No Enemy Contact, but UFO? Maybe… the Bob Schneck Story
Published: 2:51 PM 7/24/2010
Although the war ended before U.S. Army Air Corps pilot Bob Schneck could fly combat missions, he trained hundreds of bombardiers who made their mark overseas.
And while the World War II years didn't provide much adventure for Schneck, the 1950s gave him as much excitement as he could handle — including a UFO encounter.
After Schneck received his pilot wings at Douglas, Ariz., in April 1944, he was assigned to train bombardier cadets in Deming, N.M.
“That was long enough to keep me out of combat,” Schneck said of his stint with the students. “I was training to go to war, but I never got there.”
Schneck took two students up at a time in a twin-engine aircraft, 10,000 feet over a target laid out in an auxiliary field in the New Mexico desert.
Using the Norden bombsight, the students practiced dropping their 100-pound “bombs.” A shotgun-type shell attached to the bomb would go off on impact and mark where the bomb touched down in the circle. Photos were taken of where the bomb landed.
Schneck flew four or five missions a day, each mission lasting one-and-a-half to two hours. Sometimes he flew the students on night missions. Bombardiers were in high demand during that time.
“They all got assignments to B-17s or B-24s,” and were sent overseas, Schneck said.
Schneck completed his eight-month teaching assignment in December 1944 and finally began his pilot training in B-17 and B-29 bombers in January, but by the time his training wrapped up in August, the war was over.
Although he was disappointed he missed out going overseas, at least he was doing what he loved — even if it was just flying young bombardiers over practice targets.
“It was flying,” he said. “That was the main thing. Most of us wanted to get into combat. The patriotism was very high.”
In the military, you don't have much say in the decision-making process, he said.
“You were just cannon fodder,” Schneck said. “That's what we called ourselves,” he said, laughing.
After the war was over, Schneck, who held the rank of first lieutenant, dropped back to the rank of master sergeant and, to complement his piloting skills, became a bombardier, navigator, radio operator and flying boom operator.
A boom operator (in-flight fuel technician) controls a long, extendable metal arm that connects to another aircraft for the transfer of fuel. Schneck went to boom school in 1950 and became one of the very first boom operators in the U.S. Air Force.
From the back of a Boeing KB-29P tanker, Schneck would “Fly the boom into a receptacle in a receiver airplane flying in close formation.”
The aircraft, usually a bomber or fighter, and the tanker would be about 50 feet apart — at a altitude of about 10,000 feet — when the two connected.
Once inserted into the receptacle, the boom was automatically latched into place with toggles.
It took the steady hand of a boom operator and the careful maneuvering of the receiving pilot to make the connection.
“Sometimes they'd break away; sometimes they'd get hung up,” he said.
“I was proud of being on the ground floor and given the chance of doing it,” he said.
In July 1955, Schneck was flying a KC-97 tanker over Newfoundland — one of two crews that had just finished refueling B-47 bombers bound for England — when he saw a UFO.
“At that time in the mid-50s that's when everybody was seeing UFOs,” including pilots and people on the ground, he said. “Most of us in the service” didn't believe the stories.
Schneck's report — and the reports of pilots and crewman from both tankers — was sent to the director of the National Security Agency in Washington, D.C., on July 18, 1955.
It looked like “A big white spot that's way off in the distance,” he said, describing the UFO. “It moved very fast, back and forth. It's something you've never seen before it would zoom across the horizon.”
After returning to Ernest Harmon Air Force Base, “they sent a special crew to interrogate us,” Schneck said.
According to the official report by the ground control radar operator, “The object was described as flying a very erratic course, making sharp changes in direction. Both aircraft reported that there were no clouds whatsoever near this altitude that might cause a reflection I asked ‘Archie 29' (pilot of second tanker) if he would attempt to close on the sighted object, using caution, for a better report.”
The pilot changed course and headed toward the target, about 40 miles away. After the pilot closed within about 18 miles of the object, the pilot reported the object moved northward and began climbing. The pilot said he was no longer closing in on the object.
The speed of the UFO was estimated to be about 1,500 mph.
Ground control “scrambled” a fighter to chase down the object, but the aircraft's radar was inoperative.
“Shortly thereafter, a momentary contact with the object was made on our height-finder,” the ground control radar operator said in the report. “Altitude was 35,000 feet. ‘Archie 29' reported that object was getting much higher and fading from view.”
UFO Investigator Returns to Capri for Another Look
Published: July 22, 2010
Ann Hall • special to marcoislandflorida.com •
More say they saw strange lights in sky
An investigator from the Mutual UFO Network returned to the Isles of Capri to check out the latest sightings of unusual light in the skies off Capri.
Residents have become more aware and are looking toward the sky since the UFO town hall meeting conducted in May by Morgan Beall, the MUFON state section director.
Others in the area have also been reporting additional sightings. Beall has completed the DVD he promised to the community. It consists of three parts.
One is a recording of the town hall meeting and includes the reports of some of the eyewitnesses from Capri, Marco Island and Naples.
The second part is the account by another witness from the east coast of Florida.
The last, and certainly one of the most interesting parts, is video footage of the large barren circles of land amid the deep mangrove forests bordering the Isles of Capri.
A witness took Beall to see the areas that have puzzled him for years. He is a fishing guide, and was drawn into his own investigation after he saw bright lights coming from within the mangroves.
There are large areas in which no vegetation grows or critters such as fiddler crabs inhabit. The sand is pristine white as if burned to a glass-like quality. The witness described his experience as "mind-boggling" and "unreal."
Beall returned to Capri this weekend to continue his investigation. Beall is hoping that with the new sightings, more details will help lead him to answers as to what the people are seeing.
If not, they will continue to be called UFOs. Others are reporting the unusual sights.
"If it hadn't been for the influx of mosquitoes, we would have watched the strange ball of colored lights until it disappeared," said Chris and Kelly Hall, who were on vacation here on the Isles of Capri during the week of July Fourth.
When returning from a late dinner at a Capri restaurant, the couple was mesmerized by the strange phenomenon they were seeing hovering about a thousand feet over the houses on the end of their street.
Grabbing cameras and binoculars, they began to "ooh" and "aah" as they gazed at the unidentifiable object. Not knowing what they were seeing, they admitted to feeling a bit uneasy and at the same time saying the view was awesome.
Kelly Hall was the first to admit that she had never believed in UFOs, but after this experience, she has reconsidered. In fact, she was anxious to see if it returned, which it did on the next two consecutive nights.
"I am truly a believer now, because there is no way that thing could have been a star, a planet, or an airplane!" she exclaimed.
"You are not taking pictures of the stars for sure," Darlene Meadows said as she and her son drove past the Halls, who were videotaping the phenomenon the night of July 8. "I have been seeing these strange objects off and on here for years," Meadows said. "They disappeared for a while, but now they seem to be back."
At one point during their photographing of the light, it disappeared and both of their cameras appeared to lose power simultaneously.
Researchers Propose New Approach to Find Alien Life
Published: 2010-07-21 18:20:00
For almost half a decade, the SETI project has unsuccessfully searched for alien life. However, SETI may be looking for the wrong kind of signals from extraterrestrials, believe two researchers.
University of California, Irvine astrophysicist Gregory Benford and his twin, James - a fellow physicist specializing in high-powered microwave technology - believe there is a better approach to locating aliens.
In two studies appearing in the June issue of the journal Astrobiology, the Benford brothers, along with James's son Dominic, a NASA scientist, examine the perspective of a civilization sending signals into space - or, as Gregory Benford puts it, "the point of view of the guys paying the bill."
The physics professor says: "Our grandfather used to say, 'Talk is cheap, but whiskey costs money'. Whatever the life form, evolution selects for economy of resources. Broadcasting is expensive, and transmitting signals across light-years would require considerable resources."
Assuming that an alien civilization would strive to optimise costs, limit waste and make its signalling technology more efficient, the Benfords propose that these signals would not be continuously blasted out in all directions but rather would be pulsed, narrowly directed and broadband in the 1-to-10-gigahertz range.
"This approach is more like Twitter and less like War and Peace," says James Benford, founder and president of Microwave Sciences Inc. in Lafayette, Calif.
Their concept of short, targeted blips - dubbed "Benford beacons" by the science press - has gotten extensive coverage in such publications as Astronomy Now. Well-known cosmologist Paul Davies, in his 2010 book The Eerie Silence: Renewing Our Search for Alien Intelligence, supports the theory.
This means that SETI, which focuses its receivers on narrow-band input, may be looking for the wrong kind of signals. The Benfords and a growing number of scientists involved in the hunt for extraterrestrial life advocate adjusting SETI receivers to maximize their ability to detect direct, broadband beacon blasts.
But the question remains: where do we look? The Benfords' frugal-alien model points to our own Milky Way galaxy, especially the centre, where 90 percent of its stars are clustered.
Gregory Benford says: "The stars there are a billion years older than our sun, which suggests a greater possibility of contact with an advanced civilization than does pointing SETI receivers outward to the newer and less crowded edge of our galaxy.
"Will searching for distant messages work? Is there intelligent life out there? The SETI effort is worth continuing, but our common-sense beacons approach seems more likely to answer those questions." (ANI)
Chinese Airport UFO Incident NOT Alien Flying Saucer says UFO Team
Published: 9:25 PM 7/26/2010
written by Bill Chalker
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
As a long time watcher and researcher of the Chinese UFO scene I was rather surprised by the extent of the worldwide coverage given to the July 7 2010 Hangzhou Xiaoshan airport "UFO" shutdown incident. So much inaccurate reporting and speculation on this story has spawned spurious links, fake photos and poorly devised "explanations."
Most of this was driven by extremely limited information. The Mr. Ma photos were widely linked to the airport UFO incident, along with dubious photos that used it as a basis for more creative photo manipulation efforts.
Missile film and photo imagery from a week earlier and from Western China were even linked.
Given such a high level of wild speculation and erroneous reporting I was pleased to learn through Chinese sources that the Beijing UFO Research Organisation and the Shanghai UFO Research group undertook an on site joint investigation on July 14 and 15. I followed the progress of these enquiries through Chinese connections and Chinese web sites.
Western sites largely circulated unreliable and mangled stories and seemed to loose sight of the fact that the details emerging on the airport incident were limited and initially contradictory. The key to sorting the confusion out would be official departments being cooperative and transparent and they were not being very revealing.
The Beijing group investigation led by their long time secretary-general Zhou Xiaoqing came to Hangzhou armed with letters of introduction from the Beijing Science and Technology Association (the UFO group being a member). During the two day jiont investigation the UFO researchers visited Hangzhou Xiaoshan airport, the Civil Aviation Authority of Zheijiang, East China Air Traffic Control, East China Civil Aviation Authority, and other relevant departments.
On July 24 Zhou Xiaoqiang release the preliminary conclusions of their enquiries. They have concluded there was no evidence that the incident was caused by an alien UFO or flying saucer. Direct discussions with relevant departments secured only limited information with official departments being found largely circumspect.
It was clear from their investigations that the Xiaoshan airport officials were not the direct source of the alleged UFO photographs, videos, news reports and other material. The initial information implied no visual sightings and only instrumented detection. Later reports then implied the exact opposite.
The investigation appears to have confirmed there was no confirmation on radar of the UFO reports, that there were "blind spots" in the airport radar observations, and therefore private, military aircraft and other activities could not be ruled out as the source of the events that lead to the airport shutdown.
The investigation confirmed that only limited information was available. The joint investigation team concluded that the widely circulated Mr Ma Shi-jun photos were not of a UFO and that they were of an aircraft, and were not related to the events connected with the airport shutdown.
The joint Beijing and Shanghai UFO group investigations appear to be good examples of cautious direct investigation. It remains to be seen whether further investigation will led to any further clarification on the source of the "UFO" events which shut down the airport. Zhou Xiaoqiang was at this stage only releasing preliminary conclusions.
Chinese web sources (Northnews.cn) on July 17 carried transcripts of a radio interview with Zhou Xiaoqiang indicating that the details of the incident were contradictory, that some pilots did see something that precipitated the airport shutdown. He largely stated what has subsequently emerged in the July 24 preliminary findings release.
He confirmed the Ma photo was a plane not a UFO. While he referred to the cause of the airport shutdown as being a UFO he said it was not an "alien spaceship" or "flying saucer." He expanded more generally saying there was a real UFO phenomenon deserving serious scientific investigation.
Mother and Son See Triangle UFO over Columbia, Missouri
Published: 1:26 AM 7/22/2010
Boone County, Friday Night, May 2, 2008 - Time was about ten o'clock, maybe quarter after ten.
Sighting took place as my 13-year-old son and myself were driving home, south of Columbia, Mo
from Jefferson City, Mo.
Coming westbound on the new Grindstone Parkway, I noticed something in the sky, a group of lights. It surprised me because it didn't look like they were moving, as an aircraft would be.
Driving at 55 mph, I was right on top of it in no time.
I kept asking my son, Tucker, "Do You see that, it isn't moving, it isn't moving?"
Closer, we could clearly see three lights in a row on this object. My son was trying to get his camera out to shoot it, while I was trying to find a place on the shoulder to pull over.
By this time we were maybe 1,000 feet from the object. There was a lot of traffic at the time, so couldn't get
So I rolled down my window figuring anything that large would make noise... I couldn't hear a thing. Just then, it became obvious that it was not only big, but triangular.
We passed it, then we realized we were right in front of the huge Wal-Mart, so dozens of people must have noticed it. I was tracking it in my rear view window as I turned south at the next light to circle back, maybe get a photo.
In the less than a minute it took to get back "behind" it, it was gone. Sky was pretty clear, 62 degrees, incredibly windy. Did not notice any other aircraft, or helicopters.
On the 20th January 1988, whilst driving on the Eyre Highway, Nullarbor, Australia, Faye Knowles, her 3 sons, and the family dog, were traveling towards South Australia to visit some relatives.
As they were driving along, they suddenly saw a strange light ahead of them. It was pale yellow and seemed to be zigzagging around. The object then shot straight towards the Knowles family and hovered right in front of the car.
They described the object as looking like an egg in an egg cup.
After swerving and zigzagging themselves to try and get clear of the object, they suddenly realized that the object was now hovering directly above their car.
The Knowles family could hear a high-pitched humming sound as the car was being tossed from side to side by apparently very strong winds.
During this time they also noticed a terrible smell of electrical burning, and the car was filling up with a strange grey mist.
All of a sudden they realized that the car was no longer touching the surface of the road. It seemed to be hovering a few meters up.
After a short while the car crashed back down to earth and crashed off the edge of the highway. Inside the car there was a fine sprinkling of powder, and the strange electrical burning smell.
They reported the incident to both police and UFO investigators, who took samples of the grey powder. The powder contained chemicals very similar to those that NASA uses to coat the surface of the space shuttle.
One theory put forward was that they had been engulfed in a fierce and very unusual form of electrically charged tornado.