Two months after the Edwards AFB sighting, there occurs one of the most famous sightings in Blue Book History. On July 17, 1957 a RB-47 detects simultaneously visually and by radar an unknown while flying from eastern Louisiana into north Texas. The unknown is also detected by ground radar.
The RB-47 was the Air Force's state-of-the-art bomber converted to a research aircraft with electronic countermeasures (E.C.M) equipment onboard. In addition to a pilot, co-pilot, and navigator, there were three E.C.M officers specially trained in the use of E.C.M equipment and radar. What makes this case even more intriguing is that the E.C.M officers detect a radar signal beamed to their aircraft supposedly by the unknown.
One would think that the E.C.M data, the logs, and all manner of information would be available in this case. But as in all interesting cases, the AF has not kept the critical information. But there is an interesting note in the Project Blue Book files that makes one wonder if the AF investigators really wanted to find the truth. It is a letter written to then head of Project Blue Book, Capt. G.T. Gregory. It begins with, "This report is difficult to evaluate because there is such a mass of evidence which tends to all tie in together to indicate the presence of a physical object or UFO." This almost reads like the author is saying he has too much evidence to be able to discount the UFO as if that was his goal from the beginning. I would hate to hear what any of my college professors would have said if I had told them that I couldn't complete a lab report because I had too much evidence
There is too much detail to provide justice to this case here. Dr. James McDonald first analyzed the case, followed by debunker journalist Klass (Chapters 19 and 20 of Klass' 1974 book UFOs Explained), and most recently by aerospace researcher Brad Sparks. A copy of Sparks' paper can be found at the NICAP site:
An updated version is available in the 3rd Edition of the UFO Encyclopedia by Jerome Clark. Having read all three papers, I would side with Sparks' version making the most sense based on the math involved in determining the path of the RB-47 as well as the qualifications of the E.C.M officers. IMHO, there are too many assumptions in the Klass article to make it tenable. One can always explain any case with a multiplicative combination of very unlikely possibilities. But as one chains together very unlikely possibilities, the resultant explanation's likelihood begins to approach zero. And as Sparks points out, the likelihood of the RB-47 being in the locations needed for the Klass explanation has already reached zero. But the reader can decide for themselves by reading all three papers. credit The UFO Files Group F.B