- "Until unidentified objects - we call them targets
- began moving onto our radar scopes, I thought people who reported flying
saucers were just seeing things...Now, I don't know what to the think."
- Thus, Radar Specialist James M. Ritchey spoke to this
reporter this morning when asked what he thought of the twin experiences
he had on the past two Saturdays of watching the flying saucers over Fairfax-Arlington-
- "I have talked to representatives of the Air Force,
and they say they can't explain the appearance of flying objects. Neither
can we. All I can do is tell you what we saw on our instruments, and what
the Air Force and commercial pilots reported when they tried to investigate,"
the 30 year old veteran of World War II continued, as we sat in the living
room of his comfortable new brick bungalow at No. 5 Jamestown Rd in Hollin
Hall just a few miles south of Alexandria.
- The "we" he referred to, included his neighbor,
buddy'and working partner for the last six years, James M.Copland, 28 year
old former Navy pilot, who lives just three house away.
- Copland, to use Ritchie's words, "is lucky'he put
his wife and has four kids into his car,and took off for the beach. We
have today and tomorrow off, then we change shifts."
- Changing shifts has had no effect on the "ability"
of the pair to pickup targets as their first encounter was at 12:30 a.m.
July 20th when they picked up five or six objects on the Northwestern sweep
of their radar set. The objects were cited intermittently until 6 a.m..
The second time began in the Herndon area, the objects were cited moving
southeast at 9:08 p.m. Eastern daylight time on July 26.The second sighting
involved a dozen objects and were picked up now and then until 6 a.m.
- The set on which Ritchie and Copeland have watched the
objects is a small scope that covers a 30 mile radius around the airport
by means of a familiar revolving antenna on top of the main building of
- Coinciding with the the movement of the antenna is a
sweep arm rotating about the scope six times a minute. Every time the arm
passes over a solid object within the radar radius it creates a "blip"-
contact with a substance in the sky.
- But to give you the account of the eyewitness as he saw
it happen while working in the Washington Air Traffic Control Center: "It
was 9:08 p.m. Saturday when the last unidentified objects moved into our
scope from the Northwest."
- "These objects were about 30 miles from the airport
when we first made contact with them."
- "We spotted 12 objects, and judged that they were
moving in a southeasterly direction at a speed of about 40 mph. These objects
were not acting as intelligently as the group we spotted the previous week
and not moving half as fast."
- "The Air Force sent some jet planes up to investigate,
and we help 'vector' the pilots toward the objects. I should explain here
that our radar scope is about two feet in diameter. When it showed a 'blip'
we placed a plastic marker on the spot."
- . "The radar beam swings around in a great circle,
and when it returns to the same area it will make another contact, with
the same object. If the object has moved, we move the marker, and after
a number of repetitions we can determine the object's direction and aproximate
- "When we 'vector' a plane onto an object, we are
in the radar contact with both the object and the plane, and also in radio
contact with the pilot of the plane. We keep telling the pilot how to turn
to approach the object until he makes a sighting." . "The first
jet pilot to go out Saturday night reported that he sighted a steady white
light that appeared to be about 10 miles distant. When we tried to draw
closer, it just disappeared."
- "A commercial pilot got much closer to one of the
objects, and reported to us that sighted a yellow light that appeared to
turn red and then yellow again. He reported to us that the object appeared
to be about two miles away and the flying parallel with him."
- "Radar confirmed that he was between two and three
miles from the object."
- "A third pilot sighted two bluish lights and later
five more white lights. Our radar continued to show unidentified objects
through the night, until 6 a.m. the next morning, but the pilots did not
get closer to them."
- "The blips on our radar were not similar to those
sometimes caused by storm clouds. I don't think the objects were balloons
or anything moving with the wind, because their speed was greater than
that of the wind. I don't see how they could have been ducks, geese, or
any kind of night birds- these can be picked up on radar, but they wouldn't
explain the lights."
- "As I said, I just don't have an explanation, and
neither does anyone else as far as I know."
- "The blips would disappear in reappear on the screen,
indicating either that they were not solid objects, or that they moved
in spurts of such tremendous speed that they would bounce to the other
side of the scope while the sweep arm was moving around."
- About this time, Little Miss Ann Marie, the eighteen
month-old daughter of Ritchie and his wife, the former Ms. Rosemary Roediger
of St. Louis, indicated she thought this reporter was taking up enough
of Daddy's day off.
- Not being one to argue with a woman, particularly a golden-haired
miss of 18 months, your reporter departed as the Ritchey's took off for
- Ritchey' a native of Altoona, PA. has been making his
home in this area for the last six years and has been with the CAA since
he got out of the Air Force.
- While on duty in the Air Force, he served as a tower
operator and saw combat duty in Hollandia, New Guinea and in the Philippines.
- Sincere appreciation is given to R.H. for her on going
efforts in gathering these documents.
- Frank Warren Frankemail@example.com
- SAUCERS SEEN AGAIN EARLY THIS MORNING
- AS WRITTEN BY WILLIAM DAFFRON REPORTER FOR
ALEXANDRIA GAZETTE JULY,29TH 1952
- Flying saucers circled the Northern Virginia area again
- Tha CAA says it's radar picked up the saucers about six
straight hours early today as they circled between Herndon, and Andrews
- A CAA official estimated the ojects were traveling between
100 and 200 hundred miles per hour in this morning's flight.
- Simultaneously the Air Force stymied by the failure of
its supersonic jets to intercept the flying saucers Saturday night, announced
it was equipping it's planes with special cameras to help solve the mystery.
- Jet pilots from the 142nd Interceptor Squadron at Newcastle,
Del., for some time now have been on orders to shoot down any "unidentified"
aircraft which ignores "orders" to land. An Air Force spokesman
from the Pentagon refused to say wether the saucers fall into the "aircraft"
- He asid the planes have been on 24-hour alert to defend
the skys ever since the out-break of the Korean War and the pilots have
been issued no specific orders to shoot down "saucers."
- Saucer experts from Wright Field, Ohio have been called
to Washington for a special conference on the phenomenon. The group was
scheduled to arrive last night, but was delayed by plane trouble and will
insted meet today.
- Pentagon officials are expected to issue a statement
on the results of the investigation to date.
- A high ranking Air Force official reiterated yesterday
that the saucers are "not" some special experiment being conducted
by "his" branch of the service. He stated, "that if the
Army, Navy, Atomic Energy Commission, or any other government agency were
conducting such experiments we would know about it."
- "One thing I would like to do is dispel the belief
by some that we are holding out something," he said. "We are
- Scientists, military spokesman, and private citizens
continue to offer a wide variety of explanations for the radar sightings
at National Airport and Andrews Air Force Base.
- An Air Force official said the spots on the screen might
have been caused by tinfoil "windows" dropped by a B-36 bomber
in recent Air Defense excercises up north. The tinfoil strips are used
to "cloud" radar screens.
- Scientists admitted little knowledge of sky phenomenon
such as cosmic rays and electro-magnetic forces, but said they could cause
- Still a third explanation traced to the "blips"
registered on radar screens to the heavy use of television sets in the
area during the convention.
- In Alexandria, James H. Gillis, chief observer for The
Air Defense volunteer observation post on Russell Rd.,said his crew has
not seen any flying saucers, nor have they recieved specific orders to
watch for flying saucers.
- "Our orders are to report any strange objects in
the skys," he said. "We pass our reports on to the filter station
in Baltimore which in turn alerts the interceptor planes."
- Gillis said his crew, supposed to operate on a 24-hour
basis, has had so few volunteer workers, he is struggling to maintain a
4 to 10 p.m. sky watch.
- The Air Force said in the past few years they have recieved
and evaluated more then 1000 sightings of "unidentified flying objects."
Of these only a small portion remained unexplicable after investigation.
- New reports are coming in to follow-up Saturday night's
weird "sky chase" over Mt Vernon.
- Sylvanus Jones, 25, a State Department clerk from Washington,
said he saw " a small light" floating in space over the capital.
He said he was sure it was not a star or an airplane light.
- State Police in Indianapolis, Indiana, said they watched
three flying saucers cavort in the skies overhead yesterday.
- The new-type cameras being installed in the jet interceptors
are specially designed to shoot "luminous phenomenon," the Air
Force said. They operate on the same principle employed by astomoners in
determining the composition of the stars.
- Air Force scientists hope to determine the physical make-up
of the strange lights and thereby identify there source.
- Sincere appreciation is given to R.H. for her on going
efforts in gathering these documents.
- Frank Warren firstname.lastname@example.org