Pilot saw nine shining object near Mount Rainier in 1947 and is often credited with coining the term "flying saucer."
Kenneth Arnold, a private pilot, was flying near Mount Rainier on June 24, 1947. He spotted what he thought was light reflecting off of a plane's wing. However, he could not spot any tail. Then he realized that what he had seen was nine objects flying in a chain. Arnold described their movement similar to that of the "tail of Chinese kite." They flew in unison, flipping and banking turns.
Curious about the objects, Arnold continued to observe them and speculated that they were a new type of military aircraft. He estimated their velocity at a minimum of 1,200 miles per hour, more than twice the speed of any aircraft at that time. Arnold's encounter became one of the first notable modern UFO sightings. While speaking to the Associated Press he said, "This whole thing has gotten out of hand. I want to talk to the FBI or someone. Half the people look at me as a combination of Einstein, Flash Gordon and screwball. I wonder what my wife back in Idaho thinks."
Arnold claimed that he described the objects as moving similarly to saucers skipping on water. He used the term to characterize their movement, not their shape. Notwithstanding, the media began using the term "flying saucer" days later, and Arnold has been acknowledged with coining the term.