By Jan Aldrich
Aviators reported few encounters with unusual aerial phenomena prior to 1942. After consulting much of the literature, talking to UFO historians, and visiting Dr. Richard Haines, here are the few known cases. Some are of very doubtful reliability.
Jeff Lindell, a major researcher into World War II reports, said he had vague references to sightings by French military pilots in War World I, but he had nothing specific. New cases and further details are welcome.
(Thanks to Murray Bott, Dr. Thomas Bullard, Jerome Clark, William Chalker, Dr. Richard Haines, Larry Hatch, and John Stepkowski. They all contributed information concerning these sightings.)
# indicates the report is of doubtful reliability. The other codes and abbreviations are those used by Dominique Weinstein.
- Flight Sub Lieutenant J. E. Morgan. Flying at 5000 feet, he saw a row of lights like lighted windows on a railway carriage with the blinds drawn. Thinking he had encountered a German Zeppelin, he fired his Webley Scott pistol. The lights rose and rapidly disappeared. (This is the first sighting from an aircraft and the first firing on UFO from an aircraft.)
|A/C Code: M||GXE codes: _ _ _|
Source: THE GERMAN AIR RAIDS ON ENGLAND, 1914-1918,
by Capt. Joseph Morris (London 1925), page 81
(Credit: Dr. Thomas E. Bullard)
- Bert Anacosta, stunt pilot, saw six "flying manhole covers."
(This is a third hand report. C. W. Finch, an Ohio researcher, went to a lot of trouble to verify the original story which came from Frank Edwards. Fitch had no luck. Some accounts give 1922 as the date, but 1926 is the date in all of Finch's documents.)
|A/C Code: P||GXE codes: _ _ _|
Source: PROJECT DELTA,
by Dr. Richard Haines, page 152.
- An Air-Mail pilot named Colin Murphy was repeatedly `buzzed' by a huge glowing object an hour after take-off from Salt Lake City. The pilot described the object as a cylinder without any wings or propeller that he could see, and at least three times the length of his DH-4 aircraft (this would make the object at least 90 feet long), and 8 to 10 feet in diameter.
Murphy also stated that every time the object approached closer than fifty-yards to his aircraft, the engine would begin to sputter and misfire. He was finally forced to land in a sheep pasture. Upon landing, the object 'took off like a shot out of a gun' disappearing to the south in a 'few seconds'.
"I am curious about newspaper reports in the Salt Lake area. If anyone living there can check out old papers for the last half of September, 1926 and post anything they find, it would help to pin down the exact date.
"This account is taken from a journal kept by Richard West. Portions of it were serialized in `Sky Trails' magazine, a small general aviation magazine.. The above account comes from the June, 1933 Issue."
|A/C Code: A||GXE codes: _ _ E|
Source: [From: Wayne Thompson Submitted: 12 Feb 94 to "Fido UFO" BBS Network..]
- "A flashing airship" seen from Chichester's converted "Gypsy Moth" aircraft.
Chichester first published his account in 1932.
|A/C Code: P
(Converted "Gypsy Moth")
|GXE codes: _ _ E|
The OZ Files, William Chalker (Duffy & Snellgrove, Australia, 1996)
THE LONELY SEA AND THE SKY, Sir Francis Chichester
(Pan , London, 1964,), page 185.
- LTC Peter Grunnet and LT Tage Anderson, Royal Danish Air Force.
THE SAGA UFO REPORT for October 1977 carried an article entitled "UFO Crisis over Greenland" by Rufus Drake. (SAGA magazine like many other magazines in the late 1960s and 1970s, also had a UFO magazine with the same title. Barry Greenwood wrote to several and found that many of the stories originated from letters the magazines received. He had no luck in getting the magazines to show him their material.)
Here is a very interesting -- if true -- report from the article:The earliest UFO sighting by Danish fliers occurred in 1932 when three H. E. 8 seaplanes were dispatched to the east coast of Greenland to conduct a photogrammetric survey.[A sighting report in the same article tells of an encounter near Thule. A B-17 bomber being ferried to England in 1942 encountered "incandescent flying objects" thought to be from a German aircraft carrier....of course, there were no German aircraft carriers.]
"In those days, manned aircraft had no heaters, insulation or pressure suits. Only the daring and hardy ventured into the glacier zone in wood and canvas planes, and many failed to return. The pilot during this particular UFO incident was Lt. Col. Peter Grunnet, a supremely rugged figure who lives quietly in retirement today. His copilot was Lt. Tage Anderson, who in later years became Commander-in-Chief of R. D. A. F., and died in 1961.
"We had many adventures flying under primitive conditions in the frozen north," says Grunnet. "But none compared with this."
Huddled under body-length parkas and numbed by the cold, their breath forming clouds of condensation in front of them, Grunnet and Anderson coaxed the trouble-prone H. E. 8 over a mirror like section of sprawling glacier. Suddenly, the copilot spotted a second shadow pursuing the shadow of their seaplane across the ice.
"I looked back and saw something that didn't make sense," Anderson was quoted.
About a mile behind their plane partly obscured by the glare of sun against snow, a flying object was following their flight course. Grunnet eased his throttle forward. The engines of his H. E. 8 gnashed and vibrated noisily as he forced the plane into a shallow turn, to get a better view of the alien object.
"It was nothing like flying machines of that period," Grunnet, recalling the UFO sighting recently during a visit to the U. S. "It was hexagonal, flat, and seemingly made of aluminum or some other metal, with no breaks in the surface and no rivets."
"At the time, I had a spooky feeling. I can't explain it. It was as if I 'felt' the presence of whoever was inside that craft--and the feeling was hostile. In the years since, I've realized that the craft was 'saucer' shaped, and I believe it really was a flying saucer."
Do our Scandinavian colleagues know anything about this story? Was it made up by the SAGA writer?
|A/C Code: M
(HE 8, Seaplane)
|GXE codes: _ _ E|
- On July 5th 1933, during a night cross country training flight over Sussex, England a flight of four Hawker Fury I biplane fighters was broken up by a "huge" circular light that "dropped down from above their formation, into its very centre." RAF Capt. Nigel Tompkins was forced to land after his engine quit. Lt. Bruce H. Thomas suffered burns to his face and hands after passing close to the light while trying to land his aircraft after his engine quit...
| A/C Code: M
|GXE codes: _ X E|
History of the III Fighter Squadron, RAF
Printed by London Press, 1947.
[From: Wayne Thompson. Submitted: 12 Feb 94 to "Fido UFO" BBS Network.]
- A local pilot chased a flying disk. The pilot would later become a state government official.
|A/C Code: P||GXE codes: _ __|
by H. D. Rutledge, page 213.
Hatch, Larry, *U* UFO database
- At the Virginia-North Carolina border, Howard S. Behr, LTC, USAF, retired. He was flying a plane south at 3000 feet. A gondola shaped object of gun metal color crossed his flight path. He was flying a Curtis Wright Sedan. He was military pilot flying in a non-duty status in a private plane.
| A/C Code: P
(Curtis Wright Sedan)
|GXE codes: _ __|
First hand account in CUFOS files.
(Credit: Jerry Clark.)