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Tim Hebert

1968 Minot AFB UFO: B52-H Radar Return

171 posts in this topic

As stated in another thread, I've started a new thread for the purpose of discussing a segment of the 1968 Minot UFO event. I've been researching this case for close to a year and would appreciate a discussion with forum members concerning the B-52H capturing of a radar return during it's fly over of the flight area of the 742 Strategic Missile Squadron, Minot AFB, North Dakota.

I've broken down the encounter into various segments:

1. Missile Maintenance Teams observations.

2. November Security Alarm Team's observations.

3. November Flight Security Controller's observations.

4. Other squadron Launch Control Facilities observations.

5. B-52-H's pilot and co-pilot observations, loss of UHF radio transmission capability, and radar returns that was captured and photographed by the radar navigator and navigator on board the aircraft.

All filled out AF-117s (Sighting of Unidentified Phenomena Questionnaire) with the exception of the co-pilot and the rest of the B-52H's crew.

Blue Book attributed the radar blip and UHF issues to possible plasma/ball lightning. The problem that I have with this conclusion is that none of the ground personnel described such a phenomena.

What I'm interested in is the radar return phenomena. What was the source if any? I'm not a radar expert, so I'm hoping for sensible feedback and serious discussion from the group.

The radar configuration on the B-52H was the ASQ-38 and various components or integrated systems:

Radar Beacon AN/APN-09(?) Doppler Radar

Bomb Navigation System AN/ASB-9A

Attack Radar AN/APQ-155 Attack Radar

All of the above was integrated into a complete system, ASQ-38, it was an analog system at the time.

Below are some details which I've summarized:

Memo for Record by FTD's (Blue Book) Lt. Marano, 24 Oct 1968, 1730, "UFO Observation, Minot AFB, ND 24 Oct 1968.

Crew of B-52 sighted and photographed UFO. About 0300 hours local, B--52, 39 miles NW of MAFB sighted an unidentified blip on their radar. Target traveled 2 1/2 miles in 3 seconds or 3000 mph. Passed from right to left of plane and assumed position off of left wing. Radar blip stayed off left wing for approximately 20 miles then broke off. Scope photographs taken. When target close to aircraft, both transmitters did not work, but operated normally after the radar blip broke off...

The B-52H had two identical UHF radios (primary and auxiliary). The lost the ability to transmit, but could receive radio traffic. How does this play into the radar contact? Why only lose transmit versus reception, or both?

Review of the RAPCON (Radar Approach Control) transcripts show the following:

1. 0335 - pilot states that "Roger, I see a...." Sees what?

2. 0352 - Pilot reports, "Nothing on our airborne radar...pretty thick haze right now and unable to see out that way.

3. 0358 - 0902 - B52 has radio transmit outage lasting 4 minutes. Per pilot, "Our UFO was off to our left when we started penetration...We had a radar return at about a mile and 1/4, 9 o'clock position.

Keep in mind that this was a radar return, no one on board the aircraft had a visual off the object. No one on the ground, based on their respective AF-117s had described such an observation, that is their observation differed markedly.

Weather for that early morning was "misty, temp 28-29 F, winds 5-10 knots. There was a temperature inversion in effect.

This should help set the stage. Again, what I'm hoping that we can discuss (formulate a coherent conclusion) is the possible causes of the radar blip, and if related to the UHF transmission outage.

I apologize for being initially long winded...

Kind Regards,

Tim Hebert

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Crew of B-52 sighted and photographed UFO.

Is that photo available anywhere?

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Is that photo available anywhere?

Is that photo available anywhere?

Yes, the photos are available on Fold3.com "Minot UFO 1968" and on Tom Tulien's site Minot B-52 UFO.org (?) The photos are very difficult to understand, from my standpoint.

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Ugh. I don't want to sign up to the site to see them.

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Its also possible that the photos may be available via another past thread here at UM...

When I get some free time, I'll search and see...

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To my limited knowledge of such things it does sound like EM interference which would be in line with the Blue Book conclusion. You said that there may be a discrepancy from ground witnesses, could you elaborate on that?

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To my limited knowledge of such things it does sound like EM interference which would be in line with the Blue Book conclusion. You said that there may be a discrepancy from ground witnesses, could you elaborate on that?

EM? Certainly possible, but from what source? If we have a plasma event, ball lightning, then this would have been observed by the numerous ground personnel, ie. missile maintenance team and the numerous security personnel that was observing the sky, at least I would think that such a thing would be highly noticable during the night. The AF-117s do not describe a ball lightning phenomena, they describe bright lights similar to the landing lights of the B-52 that was over flying the area...or a KC-135.

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I forgot to state in the intro, both the aircraft's radar and radio sets were never pulled from the aircraft for system checkouts. There is no record that anyone from the Bomb Wing had reviewed past maintenance records and forwarded to Blue Book. Lt Col Werlich, Minot's UFO Officer, had stated that since the radio regained transmission capability, maintenance personnel felt no need to do a system checkout. Werlich had no answer as to why the radar set was not pulled from the aircraft...

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Tim are you referring to the photo of the radar screen ? This case has been run thru the ringer in here,But Its good to re-cap it for the New people for sure

Welcome to the Show ! Keep looking up ! :tu:

justDONTEATUS

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EM? Certainly possible, but from what source? If we have a plasma event, ball lightning, then this would have been observed by the numerous ground personnel, ie. missile maintenance team and the numerous security personnel that was observing the sky, at least I would think that such a thing would be highly noticable during the night. The AF-117s do not describe a ball lightning phenomena, they describe bright lights similar to the landing lights of the B-52 that was over flying the area...or a KC-135.

As far as I'm aware plasmas don't necessarily have to be a single source of illumination. I believe that there have been plasmas documented at Hessdalen that were comprised of more than one 'light'

Do you have a link to the witness documentation, I'd like to look over it if you don't mind?

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Tim are you referring to the photo of the radar screen ? This case has been run thru the ringer in here,But Its good to re-cap it for the New people for sure

Welcome to the Show ! Keep looking up ! :tu:

justDONTEATUS

Yes I am, and I do recall that this was discussed sometime ago here. Thanks for the reminder.

Forget fold3.com, Tom Tulien's site, http://minotb52ufo.com/ has all of the info that is needed, as well as the photos and analysis. Tom and I had a lengthy conversation over on my blog site this past summer and fall concerning my proposed methodologies.

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As far as I'm aware plasmas don't necessarily have to be a single source of illumination. I believe that there have been plasmas documented at Hessdalen that were comprised of more than one 'light'

Do you have a link to the witness documentation, I'd like to look over it if you don't mind?

You may well be right. Link on to http://minotb52ufo.com/ and go to "documentation", Tulien has downloaded BBs documentation that also covers all of the AF-117s as well as all of the memo for records that passed between Minot and BB. I've verified that Tom's copies of BB documents are the same as what was up on Fold3s BB collection. Tom's copies are much more readible and pleasing to the eye.

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It sounds like Hessdalen-like Plasma phenomena. Much like what the MoD's Condign report discussed.

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DId someone can any of that Hessdalen plasma ? I want a Gar of it to play tricks on the u/m ers ! :tu:

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It sounds like Hessdalen-like Plasma phenomena. Much like what the MoD's Condign report discussed.

Ok, then we're looking basically at a plasma phenomena (ball lightning?). During the summer I had looked at numerous scientific papers discussing the phenomena...charged or ionized air/water particles. I got the impression that this is a rare event, but this is the conclusion drawn by the experts at WPAFB-FTD analyzing what data was sent to them via Minot.

I looked at Massimo Teodorani's paper,http://www.scientificexploration.org/journal/jse_18_2_teodorani.pdf, "A Long-Term Scientific Survey of the Hessdalen Phenomena".

"The ‘‘Hessdalen Lights’’ reported in the Hessdalen valley in Central Norway represent a prototype of atmospheric luminous phenomena." This would be a visible phenomena(?), plus this begs the question: Is Hessdalen a special case based on geographical location?

"During that campaign, it was also demonstrated that these lights

often produce a strong radar signature with a peculiar behavior. Once a bright

light was radar-tracked moving at 8500 m/s (the radar was working at k¼3 cm).

On another occasion, a light phenomenon under constant visual observation

showed up on radar only on every second sweep of the radar dish. In most cases

when radar was recording a track, no visual or photographic observation was

reported (Strand, 1985; Teodorani & Strand, 2001)."

This would be somewhat consistent with a possible event with the B-52's radar and the lack of visual observation on the ground, assuming the the objects observed from ground level was the B-52 itself and the initial observed phenomena by the maintenance team and security teams.

I'm inclined to merge both the radar blip and the UHF transmission outage as caused by the same disturbance. The radar encounter and UHF transmit outage occurred and ended at the same time, 4 minutes in duration.

I'm aware (my Masters Thesis 1991) that UHF waves can be effected by atmospheric moisture, solar winds, geographical obstructions. True that charged particles can reflect some radio waves. Tropospheric ducting (atmosphere warming and cooling), as well as temperature inversions (increase warm air with increasing height/altitude can cause signal to be bent.

That's all fine and dandy, but why loss of transmission only capability? Why not both transmit and receive?

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Hey Tim,

There are some interesting Papers by M. Teodorani over on the NARCAP site that you should check out if you haven't already. One discusses at least ~50 other known hotspots where the Phenomena reoccurs more often. Although the Phenomena is not confined to these locations and can occur less frequently/ rarely anywhere.

It isn't the same thing as Ball Lightning, which are short lived and associated with storms as far as I know.

I think one of the other Papers discusses potential EM effects which may help you determine the transmission/reception question you asked which is well above my proverbial pay grade.

I'm using my outdated phone for net access right now so I can't re-read those Papers right now for myself but have a look and see if they help answer the question.

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Tim,

Maybe the info I remember was just in the one Paper by Teodorani, (2.4) in the Technical Report labeled Project Sphere on the Narcap site.

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nice thread... thanks tim :tu:

Totally, we have 36 radar recordings. Three of those were probably also seen as lights. All the others were not observed visually. Nine times we could follow this reflection on the radar screen, travelling on a nearly straight line. We have taken pictures out in the air, where the radar screen said there was something. But the pictures didn't show anything unusual.

continued

which reminds me of the rb-47 case.... the object disappeared visually whilst still being tracked on radar... :alien:

Edited by mcrom901
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Optical living time has been observed from milliseconds up to two hours, while radar detection has confirmed

living times up to four hours while invisible in the optical range. The radar reflections indicate a huge reflecting

area, pointing towards the presence of ionisation inside the luminous balls. The radar echoes seem not to

decay when the phenomena’s invisible state appears. The “bubbles” seems to come out of thin air, and the

horizontal movement has similarities to standing waves. Analyses of the phenomena’s optical spectrum indicate

a high-energy state where the phenomena mostly are radiating in the UV range, with a spectrum shape similar

to the Vega star. An ionized “bubble” radiating in the UV spectrum may explain the invisible state, but how this

energy build up can take place is still to be found.

http://www.uapreporting.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/EGU2011-BGH-Abstract-13262.pdf

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Tim,

Maybe the info I remember was just in the one Paper by Teodorani, (2.4) in the Technical Report labeled Project Sphere on the Narcap site.

L.S,

Thanks much for the info, I've done a cursory check on-line for Teodorani and have come across a few of his papers. I find his 2004 paper, which I had provided a link to in a previous post, to be the most interesting as he provides a graph that shows a spike in the phenomena with increase solar activity.

Tim

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Optical living time has been observed from milliseconds up to two hours, while radar detection has confirmed

living times up to four hours while invisible in the optical range. The radar reflections indicate a huge reflecting

area, pointing towards the presence of ionisation inside the luminous balls. The radar echoes seem not to

decay when the phenomena’s invisible state appears. The “bubbles” seems to come out of thin air, and the

horizontal movement has similarities to standing waves. Analyses of the phenomena’s optical spectrum indicate

a high-energy state where the phenomena mostly are radiating in the UV range, with a spectrum shape similar

to the Vega star. An ionized “bubble” radiating in the UV spectrum may explain the invisible state, but how this

energy build up can take place is still to be found.

http://www.uapreport...tract-13262.pdf

Optical living time has been observed from milliseconds up to two hours, while radar detection has confirmed

living times up to four hours while invisible in the optical range. The radar reflections indicate a huge reflecting

area, pointing towards the presence of ionisation inside the luminous balls. The radar echoes seem not to

decay when the phenomena’s invisible state appears. The “bubbles” seems to come out of thin air, and the

horizontal movement has similarities to standing waves. Analyses of the phenomena’s optical spectrum indicate

a high-energy state where the phenomena mostly are radiating in the UV range, with a spectrum shape similar

to the Vega star. An ionized “bubble” radiating in the UV spectrum may explain the invisible state, but how this

energy build up can take place is still to be found.

http://www.uapreport...tract-13262.pdf

mcrom901,

Very interesting info, and agree with your other post referencing the RB-47 case...

Hessdalen appears to be an on-going phenomena, strange, yet a natural occurrence. What's different about North Dakota? At least that's what I've been asking myself. Suppose that this really is a sporadic but normal occurrence for North Dakota, ie the Minot region? Could this explain, rather loosely, some of the previous UFO sightings in the area, ie, 1966-67 to 1968? I wrote a blog article on David Schuur's experience while on alert at Minot back in 1967 during a UFO incident. I'd have to review that case to look for similarities.

Tim

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mcrom901,

Very interesting info, and agree with your other post referencing the RB-47 case...

Hessdalen appears to be an on-going phenomena, strange, yet a natural occurrence. What's different about North Dakota? At least that's what I've been asking myself. Suppose that this really is a sporadic but normal occurrence for North Dakota, ie the Minot region? Could this explain, rather loosely, some of the previous UFO sightings in the area, ie, 1966-67 to 1968? I wrote a blog article on David Schuur's experience while on alert at Minot back in 1967 during a UFO incident. I'd have to review that case to look for similarities.

Tim

Hey Tim,

In my opinion it could explain the events during the time frame. I don't know that something has to be different for the phenomena to be present. So far there is no true consencus that I know of to explain why the Phenomena occured/occurs in Hessdalen or any of the other "hotspots" that have been identified.

Hessdalen is just the place that had a "flap" and science got involved. Other "flaps" seem like Hessdalen like the one that occured in the fall of 1977 around the state of Beliem, Brazil (Colares).

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Whynotminot,

That's quite interesting as an explaination, but I'm curious as to why the "UFO" itself isn't explained as an atmospheric Plasma? Or did I just not see that yet? It seems to be the logical conclusion.

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