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Pilots UFO sightings:

This page documents and assesses a case in which a UFO or supposed or alleged UFO was reported to have been observed from an aircraft in flight.

Thule, Greenland, 1942

A post by Jan Aldrich from Project 1947, on the UFO mailing list UFO Updates, in 1997 ([jah1]), said:

Re: Foo-fighters over Greenland?

From: jan@cyberzone.net (Jan Aldrich)
Date: Thu, 11 Sep 1997 21:52:18 -0700
Fwd Date: Fri, 12 Sep 1997 00:55:22 -0400
Subject: Re: Foo-fighters over Greenland?

THE SAGA UFO REPORT for October 1977, carried an article
entitled "UFO Crisis over Greenland" by Rufus Drake. A
sighting report in the article tells of an encounter near
Thule. A B-17 bomber being ferried to England in 1942
encountered "incandescent flying objects" thought to be
from a German aircraft carrier.... of course, there were no
German aircraft carriers.

I have a book about British and Canadian ferry operations
during World War II. No mention is made of Thule. Does
anyone know when the base there became operational?

The Germans did indeed have an aircraft carrier which the
Soviets towed off after World War II ended. In 1950 a
newspaper in Berlin claimed that the Soviets were using the
refloated and refitted aircraft carrier to launch missiles
over Sweden. Does anyone know the whereabouts of the old
Graf Zeppelin aircraft carrier in 1950? Was it indeed in
the Soviet fleet?

A report to US or Allied intelligence about aircraft operating
from a possible German aircraft carrier in 1942 would have
probably caused a sensation. Has anyone seen anything like
this in naval or aviation histories? I would like to track
down this very interest report.

Jan Aldrich
Project 1947

Discussion:

Thule US base:

After the German occupation of Denmark on April 9, 1940, Henrik Kauffmann, Danish Ambassador to the United States, made an agreement "In the name of the King" with the United States, authorizing the USA to defend the Danish colonies on Greenland from German aggression.

On August 24, 1942, USAAF Colonel Bernt Balchen led a flight of two Consolidated PBY Catalina seaplanes to Thule, and then sent a report advocating an air base to USAAF chief Henry "Hap" Arnold.

The first US installations at Thule were established after the US Secretary of State Cordell Hull and the defected Danish Minister to the United States Henrik Kauffmann signed The Agreement relating to the Defense of Greenland in Washington, D.C. on the symbolically chosen date of April 9, 1941.

The German aircraft carrier:

There was a German aircraft carrier. The Germans had built the aircraft carrier "Graf Zeppelin" (photo below), the only one they built during WWII. It was decided to build it in 1935, construction began in 1936 in the Deutsche Werke in Kiel. It was put to the sea on December 8, 1938, about 85-90% complete in May 1940; but the construction was never finished and it never participated in the fights. However, because Allied intelligence would not have ruled out that he would start operating at one point or another, witnesses to the case might have, albeit mistakenly, believed that what they saw was from it. , so the "German aircraft carrier" affair does not say much about the credibility of the case.

German aircraft carrier.

Rufus Drake

Drake was a US journalist at SAGA magazine who was interested in UFOs and "mysteries" such as the Bermuda Triangle saga; he interviewed UFO witnesses, and published UFO witnesses' letters in SAGA.

I miss the SAGA article so far, but I can confirm that Rufus Drake did sign an article in SAGA UFO REPORT for October 1977.

The sighting

The data is too meager. All we have is:

"A B-17 bomber being ferried to England in 1942 encountered "incandescent flying objects"..."

The "incandescent flying objects" could have been a patrol of other planes, for example.

Evaluation:

Unknown credibility, low strangeness.

Sources references:

* = Source is available to me.
? = Source I am told about but could not get so far. Help needed.

File history:

Version: Create/changed by: Date: Description:
1.0 Patrick Gross August 12, 2021 Creation, [jah1].
1.0 Patrick Gross August 12, 2021 First published.

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This page was last updated on August 12, 2021.