By December 30, 1947, Project: Saucer was beginning to be called Project: SIGN, as per the letter from the Deputy Chief of Staff, Material, USAF entitled: “Flying Disks”. As 1947 was coming to a close, the Air Force was probably wishing that the flying discs would vanish as quickly as they had seemed to arrive. Unfortunately, this was not the case. In fact, in January 1948, a terribly momentous disaster was looming, which took everyone by surprise, and set a new course for the UFO Program.
After being asked to investigate a UFO, the flight leader of a group of P-51 Mustangs was lost. He reported to the tower that he was going in for a better look, and all contact with him ceased from that point on. According to his wing-man, he disappeared right after this statement was made. The documents reproduced on the following two pages are from the official investigation of the incident. They should clear up some of the basic facts. They consist of a transcript of interviews with the other pilots and wing-men regarding the radio transmissions describing the object in question, and Captain Mantell’s reports of it. The document that follows the transcript is from the main page of the synopsis of the case. It shows us some interesting concepts to consider. Though it is true that the documents do not say that Captain Mantell was shot down by some other-worldly invader, but it doesn’t necessarily say that he was chasing a balloon, either.
Captain Mantell was an experienced pilot, if not perhaps a bit over-confident, based on his wing-man’s testimony. He had been honed by several different successful missions, during World War II, though according to research conducted by Kevin Randle, he had only recently begun his career with the P-51 Mustang. Even if one takes into account his possible newness with the P-51, he made a concise, but fateful decision to break with his wing-man in pursuit of the object in question, and no matter what anyone else has to say on the matter, the record is very clear about two things:
1. Captain Mantell had the object in his sight, and said it was “tremendous in size…”
2. he reported the object’s speed, several times, and these numbers are verified with other pilots reports of radio transmissions
As per Captain Gary Carter’s testimony, Mantel seems to be aware that he is not equipped with Oxygen, as the quote: “going to 20,000 ft. and if no closer will abandon chase” seems to suggest this fact. The summary reads:
“At first the flight leader reported it high and about one-half his speed at ’12-o’clock’. Shortly thereafter the flight leader reported it at about his speed and later said he was closing in to take a good look. This was the last message from NG869, the flight leader. NG800 shortly thereafter reported NG869 disappeared…”
“From message transmitted by the formation it is estimated the flight leader was at 18 to 20 thousand feet wide formation when the flight leader NG869 disappeared”
In other words, to everyone there, who witnessed what was possible to witness, he disappeared as soon as he pulled up to investigate, and said he was, ”closing in”. The witnesses who were on the ground reported seeing his plane explode in the air. There was no fire as it fell -nor did it burn while on the ground. The plane fell, in pieces, on a farm near Franklin, Kentucky. Captain Mantell was found still strapped in the pilot seat of F-51#NG869, and the canopy was in the locked position. There is certainly no way to be sure of knowing what happened to Captain Mantell, but one thing is for certain: he wasn’t chasing a balloon, because a balloon would not be traveling at 180 miles per hour. If it was that big of a balloon, to be seen from as many places as it was seen from the ground, which included from other states, it would have had to have been absolutely, enormously, huge! It would have dwarfed any other known balloon, including the secret “Sky-Hook”, and “Mogul” balloons.
There is more to this story, I admit. Other sightings, and testimony presented by others to show he was killed as a result of oxygen starvation. This I cannot argue with, only that it does not appear that he was chasing a balloon. The balloon was in sight, by others who knew they were looking at a balloon. It was clocked at 10 mph, and it was at 20,000 ft.
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