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The Portland Oregonian

Portland, Oregon, OREGONIAN, 30 April 1947, page

Midnight 'Ghost' Creeps Overhead at 400 MPH
Plane, Tracked By Radar, Sweeps Over British Coast, Disappears
By Associated Press

LONDON, April 30. - Recurring reports of a midnight "ghost plane" swooping out of the East at tremendous speed gave the British press a sensational aviation mystery today but the Royal Air Force, while admitting the whole thing was "slightly mysterious," refused to get excited.

Eyewitness accounts said the mystery craft, first plotted by radar early in January, zooms over the East Anglia coast - as tho it came from the continent - and disappears inland at a speed of 400 miles an hour or more.

What is even odder is that the plane has never been seen making the return journey from England to the continent. RAF night fighters have tried regularly to intercept the "ghost plane" but so far have been unsuccessful.

"Radar has plotted some strange things in its time, from children's kites and raindrops to formations of geese, but it surely never plotted a stranger thing than this," said the Yorkshire Post, adding:

"Is it a diamond or drug smuggler? Is it conveying a secret agent from one foreign power to another?"

All the Air Ministry would say for sure is that the plane was traveling at 30,000 feet when radar spotted it in January. "Our night fighters always try to intercept unknown craft," a spokesman added.

This particular unknown craft is down in the official records as X362, "X" being the RAF symbol for a plane that hasn't been identified.


Portland, Oregon, OREGONIAN, 3 July 1947, page 11

Pilot Recalls Seeing Discs

Dick Rankin Tells Of Odd Aircraft

More reports of "flying flapjacks" turned up Wednesday, on from no less than Dick Rankin, brother of the late Tex Rankin, and himself an experienced pilot of more than 7000 hours' flying time.

Rankin, who is recovering from an old back injury received in an automobile accident, came to Portland over the week end to spend the summer. He saw the silver saucers" over Bakersfield, Cal. June 25, while lying on the lawn sun bathing, he told The Oregonian.

"I hesitated to say much about them," Rankin said, "until I noticed all the hullabaloo in the papers. I puzzled over their strange shape for a while and finally concluded that they were the navy's new XFSU-1 flying flapjacks, which are thin and round, with twin propellers and stubby tail."

Only One XFSU-1 Built

The navy and the manufacturer have announced officially that only one such machine was built and that it never left Connecticut.

"These planes were flying high, maybe 9000 feet, and fairly fast, about 300 or 400 miles an hour. I first counted ten of them in formation, going north. About 2:15 P. M. they returned on the reverse course, headed south. But there were only seven in the formation.

"They were not weaving or bobbing in formation. I couldn't make out the number or location of their propellers and couldn't distinguish any wings or tail. They appeared almost round. They looked like pictures of the navy's flying flapjack," Rankin said.

Rankin, who plans to spend the summer here at 834 N. E. Simpson street, is now able to resume a little flying for fun, but not commercially, he said. He now operates a string of auto courts, spending his winters at Palm Springs.

 
 
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