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Monday, March 26, 2012

UFOs - The Mantell Incident (5)

Part 2-15:   Plan 62

June 6, 2006

Dan Wilson: 
Prof. Shapley, Director of Harvard Observatory said that a new comet should be visible in the northern hemisphere on the southwestern horizon on about January 1, 1948. Information pertaining to the appearance of a flaming red cone in the skies of Wilmington, Ohio, on January 7, 1948, at between 7:20 and 7:55 P.M.

Brad Sparks:
Without the centralized directories you put on NICAP and the BB Archive, access to scattered BB docs this would be hopeless and nothing could be accomplished.

Dan Wilson:
Corporal Hudson at Clinton AFB monitors Godman Control Tower theodolite tracking. Page II. The following information came over Plan 62. This observation was made at Godman control tower in Kentucky with an 8" telescope, cone-shaped object 43 feet by 100 feet, red with green tail, height, 4 miles. Observation made at Godman Field from 1854 to 1906 CST with a theodolite of a triangle-shaped object at 2.4 elevation, 254.6 Azimuth. Object last seen at 1.2 elevation, 253.0 Azimuth.
http://nicap.org/docs/mantell/godman480107tscope.htm
USAF-SIGN1-526
(See Case 48b in Alert Crew Statement  prior to this section)

------------------------------

June 7, 2006

Fran Ridge:
Brad, first of all, what is Plan 62?

Brad Sparks:
I think it is the intercom system between Godman, Standiford, Lockbourne, Clinton County, etc., which was patched together the afternoon of Jan 7, 1948, to keep everyone up to the minute on events.  People mention hearing about sightings at the other bases as it happened. Here are the figures based on US Naval Observatory calculations.   The problem with this being Venus is that the azimuths are off by 7-8 degs and the elevation by 7 degs at first, but more troubling is that the object WENT SOUTH from 6:54 to 7:02 PM, instead of Venus which WENT NORTH.  A setting celestial body cannot do this.  However the nearly simultaneous disappearance of Venus and the object is troubling too. And of course it could not possibly be a Skyhook balloon which would be invisible in the darkness.
http://www.nicap.org/mantell/mantell_sparks_venus.htm

Fran Ridge:
Air Force History Office research by Dan Wilson shows that Plan 62 was already in place 14 months before the Mantell incident.:

Dan Wilson located this information:

"Plan 62 ­ Military Flight Service Communications System (1946--1952) ­ (was) designed to provide a permanent integrated network of Army Air Forces (AAF) centers connected via AT&T long line circuits to furnish all common purpose aeronautical communications services pertaining to aircraft dispatch, movement and visual flight control within the continental U.S.  Plan 62 ensured that military authorities knew the whereabouts of every military aircraft operating in the U.S. at all times. Official operations began 1 Nov 46.
"Military personnel were stationed at Civil Aeronautics Administration (CAA) Air Route Traffic Control Centers throughout the U.S. prior to development of this system, which consolidated military communications (AACS), weather (AWS) and flight services (ATC) operations at nine regional flight service centers ­ Olmsted Field, Pa.; Wright Field, Ohio; Maxwell Field, Ala.; MacDill Field, Fla.; Fort Worth AAB, Tex.; Lowry Field, Colo.; Hamilton Field, Ca.; March Field, Ca.; and McChord Field, Wash.

"These centers were connected via interphone to regional CAA facilities, which retained control of all aircraft operating under instrument flight rule (IFR) conditions. Flying under visual conditions, pilots reported their positions to the military centers every 30 minutes and received necessary advisories; under IFR conditions, they first reported to the CAA centers, then to the military centers.
"By the end of 1947, the regional centers were connected via interphone to every AAF facility and certain Navy, Guard and Reserve stations within their regions ­ a total of 190 stations. By the end of 1948, MFCSC assumed responsibility for VFR flight plans and associated actions for 65 additional Navy, Marine and Coast Guard airfields. However, upgraded equipment and revised procedures allowed the Air Force to consolidate operations at several bases, thereby removing many of these additional stations by the close of 1950. Further equipment upgrades and procedural changes resulted in AACS transferring responsibility for MFCSC to the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) in September 1952 ­ there is no mention of MFCSC or Plan 62 in the histories after 1952."

Tom DeMary:
What about visibility, brightness? Note latest Airways Op report.

Brad Sparks:
We are all still compiling data.  One place that had Orner's report was incomplete.  Some of the rest of his data was recorded at another air base listening in on Godman's reporting of it, heard by Cpl Hudson on the "Plan 62" intercom/interphone system though he was at Clinton Co. AFB. 

Fran Ridge:
This is not new, Brad, I know, but I keep going back to it. And it is one of the reasons I never "bought" the Skyhook explanation in the first place, let alone alone Venus. (KY State Police reports of object, circular in appearance approximately  250 - 300' in diameter, moving westward at "a pretty good clip."
MAXW-PBB3-710

Brad Sparks:
Well we don't seem to have direct witness names and statements from Ky St Police.  No one else reports "250-300 ft" or "pretty rapid clip."  We need that corroborated from others if we can't get names and statements from Ky St Police.  Everyone else talks about slow moving until Pickering at Lockbourne that night. This is not a tight case. It's a lot of loose ends which have to be put together. The fact that private pilots tried to chase some object besides Mantell is a surprising new turn of events to be finding out about only in 2006.

Dan Wilson:
Cpl. James Hudson At Godman Tower, Jan. 7, 1948

Brad Sparks:
This caption by Dan is wrong, he misreads Hudson's account as Hudson being at Godman and doesn't understand that Hudson was in Ohio at Clinton County AFB listening in one Godman reporting its theodolite readings. Hudson wasn't at Godman.

Fran Ridge:
Tom caught that, but hell I wasn't sure what the doc said either. So Hudson wasn't a witnesss, just heard reports

Brad Sparks:
Hudson WAS a witness AT Clinton Co. AFB, Wilmington, Ohio, along with at least 5 others at CC AFB, I think.  He HEARD over the intercom the details of Godman's theodolite trackings done by Lt Orner.  If it wasn't for Hudson we wouldn't have all those exact figures (or else Orner's numbers are all somewhere we haven't found yet).  There is one place with a few of Orner's theodolite numbers but not all of them

Jean Waskiewicz:
I just checked and this reference is on page 34 in the published version. In the copy of the (Ruppelt' original) manuscript that I have this section is on pages 8 & 9 and (Maj. Jerre) Boggs is not lined through. I have attached both original scans in jpg format to show Boggs has not been lined out. Is it possible that there may be a different version of the manuscript out there somewhere? (Page 8 & 9)

Fran Ridge:
Here is the 19-page manuscript version of the Mantell incident, highlighted for pertinent lines.
Normal version with no highlighting
http://nicap.org/docs/mantell/RuppManusCh3.htm
Let's digest this BEFORE we post!

Brad Sparks:

Dan Wilson:
SUBJECT: Report of Unusual Circumstance, 1940 hours, January 7, 1948
Observation of strange light to the Southwest of Lockbourne. The object was 15 degrees above the horizon. It then descended to the horizon and then ascended to its original position. Its course was elliptical, counter clock wise. The witness was Airways Operator CAF-7. (Brad Sparks:  This is the Lockbourne Control Tower operator who was an amateur astronomer, Frank M. Eisele, whose unsanitized report is elsewhere on BB Archives.)
http://nicap.org/docs/mantell/lockbourne480107Bdir.htm
NARA-PBB2-511

----------------------------------------

June 8, 2006

Mary Castner:
Still working on the Mantell files for uploading. I am sure everyone will argue about that too. Was Venus involved or wasn't it...seems a mute point as people definitely saw a unusual balloon bulb shaped/cone/parachute/pear, with rope and payload or without probably depending on distance away. Just for the record a Skyhook automatically dropped it's payload by parachute if it descended to 30,000 ft. Then again I suppose everyone will argue about that too:)) There is enough errors in the reports that there is no 100% certainty that a direction or other reading is accurate. I personally go by the visual description which is clearly that of a Skyhook and one was definitely launched from Camp Ripley, MN launching site, 1/6/48.

---------------------------------------

June 9, 2006

Tom DeMary:
I look forward to more documents. The Sign/Blue Book documents do have errors, and seem to lack any precise information about the relative position in the sky of the object that Mantell pursued. Articles from local Kentucky newspapers might sort out some of the confusion. The visual descriptions of the Godman Field personnel and those of the Elizabethtown police (Elizabethtown was the flight corridor) point to "Skyhook" - I agree. All of the reports of the night time sightings (from 1948) are consistent with misperceptions of Venus. (I consider the 1977 base-circling revision of Pickering dubious, in conflict with his own 1948 testimony,  and in conflict with that of the three other witnesses at Lockbourne).

Brad Sparks:
Pickering's 1977 testimony does not conflict with his 1948 testimony -- in Jan 1948 he reported the object disappeared to the EAST at 120 degs azimuth (about ESE).  Venus was to the WSW (about 240 degs) at that time in the early evening.  We've been over this before.

I could have jumped on this sooner if my computer had not crashed, but you can go back over my postings with the 215 degree azimuth determined by Godman Tower and used to send Mantell and his two wingmen after it.  Complete with Godman Tower CORRECTING Mantell's heading slightly, by 5 degs to get him exactly onto the 215 heading.  Sounds to me like a lot of very "precise" positional data from Godman Field.

The BB files thus do have "precise" info on the position in the sky of the object that Mantell pursued.  Godman base commander Col Guy F. Hix stated that it was at azimuth 215 degs (about SSW), and as I said the BB files show that Godman Tower even corrected Mantell's flight heading with it.  News clips report that Col. Hix used a bracket to align his sighting of the object, which helped him determine that the object did not move for a long time, over an 1 hour.  Even Venus moved 17 degs in 1 hour and the Skyhook balloon was moving at about 20-30 mph supposedly to the SE, so at 100+ miles away (when it was too far away to be visible from Godman), when it was south of Nashville, it would have moved about 10 degs in 1 hour.  If it was close enough to be visible, like within 50 miles depending on the size of its visible sunlit area (parts not brightly sunlit are not visible at great distances) then this movement in 1 hour is about 20 degs.

Venus was at 33-35 degs elevation from 2:15 to 3 PM CST that day, from Godman Tower's location (37 54.4 N, 85 58.0 W).  The Skyhook balloon at 80,000 ft (15 miles high) when south of Nashville, would have been extremely low on the horizon from Godman Tower (and from Mantell's plane too at first) at about 6 degs elevation.  If the UFO was at 45 degs elevation, no matter how much reasonable witness error by Col Hix you postulate, you are not going to be able to make the Skyhook fit.  Venus is not even visible in bright sunlight to the naked eye, and if it was just barely visible it is absurd that anyone would take it seriously.

Brad Sparks:
Yes the map records the 1-6-48 Skyhook launch among a dozen Skyhooks from late 1947 to early 1949.  But they were NOT launched from Camp Ripley, that's another Moore lie, but launched from Milaca, Minn., 43 miles away.  Moore was NOT personally present contrary to his phony-baloney "strong memories" of launching the 1-6-48 Skyhook.  The Skyhook went straight SOUTH on almost a straight line, to azimuth 190 degs (slightly W of S), which is NOT the SE heading needed to get to Kentucky.  But since the tracking was lost after only 3 hours when it got to max altitude 80,000 ft, 63 miles from launch, it could have been blown by winds almost anywhere at some time after 3 hours and we would only know by reported visual sightings in newspapers since no one was getting weather data from higher than about 30,000 ft on a routine daily basis so we can't just check the upper winds.

The news reports from Nashville, Tenn., are pretty clearly that of a large Skyhook-like balloon headed SE, and many people sighted it with telescopes, including a 100x telescope from a radio station, descriptions include a "glassy" look which is like the translucent plastic used, "pear" shape with a "lumpy" cable (the photos of the 1-6-48 launch show NO "basket" below but a long cable with "lumps" for instruments).  The clincher is the amateur astronomer in or near Nashville who reported the exact times the balloon changed color from white sunlight to yellow at 4:50 PM to red sunset lighting at 5:05 PM to disappearance in earth's shadow at 5:12 PM.  This fits a balloon at 80,000 ft, and not 60,000 or 100,000 ft.  And that was the 1-6-48 Skyhook's altitude -- 80,000 ft.  That would mean astronomer Seyfert was wrong in estimating the balloon was at 25,000 ft (also when the Skyhook descended below 30,000 ft the cable would detach the instruments but that did not happen so it must not have gotten below 30,000 ft yet).

However everyone sighted the balloon to the SOUTH of Nashville at about 4:30 PM heading SE, "directly above the sun" (or higher than about 15 degs elevation) while observers in Columbia, Tenn., sighted the balloon to their NORTH at about 4 PM thus bracketing its location as between Nashville and Columbia, and thus about 150 miles away from Godman Field at the closest.  At Columbia a local Navy spokesman saw and identified the balloon as a special high-altitude "Naval weather balloon" that tended to disintegrate at high altitudes.  So much for Skyhook being a top secret in 1948.  ("Skyhook" itself was not a classified codename but was the PR nickname used in publicity releases.)

It simply defies the laws of physics for a 70-foot Skyhook only partially lit by the sun to be visible by the naked eye from 150 miles away from Godman Field.  Even Ruppelt admitted that a 100 ft Skyhook was visible only about 50-60 miles (one of the few bits of technical data Ruppelt actually got right, among the laughable blunders, probably because someone else did the research not him).  A 70 ft Skyhook could not have been visible farther than about 45 miles away.


Part 2-16:    Skyhook 160 Miles From Mantell

June 10, 2006

Brad Sparks:
As I said at the start of the present controversy I don't know if this is a UFO or an IFO.  But if it is a Skyhook balloon it is not very well documented. If it is a UFO it is not very well documented. But a little more background on Mantell might be pertinent from his "closest friend" Capt Richard L. Tyler, Operations Officer at Standiford Field, Louisville, who was also the official Accident Investigator.
http://www.nicap.org/mantell/mantell_sparks_june10.htm

Mantell was co-owner of a flight school, the Elkins-Mantell Flying School, Louisville, thus a flight instructor.  He had been a flight instructor during WWII and trained Chinese pilots.  He flew over Normandy on D-Day (and won the Distinguished Flying Cross according to news reports).  He had a total of about 3,000 flight hours as of the time of his crash, 2,300 hours military flight time.  About 70 hours of flight time in the F-51 (P-51) since Mantell started flying it about May 1947. 

Tyler states that he believed that Mantell had "seen something more than a star or balloon" and that Mantell "did respect the airplane and the dangers of anoxia."  He concluded that:

"If some outside force did not cause his death, I  think he passed out too quickly to change his line of flight."

That's a pretty dramatic internal AF/ANG investigator statement we never heard before in all of the 58 years of this case.  Why is that?

From all of the evidence I have seen to date and I am still reviewing new material every day (including deciphering nearly illegible docs) a Skyhook-type balloon, probably the one launched by General Mills from Milaca, Minn. (NOT from Camp Ripley 43 miles away) on 1-6-48, the day before, which would have had to travel first S then SE at an average speed of about 25 mph over the course of 1-1/2 days to reach W Kentucky and then N-Central Tennessee.

News reports of sightings made by telescopes, etc., pinpoint the Skyhook's location between Nashville and Columbia, 40 miles SSW of Nashville at about 4-4:30 PM (CST).  Astronomer Carl Seyfert in Nashville sighted the balloon to the South (SSE).  Observers in Columbia sighted it to the North.  Thus the Skyhook's location is neatly bracketed midway between Nashville and Columbia, let's say 20 miles from each city.

That would mean the Skyhook was about 140 miles from Godman Field, which had the UFO in sight from about 2:15 to 3:50 PM at azimuth 215 degs until it disappeared behind a cloud.  Mantell crashed 90 miles or so from Godman while chasing the UFO, at about 3:18 PM about 4 miles south of Franklin near the KY-Tenn border. 

PROBLEM:  A 70-foot Skyhook balloon is smaller than the smallest resolution ability of the human eye beyond about 45 miles distance (when it is 1 arcminute in subtended angular size, the definition of 20/20 visual acuity).  The observers in Nashville and Columbia were roughly 20 miles away and that seems feasible, though no details would be visible to the naked eye at that distance (many people used telescopes and binoculars, the ones describing a balloon shape, a "glassy" appearance like sunlight on a nearly transparent Skyhook balloon plastic, a cable with "lumps" which were the instruments, etc.).If you do not believe this I suggest you do an experiment:  A 70-foot object at 45 miles is the same as a 5-foot automobile at about 3 miles distance.  Try driving on a LONG STRAIGHT FREEWAY where you can mark your distance with your odometer against a distant overpass or landmark you can identify.  Try to see how far away you can see a car traveling in your direction in the distance. Mentally mark it against the landmark nearest the car then note your odometer reading.  Drive to your landmark and measure the distance.  I seriously doubt any of you can even see a 5-foot wide car even from 1 mile away let alone 3 miles away.  And certainly you cannot possibly see a 5-foot wide car from 9 MILES AWAY which is the actual equivalent of the seventy-foot Skyhook supposedly seen from Godman Field at about 140 miles. 

QUESTION:  How could the Skyhook balloon have been seen by numerous naked eye observers at Godman Field when it was about 3 times too far away, about 140 miles distant?

Even at that distance the Skyhook would only be a pinpoint in the sky, with no resolvable shape or detail.

QUESTION:  How could Mantell and his wingmen Clements and Hammond have seen the Skyhook from about 70 miles away when they saw the bright object (UFO) as they flew near the vicinity of Bowling Green, Ky.?  Again the maximum possible distance the Skyhook could have been seen was about 45 miles. 

Mantell's wingman Lt Albert Clements returned to base, refueled and reloaded his oxygen, and went back up to find the UFO and his flight leader Mantell at 4:05 PM.  Clements went up to 33,000 feet and headed out 100 miles from Godman right over Franklin, Ky., and Mantell's crash site without knowing it (not reported yet and/or report hadn't reached the right people yet) and went beyond, crossing the border into Tennessee at 4:25-30 PM according to Capt Tyler's report.  At that same time Dr Seyfert in Nashville was watching the Skyhook balloon to the south of him, roughly 20 miles away (while others in Columbia to the south saw it from the other direction to their north).  The Skyhook would then have been only roughly 40 miles from Lt Clements who searching.

QUESTION:  Why didn't Lt Clements see the Skyhook from about 40 miles away when Skyhooks purportedly (according to pro-Skyhook partisans) should have been visible from 140 miles?  Isn't it because 40 miles is right at the borderline of the 45-mile visibility limit?  Does that not further reinforce the fact and prove that a seventy-foot Skyhook could not be seen at 40-45 miles but could be seen from around 20 miles away?
An amateur astronomer, as reported in Nashville papers, sighted the balloon and noticed that it turned yellow at 4:50 PM then red in the reddish light of sunset at 5:05 PM then disappeared in the earth's shadow at 5:12 PM.  A balloon would have had to be at about 80,000 feet (15 miles) altitude in order to catch the last rays of the setting sun while the ground around Nashville was already 1/2 hour in twilight darkness after sunset. 

This 80,000 feet was in fact the tracked maximum altitude reached by the 1-6-48 Skyhook launch, and not the 60,000 or 100,000 feet altitudes postulated by Moore and others who should have known better.  This helps establish that it was in fact the 1-6-48 Skyhook Flight B.  That would mean the Skyhook was not descending or leaking yet and it eliminates any attempted self-serving scenarios where the balloon comes down to 50,000 feet in order to force fit sighting details.  As of 5:12 PM the Skyhook was still at maximum height 80,000 feet southeast of Nashville. 
Tom DeMary:
Certainly the Godman Field observers could not tell what they were looking at 100 miles+ range (unaided vision), but they *might* see the reflected sunlight from what is effectively a very large mirror.

Brad Sparks:
The Skyhook balloons were made of transparent plastic like household Saran wrap or dry cleaning bags only tougher.  They were not mirrors!  The sun would barely have a fractional percentage of sheen off the plastic. There is simply no way that a 70-foot transparent balloon which looked transparent to witnesses could be visible at all beyond about 45 miles, which is 1 arcminute angular size. No one ever reported seeing any "mirror" like flashes of reflected sunlight off the Skyhook.  The only light ever described was steady, not flickering, not shimmering, not flashing.  The fact that Lt Clements could not see the Skyhook when he came back to look and was about 40 miles away proves that 40-45 miles was about the limit of visibility of the Skyhook.  (Many years later mammoth Skyhooks 250-feet in size were launched but obviously don't count because 3-4 times larger.) 

Dick Hall:
After reading Brad Sparks's analysis today, I think it is time for me to recount my sighting of a Moby Dick balloon about 1956 in New Orleans. I made lots of notes at the time, but am not sure where they are now. So this is based on memory alone.

------------------------------

June 11, 2006

Tom DeMary:
OK, I surrender.  I probably can't see a 5 foot [wide] car 1 mile away. This means that I also can't see a 15 x 5 ft object 15 x 1 miles away; that is, a 75 foot object 15 miles away. Furthermore, cars aren't even translucent; they reflect light, unlike Skyhook balloons, so I have been told, which should make the balloons even harder to see. The altitude of the 73 ft balloon over Nashville has been proven to be 80,000 ft or 15 miles, so this same argument also proves that nobody on the ground would have spotted the 73 ft balloon over Nashville, because nobody on the ground was closer than 15 miles to the balloon.

Brad Sparks:
The original figures I gave for 20/20 vision are that a 70-foot object is at the limit of visual acuity at about 45 miles, it is 1 arcminute.  Do you dispute that?  Nitpicking at the boundary lines don't cut it.  Prove that the nearly transparent Skyhook balloon could be seen from 140 miles away don't quibble about 15 miles vs. 20 miles.  Prove that many people are capable of noticing and reporting a 0.3 arcminute object in the sky.  Some people certainly could not have seen it at 15-20 miles, but others could and did.  I contend that NO ONE can see a 70-foot object like the Skyhook at 140 miles. 

Joel Carpenter:
Come on, Brad - the 100 foot diameter Echo balloon satellites were in a 900 mile ± high orbit and could easily be seen from the ground.

Brad Sparks:
Come on Joel, the Echo satellites were MIRROR REFLECTORS made of aluminized (METAL) mylar plastic and brightly reflected sunlight so that they were "brighter than stars."  The Skyhooks were NOT made of reflective MIRROR-like material but of TRANSPARENT dry-cleaner bag type plastic.

Fran Ridge:
Since there were about two launches of Skyhooks per week (about a hundred a year) one would think there would be many UFO reports attributable to them.
Besides just launchings, even more important would be how long they are airborne, meaning many would be floating around at one time. WHY, why did this particular Skyhook (which I also contend was not) spark so much attention? Not so much because a man was killed and everybody knew it and was out looking, because the State Police at Madisonville were getting reports of an object 250' in diameter BEFORE they called the tower and BEFORE Mantell knew anything about anything. As Brad mentioned to me, we need to find out the source and content of THOSE reports, the ones that occurred before everybody was perked up to listen about something going on after a pilot was killed chasing a strange object.

Now, concerning what Mantell reportedly saw, if he couldn't have, and didn't see a Skyhook, whether this was a UFO situation or not, what DID he see? What would a pilot of Mantell's caliber be describing that appeared to him to be "large and metallic, tremendous in size"? Even if he COULD see the Skyhook, he wouldn't have described it as "tremendous in size" or "large and metallic". He did see an object "above and ahead of me". If he would have been close enough to actually SEE the object (which he was) a Skyhook would have then been described as a bright object which he couldn't identify, at best. The incidents occurring at the time of the Mantell incident are part of the Mantell report, but next we need to document even more so the two incidents we consider to be potential UFO incidents: at least Lockbourne & Columbus.

Fran Ridge:
Joel, I saw and photographed Echo several times, but seriously doubt any reflection would cause any object to be described by a pilot as large and metallic, tremendous in size. I can see a pilot mystified by an object like that, but I can't fathom anyone using those words unless they meant it. Besides, this wasn't at night for gosh sakes. This was broad daylight.

Jan Aldrich:
I agree with Dick Hall's posting. The arguments surrounding balloon appearance and behavior in recent postings are becoming more and more ridiculous and silly. I have some sixteen years experience in meteorology that involves thousands of balloon observations of all types.
http://www.nicap.org/mantell/mantell_aldrich_june11.htm

Brad Sparks:
By the way, grazing angle reflection requires angles of less than 1 degree between the surface and the light source -- in this case the Skyhook would have had to be within 1 degree of the sun thus blindingly masked in glare and not visible.  Furthermore, the areal dimensions of a partial "sheen" of sun reflection off a 70-foot Skyhook is MUCH LESS than 70 feet and is nowhere near sunlight brilliance. Furthermore, naked eye witnesses in the Godman Field region sighted the object with extended dimensions much larger than a pinpoint of light.  Godman commander Col Hix estimated 1/4 Full Moon by the naked eye (NO he didn't confuse the binocular view and was very clear about that in his statement

Jan Aldrich:
Where did you get 70 feet, same place you got all the information on Mogul #4?  Out of the air.  I don't believe you can tell how big the skyhook was unless you have met(eorologcal) data for that day and know the exact altitude and then it would only be guesstimates.  Quantitative information my foot!

Brad Sparks:
If you had been paying attention instead of pontificating you would have known that the 70 foot size of the 1-6-48 launch AS PREVIOUSLY POSTED NUMEROUS TIMES (take note Mary) this past week came from the tracking data.  When Mary can post Joel's patching-up of the multiple scans of the drafting-paper-sized map you'll see the balloon size or model type is recorded.  And the plastic doesn't stretch in the stratosphere -- it breaks in the extreme cold.

Joel Carpenter:
Fran, there was an internal history of the Air Force balloon program  published in 1959 that included this paragraph. "A further advantage, or disadvantage, of plastic balloons is that from a distance they look remarkably like flying saucers." 

Fran Ridge:
Same thing the CIA said about U-2's. Joel, I believe balloons have fooled people. I saw one (I think) moving rapidly E-W one day and it looked like a flying disc. It could have been either one because it was going the wrong way, normally, but I only logged the date and time FTR just in case. Never took it seriously.

Has anyone wondered why Mantell didn't describe more than he did? Did he pass out that fast? Or is it possible that his radio acted up like the F-86 did over Albuquerque in 1952. Also, he would have caught up with that Skyhook real fast. He would have passed under it (because it was much higher), but it should not have outdistanced him. He said it was moving about "half my speed". Ever wonder how an experienced pilot could say that about a distant balloon of any kind?

Don Ledger:
Hi Joel, I'm guessing the first row of photos and second from the left had the Sun directly behind it. The 4th from the left would be more like what I would have envisioned that Mantell was chasing if it was a balloon. But in the second row, the 4th from the left is more like what the witnesses were reporting parachute shaped, ice-cream cone shaped etc. Sorry if this is silly and ridiculous.

------------------------------

June 12, 2006

Brad Sparks:
This is cute but it's not science. One of the balloons depicted, as Don points out, has the SUN DIRECTLY BEHIND IT!!!  Gimme a break!  Another one shown is obviously a mylar metallized mirror-reflective balloon which was not invented yet for Skyhooks in 1948. So, no one is willing to defend the fraud Charles B. Moore the so-called "balloon expert" who cannot correctly calculate balloon ascent rates with simple grade-school math????  Whose fabricated figures just happen to agree with his anti-Roswell slander scenario??? No one wants to assert that 2 + 2 = 5 ? Or 100 / 12 = 350 as Moore claims??? I will give $1,000 to anyone who can prove that Moore's figures of 100 ft /12 mins = 350 ft/min.  Is that enough of an incentive?  Or will you all just put up or shut up? 

By the way, I happen to know that the 1-6-48 Skyhook DID include MIRROR-like REFLECTORS that NO ONE DOGGONE SAW in Tennessee or Kentucky.  Yet the TRANSPARENT dry-cleaner-bag-like plastic is supposed to have brilliantly reflected sunlight like a mirror according to people on this List -- yet the actual MIRROR reflectors did not!  But I can't talk about how I know, you'll have to ask Mary to let me talk about it. 

Tom DeMary:
I originally said that people at Godman Field *might* have seen a balloon at Nashville because it was such a large reflector, and that I did not know how to calculate the apparent brightness. It turns out that the math involved is pretty simple, at least to calculate an upper limit.
http://www.nicap.org/mantell/mantell_demary_june12.htm

Brad Sparks:
Thanks for the calculation. I also consulted the formula in the Condon Report. (See detail)
http://www.nicap.org/mantell/mantell_sparks_june12.htm


Part 2-17:  The Accident Report Arrives
June 13, 2006

Brad's computer had problems so his response to Tom DeMary's June 4 comments were delayed until this date:


Tom DeMary:
The correspondence discussed below is for Sign Incident #187, and located at:
and is very legible.

Is this really a pro-UFO statement or simply the obvious observation that the calculated positions of Venus in paragraph 3 conflict with the observed positions reported in paragraph 2? It is quite clear that the measured positions reported in the letter are far from the known positions of Venus during the afternoon of 7 Jan 1948. This was a serendipitous discovery arising from an inquiry into another sighting, probably of Venus, from Godman Field in August 1948.

Brad Sparks:
You don't answer my question:  Since when in the AF files have you EVER seen an anti-IFO or pro-UFO conclusions stated in writing as "conclusive"???? If you look at the historical context of the time, 1948, and the AF's efforts to make this sensational case go away, then this kind of blunt anti-IFO statement is indeed very unusual and significant -- and in light of Deyarmond's next step of declaring the Mantell case "unexplained."  No one in all of 58 years of UFO history ever knew that the AF had internally concluded the Mantell case was "unexplained" and had covered it up with weasel-worded.  Today in 2006 we  find out about it for the first time.

Tom DeMary:
Curiously, the positions cited by Col Hix and Lt Orner do not agree.

Brad Sparks:
They are at different times.

Tom DeMary:
Col. Hix reports 215°, but the letter attributes a 240° azimuth measurement to Orner at 1400 hrs. This measurement is not what Lt. Orner reported in his statement at:

Brad Sparks:
It's obviously a mistake in the analysis memo.

Tom DeMary:
There, he reports that the 240° azimuth, 8° elevation measurement was taken at 1735CST. He gives no time for the 250° azimuth at which his object went below the horizon.

Brad Sparks:
We are only reading a part of Lt Orner's reporting including his theodolite tracking at Godman Field.  Cpl. James Hudson at Clinton County AFB heard the azimuth-elevation readouts from Orner's tracking over the Plan 62 Interphone System, linking several airfields in the region which was activated during the Mantell incident.  Hudson at CC AFB heard and recorded the exact readouts and times 6:54 - 7:02 PM (CST) of Orner's theodolite tracking at Godman Field from around 250 degs (254.6 to 253. 9 to 253.0 degs).

Tom DeMary:
I initially presumed that this was Venus (it was almost an hour after sunset), but Venus does fit. Venus set at 249° at 1907 CST, but was nowhere near 240° , 8 at 1735 CST. It would have been there around 1818 CST, however. Did Orner make a mistake in his notes? 240° points a little south of Madisonville. I reason that the 1400 time in the above letter seems almost certainly incorrect, since the aircraft were dispatched toward 215°.  But what of 1735CST? Was something seen at that time and azimuth? I can only note the discrepancy in these theodolite measurements. Daniel Wilson made an interesting related find, which seems to cloud things even more.
USAF-SIGN1-526
In this affidavit Cpl Hudson reports theodolite measurements from Godman Field with azimuths around 254° (a little off from Venus, but not too bad) and elevations and times that correlate very well with Venus. Fine on the surface, but how many theodolites were tracking objects that evening? Does this infer that Orner's measurements were taken in afternoon after all, and not at 1735 CST or later. Very confusing!

Brad Sparks:
No, Hudson recorded what he heard of Orner's readings over the interbase interphone system (see above).  This does not match Venus too well, especially the sequence of DECREASING azimuths (254.6 to 253. 9 to 253.0 degs), whereas Venus' azimuth must INCREASE as it set. Here is what I found around the time my computer crashed last week:

Godman Field Control Tower
Latitude    N  37 54.4                
Longitude   W  85 58.0 
 
Jan 7, 1948      
TIME                    OBJECT (UFO)             VENUS
                             Azimuth     Elevation        Azimuth       Elevation 
5:35 PM CST        240 degs  + 8 degs         232.9 degs  +15 degs 23.0 mins
6:54 PM CST        254.6       + 2.4              246.3           + 2  11.7
6:56 PM CST        253.9       + 2.0              246.7           + 1  51.6
7:02 PM CST        253.0       + 1.2              247.5           + 0  52
7:06 PM CST        disappeared                   248.0            + 0  12
7:07 PM CST                                              Venus set below horizon
 
(Corrected for refraction, parallax, etc.)
  
The problem with this being Venus is that the azimuths are off by 7 to 8.3 to 7.2 to 5.5 degs and the elevation by 7 degs at first, but more troubling is that the object WENT SOUTH from 6:54 to 7:02 PM, instead of Venus which WENT NORTH.  A setting celestial body cannot do this.  However the nearly simultaneous disappearance of Venus and the object is troubling too. 
 
Even if we postulated that the theodolite was miscalibrated by 7-8 degrees, that would mean all the directions are shifted consistently by that same angle (it's called a "systematic error").  The amount of that shift does not CHANGE from minute to minute!!!  Once the theodolite is anchored that is it, a 7 degree error stays 7 degrees from then on.  How then can we get only a 5.5-degree error if the hypothesized miscalibration was 7 (or was it 8?) degs???? 

Even so a miscalibration still doesn't explain the RELATIVE azimuth changes heading SOUTH when they should have been heading NORTH.  Also the magnitude of azimuth change is problematic.  The object moved South (to the left) by 1.6 degs in 6 minutes when at the same time Venus moved 1.2 degs (in those 6 minutes) to the North (to the right). 

Joel Carpenter:
Ah, yes. The money shot. It was worth the wait. The UFO was mimicking the balloon and Venus.  It's a fact that there were several interesting sightings of anomalous objects by Skyhook technicians while they were tracking their own balloon.

Jean Waskiewicz:
I have received a copy of this report (AccRep) from Rod Dyke. It is 127 pages long.

Brad Sparks:
Wow. It keeps getting smaller and smaller. I think it was first described as 400+ pages, then the next figure I saw was like 250 pages and now we find out it's only 127 pages. I wonder what's going on here?

Fran Ridge:
The documents below were found by researcher, Dan Wilson. Page three of this restricted routing slip had something we all had missed. Venus, we knew, had been ruled out a long time ago. But Brad brought to the attention of the UFO community, the statement by A. Deyarmond, made in November of 1948 (11 months after the incident), that the case was considered unexplained.
 
Dick Hall:
Col Garrison Wood wrote a letter to Keyhoe in 1960 about the case, and said that as he recalled it, "Patterson Field" had contacted Godman _before_ their sightings that morning and told them to report any. It would be interesting to see whether this was documented at the time.

Brad Sparks:
As you mentioned to me offline Wood has serious credibility issues to say nothing of whether to rely on 1960 memories of exact timing -- did Wright-Pat contact Godman BEFORE or AFTER the first sightings???  Wood was forced out of the AF for corruption charges.

Dick Hall:
If the 1960 letter to Keyhoe survives, it will be in the NICAP files at CUFOS, probably in the Mantell files. I have just discovered some relevant news clippings about the Mantell case, transcribed by Ted Bloecher, and will scan them for you.

Mark Rodeghier:
Because of all the recent discussion about this case, Mary C. borrowed the CUFOS Mantell and is reviewing them at home. So you can contact her about looking for this document.

Fran Ridge:
Mark, This may be real important. I'd love to see this posted with a CUFOS credit on the dir. Can you check into this for us?

------------------------------

June 14, 2006

Joel Carpenter:
Greenwood/Carpenter Map overlay (1.5 GB) http://www.nicap.org/images/MantellSightings_overlay2.jpg
Original link no longer works (http://www.ufocentral.org/greenwood/mantell/Mantell 2 sightings_overlay2.jpg)

Mary Castner:
Newsclips, map, skyhook launch charts (Original link no longer works)
http://www.ufocentral.org/greenwood/mantell/

-------------------------------

June 15, 2006

Brad Sparks:
To Everyone: 
Notice my subject line:  "MANTELL CASE COVERUP."  Well no one has commented on 58-year-delayed revelation of the AF COVERUP in the Mantell case -- the AF's stunning "unexplained" conclusion after "conclusively" ruling out Venus, in secret Nov 1948 documents including one by Albert Deyarmond at AMC Intelligence.  No one ever heard of or knew about this before I discovered it recently *, we're finding out only after 58 years.  It rivals the AMC TOP SECRET Estimate of the Situation and at least we have copies of the relevant documents. 

* (Dan Wilson had discovered the Deyarmond document and posted USAF-SIGN-28 on June 3rd. MAXW-PBB3-704 is a composite of that document. It was later discovered that Michael Swords had mentioned this in 2000 in his paper on Project SIGN & the Estimate of the Situation)..

Joel Carpenter:
Your points are all valid, even taking the hyperbole into account. I am sure this subject is trying the patience of the list, so I won't prolong it except to note that I agree with you in general. Obviously, if this case was straightforward, it would have been buttoned up by the emeritus ufologists decades ago. It's not straight-forward. The evidence is internally contradictory. Which data you choose to accept, and which you choose to discard, either way it says something about where you stand relative to the whole phenomenon,

Richard Hall:
I second Joel's sentiment. The new discoveries are quite fascinating and a thorough re-analysis certainly is called for. However, I am not particularly troubled by some internal inconsistencies. That is virtually always the case in human testimony. Further, I am now thoroughly convinced that a Skyhook balloon (or equivalent) definitely was observed from Nashville, Tennessee. We need to pin down the tracks of all such balloons in the area about that time.

------------------------------

June 16, 2006

Tom DeMary:
The Blue Book papers report "Seyfert's balloon" as SSE of Nashville, moving SSE, then West at 10 mph. I suggest that might should have been "moving SSE, west of Nashville at 10 mph."

Brad Sparks:
The problem with this theory is that the AF document actually says Seyfert said it was "moving FIRST SSE, then W" so it's much more alteration required to force-fit it into your suggested emendation.  It's an extended discussion of MOVEMENT.

-----------------------------

June 19, 2006

Dan Wilson:
Don't think that we have this document yet. 12 April 1948 letter states:
"Capt. James F. Duesler is no longer a member of this Organization, therefore status of investigation promised Mr. A. C. Loedding by subject officer can not be determined." (http://www.bluebookarchive.org/page.aspx?PageCode=USAF-SIGN1-367)
USAF-SIGN1-367

------------------------------

June 21, 2006

Tom DeMary:
Loedding clamps down on UFO reports.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs17.htm
USAF-SIGN1-376-377

Fran:
These are the same documents that Dan Wilson found and we posted on May 28th.  Those were MAXW-PBB3-713 & 714. USAF-SIGN1-377 is a clearer version of MAXW-PBB3-714.
Dick Hall:
Fran, The data I submitted had to do with sunrise and sunset, not Venus setting times. I was comparing the sunset times to the changing colors seen on the "UFO" in that one story. That and the Seyfert observation and a couple of others show pretty definitely that a Skyhook-like balloon was in the area. They reflect sunlight very brightly, as my own 1956 or so sighting indicates. Also, Venus as you know doesn't sit still for 1-1/2 hours as Hix reported. Venus has practically nothing to do with the Mantell case, I agree. If a Skyhook weren't brightly illuminated by sunlight no doubt his calculations about how far the human eye can see something would be close to the mark. The light reflection changes that altogether.

Drew Speier:
Fran, Would you be available next week, say after Wednesday, to do another interview? We want to run our follow-up piece to the Mantell story the second week of July.  You will probably be the only person we interview for this one. We want to talk about how the investigation was reopened because of our stories.  I think we can mention how you are looking at Blue Book files now, etc., as well.

Fran Ridge:
Depends on my analysts' final comments. The re-investigation is ongoing and we are going over the skyhook path charts. No question a skyhook was in the region, but not everybody could have seen it. We think we can prove Mantell could not have seen it at all, let alone risk his life going after it. Also found evidence of a cover-up. But we have to get this right, FTR, and everybody caught the interview we had.  And who knows, somebody reading it might be another key witness. We found another F-51 crash; pilot killed. BEDFORD, Indiana. UFO involved, and radar. And no records in Blue Book files as yet, but we are only up to mid-1952 on those.

------------------------------

June 22, 2006

Fran Ridge:
Brad, I want to do this (interview), but I don't want to go out on a limb. What do you think we have at this point?

Brad Sparks:
You can say that we still don't know it was a UFO rather than an IFO.  But the 70-foot Skyhook balloon that is now known to have been in the area was south of Nashville, Tenn., and at about 160 miles distance was too small or far away to be seen from Godman Field at Fort Knox, Kentucky.  The balloon would have had to be something like 1,000 feet in size to be both visible and prominent enough for anyone to pay attention to it. The AF secretly concluded the Mantell case was "unexplained," a fact that was not discovered until this renewed investigation, after almost 58 years.  The AF had always dismissed it as either a Skyhook balloon or the planet Venus, neither of which were visible, apparently. Other sightings that day are still being investigated, but some may be actual UFO's.  The Mantell Accident Report is still to be analyzed (by the way what is the progress on that???). 

------------------------------

June 25, 2006

Dan Wilson:
Jean, Thanks for the crash report. Looking it over carefully. Perhaps I am a bit too suspicious but page 14 of 76 (Richard L Tylers's report) and page 20 of 76 ( Glenn T. Mayes's report) sound very much alike. Both talk of the plane doing three circles and then go into a power dive and slowly rotating, and did not burn on impact. A power dive? That is okay for Tyler of the ANG but for a civilian (Mayes) to say a power dive, that sounds like he was being coached--told what to say--get your stories straight , etc. Great job!

Dan Wilson:
Mantell Incident Crash Report 
Frame (15 of 33) says only one pilot in the flight (the element leader) had an oxygen mask. Mantell was the Flight Leader.

------------------------------

June 26, 2006

Jean Waskiewicz:
I have created a PDF file of all the pages in the package I received leaving out the duplicate pages for now. It is 22.17MB and I loaded it onto my site at:

Brad Sparks:
I'm already seeing that the Accident Report has more complete versions of the seemingly same statements of the same witnesses than what appears in the Sign/BB files.  The editing has been done smoothly enough that you would never know you are reading an edited version if you didn't have the complete version to compare with.

------------------------------

June 27, 2006

Fran Ridge:
Did we ever run into any of these documents on Mantell?
Ruppelt: "I dug out the file. In 1949 all of the original material on the incident had been microfilmed, but something had been spilled on the film. Many sections were so badly faded they were illegible. As I had to do with many of the older sightings that were now history, I collected what I could from the file, filling in the blanks by talking to people who had been at ATIC during the early UFO era. Many of these people were still around, "Red" Honnacker, George Towles, Al Deyarmond, Nick Post, and many others. Most of them were civilians, the military had been transferred out by this time."

Fran Ridge:
In 1956 a former head of Project Blue Book (Capt. Ed Ruppelt) stated in his book ("The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects", page 41):
"According to the old timers at ATIC, this report (Chiles-Whitted case) shook them worse than the Mantell Incident. This was the first time two reliable sources had been really close enough to anything resembling a UFO to get a good look and live to tell about it." When I mentioned the AF being shook up on the original TV interview, somebody asked me where I got that. Well, two places: Lewis Blevis in 1960 and Ruppelt in 1956.
------------------------------

June 28, 2006

Dan Wilson:
The 9 Oct. 1961 letter mentions the Mantell Case, saying that there was no radioactivity connected with the remains of Capt. Mantel's aircraft, a P-51.
MAXW-PBB9-515


Dan Wilson:
Clingerman Request for Transcription of a recording made 7 January regarding an unidentified flying object and the discussion that took place between the three P-51 National Guard aircraft and the tower operator at Godman Field. During an investigation 9 January 1948 at Godman Field it was learned that such a recording was made. Maj. Matthews says his office has no record and refers to Detachment Commander, 733 AFBU, Godman AFB.
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs18.htm
USAF-SIGN1-295


Part 2-18:    WFIE - The Second Interview
June 28, 2006, continued.

Fran Ridge:

Mantell update on WFIE was 'filmed".

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Form: 97, Media Coverage
Date: Thu, 27 Jul 2006 07:25:27 -0500
From: Francis Ridge <nicap@insightbb.com>

Subject: UFO or Balloon? Either Way Man Dies In Pursuit
WFIE Interview, Mantell Case
Part 2, June 28, 2006 (air date: July 26, 2006)


Reporter: Drew Speier
New Media Producer: Rachel Chambliss

A Newswatch follow-up to a story we first brought you in May.


It was one of Kentucky's most famous and controversial UFO cases. It involved Kentucky National Guard Pilot Thomas Mantell, who crashed his plane and died in 1948 while chasing what he thought was a UFO.
After our story aired, UFO researchers re-opened the investigation. Here's what they've discovered.

The military says it was a skyhook balloon. But now, more than 58 years after the tragedy, new information has researchers saying the balloon theory is just not possible.

Francis Ridge says, "Something that had been written off for 58 years, all of a sudden became a hot topic."

What was Captain Thomas Mantell really chasing in January of 1948 when he flew his F-51 fighter to an altitude with no oxygen, forcing him to crash to his death in Simpson County, Kentucky?

"The discussions were going wild on the Internet, and people were digging up new information and were finding new evidence," he continues.

Was it a UFO or a skyhook balloon?

That new evidence has now become clear to UFO researchers, like Mt. Vernon's Francis Ridge, who is with the National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomenon.

"Where the skyhook was eventually found to be, Mantell could not have seen it, and if he had, of course, it wouldn't have been anything like what he reported," says Ridge.

In a tape recording, Thomas Mantell says, "Mantell to tower. It appears to be a metallic object, and it's of tremendous size."

Ridge says the military's skyhook theory is impossible because official bluebook records show that there was a balloon, but it was hovering over Nashville, some 150 miles away. Those facts are documented by an astronomer who reported seeing it that day.

New reports from the official bluebook archives indicate that Mantell wasn't the only one who saw the UFO that day. So did Kentucky State Police.

Documents state, "Kentucky State Police had sighted an unusual object or aircraft flying through the air, circular in appearance, approximately 250-to-300 feet in diameter moving at a pretty good clip."

That information was relayed to Godman Air Force Base military personnel, and then dispatched to Mantell and three other pilots to investigate.

Three planes turned back because of a lack of fuel and oxygen. Mantell continued his pursuit.

Thomas Mantell, recorded audio, says, "Mantell to tower. I see it above and ahead of me. I'm still climbing."

Shortly thereafter, Mantell went down in a field in Simpson County, Kentucky.

To this day, former Kentucky National Guard Commander Brigadier General Edward Tonini, now living in Louisville, is sticking to the skyhook balloon theory.

He says, "It was unexplained to him certainly what it was, and he was chasing something and not just an illusion. And I believe that it was just this balloon."

The commander of the Kentucky Air National Guard at the time of the incident, retired Two-Star General Phillip Ardery, agrees.

General Ardery states, "It doesn't seem to be much of a mystery to me. We pretty much know what happened."

UFO researchers aren't surprised to hear the military's stance.

Ridge says, "It's natural for the military people to defend what they're told."

But Ridge says his new evidence should change the military's position and dismiss the skyhook balloon theory once and for all.

"They didn't know then what we didn't know a few months ago, and know now it was impossible for that to be," continues Ridge.

Finding the truth hasn't been easy for researchers, who are now investigating the actual accident, but it's not complete.

"This is the accident report. It was supposed to be 450 pages; then, it turned out to be 250 pages, and when we finally got it, it was 127 pages. What happened to the other pages, and what's on those missing documents?" demands Ridge.

(Note: This is probably an error made by UFOlogists, rather than actual missing documents. We caught it early but the interview was filmed three weeks prior to the showing. The accident report in its 127 version was still full of surprises and we're not finished with our analysis. - Ridge)

That's what researchers want to know, and what they will continue to investigate.

Ridge says, "There's more to this case, and thanks to WFIE and Drew Speier, we're getting more and more all the time. We're going to stick with it; we're not done with it by any means."

The Mantell directory
has grown tremendously since our first report. The NICAP team believes that while they admit there was a secret skyhook project, the balloons were no secret. And they proved that the balloon they say Mantell was chasing, could not have been possible.

What they don't know is what Thomas Mantell was chasing to the point where he'd become the first person in history to die while pursuing a UFO. That's something they'll continue to investigate.

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Part 2-19: "Cover-up of the Complicity"
Final entry for June 28, 2006:

Brad Sparks:

I would like to verify Mantell's WWII service.  Doesn't seem likely that a mere troop transport pilot would come to the attention of brass like Gen Garland. Capt Tyler's statement says that Mantell flew "transition in B-24's" in WWII (not sure what "transition" means unless he was training for B-24 flight duty).  B-24's were bombers not troop transports, and flew much higher (to 32,000 ft), where oxygen was necessary and thus Mantell had to be familiar with oxygen requirements from personal experience.  The excuse that he only flew low-altitude transports doesn't cut it. 

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June 29, 2006

Dan Wilson:
During January 1948, Police Officer Joe Walker conducted an investigation of an aircraft accident which crashed into the yard of Mrs. Carrie Phillips, Route 3, Lake Spring Road, 5 miles southwest of Franklin, Kentucky. (W J Phillips farm)
http://www.nicap.org/docs/mantell/mantell480107docs19.htm
MAXW-PBB3-707

Brad Sparks:
Then later Godman Field denied there was a recording ever made.  It took months, Major Duesler who was supposed to have gotten the tape transcribed was himself transferred out. But there is another "trick" possibly involved here.  There was something called a Plan 62 Interphone System linking several CAA (and presumably AACS) control towers in the region.  One guy at Lockbourne (if I recall which base correctly) actually listened in on Godman's Tower conversation and wrote down the Godman base theodolite trackings of azimuth and elevation for an unidentified object later that evening, which he heard over this interphone system hundreds of miles away from Godman.  Without his record we wouldn't have most of those readings from Godman itself. Thus it is possible ANOTHER BASE recorded the Godman Tower communications rather than Godman itself.  Later Godman could weasel-wordedly say that they at Godman didn't record anything.

Jean Waskiewicz:
The base was Lockbourne and the person was Pickering, also from Kevin Randle's analysis of the case:

"Richard Miller, (1953) in a privately circulated "Prologue," reported that he had been in the Air Force in January 1948 and that he had been stationed at Scott Air Force Base near Belleville, Illinois. Like Albert Pickering, he had been listening to the intercept over the closed communications link. Miller reproduced the inter-plane and the communications with the tower accurately, suggesting, "At 3:15 P.M., ... Mantell called in again and said, 'It's still above me making my speed or better. I am going to 20,000 feet. If I'm no closer then, I'll abandon the chase.'" Miller than added, "This is where the official Air Force account ends. However, there was on further radio transmission from Mantell at 3:18 that afternoon. His last statement has been stricken from all of the official records. He said, 'My god (sic). I see people in this thing.'" There is, of course, no corroborated record of Mantell ever having said anything like either of these two statements. The official record, now available to UFO researchers, was originally classified, and had Mantell uttered anything like that, it would have been included in that file. Air Force investigators would have expected the file to remain classified and would have had no reason to censor themselves. These sorts of quotes, and stories, created without proper foundation, while interesting, add nothing to the understanding of the case. They should now be expunged from the record." Whether this is true or not, could someone at Scott AFB have recorded the transmissions?

Brad Sparks:
Thanks Jean. Yes you've refreshed my memory.  That's exactly what I mean, some other base such as Scott AFB or Lockbourne or Wright Field, whatever, might have recorded Godman's communications over their interphone system.  Maybe Maj Duesler knew which base had the recording but was transferred before he could get it and didn't bother to tell anyone.

Fran Ridge:
This thing about Duesler not being available for Loedding's question about the status of the investigation:
"Capt. James F. Duesler is no longer a member of this Organization, therefore his status of investigation promised Mr. A. C. Loedding by subject officer cannot be determined." Didn't Duesler make out a report? Anyway, why couldn't he be summoned or written to?

Brad Sparks:
I am in the process of exposing a coverup of the complicity of Mantell's wingmen in the crash.  More than just a possible UFO coverup is involved here but also ordinary corruption and deceit.  Lt Clements' statement is riddled with falsehoods from start to finish evidently designed to minimize or omit his role in supporting Mantell's chase without oxygen (he Clements was the only one with oxygen and he used it) in violation of AF Regs, above 14,000 ft.  Apparently, as I infer, Clements saw the object for a substantial portion of the approximately 15-minute chase contrary to his statements that he only saw something at the very end.  Thus he was puzzled or entranced with the object and went along with Mantell's ill-advised pursuit for a very long time without warning him not to.  Clements has falsely compressed all this into a "few minutes" drama.  If in fact they flew for roughly 15 minutes above 14,000 ft without Mantell having oxygen (or Hammond either) then why didn't Clements warn him again and again and again?  It cries out for explanation.  The Accident Investigating Board was also complicit in this coverup, which pinned the entire blame on Mantell -- who was conveniently dead and unable to respond to charges and unable to be punished -- and thus absolved Clements and Hammond of any responsibility whatsoever.  They saw "something" too and that's why they, like Mantell, went on for so long at too high an altitude. 

Brad Sparks:
I spent too many hours yesterday working out the Mantell timeline but drafted up most of it.  I just need to finish it.  It's the timeline that sinks Clements.  He and the Board claimed that Mantell was gunning it into a maximum climb at full power right from the start just above Godman Field.  I found out that's an absolute impossibility, they made it up to make Mantell look bad.  It turns out that at max climb rate of about 2,000 ft/min at 15,000-20,000 ft it would have taken only 4 MINUTES to have gotten from 14,000 to 22,500 ft where the last contact with Mantell was made -- if that was true they would have barely gotten out of the vicinity of Godman!!!!  At max climb the P-51's speed drops to only 180 mph and in 4 minutes they would only have gotten about 12 miles away from Godman Field!  Mantell's crash site was 92 miles away and the Bowling Green area the Mantell flight flew over was 67 miles

Fran Ridge:
Check this out:
http://arnold-air.org/roster/06/ (now archived at:  http://web.archive.org/web/20080407180313/http://arnold-air.org/roster/06/  )
Tommy Mantell Squadron, AFROTC Det. 295, University of Louisville, Louisville, KY
Still hoping to find his service record. He wasn't an "ace". We knew that, but WFIE thought he was. They got an email that corrected that. But he was highly regarded and I would like to know what they say about him.

Fran Ridge:
This is unverified information, 1996, with no supporting evidence for the unusual claims.
...... "Sightings" had an interview with former Army sergeant Quinton A. Blackwell, who was in the tower at Godman Field, Fort Knox, Kentucky the afternoon of January 7, 1948, when Captain Thomas F. Mantell had his fatal encounter with a UFO. During his meeting with Capt. Mantell's two sons and sister, Blackwell made a startling statement. He said that once Capt. Mantell had the large metallic saucer in sight, the pilot remarked, "We're going to need hot guns."

Brad Sparks:
Capt Richard Tyler's statement says Mantell flew in B-24 bombers during WWII not just troop transports.  B-24's flew as high as 32,000 feet.  Thus Mantell did have personal experience with high-altitude oxygen requirements.  The troop-carrier story doesn't wash (they said he didn't know about oxygen requirements because he had only flown low-altitude troop transports). Also, Mantell had 67 hours of flight time in the P-51D, which had a service ceiling of 41,000 feet or so.  Did he not fly it with oxygen sometime during those 67 hours? 

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June 30, 2006

Fran Ridge:
Apparently Mantell was pretty sharp. Jean read somewhere where it describes his service activity pretty well with some hair-raising hollywood type incidents. But Wendy's account says Mantell told the tower they were not the planes from Standiford but were returning from a ferry flight from Atlanta to Standiford. He agreed to seek out and investigate the object but wanted the aircraft from Standiford to be aborted. (Apparently to avoid congestion while they investigated. Found a page in the accident report signed by LEE MERKEL

Brad Sparks:
Yes I noticed that Merkel had signed the accident reports, as KNG Commander.  I don't have any reliable report that any general was in the Godman Tower but there were Colonels, Majors, Captains, etc.  Godman expected 2 planes from Standiford scrambled but they did not show up. Godman Tower personnel all saw the object apparently.  I am unsure if Mantell's other wingman Hammond saw anything -- he was suffering from hypoxia.
Fran Ridge:
(Did not show up) That's because Mantell had them abort the flight

Fran Ridge:
Be interesting if we could find a coroner's report that DIDN'T support anoxia for the cause of death. I assume that's how he died, but WHAT IF he didn't die that way? The plane crashed funny, just like you always said. Bet we don't have a coroner's report

Brad Sparks:
Yes we do have a coroner's report (it's in the Accident Report and states the wristwatch stopped at 3:18 PM) but what we don't have is an AUTOPSY exam as it seems it was not done.

Brad Sparks:
The Accident Report is based only on what the reporting station (Standiford) had and does not use any Godman Tower witnesses.  I am in the process maybe today of comparing Godman witnesses' accounts of radio transmissions with Clements' false account.  I believe he lied about almost everything. 
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