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# The Awful Truth About UFOs (long) -- not for believers!

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posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 12:54 AM
So, finally we add some numbers to the nifty diagrams introduced earlier.

Specifically, we want to answer the question: Could Kenneth Arnold have seen a bunch of stupid ol' blimps flying over the Washington Cascades on June 24, 1947?

One way to proceed would be to determine exactly where Arnold was at the time of the sighting and exactly where the objects were located and the trajectory they were each on, and see if we could cover the distance in a blimp. Unfortunately, as we say earlier, that's pretty much impossible. Not only was Arnold's description of events somewhat unclear, his story changed over the years, and the interviews conducted by the Army Air Force were less than helpful in clearing up the details.

So instead I previously spent considerable time setting out some rough parameters so we at least know the limits we're working with. To briefly recap, here's a map presenting an overview of the event as described by Arnold:

Since Arnold gave several differing accounts of the event it's almost impossible to pin down exactly what happened that day. Here's several possible approximate locations of Arnold's plane when he first saw the objects, when they passed Mt. Rainier, and when they passed Mt. Adams, acccording to Arnold's own descriptions:

And here are the numbers we need to fill in no matter what kind of wierd objects he saw that day:

That diagram looks menacing, but we can pare it down to it's essentials.

The cruising airspeed of Arnold's CallAir is right around 100mph (146.67 ft/sec), which makes his path 14960 feet. We're going to use 75mph for the blimps, simply because it's within the range of most of the Navy blimps of time but not the top speed of fastest, and because it was the published speed of the L-Class trainers as well as the K-Class. At 75mph (110 ft/sec), the blimps would cover 11220 feet in 102 seconds.

It would be helpful if we could knew the angular size of the objects, but Arnold's descriptions are less than stellar on this subject. There have been endless discussions on the subject, and in 60 years, no resolution. We do know that he compared the objects to a Dzus (not "Zeus") fastener tool that looked like this:

although his probably had a black phenolic handle and open rivets. (In fairness, there is another type which may have been in use in 1947 which looks like a standard screwdriver with a short, wide blade; that style is generally used on Dzus fasteners smaller than those used on most aircraaft cowlings of the period. The real mechanics of '40s carried one of these in their back pocket.) In any case, Arnold failed to mention which part of the tool he compared the objects to, so it's a useless bit of information.

Luckily, we have two other observations which might help us al least set the limits of the angular size of the objects.

Arnold wrote that he thought the objects, seen on edge, were 20 times wider than high.

If we take .05 degrees (3 minutes of arc) as the limit of human visual acuity, we have an apparent visual width of 1 degree (60 minutes). (Never fear, we will account for the height of the blimps later.)

Arnold also told us that the visual width of the entire flight of 9 objects flying in echelon formation was the same as a certain 5-mile-long mountain ridge (or plateau, depending on which version of the story we use). Once again, he never mentioned which ridge/plateau, so we are left with a range of values: somewhere between 5 and 13 degrees, depending on where he was and which of 3 candidate ridges he was actually referring to.

Arnold mentioned that there seemed to be two groups of objects, "...with a larger gap..." between, indicating, perhaps, that he thought they were evenly spaced apart. If use one object-length for the average gap we get an individual object range of 1.44 to 0.294 degrees, so the 1-degree estimate seems reasonable. The midrange value of .867 degrees is about the same apparent size as an American dime seen on edge at 33 inches.

One other thing to do: equate apparent visual size to distance-from-blimp. Arnold's (supposed) objects had nearly equal length and width in plan view, so their size as seen from different angles would have been nearly constant. The same is not true of blimps; both the L-Class and K-Class have around 4:1 ratios, so we have to take into account the angle of view at each point. Using the L-Class as our model (they were plentiful on the West Coast that year) I get:

Blimp turned 90 deg. ~~ 9710 ft.
75,105 deg. ~~ 9360
60,120 deg. ~~ 8370 ft.
45,135 deg. ~~ 6815 ft.
30,150 deg. ~~ 4815 ft.
15,165 deg ~~ 2440 ft.
00 deg. ~~ 2400 ft.

That really surprised me, actually. I thought at first an L-Class would have to be over a mile away to look that small, even seen end-on.

Ok, let's try it.

Not bad for a first try. We're bang-on at the beginning and end of the stretch, but the blimp looks too big near the middle of the path. It would work if we relaxed the apparent size restrictions, but that might be seen as cheating. Let's try the next scenario.

Bingo! Nailed it on the second try. I have a third scenario prepared, because of Arnold's statements indicating that he was 25 miles west of Mt. Rainier, but there's really no reason to go further at this time, since any scenario west of this one will be definitely blimp-friendly.

So, the answer is, definitely,"Yes, Kenneth Arnold could well have seen a bunch of blimps."

Let's look at the predictions the blimp theory makes with regard to Arnold's experience.

General Appearance
First, I should mention that, in 1947, airships were a very reflective aluminum finish. Some readers, accustomed to the latest crop of colorful Goodyear and other blimps, may not have ever seen a shiny silver blimp.

So, in 1947, a blimp, unlike the pancake-shaped things Arnold thought he saw, could and would reflect huge waves of light in normal flight under the hard summer sun on June 24. Compare a clip of the saucer shape with one of a blimp shape flying the same course:

And unlike the saucer, a blimp would be within a few degrees of a major reflection at all times.

Blimps also have horizontal and vertical fins just perfect for flashing a bit of sunlight back at the observer, surfaces which, unlike the tails of the airplanes of the period, blend into the overall sillouette at distance:

Kinetics

"I Rode On The Goodyear Blimp"
"Even in winds and turbulence, the blimp doesn't seem motivated to react - it just rocks and climbs, very gently."

Blimps would have appeared to fly like, to put it simply, blimps. Blimps have a unique bouncy, sliding motion through the air, espectially when flying in choppy, variable winds, like the air currents which flow over and around mountain ranges like the Cascades, for instance. So, it Arnold had seen blimps, they would have looked exactly like his descriptions of the objects he was watching. Airships flying through the Cascades are almost certainly required to fly "...like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water..." just like Arnold's objects. That motion alone would account for the flickering and flashing mentioned above.

Surprise!
You've already seen how Arnold's description and drawing closely match the silhouette of a blimp.

Well, there's a related detail, one of those wonderful "stupid details" I love about classic UFO sightings, a detail which other researchers have not been able to explain and have tried to push aside, but is absolutely required by the blimp theory.

Arnold, remember, drew a sketch of the objects he saw, and wrote that the shapes were 20 times wider than thick.

Guess what? The shadow on the body of a blimp flying south by Mt. Rainier around 3:00pm on June 24, 1947, not only matches his drawing pretty well:

but it's thickness is almost exactly 1/20th of it's width..

Next time, we'll look at some surprising information about the the Great UFO Wave of 1947.

For anyone who wants to check my figures, here are the coordinates, etc. I used for these scenarios:

Coordinates were first taken from usgs.gov... and checked against various other sources; GoogleLocal was never more than about 200 feet different, so was used from then on, with occasional cross-checks to make sure they stayed about the same.

Distance and azimuth were found with Terrestrial Distance & Bearing Calculator
my.athenet.net...
courtesy of Green Bay Professional Packet Radio ®
www.gbppr.org...
and spot-checked using degree-per-mile figures, below.

From www.nga.mil...
Length of a degree (at Mt. Rainier)
of Latitude: 364724 ft., 69.0765151 statute mile, 0.014476 degree/mile
of Longitude: 250215 ft., 47.3892045 statute mile, 0.021102 degree/mile

Mt.Rainier -- depending on your viewpoint, "from Mt. Rainier" can mean a lot of things. I used some or all of these coordinates at various times:
A: peak: 46.852209,-121.760101
B: sw face: 46.83765,-121.770401
C: wsw face: 46.846104,-121.781387
D: wsw plateau: 46.833892,-121.826019
E: sw plateau: 46.80852,-121.796494
F: Little Tahoma Peak: 46.852209,-121.70929

Mineral (46.716327,-122.180672)
Arnold's destination, Yakima, McAlister Field (46.566886,-120.543365)

For the scenarios below, I used the south face of Mt. Rainier, about 1/2 way down the slope (46.824496,-121.752205) and the west face of Mt. Adams, about 1/2 way down the slope (46.201221,-121.513252)

Scenario I
5 miles east of Mineral (46.710678,-122.077332)
Mt. Rainier 27.773 kilometers (17.258 statute miles) 63.048 degrees East
Yakima 118.043 kilometers (73.349 statute miles) 98.332 degrees East
Mt. Adams 71.156 kilometers (44.214 statute miles) 142.869 degrees East

Scenario II
Nisqually Valley, 5 miles west of Ashford (46.763149,-122.192001)
Mt. Rainier 34.124 kilometers (21.203 statute miles) 78.644 degrees East
Yakima 127.516 kilometers (79.235 statute miles) 100.440 degrees East
Mt. Adams 81.166 kilometers (50.434 statute miles) 140.494 degrees East

Scenario III
Nisqually Valley, 25 Miles West of Mt. Rainier (measured from peak) (46.791128,-122.278519)
Mt. Rainier 40.175 kilometers (24.964 statute miles) 84.900 degrees East
Yakima 134.523 kilometers (83.589 statute miles) 101.298 degrees East
Mt. Adams 87.829 kilometers (54.575 statute miles) 138.511 degrees East

[edit on 30-3-2006 by rand]

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 04:24 PM
Rand ,

A few things.

On Google maps you can clearly see the "snow covered ridge" Arnold is talking about. If you look closely , the ridge is fairly wide and it could be loosely referred to as a "plateau".

Google Map Zoomed out.

Google Map The Ridge.

It also is around five miles in length , just as Arnold estimated it to be.

Another thing Arnold compared the objects to the DC-4 approximately 15 miles away.

The objects appeared smaller than that to him. In your diagram you have the "Blimps" passing directly in front of Arnold's Call Air A-2 at a distance of around 1.4 miles.

Considering that there were nine objects in an echelon formation, and Arnold's Call Air A-2 is cruising at 100 m/p/h , he would have almost crashed into one of the last "Blimps" if what your saying is to be considered as true.

In fact he would have certainly been able to turn into their flight path and overtake the "Blimps".

If that were the actual case the "Blimps" could not have appeared smaller than a DC-4 15 miles away.

You also estimated that Arnold's Call Air A-2 traveled 14,960 feet in 102 seconds. Kenneth Arnold originally estimated the objects speed to have been around 15 - 16 times faster than his own speed.

When you plug in your estimate for Arnold's speed times his estimate of the objects speed , you end up with 45.33 miles of distance traveled by the objects while Arnold only traveled 2.83 miles.

The distance between the two peaks ( Mount Rainier - Mount Adams ) is roughly 45 miles.

This is what the AF CIC officer said about Arnold's sighting.

www.project1947.com...

However, after having checked an aeronautical map of the area over which Mr. Arnold claims that he saw the objects it was determined that all statements made by Mr. Arnold in regard to the distances involved, speed of the objects, course of the objects and size of the objects, could very possibly be facts. The distances mentioned by Mr. Arnold in his report are within a short distance of the actual distances on aeronautical charts of this area, although Mr. Arnold has never consulted aeronautical charts of the type the Army uses.

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 05:32 PM
hmmm…

Here’s some specs on modern blimps… I’m Sure super secret 60 year old CIA blimps where Much Better than anything we have on the market today… but here’s some stuff on what Modern blimps can do… if anyone is interested.
- - -
How fast can an airship fly?
“The LZ127 & 129 and ZRS4/5 cruised under power at 80+ mph. With a strong tail wind, it is said the LZ129 approached 100 mph in transatlantic crossings.”

(note: This is the FASTEST airship speed I’ve found so far… most run at 40 to 60 mph.)

- - -

Q. How fast do airships travel?
A. An airship is a slow-speed vehicle, unlikely to exceed 80 knots in flight.
(note: 80 knots = 92.2 mph)

www.airship-association.org...

- - -

How fast and how far can the blimp go?

“The usual cruising speed is thirty-five miles per hour in a zero wind condition; all-out top speed is fifty-three miles per hour on the GZ20. As to cruising range: the ship can carry enough fuel to fly for twenty- four hours, although it rarely does so. When traveling cross-country the blimps fly wherever they go, and the crews try for an eight-hour day, or about 300 air miles.”

(from Goodyear)

www.goodyearblimp.com...

- - -

How high does the blimp usually fly?

“Most flights, whether with passengers or cross-country, are at 1,000-1,500 feet. Goodyear likes to keep the ship close to the ground so that people can see it more easily. It has a maximum altitude, depending on the variables of the atmosphere, of about 5.000 feet. Beyond that height the air gets thinner and the helium expands, causing automatic safety valves to open.”

(also from Goodyear)

www.goodyearblimp.com...

- - -

MetLife blimp spec sheet

(max speed, 55 mph, max altitude, 7000 feet)

www.metlife.com...

- - -

Sentinel 1000 spec sheet:

www.globalskyships.com...

(max speed 69 mph, max altitude 8000 feet)

- - -

Skyship 600 B spec sheet

www.globalskyships.com...

(max speed 65 mph, max altitude 7000 feet… note max range of 400 miles)

- - -

Lightship A60+ spec sheet

www.aht.ndirect.co.uk...

(max speed, 55 mph with favorable winds, max altitude not listed)
note max range is 425 nm (490 statute miles) and endurance is 15 hours at cruising speed…

- - -

A-150+ spec sheet

www.lightships.com...

(max speed 60 mph with favorable winds, max altitude not listed)

- - -

more stats on the A-150, (from Sanyo)

www.sanyo.com...

(note maximum rate of ascent, 1600 feet per minute)

- - -

How A Blimp Works

(great animation)

travel.howstuffworks.com...

- - -

The following quote is from:

www.globalsecurity.org...

“Pressure altitude is the height at which there is no more air in the ballonets of non-rigid and semi-rigid airships, when the lifting gas takes up the entire envelope volume. Depending on the airship, it lies at around 2000 meters. With rigid airships at this altitude the gas bags are expanded to capacity.”

(note: 2000 meters = 6561.68 feet)

- - -

Super Duper State of the Art High Tech 21st Century Airships (not 60 year old blimps based on 70+year old technology):

“Colting's airship can go higher than any airship in the world; he currently holds the world record for altitude reached in an airship at 6,400 metres. Comparatively, most traditional blimps can only reach a maximum altitude of about 1,500 metres.”

www.21stcenturyairships.com...

(note: 1500 meters = 4921.26 feet)
(also note: Colting’s airships are spheres, not ‘cigar’ shaped)

- - -

From pretty much any ufo site anywhere… this quote came from about.com:

“Arnold estimated that the objects were flying at an altitude between 9,500 and 10,000 feet, and at a great speed”

hmmm…. Arnold saw blimps at over 9000 feet in 1947… okay…

rands’ diagrams have the blimps at 11,000 feet…. okay.

60 year old blimps cruising along between 9000 and 11,000 feet when modern blimps ceiling out at 8000 feet or less… interesting.

just don’t make ‘em like they used to, huh?

rock on
twj

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 05:32 PM
Who uses blimps, not seince ww1, and the hindinberg.

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 09:55 PM

Originally posted by torbjon
hmmm…
...at 80+ mph. With a strong tail wind, it is said the LZ129 approached 100 mph...
...80 knots in flight.

So, my estimate of 75 mph is too low? Sorry, my eyes are too tired to run the figures again just because you think my blimps are flying too slowly

As a note, I did consider the winds over the Cascades, but was unable to make a firm estimate (the weather maps of that time were only updated every 24 hours, at 1:00 AM EST), and although there was a good possiblity of a 15-20 knot tailwind, I wanted to err on the side of caution.

How high does the blimp usually fly?

Navy blimps were designed with larger ballonets (25% of volume) which increased altitude to around 10,000 feet.*

“Arnold estimated that the objects were flying at an altitude between 9,500 and 10,000 feet, and at a great speed”

That's why I try to quote from the original source.

Arnold himself wrote that he "climbed back up to an altitude of approximately 9,200 feet," and that he thought the objects were "flying from north to south at approximately 9,500 feet elevation."

rands’ diagrams have the blimps at 11,000 feet…. okay.

Actually, they don't show altitude at all. A 300 foot difference over what Armold thought was his distance from the objects is less than one degree elevation, small enough to ignore in these circumstances.

60 year old blimps cruising along between 9000 and 11,000 feet when modern blimps ceiling out at 8000 feet or less… interesting. just don’t make ‘em like they used to, huh?

Well, the modern civilian ones don't carry bombs, retrieve torpedos, carry 40-foot rotating radar antennas, or cruise for weeks at a time without landing, so I suppose they don't make 'em like that any more

*(American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Annual Meeting and Technical Display on Frontiers of Achievement, Long Beach, Calif., May 12-14, 1981; Lessons Learned: Classical Airships of the Past, D.E.Woodward, Assoc. of Balloon And Airship Contructors, and B.B.Leveitt, Summit Research Corp, Gaitherburg, MD)

posted on Mar, 30 2006 @ 11:14 PM

Originally posted by lost_shaman
On Google maps you can clearly see the "snow covered ridge" Arnold is talking about.

It probably isn't either of the two ridges you Googled, since neiither one is directly in the path -- either path -- that Arnold described, although I did include both in the "possible" category and include them in the calculations. The shorter ridge there is about 5 miles long, maybe, depending on snow cover that year, but the more prominent one is easily 8-10 miles long. There is one more ridge directly south of Mt. Rainier, and while it does not lie directly along the 160 degree paths, it is closer to to the 160 path and is directly under the 170 degree path. I was unwilling to choose one in Arnold's stead, which is why I did specify the range of possible values.

One thing to consider, which I haven't seen mention of, is that, if the objects were flying in a 5-mile-long echelon, why was it not also at least 5 miles wide?

Another thing Arnold compared the objects to the DC-4 approximately 15 miles away.

This would be worth at least a whole chapter if not a complete book. Believe me, I considered the DC-4 thing a long time, and finally concluded it was a complete red herring.

First, it doesn't matter if there was a DC-4. Arnold didn't tell us how large it looked, except that he used that same clunky Dzus tool to gauge it's size. He said it was 15 miles away, but he didn't say how he knew it was 15 miles, and noone ever apparently challenged or questioned him about it. Judging the exact distance of an aerial object is difficult at best, even for someone trained in the art, training which Arnold never recieved, it seems.

Second, the DC-4 was 15 miles away before he turned around in one version of the story, and was 15 miles away several minutes after he made the turn in another version. If, as he said, the other plane was headed for Seattle, it was moving away from him at between 100 and 150 mph before the turn, and between 269 and 350 mph after the turn. So, depending on the exact time it was 15 miles away, it could have been anywhere from directly overhead to 40-some miles away during the event. That's a pretty large margin of error.

Third, a DC-4 is 93 feet long and 117 feet across the wings, but at an angle where you can see both outboard engines (remember what he said about the outboard engines?) it appears about 75-80 feet wide. At 15 miles, that's a subtended angle of 0.0579 degrees. Here's what that looks like, assuming your monitor has a normal 0.24-0.26 mm dot pitch -- be sure to lean back to arm's length, about 24".

There are actually two "DC-4's" in that picture, one painted black, and one painted white. (That's on a clear day. There were some scattered clouds off the coast on the 24th which may have been visible from the Mineral Area, which developed into more general cloud cover that evening, but I haven't been able to determine the exact amount.)

Fourth, try this at home: go outside and find a contrail. When the aircraft making the contrail is about 30 degrees above the horizon, the aircraft is about 15 miles away (it's 6-8 miles away straight up, because contrails preferentially form between 30,000-40,000 feet). Turn around, look over your shoulder, and gauge it's size with a beer can opener or a Mickey Mouse Pez dispenser, which are both about the same size as Arnold's Dzus tool.

Fifth, I haven't been able to find any reference which says that it is indeed possible to see, much less identify, a large aircraft at 15 miles distance. There's a lot of literature on the factors which limit such recognition, but little concering actual numbers. Here's what I've found on the 'net so far:

There is a pilot with 35 years experience, including time in Washington State, who answered a question on Google Answers about the maximum distance a pilot can see another aircraft. He not only used the kind of comparison I just did, above, but said that it's often hard to see another plane 1 mile away, although he has seen a backlit hot-air balloon 10-15 miles away.

The CAB, predecessor of the NTSB, investigating a collision between an F-89 and a DC-7, at 25,000 feet and in perfectly clear weather, concluded that the maximum craft-to-craft visibility was 3.5 miles (Civil Aeronautics Board, Case SA-323, File No.2-0020)

The FAA publishes a training chart (AC-90-48c, Appendix 1) to warn pilots of the danger of unseen approaching aircraft. It shows the apparent size of an aircraft at different distances. It only goes as high as 10 miles.

Civil Air Patrol, the guys who really should know, in their training program for Observers, states flatly that the maximum distance to be able to see a static aircraft on the ground in a flat, open area, from an aircraft in the air, is 2 miles.

Sixth, yours truly has had the unique experience of being in a light aircraft in even better visibility -- above a high desert, without even the humidity of Washington -- where we could see mountains over 100 miles away...but couldn't see a B-52 10 miles out. I've also had the opportunity to assist with production of Air Force pilot training programs about the difficulty of spotting other aircraft. To me, as a person with at least some background in the subject, 15 miles sounds a bit much.

Considering that there were nine objects in an echelon formation, and Arnold's Call Air A-2 is cruising at 100 m/p/h , he would have almost crashed into one of the last "Blimps" if what your saying is to be considered as true. In fact he would have certainly been able to turn into their flight path and overtake the "Blimps".

No, the whole formation was only a few degrees wide, remember, so there was clearance there. And if he had tried to follow them he would have realized (we hope!) what they were and we maybe we wouldn't be having this discussion 60 years later.

Kenneth Arnold originally estimated the objects speed to have been around 15 - 16 times faster than his own speed.

I can't find that in his writings.

On the subject of speed estimates, I'm probably going to have to repeat this mantra so many times in connection to blimps that I may have to set it to music:

You can estimate the speed of an object if you know it's distance. On the ground you have perspective, apparent distance between you and the horizon, and often, trees and buildings and such to give you a sense of distance, which is handy because stereopsis (binocular vision) gives out after a few hundred meters. In the air, with no close references, you estimate the distance of an object by it's apparent size. If you don't know what the object is, you don't know it's size. If you don't know it's size, you can't accurately estimate it's distance. If you don't know it's distance, you can't accurately estimate it's speed.

Read Arnold's report(s) carefully and you'll realize that he is relating all the distances to the most visible landmarks in his space: Mt. Baker (snow capped), Mt. Rainier (snow capped), Mt. Adams (snow capped), the ridge (snowcapped). Everything is related to those shining piles of white frozen water. That's somewhat understandable, since everything else around him was dark green, dark green or dark green. His mistake was assuming that, because the objects were seen in the direction of those landmarks, they must have been close to those same landmarks.

Again, it's interesting to note how his story changed over time: the facts were adjusted just enough to justify his belief that the objects were close to those highly visible places instead of just being between him and the landmarks.

"...could very possibly be facts."

The operative word is "could", not "are". And, again, notice that Arnold was never challenged, never asked why he thought something looked like this or that. Just, "Well, he seems like a nice guy..."

This is my favorite part (I'm glad you brought it up!):

"...although Mr. Arnold has never consulted aeronautical charts of the type the Army uses."

I think he may have been navigating with a highway map! If so, his apparent confusion about being over Mineral is quite understandable

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 06:36 PM
Actually, I thought the 75 mph number was a little excessive…

I’m finding stats that say the K series had a top speed of 77 mph and a ceiling of 20,000 feet…

not finding much on the L series… history.navy.mil seems to be the place that has the fact sheets for the old blimps and that site has not been working for me lately *shrugs*

I dug up those (above) spec sheets on blimps because I felt it was information relevant to the discussion and information that you hadn’t provided… if you have access to better blimp stats, I’m sure we’d all love to see them… at least I would.

As near as I can tell, the Navy blimps you are talking about as being misidentified as UFOs were all decommissioned/deflated in the 1950’s… (the K and L series)

I’m curious what your current working hypothesis is… the, um, Awful Truth About UFOs seems a bit extreme to me, and I just can’t nail BLIMP into every UFO report no matter how hard I try.

However, some reports probably were blimps… seems reasonable… they are big funky looking ships that move in freeky ways (still loving the 1600 feet per minute ascent/descent rate… Wow, is that cool or what?)

Personally, I think that it’s great that you are working on this. The more “unsolved” sightings that can be “solved” the better. I gotta say though, I feel that your original premise needs to be reworked and perhaps narrowed down a bit… as it stands it feels a tad too all inclusive, and more than a little demeaning to some of the people who have witnessed these things.

rock on
twj

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 08:09 PM
There's just not enough there in the pretty pictures to indicate a blimp or anything else. Dr. Maccabee posited a flock of geese and while it seems just as likely given the trajectories and visual references I tend to side with the mirage explanation.
Instead of trying to prove old and famous sightings as blimps you may have better luck exploring little known or obscure reports(Aurora,Texas) where the witness' actually describe an object that resembles an airship.
It's become clear over the years that Arnold described nothing like a blimp.
Maybe you could search the sightings where an eyewitness described a cigar shaped object as that would be the most blimp like.
My own 3 sightings were nothing even faintly blimpish but if you want the reports I'd be happy to pass them along(one's on ATS).

posted on Mar, 31 2006 @ 11:35 PM
Well at least I'm sure your not NSA or Air Force -- OSI.

Geez, not everything up there is Air Balloons.

Dallas

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 01:11 AM

Originally posted by rand
Here's the bad news:

The sad and awful truth is, they've mostly been blimps.

Yes, blimps: slow, rotund, squishy blimps, and most of those have been WWII Navy surplus. No sex, no sizzle, no ultra-high-tech, no aliens.

Just blimps.

I have not read any responses to this thread. I am sure it is a back and forth logically debates. The main logic here about blimps is that we look at billions upon trillions of stars into the night sky every night. So we are are the only ones here in this universe. Now how many universes. Who knows? Not us. Say a mere one second that passes each day.
The odds of others/aliens/ inteligent life is greater than you or me winning the lottery at 1.6354 x 10000^ trillion to one with the current world population.

The AWFUL truth is that we are not alone. The ALL FULL truth is that most people unlike yourself can handle it. You may say handle what? Nuh! It is why WE exist? Everyone dies in a very, very short time frame. What becomes of us that came from the gulf?

I am not worried. I love my life. My opinion about the gulf is that it is perpetual , thererfore never empty. IMO a baby's spirit actual comes from you and your partner. We will all find out soon enough.

[edit on 1-4-2006 by Truthforall]

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 03:36 PM

Originally posted by rand

"On Google maps you can clearly see the "snow covered ridge" Arnold is talking about." - lost_shaman

It probably isn't either of the two ridges you Googled, since neiither one is directly in the path -- either path -- that Arnold described, although I did include both in the "possible" category and include them in the calculations.

"The Ridge" is according to Arnold's account the background against which he watched the formation pass across and in front of. "The Ridge" does not need to fit directly in the path of the objects Arnold saw, it is however in the background of both paths from Arnold's line of sight just as he stated. You can look at Google maps in my last post above and measure it at just over 5 miles long.

Fifth, I haven't been able to find any reference which says that it is indeed possible to see, much less identify, a large aircraft at 15 miles distance. There's a lot of literature on the factors which limit such recognition, but little concering actual numbers. Here's what I've found on the 'net so far:

There is a pilot with 35 years experience, including time in Washington State, who answered a question on Google Answers about the maximum distance a pilot can see another aircraft. He not only used the kind of comparison I just did, above, but said that it's often hard to see another plane 1 mile away, although he has seen a backlit hot-air balloon 10-15 miles away.

Rand that sure was very selective on your part don't you think?

Look at some of the things from your own reference that you didn't bother to quote.

the FAA's exhibits in AdvisoryCircular AC 90-48C imply that air-to-air visibility for another large aircraft should be about 10 miles:

Your best chances of spotting another plane are:

• when it is above you

• when there's a contrasting background (such as aircraft flying across the snow field of Mt. Rainier)

• at high altitude where the air is clearer -- and in the mountain and coastal ranges like the western U.S. where the air is free of dust and humidity.

Bold emphasis mine.

Considering that we are discussing visibility of aircraft and your reference actually says "across the snow field of Mt. Rainier" and " mountain and coastal ranges like the western U.S. where the air is free of dust " , and this is what Arnold saw and what Arnold said about the visibility of the Air don't you think that these factors are relevant to the conversation here?

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 04:24 PM

Originally posted by longhaircowboy
There's just not enough there in the pretty pictures to indicate a blimp or anything else.
I forbid you to look at the pictures!

So check the math, instead. Really, there could be mistakes there, and I want to correct any that are.

The pictures are there mostly to help me out, being the visual person that I am, to let me know that what I think is right is what really happens. Now, I could use antiseptic b&w illustrations, but they take just as many keystrokes and mouse clicks and aren't nearly as easy on the eyes. My posts are going to contain fact-based illustrations of the points I make, so you'll just have to live with eye-candy, I'm afraid.

Dr. Maccabee posited a flock of geese and while it seems just as likely given the trajectories and visual references I tend to side with the mirage explanation.

I always liked the pelicans, myself. Geese are so messy. So, geese, ducks, pelicans, lenticular clouds, mirages. Why not blimps? What is so wrong with blimps? They were available, they were plentiful, they were known to fly in formation, Arnold had probably never seen one in person from a aerial viewpoint (if at all), and if nothing else, the Navy would probably want to give them all a check-flight (they hadn't had much use in two years) before putting them in storage or flying them across country to the east coast.

It's become clear over the years that Arnold described nothing like a blimp.

Clear? over the years? It's never been broached before now, as far as I can tell. Arnold's description fits well with the shadow on the body of a blimp, and the flashing fits well with the reflective nature of the airships of the era.

I showed above that Arnold's flat objects would not flash in the sun unless illuminated from behind or tipped at an absurd angle to flight. I had to show it, using pretty diagrams, because it's not something most people realize automatically. I knew it instantly when I read the first-person accounts; other professional and advanced amateur photographers understand the principle almost instinctivly, but folks not accustomed to "ray tracing" in their minds may have a hard time visulizing how the light works with such surfaces.

I'd love to see your UFO reports, if you promise not to get mad if I notice something "normal" with them. I have a different perspective, I guess you would call it, and I do realize it sometimes upsets people. My friends and family have to put up with me, but I'd hate to lose a good adversary.

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 04:25 PM
torbjon:
The K's speeds are quoted variously from to mid-50s to lower-80s; like everything else airborne around then, they kept getting bigger and faster. Same with the L-series, but then, hard facts are hard to find (that should be a song title
). With only a hundred or so of each series built, it seems they were virtually custom-made.

My working theory is that, since 1947, somebody other than the Navy has been flying military blimps, using them for domestic as well as foreign espionage, and promulgating the myth, when they are seen, that they are alien spacecraft.

I came across this by accident, and spent about a year trying to find the reasons it could not be true, but every time I think of another reason, it seems, I stumble across absurd coincidence and/or compelling evidence and/or something that just doesn't pass the "smell test". I spent another 3 months deciding the right format and forum to present what I'm finding; ATS seemed the perfect mix of immediate feedback and tough questions.

Have you ever seen the movie Z? It's based on a true story about a political murder and the ensuing government cover-up. There is this one mement moment, as the third or fourth polition in a row tells the court "...he sprang, just like a tiger!!!" when the movie audience breaks into spontaneous laughter and applause. Sometimes it's like that.

Historic California Posts: Naval Air Station, Moffett Field: "In 1947, the last blimp at Moffett Field was deflated."

NASA:Moffett Field History 1933-Today:"That same month, the last blimp at Moffett Field was deflated."

University opf San Diego:"That month, the last blimp at Moffett Field was deflated."

Command History. Twelfth Naval District, 1929-1958: "...in 1947 the last blimp at Moffett Field was deflated,..."

So much for the official histories. It's refreshing, and all too rare, to find something like this: "I was stationed at NAS MOFFETT FIELD when we docomissioned ZP-31 and sent all the air ships to NAS Lakehurst in mid 1947." (NLHS Guestbook - 2006)

[edit on 1-4-2006 by rand]

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 07:28 PM

Originally posted by lost_shaman
"The Ridge" does not need to fit directly in the path of the objects Arnold saw, it is however in the background of both paths from Arnold's line of sight just as he stated. You can look at Google maps in my last post above and measure it at just over 5 miles long.

I'm not sure of your point here. I considered all the possible ridges and used a median value for the apparent size of the formation of objects. I didn't ignore any of the possible ridges, the one you pointed out included.

However, I was trying to point out Arnold's own report:
"I observed the chain of these objects passing another high snow-covered rIdge in between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams and as, the first one was passing the south crest of this ridge the last object was entering the northern crest of the ridge...I measured it and found it to be approximately five miles so I could safely assume that the chain of these saucer like objects were at least five miles long."

The only way the formation could be five miles long was if it passed over, or, at least, very close to the five-mile ridge. If it were closer, it would have been shorter; if further away, it would have been longer. So if Arnold thought the formation was 5 miles long, he had to have thought it passed over or very close in front of the ridge. If the objects were travelling along a 160-degree path OR a 170-degree path, and passed close to Mt. Rainier, they passed over or very close to the ridge just south of Mt. Rainier.

Despite that, I was unwilling to force my thoughts and feelings onto Arnold's words, and considered every snow-covered ridge in the area.

But, yes, he may have been referring to another ridge; his reports were just that indistinct.

Fifth, I haven't been able to find any reference which says that it is indeed possible to see, much less identify, a large aircraft at 15 miles distance. There's a lot of literature on the factors which limit such recognition, but little concering actual numbers. Here's what I've found on the 'net so far:

There is a pilot with 35 years experience, including time in Washington State, who answered a question on Google Answers about the maximum distance a pilot can see another aircraft. He not only used the kind of comparison I just did, above, but said that it's often hard to see another plane 1 mile away, although he has seen a backlit hot-air balloon 10-15 miles away.

Rand that sure was very selective on your part don't you think?
Look at some of the things from your own reference that you didn't bother to quote.

the FAA's exhibits in AdvisoryCircular AC 90-48C imply that air-to-air visibility for another large aircraft should be about 10 miles:

Ten miles, not 15. Remember, "visibility" refers to a maximum distance.

And I did refer directly to AC 90-48c:

The FAA publishes a training chart (AC-90-48c, Appendix 1) to warn pilots of the danger of unseen approaching aircraft. It shows the apparent size of an aircraft at different distances. It only goes as high as 10 miles.

Your best chances of spotting another plane are:
• when it is above you

Arnold thought the DC-4 was "...approximately fifteen miles distance, and I should judge, at 14,000 foot elevation." That would have put it 4800' above him at a range of 79200', an elevation of merely 3.5 degrees. So, visually, it wasn't above him, very much.

• when there's a contrasting background (such as aircraft flying across the snow field of Mt. Rainier)

It was the objects, not the DC-4, which Arnold saw flying across the face of Mt. Rainier. The DC-4 was "...to the left and to the rear of me...", that is, to his northwest, between him and Seattle. And there was some broken cloud cover just west of Seattle that day (see below) which could have helped disguise the DC-4.

• at high altitude where the air is clearer -- and in the mountain and coasal ranges like the western U.S. where the air is free of dust and humidity.

I mentioned humidty a paragraph or two down. This was Washington State, middle of summer, and a small storm passed over the region the previous day. The relative humidity ranged from 30% southeast of Mt. Adams, to 87% in Seattle, to 100% nodrth of Mt. Rainier. There were a lot of water molecules between Arnold and the DC-4 that day.

Historic weathermaps are available from NOAA; you'll need the Lizardtech DJView plugin (link is on that page) but I reccommend the stand-alone viewer for serious work; it's easier and faster, and you can download the maps and view them at leisure. There's sometimes a full legend and explaination on the back (page 2) of the charts, but not always; when you find one, keep that file handy for future reference. It's too complicated and detailed to reproduce here.

There are decent, easy-to-use temp&dewpoint-to-relative-humidity convertors at www.esb.act.gov.au...
www.mcwar.org...

PS, the visibility reported for Seattle was 7.0 miles.

posted on Apr, 1 2006 @ 10:17 PM

Originally posted by rand
I'm not sure of your point here. I considered all the possible ridges and used a median value for the apparent size of the formation of objects. I didn't ignore any of the possible ridges, the one you pointed out included.

My point was to point out that the "Snow covered ridge " in Arnold's flight path is OBVIOUS. Yet you seemed to think it questionable. It was meant to show how your willing to convolute even the obvious, i.e. an unnamed yet OBVIOUS 5 mile snow covered ridge located between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams that Arnold would have been traveling towards.

I easily could identify, from Arnold's description of events , the "Snow Covered Ridge " in his flight path that he estimated and the AF CIC Memo confirmed to be roughly 5 miles in length ( via the flat affirmation of Arnold's distances in the account ) , that the objects passed in front of , in his account ,that was located roughly between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams.

It just seems to me that your unwilling to admit you know what 5 mile long "Snow covered ridge" in Arnold's flight path between Mount Rainier and Mount Adams that he's talking about , because it would "Set" his flight path into a narrow margin and reinforce Arnold's claims of distant aircraft and reaffirm his estimates of the distances involved.

Originally posted by rand

The only way the formation could be five miles long was if it passed over, or, at least, very close to the five-mile ridge. If it were closer, it would have been shorter; if further away, it would have been longer. So if Arnold thought the formation was 5 miles long, he had to have thought it passed over or very close in front of the ridge. If the objects were travelling along a 160-degree path OR a 170-degree path, and passed close to Mt. Rainier, they passed over or very close to the ridge just south of Mt. Rainier.

You just said you were a visual person in the above replies.

Now... do you not think , or can you not visualize , that if the formation of craft were in front of and slightly longer than the appearance of the "Snow covered ridge" in Arnold's flight path from his visual perspective at the distance Arnold believed the "Formation" to be that the apparent length of the "Formation " could be reasonably estimated at around five miles in length as well?

Originally posted by rand

Despite that, I was unwilling to force my thoughts and feelings onto Arnold's words, and considered every snow-covered ridge in the area.

But, yes, he may have been referring to another ridge; his reports were just that indistinct.

I had no trouble at all locating the particular ridge in question after reading Arnold's account and looking at a Google Map.

Its not about "forcing your thoughts and feelings onto" someones "words" , its about listening to what is being said so you too can understand what people are trying to relate to you.

I mean I admire the fact that you looked at all the ridges , just disheartened that you are arguing against the OBVIOUS " Ridge".

In the end Kenneth Arnold is no longer with us and can not defend himself. And he did make a Career out of Flying. He had over 16,000 hours of flight time at the time of the sighting. So far I've seen no reason to doubt or deny what Ken Arnold has said, its just been adding up in his favor not against.

Originally posted by rand

Ten miles, not 15. Remember, "visibility" refers to a maximum distance.

Surely you've heard weather reports. 10 mile visibility is not the Maximum Limit and that's at Ground level. On occasion visibility can be more than 15 or 20 miles at ground level. Not to mention 9,500 feet above the Western Rockies.

Notice that from your own Google Answers reference , there are circumstances that increase visibility, especially in Arnold's own circumstances we are talking about here.

Also note that the sporadic cloud cover to the West your talking about could have just as easily silhouette the DC-4 making it visible to Arnold as well. He also knew the position of the DC-4 as he had noticed it earlier and could locate it again at 15 miles because he knew where to look for it, which is much easier than finding an air craft when you don't know where to look for it. ( Remember the "foveal" vision? )

Originally posted by rand

And I did refer directly to AC 90-48c:
The FAA publishes a training chart (AC-90-48c, Appendix 1) to warn pilots of the danger of unseen approaching aircraft. It shows the apparent size of an aircraft at different distances. It only goes as high as 10 miles.

O.k. you referred to it but you said it only goes as high as 10 miles , implying that 10 miles is the Maximum distance. When the link and reference say's large aircraft should be visible to 10 miles. ( that implies 10 miles is not the maximum distance , but the normal distance a large air craft should be visible )

Your best chances of spotting another plane are:

• at high altitude where the air is clearer -- and in the mountain and coastal ranges like the western U.S. where the air is free of dust and humidity.

Originally posted by rand

I mentioned humidty a paragraph or two down. This was Washington State, middle of summer, and a small storm passed over the region the previous day. The relative humidity ranged from 30% southeast of Mt. Adams, to 87% in Seattle, to 100% nodrth of Mt. Rainier. There were a lot of water molecules between Arnold and the DC-4 that day.

Note that Low pressure systems always rotate in the Northern Hemisphere Counter clockwise. Thus if the system was just west of Arnold's location it would have been pumping Dry air up from California not Humid Air.

Originally posted by rand

PS, the visibility reported for Seattle was 7.0 miles.

Irrelevant to Arnold's location or circumstance. That's exactly where that Low would have been pumping cold cloudy unstable air.

And we know from Arnold's own account and from 60 years of scrutiny that it was a very clear and beautiful day for flying that afternoon.

But of course the Weather and Conditions would have been one of the very first things scrutinized in Arnold's contemporary account and it held up just fine back then.

[edit on 2-4-2006 by lost_shaman]

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 12:34 PM
lost_shaman:

The ridge(s) has(have) been debated for decades and there is still no resolution. What is obvious to you is obviously wrong to me, and vice-versa. It won't be resolved today, or, probably, ever. I thought being inclusive might forstall such useless arguments, but zealotry knows no such bounds. Anyway, it was just a paraniod-check against other methods of estimation, not smoking-gun proof of anything. It's off my agenda from here on.

The guys who are responsible for visibily predictions say:
"The visibility is the maximum distance an object may be seen considering air conditions."
or, for the hardcore, Section 6.1 of Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1 (PDF) has more information on visibility than most humans will ever need.

But here, lets get it all over with:

FAA Pilot/Controller Glossary

VISIBILITY- The ability, as determined by atmospheric conditions and expressed in units of distance, to see and identify prominent unlighted objects by day and prominent lighted objects by night. Visibility is reported as statute miles, hundreds of feet or meters.

(Refer to 14 CFR Part 91.)

(Refer to AIM.)

a. Flight Visibility- The average forward horizontal distance, from the cockpit of an aircraft in flight, at which prominent unlighted objects may be seen and identified by day and prominent lighted objects may be seen and identified by night.

b. Ground Visibility- Prevailing horizontal visibility near the earth's surface as reported by the United States National Weather Service or an accredited observer.

c. Prevailing Visibility- The greatest horizontal visibility equaled or exceeded throughout at least half the horizon circle which need not necessarily be continuous.

d. Runway Visibility Value (RVV)- The visibility determined for a particular runway by a transmissometer. A meter provides a continuous indication of the visibility (reported in miles or fractions of miles) for the runway. RVV is used in lieu of prevailing visibility in determining minimums for a particular runway.

e. Runway Visual Range (RVR)- An instrumentally derived value, based on standard calibrations, that represents the horizontal distance a pilot will see down the runway from the approach end. It is based on the sighting of either high intensity runway lights or on the visual contrast of other targets whichever yields the greater visual range. RVR, in contrast to prevailing or runway visibility, is based on what a pilot in a moving aircraft should see looking down the runway. RVR is horizontal visual range, not slant visual range. It is based on the measurement of a transmissometer made near the touchdown point of the instrument runway and is reported in hundreds of feet. RVR is used in lieu of RVV and/or prevailing visibility in determining minimums for a particular runway.

1. Touchdown RVR- The RVR visibility readout values obtained from RVR equipment serving the runway touchdown zone.

2. Mid-RVR- The RVR readout values obtained from RVR equipment located midfield of the runway.

3. Rollout RVR- The RVR readout values obtained from RVR equipment located nearest the rollout end of the runway.

(See ICAO term FLIGHT VISIBILITY.)

(See ICAO term GROUND VISIBILITY.)

(See ICAO term RUNWAY VISUAL RANGE.)

(See ICAO term VISIBILITY.)

VISIBILITY [ICAO]- The ability, as determined by atmospheric conditions and expressed in units of distance, to see and identify prominent unlighted objects by day and prominent lighted objects by night.

a. Flight Visibility-The visibility forward from the cockpit of an aircraft in flight.

b. Ground Visibility-The visibility at an aerodrome as reported by an accredited observer.

c. Runway Visual Range [RVR]-The range over which the pilot of an aircraft on the centerline of a runway can see the runway surface markings or the lights delineating the runway or identifying its centerline.

"Average" here means "more or less", like 10-mile visiblity might mean 11 miles at times , or maybe just 9 miles. You don't really think "average" means "10 miles plus whatever I want" do you? Never mind, I think I know the answer already.

You've never been to Washington/Oregon, have you? They're sopping wet from the Cascades west. The area around Mt. Rainier is considered temperate rain forest, with average annual precipitation over 180 inches at Mt. Rainier, and up to 80 inches at Mineral and Ashford.

Even pretty pictures are not enough sometimes. There was a low pressure region northeast of Mt. Rainier, not west; it would have been dragging in saturated moisture from the north.

The DC-4 has also been debated for decades and there is still no resolution. It is a red herring and has no impact on what else Arnold may have seen, except perhaps to brand him a lier. It is a strange attractor for fanatics and debate junkies and a waste of my time. It too is off my agenda permanently.

Weather conditions are just one of the things should have been scrutinized by the AAF and others, but apparently were not. They didn't hold up, they were just never questioned. That should be a red flag.

posted on Apr, 2 2006 @ 11:12 PM
I thought it would be fun to plot some UFO reports from the Great UFO Wave of 1947 along with some blimp-related information and see what shook out.

To begin, I re-plotted the sighting reports from Ted Bloecher's REPORT ON THE UFO WAVE OF 1947 on a single map, then added some airship sites.

The map includes the main stateside NAS blimp bases which were being consolitdate during the summer of '47, along with two "Honorary" blimp bases: Dallas and El Paso, cities which were named in the November 1947 edition of Naval Aviation News as hosting transient blimps during August of that year.

Also shown is Dragoon Pass, which NAN says was used by the blimps in their travel. And something I never knew or suspected: Goodyear had a large factory near Phoenix (just south of SURPRISE, Arizona) and the Navy had a Naval Air Station there. It wasn't a blimp factory, but I could guess they wouldn't be averse to a visit from their sister plant's handiwork.

The article also reports that the pilots flew mostly at night, because they expected their worst problems would be thunderstorms over the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico, and I can only wonder: did someone already have some problems crossing the desert, perhaps? The article also relates that, despite advanced planning, they almost lost several of the blimps to thunderstorms and high winds at landing sites.

This is just a prelim, and I plan to completely re-do it (remove non-silver sightings, plot the coordinates a bit better,etc., and it's too huge to post without some compression), but it's already interesting and I thought I'd share it with y'all. (I wonder what happened to Georgia?)

posted on Apr, 3 2006 @ 09:33 PM
I downloaded that Plug-in and am looking at the Weather Maps. Nice reference and links Rand.

There was a low pressure region northeast of Mt. Rainier, not west; it would have been dragging in saturated moisture from the north.

Weather conditions are just one of the things should have been scrutinized by the AAF and others, but apparently were not. They didn't hold up, they were just never questioned. That should be a red flag.

What I see is a pocket of Low pressure that is only a few millibars lower than the surrounding air. Nothing hardly worth mentioning.

All the Stations in the area are reporting Clear skies and June 24th was a Sunny beautiful warm summer day ( 88 F ) just like Arnold stated it was.

Also note that just a few hours after Arnold's flight on the next day's Weather Map ( 1:30 am E.S.T. ) that the North Washington station is reporting 30 mile Visibility while at the same time Seattle is only reporting 6 mile Visibility. Despite the fact that North Washington State is where the slight unrecorded amount of precipitation fell on the 23rd of June.

posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 08:49 PM
I found this for you

/k6oo2

Hope it helps. I thought it reminded me of sightings that resembled blimps more than the Arnold incident or Roswell.
Also see the Texas 'Roswell'.

posted on Apr, 5 2006 @ 09:51 PM
Rand ,

I have one for you as well.

www.project1947.com... - USAF Air Intelligence Report 1948

( Page 12 )

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.

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