Some of the more pertinent details of the sighting are contained in the following excerpts from a Project Blue Book Memorandum for the Record, prepared by a Blue Book staff officer:
At about 0300 hours (3:00 A.M.) local, a B-52 that was about 30 miles northwest of Minot AFB and making practice penetrations sighted an unidentified blip on their radars. Initially the target traveled approximately 2 1/2 miles in 3 sec. or at about 3,000 mi/hr. After passing from the right to the left of the plane it assumed a position off the left wing of the 52. The blip stayed off the left wing for approximately 20 miles at which point it broke off. Scope photographs were taken. When the target was close to the B-52 neither of the two transmitters in the B-52 would operate properly but when it broke off both returned to normal operation.
At about this time a missile maintenance man called in and reported sighting a bright orangish-red object. The object was hovering at about 1000 ft, or so, and had a sound similar to a jet engine. The observer had stopped his car, but he then started it up again. As he started to move, the object followed him, then accelerated and appeared to stop at about 6-8 miles away. The observer shortly afterward lost sight of it. In response to the maintenance man’s call the B-52, which had continued its penetration run. was vectored toward the visual which was about 10 miles northwest of the base. The B-52 confirmed having sighted a bright light of some type that appeared to be hovering just over or on the ground.
The Blue Book files contain the reports by fourteen members of missile maintenance crews from five different sights at Minot AFB who claimed to have seen a similar object.
Lt. Quintanella sent a dispatch to Col. Pullen of the Strategic Air Command advising him that after reviewing preliminary information submitted by Minot AFB, it was his belief that the object sighted by the B-52 crew on radar and visually was “a plasma of the ball-lightning class.” How he made this determination is not explained. As for the sightings by the missile maintenance crew and security guards, he stated that some were “observing some first-magnitude celestial bodies,” although he did not explained how such celestial bodies could be magnified to the degree that they would appear to be “as the sun,” or give the impression of landing as reported.
The official Blue Book record card on this case gave at least three “possibilities” for the air-visual sighting by the B-52 crew. But no detailed analysis was made, and once again these explanations appear to have been straws grasped simply to close the case--quickly and quietly.
J. Allen Hynek
(This web page was produced for the NICAP site by Francis Ridge & Loy Pressley).
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