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Air traffic was light at Washington Airport one midnight last week, and the radar scope of the Civil Aeronautics Authority was almost clear. At 12:40 a.m. a group of bright blips showed. The operator estimated that they were about 15 miles southwest of Washington. Then the blips disappeared abruptly and reappeared a few seconds later over northeast Washington. The operator called his boss, Senior Controller Harry Barnes, 39, a graduate of the Buffalo Technical Institute who has worked for the CAA as an electronics expert since 1941. The operator told Barnes: "Here are some flying saucers for you."
Something in the Air
...Like the Navy, the Air Force was sure that temperature inversions over the nation's capital had permitted high-angling radars to pick up trucks and other moving targets on the ground. But what about the other 1,000 or more sightings elsewhere? In a Pentagon press conference, just as if he meant to be reassuring, General Samford went on to state that such things as missiles, ice formations, birds, meteors, and honest misinterpretations of natural phenomena account for all but 20% of them. That still left plenty unexplained...