Form: 97 Media
Date: Sat, 22 Jul 2006 07:33:24 -0400 (EDT)
From: Brad Sparks
Subject: Popular Science, May 1948,  "Are Secret Balloons the Flying Saucers?"
Cat: 11

So much for the baloney about the "top secret" Skyhook project.  "This is Project Skyhook" declares this cover story article in Popular Science magazine for May 1948 (on p. 101b).  It was obviously not TOP SECRET in 1948 or in 1952, and its name was correctly spelled as one word "Skyhook" right from the start.  Again as I said before I recall the front-page NY Times announced the Skyhook balloon project's first launch of Sept 25, 1947, and I think it was an official Navy press release to all media. 

Here the "secret" is emblazoned on the cover of Popular Science for May 1948 as a bit of publicity hype since obviously it was not "secret" if it was being published openly.  (Keyhoe's book cover two years later looks a bit like this magazine cover.)  The issue must have hit the newsstands in April possibly as early as March 1948, and written up in maybe Jan/Feb 1948. 

One of the photos was taken at the 1-6-48 launch of Skyhook Flight B that passed south of Nashville the afternoon of the Mantell crash, Jan. 7, 1948, about 150 miles from Godman Field, and much too far away to be seen (angular size and brightness limit to visibility no farther than about 45 miles).   

Also notice the balloon is the same standard 70-foot balloon.  The maximum volume reached at 100,000 ft, given as 206,000 cu.ft converts to a spherical diameter of 73 feet. 

Note that (Roswell) is referenced on the
first page of the article as a weather balloon (p. 98).  It said, "One sure-fire flying saucer that fell to the earth in New Mexico turned out to be a weather balloon."  This referred back to one of these special category of not-so-secret "secret balloons" just mentioned two paragraphs earlier, the "Army radiosonde balloons, fitted with radar reflectors." 

Calling all Soviet spies!!!!  Here is your next assignment:  This popular article reveals that these Skyhook balloons carry "special telemetering equipment, and other devices, about which the government maintains secrecy" (pp. 101b-102a).  That's if the Soviet spies didn't already know about the special classified balloon projects run by Watson Labs in New Jersey for the AAF Air Materiel Command -- as announced in a publicity blitz at various air bases on July 9-10, 1947, to debunk Roswell and the wave of flying disc sightings (see David Rudiak's website). 

Thanks to
Ole Jonny Brænne for finding and copying this interesting article.