those things passed through in the three seconds they were in sight, at that distance, they must have been going tens of thousands of miles an hour. They must have pulled a hundred Gs in that turn. And what the hell climbs out, ACCELERATING from 90,000 feet?”
John sat down that day, while it was still clear in his head, and wrote a full report of the incident. It went through the chain of command to the Office of Naval Intelligence. A report was also made to the Air Force authorities at Thule. There never has been an explanation, nor even an acknowledgment of the report. The phenomenon exists today only in the memory of John C. Callahan, his co-pilot, his plane captain, and I, to whom it was told so vividly when it was fresh.
(Commander Stafford is the author of The Big E (1962) and Subchaser (1988) both published by the Naval Institute.)
UFO (dark red in colour) photographed by the pilot of a USAF B-47 Stratojet at 13,000 ft. over Utah in 1966.
Pilot sees gigantic UFO near Cardiff, Wales (UK)
On Thursday, October 14, 2004, at 10 p.m., Mark A. was driving about four miles (7 kilometers) west of Cardiff, South Wales, UK when he had a most unusual encounter.
“I was driving along a fairly busy road heading west just outside of Cardiff city,” Mark reported, “Something caught my eye, so I pulled over. I also noticed that other people, about 15 other drivers, had done the same and were now outside their vehicles looking up at what I just couldn’t believe. At about 3,000 feet was the largest flying object that I have ever seen. Something like, say, the new Airbus A380, not yet in
service, or a Boeing 747, that would have been dwarfed by it. The crazy thing was–absolute silence!
We stood dumbstruck as this thing moved slowly through the air almost directly above us. There was also complete silence from everyone observing this amazing event from the roadside. Other drivers were now stopping, and people were getting out of their cars to take a look.
I am a pilot and have a fairly good idea of how motions of normal aircraft can ‘trick’ people into seeing a UFO. This was in no way normal. There is an international airport located about four miles west of the sighting site. My next move was to telephone the Control tower at the airport and ask if anything unusual had just taken off. Air traffic control said that a (Boeing) 737 had just departed a few minutes ago. This object was too big and too silent to be a 737. I then asked if they had anything on radar. ‘Nothing,’
Mark then called the Cardiff RAF base.
“Again, ‘nothing.’ This thing was almost the size of a very large container ship. It didn’t have any visible wings or any other way of showing how it could stay in the air. If I saw it on the ground, I would bet money that it was not able to fly. The weather was good with ten miles’ visibility. There were light clouds at 500 feet and very light winds. I watched this object keep the same speed and height (altitude) and then it passed behind some mountains to the northeast of Cardiff.”
Two days later, on Saturday, October 16, 2004, Mark added,
“I saw a friend and told him about the sighting. He was almost speechless when I started to describe the same thing that he had seen moments after me. He had been out with a girl friend and was driving home when she spotted the object from her passenger seat. They both got out of the car, along with the other road users who had stopped their cars. Almost a reconstruction of what had happened five minutes ago (earlier, with Mark), only it was happening now to the northeast of Cardiff city. His account is identical to mine in the size and height of the object, speed (about 50 knots–M.A.). I would love to know what I and everyone else that night had seen.”
Mexico: Airliner Crew Reports UFO Encounter
During the first days of October 2005, the crew of a Boeing 737-200 (registration XA-MAA) witnessed the maneuvers of a plate-shaped unidentified flying object, described by the flight engineer as being highly luminous and similar to platinum.
The event occurred at 12:30 p.m. in the air corridor of the Mexican state of Oaxaca, at an altitude of 20,000 feet and under conditions of perfect visibility.
Witnesses describe the mysterious object as having emerged from a cloud and entering another, becoming visible during that period of time. They estimate that it was at a distance of 10 nautical miles from their aircraft.
The crew found the sighting truly remarkable, as in an earlier instance, another airliner belonging to the same company (Magnicharter) had reported a strange sphere that remained static over the World Trade Center air corridor in Mexico City.
In the opinion of researcher Alfonso Salazar, a large percentage of aviation professionals is convinced that unidentified flying objects indeed exist.