The Washington Post
July 22, 1952
The Air Force disclosed last night it has received reports of an eerie visitation by unidentified aerial objects - perhaps a new type of "flying saucer" - over the vicinity of the Nation's Capital.
For the first time, so far as known, the objects were picked up by radar - indicating actual substance rather than mere light.
They were described as traveling at a slow 100 to 130 miles per hour - instead of the incredible speed attributed to earlier saucers - although at times they shot up and down.
The objects also were described as hovering in one position.
The Air Force said no planes were sent out in an attempt to intercept the objects, and no sightings were reported by Operation Skywatch, the round-the-clock Civilian Defense ground operation now underway.
The Air Force said it has received only a preliminary report, and therefore does not know why no attempt at interception was made.
The air traffic control center at Washington National Airport, reported its radar operators picked up eight of the slow-moving objects about midnight last saturday. They were flying in the vicinity of nearby Andrews Air Force Base.
The center said Capital Airlines Flight 807, southbound from National Airport, reported seeing seven objects between Washington and Martinsburg, W. Va., at 3:15 a.m.. the same night.
Capital Airlines said the pilot, Cat. "Casey" Pierman of Detroit, 17 years with the company, described the objects in these words: "They were like falling stars without tails."
Picked up Blips
Company officials said the airport picked up radar "blips" - contact with aerial objects - and asked Capt. Pierman to keep a watch out for any unusual objects in the sky.
Shortly thereafter, officials said, Pierman reported back to the dispatcher's tower that he had spotted a group of objects.
Pierman, then flying at normal cruising speed of 180 to 200 m.p.h., reported the objects were traveling with "tremendous vertical speed" - moving rapidly up and down - and then suddenly changing pace until they seemed to hang motionless in the sky.
Officials said Pierman made only a routine report of the incident.
The eight objects picked up by Air Force radar were said to be traveling at slightly more than 100 m.p.h.
The airport traffic control center said another Capital-National Airlines Flight 610, reported observing a light following it from Herndon, Va. about 20 airline miles from Washington, to within four miles of National Airport.
"This information has been relayed to the proper Air Force authorities and the Air Force is investigating the matter," the announcement said.
Earlier, the Air Force said it is receiving flying saucer reports this summer at a rate of 100 a month, higher than at any time since the initial flood of sightings in 1947.