Date: January 7, 1948
Location: Godman Air Force Base, Kentucky, United States
Many stories have been written about the untimely death of Captain Thomas Mantell whose USAF P-51 Mustang aircraft crashed on the 7th. January 1948, shortly after having observed a UFO seen hovering in the air close to the US Army Air Force Base at Godman Field, Kentucky. The official Army Air Force verdict is that Mantell’s aircraft crashed after he blacked out owing to lack of oxygen while attempting to fly too high an altitude in what was later described as a high altitude weather balloon.
An artist's impression of Capt. Thomas Mantell's fatal encounter with a UFO above the Godman Air Force Base in Kentucky in 1948. (credit: Peter Brookesmith)
Captain Thomas Mantell
Type of Case/Report: MajorCase
Special Features/Characteristics: Military, Pilot/Aircrew, Injury, Witness Photo
Extensive information on the Thomas Mantell incident, including articles and reports by leading UFO researchers, and relevant documents.
Source: Tony Dodd, excerpt from 'Flight to destruction: The strange death of pilot Thomas Mantell'
[go to original source]
Many stories have been written about the untimely death of Captain Thomas Mantell whose USAF P-51 Mustang aircraft crashed on the 7th. January 1948, shortly after having observed an Unidentified Flying Object seen hovering in the air close to the United States Army Air Force Base at Godman Field, Kentucky. Like so many incidents at the time, the official Mantell files remain classified, and the truth within them gathers dust in some vault, probably housed at Wright Patterson AFB Dayton, Ohio.
Over the years such UFO related stories have been debated by researchers throughout the World, but the final proof about such incidents has never been forthcoming. The self-destruct mechanism, which seems to be an inherent part of UFO investigation emerges with uncanny regularity and this coupled with a clever disinformation programme, has stifled the startling truth to the present day.
The Thomas Mantell case is no exception to this rule. The tragic death of this brave pilot has officially been put down to pilot error, but who could say otherwise. Mantell could not defend his actions or tell the true story of what confronted him that fatal day. The official Army Air Force verdict, and that shared by many UFO investigators, is that Mantell’s aircraft crashed after he blacked out owing to lack of oxygen while attempting to fly too high an altitude in what was later described as a high altitude weather balloon. ( It seems that I have heard this weather balloon story before at Roswell)
The case was officially closed and the true circumstances of what had occurred entered the files of Project Saucer, The secret investigation group operating out of Wright Patterson Army Air Field in 1948.
The Official Version Of Events
The Thomas Mantell incident began at 1.20pm. On the 7th. January, 1948. when the control tower operators at Godman Field Army Air Force Base, Kentucky sighted a strange unidentified airborne object hovering in the sky close to the base. Several senior officers were summoned, and the base Operations and Intelligence Officer were soon joined by the Commanding Officer, but none were able to identify the slowly rotating object.
At the time a flight of four P-51 fighters were on a routine training flight under the supervision of Flight Commander Captain Thomas Mantell. They were flying towards Godman Field when at approximately 2.45pm, the control tower officer in charge ordered them to investigate the strange object. Captain Mantell acknowledged, but a short time later one of the pilots requested permission to brake away as he was running low on fuel, leaving the three remaining aircraft to head in the direction of the strange object.
The next message came from one of the three remaining pilots, who said he was losing his bearings and was becoming fearful of becoming lost. He too was granted permission to break away and return, but he would be accompanied by one of the two remaining pilots, who was instructed to accompany his colleague to guide him safely back to base. The only aircraft now in pursuit of the object was that piloted by Captain Thomas Mantell.
At 15,000 feet Mantell contacted the control tower and stated that he had the object in sight and was climbing to investigate. A short time later Mantell reported that he was closing on the object but that was the last message broadcast. Mantell’s aircraft crashed approximately 130 miles down range from Godman Field.
The official Air Technical Information Command report on the crash stated that they were of the opinion that Captain Mantell lost consciousness due to oxygen starvation. The trimmed aircraft had continued to climb until increasing altitude caused a sufficient loss of power for it to level out. The aircraft then began to turn left due to torque and as the wing drooped, so did the nose, until it was in a tight turning spiral. The uncontrolled descent resulted in excessive speed causing the aircraft to disintegrate. It is believed that Captain Mantell never regained consciousness. This was born out by the fact that the canopy lock was still in place after the crash, discounting any attempt to abandon the aircraft. They also stated that the UFO was in no way responsible for the crash.
Case ID: 482
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