2) A note on units
Belgian researcher Roger Paquay has argued
that an aviator would automatically use
, so that all calculations of the sighting geometry assuming distances in statute miles would bein error by a factor 1
15. For example, by adopting Arnold's upper bracket of "25 miles" distance tothe objects we could then place them nearly 29 statute miles (45km) away, with consequences for the discernibility of the shapes of objects that might be close to the limit of resolution of the humaneye (see Section 8). It doesn't appear that this issue has been raised in earlier literature.The world of modern aviation does widely use knots, of course, and the modern aeronautical chartsused for navigation in commercial and military sectors are scaled in nautical miles. But the AAFinvestigation established early on that Arnold never used specialised aeronautical charts (see Fig.1).Indeed it would be surprising to find a private pilot in the Pacific Northwest thinking in knots andnautical miles in 1947 when US CAA standards were still specified in statute miles per hour andwould remain so for another 22 years.
Even today performance specifications of aircraft are almostuniversally given in statute mph, followed by km/hr and possibly knots.
Moreover if Arnold hadmeant knots because he thought in terms of knots, then one feels that he would have
"knots", but he always used mph.And we have several internal tests that can be done on speeds and distancescontained in Arnold's own accounts to prove rather nicely that he was thinking in ordinary statutemph. For example:
) Arnold contrasts the calculated speed of his objects with the fastest jet airspeed thought possiblein June 1947, i.e. approaching Mach 1.
That speed he gives as "in the vicinity of 700mph".
Interpreted as statute mph this is correct. But 700kt or 805 mph would have been well over thehighest possible value of Mach 1, which rises to only ~760mph exactly at sea level
) Arnold describes
how the speed estimate was made when he landed at Pendleton by transferringthe objects' clock-timed 102sec transit between Mt Rainier and Mt Adams onto a map. Taking thedistance between points near the
said Arnold, they kept coming up with about 1700mph. If he had meant 1700 knots (nearly 2000mph) this would imply that the distance between summitswas about 48 nmi (55.2 statute miles). In fact it is only ~41nmi. But 102 seconds over 48
miles does equal about 1700mph, proving that they were measuring their map in statute miles.
3Roger Paquay, email to Martin Shough 24.11.20094 "Prior to 1969, airworthiness standards for civil aircraft in the USAFederal Aviation Regulationsspecified thatdistances were to be in statute miles, and speeds in miles per hour. In 1969 these standards]were progressivelyamended to specify that distances were to be in nautical miles, and speeds in knots."http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Knot_(unit)#Aeronautical_terms5 A 2007 discussion on units on the WikipediaTalk aviation projects page concluded with the following (abbreviated)explanation of why statute miles and mph were settled on for WP:AIR over nm and knots: '. . . practically all aviationreference books intended for a general audience use statute miles; and very many (if not most) books intended for aspecialised, enthusiast audience do too. Every one of the English-language books that I use on a regular basis for mycontributions gives figures in statute, not nautical, miles. The nautical mile is not only irrelevant to most readers of our articles, but in fact to the specifications of many (I would guess even most) of the aircraft we have articles on . . . . Inthe US, the Navy always used and continue to use the nm, but the Army/Air Force only introduced it after World War II(1946 or 48?), and civil aviation only started to use it in 1952. Even in 2007, many suppliers and manufacturers in the burgeoning homebuilt market seem to specify in statute miles . . . We cover a lot of pre-1948 US Army/Air Forceaircraft and pre-1952 civil ones.'http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wikipedia_talk:WikiProject_Aircraft/Units6 Yeager's record-breaking experimental X-1 rocket famously did not break this so-called barrier until 4 months later.7Arnold, K. and Ray Palmer,
The Coming of the Saucers
, Amherst 1952 pp.138Arnold, K. and Ray Palmer,
The Coming of the Saucers
, Amherst 1952 pp.13-149Actually the true distance appears to be a little under 47 statute miles but the thrust of the argument is unaltered.