Kenneth A. Arnold is an American aviator and businessman, best known for the first widely reported unidentified flying object which has been sighted in the United States, who had claimed that he had seen around 9 unusual objects flying in a chainon June 24, 1947, near Mount Rainer, Washington.
The Kenneth Arnold UFO sighting took place when a private pilot envisaged a string on nine shiny unidentified flying objects flying at speeds that he estimated being at 1,200 miles an hour. This was the first post War glimpses in the United States which garnered news coverage nationwide and is credited to be the first of the modern era of UFO sightings which included various reported sights for over the next two to three weeks.
Arnold’s description of these objects resulted in the press considering the terms flying saucer and flying disc as popular descriptive terms for UFOs. On the day of June 24, it is said that Arnold had been flying on a business trip, from Chehalis, Washington to Yakima, Washington in a CallAir A-2 and had made a brief detour on learning of a $5,000 reward for the discovery of a U.S. Marine Corps C-46 transport airplane which had crashed near Mount Rainier.
The skies were quite clear with a mild wind when a few minutes before 3.00 pm, at around 9,200 feet, in altitude and near Mineral, Washington, he finally gave up his search and headed eastward towards Yakima. It was then that he spotted bright flashing light similar to sunlight reflecting from a mirror and being afraid of being dangerously close to another aircraft, he scanned the skies around but could only see a DC-4 towards his left and behind him around 15 miles away.
After about thirty seconds on seeing the first flash of light, Arnold then saw a series of bright flashes towards his left in the far distance or north of Mount Rainier which was then around 20 to 25 miles. He wondered that it could be the reflections on his airplane’s window though with few more, quick tests like rocking his airplane from side to side, removing his eyeglasses and later rolling down his side window, he ruled it out.
The reflections were from the flying objects which flew in a long chain and for a moment he speculated them to be a flock of geese, though this too was ruled out due to the altitude, bright glint as well as the fast speed. He then considered it to be a new kind of a jet and took a keen interest for more details on the mysterious object.
Arnold later identified the source of the flashes which were a series of fast moving objects and described them as silvery and shiny. The most amazing aspect of the object was the absence of a tail that appeared like a pie plate which meant that the object seemed to have a raised top or cupola on them and also closely fits with that of the large UFO photographed at the time of the Battle of Los Angeles.
Though in a 1930 UFO report in Texas, the term saucer was used, it was actually meant to indicate the relative size of the object from arm’s length and Arnold had informed that the objects moved like saucers when skipped across the water.
He indicated how the objects bounced across the atmosphere and not the shape of the object but it was reported by Bill Bequette’s report on AP news wire as `flying saucer’, to describe the object shape, a phrase which was coined.
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