▶ The Mantell UFO Incident
On January 7 1948 a National Guard pilot, Captain Thomas F. Mantell, was killed in a plane crash while in pursuit of a UFO. This was one of the most publicized early reports of a UFO sighting. Referred to as the Mantell UFO incident, it is surrounded in mystery. What happened up there? Captain Mantell gave a description of what he saw shortly before his plane crashed, lets take a look.
Mantell described an object which he said
"looks metallic and of tremendous size,"
There are conflicting sources to this statement as there is disagreement between the air traffic controllers as to whether or not he actually said this. However Mantell decided to follow it and disappeared into the clouds.
"It’s still above me, making my speed or better. I’m going up to twenty thousand feet. If I’m no closer, I’ll abandon chase."
This was his last report before his fighter crashed. The thing that he had been chasing had vanished. What was he chasing? There are several explanations that were released.
The first explanation released by the Air Force was that he had misidentified the planet Venus, however at the time of day, it would have been invisible to observers.
The second explanation was the Skyhook Balloon. It was suggested that Mantell had misidentified a US Navy Skyhook weather balloon, however it is disputed because no particular Skyhook balloon could have been identified as being in the area. However despite that it matches the description as they were made of aluminum and 100 feet in diameter. Skyhook balloons were secret at the time of Mantell’s ill fated flight, so he would not have been able to identify it as a Skyhook balloon. Furthermore, later research showed that the air currents could have blown the balloons close to the area of the Mantell incident.
If it WAS a Skyhook balloon, the Air Force wouldn’t have wanted to admit it for security reasons as well as admitting a Department of Defense program resulted in the dispatch and death of a Kentucky Air National Guard pilot.
It must also be noted, while Mantell was an experienced pilot, he was rather new to the P-51 and that could have been a factor in the crash.
I have included some links for your perusal, the first two are where I gleaned most of my information from. Go ahead and make your own judgements.