many that the sight of a UFO no longer even especially interested them. And the things that they saw couldn't be explained.
For example: On January 16, 1951, two people from General Mills and four people from Artesia, New Mexico, were watching a skyhook balloon from the Artesia airport.
They had been watching the balloon off and on for about an hour when one of the group saw two tiny specks on the horizon, off to the northwest. He pointed them out to
the others because two airplanes were expected into the airport, and he thought that these might be the airplanes. But as they watched, the two specks began to move in
fast, and within a few seconds the observers could see that "the airplanes" were actually two round, dull white objects flying in close formation. The two
objects continued to come in and headed straight toward the balloon. When they reached the balloon they circled it once and flew off to the northwest, where they
disappeared over the horizon. As the two UFO's circled the balloon, they tipped on edge and the observers saw that they were disk-shaped.
When the two UFO's were near the balloon, the observers also had a chance to compare the size of the UFO's with the size of the balloon. If the UFO's were as close to
the balloon as they appeared to be they would have been 60 feet in diameter.
After my visit to General Mills, Inc., I couldn't help remembering a magazine article I'd read about a year before. It said that there was not a single reliable UFO
report that couldn't be attributed to a skyhook balloon.
I'd been back at ATIC only a few days when I found myself packing up to leave again. This time it was for New York. A high-priority wire had come into ATIC describing
how a Navy pilot had chased a UFO over Mitchel AFB, on Long Island. It was a good report.
I remember the trip to New York because my train passed through Elizabeth, New Jersey, early in the morning, and I could see the fires caused by an American Airlines
Convair that had crashed. This was the second of the three tragic Elizabeth, New Jersey, crashes.
The morning before, on January 21, a Navy pilot had taken off from Mitchel in a TBM. He was a lieutenant commander, had flown in World War II, and was now an engineer
at the Navy Special Devices Center on Long Island. At nine-fifty he had cleared the traffic pattern and was at about 2,500 feet, circling around the airfield. He was
southeast of the field when he first noticed an object below him and "about three runway lengths off the end of Runway 30." The object looked like the top of
a parachute canopy, he told me; it was white and he thought he could see the wedges or panels. He said that he thought that it was