Daylight disc UFOs include the classic “flying saucer”—silvery, oval-shaped objects, often domed, seen in the daytime. Originally defined as a daylight report of an oval object that did not appear to be a conventional aircraft or other known object, the category has been expanded to include UFOs that appear as objects (as opposed to mere lights), with or without lights attached, that appear at any time and are unconventional in appearance or behavior. The shapes reported include not only discs, but squares, cigars, diamonds, and others. Triangular UFOs are reported so frequently now that they have earned their own special category.

Mount Kilimanjaro daylight discMount Kilimanjaro, Tanzania. At 7:20 a.m. on February 19, 1951, Capt. Jack Bicknell and Radio Officer D. W. Merrifield were flying a Lockheed Model 18 Lodestar aircraft out of Nairobi, Kenya, when they saw a bright object hanging motionless about 10,000 above Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanganyika (now Tanzania). They watched it for 3 minutes, then told the passengers about it. Bicknell observed it through binoculars and saw a “metallic, bullet-shaped object which must have been over 200 feet long.” It had a vertical fin at one end, and at regular intervals along the fuselage were vertical dark bands. It remained completely stationary for 17 minutes. Two passengers took photos of it. Radio Officer Roy Overstreet, a passenger, shot 30 feet of color film with a telescopic lens on his cine camera. Then it began rising and moving eastward, disappearing at 40,000 feet. It left no vapor trail. A still from Overstreet’s film, showing only a tiny dot of light, was published in the Natal Mercury on March 14, but the film is now lost and the other photos have never surfaced.

Mount Kilimanjaro case file

Kelly JohnsonAgoura, California. At 4:58 p.m. on December 16, 1953, Lockheed Skunk Works chief Clarence L. “Kelly” Johnson and his wife Althea (near Agoura, California) and a Lockheed crew (Rudy Thoren, Roy Wimmer, and three others) flying the WV-2 Warning Star aircraft near Long Beach, California, observed, independently of each other, a black flying-wing object about 170–230 feet wide hovering to the west at about 15,000 ±2,000 feet altitude and about 30–60 miles away. At 5:04 p.m., after four minutes (to the Johnsons) and six minutes (to WV-2 crew) the UFO suddenly took off in a shallow climb accelerating to approximately earth escape velocity (25,000 mph) to the west over the Pacific. It disappeared in 10–13 seconds (according to the WV-2 crew) or in 90 seconds (according to Johnson using 8x binoculars) after reaching 90+ miles altitude.

“The Lockheed UFO Case,” by Joel Carpenter

Brooklyn, New York. At 5:00 p.m. on August 10, 1956, Lilla Padgett and a friend heard the sound of a motor above them on Empire Boulevard in Brooklyn, New York, and noticed a domed metallic disc hovering about 1,200–1,500 feet in the air. After 90 seconds, it suddenly tilted and took off at an incredible speed to the north.

NICAP case file

Gary, Indiana, 1956Gary, Indiana. At 4:00 a.m. on September 8, 1956, three men were fishing on a US Steel pier on Lake Michigan at Gary, Indiana. They noticed four domed discs in the sky moving in single file from east to west. They stopped abruptly, and the lead object tilted at a 45° angle. All of them wobbled as they hovered and seemed to be spinning clockwise as sparks dropped from their bases. The lead object then leveled off and all four darted forward about 1,000 feet, hovered momentarily, then shot up at a 45°–60° angle and disappeared. The duration of the sighting was 2 minutes.

Letter to J. Allen Hynek

Portage County, Ohio, UFO chase, 1966Portage County, Ohio. Around 5:00 a.m. on April 17, 1966, Portage County Deputy Sheriff Dale F. Spaur and Deputy Wilbur Neff were 4 miles east of Randolph, Ohio, when they saw a moving light through some trees at the top of a small hill along the road. The light was headed in their direction. They had heard of a UFO reported over police radio that night and figured this must be what had been seen. The object hovered 50–100 feet in the air, bathing the two officers in a bright light. Spaur’s eyes watered up. They rushed to the cruiser and radioed the station; the dispatcher said to wait there until a car with a camera arrived. The object made some sharp maneuvers, and Spaur drove toward it cautiously. The UFO was 18–24 feet thick and about 35–45 feet in diameter. The object was so bright he hardly needed his headlights to drive. It sped up whenever Spaur accelerated, and soon he was driving at 80 mph. As the UFO reached Mahoning County, the pursuit was being broadcast over police radios in three counties. As they reached East Palestine, Ohio, Patrolman H. Wayne Huston saw the UFO and followed Spaur and Neff, at times reaching 100 mph. Just before 5:30 a.m., two police officers in Salem, Ohio, saw the UFO as a “bright ball” much larger than a jet. They also saw three jets following it, apparently Air Force Reserve planes from Youngstown, Ohio. Police officer Frank Panzarella in Conway, Pennsylvania, saw the UFO, very bright and in the “shape of a half of a football.” He heard on his radio that a jet interception was in progress. Now in Pennsylvania, Spaur and Neff were ordered to abandon the chase. For most of the event, the object had remained at 1,000 feet, but now it rose to 3,500 feet and hovered. Then it shot even higher and disappeared. Within 30 minutes, many police and civilians had seen the UFO.

NICAP photos and documents

Preliminary NICAP investigation by William B. Weitzel (1966)

NICAP case investigation by William B. Weitzel (1967)

Project Blue Book case file

News clippings, part 1

News clippings, part 2

Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin. At 8:30 p.m. on February 21, 1967, Sherry Kohler was driving east on Western Avenue in Sheboygan Falls, Wisconsin, when she saw a greenish spherical object with a wispy white trail flying at airplane speed on her right side for about 10 seconds. A second witness, Richard R. Dern Sr., saw a similar object about 10 minutes later.

NICAP case file