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The Bellefontaine, Ohio, radar/visual/photographic case, 1952:

A radar, visual and photographic UFO sighting and investigation of 1952 recorded by US Air Force project Blue Book which concluded the UFO is indeed an "unknown" before finding the series of coincidences which explained the case as being caused by a jet and a weather balloon.

Table of content:

This page The events, a summary.
Click! The events, by Major Donald E. Keyhoe, ret., of NICAP.
Click! The events, by Captain Edward J. Ruppelt, head of Project Blue Book, USAF.
Click! The report in the Project Blue Book archives, USAF (This page).
Click! The Condon Report investigators invent an erroneous explanation.
Click! References.

The report in USAF's Project Blue Book file:

Here is the report synopsis from Project Blue Book Special Report No. 8, page 149. This is the official version of the case and the case was listed as Unknown. In the "Report on Unidentified Flying Objects," Edward Ruppelt, who was the Blue Book director at the time, stated the case was explained.

The transcripttion:


Bellefontaine, Ohio
1 August 1952

Description of Incident

At 1551Z, a radar track appeared 20 miles NNW of W-P AFB. The course was 240 degrees at 400 knots. Two F-86's under GCI control were then located ten miles SW of that position. The fighters were vectored and made visual contact at l555Z. The fighters stayed with the object until 1613Z.

Interrogation of sources, an AF major and lieutenant, reveal the following:

  • a. The F-86's climbed to 48,000', fell off, and then made a second climb to 48,000'. The major made a camera run the second time and received a weak return on his radar gunsight. The lieutenant's sight was "caged" so he received no return. The major estimated the object at l2,000-20,000' above his altitude of 48,000'. This estimate was substantiated by the range capability of the radar gunsight. The object's size, accepting source's estimate of distance, was 24-40' in diameter and source said his optical sight just covered the object. The films were not sufficiently clear. The object appeared as a fuzzy, small image in the upper right hand corner with discernable motion to lower left.
  • b. The AC&W Squadron established two important facts. Re-affirmation that the UFO moved at 400 knots and indication that the two F-86's and UFO appeared simultaneously on the GCI scope. It is obvious that all eyes and antennas were fixed on the same object.


The object was not a balloon, since the speed was too fast. A rawin sonde was released at 1500Z and moved off to the east. The object moved against the wind. The blip size was that of a normal aircraft. The object was not a known aircraft because the altitude was too high. The object was not astronomical as dual radar returns eliminate this. Electronic or visual mirage or meteorological phenomenon is out of the question as the radar set was on high beam, and both would not occur simultaneously in the same place. The sighting occurred "above the weather".



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This page was last updated on February 5, 2003.