ROSWELL: THE SUMMER OF 47
The UFO crash at Roswell, New Mexico. Development of U-2, SR-71 spy planes and VCASS for RPVs.
During the summer of 1947, a few weeks after a private pilot reported seeing a flight of unusual aircraft skimming along the mountain tops in the Pacific Northwest, Mac Brazel, a sheep rancher living near Corona, New Mexico stomped into the sheriff's office to complain that something large had fallen from the sky and was cluttering up one of his meadows. After hearing a description of the object, the sheriff suggested Mac report the incident to the authorities at Roswell Army Air Field. Roswell AAF was, in 1947, home to the 509th Bomb Group. The 509th flew B-29s that carried Atomic Bombs. In the same general area and comprising a triangle were Los Alamos, New Mexico where the first atomic bomb was tested, and White Sands Missile Test Center.
Authorities at Roswell were curious enough to send a detail out to Mac's place to have a look at the object, fearing, perhaps, that one of the B-29s had lost a part in flight. (Nothing was ever reported missing in subsequent press releases). After they arrived at the meadow, they went ballistic, cordoned off the area, gathered up every scrap of the object and carried it back to Roswell AAF. A few hours later, someone issued a press release stating emphatically that Roswell had in its possession an alien spacecraft - a flying saucer! The next press release downgraded the metallic- like flying saucer to a rubber and wood weather balloon.
This encounter has been dubbed the "Roswell Incident" and, even after 45 years, has refused to go away, despite the government's attempts to deny that anything unusual happened. Later reports, real or imagined, indicate that the "weather balloon" was placed aboard a railway flat car and transported to Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio for examination.
Two questions arise:
(1) If it was a weather balloon, why did someone feel it required examination by the Air Force at one of the most secret bases in the world? and
(2) who had a weather balloon so large it had to be transported by rail car with an armed guard rather than in a small cardboard box in a modest sized airplane?
If it was a weather balloon it would have been launched from one of the bases mentioned and the Air Force had no business examining it. A call to Los Alamos or White Sands would have produced the owner and they should have claimed it, extracted the data and tossed the ruined balloon into the trash. It is interesting to note that the person who issued the second press release claiming the object was a weather balloon had never seen the object and issued the claim only on direct orders from higher authority. He insists, to this day, that because of the furor created over the recovery of the object, he is convinced it was not a weather balloon or any kind of aircraft known on this planet.
In 1947 the press, the Air Force, and scientists spent a lot of time trying to convince the American public that no aircraft could enter our airspace without being detected by radar, especially around Roswell, Los Alamos and White Sands. But what most people didn't know then and still don't know today, is that in 1947 America had an aircraft that was, for all practical purposes, invisible to radar! It had not been designed as a stealth aircraft because no one even understood the concept in 1947, but this airplane, the brainchild of Northrup Aviation, the YB-49 Flying Wing, reflected such a small radar image that ground operators literally could not detect it. Indeed, its profile was so slight while airborne that it could not be seen visually until it was over the airfield!
So the claim that an aircraft could not penetrate American airspace undetected in 1947 was a lie and the government knew it was a lie. I believe if the Army had produced several large pieces of a crashed B-29 (they were not known for not crashing, after all), and had let a few hundred journalists take pictures and print them in every newspaper in America, the incident would have died right there. But they didn't. They told us they had found a flying saucer which mysteriously turned into a weather balloon and word leaked out that it had been sent to the Foreign Technologies Center at Wright Pat for examination.
The Foreign Technologies Center at WPAFB claims they take foreign aircraft apart to see how they were manufactured, how they work and what danger, if any, they pose to America. I believe that. Still, since Russian pilots now fly their latest fighter planes and bombers at airshows on American soil and in every country sponsoring an international airshow, and since anyone with enough money, governments and private citizens alike, can purchase one of these "foreign" aircraft, and since we trade and sell aircraft like cattle to countries who have even claimed to be our enemies, what could be so secret about any foreign aircraft that the Foreign Technologies Center is still so secure one literally cannot get past the entry foyer without getting shot?
Just how foreign is their foreign technology? Is it across the border in another country, across the ocean on another continent, or is it across the cosmos on another planet? How does the Air Force define it? 45 years ago the technology for stealth aircraft did not exist and neither did the machines for analyzing material which could not be identified - materials which might have fallen from or might have been a part of an alien spacecraft. 45 years ago no one could identify exotic materials such as carbon fiber composites that are lighter than but stronger than steel, do not reflect radar images and can enter Earth's atmosphere from space without falling apart. But someone devised such a machine and that raises another question: Why would anyone have need of a machine to analyze exotic, unheard of materials unless they were required to examine something they could not otherwise identify with machines already in production?
As early as 20 years ago no one could have identified carbon fiber composites. Now the Air Force scientists at Wright Pat claim they could, given time, identify anything and eventually discover what function it performed! The question is: Why would they need to do that unless they had found something somewhere that prompted the development of the technology? Did it take 25 years or more to unlock the secrets of the Roswell "weather balloon"? Were carbon fiber composites just on chance discovered to have the exact properties required to construct a lightweight, strong, invisible aircraft capable of flying into and out of Earth's atmosphere a few years after the Roswell saucer was delivered to WPAFB?
Let's jump to the near present. Kelly Johnson and a team of amazing co-workers developed the Lockheed U-2 spy plane to carry out recon missions over unfriendly countries during the cold war era. It was basically a high altitude powered glider, thought to fly so high that it was out of range of enemy missiles until CIA pilot Francis Gary Powers was brought down over Russia, not by a direct hit, but by the sonic explosion of the fired missile.
The U-2 was a large, slow, conventionally powered (jet engine), conventionally built (aluminum, titanium, rubber, plastic) aircraft that could be easily spotted and tracked on radar. It flew at high altitudes for great distances taking pictures inside foreign countries, but it did not represent a great leap forward as far as aircraft technology was concerned. The great leap forward would be left to the next airplane, the SR-71 "Blackbird." Statistics of the SR-71 are still classified even though the plane has been decommissioned. It was built of exotic composites, parts of the skin fitted so loosely that the plane actually leaked fuel before takeoff. Once in the air and after the skin of the aircraft heated up from friction, the plane sealed itself. The pilot would find a waiting plane, refuel, and make a dash for its mission somewhere in the neighborhood of 2000 miles per hour ahead of its two great ram engines.
Although a lot of unfriendly people tried to shoot them down, they flew so fast that no known missiles could catch them. They served America well and were recently retired from service. Visit Boeing's Air Museum in Seattle and you will see one prominently displayed but you will be unable to find out just what it was really capable of doing. Anyone who has been around airplanes for more than a few months knows that the government, and particularly CIA, does not retire their best aircraft unless and until a suitable replacement has been developed, tested, flown and certified airworthy.
Now let's jump to the immediate present and Lockheed's super secret "Skunk Works" where the U-2 and the SR-71 were developed for CIA. A considerable workforce is still at that facility, still working and still being funded to create new and awesome aircraft unheard of just a few years ago. At least one of those aircraft, Aurora, is now flying from Beale Air Force Base near Sacramento, California and landing at a secret base near Groom Lake, Nevada after dashing across oceans and continents at altitudes of 200,000 feet (40 miles) and speeds of Mach 6 (4000 miles an hour). An unidentified aircraft was tracked by RAF radar operators in 1991 leaving a remote NATO/RAF base at Mackrihanish in western Scotland at a speed of Mach 3 when no aircraft capable of that performance was known to exist.
They have been heard, their contrails spotted and photographed, their sonic profiles recorded by CIT seismologists in Pasadena, California. Eyewitnesses in the western US and in Great Britain have filed reports of sightings. Others have reported hearing the low growling sounds of its engine(s). The seismic profile of the sonic boom has been recorded by CIT personnel in response to people asking if there had been an earthquake. It is unlike anything ever recorded before. Photographs of the contrail clearly define the power source of Aurora to be a pulse detonation wave engine or pulse jet similar to that used on the German V-1 "Buzz Bomb" during the second world war, but on a much grander scale.
But where the V-1 was relatively slow (Hurricane and Spitfire pilots shot them down if they were lucky, and Meteor pilots had no trouble catching them at all), Aurora's engine produces such thrust that the plane could circle the planet at the equator, a distance of about 25,000 miles, in a bit over six hours. The sonic booms are produced as the plane decelerates from hypersonic flight (Mach 5+) over north central California to land at Groom Lake, Nevada. This is an aircraft so radical in design and construction, so powerful, that it can literally take off from the ground, enter space and return to earth without rocket boosters. Just like a flying saucer might do, or exactly as we imagine a flying saucer should do. I questioned someone who should know if the Aurora was of a classic saucer design and the answer was a quick, "No." A bit too quick, perhaps. But the "classic" saucer shape is not really suitable for hypersonic flight in the heavy air of Earth's atmosphere where friction would cause it to heat to the melting point. If it was constructed of conventional materials.
But the SR-71 would be so hot that no one could touch it for hours after it landed and it stayed together just fine. It was actually a better plane when it was red hot because it wasn't leaking fuel all over the runway! The argument against the ovate ellipsoid (saucer shape aircraft), and a fairly good one at that, is that the shape creates too much drag for the amount of thrust required to allow it to get off the ground and remain airborne efficiently. The argument has some merit and is one of the problems that arose with the YB-49 Flying Wing. The wing was so thick that the plane could not accelerate to Mach 1, the speed of sound, with the engines that were being produced at that time. Even with eight jet engines laboring behind it, the Span Loader was a subsonic aircraft.
But aircraft technology has changed rather spectacularly since 1947. Aircraft, especially combat aircraft designed for sustained high speed flight, have gotten flatter, longer and wider, and their wings have gotten shorter and thinner, often to the point of being hazardous to ground support personnel. Bulky, protruding tail assemblies have disappeared completely or have been contoured into the fuselage/wing junctions. In other words, modern aircraft are beginning to look more and more like modified ovate ellipsoids!
A great paradox of aircraft design is that the more stable the aircraft is, the harder it is to fly. A perfectly stable aircraft probably wouldn't get off the ground once it got up a full head of steam since the inertial forces would tend to keep it heading right down the runway until it screamed off into the trees. That's why fast, high performance fighter planes are built to be extremely unstable, flyable only by banks of computers that constantly monitor and vector it in the proper direction when the pilot makes slight pressures on the control yoke.
The pilot doesn't fly the airplane; he sends electronic signals to the computer and the computer flies the airplane. But the computer gives something back. It presents displays on video screens of a quasi-virtual world in two dimensions that allow the pilot to understand where he is, what his plane is doing, what other planes are doing, how many other airplanes are nearby, what ground features are in the way, where his target is, how many weapons are on board and what type they are, and gives precise times and angles to deploy them for optimum kill.
Jump back to Building 248, Wright Patterson Air Force Base, Dayton, Ohio and the immediate present. Here technicians are creating the ultimate flying computer. It is not an aircraft; it is a helmet. The world outside the aircraft is presented in two dimensions and in color on the visor inside the helmet via an umbilical cord attached to a computer tucked away somewhere in the airframe. It is called VCASS or Visually Coupled Airborne Systems Simulator. The pilot doesn't even have to see what is outside his airplane from the moment he sits down and turns the key until he opens the lid and climbs out!
Future developments, if not already produced, will incorporate sound to alert the pilot of approaching aircraft so precisely that the pilot need only shift his eyes to that side to "see" the aircraft. Speed, altitude, flight attitude, fuel, heading, ground features, man-made features, weapons stores and more are displayed inside the helmet by tiny video cameras receiving information from sensors located all over the aircraft. The helmet will tell the pilot what kind of aircraft is approaching, its speed, heading, if it is friendly or not, and select the appropriate weapons on standby in case the pilot elects to engage in aerial combat. The computer, like a real-life R2D2 co-pilot will fly the aircraft through tight maneuvers if the pilot blacks out and will perform the necessary evasive tactics until the pilot regains consciousness and resumes control.
So what does all this modern aircraft technology have to do with what happened, or might have happened, near Roswell, New Mexico in 1947? Just this: Doesn't it seems strange that all this amazing technology popped up at the same time? We have an airplane flying around the world in six hours that can take off from the ground, enter space and come back to land at the same airfield. We have exotic new materials to use in the construction of sub space and hyper space aircraft. We have a virtual world display in two dimensions, with sound, going on inside a pilot's helmet. We have aircraft computers so intelligent that they can fly airplanes without assistance from the pilot from lift-off on earth to touchdown on the moon or Mars or beyond. We have laser guided weapons so precise that they can hit single buildings. We have communications devises floating around in space that can guide ships and aircraft to destinations anywhere on this planet, precisely, in total darkness.
Think about this: Why is a super secret aircraft flying around taking pictures of the entire planet? Because someday, in the very near future, the computer in an even newer aircraft is going to have to know where to take the airplane when it returns from an interplanetary journey, and the computer will have to know long before it reaches the Earth's atmosphere.
Computers look at pictures and make two dimensional maps to store in memory. Here is O'Hare, here is JFK, here is Atlanta, here is Dallas, here is Roswell, New Mexico. We'll land there. Or here is Moscow, here is Baghdad. They may be future targets. Friendly or enemy, the two dimensional images will one day be projected inside a pilot's helmet or on the surface of the canopy, or as three- dimensional displays, in color, in mid-air as holograms (and where did that technology come from just when we needed it?) The pilot will open and close "windows", just as graphic artists now do with their Macs and PCs, to select desired features or landing sites, enlarging them for detail or reducing them for an overview by simply raising a finger and pushing a button he believes he sees in the helmet. To anyone outside, it will appear as if he is poking the air.
Impossible? Not at all. You can do it with your home computer if you have the right program. Touch the screen with a stylus and the image changes. Draw pictures with your finger. Stretch it, move it, color it. If the computer is programmed to perform a function when you move your finger, the computer will perform the same or different function if it is programmed to "believe" you have touched a button in mid air that really isn't there, that only exists in the computer's memory! It is being done right now in Building 248 at WPAFB, in Dayton, Ohio, in the USA, and probably in other labs in other countries as well. We are an ace from jumping off this rock and going where no man has gone before.
Before you discount this, consider one last item: Some years ago scientists launched a tiny hunk of iron called Voyager from this planet. Inscribed on its golden skin was the precise address of planet Earth. Inside were the sounds and scenes of earthlings, from songs to poems to whispers and sighs, the very breath and voice of humans and animals right down to the love songs of migrating whales. Carefully patterned directions and arithmetic equations were provided to lead someone back to the launching site. It is now in deep space emitting signals to announce its passing to anyone or anything intelligent enough to hear and understand. Earth scientists expect it to be found and returned!
It does not really matter if flying saucers exist or not. It does not matter much if the Air Force is hiding an alien spacecraft and its pilots or if they are not (frankly, I would opt for the Naval Research Lab in Washington, DC as the final resting place of the Roswell saucer). What matters is that we have obtained the technology, whether as a gift in return for allowing someone to live here or as pure scientific discovery, to create a craft capable of doing most of the things a flying saucer should do.