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The 1954 French flap:

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October 15, 1954, Gap, Hautes-Alpes:

Reference for this case: 15-Oct-54-Gap.
Please cite this reference in any correspondence with me regarding this case.


In the regional newspaper Le Méridional of October 17, 1954, it was recalled that this newspaper had reported from Gap, "Thursday the arrival in the Hautes-Alpes of an Italian sounding balloon, that currents and, the Gap resiedents and in a general manner, all the Hautes-Alpes resident who saw the craft felt a very understandable emotion, still thinking of the stories of the flying saucers, which are now on the agenda."




A flying "cylinder" spotted by the Mont Ventoux Observatory

But it is believed to be a remote-controlled survey craft

AVIGNON (C.P.) - A mysterious device appeared above the sky of Vaucluse in the afternoon of yesterday, and was seen by the observatory of the Mont Ventoux National Meteorological Office.

The machine was of unusual shape among all those seen in recent weeks.

It was neither a saucer nor a cigar, but a cylinder terminated at both ends by a cone, and one of the cones bore something resembling an antenna.

The flying cylinder moved vertically and about 4,000 meters above sea level (about 2,000 meters above the Ventoux), going from west to east. It disappeared towards the Alps around 4:45 p.m.

Mr. Batard, a meteorologist observer at the Ventoux, himself saw the mysterious machine and described it to us. It seemed at times to be transparent and of an undefinable material.

"What do you think it is?" We asked him.

- Probably a remote-controlled sounding machine.

"Coming from where?" From the earth?

- This is my opinion.

"Do you believe in the Martians, Mr. Batard?"

- Personally not at all, until proven otherwise.

Another probe balloon in the high alpine sky

GAP (C.P.) - We reported on Thursday the arrival in the Hautes-Alpes of an



Remote controlled crafts

Continued from page 1

Italian sounding-balloon, that contrary currents had diverted. The residents of Gap and, in general, all the High Alps residents who saw the craft felt an understandable emotion, still thinking of the stories of flying saucer currently on the agenda. When, on the morning of yesterday, a new balloon was seen, it did not arouse the same curiosity. It was, however, a fair day at Gap. One looked at this machine only with a disillusioned face, as if to reproaching it for not being a flying saucer...

Early in the afternoon, the balloon, pushed by a more violent wind, was heading east. It was possible to see it from Briançon, Aiguilles and Barcelonnette. It seemed to ascend the valley of the Queyras.

At 6 p.m. it was no longer seen from Gap, and Dr. Dieulot, a medical adviser to the Social Safety, who had already observed the craft on Thursday, noticed that it was the same balloon.



Negative case, high-altitude balloon of the University of Padua.

One or more stratospheric balloons to study cosmic rays were launched from Milan, Italy, as a project of the Padova University, and floated in the French sky on October 14, 15 and 16, 1954; this photograph was taken from the observatory of Haute-Provence:


See also the 1968 note by Raymond Veillith and the 1958 note by Aimé Michel.


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

Gap, Hautes-Alpes, balloon, negative


[----] indicates sources that are not yet available to me.

Document history:

Version: Created/Changed by: Date: Change Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross February 2, 2017 First published.
1.1 Patrick Gross August 7, 2019 Addition of the Summary. In the Explanations, addtion of the "See also the 1968 note by Raymond Veillith" link.

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This page was last updated on August 7, 2019.