Aviation Pioneer, Sir Francis Chichester, Sights UFO

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posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 12:37 AM
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It's not often I author threads on non-technical UFO cases, but this one really captures the imagination. Several notables have mentioned this incident including eminent Australian UFO researcher Bill Chalker. [1]

The Story



Over the course of a grueling 41 day adventure on June 10th of 1931, Sir Francis Chichester while flying a de Havilland Gipsy Moth (seen below) from New Zealand to Australia encountered something extraordinary.

(© 2006, military-aircraft.org.uk)

In his book The Lonely Sea and the Sky [2], on page 185, he describes the event in poetic detail,


Round the storm we flew into calm air under a weak lazy sun. I took out the sextant and got two shoots. It took me thirty minutes to work them out, for the engine kept back firing, and my attention wandered every time it did...

Suddenly, ahead and thirty degrees to the left, there were bright flashes in several places, like the dazzle of a heliograph. I saw a dull grey-white airship coming towards me. It seemed impossible, but I could have sworn that it was an airship, nosing towards me like an oblong pearl. Except for a cloud or two, there was nothing else in the sky.

I looked around, sometimes catching a flash or a glint, and turning again to look at the airship I found it had disappeared.

I screwed up my eyes, unable to believe them, and twisted the seaplane this way and that, thinking that the airship must be hidden by a blind spot. Dazzling flashes continued in four or five different places, but I could not pick out any planes.

Then, out of some clouds to my right front, I saw another, or the same, airship advancing. I watched it intently, determined not to look away for a fraction of a second: I'd see what happened to this one, if I had to chase it. It drew steadily closer, until perhaps a mile away, when suddenly it vanished. Then it reappeared, close to where it had vanished: I watched with angry intentness.

It drew closer, and I could see the dull gleam of light on its nose and back. It came on, but instead of increasing in size, it diminished as it approached. When quite near, it suddenly became its own ghost - one second I could see through it, and the next it had vanished. I decided that it could only be a diminutive cloud, perfectly shaped like an airship and then dissolving, but it was uncanny that it should exactly resume the same shape after it once vanished.

I turned towards the flashes, but those too had vanished. All this was many years before anyone spoke of flying saucers. Whatever it was I saw, it seems to have been very much like what people have since claimed to be flying saucers.


Coming from most people this would be taken as perhaps a dalliance or hyperbole, but Sir Francis Chichester had a reputation and as most are aware those who have it tend to not want to diminish this aura of unvarnished integrity. Even ignoring this behavioral tendency of the elite, with the list of Sir Chichester's accomplishments it seems queer to think he would find it necessary to add imaginary flourishes to an already exhilarating life-story.

To give a taste of his honors, Chichester was knighted on July 1967 "for individual achievement and sustained endeavour in the navigation and seamanship of small craft."[3] "During the ceremony the Queen used the sword of her predecessor, Queen Elizabeth I, which was used to knight the adventurer Sir Francis Drake (the first Englishman with his crew to complete a circumnavigation). Gipsy Moth IV was preserved alongside the Cutty Sark at Greenwich.

Chichester was also honoured in 1967 by a newly-issued 1/9 (one shilling and nine (old) pence) postage stamp, which showed him aboard Gipsy Moth IV. This was a violation of the unwritten tradition of the General Post Office, because Chichester was not a royal nor dead when the stamp was issued." [4]



Several years later in 1970 Sir Chichester attempted to sail 4,000 miles in 20 days aboard the Gipsy Moth V, but failed by one day.

Even in with this brief snapshot we get a picture of a very animated individual whose life was active right up to his end in 1972. What makes the story all the more intriguing is Sir Chichester was so kind as to give a brief video interview, much later, describing his experience over the Tasman Sea.



Seeing his body-language and comparing his spoken words to his writings, it all comes together as an eminently believable story by a respected aviation pioneer,




It was a perfect shape, it was, ... shaped sort of more like a pearl ... with a tail.

And I watched this thing and suddenly it disappeared. And I was ... I thought well am I seeing things? I had a very grueling flight. I had been waiting for ... I had engine trouble, and I had been waiting for hours expecting to go in to the sea you know.

However suddenly this thing reappeared coming towards me. Well I'm not going to let it go this time! I kept my look fixed on it and it [was] approaching fairly fast, and suddenly, gradually rather, it began to thin out and it vanished in front of me, before my eyes. It became a sort of ghost. I could see the water, the waves of the sea, through it in one instance. Then it vanished.


'Tis all the more a shame that we'll never know what he saw!

References



[1] The OZ Files, William Chalker (Duffy & Snellgrove, Australia, 1996), pp. 34. www.theozfiles.com...

[2] The Lonely Sea and the Sky, Sir Francis Chichester (1964), pp. 185. ISBN NA. www.amazon.com...

[3] London Gazette: no. 44241, p. 1299 (3 February 1967). Retrieved on 5 Aug 2010. www.london-gazette.co.uk...

[4] (3-11-2004) "Francis Chichester." en.wikipedia.org... . Retrieved on 5 Aug 2010.


Relevant Internal Links


* www.abovetopsecret.com...

* www.abovetopsecret.com...


[edit on 23-8-2010 by asala]
edit on 14/6/2011 by ArMaP because: (no reason given)




posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 01:01 AM
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Hadn't heard of this one. Your post does an excellent job of detailing the circumstances which lend credit to this case. Thanks too for the detailed posting of references. A fine, professional example of how to post research on ATS.

Edit to ad:
Reminds me of the Christofer Columbus case

[edit on 6-8-2010 by dainoyfb]



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 01:15 AM
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reply to post by dainoyfb
 

Thanks for the nice comment.


There's definitely similarity to stories of other wayfarers crossing the oceans of old. Makes one value the work of modern day folklorist's, eh?



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 01:58 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 
Great work Xtraeme. It reminds me of Keith Chester's research into the Foo Fighters and Night Lights that were reported from the end of WWI by pilots and ground troops. Even the description of a tear-shaped object is familiar. Typically, they were described moving with the blunt end forward.

Initial thoughts were that he was tired, ' and my attention wandered every time it did...' and the weather conditions (storm and weak sun) were contributing to mild hallucinations or misidentification. I've driven whilst tired and eyes play tricks on you. With the description of the object fading out, I considered some kind of misidentified reflection in his cockpit. I had to think again...

1930 Gypsy Moth (note the windshield)
copywrite

I wonder if the engine 'back-firing' was an aspect of engine failure/stalls that's a commonly reported feature of UFO/UAP encounters? There's probably a wealth of these accounts MIA through the passing of time. In his sober retelling, it's similar to the RAF pilot case...Little Rissington.

Interesting stuff



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 08:50 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 


The 1st picture seems broken but other than that the story's pretty wild. I like your theory Kandinsky, damn foo fighters causing engine failures since time immemorial, wouldn't surprise me if it were true.



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 12:00 PM
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Originally posted by TheMalefactor
reply to post by Xtraeme
 


The 1st picture seems broken but other than that the story's pretty wild.


Double checked it on my end seems to be working just fine. Maybe you just need to do a full refresh (CTRL + F5)?



posted on Aug, 6 2010 @ 03:52 PM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by Xtraeme
 
Great work Xtraeme.


Thanks! I always appreciate your level-headed historical grounding. I even had you in mind when I wrote this one.



It reminds me of Keith Chester's research into the Foo Fighters and Night Lights that were reported from the end of WWI by pilots and ground troops. Even the description of a tear-shaped object is familiar. Typically, they were described moving with the blunt end forward.


Interesting, is this all described in Chester's book, Strange Company? Think I might have to give it a read!


Initial thoughts were that he was tired, ' and my attention wandered every time it did...' and the weather conditions (storm and weak sun) were contributing to mild hallucinations or misidentification. I've driven whilst tired and eyes play tricks on you.


I usually prefer looking at UFO reports on a case-by-case basis, but I've recently become a bit more skeptical when it comes to foo-fighter recollections (which isn't to say they should all be treated the same!) only because as astronomer Alexander Von Humbolt discovered in 1799,


He noticed that if one stared at a bright star or a planet with the naked eye, it would begin to swing in a back and forth motion. He named this phenomenon, "Sternswanken" or "Swinging Stars." He assumed that this was an astronomical occurrence but yet was at a loss on how this was possible. From 1799 until 1857 this phenomenon was treated as a real and physical attribute of some stars, that is until a Dr. G. Schweitzer discovered that this swinging motion could be observed with terrestrial borne lights also. (Schweitzer)

... Dr. Schweitzer [conducted] experiments in a laboratory that observed this random swinging motion of a point of light.

Through these experiments Dr. Schweizer conclusively demonstrated that this movement was a subjective phenomenon and that the stars themselves did not move. In 1887 H. Aubert coined the term "autokinetische empfindung," or, "the autokinetic sensation." (Adams.)
...
The study of the autokinetic illusion was primarilry isolated to the laboratory that is, until April of 1944 when Drs. Ashton Graybiel and Brant Clark began to experiment with this illusion on airmen flying at night. It was discovered that this illusion had a huge impact upon aviators flying at night. In particular this illusion would occur when [airmen] began to form up on stars, planets or bright ground lights mistaking them for other aircraft.(1)

The difference, in this case, is that Sir Chichester had his experience in broad daylight. So there would have been at least a few features in the environment to help provide some frame of reference. Even extreme drowsiness, or tricks of the eye, seem unlikely causes for conjuring up a whole flying aircraft when there weren't even popularized stories at the time that would have led his mind to produce these kinds of visions.


With the description of the object fading out, I considered some kind of misidentified reflection in his cockpit. I had to think again...

1930 Gypsy Moth (note the windshield)
copywrite


We think alike.
When I saw the picture of the plane that's when I was able to convince myself that it likely wasn't an optical-artifact or psychological if he had the state-of-mind to figuratively slap himself on the face, and on the second viewing, look "thirty degrees to the left" which would have provided a, largely, unfettered viewing angle.

On the whole I think it's plausible a story. Appreciate you stopping in.


[edit on 7-8-2010 by Xtraeme]



posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:59 AM
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As I've continued to read up on Sir Chichester's life, the story's are just inspiring!


1967: Sir Francis Chichester sails home

Sir Francis Chichester has arrived in Plymouth tonight in his yacht, Gypsy Moth IV, after completing his epic single-handed voyage around the world.

He crossed the finishing line at 2058, nine months and one day after setting off from the historic port.

Sir Francis is the first man to race around the world solo with only one port of call, Sydney.

About 250,000 well-wishers cheered and sang, welcoming home the 65-year-old adventurer who has inspired the nation this past year.

Thousands of small boats accompanied Gypsy Moth into Plymouth Sound 119 days after it set sail from Sydney, Australia, the only stop in the mammoth journey.

news.bbc.co.uk...

The guy was definitely a modern day adventurer.


[edit on 7-8-2010 by Xtraeme]



posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 12:59 PM
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Amazingly enough, there's a video of Sir Chichester's knighting,



This type of regal ceremony seems a distant by memory of a long forgotten time. It's shocking to think this was only 43 years ago.



posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 01:56 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 
There's a little more historical background to add to these unidentified sightings. It appears that the British weren't particularly dismissive of pilot sightings...they just weren't interested either. Neither the aircrews or the authorities held a great interest or even discussed the incidents. Despite anecdotal evidence throughout the 30s and 40s across Europe...they were brushed aside and forgotten until the National Security issues raised during WWII and the post-War years.

From the late 40s, the US had launched Projects Sign, Grudge and were well into Project Blue Book. Apparently, the British had the Flying Saucer Working Party running from 1950-51. It was similar to the US investigations in offering equal opposing conclusions. Churchill asked what was going on with the 'flying saucers and received this reply from a Secretary of State...



Interesting. The document is pretty emphatic that the Americans had no interest and that 'all' reports had been identified and explained. Nothing to worry about Mr Prime Minister!

I wonder if this is evidence that the USAF wasn't as forthcoming in the Anglo-American 'special relationship' as the MoD liked to think? Project Blue Book was well underway by the date of the memo.

The conflict is the final paragraph of the FSWP document that Churchill's memo refers to. I think the implication is that the resources and infrastructure required to study the phenomena were beyond reasonable expectations of success...

Download pdf from MoD Archive

David Clarke has written a good article about RAF experiences with the phenomena. This small extract is telling...


One early contemporary example comes from December 14 1943, when Squadron Leader P. Wells wrote in his flight log of a, ‘Screaming dog-fight with the “light”’. In a 1987 interview we asked Wells if he was aware the American’s were seeing similar phenomena and if he knew of the term ‘foo-fighter’. He replied, ‘...foo-fighters is a new name to me, we always called them “The Light” in the squadrons in which I served in 1943-44’. Other air crew, baffled by the lights which pursued or paced them, rationalised their sightings as evidence of new jets or ‘rockets’ and referred to them in those terms in flight logs and at debriefings.
The Foo Fighters - The RAF Experience

It seems like the British and RAF aircrews had an attitude to these incidents maybe an increment above 'meh...' Sir Chichester's relaxed description of the incident seems to reflect the general outlook of the next twenty years.



posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 09:39 PM
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The only thing that worries me about this story is that he touches his face right in the middle of the story, at a key point even. When they teach detectives stuff about people lying, one of the tell tale signs is that they're touching or scratching their face in some way when they get to a lie. He also is looking down a lot, though that could be because there's some diagram or reference sheet down there.



posted on Aug, 7 2010 @ 10:38 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 


Xtraeme.....

Thank you for your very interesting, well expressed, well laid out post.

Your post is a little of the "Karl 12" ilk. That is to say, you've said it so well, it's hard to know what to say!


I just have no idea of what some of these sightings are about.

Kind regards
Maybe...maybe not



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 04:44 AM
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off-topic post removed to prevent thread-drift


 



posted on Aug, 8 2010 @ 06:35 AM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 
At risk of being slightly off-topic, I've a couple of images that you might find interesting. The first is a report made by a Lancaster Bomber aircrew. They detail seeing a large a large object over Turin, 1942...



The cover sheet for the report highlights how the crew remained adamant in their experience despite being made fun of. A lot of folk with an interest in the field go off half-cocked that ridicule (the 'laughter curtain') is a purely USAF-led construct. IMO, it's mainly simple human nature. "I saw a UFO"/ "I saw a ghost," receive the same response. There's no doubt that various parties have exploited and fed the standard response...but it's there in the first place.

Anyway, enough preamble, here's the cover sheet...



Also a rather interesting UAP/UFO/ball lightning/orb/foo!

copyright@NARCAP



[edit on 8-8-2010 by Kandinsky]



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 10:45 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


"nitial thoughts were that he was tired, ' and my attention wandered every time it did...' and the weather conditions (storm and weak sun) were contributing to mild hallucinations or misidentification. I've driven whilst tired and eyes play tricks on you. With the description of the object fading out, I considered some kind of misidentified reflection in his cockpit. I had to think again..."

Good Lord, Man! He said--which you left out on purpose evidently to bulwark your comments--that his engine kept misfiring. Can you not grasp the importance of those few missing words given his situation?????????



posted on Aug, 9 2010 @ 10:50 PM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 


And what? Your little unrelated presentation negates a direct personal account of what admittedly was a very mysterious unknown object in the air, in a time, and in an area where no other craft was flying?

Debunkers reach for explanations far further then Mars from where UFOs--local ones, anyway--come.



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 12:06 AM
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reply to post by Aliensun
 



Good Lord, Man! He said--which you left out on purpose evidently to bulwark your comments--that his engine kept misfiring. Can you not grasp the importance of those few missing words given his situation?????????





And what? Your little unrelated presentation negates a direct personal account of what admittedly was a very mysterious unknown object in the air, in a time, and in an area where no other craft was flying? Debunkers reach for explanations far further then Mars from where UFOs--local ones, anyway--come.



You failed to understand my posts. I ruled out reflections by showing an image of the plane with too small a windscreen. I referred to other UFO sightings and explained how his was similar. I related the EM effects of pilot UFO reports where the engine stalls when UFOs are close. I linked to a little-known, but authentic RAF UFO encounter to compare the style of the accounts.

I then go on to add documents proving the British authorities had studied the UFO phenomena and added links so people can find out for themselves.

There's even an image of a real-life UFO from 2005!

What kind of debunker agrees that the guy probably saw a UFO and provides evidence to explain why? It's impossible to read anything I've posted on this thread as 'debunking.'



posted on Aug, 10 2010 @ 02:08 PM
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reply to post by Xtraeme
 



great old case, i never heard about this incident before so thanks for sharing the story


wonder exactly where over the Tasman Sea did he encounter the object ?



[edit on 10-8-2010 by easynow]





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