UFOs over DC in 1952, Jets Scrambled
Often, we’ve mentioned this case (actually two cases), but to my knowledge, we’ve never really gone into detail about it. This is an important
case for many reasons. Like some of the other best cases, we’ve got documentation, military involvement, press coverage, etc. However, with this
case, we have other information as well. First and foremost, we have the very turning point of Project Bluebook. As many of the project leaders have
stated, after this event, the focus of Bluebook went from explain, to outright debunk. So, let’s get to it…
(Photo above for visualization purposes only...not an actual photo of the objects in question)
Front page of the Washington paper.
It started with a National Airlines crew sighting on July 13th, about 60 miles SW of the city, and then continued for a week, with more sightings and
radar returns each day for the next week, through the 20th.
It started again on the 25th, this time with Air Route Traffic Control radar picking up numerous UFOs (and multiple such incidents that day), and
another National Airlines crew sighting. This continued this time for 4 more days, through the 29th.
You can view an excellent timeline of events here…(complete with sources)
The following is an excerpt from the Washington Post for July 28th:
Two other radar screens in the area picked up the objects.An employee of the National Airport control tower said the radar scope there picked up very
weak "blips" of the objects. The tower radar's for "short range" and is not so powerful as that at the center. Radar at Andrews Air Force Base
also registered the objects from about seven miles south of the base.
A traffic control center spokesman said the nature of the signals on the radar screen ruled out any possibility they were from clouds or any other
"The returns we received from the unidentified objects were similar and analogous to targets representing aircraft in flight," he said.
The objects, "flying saucer or what have you, appeared on the radar scope at the airport center at 9:08 PM. Varying from 4 to 12 in number, the
objects appeared on the screen until 3:00 AM., when they disappeared.
AT 11:25 PM., two F-94 jet fighters fro Air Defense Command squadron, at New CAstle Delaware, capable of 600 hundred mph speeds, took off to
investigate the objects.
Airline, civil and military pilots described the objects as looking like the lit end of a cigarette or a cluster of orange and red lights.
One jet pilot observed 4 lights in the vicinity of Andrews Air Force Base, but was not able to over-take them, and they disappeared in about two
The same pilot observed a steady white light in the vicinity of Mt Vernon at 11:49 PM. The light, about 5 miles from him, faded in a minute. The
lights were also observed in the Beltsville, MD., vicinity. At 1:40 AM two-other F-94 jet fighters took off and scanned the area until 2:20 AM., but
did not make any sightings.
Ed Ruppelt himself (head of Project Bluebook at the time, now a UFOlogist and author whose gone on record that Bluebook was a coverup) was actually
likely involved somewhat in this case, as the paper points out.
The same source reported an expert from the Air Technical Intelligence Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton Ohio, was here last week
investigating the objects sighted July 19.
The expert has been identified as Capt. E. J. Ruppelt. Reached by telephone at his home in Dayton yesterday, Ruppelt said he could make no comment on
his activity in Washington.
Capt. Ruppelt confirmed he was in Washington last week but said he had not come here to investigate the mysterious objects. He recalled he did make an
investigation after hearing of the objects, but could not say what he investigated.
Here is the transcript of the tower conversation from the Washington National air controllers to the Andrews AFB controllers…
Washington: Andrews Tower, do you read? Did you have an airplane in sight west-northwest or east of your airport moving east-bound?
Andrews: No, but we just got a call from the center. We're looking for it.
Washington: We've got a big target showing up on our scope. He's just coming in on the west edge of your airport-the northwest edge of it
eastbound. He'll be passing right through the northern portion of your field on an east heading. He's about a quarter of a mile from the northwest
runway-right over the edge of your northwest runway now.
Andrews: What happened to your target now?
Washington: He's still eastbound. He went directly over Andrews Fields and is now five miles east.
Andrews: Where did he come from?
Washington: We picked him up ourselves at about seven miles east, slightly southeast, and we have been tracking him ever since then. The Center
has been tracking him farther than that.
Andrews: Was he waving his course?
Washington: Holding steady course, due east heading.
Andrews: This is Andrews. Our radar tracking says he's got a big fat target out here northeast of Andrews. He says he's got two more south of
Washington: Yes, well the center has about four or five around the Andrews Range station. The Center is working a National Airlines - the
center is working him and vectoring him around his target. He went around Andrews. He saw one of them - looks like a meteor. (Garbled)..Went by
him..or something. He said he's got one about three miles off his right wing right now. There are so many targets around here it is hard to tell as
they are not moving very fast.
Andrews: What about his altitude?
Washington: Well, must be over 8,000 feet as we don't have him in radar any more.
From controllers at Washington National: www.subversiveelement.com...
In the control tower at Washington National Airport, Ed Nugent saw seven pale violet blips on his radar screen. What were they? Not planes -- at least
not any planes that were supposed to be there.
He summoned his boss, Harry G. Barnes, the head of National's air traffic controllers. "Here's a fleet of flying saucers for you," Nugent said,
Upstairs, in the tower's glass-enclosed top floor, controller Joe Zacko saw a strange blip streaking across his radar screen. It wasn't a bird. It
wasn't a plane. What was it? He looked out the window and spotted a bright light hovering in the sky. He turned to his partner, Howard Cocklin, who
was sitting three feet away.
"Look at that bright light," Zacko said. "If you believe in flying saucers, that could sure be one."
And then the light took off, zooming away at an incredible speed.
"Did you see that?" Cocklin remembers saying. "What the hell was that?"
It was Saturday night, July 19, 1952 -- 50 years ago this weekend -- one of the most famous dates in the bizarre history of UFOs. Before the night was
over, a pilot reported seeing unexplained objects, radar at two local Air Force bases -- Andrews and Bolling -- picked up the UFOs, and two Air Force
F-94 jets streaked over Washington, searching for flying saucers.
Then, a week later, it happened all over again --more UFOs on the radar screen, more jets scrambled over Washington. Across America, the story of jets
chasing UFOs over the White House knocked the Korean War and the presidential campaign off the front pages of newspapers.
Other Headlines included such papers as the New York Daily News “Jets Chase D.C. Sky Ghosts”, or the Washington Daily News’ “Aerial Whatzits
buzz D.C. Again!”, the Washington Post’s “Radar Spots Air Mystery Objects Here”, or the Washington Daily News’ “Air Force ‘Saucer’
Expert Will Probe Sightings Here”. (referring to an unwitting Ruppelt), or the Cedar Rapids Gazette’s “Saucers Swarm Over Capital”.
Here’s some info about the second incident, and the jets scrambled…
The controllers called for interceptors, and about 11 p.m. the Air Force dispatched F-94s to search the sky over Washington. When the first jets
arrived, the blips disappeared from National's radar screens and the F-94 pilots saw nothing unusual. But when they returned to New Castle, the blips
returned to the radar screens.
About 1:30 a.m., the jets soared back over Washington. This time, pilots saw several strange lights. One pilot gave chase but he couldn't catch the
"I tried to make contact with the bogies below 1,000 feet," pilot William Patterson told investigators. "I was at my maximum speed but . . . I
ceased chasing them because I saw no chance of overtaking them."
The “official” explanation given at the time was “temperature inversions” on radar. The press accepted it and let the story die. The radar
operators knew better, and plainly stated that they were well aware of such things and how they appeared on radar. Also, nevermind the fact that the
objects were also sighted visually by pilots (both civilian and military), and the blips confirmed by numerous radar tracking stations, and even
photographed! Even Bluebook eventually dismissed the temperature inversion explanation, and the sightings remain listed in the “unknown”
[edit on 12-4-2005 by Gazrok]
[edit on 13-4-2005 by Gazrok]