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The 1954 French flap:

The index page for the 1954 French flap section of this website is here.

June 12 to 13, 1954, Le Bourget, Seine-Saint-Denis:

Reference for this case: 12-13-Jun-54-Le-Bourget.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


The national weekly newspaper France-Dimanche for October 10, 1954, summarized sightings in France in 1954 by presenting several cases.

One of them is presented by a photo of one of the witnesses, Georges Vallat, air traffic controller operating in the control tower of Le Bourget airport.

The newspaper tells us that on the night of June 12 to 13, 1954, he saw a ball of fire that remained motionless for an hour; which a pilot had also seen.




Mr. Georges Vaillat is air traffic controller at the Bourget tower. He saw, on the night from June 12 to June 13, a ball of fire which remained motionless for an hour. A pilot also saw it.



On June 12 at 11:59 p.m. we had:

The Moon at azimuth 209░, elevation 15░; it st at 01:56. It was in the waning gibbous phase with 88.4% of its surface illuminated, so its shape was not far from a ball and it may well have corresponded with its setting as an observation's end.

Mars at azimuth 154░, elevation 10░; it is indeed a fire-colored ball with 99.23% of its surface illuminated; the planet will not set until 05:37, so masking by cloud must be considered for an end of observation after one hour.

At midnight, Venus was alread set at azimuth 316░, but only since 11:15 p.m.; if the sighting had taken place around 11 p.m., it could be a candidate for an astronomical explanation since it was low and then "disappeared" from view behind the horizon.

Among the bright stars we had Capella slightly rising in the North, Regulus setting in the West, Spica descending in the Southwest.

The data is obviously insufficient to accuse either of these astronomical bodies. However, these cannot be excluded as information stands. Thus:

Insufficient information, possible astronomical misinterpretation.


(These keywords are only to help queries and are not implying anything.)

Le Bourget, Seine-Saint-Denis, Georges Vaillat, night, ball, fire, airport, control towe, pilot, duration


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Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross April 6, 2022 First published.

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