On June 24, 1947, pilot Kenneth Arnold saw nine strange bright blue-white disc-shaped objects, flying in a “V” formation in the sky above Mount Rainier, Washington. They were unlike any other aircraft, moving at a speed of 1,700 kilometers per hour.
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Arnold was an experienced pilot with more than 9000 hours of flying time. In the search of Marine Corps C-46 transport plane, he left his flight plan (Chehalis to Yakima, Washington) that was reportedly somewhere down on the slope of Mount Rainier. Unfortualnetly, he did not find anything there and then returned to his flight plan.
According to him, it was a normal afternoon with a clear view when he was flying at an altitude of 9,200 feet. He suddenly saw nine strange flying objects for about three and a half minutes before they disappeared at great speed. Their speed was estimated at about 1,700 km/hr.
As Arnold returned to Yakima, he immediately visited the editorial office of a local newspaper to tell the press what he had just seen. It was the first time when the term “flying saucers” was introduced to the world.
Arnold’s observation was partially confirmed by a prospector named Fred Johnson at Mount Adams. On June 24, Fred also saw six unexplained objects through his telescope at about the same time as Arnold.
According to Fred, the objects were oval in shape. He also noted that his compass had been disturbed by the UFOs. AAF (US Army Air Forces) found his claim credible, and they rejected Arnold’s claim calling it a mirage.
When a reporter named Bill Bequette asked Arnold about the movement of the mysterious objects during an interview, Arnold said: “they flew erratic, like a saucer if you skip it across the water.”
But Arnold insisted that the objects he had seen were not round, but most of all resembled fighter jets without tails. The original sketch made by Arnold, however, only reinforced the delusion, since it was not done very well, and the object in it really resembled a disk.
However, later, a more detailed sketch was created by a professional artist that depicted objects exactly seen by Arnold that day.
American journalist and UFO researcher, Philip J. Klass claimed that Arnold had seen meteors falling in the atmosphere. According to him, the rapidly falling debris of a meteor could glow brightly, creating an effect similar to the reflection of the sun from a metal surface. But Arnold refused his theory because what he had seen flew parallel to the earth’s surface.
Skeptic ufologist James Easton stated that Arnold had seen only a flock of pelicans, and the up and down jumps and metallic sheen were explained by the streams of hot air flowing over the mountains and creating mirages. But his version also did not explain the incredibly high speed of the objects, as birds cannot fly at the speed of 1,700 km/hr.
Arnold was not the only person who managed to see a “flying saucer” in the sky over the USA. In the 1940s, mysterious objects in the sky were reported by civilians, military pilots and airline personnel.
In July 1947, the wreckage of something suspiciously reminiscent of one of those “flying saucers” was found by William Brazel near his property. He lived near Roswell and showed samples of the strange aircraft to the local sheriff. He handed them over to the US Air Force.