John B. Whitted
Famous 1948 witness to an unusually fast-moving, glowing object while piloting a commercial airliner enroute from Texas to Georgia.
After departing on the evening of July 24, 1948 out of Texas, a commercial flight co-piloted by John B. Whitted and Clarence S. Chiles was witness to a wingless cigar-shaped object fly at high speeds past them near Montgomery, Alabama. It had flames shooting at the back end that were believed to be propelling it forward.
In a written report, Whitted stated, "I assumed that it was a jet type airplane of the Army or Navy but as it came nearer I could see that it was much larger than any Army or Navy jet that I have ever seen or read about." He said that it appeared to have two tiers of large windows along the side in which a very bright white light was emitted. No air turbulence was felt by Whitted's plane as the glowing object sped by it. Several seconds later it shot up into some clouds and disappeared.
The two pilots radioed in what they observed, but the operator told them that there were no other jets or aircraft in the vicinity. J. Allen Hynek, an astronomer and scientific consultant with Project Sign, investigated the incident. He concluded that the object the pilots observed was an incredibly bright meteor. During the night of the event and the previous night, many amateur astronomers had likewise witnessed a large volume of bright meteors.
According to Hynek, "the flaming tail and sudden disappearance were consistent with the brief passage of a meteor." In regards to the observed windows of the object, Hynek wrote that, "It will have to be left to the psychologists to tell us whether the immediate trail of a bright meteor could produce the subjective impression of a ship with lighted windows."