Note: When clocking speed using only a sweep second hand, it fairly difficult to get it completely accurate. This is because several seconds can get lost when you break your gaze to look at the clock.
In the letter arnold wrote, it states:
I watched these objects with great interest as I had never before observed airplanes flying so close to the mountain tops, flying directly south to southeast down the hog's back of a mountain range. I would estimate their elevation could have varied a thousand feet one way or the other up or down, but they were pretty much on the horizon to me which would indicate that they were near the same elevation as me. They flew like many times I have observed geese to fly in a rather diagonal chain-like line as if they were linked together. They seemed to hold a definite direction but rather swerved in and out of the high mountain peaks. I could quite accurately determine their pathway due to the fact that there were several high peaks a little this side of them as well as higher peaks on the other side of their pathway."
While Arnold times the flight he observed the objects carefully. Here is a list of the decriptions he gave.
- Did not fly like other aircraft he had seen before.
-There echelon formation was backwards than what was practiced by the navy.
- The elevation of the first craft was much higher than the elevation of the last craft.
- Could be compared to speed boats on rough water.
- Similar to the formation of geese.
- In a diagonal chain like, almost like there were linked together somehow.
- "They flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across water."
- They fluttered and sailed, while tipping there wings alternately and emitting very bright blue -white flashes from there craft surface.
- Arnold states at the time he did get the feeling the flashes were being produced by the craft but rather the suns reflection off its highly polished wings.
-Never could make out a tail on the craft.
-When the sun reflected from two or three of them, they appeared to be completely round.
-When the objects flew almost straight and level, they had appeared to be just a black thin line.
- The objects held almost a constant elevation and did not appear to be going up or down.
So as the objects started to pass Mt. Rainier he then turned around his plane in the southward direction on a course that would decribes as parallel. At that point he decided to open up the side window on the plane so when he observed these objects the glass would be unable to to produce a reflection and hinder his sight. The objects didnt disappear and they had continued to move southward at a very fast speed, all the while still moving forward of his position. So he continued to time and rate there speed, and said that they had moved from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Adams where they had then faded from view, which was a distance of about 50 miles, in one minute and forty-two seconds, or 1760 Miles Per Hour. ( It is noted Arnold intentionally underestimate this speed saying it was around 1200 Miles Per Hour.) Which was still around three times faster than any known manned aircraft in 1947, which had yet to break the sound barrier. So because of the supersonic speed and the unusual saucer or disk description, it really seemed to capture peoples attention.
After Arnold had seen all of this, he had thought about continuing the search for the downed C-46, but he said somehow the 5,000 reward didnt seem very important anymore, and he wanted to get to Yakima so he could share what he saw with his fellow pilots.
Arnold Reports His Sightings
Arnold landed in Yakima at around 4:00pm and told his friend whom was an airport general manager, Al Baxter, his story. And it didnt take long before the whole airport staff knew the claims Arnold had made. He had discussed the whole story with the staff, but said Baxter did not believe him.
So he continued on to fly to Pendleton, Orgeon for his buisness trip. During the flight he noted that one of the crafts had seemed to look different than the rest of them. And that it was darker and had a slightly different shape. Which would be the craft illustratred with the double crescent rear. He had not planned on discussing the matter any more, but someone at the airport called the press and told them that Arnold had seen some new high speed craft. So at that time Arnold studied the maps, and determined the distance between Mt. Rainier and Mt. Adams and then calculated the speed. He told alot of his pilot friends and wrote in his account to AAF Intelligence that none of them laughed. But they did suggest he may have seen guided missiles or something new, but Arnold thought that was inadequate. He also wrote that some former Army pilots told him they were briefed before going in combat that "they might see objects of similar shape and design as I described and assured me that I wasnt dreaming or going crazy." And a former Air Force Pilot informed him; "What you observed, I am convinced, is some type of jet or rocket propelled ship that is in the process of being tested by our government or even it could possibly be by some foreign government."
When he had arrived at Pendleton he was suprised to see many reporters eager to his story and learn about the strange new aircraft he had saw. So Arnold told them all about his sighting and his (under)estimated speed of 1200 MPH. He said the crafts "wobbled and flipped, like saucers skipping on the water." After several days, the reporter used the description of the way the crafts flew and condensed the name that we have stuck with ever since, FLYING SAUCERS.