Kenneth Albert Arnold (March 29, 1915 – January 16, 1984) was an American aviator and businessman. He is best known for making what is generally considered the first widely reported modern unidentified flying object sighting in the United States, after claiming to have seen nine unusual objects flying in tandem near Mount Rainier, Washington on June 24, 1947.
- They flew like a saucer would if you skipped it across the water.
- To East Oregonian reporter Bill Bequette at the airport at Pendleton on June 25, 1947, where Arnold was refueling his private plane. Bill Bequette and editor Nolan Skiff's front page story in the evening paper of the same day, titled Impossible! Maybe, But Seein’ Is Believin’, Says Flyer, started the modern UFO era. The EO ran front page follow-ups on June 27, 28 and 30.
- [They appeared to fly almost as if fastened together – if one dipped, the others dipped too.]
- In Pendleton on June 25, 1947, as quoted in the Associated Press national wire story, “Pilot Sees ‘Saucer-like Objects’ Flying at 1,200 m.p.h. in Oregon”, Montreal Gazette (June 26, 1947)
- [They were flying at incredible speed. I cannot hazard a guess as to what they were. My inquiries at Yakima last night brought only blank stares, but I spoke today with a man from Ukiah, south of here, who said he had seen similar objects over the mountains near Ukiah yesterday.] It seems impossible, but there it is.
- In Pendleton on June 25, 1947, as quoted on page 2 of The Chicago Sun (June 26, 1947)
- ... I looked at my watch and it showed one minute and 42 seconds. Well, I felt that was pretty fast and I didn't stop to think what the distance was between the two mountains. ... they sure must have had a tailwind, but it didn't seem to help me much. But to the best of my knowledge, and the best of my description, that is what I actually saw, [and,] like I told the Associated Press, [I'd] be glad to confirm it with my hands on a Bible because I did see it, and whether it has anything to do with our army or our intelligence or whether it has to do with some foreign country, I don't know. But I did see it and I did clock it and I just happened to be in a beautiful position to do it and it's just as much a mystery to me as it is to everyone else who's been calling me the last 24 hours, wondering what it was.
- I haven't had a moment of peace since I first told the story, ... This whole thing has gotten out of hand. I want to talk to the FBI or someone. Half the people I see look at me as a combination Einstein, Flash Gordon, and Screwball. I wonder what my wife back in Idaho thinks. Most people tell me I'm right.
- On June 27, 1947, as quoted (i.a.) in Harassed Saucer-Sighter Would Like to Escape Fuss, Idaho Statesman (June 28, 1947)
- ... a chain [at least five miles long] of nine peculiar looking aircraft ... were approaching Mt. Rainier very rapidly, and I merely assumed they were jet planes. ... I watched these objects with great interest as I had never before observed airplanes flying so close to the mountain tops ... Their speed at the time did not impress me particularly, because I knew that our army and air forces had planes that went very fast. ... What kept bothering me [however,] was the fact that I couldn't make out any tail on them, ... The more I observed these objects the more upset I became, as I am accustomed and familiar with most all objects flying ... Even at the time this timing [of 1 min 42 s] did not upset me as I felt confident after I would land there would be some explanation of what I saw. ... I look at this whole ordeal as not something funny as some people have made it out to be. To me it is mighty serious and since I evidently did observe something[, there] is no reason that it does not exist. Even though I openly invited an investigation by the Army and the FBI as to the authenticity of my story ..., I have received no interest from these two important protective forces of our country ...
- It is with considerable disappointment you cannot give the explanation of these aircraft as I felt certain they belonged to our government. They have apparently meant no harm, but used as an instrument of destruction in combination with our atomic bomb the effects could destroy life on our planet. ... We have not taken this lightly. It is to us of very serious concern, as we are as interested in the welfare of our country as you are.
- If our government knows anything about these devices, the people should be told at once. A lot of people out here are very much disturbed. Some think these things may be from another planet. But they aren't harming anyone and I think it would be the wrong thing to shoot one of them down – even if it can be done. Their high speed would completely wreck them.
- In telephonic conversation with Henry Heil of the Chicago Times, as quoted by in 'Flying discs' called real by 2 air veterans, Chicago Times (July 7, 1947)
- Once again, we can be sure that these Canadian blue-green-purple globes are not meteors, nor are they fragments of a comet or Venus. What, then, are they? Spacecraft from another world?
- Since my first observation and report of the so-called 'flying disks' I have spent a great deal of money and time thoroughly investigating this subject... It may be of interest to you to know there is a connection between tremendous amounts of furnace slag which is being found in giant dumps on our ocean floor, strange submarines, rocket ships and flying disks... There is no doubt in my mind but what these objects are aircraft of a strange design, and material that is unknown to the civilization of this earth.
- In reply to Sidney Shalett's inquiry about his activities and ideas, as quoted in What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers, p. 129, Saturday Evening Post (April 30, 1949)
- [The sighting] did not particularly disturb me at the time, except that I had never seen planes of that type. ... I never could understand at that time why the world got so upset about 9 disks, as these things didn't seem to be a menace. I believed that they had something to do with our Army and Air Force. ... [Naturally,] if it's not made by our science or our Army Air Forces, I am inclined to believe it's of an extra-terrestrial origin. ... I think it's something that is of concern to every person in the country, and I don't think it's anything for people to get hysterical about. That's just my frank opinion of it.
- … well, right here we’ve seen something, I’ve seen something, hundreds of pilots have seen something … in the skies. We have dutifully reported these things. And we have to have 15 million witnesses before anybody is going to look into the problem … seriously? Well this is utterly fantastic. This is more fantastic than flying saucers or people from Venus or anything as far as I am concerned.
- On June 24, 1977, while attending the First International UFO Congress in Chicago, curated by Fate to mark the 30th anniversary of the "birth" of the modern UFO age, Pilot Kenneth Arnold 1977 still angry about disbelief, YouTube.
- A great man is the unbelieving man; he is without spiritual sight or spiritual hearing; his glory is in understanding his own understanding. It is he who subdues the forest, tames the beasts of the field to service. He goes alone in the dark, unafraid. He follows no man’s course, but, searches for himself; the priests cannot make him believe, nor the angels of heaven; none can subdue his judgment. He says: why permit others even priests, to think for you? Stand on your own feet – be a man. Through his arm are tyrants and evil kings overthrown. Through him are doctrines and religions sifted to the bottom and the falsehood and evil in them cast aside. Who but the Creator could have created so great a man as the unbeliever?
Quotes about Arnold
- What you observed, I am convinced, is some type of jet or rocket propelled ship that is in the process of being tested by our government or even it could possibly be by some foreign government.
- Mr. Arnold is very outspoken and somewhat bitter in his opinions of the leaders of the U.S. Army Air Forces and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for not having made an investigation of this matter sooner. To put all of the statements made by Mr. Arnold in this report would make it a voluminous volume. ... Mr. Arnold stated that his business had suffered greatly since his report on July 25 due to the fact that at every stop on his business routes, large crowds of people were waiting to question him as to just what he had seen. Mr. Arnold stated further that if [at any time in the future, he saw anything in sky, he would never say a word about it], due to the fact that he has been ridiculed by the press to such an extent that he is practically a moron in the eyes of the majority of the population of the United States.
- You are advised that I have no knowledge of the origination of the flying saucers stories. My intelligence personnel have had several pertinent incident[s] brought to their attention by civilian and government agencies. For your information, this headquarter, in the interest of economy, does not intend to pursue each and every reported flying disc. However, in the interest of national defense, reliable reports of such a nature will be investigated. I have no knowledge at this time of any statement to be made by a government agency regarding the flying discs. As you know, there is no censorship on individual[s] within the United States, therefore you may feel free to interrogate Mr. Arnold, Capt. Smith or whoever you desire.
- Major General Willis H. Hayes of Fourth Air Force headquarters at Hamilton Field, CA, in reply to an inquiry made by Henry McLeod of The Seattle Times (ca August 1947). A copy of the letter was forwarded to Arnold by Robert Heilman of The Seattle Times, ufologie.patrickgross.org
- Several witnesses to saucer phenomena elsewhere told me that after their stories were published they received correspondence from Arnold urging them to disclose full information.
- Sidney Shalett in What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers, p. 129, Saturday Evening Post (April 30, 1949)
- Arnold's account of this [Maury Island] investigation in Fate is a real cloak-and-dagger epic, and he mentions that while flying to the scene of the investigation he spotted another covey of some twenty-five flying disks. ... a Government investigation indicated that Arnold probably had run up against an elaborate hoax.
- Sidney Shalett in What You Can Believe About Flying Saucers, p. 129, Saturday Evening Post (April 30, 1949)
- It didn’t make sense to him how fast they flew. My father was a real nuts-and-bolts realist. He really believed there were explanations for things. [The only reason my father said anything about the sighting was out of fear that Russians had developed a craft capable of flying faster than anything the U.S. was flying, and could use that for a nuclear advantage.] He believed that our military would come forth and tell everyone what these strange things really were, and it never happened.
- Kim Arnold, as quoted in The sighting, Phil Wright, East Oregonian (June 16, 2017)
- Almost from the moment that Kenneth Arnold’s “flying saucer” ... hit the newspapers, this field has been plagued with fakers, liars, charlatans and hoaxers. They have made up their experiences, their expertise, their military service and they have been believed by millions, even when exposed for the frauds they are. ... Before the ink was dry on the Arnold report, there were those who had met the alien creatures piloting those interstellar craft, who had ridden in them, or had seen them crash. Some of those tales were so outrageous that they were nearly impossible to believe, but believe them, some did.
- Kevin Randle in Why I'm Beginning to Dislike the UFO Field - Part Three, blog: A Different Perspective (March 30, 2018)