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The Bethune Flight 124 airmiss in 1951:

U.S. Naval Reserve Lieutenant Graham Bethune, co-pilot on Flight 125 from Keflavik, reported:

"While flying in the left seat on a true course of 230 degrees at a position of 49-50 North and 50-03 West, I observed a glow of light below the horizon about 1,000 to 1,500 feet above the water. We both observed its course and motion for about 4 or 5 minutes before calling it to the attention of the other crew members... Suddenly its angle of attack changed, its altitude and size increased as though its speed was in excess of 1,000 miles per hour. It closed in so fast that the first feeling was we would collide in midair. At this time its angle changed and the color changed. It then [appeared] definitely circular and reddish orange on its perimeter. It reversed its course and tripled its speed until it was last seen disappearing over the horizon. Because of our altitude and misleading distance over water it is almost impossible to estimate its size, distance, and speed. A rough estimate would be at least 300 feet in diameter, over 1,000 miles per hour in speed, and approached to within 5 miles of the aircraft."

Table of content:

Click! The case, general information.
Click! The Air Intelligence Report page 1 of 2.
Click! The Air Intelligence Report, page 2 of 2.
Click! Project record card.
Click! Fleet logistic report by witness Fred W. Kingdon.
Click! Letter to CG, AMC, by Colonel S. Harris.
Click! Letter from North East Air Command: all experienced North Atlantic flyers.
Click! Radio Note from J.J. Rogers to Colonel Harris of Wright Patterson AFB..
Click! Major Keyhoe of NICAP's story.
Click! Dominique Weinstein's case summary.
Click! Graham E. Bethune's public testimony at Washington Disclosure conference 2001.
Click! Other sightings in that area.
Click! Letter from North East Air Command: weather clear, no planes.
This page. The Parrot letter; explaining it away: it was a meteor, or Northern Lights (This page).
Click! Drawings by witnesses.
Click! References.

Picture of a Navy R5D transport. The R5D is a variant of the C-54 transport, whose civilian version is known as the Skymaster.

The Parrot letter:

Explaining away: the event has been treated as usual, says the letter: it was a fireball or a meteor. How a meteor or fireball can be seen 7 minutes and go upwards and make a turn is not explained.

An astronomer has also decided the crew saw an "unusual display of Northern lights." How Northern lights can be seen coming from lower than the plane with the shape of a metallic disk with a glowing edge avoiding a near collision with a plane is not explained.

20 Feb

1. The inclosed cables were reviewed by this office in light of criteria which have been developed up to the present time in the investigation of such incidents. The matter was also discussed with an astronomer attached to the Graduate Center at Area 3.

2. As a result, it was concluded that while there is a possibility of the object being a meteor or a fireball, the description furnished gives reason to believe that the aircrew actually saw an unusual "northern lights" display.

3. This information is being passed on to TCB, Hq USAF.

3 Incls:

Lt Colonel,
Chief, Aircraft & Propulsion Sev P D-11

Technical Analysis
B 263D
Intelligence Department

Fac simile of the Parrot letter:


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This page was last updated on December 3, 2001.