JULY 23, 1948 >> NEAR MONTGOMERY, ALABAMA
On July 23, 1948 Eastern Airlines Captain C. S. Chiles and his copilot J. B. Whitted were flying a DC-3 transport from Houston to Boston. At 2:45 AM, 5,000 feet, and south of Montgomery, Alabama Chiles saw a dull red glow ahead in the sky approaching them from slightly above and to the right. Chiles remarked to Whitted that he thought it was a new military jet.
It was a clear night with only a few broken clouds and a bright moon. Both pilots could see the UFO approaching their plane. Since the DC-3's warning lights were operating normally the pilots assumed that the jet would spot them and change flight. The object did not veer and tension mounted in the cockpit until the DC-3 banked to the left in a airframe-stressing turn. As the plane was banking the UFO did change course slightly to pass less that 100 feet to the left of the DC-3. The pilots estimated the speed at 700 MPH. The object pulled into a steep climb disappearing into the clouds with a burst of flame from the rear. Chiles and Whitted both described the object as a wingless tube with rows of windows along the fuselage which glowed brightly.
Professor J. Allen Hynek believed that the UFO had been a meteor. Another astronomer called it the whole sighting a hallucination. A number of the staff of Project Sign wrote unofficial estimates in which they believed that at least some of the UFO reports could be extraterrestrial. The classified report made its way to the Air Force Chief of Staff General Hoyt S. Vandenberg who rejected the report on a lack of evidence. All copies of it were burned after the rejection. The authors of it were regarded as having lost credibility for Project Sign. It is no wonder that a report from a project meant to debunk UFOs stating they might be of extraterrestrial origin was rejected and destroyed. The USAF could not risk having any question as to the origin of UFOs exist, especially from its own investigative body.