ACUFO index -> Home 

Cette page en françaisCliquez!


ACUFO is my comprehensive catalog of cases of encounters between aircraft and UFOs, whether they are "explained" or "unexplained".

The ACUFO catalog is made of case files with a case number, summary, quantitative information (date, location, number of witnesses...), classifications, all sources mentioning the case with their references, a discussion of the case in order to evaluate its causes, and a history of the changes made to the file.

Previous case Next case >

Yakima, Washington, USA, in March 1944:

Case number:



In his 1994 book "Project Delta - A Study of Multiple UFO", US ufologist Richard F. Haines reportedly indicated that in Yakima, Washington, USA, a pilot in flight observed seven pebble-shaped objects, 10 feet in diameter, flying in a "V" formation.

I found that the primary source was the UFO magazine Saga UFO Report for June 1977. Their author Rufus Drake recounted in lively manner that in March 1944, while flying without a PT-19 training plane along the Columbia River "near Yakima", Washington State, USA, Air Cadet James E. Emery, 20, "now a retired colonel", had "suddenly" looked back and seen that he was followed by seven fast-moving "pebble-shaped" UFOs, "very bright lights", no more than 3 meters in diameter. They were in a "V" formation and crossed the Columbia River to its right.

He was quoted as saying:

"Curiosity seized me and I turned to give chase. At this point, their speed increased rapidly..."

Emery reportedly came within 300 meters of the objects before they began to move away from him and then quickly "disappeared."

The article also told that he had just finished a training course on the illusions that can fool a fighter pilot's eyes: sundogs, reflections of light on a Plexiglas cockpit, clouds with shapes strange, etc. His sudden turn had allowed him to observe the retreating UFOs from several angles, convincing him that it was not an optical illusion. He was certain that they were metallic objects, moving with deliberate intent.

It is said that at the time he thought they might be secret weapons, but he no longer thought so, becoming convinced that they were "unmanned drones, launched from a mothership somewhere near Earth", extraterrestrial, spying on the Hanford atomic plant - the article insists on a connection between UFOs and this nuclear installation.


Temporal data:

Date: March 1944
Time: ?
Duration: ?
First known report date: 1977
Reporting delay: 3 dedaces.

Geographical data:

Country: USA
State/Department: Washington
City: Yakima

Witnesses data:

Number of alleged witnesses: 1
Number of known witnesses: 1
Number of named witnesses: 1

Ufology data:

Reporting channel: Rufus Drake in SAGA UFO Report magazine.
Visibility conditions: ?
UFO observed: Yes.
UFO arrival observed: No.?
UFO departure observed: Yes.
UFO action: Follow in V formation, escape.
Witnesses action: Turns plane to UFOs.
Photographs: No.
Sketch(s) by witness(es): No.
Sketch(es) approved by witness(es): No.
Witness(es) feelings: Puzzled.
Witnesses interpretation: Secret planes, later extraterrestrial spacecraft.


Sensors: [X] Visual: 1
[N/A] Airborne radar:
[ ] Directional ground radar:
[ ] Height finder ground radar:
[ ] Photo:
[ ] Film/video:
[ ] EM Effects:
[ ] Failures:
[ ] Damages:
Hynek: ?
Armed / unarmed: Unarmed.
Reliability 1-3: 1
Strangeness 1-3: 3
ACUFO: Probable invention by UFO magazine.


[Ref. sur1:] "SAGA UFO REPORT":


Saucers Over Hanford, Wash.


By Rufus Drake

When asked about saucers spying on one of our nuclear research installations, a top level government official answered: "We have a policy that discourages public comment on anything that happens here at Hanford facility - and that's double true when you talk about UFOs...

Hanford, Wash. In March 1944, while flying along the Columbia River near Yakima, Wash., military air cadet James E. Emery spotted something bizarre and unexplainable. Emery, only 20-years-old, didn't think much of it at the time, because there were two monumental events happening in the world that he knew absolutely nothing about. In later years, however, Emery would be haunted by the tought that he was the first human being to witness the convergence of these two events - the unleashing of the atom, and the coming of the flying saucers.

"I sure as hell didn't know, at the time, that I was flying near the top secret Hanford Works, which was processing the plutonium for the A-bomb we wouold drop on Nagasaki the following year. Nor did I know that both allied and enemy fliers were beginning to spot weird, unidentified flying objects called 'foo fighters' near industrial areas over Nazi Germany and Japan.

Least of all did occur to me that atomic


energy and UFO's might somehow be connected..."

Now a retired colonel in his early 50's, Jim Emery grins and shrugs, recalling what may have been the first true UFO encounter in the continental U.S.

"I was just a punk kid then, earning my wings and out on a cross-country hoo in a PT-19 primar trainer. You know the plane, a little terror of spars and canvas wrapped around a powerful 450-horse power engine. I was soaring along at about 5,000 feet, enjoying myself, thinking about how I'd soon be flying fighter planes in combat. Suddenly, I looked back and realized that I was being stalked by a half dozen fast moving, very bright lights..."

The UFOs were "pebble-shaped," Emery remembered, and "relatively small, no more than 10 feet in diameter." He counted seven of them, in a wedge-shaped, "V" formation, crossing the Columbia River to his right.

"Curiosity seized me and I turned to give chase. At this point, their speed increased rapidly...

Jim Emery got to within 1,000 feet of the disc-shaped objects before they started to pull away from him. He'd just finished a training course about tricks that can deceive a fighter pilot's eyes" - sun dogs," reflections of light against a plexiglass canopy, odd-shaped clouds, and so forth. His sudden turn permitted him to view the receding UFOs from several angles, convincing him that this was no optical illusion. He was certain they were metallic objects, moving with a deliberate purpose.

"At the time, I thought they might be secret weapons. No longer. Over the years, I've become convinced that these were pilotless drones, launched from a mother ship somewhere near earth, that represented some alien civilization.

"And, of course, they were spying on Hanford..."

Emery's UFOs vanished quickly, leaving him alone in his canvas and bailing-wire trainer-but the UFOs interest in the top secret nuclear facility at Hanford, Wash., is something that won't disappear.

William H. Turner, Jr., a local resident, reflects the view of many Hanford natives when he insists, "The UFOs keep coming back. They're drawn to us. We have a special attraction for them."

Reporters have never been allowed inside the Hanford Works, named after a small town that no longer exists, 17 miles from Yakima. But the plutonium processing site is as old as the atomic age itself.

Within a month of man's first controlled nuclear chain reaction on Dec. 2, . 1942, Maj. Gen. Leslie Groves, head of the wartime "Manhattan Project," ordered the opening of a new, top secret facility to permit a dual approach to the crash program in developing this country's first atomic bomb. Work was already underway on a bomb to be detonated with uranium, U-235, destined to be used on Hiroshima. Groves also wanted a bomb that could be exploded with plutonium - the "fat boy" which would ultimately devastate Nagasaki.


1944, March

USA, Hanford

The young pilot Jim Emeri aboard his PT19 noticed that the plane was being pursued by lights in a V formation. Curious, he let them get closer to 300 meters to see that the lights seemed to be small discs approximately 3 meters in diameter. He counted seven. This information is probably due to the pen of Rufus Drake, a former officer, having suggested that this was not the first time that objects had been seen in the sky of Hanford.

These cases were handled with discretion, because the authorities assumed they were dealing with spy devices. (Rufus Drake: "Geheime USNuclear-Anlagen von UFOs überwacht; Untertassen über Hanford/Washington", erschien in 'UFO-Report', Spring, USA, S. 38-41, 60-62. – "Geheime Wunderwaffen II" erscheint als Band 2 of the Reihe "Obskure Sachbücher" in der Edition Gonzo – Sommer 198 - Haarman) USA, Yakima: A pilot saw 7 shiny pebble-shaped objects flying in V formation; (PROJECT ACUFOE, Catalog 1999, Dominique Weinstein)

[Ref. lhh1:] LARRY HATCH:

493: 1944/03/00 00:00 1 120:31:00 W 46:36:00 N 3311 NAM USA WSH 6:7
Ref#114 HAINES,Richard: PROJECT DELTA Page No. 178: IN-FLIGHT


Case 35

March, 1944

Yakima, Washington, USA

A pilot in flight observed seven pebble-shaped (10 ft diameter) objects flying in V formation.

Source: Project Delta, Richard F. Haines p 178

Aircraft information:

The Fairchild PT-19 was an American monoplane main trainer, introduced into service in 1940, which actually served with the United States Army Air Forces in 1944. By 1945, more than 8,130 examples of the aircraft had been produced.




The sighting is located in Yakima, which naturally brings to mind the 1947 sighting by Kenneth Arnold. It is therefore possible that a witness came forward subsequently with the idea of indicating that he too had seen similar craft in the same area but 3 years previously.

The information is very meager and the only apparent strangeness is the "pebble" shape of the objects.

The observation differs from that of Arnold. There is no indication of a speed too high for aircraft, no angular size, and the formation is in a "V", typical of military aircraft, not in single line.

Update on December 10, 2023:

Now having the primary source [sur1], I can verify the identity of the witness. Rufus Drake tells us that it was "James E. Emery", 20 years old in 1944, who ranked a Colonel in the US Air Force around the age of 50.

My research in the numerous lists of US Air Force personnel, official and unofficial, revealed that there is not the slightest trace of any James E. Emery in the US Air Force, even less with the rank of colonel.

There was an "Emery, James, MSgt", but born in 1983. There was no Colonel with the name James Emery or James E. Emery.

Another sign of invention: Rufus Drake tells us the plane was a PT-19. So far so good. The story speaks of an airplane "of spars and canvas wrapped around a powerful 450 horsepower engine." The fuselage of the PT 19 was made of spars and surrounded by canvas, but the engine was L-440-3 of 200 horsepower; the plane never had a 450 horsepower engine.


Probable invention by UFO magazine.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:


Main author: Patrick Gross
Contributors: None
Reviewers: None
Editor: Patrick Gross

Changes history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
0.1 Patrick Gross October 18, 2023 Creation, [lhh1], [dwn2].
1.0 Patrick Gross October 18, 2023 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross November 10, 2023 Additions [sur1], [gvo1]. In the Summary, addition of the information from [sur1]. Explanation changed, was "Possible planes, insufficient information." In the Discussion, addition of the part "Update on December 10, 2023".

Valid XHTML 1.0 Strict

 Feedback  |  Top  |  Back  |  Forward  |  Map  |  List |  Home
This page was last updated on November 10, 2023.