Published: 7:55 AM 7/28/2010
July 28th marks the 58th anniversary of a bizarre wave of UFO sightings in Washington D.C. that wrapped up on July 27, 1952.
Also known as the “Washington flap”, the sightings took place over two-week period, most notably July 19/20 and July 26/27.
Unlike the recent China UFO sighting, these objects in 1952 were detected on radar in two places: Washington National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base. The objects reportedly reached speeds of up to 7,200 mph. (Yes, 7,200 mph. That is not a typo.)
The U.S. Air Force Air Defense Command was notified of what was occurring in the skies over Washington. Several F-94 night fliers began their pursuits of the objects on the radar. The resulting pursuits proved to be frustrating.
When the planes lifted off, the UFOs disappeared. When the planes landed, the UFOs reappeared. When the planes would see the objects in the distance, the objects would disappear as the plane approached.
However, there were times when the UFOs didn’t disappear. As one pilot stated: “They’ve surrounded my plane, what should I do?”
It wasn’t only military planes that interacted with the UFOs. Two passenger flights within a several hour period had contact with the objects.
At 8:15 p.m. on Saturday, July 26th, a National Airlines pilot and flight attendant observed strange objects above the plane. The radars at National Airport and Andrews AFB tracked these and more objects.
In the early hours of July 27th, at 3:00 a.m, an Eastern Airlines flight over Washington was informed that an unknown object was in its vicinity, yet the crew saw nothing unusual.
Personnel on the ground tracked the object on radar. When the flight crew was told that the object had moved directly behind their plane, the crew began a sharp turn to see for themselves.
When the plane began to turn, the object disappeared from both the sky and the radar.
The official Air Force explanation for the two week wave of sightings and the scrambling of the military: “temperature inversion” (a weather phenomena that gives the illusion of lighted craft flying in the sky).
Many people didn’t accept the findings and continued to question and even formally study the event.
Dr. James E. McDonald a physicist at the University of Arizona and a prominent ufologist n the 1960s, did his own analysis of the Washington sightings. After interviewing four pilot eyewitnesses and five radar personnel, McDonald argued that the Air Force explanation was “physically impossible” – Excerpt from Wikipedia
The fascination with this event continues 58 years later.
Also see: Washington, D.C. UFO Flap, 1952.