A Mantell Incident File Update
Air Intelligence Report Confirms Pilot's Last Message

  Steve Curtiss, a pilot friend of mine, provided this photo

The following is a verbatim copy of page 12 from the once Top Secret Air Intelligence Report, 10 December 1948. Note the official confirmation for the last message from Captain Mantell. The full AIR can be found at: http://nicap.org/docs/airintelrpt100-203-79.pdf

Francis Ridge
NICAP Site Coordinator


        k.   On 7 January 1948, a National Guard pilot was killed while attempting to chase an unidentified object up to 30,000 feet. While it is presumed that this pilot suffered anoxia, resulting in his crash, his last message to the tower was, "It appears to be metallic object....of tremendous size...directly ahead and slightly above....I am trying to close for a better look." 

        l.   On 5 April 1948, three trained balloon observers from the Geophysics Laboratory Section, Watson Laboratories, N.J. reported seeing a round, indistinct object in the vicinity of Holliman Air Force Base, New Mexico. It was very high and fast, and appeared to execute violent maneuvers at high speed. The object was under observation for approximately 30 seconds and disappeared suddenly. 

        m.   A yellow or light colored sphere, 25 to 40 feet in diameter was reported by Lt. Comdr. Marcus L. Lowe, USN, just south of Anacostia Naval Air Station, D.C., while he was flying on 30 April 1948. It was moving at a speed of approximately 100 miles per hour at an altitude of about 4,500 feet. Although winds aloft were from the north-northwest, its course was to the north. 

        n.   On 1 July 1948, twelve disks were reported over the Rapid City Air Base by Major Hammer. These disks were oval-shaped, about 100 feet long, flying at a speed estimated to be in excess of 500 mph. Descending from 10,000 feet, these disks made a 30-degree to 40-degree climbing turn accelerating very rapidly until out of sight. 

        o.   On 17 July 1948, a report from Kirtland Air Force Base describes a sighting in the vicinity of San Acacia, New Mexico, of seven unidentified objects flying in a "J" formation at an estimated height of 20,000 feet above the terrain. The formation varied from "J" to "L" to circle after passing the zenith. Flashes from the objects were observed after passing 30 degrees beyond the zenith but there was no smoke or vapor trail. If the reported altitude is correct the speed was estimated at 1,500 miles per hour, according to the report. 

p.   Other sightings of lights and trails, rather than disks, have been reported, viz: 

(1)  On 12 September 1947, the pilot and co-pilot of a Pan-American aircraft, en route from Midway to Honolulu, saw a blue-white light approaching, changing to twin reddish glows upon withdrawal. The pilot estimated the speed of the light at about 1,000 knots. 

(2)   On 15 June 1948, Mr. Booneville, territory manager for the B.F Goodrich  Company, observed a reddish glow with a jet exhaust in the vicinity of Miles City, Montana. This glowing light made no sound, traveled about twice the speed of a conventional aircraft and flew from north to south several times in a wide arc, finally disappearing over the horizon. 

        q.   During the early morning of 25 July 1948, two Eastern Airlines pilots reported having seen a huge flying craft similar to a V-2 pass their aircraft in flight. (See Figs. 7 and 8.) The attached drawings made by these two observers very closely resemble a flying object reported to have been seen on 20 July 1948, by A. D. Otter, chief investigator of Court of Damage Inquiry, and his daughter at Arnham, Netherlands. This object appeared to be a wingless aircraft having two decks. The craft, sighted four times through scattered clouds and unlimited visibility, was traveling at high speed at a high altitude. A sound similar to that made by a V-2 was reported. 

        r.   An object, similar in shape to the one in the preceding incident was reported by an experienced American newspaper reporter about 25 kilometers northeast of Moscow on 3 August 1948. A Russian acquaintance identified it as a rigid airship but the reporter disagrees because it flew at a high, but not excessive speed. 

        s.   On 1 October 1948 at approximately 2030 hours the pilot of a F-51 aircraft, 2nd Lt. George F. Gorman (North Dakota Air National Guard), flying near Fargo, North Dakota, sighted an intermittent white light about 3,000 feet below his 4,500 feet cruising altitude. The pilot pursued the light which appeared to then take evasive tactics. The object or light out-turned, out-speeded, and out-climbed the F-51 in every instance during the attempt to intercept. The pilot lost contact 27 


Air Intelligence Division Study No. 203, 10 December 1948 

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