Originally posted by worksoftplayhard
so your telling me the craft kenneth arnold saw going thousands of miles an hour was a blimp? gimme a break...
Don't take my word for it; don't take anybody's word for granted, either, do the research yourself. The internet has provided us with a fantastic
set of tools for the purpose. Here's my results, with the evidence it's based on. But don't expect me to cut anyone any breaks; if you don't like
my results, present your own.
Arnold based his estimate on the speed of the objects on his belief that the object had travelled between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams, a distance of
around 45 miles, in exactly 102 seconds. This estimate is based soley on his insistance that the objects had in fact passed close by both peaks, but
there was never any real reason to believe this assertion (at least not until the publication of his book, when we suddenly learn new and conflicting
Let's look at the situation, using Arnold's own words from his first radio interview
, his July,
1947 letter to the Air Force
, and his 1952 self-published book,
"The Coming of the Saucers"
Where were the objects?
According to his first accounts in June, the objects passed between Arnold's aircraft and Mt. Rainier:
"...I could see them against the snow, of course, on Mt. Rainier...
"...going at a terrific speed across the face of Mt. Rainier."
which he confirmed the next month:
"...they approached Mt. Rainier, and I observed their outline against the snow quite plainly."
But with the publication of "The Coming of the Saucers" the public learned a detail he had withheld, it seems, in earlier reports and interviews:
the objects, it now seemed, had actually passed east of the mountain.
"...they revealed their true position by disappearing from my sight momentarily behind a jagged peak that juts out from the base of Mount Rainier
even though they were still simultaneously, somehow, between him and Mt. Rainier:
"...I observed the objects' outlines plainly as they flipped and flashed along against the snow..."
Arnold never named that peak or defined its location any better, but it's generally supposed he meant the Little Tahoma Peak, it being the
only peak in the area
of Mt. Rainier which is tall enough (he reported the objects flying at
over 9000' feet, you will remember). Little Tahoma is also the only peak in the area save Mt. Rainier itself wide enough and which has enough
prominence (ie, clearance) to the east for an aircraft to momentarily disappear behind. All the other available crags tend to have a lot of snow and
ice piled behind them.
In June, he said he could see the objects in front of the snow of the two mountains
"...and against a high ridge that happens to lay in between..."
and repeated that again in the July letter:
"...passing another high snow-covered ridge in between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams"
but by 1952, the ridge had metamorphasized into
"...a very high plateau with quite definite north and south edges."
At first the objects were travelling in one direction:
"...flying at about 160 degrees south..."
but by July, had changed course:
"...in a definite direction of about 170 degrees."
We can only speculate, of course, but perhaps Arnold realized the earlier course didn't actually pass very near Mt. Rainier, didn't get anywhere
close to the ridge he mentioned, didn't go near Mt. Baker, and would have put then nine immense objects over the most densly populated area of the
Northwest just two minutes earlier, in sight of thousands, if not millions, of potential witnesses. The course correction solved those problems.
So, where were they?
Well, disregarding the suspicious changes found in "The Coming of the Saucers", the only thing we can absolutely deduce from Arnold's statmentments
is that the objects were flying generally north-to-south and that they passed between Arnold and three easily-seen landmarks.
But we can't really map that out until find out
Where was Arnold while all this was happening?
Despite Arnold's assertion that "...I knew where I was...", his own statements offer some doubt. For instance, in his first radio interview he
indicates that he flew 15 minutes West from Mt. Rainier:
"...and as I come out of the canyon there, was about 15 minutes..."
and in July confirmed that he
"...flew to the west down and near the ridge side of the canyon where Ashford, Washington, is located."
In June Arnold left it at that, but in July he mentions that he
"...made a 360 degree turn to the right and above the little city of Mineral..."
which is several miles south of the Nisqually Valley where Ashford is located, so turning right
over Mineral would have involved a bit more
He was also, he says, 5 miles or so east of Mineral when he first saw the objects:
"I trimmed out my airplane in the direction of Yakima, Washington...I hadn't flown more than two or three minutes on my course when a bright
flash reflected on my airplane."
In 1952, the turn over Mineral was more reasonable, but the time of the initial contact was moved up a few minutes, because it was
"while making a turn of 180 degrees over Mineral, Washington, at approximately 9200 feet altitude, that a tremendously bright flash lit up the
surfaces of my aircraft."
In 1947, he said he had to climb back to 9200' after making that turn.
At the same time, the distance to Mt. Rainier shrank considerably. In June, 1947,
"...I was approximately 25 to 28 miles from Mt. Rainier."
which works out just right if he was 15 minutes down the valley, considering the cruising speed of the
which Arnold flew. In July he didn't estimate his distance from Mt. Rainier, but
told the Air Force
"I estimate my distance from them...to be between twenty to twenty-five miles."
By 1952 the estimates had disappeared, and he more sure of the distance:
"...I determined my distance from their pathway to be in the vicinity of twenty-three miles..."
which would have put his plane between 18 and 20 miles from Mt. Rainier, depending on the part of the mountain used for the measurement.
He never actually says he was southwest of Mt. Rainier although he said several times that he was west of the mountain:
"...and flew to the west down and near the ridge side of the canyon..."
"I had made one sweep of this high plateau to the westward..."
although Mineral IS southwest of Rainier, and three minutes east bound, even more so.
Mineral is completely surrounded by low
, and so may have been out of his sight.
Just to complicate things further, Arnold said he was headed for Mt. Rainier, which is on a NE heading from Mineral (about 60 degrees), as noted
above, but he was also flying almost directly east toward Yakima, which is at 97 degrees.
"...starting again toward Mt. Rainier...I trimmed out my airplane in the direction of Yakima, Washington, which was almost directly east of my
and which is located right in line with the Nisqually River Valley.
Perhaps he was confused after the experience and actually turned right over Alder Lake, which is almost the right distance.
That's an attractive scenario: it easily answers several questions about the sighting.
Curiously, there is another small community perched just south of a small lake, Clear Lake, a near-twin of Mineral (actually, there are several, but
this one is the most obvious). Clear Lake is
in the Nisqually River Valley -- situated at the mouth of the valley, in fact -- and is almost
exactly 25-28 miles west of Mt. Rainier, again depending on which part of the mountain you gauge it from.
Perhaps the best we can say is that Arnold was somewhere
southwest-ish of Mt.Rainier that day:
Ok, now we can plot this all out and, maybe, figure out what Kenneth Arnold saw that day.
(That's going to have to wait until later; I have to help a kid with his income tax. In the meantime, here's the parameters we're going to have to
If anyone want to start plugging in figures, Arnold would have travelled 14960 feet in those 102 seconds...