On June 24th, 1947, Kenneth Arnold was flying his private plane in the area of Mount Rainier in Washington State. Just another flight for this experienced pilot and business man. Little did he know, that this was not going to be “just another flight”.
As he was looking out his windows, he suddenly saw nine, as he describes them, half-moon shaped, oval in front and sort of convex triangle shaped in the back, objects. Flying in formation in the area of Mount Rainier. Sometimes in a later interview, Arnold described the objects as crescent shaped, or a flying wing. Over time, he gave slightly different descriptions, but still adhering to his original statements. Being an experienced pilot he estimated their speed at about 1200 mph, by estimating the distance between two mountain tops he was familiar with, and the time it took the objects to cover it. As to the flight characteristics, he said they were looking a bit unstable, bouncing up and down like a saucer skipping on water.
Out of those different yet similar descriptions, it was actually THE PRESS that coined the phrase “Flying Saucer”, and not Kenneth Arnold. He also mentioned that he had seen flying saucers on several other occasions. So, as we can see, Kenneth Arnold is not the father of the phrase “Flying Saucer”, and furthermore, in this instance he didn’t see any flying discs or UFOs either. So, what did he see?
He actually saw a squadron of world war two, German made Horton 18 Jet bombers, the first “FLYING WINGS”! Unfortunately we can post any pictures here, but if you Google for it, you can easily find pics of sketches based on Arnold’s description, as well as pics about the German Horton 18 and today’s Flying wing bombers. Or, you can go to my blog, by using the link in the Authors box below.
Keep in mind, that all this happened very close to the Roswell crash and 2 years after world war two ended. As we all know, the Germans had highly advanced technology, which was way ahead of the Western Allies. By the end of the war, the Americans and Russians basically split the spoils of war, and each side got their share of German scientists and hardware.
You can rest assured that by the time Arnold observed the crafts, American and German scientists and engineers had made some improvements to the original design. That’s the reason, why, when you compare pictures of the original German version and the sketches based on Arnolds descriptions look slightly different, but still have the characteristic wing shape.
The reason that the crafts looked like they were skipping on water, was due to the fact that flying wings are very unstable in their flight characteristics. This holds true even to our modern versions of the stealth wing shaped bombers. The difference is, that today’s versions have a flight management computer, who compensates for the instability, quicker than a person could. Back then, there was no flight computer, and that’s why the aircraft were bouncing up and down.
Regarding the speed of about 1200 mph, as estimated by Arnold, fits right in with the real data from the German designers.
Most likely, it was an entire squadron of aircraft that were transferred from one air force base to another, flying through remote area, in order to avoid being seen by the public.
So, there you have it. That’s pretty much what really happened. While Kenneth Arnold never really coined the phrase, his name will still be forever linked to the term “Flying Saucer”.