Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Human Element

We live in a world of uncertainty.  Trouble brewing in the Middle East, yet again.  The Ebola virus making its presence known in this country...the United States...while ravaging parts of western Africa.  Other health concerns from the recent migration patterns across the US southern border...perceived in some cases...real in others. Economies on the brink of collapse, or painfully on a slow mend...choose your country.   Attempting to digest the above makes the arguments concerning UFOs woefully pitiful in this context. 

As a registered nurse, I silently hold my breath with the current situation concerning the Ebola infections of two nurses, the death of one patient, and the possible exposure of hundreds of others.  Though I'm not one to raise the flag of hysteria, I silently wonder based on the current strategy of my government, ie, the CDC and other government agencies.  It's not that I distrust the protocols set in place, but I worry about the human element in this equation.  Protocols and algorithms look good on paper, in fact, most are perfect in logic.  Its the human element that throws a wrench into the gears...we as humans are fallible.

One of my neighbors is a genius concerning the financial markets.  He and I talk weekly on the current financial health of the country and California.  He's a whiz concerning the stock market utilizing analytic data bases to guide his decisions...purely abstract approach to market analysis.  He doesn't flinch much when markets drop, as they are destine to do at any given point in time.

I tend to look at the stock market in a concrete point of view, or simply as a human function regarding our confidence in our government and economy...for most of the population, the stock market is a psychological indicator that effects our emotions more than that of our investments.  This is the human element of market influx and reactions to abstract concepts such as quantitative easing or the rise and fall of GDP.  We humans are fallible and yearn for reassurance.

I remember having to piece together production and delivery schedules as a program manager back in my Air Force Systems Command days.  These schedules were derived from PERT, MBO and other gold standard policies, all perfect until said schedules were enacted, yet devoid of the human element that dooms perfection, morphing it to fragmentation and uncertainty.  The government has a hard time with the simple concept that "shit happens" and that it can strike at any time because we as humans are fallible.

The same human element was encountered when I was the Director of Nursing at an orthopedic rehab and long term care facility.  Staffing schedules were painstakingly constructed, yet doomed to failure before the ink dried.   Once again, that all too familiar lightning bolt out of the blue...the human factor...intervened with the all too predictable results.

Since this is blog represents a skeptical view towards UFO, the human element is present in most, if not all, of the cases listed.  Most UFO cases are fascinating in their own right.  They tell a story.  Most have themes and plots, not to mention a thesis statement(s) which may appear plausible or may reach into the realms of insanity.  Despite the rational or illogical premises, all have a common thread and point of origination...a singularity.  There is a human factor involved and despite our best efforts there is confusion and uncertainty for we are fallible. 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Done in by Blue Book data...Corrected data leads to new questions.

Tim Printy provided a comment questioning some of my astronomical data.  To be honest, Tom Tulien had expressed such concerns in recent comments.  Both are right...my data was incorrect.

My first problem was that I took PBB's stated elevations of Sirius, Rigel, Procyon, et al, as fact for that is where I had gotten the stated elevations.  If Printy's program is correct, then PBB data is way off the mark.

My second problem occurred when I made approximate stellar locations (azimuths) via a star map showing locations of Sirius and Rigel at various times for 24 October.  I knew that the locations were approximations and had stated so in the blog post.  But in retrospect, it was not accurate for 1968, even for approximations.

Tim Printy provided via email the following chart for Minot, ND for 24 Oct 1968.  The times listed are for local, central daylight savings time.  Tim's elevation numbers are rounded, but his information would be much more reliable than what was listed in PBB.


Object
Time
Az
El
Sirius
0200
120
3
Procyon
95
12
Rigel
134
22
Sirius
0230
126
8
Procyon
101
16
Rigel
142
26
Sirius
0300
132
12
Procyon
107
22
Rigel
149
29
Sirius
0400
145
18
Procyon
121
31
Rigel
166
33
Sirius
0500
160
23
Procyon
137
39
Rigel
184
34
Sirius
0600
176
25
Procyon
155
45
Rigel
202
31

Based on the above, the diagrams for Sirius and Rigel, as seen from N-07, would be:




The revised diagrams provides a visual that tends to support Tom Tulien's claims that Sirius would have been too low above the horizon for Isley and O'Connor to have seen it.  Further, Sirius would have been a little more than ESE of their location.

What could Isley/O'Connor have seen due east of their location (5 miles north of N-07) if not of Sirius?  Procyon was visible close to due east (azimuth of 94), elevation 12 degrees at 0200 hrs.  I have to wonder if such a star as Procyon would have attracted much of their attention, but it does change locations from east to southeast over 4 hours and stays in view for the same length of time.

With that said, Sirius and Rigel do come into play while both Jablonski/Adams and Isley/O'Connor are physically on N-07, roughly between 0300 and 0500 hrs.  This still raises questions in my mind as to how accurate were the plotted locations that each individual had annotated on their AF-117s.

A review of William Smith's AF-117 in coming soon.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Minot's Visual Observations: A Question of Possibilities

My last post led to quite a few comments from my friend, Tom Tulien.  Tom raised good questions.  As I had stated in my reply to Tom, I'm merely looking at possibilities.  I was not present at or near Minot back in 1968.  I've had no contact with the principles involved with this case.  I, like others, am left with looking at, and deciphering reports in the form of AF-117s, memo for records and other various documents that are currently available.  And much gratitude to Tom and Jim Klotz for providing subsequent interviews that both had provided on Tom's excellent site, minotb52ufo.com.

Possibilities

When looking at the key principle's AF-117s, I have to take into account three possibilities:

1.  The ground observers, primarily O'Connor/Isley, Jablonski/Adams and Bond/Williams, saw lights and/or an object in their respective flight areas.  The possibility exists that this could have been a mis-identified star...possible, but not certain.

2.  At a given point in time, the B-52 visually supplants the initial object and the observers focus solely on the B-52.  I believe that this is possible, but not certain.

3.  The object is neither a star, nor the B-52, but of an unknown origin.  A UFO, if you will. This is possible, but not definitive nor is it certain.

Are the AF-117s accurate concerning the plotted directions and elevations of the object/light?  I tend to think not.  The observation reports were completed either the next day or a few days after the incident.  Werlich, per memo for record, had told the staff of PBB that he had to show most how to annotate the directions and elevations on the AF-117s.  If this is true, then the diagrams were best guesses based on memory recall.  Each observer perceived the event in a different way.

There is another AF-117, that of the B-52's pilot, Maj James Partin, that provides possible clues to his sighting that possibly discounts a UFO on or near the ground.  In my opinion, Partin's AF-117 does not corroborate the observations from the ground teams.  I'm not talking about the radar data, but of Partin's visual observations, what he saw with his own eyes. The radar data will be discussed in a separate post. 

Is a stellar observation possible?

This is what Blue Book proposed.  Unfortunately in today's UFO research climate, the mere mentioning of Blue Book tends to be toxic, but was a stellar component possible?  In order to answer this question we have to compare the ground observers' estimated plotted positions while on site at N-07 and the potential candidates for a proposed stellar observation.



As can be seen in the above diagram.  We have a combination of initial and final observed points based on the estimated elevations above the horizon as provided by the ground teams.  Information from Blue Book list four stars as the possible observed object/light:

Regulus  10 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 20 degrees at 0400 hr.

Procyon  30 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 37 degrees at 0400 hr.

Sirius  28 degrees above  horizon at 0300 hr, and 24 degrees at 0400.

Rigel  35 degrees above horizon at 0300 hr, and 35 degrees at 0400.

Based on the estimated positions plotted by Jablonski/Adams and O'Connor/Isley, it appears to me that Procyon, Sirius, and Rigel would be good candidates to have been observed by the ground teams.  

Tom Tulien provided a comment in my last post that Sirius would have been too low above the horizon to have any observational value.  To see if this was possible, I set up my telescope in my backyard and aligned it to 28 degrees and tracked this elevation via line of sight.  It was readily obvious that Sirius could have been easily seen even taking in to account tree lines in the distant area.  I further found that at 15 degrees above the horizon the same held true.  It was only at 10 degrees and below that I found that it would have been difficult to observe, based on probable tree lines and ground elevations, but in some respects not impossible.

What was the actual conditions during the night? This depends on the perception of each observer.  O'Connor listed the conditions as partly cloudy with nimbus clouds, a few stars, no moon. Isley wrote that the night was clear, few stars, no moon light.  Jablonski wrote that it was a clear night, few stars, no moon light.  The same for Adams.  Bond, at N-01, stated the night was clear with a few stars.  William Smith, O-01, wrote that it was completely overcast, clouds, no stars, and no moon.  James Partin, the B-52 pilot, wrote that there were many stars and no moon light, but Partin was at altitude in his aircraft.

Based on the above descriptions, it appears that the ground teams in the November Flight area, particular to N-07, had a fairly non-obscured sky during the observations.  Oscar Flight, NE of November Flight, was the only exception as it appeared to had been overcast, per William Smith, yet he saw a light/object SSW, 15 degrees above the horizon.


The above diagram shows the plotted "compass" points of the teams initial (A) and last (B) observations.  I've listed the approximately locations of Sirius and Rigel at important times during the early morning hours of 24 October 1968.

What is of interest is that at the time listed on O'Connor's AF-117, Sirius is almost directly due east.  Sirius' position changes through the next few hours, East, ESE, SE, SSE, and finally at 0500 hr, approximately due south. Rigel's position changes from SE,SSE and finally SSW at 0500 hr. Sirius tracks well with the descriptions given by Isley and O'Connor and the initial observation plotted by Jablonski/Adams.  Jablonski's last observed point B shows WSW, but Rigel's location of SSW is in the general vicinity.  Is it possible that Rigel was the object last seen by Jablonski?

James Partin's View from the B-52

James Partin was the pilot of the B-52 that over-flew the November flight area.  His aircraft was 10 miles northeast of Minot AFB at an altitude of 3200 ft MSL per his AF-117.  He saw a bright orange ball of light at his one o'clock.  It appeared to be 15 miles away either on the ground or slightly above the ground.  The light remained stationary as he flew towards it. During his 5 minute visual observation, the object never moved, even when he was directly above it. To Partin, "It looked like a miniature sun placed on the ground below the aircraft.

Nowhere in Partin's AF-117 does he describe a light/object moving about the flight area, as compared to the descriptions provided by the ground observers. Partin only saw a bright object or source of light on or near the ground...and it was stationary...not moving.

What was the bright light that Partin observed?  Project Blue Book offered the possibility of ball lightning or the star Vega.  Both of these options are very poor choices as Vega was barely above the horizon in the north, if at all, and ball lightning being a very rare event and hardly a stationary phenomena.

If we rule out Vega and ball lightning, then what is the source?  The answer may well be annotated by the ground observers AF-117s and the flight path of the B-52.

The PBB staff and LtCol Werlich either missed or glossed over a key passage in Jablonski's AF-117, in particular, section 11 e, Major Source of Illumination."  Jablonski had wrote in section 11 e, "Head lights and site lights".  While on N-07, the site's top-side lights were on and the team's vehicle head lights were on.

I asked two former missile maintenance officers about the arrangement of the site lights on a launch facility.  Both stated that there were 2 light posts with 3 lights mounted on each pole.  When asked how bright these lights were, one stated that all were very bright, lighting up the entire area of the launch facility.  I assume that all six lights were positioned in different angles on their respective poles to provide the illumination coverage.

If we look at the flight path of the B-52,  N-07 would have been in the direction of Partin's one o'clock.  The flight path takes the aircraft near N-07. I believe that what Partin had described as a stationary source of bright light was actually N-07 with it's site lights activated.  In his AF-117, Partin draws what he believes to have seen either on the ground or hovering above the ground.

Tom Tulien site, shows several map overlays of the aircraft's flight path viewed here.


Taken from Tom Tulien's minotb52ufo.com

The above is the diagram drawn by Maj. Partin in his AF-117.



The above is an overlay of what Maj. Partin saw and transposed over N-07.  The site lights would have brightly lit the entire topside of the LF and a portion of the outside perimeter. The graveled topside and concrete components could have been seen as a bright reflection being observed by Partin.  In an interview with Tulien/Klotz, Jablonski gave the impression that he and Adams had parked their vehicle on the access road.

I cannot say the above is exactly what Partin saw, but I believe that it is possible...plausible. It is "possible" that the ground observers saw a star, or a series of stars that appeared to move slowly over time.  It is "possible" that at a given point in time, the overflying B-52 takes over and is now the focus of the ground observers as the UFO.  Add in the light pollution by the bright site lights from N-07, it is "possible" that the ground observers lost frequent eye contact with the initial object (star?).  It is "possible" that Maj. Partin was actually observing a "stationary" brightly lit N-07.

If the above is true....where is the UFO?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Minot AFB 1968 UFO Incident: The November Flight Security Response Team, Part 4

The last Minot posting looked at the observation given by the November Flight Security Controller, SSgt James Bond.  At some given time of the observations by the missile maintenance team enroute to N-07, Bond would have dispatched his security response team, A1C Joseph Jablonski and Gregory Adams.

When reviewing SSgt Bond's AF-117 and later 2005 interview by Tom Tulien, there is a matter of confusion regarding the actual physical location of the Adams and Jablonski. Bond's AF-117 gives the impression that both men were physically located on N-01, the Launch Control Facility.  Bond's interview with Tulien states that both men were off site.

If we are to go by A1C Jablonski's AF-117, he makes it clear that he and Adams are on N-01 which confoms to Bond's AF-117.  In a 2005 interview, Jablonski states that he and others (Adams, and off duty SAT) where outside looking at the lights.  Based on this information, it can be assumed that both Adams and Jablonski were physically on N-01 prior to being dispatched to N-07.

Adam's AF-117

I've chosen not to delve into Adams AF-117 content due to it being almost identical to that of Joseph Jablonski's observation.  My initial comparison of the two led me to believe that Adams merely copied Jablonski's AF-117.  Tom Tulien and I have discussed this in the past and I believe there is agreement that this was more than likely probable.  Adams' AF-117 can be viewed here

Jablonski's AF-117

His AF-117 annotates that he first saw the object at 0308 and his visual observation ended at 0518.  Per a diagram which he drew the object/light was first observed some 9 miles S/E of N-01 [N-07 would have been seen somewhat in the S/E, 10 miles away from N-01].  A second diagram shows the object/light 2-3 miles S/E when he and Adams either arrived at, or where on site at N-07.

Per Jablonski, the first observation showed the object/light to be 30 degrees above the horizon in a SSE direction.  His last observation showed the object/light to have descended 15 degrees above the horizon in a WSW direction [assuming this vantage point from N-07?].

Jablonski, dispatched to N-07, is the passenger in the vehicle moving at 30 mph.  He and Adams apparently stopped along the way and object/light not affected by the actually movement of the vehicle. [This assumes that Adams is driving and both agree to make a quick stop for visual observations]

Annotated is the fact that he is aware that a B-52 has been diverted to the general area. The aircraft is first seen and heard approximately 35 minutes after the first sighting of the object. [approximately 0343?].  The object stayed basically to the SE, while the B-52 was in the direction of S/W.

Duration of the sighting lasted approximately 2 hours off and on.  Jablonski based this time line on the length of time while out on dispatch.  The object appeared as orange-red, seemingly switching to almost completely white with some green also seen.  This pattern was not always the same.

The object first appeared to hover then move slowly.  It would speed up alternating in color. The light would vanish but return some 5 minutes later.

When first dispatched to N-07, another object exactly the same appeared out of the east and had picked up speed in a path moving towards the other.  Jablonski never saw the tow objects join or meet as the second object disappeared and no longer could be seen. [the B-52?]

The night was clear with a few stars visible.  There was no moon light.  Major sources of illumination was the vehicle head lights and the site lights on N-07.  The object was self luminous with glowing orange-red, white and green which alternated at times.  The object appeared solid although not very wide and slender is shape.  The edges were fuzzy.  The lights were much too bright to determine an exact shape.  This object appeared much too bright to be a star.

What drew Jablonski's attention to the object/light was other people had brought it to his attention.  Although he had not seen it immediately, others gave a good estimate of location. It reappeared 3 or 4 minutes later and was quite bright and gradually weakened.

Prior to returning to N-01, it caught our attention again.  This time WSW in location.  It appeared as before starting bright orange-red to white and finally to green.  The object was stationary at times appearing 1000 feet above ground.  Green light started to diminish slowly till no longer seen.

Just prior to his sighting, the diverted B-52 in the WSW, the object had descended gradually and for 1 to 2 minutes had appeared to be obstructed by trees.  [The B-52 is seen WSW. Jablonski is the first witness to describe that something on the ground blocked the view of the object:  trees.]

The object appeared to be solid matter.  The illumination rendered no logical shape to be determined.  It appeared quiet slim and not very wide. [Description of B-52?]  Object appeared to move more the westerly direction until the last and final illuminations at 0510. Lasting until approximately 0518 when it could no longer be seen.  Estimated speed of the object was 70 knots with a distance of 3-5 miles.  The object made no noise and left no physical trace.

As to the alternating illumination, particularly the white, it appeared as two or three automobile headlights.  When the B-52 had flown its search, it had been using its landing lights which were quite similar in nature.  As to avoid confusion between the plane and the object, Base Ops had pointed out where and when we saw the B-52.  Must add that the B-52's engines could be easily heard while the UFO made  no sounds to be heard at the same distance.

The object had various maneuvers which occurred basically in one general area.  It stayed pretty well SSE of the launch facility, but had several times started northwards and westwards always returning to its previous SSE position.  For some reason it appeared to be traveling (trying to), but never did see it take the direct path. 

When the B-52 flew in the vicinity (SSE) it was no longer seen in that location. [Assuming he meant the object]  When he started leaving back to N-01, B-52 already left the area.  Object approximately west.  Object remained until it finally disappeared about 15 minutes later. 

Jablonski lists on AF-117 that A1C Adams, SSgt Bond, A1C O'Connor where with him. [Bond while at the LCF]

Report made to SSgt Bond on 24 Oct 1968.  AF-117 completed 25 Oct 1968 

End of AF-117 content.

Notes of interest

1.  Sighting duration lasted about 2 hours, 0308-0518.

2.  Object seen from the LCF and LF in a S/E direction.

3.  May have been seen SSE, then last seen WSW.  Isley's AF-117 states that object seen due East then S/E.  Isley states that object last seen from N-07 SE of site.  Why the difference, as both Jablonski and Isley were on N-07 together and would have been observing the same object(s)?  Different object versus that of confusing the B-52 as the object?  The object stayed in the S/E while the B-52 was primarily in the S/W.

4.  Object changed colors, orange-red, white then green.  Jablonski could not discern any shape.

5.  Object appeared to stop/hover.

6.  Jablonski says the night is clear.  What happened to the hazy conditions as previously reported?

7.  N-07 had its site lights on with head lights from vehicle.  Did these sources of light pollution hamper the observation of the object in question?

8.  Object disappeared in WSW location.  Noted to be the same general area as that of the B-52.

9.  When comparing AF-117s of those who where on or near N-07, there is apparent confusion of the object versus that of the B-52.  Jablonski's AF-117 does not match up with the maintenance team's observation, yet all were eventually on N-07 observing something in the sky.

10.  Jablonski's entry in section 15 appears to describe the profile of the B-52 with its landing lights illuminated.  The B-52 made noise, as well it would, but no noise came from the object/light.  Is it reasonable to infer a stellar source or something else?

Jablonski's AF-117 provides good details of what he saw that night.  Granted, its different from O'Connor and Isley's observation in many ways.  It's unfortunate that A1C Adams did not render an independent description of his own observation as this could have provided other details that either corroborated or differed based on his perception of the event.

Its interesting that there is some disagreements with the direction of the observations.  I'm not overly concerned whether someone observed something S/E of their location while another saw the same phenomena SSE.  Both directions tend to be basically the same to the casual observer, plus I'm sure that Jablonski/Adams and O'Connor/Isley did not have a compass on hand obtaining precise coordinates.  

The same could be said of the elevations listed above the horizon.  These figures were more than likely established through best estimation and/or using a possible landmark as a frame of reference.  Not to mention that these figures were derived some days after the incident relying then on memory recall.  In a memo for record, LtCol Werlich provides some details as explaining to the ground observers how to estimate elevation and direction.

What did strike me was that four individuals differed as to the final location of the sighted object.  Jablonski/Adams state the object is last seen WSW of N-07, while O'Connor/Isley saw the object last S/E.  The two directions are significantly different and to add to the mix that the B-52 was either S/W or WSW of N-07 leads to the possibility that the aircraft may have visually supplanted the initial observed object.

After another review of Jablonski's and Isley's AF-117s and plotting the initial and last observations on a map the observations may actually be fairly similar respective to both observers.  It becomes readily apparent that both are describing an initial observed object (East or S/E of N-07) and then go on to describe an object flying south of N-07 in a westerly direction.  The only difference is the final observation point listed by both individuals.

Comparing Lloyd Isley's and Joeseph Jablonski's Sightings.




Above is the estimated point of initial observation of the object/light that O'Connor and Isley observed approximately midway between N-01 and N-07 (5 miles).  The object/light was seen due east of their location apparently moving south at slow speed.




Above is the initial observation by Jablonski and others while on the LCF, N-01.  Object/light observed to be SE of the LCF.





The above is the initial observation (A) SE, and last observation (B) WSW of Jablonski and Adams while both on N-07.




The above is a overlay of both initial and last observations by O'Connor/Isley and Jablonski/Adams.  Note that I've included the due east initial observation that O'Connor/Isley stated in their AF-117, but the reader should know that this initial observation point was actually 5 miles north of N-07.

Yellow:  Joseph Jablonski's observational area.  A= first sighting, B= last sighting.
Red:  Lloyd Isley's observational area.  A= first sighting, B= last sighting.
Red Oval:  Isley's description of object in a circular orbit south of N-07.  Actual area size is questionable (could be larger) based on Isley's diagram on his AF-117.

Lloyd Isley states in his AF-117 that object first sighted due east while he and O'Connor where enroute to N-07.  While on N-07, he describes the object south of the launch facility in a circular pattern which I dubbed a "racetrack" or orbit.  Isley is very much aware that a B-52 is in the area.  It is possible that Isley is describing the flight of the B-52 which may have visually supplanted the object which he first observed.  Notice that the potential flight path of the object closely corresponds to the flight path of the aircraft which accomplished two passes near the launch facility, moving  SE towards the West then returning to the SE. Could this possibly have been the aircraft returning back to base?

From lloyd Isley's AF-117:

"We first saw the object to the east of us while we were traveling toward the site.  It started moving south.  We arrived at the site and then started observing the object from outside the truck.  It was moving in a large circular area to the south."

"The object had lights on the front like head lights or landing lights.  It had green flashing light toward the middle or rear.  I could not tell any shape or size."

"It came within hearing distance twice.  The sound was that of jet engines.  It was in this same area for two or three hours."

"When we last saw it, the object was in the SE and went low and out of sight."

Jablonski initially saw the object 2-3 miles SE or SSE of N-07.  He last observed the object WSW of N-07.

"The object had various maneuvers which occurred basically in one general area.  It stayed pretty well SSE of the launch facility, but had several times started northwards and westwards, always returning to its previous SSE position.  For some reason it appeared to be traveling but never did see it take the direct path."

"When the B-52 flew in the vacinity (SSE) it was no longer seen in that location."

What was being observed?

When taking into account the above information, we are left with three options:

1.  Stellar component which was proposed by Project Blue Book, yet later to be discarded by  Jablonski, Isley and O'Connor.  Sirius was prominent in the East and Rigel in the SE at 1 AM.  By 0300, Sirius would have been seen in the S/E and Rigel approximately due South. By 0500, Sirius would have been seen in the SSE and Rigel in the SSW. Both teams differ as to the elevation above the horizon for their respective reports. 

2.  The possibility that the first observed object eventually is visually merged with the presence of the B-52 which would account for the SE to W movement of the object. This could easily explain the observations that the initial object split into two separate objects seen south of N-07. 

3.  The object/light was neither a misidentified star nor the B-52.  This would correspond to what was perceived by all of the ground observers.  All readily acknowledged the presence of the B-52.  All stated that they would be able to discern a bright light to that of a star.

Another question arises from the combined observations.  All described the speed of the object/light as being slow or moving at 70 knots.  Later on in this blog series the B-52's radar would show that the UFO was maneuvering at a speed exceeding 3000 mph.  How does this conform to the ground personnel that did not describe an object moving at such high speeds?




Friday, September 12, 2014

Next Minot Installment

Just to let those interested in the 1968 Minot story know that I've soon to complete the next installment, or part 4.  This segment covers Joseph Jablonski's observations.

Then A1C Josep Jablonski was the SAT team leader that was dispatched to N-07 following the missile maintenance team's report.  Covered is his AF-117 contents.

I've also included a portion of the post comparing his observations with that of Lloyd Isley. At first glance, there appears to be a disconnect when comparing both individuals observation.  After plotting observational data on a map, I've determined that both may be describing the same observations...in their own way based on visual perception. 

Despite this, there remains some disconnects with comparison.  Jablonski actually clears up some questions that may not be of interest to the casual reader, but satisfy a professional curiosity that I had.

I'm cleaning up the post and should have it posted within a few days. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Repeat Performance of Big Sur: 20 Years Later?

Peace Keeper ICBM RVs impacting near Kwajalein

Tim Printy's write up of the 1964 Big Sur UFO story jogged my memory of another story propagated by Robert Hastings regarding a 1984 test launch out of Vandenberg AFB involving a Minuteman III ICBM.  In this story, UFOs evidently snatched up two out of three RVs dropping in on Kwagalein Atoll.   Like the Big Sur incident, the culprit is supposedly caught on film.  But did it really happen the way Hastings imagined it?

Excerpts from Robert Hastings' "UFOs Are Stalking and Intercepting Dummy Nuclear Warheads During Test Flights":


The incident in question was obviously the same one that Mills had briefly mentioned to me in 2006, before moving on to other topics. Now, when I asked for details, he responded, "A small white object was [recorded] as it maneuvered near the MIRVs. I saw the filmage, very classified, following the launch [when] contractors showed it to me."
Startled by this answer, and understanding its significance and relevance to the Big Sur case, I then asked Mills if I could call him and discuss the incident. Excerpts from our tape-recorded conversation follow here, which I've interspersed with comments from his emails on the topic, so as to create a more complete narrative...

John W. Mills, retired missile maintenance technician, provided Hastings with his description of the event that occurred circa 1984 involving a Follow On Test and Evaluation (FOTE) launch of a Minuteman III ICBM out of Vandenburg:

[The MIRVs] were going from lower right to upper left on the screen and they were still attached to the RV platform. It looked like a single blob of light. It was [well] downrange and not like looking at a high-def image. It was like looking at a TV picture, and this was in the '80s so the platform was even less [resolved]. But this thing—we thought it might be lint on the camera lens was whipping around the RV platform; something moving around it. 

Then a cloud [in the foreground, well below the altitude of the ascending RV platform, obscured it]. When it emerged from the cloud the engineers [watching the film with us] said only one RV remained on the platform. We watched the platform pass behind the cloud with this little white speck near it. Three RVs went behind the cloud but only one came out. That's why the contractors were upset with us.

Later, post-apogee, when the platform released the RVs, only one shot off it. Later, when they checked the [recovered platform at Kwajalein] nothing was on it. If the other two hadn't released for some reason, they should have been there, attached to it.

Three cameras were involved [in these tests], one at Vandenberg, one up the coast at Big Sur and then the one aboard the Orion. But the Orion film takes days to arrive and the Big Sur film takes awhile too. What I saw was a 30 to 40-second segment, taken from the camera at Vandenberg.

So in a brief summary, a Minuteman III ICBM is launch from Vandenberg AFB on a flight path towards the Kwajalein test range in the Pacific.  The missile is carrying 3 test RVs.  On camera, a white object is seen moving about the RV platform.  Only one RV separates from the platform and splashes down in the Pacific.  There is no indication that the other two RVs had separated and upon recovery of the platform the 2 RVs in question are not mounted on the platform but are missing.

When asked by Hastings for his take on the incident, Mills, to his credit, lists the possibility of lint on the camera lens and/or burn off of monomethylhydrazine.  It was not until Hastings plants the 1964 Big Sur UFO story that Mills starts to see a possible UFO angle.

Since Hastings' website offers no ability to directly comment on articles, I was fortunate that Frank Warren's UFO Chronicles website carried the same article.  Frank allows comments so off I went querying about the case.  Note to reader, Frank Warren is providing Hastings' and Mills' comments.  Both never interact directly with me, but only thru Frank. 

Tim H:  Frank,

Robert has written an interesting piece. I see that he has referenced the Big Sur incident, I do recall that Kingston George had a slightly different slant to that story, but lacking any of the actual footage that was shot, were left to two opposing view points.

As far as the 1984 FOTE shot from Vandenberg involving a Minuteman III MIRV evaluation. Did Robert and Mr. Miller take into account of the Army's Homing Overlay Experiment (HOE) that was conducted on June 10, 1984? This was a classified launching of a Minuteman I with test RV from Vandenberg, coupled with another Minuteman I with intercept capability that was launched from the Kwajaleins and successfully intercepted the test RV. The launch occurred from Vandenberg's LF-06. Mr. Miller seems to be fixed on LF-26 for the MM III launches that occurred on 8 Apr and 19 Sept, 1984. LF-26 or LF-06, possible confusion? Anyway, I'm sure that Robert took the HOE tests into consideration. BTW, Robert might be interested in looking at the photos from Bob Hampton who was stationed on the Kwajalein islands about the time of the UFO intercepts that Robert and Mr. Miller refers to.

Mr. Hampton's photos clearly show the glowing cloud of the platform bus following along the path of 3 separated RVs (granted not the test shot mentioned in Robert's article).

Mr. Hampton's site: http://www.thunderstruckobservatory.com/rv.html

Thanks Frank, hope all is well with you.


Frank Warren:  Tim, 

This in from John Mills:

I worked on Homing Overlay from the Vandenburg end and no we didn't launch Minuteman I's; we used II's. They launched from LF 04 exclusively. A Minuteman I and II carry a single RV not a MIRV and homing overlay's interceptor was basically an inversed umbrella (it worked very well) and destroyed RV after RV, but was not used in MM III's. I'm not aware of any Homing Overlay launch that intercepted MIRVs and I worked all the launches from 81 through 85.



Tim H:  Mr Mills,

My apologies for misspelling your name in my first comments. I did read the documents, those that were available, and concur that HOE tests were not directed at MM III MIRVs, however, the history of Vandenberg launches do in fact show that a Minuteman I was launched from LF-06 as the HOE target on 10 June 1984. This would have been the 4th and final HOE test. Of course, the history showing the launches could have it wrong as far as the particular LF used in the launch. The documents that I reviewed does mention the use of a Minuteman I launched from VAFB and the "interceptor" launched from the Kwajaleins as a modified Minuteman I.

Since your conversation with Robert Hastings centered around two possible Glory Trip launches, both MM IIIs, and I believe that you stated either 101GB or 104GB, launched 8 Apr and 19 Sept 1984, and both from LF-26 (per VAFB launch history) were involved with a possible UFO intercept, could the cloud and or bright light that you or others observed been the platform bus?

I thought that your original assessment of monomethylhydrazine burning off was a plausible explanation.

And lastly, could it have been possible for only one RV to separate from the bus leaving the other two still attached, thus only one RV impacting?

Kind regards

Tim Hebert



Tim H:  Frank, apparently I was in error pertaining to the VAFB launch history. It appears that LF-03 was used for the last HOE target launch, not LF-06. This is annotated in the launch history for Vandenberg. BTW, this last test launch and intercept, 10 June 1984 was the only successful intercept, according to documents that I have reviewed.

Thanks,

Tim 

Tim H:   Frank,

My apologies that you found my comments "pithy", but pleased that you found them "insightful" and "courteous". Do you think that you might be able to contact Robert or Mr. Mills regarding Mr. Hampton's Kwagalein photos? Those pics (nice photos BTW) showing the platform bus (cloudy and bright) might shed some light on the UFO intercept question.

Oh, least I forget, does Mr. Mills/Hastings have an opinion concerning the possibility that only one RV separated from the platform bus leaving the other two remaining with the bus?

Kind regards,

Tim


Frank Warren:  Tim, 

This in from John:

Tim,

The LF 03 and LF 06 launches were by Space Data Corp, a division of Boeing now. Their launches were classified and I only worked them once, and not for Homing Overlay. The Minuteman I's that launched out of those sites may have been Homing Overlay, I don't know.

I worked the LF 04 and LF 21 launches for the project. I do know the first two launches failed, but the third worked. I had nothing to do with the other launches, so I would not have any information regarding their success or failure. I was aware the contractors bought everyone dinner at the O-club after the success of the 3rd launch. Normally, enlisted are prohibited from entering the club, and this was a really big deal, so the rules were bent a tad.

Regarding your question, that has always been a plausible arguement and I never said it was a UFO that buzzed around the platform. The engineers were saying it was either lint, or something on the lense or film that caused the activity. They also hypothesized that the platform bus had misfired or was leaking. Two RV's were never recovered as to my understanding. Three went up, one came down and a small (tiny) white blob moved around the platform. I know the navy searched for a long time looking for the other rv's. They have radio packages installed and will run for a long time underwater, but nothing was found.

Regarding the Peacekeeper (MX) launch, what I heard was purely hearsay and was never validated either.

John


Frank Warren:  Robert Hastings writes:

"Mills explicitly said that they were not on the platform when it was recovered from the lagoon."


Tim H:  Robert and/or Mr. Mills,

Since the platform bus is designed/programed to trail the MIRVs, after RV release, and act as a de facto penetration aid, is it possible that upon impact with the ocean that the platform bus could have dislodged any remaining RVs? Further, could the force of the impact completely destroy the bus and any remaining RVs?

Tim  


At this point in the "conversation" it abruptly ends with neither Robert Hastings or Mills answering my last question.  I'm assuming that I had exhausted their patience.  But what was important from the series of above comments is that Mills states, or gives the impression that no UFO was involved in this story...only probable lint or the ejection of propellant from the bus platform.  It appears to me that only Hastings was actually talking UFOs.  Hastings own expert witness sinks the UFO story. 

I had mentioned photos from Bob Hampton, but unfortunately his site no longer exists.  Such a shame as he had posted outstanding photos of RV impacts near Kwajalein.  However, I was able to obtain others that provide context for this blog post.




The above photo shows three RVs mounted on to the bus platform.  The bus would sit atop the missile guidance system.  The missile guidance system would contain the propellant monomethylhydrazine for the vernier jets used for programed terminal flight adjustments prior to release of the RVs.  The propellant could easily account for the white object/blob seen moving about or surrounding the RV platform as seen on camera by Mills and the associated contractors.

This photo shows the re-entry of RVs from two Minuteman III missiles over Kwajalein.  In the top right corner of the photo you will see the ejection or burn off of monomethylhydrazine associated from the two bus platforms.  The associated white cloud appearance surrounding the platforms is consistent with most photos depicting RV releases over Kwajalein.

A similar photo can be seen here.  The photo at the top of this blog article shows a similar pattern with a Peace Keeper ICBM RVs incoming near Kwajalein.

What about Hastings and Mills two missing RVs?  Is it not plausible that the two RVs failed via mechanical failure to separate from the bus?  If we take into consideration that the bus and remaining RVs continue on a trajectory into the Pacific traveling even at subsonic speeds due to the combined weight of the platform and RVs.  Then it is feasible to infer that the shear impact could have dislodged the RVs from the platform...f=ma.

So there you have it.  Interesting tale of an anomaly involving a probable mechanical failure, lint on a camera lens and white clouds of propellant...but dare I say...no UFOs.