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

The events as told by Majord Donald E. Keyhoe, USM Ret.:

This is the article in TRUE Magazine by Major Donald E. Keyhoe, USM ret., which was later part of his book "Flying Saucers From Outer Space," page 107.

Gun-camera Shots Of UFO Over Ohio

Bellefontaine, Ohio

August 1, 1952

Hovering object scanned by radar and seen by ground watchers, caught on film by a climbing jet pilot.

These unretouched 35 mm gun - camera movie frames, released to TRUE by the Air Force, were taken at 30,000 feet, near Wright Field, at 11 a.m. on August 1, 1952.

...the strange object was seen from the ground by several civilians near Bellefontaine. It appeared to be round, with a shiny, metallic gleam.

When the blips came on the scope, two F-86 jets were about ten miles from the UFO, on a GCI problem. The two pilots, Major James B. Smith and Lieutenant Donald J. Hemer, were immediately vectored toward the UFO.

As Smith and Hemer reached 30,000 feet, they saw a bright, round, glowing object maneuvering above them. To make certain it was not a ground reflection, both pilots changed course, circled, climbed, to view it from different angles. The UFO's appearance did not change. Positive it was a solid object, both pilots switched on their gun-cameras and climbed at full power.

At 40,000 feet the mysterious device was still above them. Pulling up at a sharp angle, Major Smith tried to get a picture. But his F-86 stalled and fell off. When Hemer nosed up for a camera shot, the same thing happened.

Then Major Smith, climbing again to 40,000 feet made a second attempt. This time he was successful, and he clicked off several feet of film before the plane stalled.

As he began the camera run, Smith's radar gunsight had caught the UFO for a moment. (Hemer's radar sight was "caged" - inoperative - so he saw no radar blips.) From the range of his radar set, Major Smith knew the unknown device must be between 12,000 and 20,000 feet above him to cause such a weak blip.

To confirm his estimate he quickly checked with his telescopic gunsight and found it just covered the UFO. But before he could get a better look, the object quickly accelerated, disappearing at a tremendous speed. Later, using the radar and optical sight data, Smith carefully calculated the UFO's size. If it had been 12,000 feet above him, then it was about 24 feet in diameter. If it was at 20,000 feet, its diameter was not less than 40 feet.

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This page was last updated on February 5, 2003.