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The Kenneth Arnold sighting, June 24, 1947:

Kenneth Arnold's 1950 pamphlet:

This part of my file about Kenneth Arnold's observation on June 24, 1947, in the USA, is the booklet Arnold wrote, published at his own expense in 1950, and distributed around. It does not tell about his own sighting, it tells of the early days of the flying saucer reports. Arnold can be considered to have been the first ufologist.


RADAR "ANGELS This is an official photograph, time exposure, of the radar screen at the landing Aids Experiment Station at Arcata, California. This project is sponsored by the Army, Navy and the Civil Aeronautics Administration and operated by Trans-Ocean Airlines. This photograph was taken under the direction of Kenneth Elhers [sic, Ehlers], head of the electronics and radar department. The radar antennae scans everything above sea level within the immediate vicinity of this radar station. The large white splotch areas indicate mountains and land barriers. Small white target returns indicated by arrows are what have been designated RADAR "ANGELS." They are invisible to human eyesight but return indications on the radar screen of objects of density and substance as bright as certain types of our standard aircraft. They move with an intelligent purpose and almost constant course across this area at approximately 180 degrees. Their altitude ranges in the vicinity of 3,000 feet above sea level. For more than four years these unidentified radar returns have been studied by scientists at this project as well as many other projects. Every possible and plausible explanation has been thoroughly investigated in an attempt to determine what these "ANGELS" can be.


Notes about this page:

Arnold had been told by Kenneth Ehlers, the head of the Landing Aids Experimental Station at Arcata, California, that he had tracked "radar angels" in the sky above the station but was never able to see anything visually. The objects would sometimes split in two, travel side by side and later join back together. Ehlers had often sent pilots to fly into the area where radar indicated the echoes were, but the pilots never saw any objects. The "radar angels" seldom moved faster than 25 to 30 an hour.

Later, the cause of such "radar angels" became understood: "Dry roll convection in the atmospheric boundary layer in clear-air condition is named as dot angel echo, or Bragg scattering. Sharp inhomogenities in the refractive index of the atmosphere, such as occur, for example, at air mass boundaries, can result in the backscatter of radar power."

In many "radar UFO" cases, the radar angels phenomenon was used, rightly or wrongly, to explain the reported echo of one or more UFO on radar sets. Radar angels are later referred to as "Anomalous propagation" or "AP".

Needless to say, radar angels cannot be seen with the human eye. Radar angel must be discarded when the unidentified echo is located at the same spot simultaneously by radar sets located at different stations. Radar angels do not perform any possible type of maneuvers at any possible speeds either.

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This page was last updated on March 1, 2018.