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On The UFO Trail
September 1998

By Paul Norman
© Copyright 1997.

The relatives of Captain Thomas Mantell who lost his life during an encounter with an Unidentified Flying Disc on the 7th January, 1948, are attempting to encourage the U.S. Government to set the record straight with regard to his encounter.

His experience was one of the first fatal encounters which occurred over the state of Kentucky, when scores of witnesses observed a UFO near Godman Air Force Base. There were four Air National Guard P51 Mustang Aircraft flying nearby and were directed to investigate. Three of the pilots turned back but Captain Mantell kept on in pursuit. His last words were it was a flying disc and he was flying in to take a better look. His aircraft came down in pieces before it hit the ground

Years later, I interviewed the foreman of a power line maintenance crew who witnessed the crash. He confirmed that the craft was in pieces before it hit the ground. I also checked with the editor of the local newspaper at Franklin, Kentucky near where the encounter took place. He said he first knew of the incident when a Contingent from the Military came to his office looking for witnesses who had observed the flying disc.

The first explanation was that Captain Mantel was chasing the Planet Venus. But if true, that Planet was out of orbit flying majestically below the clouds of Earth. The explanation was quickly changed to a balloon. Those to explanations have been switched back and forth but to Captain Mantell and investigators actually involved, the object was not referred to as anything other than a flying disc.


Kinross Air Force Base 1953.

On 23rd November, 1953, a UFO was detected by radar at Kinross Air Force Base in Michigan. An F89c Jet was scrambled from the base to intercept the unknown object. The pilot was First Lt. Felix Moncla and radar observer Robert Wilson. They were vectored to the proximity of the UFO. As they drew near the object, first there was a lot of static then radio communication failed altogether. However, the blip of the UFO and that of the interceptor merged on the radarscope for twenty seconds then disappeared.

The area was searched under the direction of the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Air Force.
No trace of aircraft and airmen was ever found.


The Killian incident took place on the night of February 24, 1959 when an American Airlines flight from Newark New Jersey to Detroit Michigan reported three lights over Pennsylvania at 8.20 pm. The lights were also seen from at least two other flights further to the south as well as by the tower operators in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. The first debunking explanation was that it was an aerial fuelling operation. Before Capt. Killian was silenced, he provided a lot of information proving it was not at the authorised altitude at which refueling operations took place.

The case made headlines and threw the Air Force into a frenzy with several accusations including "those who report flying saucers had one too many." However, a scientific and more detailed re-examination of the files revealed that the Air Force was more eager to produce an excuse rather than be interested in what actually happened. As a result of this case a group of airline pilots held a meeting of protest. One of the pilots speaking for the group stated. "We report such cases as these and when we land we are interviewed for hours. We are tired and want to get home to our families. We are threatened not to make statements and told the thing that paced our aircraft for fifteen minutes was a bolt of lightning". He said "nuts to this big brother attitude, who needs it". Another said he would not report UFOs if they were flying wing tip formation. The Capt. Killian encounter occurred during the same time of other reports including the case I was investigating in Tennessee.

CUBA 1967.

March 1967, Cuban radar detected a UFO in their local air space. Two MIG jets were scrambled and vectored to the location. Radio communications were monitored between the pilots and Cuban base. Conversation was heard at the Key West U.S. Naval listening station. The leading pilot reported that he sighted the UFO. His first instruction was to challenge for identification. Of course no response. He was then directed to fire on the object, which he did. The second pilot started to shout that the UFO flew along side of the leading jet, which disintegrated. The 2nd jet disappeared also. Although the incident occurred in 1967, I had the opportunity to visit Key West in 1994, where it was confirmed to me that the encounter had indeed occurred.

Last Updated: January, 1999
Copyright © 1996 Victorian U.F.O. Research Society Inc.
P.O. Box 1043 Moorabbin Victoria, Australia 3189
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