Friday, October 10, 2008

The Luke AFB UFO Sighting

By Joy Healey

UFOs, Unidentified Flying Objects - Flying Saucers, whatever you care to call them, and whether you believe in them or not, there are too many sightings to be totally dismissed. Here's an exceptional one extracted from written by "EJR" former chief of the Air Force's project for investigating UFO reports.

The incident took place at Luke AFB, Arizona, the Air Force's advanced fighter-bomber school that is named after the famous "balloon buster" of World War I, Lieu¬tenant Frank Luke, Jr. It was a sighting that produced some very interesting photographs.

There were only a few high cirrus clouds in the sky late on the morning of March 3 1953 when a pilot took off from Luke in an F-84 jet to log some time. He had been flying F-51s in Korea and had recently started to check out in the jets. After take off, clearing the traffic pattern, he climbed toward Blythe Radio, situated about 130 miles west of Luke.

He'd climbed for several minutes and had just picked up the coded letters BLH that identified Blythe Radio when he looked up through the corner glass in the front part of his canopy-traveling left to right at two o'clock from his current position, the pilot noticed what initially appeared to be an airplane, leaving a long, thin vapor trail. He glanced down at his altimeter and saw that he was at 23,000 feet. The object that was leaving the vapor trail must really be high, he remembered thinking, because he couldn't see any airplane at the head of it.

He altered his course a few degrees to the right so that he could follow the trail and increased his rate of climb. It soon became clear to the pilot that he was gaining on the source of the vapor trail, as he was right under the middle of it. Still no object was visible. This was odd, he thought, because vapor trails don't just happen; something has to leave them.

He had now climbed another 12,000 feet to 35,000 feet, according to his altimeter. He kept on climbing, but soon the '84 began to mush; it was as high as it would go. The pilot dropped down 1,000 feet and continued on-even when he was below the front of the trail, however, still no sight of an airplane. This bothered him too.

Nothing in 1953 flew over 55,000 feet except a few experimental airplanes like the D-558 or those of the "X" series, and they don't stray far from Edwards AFB in California.

He couldn't be more than 15,000 feet from the front of the trail, and you can recognize any kind of an airplane 15,000 feet away in the clear air of the sub stratosphere.

He looked again and again. He rocked the F-84 back and forth thinking maybe he had a flaw in the plexiglass of the canopy that was blinking out the airplane, but still no airplane. Whatever the object, it was darned high, or darned small. The object was traveling at approximately 300 miles an hour, as it was necessary to reduce engine power and "S" to stay under it.

He was beginning to get low on fuel about this time so he hauled up the nose of the jet, took about 30 feet of gun camera film, and started down. When he landed and told his story, the film was quickly processed and rushed to the projection room. It showed a weird, thin, forked vapor trail-but no airplane.

Lieutenant Olsson and Airman Futch (veterans of the UFO campaign of 1952) worked the report over thoroughly. Confirmation from the photo lab proved this was definitely a vapor trail, rather than a freak cloud formation. But Air Force Flight Service said, "No other airplanes in the area," and so did Air Defense Command, because minutes after the F-84 pilot broke off contact, the "object" had passed into an ADIZ-Air Defense Identification Zone-and radar had shown nothing.

There was one last possibility: an astronomer said that the photos looked exactly like a meteor's smoke trail. But there was one hitch: the pilot was positive that the head of the vapor trail was moving at about 300 miles an hour. He was unsure how many miles had been covered, but on first picking up Blythe Radio, whilst flying on Green 5 airway, he was approximately 30 miles west of his Air Base. When the pilot had disengaged from the chase, a further radio bearing confirmed his position as almost up to Needles Radio, 70 miles north of Blythe. He could see a lake, Lake Mojave, in the distance.

Was a high-altitude jet-stream wind the reason for the smoke cloud? Futch checked this-no. The winds above 20,000 feet were the usual westerlies and the jet stream was far to the north.

Several months later I talked to a captain who had been at Luke when this sighting occurred. He knew the F-84 pilot, whose report he had heard in minute detail. I won't say that he was a confirmed believer, but he was interested. "I never gave much thought to previous reports," he said, "but I know this particular chap well. He's not nuts. What do you think he saw?"

I don't know what he saw. Maybe he didn't travel as far as he thought he did. Maybe, it could have been the smoke trail from a meteor that he saw. But if he did know that he'd covered some 80 miles during the chase, I'd say that he saw a UFO-a real one. And I find it hard to believe that pilots don't know what they're doing.

Here is a just one of the sightings taken from "Project Blue Book" a fascinating and authoritative e-book about unidentified flying objects. It is far more than an e-book; it is a report, and it is the first time that anyone, either military or civilian, has brought together in one document all the facts about this fascinating subject. Learn more at

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