Sunday, March 30, 2014

UFO or Secret Terrestrial Vehicle? Comparisons to IFOs

If the UFO in the Cash-Landrum case was a secret terrestrial vehicle, what was it?
No vehicle similar to it has been declassified or discovered, and the only (known) things remotely similar were built several years later after the incident.

The Galaxy Invader   Moviecraft Entertainment  


The Cash-Landrum UFO's size is not precisely known, but we do have estimates from the witnesses. It was compared in size to the tank of a water tower, but their guesses of figures varied:

Early sketch approved by the witnesses.

Vickie Landrum: Height: 25 ft Diameter: 12ft (1981)
Betty Cash:         Height: 50 ft Diameter: 25ft (1981)
Colby Landrum: Height: 100 ft Diameter: 50ft (2013)

To try reaching a better understanding of the size, mass and flight characteristics of the UFO, below are a few estimates of identified flying objects for caparison, not to suggest them as suspects.

The Space Shuttle

The US Space Shuttle

(Columbia weighed 178,000 pounds.)

The Space Shuttle must be launched by a booster or another craft, and is not capable of independent vertical flight. It provides the best example of 1980 technology to produce a space vehicle.

Harrier V/STOL Aircraft

Harrier Jet

Wingspan: 30 feet 4 inches
Length: 46 feet 4 inches
Height: 11 feet 8 inches
Weight: 31,000 pounds
A Harrier is designed to fly horizontally, but can take off and land vertically and hover for for brief periods.

Hot Air Balloon

A typical hot air balloon is 63 feet in height and 55 feet in diameter. 
The weight is 214 pounds for the envelope and 450 pounds for the entire system including fuel and passengers.

Hot air balloons lift off vertically, but horizontal flight depends on reaching a favorable wind current in the desired direction. 

DC-X, The McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper

The McDonnell Douglas Delta Clipper

For comparison, here are the specifications on the Delta Clipper:
DC-XA; Delta Clipper-Experimental; Delta Clipper Experimental; SX-1; Clipper Graham. 
Status: Retired 1996. 
Gross mass: 16,320 kg (35,970 lb). 
Height: 14.00 m (45.00 ft). 
Diameter: 3.05 m (10.00 ft). 
Span: 4.10 m (13.40 ft). 
Thrust: 223.00 kN (50,132 lbf). 
Apogee: 3.00 km (1.80 mi). 
First Launch: 1993.08.18. 
Last Launch: 1995.07.07. 

The DC-X came many years too late to be a plausible candidate, but provides an interesting comparison because it is a close match to the average of the sizes reported and should approximate the mass of the UFO. If it was something the size of the Delta Clipper, that reduces the chances of it being a manned craft to near zero.

The DC-X film below provides an interesting visualization of what a real craft might have looked like in flight.

If the UFO was a man-made secret US military project as the witness believed, it is unlike anything produced at the time or since. That takes us back to the big question:

What was it, and just where did it came from?


  1. Just an observation . . . a hot air balloon most closely resembles the witness sketch. Designs or decorative coloring on the balloon could account for the ring of blue lights around the center, and it's described behavior approximates that of a balloon having problems staying aloft. Not saying it for sure was a balloon, but a balloon is a possibility . . .

  2. You have a good point, and at least one top-notch aviation historian agrees with you. I sent some material to Curtis Peebles and he made similar comments, also mentioning that a hot air balloon could account for some of the other sensory details reported, the flamethrower sound and the scent of "lighter fluid."

    Around the time, there were cross-country balloon flights, some of which even flew at night and were followed by a helicopter. So far, no matches that even tease the date of the events. Again a perfectly good candidate, that we just can't tie to the right time and place.

  3. This has been ricocheting around in my head, so I'm going to let it out.

    When two events occur very close in time or simultaneously, human beings have a tendency to believe they are related somehow or are cause and effect, when they actually were unrelated coincidence. It could be possible the object and the helicopter flight were unrelated events and linked only in the minds of the witnesses.

    Just another item for the things to ponder pile . . .