Kenneth Arnold Sighting

Kenneth Arnold, a respected pilot and fire-control-equipment salesman, was flying a Callair near Mineral, Washington just before 3 PM on June 24, 1947.  He noticed flashes of light from a formation of nine bright objects moving south toward Mt. Rainier.  "They were flying in an echelon, with the lead object at a higher elevation than the rest."  He began clocking their speed as they passed over Mt. Rainier and moved on to Mt. Adams.  Using the known distance and time interval, he calculated a figure of 2700 kph.  When first sighted they were about 160 km away.  As he moved toward them, he got within 40 km of them.  As they swerved in and out of the smaller mountain peaks, flipping from side to side in unison and presenting their lateral surfaces, they reflected the bright afternoon sunlight, causing the flashes.  All but one of the objects looked like flat discs; the other, darker than the rest, resembled a crescent.  They were last seen heading south over the last high peak of Mt. Adams, and had been in view about two and a half minutes.  Arnold later flew along the path which the nine objects had taken -- dashed line in the graphic -- and deduced that they had formed a chain about 8 km long.  Arnold told reporters that the objects' movement reminded him of a flat rock bouncing up and down as it skipped across water.  Newspaper headlines substituted "Flying Saucer" to describe this motion, and the term appeared subsequently in other UFO reports.  Source: The UFO Encyclopedia, pgs. 2:216-19.  Map courtesy DeLorme, Inc.