May 29, 1950 White Sands, N.M.
The NICAP document states:
May 29, 1950--White Sands, N. Mex. UFO spotted by two theodolite stations just before firing of a missile. Object tracked and photographed by both stations. [VIII]1
Section VIII is the photographic evidence section and it simply quotes Ruppelt’s book. Ruppelt does not give a specific date. He simply states it was a month after an incident at White Sands on April 27, 1950:
Almost exactly a month later another UFO did appear, or at least at the time the camera crews thought that it was a UFO. This time the crews were ready — when the call went out over the telephone net that a UFO had been spotted, all of the crews scanned the sky. Two of the crews saw it and shot several feet of film as the shiny, bright object streaked across the sky.
As soon as the missile tests were completed, the camera crews rushed their film to the processing lab and then took it to the Data Reduction Group. But once again the UFO had eluded man because there were apparently two or more UFO’s in the sky and each camera station had photographed a separate one. The data were no good for triangulation.
The records at ATIC didn’t contain the analysis of these films but they did mention the Data Reduction Group at White Sands. So when I later took over the UFO investigation I made several calls in an effort to run down the actual film and the analysis. The files at White Sands, like all files, evidently weren’t very good, because the original reports were gone. I did contact a major who was very cooperative and offered to try to find the people who had worked on the analysis of the film. His report, after talking to two men who had done the analysis, was what I’d expected — nothing concrete except that the UFO’s were unknowns. He did say that by putting a correction factor in the data gathered by the two cameras they were able to arrive at a rough estimate of speed, altitude, and size. The UFO was “higher than 40,000 feet, traveling over 2,000 miles per hour, and it was over 300 feet in diameter.” He cautioned me, however, that these figures were only estimates, based on the possibly erroneous correction factor; therefore they weren’t proof of anything — except that something was in the air.2
One wonders how they arrived at May 29th based on this information.
Blue Book file
Examining the Blue Book file, we discover the actual date was May 24th. Ruppelt got one thing right. Blue Book had concluded that the two objects were not the same. However, his quoting the “Major” seems to be significantly off. The two station azimuths and elevations were listed in the file:
I could not figure out the Co-ordinate system listed. I have to assume it is some sort of grid map that White Sands/Holloman used. Unfortunately, I did not have access to this map and could not locate one. Therefore, it is not possible to perform any triangulation.
According to the file, station 8 had only recorded 6 frames on a camera that was recording five frames per second. Station 10 had recorded 74 frames on the same type of camera. So station 8 recorded its UFO for only 1.2 seconds. Station 10 had recorded for longer at 14.8 seconds. The difference in azimuth was 22’ for station 10 and 7’ for station 8. The difference in elevation was 42.17’ for station 10 and 7’ for station 8. This computes to roughly 47.5’ motion in 14.8 seconds at station 10 (3.2’/sec) and 9.9’ in 1.2 seconds (8.25’/sec) at station 8. These motions were not of astronomical objects but they were not moving at a fast angular rate either. One station was looking ENE and the other was looking to the ESE. The paths of the two objects were similar. Station 8’s object was moving in a eastward motion. Station 10’s object was moving towards the east as well.
The FBI files contain only a minor reference to this case. An August 23, 1950 interoffice memo indicated that on May 24, personnel had sighted “8 to 10 objects of aerial phenomena”.4 This information may or may not be accurate on the number but even if 8-10 objects were in the sky, it does not mean that 8-10 had been tracked with the cameras.
Winds for this date were all from the west indicating that the motion of the objects could have been wind borne.5 If the object was only one mile away for station 8, the angular rate would be roughly 10 mph. The same speed would be achieved for the station 10 observation if it were three miles away. These numbers indicate that the object being recorded by both cameras were possibly have been propelled by the wind. They may have been airborne debris of some kind that were reflecting light for a short period of time. I would not consider these to be anything extraordinary.
Like I mentioned last issue, Ruppelt is not to be considered the most reliable source when it comes to details. Once again, we are treated to a story from some mysterious Major, who gave details that just don’t match the information found in the Blue Book files. To get the numbers mentioned by this “mystery Major”, the objects would have had to be hundreds of miles away and many miles high. Such objects would have been visible of a large area and multiple UFO reports would have been created. As a result, we can discount anything Ruppelt states about what the Major supposedly told him.
This case is another lesson in questioning Ruppelt’s account of events. The UFO Evidence considered Ruppelt’s retelling of his time at Blue Book as being highly accurate, as long as it promoted their interpretation of UFO reports. To me, this case is closed and should not be considered evidence of anything significant.
Quelle: SUNlite 3/2021