The Chiles-Whitted UFO incident occurred at 2:45 a.m. on July 24, 1948. WWII veterans Clarence Chiles an John Whitted were the pilot and copilot of an Eastern Airlines DC-3 and as they passed over Montgomery, Alabama, they both spotted an object that would go down in history in one of the most amazing UFO incidents.
At first, they saw an object in the distance that was rapidly approaching their airplane. They believed it was a jet aircraft but it was moving far too fast. In a few seconds it caught up to them and the two seasoned pilots got a good look at what Whitted described as “one of those fantastic Flash Gordon rocket ships in the funny papers.”
It was an enormous cylinder-shaped object, three times the size of a B-29 bomber. That would make it at least 300 feet in length. The unidentified flying object had two rows of square windows that were radiating a bright white light. It was “powered by some jet or other type of power shooting flame from the rear some 50 feet,” as Chiles would recall. It passed the DC-3, rapidly ascended and disappeared into the clouds.
The two pilots weren’t the only witnesses to this event. One of the passengers that was awake also caught a glimpse of the UFO and an hour prior to them, the object had been seen by a crewman at Robins Air Force Base in Georgia. And those aren’t the only witnesses.
Just four days earlier, the same object or a very similar one was seen by multiple witnesses in the Netherlands as it rapidly moved through the clouds. Mass hysteria? On separate continents? Highly unlikely. The witnesses’ descriptions were strikingly similar.
At that time, there were no missiles or aircraft capable of such feats. Several days after the sighting, Project Sign (the first entity focused on investigating UFO sightings) determined the object as being of extraterrestrial origins. However, their decision was immediately rejected by General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, the Air Force Chief of Staff at the time. Since then, many highly questionable events have been labeled as meteorites, swamp gas, weather balloons or the planet Venus.
To this day, the Chiles-Whitted encounter remains one of the most famous and controversial UFO sighting.