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Luke Afb Attracts Ufo
Whether you believe in them or not, there have been too many sightings of UFOs, Unidentified Flying Objects, Flying Saucers, or however you refer to them, to be totally ignored. This curious article was extracted from "Project Blue Book", written by "EJR" former chief of the Air Force's project for investigating reports of UFOs.
The incident took place at Luke AFB, Arizona, the Air Force's advanced fighter-bomber school that is named after the famous "balloon buster" of World War I, LieuÂ¬tenant Frank Luke, Jr. It was a sighting that produced some very interÂ¬esting photographs.
The sky was clear except for a few high cirrus clouds, late morning of March 3, 1953, when the pilot took off from Luke Air Base in an F-84 jet, to add some more hours to his flight log. He had been flying F-51s in Korea and had recently started to check out in the jets. After take off, clearing the traffic pattern, he climbed toward Blythe Radio, situated about 130 miles west of Luke.
He'd climbed for several minutes and had just picked up the coded letters BLH that identified Blythe Radio when he looked up through the corner glass in the front part of his canopy”traveling left to right at two o'clock from his current position, the pilot noticed what initially appeared to be an airplane, leaving a long, thin vapor trail. He glanced down at his altimeter and saw that he was at 23,000 feet. The object that was leaving the vapor trail must really be high, he remembered thinking, because he couldn't see any airplane at the head of it.
He altered his course a few degrees to the right so that he could follow the trail and increased his rate of climb. It soon became clear to the pilot that he was gaining on the source of the vapor trail, as he was right under the middle of it. Still no object was visible. He felt this was strange, as vapor trails do not just occur; something has to leave them.
He had now climbed another 12,000 feet to 35,000 feet, according to his altimeter. Still climbing, the F-84 began to mush; it was as high as it would go. The pilot dropped down 1,000 feet and continued on”even when he was below the front of the trail, however, still no sight of an airplane. This bothered him too.
Nothing in 1953 flew over 55,000 feet except a few experimental airplanes like the D-558 or those of the "X" series, and they don't stray far from Edwards AFB in California.
He couldn't be more than 15,000 feet from the front of the trail, and you can recognize any kind of an airplane 15,000 feet away in the clear air of the sub stratosphere.
He looked again and again. He moved the F-84 back and forth, convinced a flaw in the canopy's plexiglass was blanking out the airplane, however, still none to be seen. Whatever the object, it was darned high, or darned small. The object was traveling at approximately 300 miles an hour, as it was necessary to reduce engine power and "S" to stay under it.
He was beginning to get low on fuel about this time so he hauled up the nose of the jet, took about 30 feet of gun camera film, and started down. After landing the pilot told his story and the subsequent processing and viewing of the film was given priority. It showed a weird, thin, forked vapor trail”but no airplane.
Lieutenant Olsson and Airman Futch (veterans of the UFO campaign of 1952) worked the report over thorÂ¬oughly. Confirmation from the photo lab proved this was definitely a vapor trail, rather than a freak cloud formation. But Air Force Flight Service said, "No other airplanes in the area," and so did Air Defense Command, because minutes after the F-84 pilot broke off contact, the "object" had passed into an ADIZ”Air Defense Identification Zone”and radar had shown nothing.
There was one last possibility: an astronomer confirmed that the photos resembled the smoke trail of a meteor. But there was one hitch: the pilot was convinced that the speed of the object at the head of the vapor trail was approximately 300 miles per hour. He was unsure how many miles had been covered, but on first picking up Blythe Radio, whilst flying on Green 5 airway, he was approximately 30 miles west of his Air Base. When the pilot had disengaged from the chase, a further radio bearing confirmed his position as almost up to Needles Radio, 70 miles north of Blythe. He could see a lake, Lake Mojave, in the distance.
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