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"Godman Tower Calling the flight of 4 ships northbound over Godman Field. Do you read? Over.
[Pause] Godman Tower Calling the flight of 4 ships northbound over Godman Field. Do you read? Over."
"Roger, Godman Tower. This is National Guard 869, Flight Leader of the formation. Over."
"National Guard 869 from Godman Tower. We have an object out south of Godman here that we are unable to identify, and we would like to know if you have gas enough; and if so could you take a look for us if you will."
"Roger, I have the gas and I will take a look for you if you give me the correct heading.”
"The object is directly ahead of and above me now, moving at about half my speed...It appears to be a metallic object or possibly reflection of Sun from a metallic object, and it is of tremendous size... I'm still climbing... I'm trying to close in for a better look."
Richard T. Miller, who was in the Operations Room of Scott Air Force Base in Belleville, Illinois also made several profound statements regarding the crash. He was monitoring the radio talk between Mantell and Godman tower, and heard this statement very clearly. "My God, I see people in this thing!" Miller added that on the morning after the crash, at a briefing, investigators had stated that Mantell died "pursuing an intelligently controlled unidentified flying object." In conclusion, Miller made this statement, "that evening, Air Technical Intelligence Center officers from Wright-Patterson AFB arrived and ordered all personnel to turn over any materials relating to the crash. "Then, after we had turned it over to them, they said they had already completed the investigation." "I was no longer a skeptic. I had been up to that time. Now I wondered why the Government had gone to all of the trouble of covering it up, to keep it away from the press and the public."
"The wings and tail section had broken off on impact with the ground and were a short distance from the plane," he recalled. "There was no damage to the surrounding trees and it was obvious that there had been no forward or sideways motion when the plane had come down. It just appeared to have "belly flopped" into the clearing. There was very little damaged to the fuselage, which was in one piece, and no signs of blood whatsoever in the cockpit. There was no scratching on the body of the fuselage to indicate any forward movement and the propeller blade bore no telltale scratch marks to show it had been rotating at the time of impact, and one blade had been embedded into the ground. The damage pattern was not consistent with an aircraft of this type crashing at high speed into the ground.
Glen Mays, who lived near Franklin, KY stated categorically that Mantell's plane exploded in mid-air." The plane circled three times, like the pilot didn’t know where he was going," reported Mays, "and then started down into a dive from about 20,000 feet. About halfway down there was a terrific explosion." Then again, there is the testimony of Godman Base Commander Guy F. Hix, who stated to reporters that he observed the craft for almost an hour through binoculars. He would not have confused what he saw with the planet Venus.
In more recent years, additional information has come forward. Captain James F. Duesler, who was one of several military officers at Godman, was retired and living in England. In 1997, he stated that he and several other officers actually saw the gigantic UFO hovering over Godman field that day. Duesler, who was a pilot and crash investigator, stated, "the UFO was a strange gray-looking object, which looked like a rotating inverted ice cream cone."
The report adds that no official transcription of the conversation has been recorded. However, later, the airmen present in the control tower at the time of the incident were interrogated.
Their declarations put together generated this version of the flight that cost the Captain's life. At approximately 02:45pm, Mantell stated that he saw the unidentified object "directly ahead and above me and flying at a speed twice less than mine". He continued: "It seems made out of metal and terribly large... it makes me think of the reflection of the sun on the transparent canopy of an airplane."
A P-51 fighter aircraft of the Army exploded in full sky and crashed on Joe Phillips's farm at approximately 5 miles in the south of Franklin yesterday afternoon towards 03:30 pm, killing the pilot, identified as being Thomas F. Mantell, 3533 River Park Drive, Louisville. The plane's identification was Ky. NG 869.
Mrs. Joe Phillips said she was sitting at the fireplace when she heard the plane, with its engine seemingly at difficulty, flying close to the house. Almost at once there was a great explosion. Surprised, she looked though the window and saw the disintegrated aircraft strike the ground in a wooden area at approximately 200 yards of her house.
Pieces of the aircraft were found within a quarter of mile of the point of impact. Several Franklin people declared they have heard the explosion.
A vapor column still floated in the sky one hour after the crash.
Another eyewitness, Barbara Mayes, a student in Franklin said she saw the aircraft exploding as it was high in the sky. She waited for the bus that would bring her back home from the Lake Springs college when she saw the explosion.
"... based on unpublished reports assembled at the Wright-Patterson Air Force base. The Air Force investigation has proved that the flying saucers "are not a joke." Neither are they a cause for alarm to the population."
"a report on new files at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base lists 240 domestic and 30 foreign accounts of flying discs as having been investigated. Of these 30 per cent seem to have been weather balloons and the like and 30 per cent more are perhaps explainable conventionally-leaving 40 per cent unexplained."
"The Air Force recently said there was no evidence that the discs were guided missiles fired from some other country, but that on the other hand it was not impossible that they were. Later the Air Force announced it was not making any further comments on the discs: "We can't prove or disprove the existence of some of the remaining unidentified objects as real aircraft of unconventional design. The possibility that the saucers (the rest is illegible)"
The Mantell Crash was quickly investigated by Project Sign, the Air Force's new research group which had been created to study UFO incidents. Though Project Sign's staff never came to a conclusion, other Air Force investigators ruled that Mantell had misidentified the planet Venus, and, wrongly believing that he could close in to get a better look, had passed out from the lack of oxygen at high altitude.
However, this conclusion was later changed, because although Venus was roughly in the same position as the UFO, astronomers working for Project Sign ruled that Venus would have been nearly invisible to observers at that time of day. The cause of Mantell's crash remains officially listed as undetermined by the Air Force.
Updated: 24 August 2007:
In March of 2006, Drew Speier* of WFIE TV in Evansville, Indiana, asked me to help them produce a segment on the Mantell incident for Channel 14. I advised him that there were much better UFO cases and that there was considerable controversy surrounding the case. In hopes of doing other, much better segments in the future, I consented to do the show for the May showing. The show aired on May 23 (transcript). Our thanks to Mr. Speier and WFIE, as we re-opened the case and found some surprising new information. An update by WFIE was "filmed" on June 28th and shown on the 26th of July (transcript).
Several official documents indicate that the Skyhook balloon theory does not work.
1) Skyhook balloons were NOT classified; their missions were. A Popular Science article released only a few months later in May of 1948 proves this. But three years later the Navy made the ridiculous debunking claim in 1951 that secret Skyhooks explained all the "reliable" reports.
2) A "restricted" document shows that Kentucky State Police and callers described an object as "250-300 feet in diameter and moving at a pretty good clip" which later evidence proved was definitely not a Skyhook. The location of the Skyhook south of Nashville was confirmed in another restricted document mentioning world renowned astronomer, Dr. Carl Seyfert, discoverer of the "Seyfert galaxies," among other observers and is in both AF files and news reports. Columbia, Tennessee observers saw it to the north at about the same time as Seyfert and Nashville witnesses, and this brackets the Skyhook's location in the middle about 150 miles from Godman Field and impossible as a stimulus for the primary cases. Incidentally, the Popular Science article even shows the Skyhook launched on January 6th!!! Three other sets of restricted or confidential documents describe an object 250-300' in diameter and much closer. For details see USAF-SIGN1 280, USAF-SIGN1-376, and MAXW-PBB3 680-681.
Accident report documents (and others) are also allowing us to construct an accurate flight timetable for the Mantell chase and it apparently proves that all the previous scenarios of what happened are wrong, simply because Mantell's wingmen lied about it afterward to cover up their complicity in flying too high without oxygen.
In 1956, USAF Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, the supervisor of the Air Force's Project Blue Book study into the UFO mystery, would write that the Mantell Crash was one of three "classic" UFO cases in 1948 that would help to define the UFO phenomenon in the public mind, and would help to convince Air Force intelligence specialists that UFOs were a "real", physical phenomenon.
Air Force Captain Edward J. Ruppelt (the first head of Project Blue Book) notes that there was some disagreement amongst the air traffic controllers as to Mantell's words as he communicated with the tower: some sources reported that Mantell had described an object "which looks metallic and of tremendous size," but others disputed whether or not Mantell actually said this.
Originally posted by jkrog08
This is another example of the paradoxical ways of the US military.
Originally posted by JacKatMtn
reply to post by Darthorious
If I remember correctly in this case, Mantell was with 2 other aircraft, those two landed because they had no oxygen left, I would assume Mantell was in the same situation, once again only from memory
I think that their flight was due to land in the area when the sighting occurred and they were directed to try and identify the object.
2 landed and Mantell kept up the pursuit which eventually lead to his fatal accident..
It just doesn't make any kind of sense that he was chasing a balloon.
Take this with a grain of salt just running off of memory... it has failed me plenty of times before