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T h e   B O A C   L a b r a d o r   s i g h t i n g   of   J u n e   2 9,   1 9 5 4   visitor responses
Martin SHOUGH & Wim VAN UTRECHT
 Case #6

Houlton, Maine, USA - January 29, 1953

While on a routine training flight near Presque Isle, Maine, the pilot and radar observer of an F-94B fighter jet spotted an unsual "saucer shaped dark grey object". The sighting occurred at 9:55 a.m. and lasted about 4 minutes.

Below is part of the radar observer's typed-up statements as they appear on an Air Intelligence Information Report submitted to Blue Book at the time (all unclassified documents relative to this case can be consulted at www.nicap.org). The report in question is case #4 on the official clearance list of 41 formerly classified Air Technical Intelligence UFO reports cleared for Marine Corps Major and UFO author Donald E. KEYHOE by Albert M. CHOP, then Air Force UFO Public Infomation Officer at the Pentagon.

When over the St. John River the pilot spotted an object straight ahead of us. I finally saw the object after he had pointed it out repeatedly. We turned right so as to displace the object to the left. We then resumed our 070 degrees heading and chased the object for several minutes at a speed of .8 Mach at 23,000 feet (approx 470 K TAS). We did not close on the object and soon broke off because of low fuel supply.

The object was grey and in shape was thin and oval. It was at a small angle (5 degrees at most) above us. It stayed stationary in the sky during the chase. It was well-defined and dull coloured, that is, not shiny or luminous. There was no visible means of propulsion nor was there any exhaust smoke or contrails. The object appeared unbroken in outline and there were no portholes or windows visible.

Houlton-sketch

A sketch of the aerial phenomenon copied from a "U.S. Air Force Technical Information Sheet" completed on January 29, 1953 by the pilot of the plane. The arrow shows the direction in which the phenomenon disappeared - WVU

After we had landed and studied the problem I decided we had been about 40 miles NE of the St John River when we broke off. After comparison with a dime held at arms length I believe the object was about 1/2 to 3/4 the size of a dime.

(...)

HOWARD C. KELLY
2d Lt. USAF

Comment - Surprisingly, Blue Book's conclusion on the case read: "Venus at 100 az., 10 elev.". Evidently, a "dark grey oval", 3/4 the apparent size of a dime at arm's length, which explicitly did not shine or emit or reflect light of any kind, and was pursued for 4 minutes, in bright daylight, on a continuous heading of 70, is not in good agreement with this conclusion.

GOETTING's typed-up statement does indeed mention that the unidentified object was "10 above". That is a much too wide an angle for mirages to occur. His handwritten report form, however, says 10 "from the horizon", so he may not have been clear about it. KELLY's report says "it was at a small angle (5 degrees at most) above us". Since observers generally overestimate small relative elevations it's possible that the angle in this case was negligible, putting the object near enough at the astronomical horizon where a mirage should be.

We feel that the significant things in this case are that the object was pursued without closure and without change of apparent size or position or appearance for 8 minutes at Mach 0.8 over a distance of 40 miles.

[Note: The Record Card says irrelevantly that Venus was 10 degrees above the horizon, and there is an estimate in the telex that on first sighting the object seemed to be 10,000 ft or "10 ANGELS" higher (ANGELS is mis-spelled as "ANGLES" in one document) but there is no basis for this figure in the witness reports and no distance information from which to extract an implied angle.

According to an AIR INTELLIGENCE INFORMATION REPORT "The object was also sighted by at least two fighter aircraft from other squadrons. The conversation among the pilots and ROs was heard by A/1C Ferdinand who was on duty at ADDC". One pilot referred to "that thing above us". Another answered "If I were going to catch it I would drop the wing tanks first." The impression of great height could indicate that others did see the thing at a higher elevation. Perhaps the estimated 10,000 ft height advantage comes from these other sightings.]

The authors look forward to receiving additional reports and/or comments which may help assess the soundness of the mirage theory for this particular type of UAP sightings (to contact us, see our e-mail address on the contact page).