Wednesday, April 25, 2007

A Roswell Explanation Full of Hot Air

Not satisfied with offering wholly unsubstantiated explanations for the RB-47 case and Socorro, the UFO Iconoclast(s) (i.e. the discredited RRR Group) now seem to be offering an explanation for the Roswell incident that is, literally, full of hot air. I suppose, as everyone else is chattering about Roswell this year, they have a right to get their two cents worth in too. It's a free country, after all.

Their suggestion (these guys never actually come out an take a real stand) is that what crashed might have been a US Navy dirigible. Now, as you look at the non-rigid blimps pictured above, one can easily imagine that they may have been the cause of more than a few UFO sightings over the years, whether private or government launched versions - the Navy was using various dirigibles in a number of ways until 1962, for example. Some large radar airships could stay aloft almost indefinitely. One of the ships established the world record for flight endurance of eleven days. In March of 1957, the Snow Bird, commanded by Cmdr. J. R. Hunt, one of the Navy's ZPG-2 airships, flew from Weymouth, Massachusetts to Europe and on to Africa ending at Key West, Florida without refueling or landing. It's not quite Phineas Fogg, but was still quite an achievement at the time.

All very interesting, but what does it have to do with the Roswell incident?

Nothing - but the Iconoclast(s) are suggesting that one crashed near Roswell in July, 1947 (no doubt looking to stir the pot, which is their sole raison d'etre), and that this was what the Roswell incident was really all about. Of course, with them it's all "wink wink, nudge nudge, call us for our secret password to our super-secret bona fide researcher site", which is like playing Texas Hold 'Em with a guy who says he's won, reaches for the pot, but won't show his hand (guess how long he gets to sit at the table doing that).

Anyway, this is hardly an original idea, which should come as no surprise given the past offerings thrown out their by the Iconoclast(s) / RRR Group, who seem to view UFO research / commentary as some sort of Jackson Pollock painting, only without Pollock's sense of over-arching purpose. Speculation of the "dirigible" angle can be found here, for example (scroll down).

Further, as a commenter has pointed out at their blog, they mislead their readers with the picture they've put up, which is not of the kind of non-rigid airship that the US Navy was flying in 1947 (especially the M-class blimps the Iconoclast(s) specifically refer to), but rather of the USS Macon, a rigid dirgible that crashed in 1935. That's the rough equivalent of putting a picture of Ronald Reagan up when you're talking about George Bush.

Here is the interchange between "Hollis" and the "Iconoclast(s)":

If you're going to do blurbs on subjects such as this, at least do a little homework first and not be so misleading. The photo you used is one of the USS Macon, a ZRS-5 class DIRIGIBLE, circi 1931, which is not even remotely related to the M-series NON-rigid BLIMPS of the 1947 era. A blimp is merely a 'gas-bag', such as a hot air balloon, which encloses a volume of lighter-than-air gaseous material such as helium.

And yes, the M series blimps operated out of Almagordo, NM, since a primary helium production plant was located there. (it was a classified secret facility at that time). A lot of testing, including actual flights, was done using various ratios of hydrogen and helium. So of course, any lightning strike to the gas bag could easily cause a catastrophic explosion.


RRRGroup said...

We used the blimp picture here for illustrative purposes only.

The one, small picture we have of the Navy blimp you reference shows only the tip of the craft.

We're going through the dirigible photos we've accumulated for the Goodyear series tested by the Navy.
Huh? They're trying to find a picture of an M-class blimp by going through the drigible photos they've accumulated?

Notice how they're trying to pretend they have expertise and resources that perhaps others don't.

Look, guys, it's not that hard - all you had to do was Google "M-Class blimp". Here's what one looks like:

It wasn't hard at all. If the Iconoclast(s) had a clue about what they're talking about, they would have found this photo, or one like it, of the proper airship, in five minutes or so. I'd tell them where to find this photo, but I think it's time they actually did some looking on their own.

Some of the paranormal news services, like the Anomalist, reference the posts of the Iconoclast(s). I can only assume they do so in order to offer a humourous break from the serious stories, because that's all the stuff offered up by the Iconoclast(s) is good for.

Paul Kimball
Addendum: April 26 - The Iconoclast(s) have now changed the photo they had from the USS Macon to the picture shown above. I guess it's a good thing for them that I didn't squirrel the photo away at my super-secret, password protected site for bona fide UFO researchers. Of course, this doesn't change the fact that their Roswell "trial balloon" is anything other than a colossal waste of time. There are photos on the Internet of crashed blimps and dirigibles (look them up yourself, boys), which are immediately recognizable as such to anyone other than a 3 year-old kid, and which would certainly have been recognizable to Major Marcel et al. But all of this does get them attention, and that's what they're all about, which is fair enough, if somewhat sad - they're not the first, and won't be the last, to glom onto a subject like UFOs for that reason. Just don't let them fool you into thinking they're serious about the UFO phenomenon, in any way, shape or form.

In the meantime - look, more M-class blimp photos!

Again, it took me a couple of minutes to find these ones.

P.S. If you want to read an excellent history of the US airship program, which is fascinating stuff in and of itself, you should read "Kite Balloons to Airships: The Navy's Lighter Than Air Experience" edited by Roy A. Grossnick and published by the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations (Air Warfare) and the Commander, Naval Air Systems Command, which you can access here - no password required. Who knows - you might even come across a photo of an M-class blimp.


Anonymous said...

Clearly these people are retarded.

Tangentially related, the USS Shenandoah crashed a stone's throw from my Aunt's home when she was a little girl. I have a dozen or so original photos she took with her Brownie camera of the crash scene. Oddly enough, nobody seemed confused about what this was. The entire general public knew what blimps and dirigibles looked liked both in the air and when they crashed and have known so since WWI.

Paul Kimball said...


I'm pretty sure that Major Jesse Marcel would have known a blimp from something else, both as an intelligence officer and as an airman. As you say, they were not uncommon in WWII. The idea that a blimp crash while flying testing missions out of Alamogordo was the Roswell incident is so patently absurd it makes the Mogul explanation look like received wisdom from God.


Mac said...

I'm perpetually amazed that so many bloggers don't seem to realize how ridiculously easy Google, for example, has made research. Search technology has raised the bar for basic scholarship, online or otherwise.

Paul Kimball said...


Google is a tool, just like any other. Like the old card catalogues at the library, however, you have to know how to use it, and be willing to do so.


Anonymous said...

Note how the UFO Iconoclast(s) do not include the DATE of the alleged M-4 blimp crash near Roswell. Know why?

It doesn't coincide with the accepted timeframe estimates (toward the middle or end of the first week of July, 1947) of the actual Roswell "incident", whatever _it_ was.

Just another iCon red herring, IMHO.

They deserve to be ignored.

Anonymous said...

hey, these pictures remind me that we haven't seen anything of those girl actresses lately.


Alfred Lehmberg said...

Gentlemen (women)! All respect!

This *bunch* of banal sociopaths (or single schizophrenic?) deserves to be ignored for more than mere talentless-ness!

Not only do they (he) provide a patent obfuscation in the guise of information, insipidness in the guise of intellect, and opaqueness in the guise openness... They are scurvy scalawags, _significant_ slanderers, and mendacious miscreants of the most _unctuous_ excrescence.

Were it me performing as same I would be expected to be run out of UFO town on a rail!

Lately, Stewart Miller gives them (him?) a wide accolade and laudatory comments. Too soon, I suspect, Mr. Miller will be in the indolent sights of same and pay the price for his thoughtful indulgence and errant fair-mindedness. Grasping this flatulent snake to his breast, he'll get bit. But what would he expect? It's a snake, friends! ...Said with respect to real snakes everywhere.


Damages remain demanded!

That said... and speaking of "mendacious miscreants of the most _unctuous_ excrescence..." Is Non-silent Kal going to be given a "by" regarding his fatuous threats on RM over at UFOWATCHDOG.COM? Seems our less than intrepid K'cubed would intimidate others with worrisome threats of civil action for... and get this... laughing at him, scoffing his hyperbolic claims, or questioning his sanity.

Kal? Rich? Stand down, Step away, and Piss off.
>> AVG Blog --
>>> U F O M a g a z i n e --

Anonymous said...

Everyone interested in Roswell should read Karl Pflock's excellent book _Roswell: Inconvenient Facts and the Will to Believe_. I read this book and the Roswell book from the '80s by Randall & what's his name, one of the books that started the whole Roswell industry, and when you really look into the facts of Roswell, the whole thing falls apart.

I no longer take seriously any claims that alien craft had ANYTHING to do with Roswell. Project Mogul was a government-funded study run by a university, using high-altitude balloons in an attempt to detect Soviet testing of nuclear detonations. There is plenty of physical and circumstantial evidence to show that one of these balloons is what fell to earth on Roswell.

The original wreckage collected was so scant that it was able to fit into a cardboard box! It was strewn over the farm. The mysterious "heiroglyphs" found on pieces of the wreckage were merely incidental designs on the tape used in aspects of the balloons construction. It's been a couple years since I read the book, so my command of the facts has slipped a bit, but go read Pflock's book, it demolishes the crashed saucer angle and gives a damned good case for Project Mogul being the real answer.

What really started the whole Roswell craze is the fact that Unsolved Mysteries aired a segment on it, which got all sorts of crack-pots, delusionals, and liars to come forward with what they "remembered"---hence all the non-sense about 'child-sized coffins', the 'mysterious nurse', the 'morphing/indestructible metal', etc.

C'mon people---you're wasting your time by focusing on Roswell. I believe that extra-terrestrial craft probably DO make appearances in our atmosphere from time to time, but the U.S. government (and other gov'ts) use the subject of UFOs to distract the populace from real operations & projects. This gets everyone focusing on non-sense, following blind-alleys, and it also gives the government the helpful illusion of vastly superior knowledge & technology, which makes them appear more powerful than they actually are.

I think the U.S. government is aware that extra-terrerstrial craft visit this planet, but they don't know much more about the subject than that. It behooves them to pretend they have crashed aircraft & knowledge of extra-terrerstrial science, but there's no reason to believe any of this.

It always disappoints me to find a good source on UFOs, only to find that the person believes in hogwash like Roswell, or thinly-veiled BS books like _The Day After Roswell_ by Philip Corso---what a laugh! The development of lasers & computer chips is thoroughly documented, yet some con-artist like Corso comes along and claims that HE made these advancements with the help of alien technology! What a laugh! Anyone who knows anything about science will have a good laugh at a book like that, but the gullible, un-informed, and desperate-to-believe will always swallow that kind of crap.

Ufology is an interesting topic, it's such a shame to waste time talking about dead-ends like the completely debunked Roswell.

Anonymous said...

Sorry to be the bearing of bad news for "Anonymous" in the previous comment, but I'm afraid Roswell has not yet reached the "debunked" status. I know it may come as a terrible blow since your heart has been set to believe Roswell is hogwash, but it may come as a surprise for you to know that the mystery of Roswell actually deepens when we look more closely at the metallic foil observed by the witnesses.

Have you realised the foil is dark-grey in colour (e.g. "dirty stainless steel" or like "lead foil") and returns to its original shape? Also you should realise the foil's high-temperature resistance (with a blow-torch) and hardness/strength (ie. can't be cut or ripped). At the time, the USAF was just starting to look more closely at a new supertough aerospace metal called titanium in late 1946 (the only other principal metals being used for aircraft components were stainless steel and aluminium and their myriad of alloy combinations using these metals). Titanium was the new kid on the block in terms of a brand new aerospace material. And guess what? Titanium alloys are tougher than stainless steel or aluminium alloys. Take or instance, vanadium with titanium - very hard and tough armour-plating material used by the U.S. Army after learning about titanium from the USAF.

Well, just to make you quiver in your pants a little more, the world's most powerful titanium-based shape-memory alloy and the lightest of its kind is called NiTi, or nickel-titanium. Oh, did I mention NiTi just happens to be dark-grey in color? Actually the scientific literature (if you care to look at it) indicates this is the only distinctly dark-grey shape-memory alloy known to science. Sure, you can have NiTiCo and still be called dark-grey, so long as the Ni and Ti are in significant quantities. But a the end of the day, here we have a dark-grey shape-memory alloy that matches remarkably well with what the witnesses have said. If that's not enough to question again the Roswell case, may I remind you that NiTi was studied by the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB (the place where the original Roswell wreckage ended up for analysis) among other notable shape-memory alloys such as NiTiCo, NiTiCr and TiZr just after 1947 (but strangely not before mid-1947). You can actually now download the declassified USAF/Battelle Progress Reports on the Study of Titanium Alloys from DTIC to see these alloys that the USAF had wanted to know more about with Battelle's assistance. And all curiously dated after 1947. Has anyone made the connection yet?

Because if you do the research carefully, you will discover something else interesting about all titanium-based shape-memory alloys - they need to exceed a purity of 99.995 per cent for the shape-memory effect to reveal itself. Because there was no technology available anywhere (not even at Battelle where the USAF had to obtain the technology to do its secret testing) to mass produce extremely pure titanium-based shape-memory alloys. Not even the Battelle Memorial Institute with its world's first arc furnace with inert gas to make titanium alloys in the first half of 1947 was up to the task…..(see next comment)

Anonymous said...

....Then the New York University ordered and installed the world's first and latest arc furnace for the materials science department by mid-1947. Not mass-production stuff, just to make small samples of any alloys people may have been interested at the time. And boy did this equipment interest someone at Wright-Patterson AFB. Because a little further research will reveal how a Professor John P. Nielsen came out of the USAF woodworks (specifically Wright-Patterson) to work at NYU in the "summer of 1947" and starts studying NiTi. Then we see some scientific articles on this alloy research after 1947 with financial support from the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB.

So why did he have to come out to study NiTi if the USAF had already figured out how to make plenty of NiTi-like metallic foil for the Roswell flying object? If the foil is suppose to be top-secret, it would be a little risky to do the study at NYU? And why bring in later Battelle to study NiTi and other shape-memory alloys after 1947?

There is only one good reason: the USAF did not have the technology to make NiTi or other titanium-based shape-memory alloys. And they didn't have the knowledge to achieve it, which is why Dr Nielsen and Battelle had to do their work.

Which naturally brings us to the obvious question: How did witnesses observe an NiTi-like metallic foil by mid-1947?

Surely can't be hogwash if plenty of witnesses have mentioned the metallic foil's behaviour and color so consistently and remembered it to this day.

I'm all happy for this Roswell case to be explained as a man-made event just to end this controversy once and for all so long as the USAF can explain how they did it. But if the USAF doesn't, then any scientist would have every reason to start re-questioning the case and look at it more closely.

The Roswell case is far from being "debunked".