two-bit words for false radar targets caused by weather.
The first problem in analyzing reports of UFO's being picked up on radar is to determine if the weather conditions are right to give anomalous propagation. This can be
determined by putting weather data into a formula. If they are, then it is necessary to determine whether the radar targets were real or caused by the weather. This is
the difficult job. In most cases the only answer is the appearance of the target on the radar-scope. Many times a weather target will be a fuzzy and indistinct spot on
the scope while a real target, an airplane for example, will be bright and sharp. This question of whether a target looked real is the cause of the majority of the
arguments about radar-detected UFO's because it is up to the judgment of the radar operator as to what the target looked like. And whenever human judgment is involved
in a decision, there is plenty of room for an argument.
All during the early summer of 1951 Lieutenant Cummings "fought the syndicate" trying to make the UFO respectable. All the time I was continuing to get my
indoctrination. Then one day with the speed of a shotgun wedding, the long-overdue respectability arrived. The date was September 12, 1951, and the exact time was
On this date and time a teletype machine at Wright-Patterson AFB began to chatter out a message. Thirty-six inches of paper rolled out of the machine before the
operator ripped off the copy, stamped it Operational Immediate, and gave it to a special messenger to deliver to ATIC. Lieutenant Cummings got the message. The report
was from the Army Signal Corps radar center at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, and it was red-hot.
The incident had started two days before, on September 10, at 11:10A.M., when a student operator was giving a demonstration to a group of visiting brass at the radar
school. He demonstrated the set under manual operation for a while, picking up local air traffic, then he announced that he would demonstrate automatic tracking, in
which the set is put on a target and follows it without help from the operator. The set could track objects flying at jet speeds.
The operator spotted an object about 12,000 yards southeast of the station, flying low toward the north. He tried to switch the set to automatic tracking. He failed,
tried again, failed again. He turned to his audience of VIPs, embarrassed.
"It's going too fast for the set," he said. "That means it's going faster than a jet!"
A lot of very important eyebrows lifted. What flies faster than a jet?
The object was in range for three minutes and the operator kept trying, without success, to get into automatic track. The target finally went off the scope,