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Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 17:03:52 GMT

From: Stig Agermose
Organization: L.P.S.

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA -- Donald "Deke" Slayton in his book gives his account
of seeing a UFO. Deke was conducting a maintenance test flight in an F-51.
"I was up about the middle of one afternoon-a nice sunny day--- wringing
out this particular 51. I had just come out of a spin at around ten thousand
feet over the Mississippi River, near Prescott, where the Mississippi and
the St. Croix meet, about twenty-five miles from the Twin Cities. I was heading
back to Holman Field when all of a sudden I saw this white object at my altitude,
at one o'clock. I didn't think anything about it. My first thought was that
it looked like a kite. But logic said nobody's flying a kite at this altitude.
So I started kind of watching it to see what it was. I was closing on it,
but I still didn't think too much about it. The closer I got, the more it
like a weather balloon, and I'm thinking; that's what it's gotta be.

Then I flew past it a little high, about a thousand feet off. It still looked
like a three-foot diameter weather balloon to me. My guess on the dimensions
couldn't have been too far off. I had plenty of gas, so I figured I'd make
a pass on it. Burn some gas and have a little fun. I pulled into a turn.

But when I came out of the turn and headed straight at it, all of a sudden
it didn't look like a balloon anymore. It looked like a disk on edge! I thought
that's strange. Then I realized I wasn't closing on the son of a bitch. A
F-51 at that time would cruise at 280 miles an hour. But this thing just
kept going and climbing at the same time at about a forty-five degree climb.
I kept trying to follow it, but he just left me behind and flat disappeared.
I wondered what that was, but I never saw it again. I turned around, headed
back and landed, and didn't tell
anybody about it for two days. I was afraid they'd think I 'd lost my mind.

A couple of evenings later I was over in the O-club with my boss, a full
colonel, and after I had a couple of beers I thought I'd better tell him,
and I did. He said, "Get you ass over to Intelligence in the morning and
give them a briefing." So I did. They sat there and nodded and took notes.
Then they told me: Just for your information, the day you saw this object
a local company was flying-high-altitude research balloons. They had a light
airplane tracking it, and a station wagon on the ground.

Both observers were watching this balloon and had seen this object come up
beside the balloon. The object appeared to hover, then it took off like hell.
The guys on the ground tracked it with a theodolite, and they computed its
speed at four thousand miles per hour. I guess they were trying to tell me
I wasn't crazy.

Thanks to James Westwood.

A little about Deke:

Donald (Deke) Slayton flew 56 combat missions in Europe as a B-25 pilot with
the 340th Bombardment Group. He later flew seven more over Japan in A-26s.
After the war, this Wisconsin native left the Air Force briefly to complete
a Bachelor of Science degree in aeronautical engineering at the University
of Minnesota, and to work for Boeing Aircraft Corporation in Seattle. Recalled
to active duty in 1951, Slayton served as a flight test office, technical
inspector, fighter pilot and experimental test pilot until April 1959.

As an Air Force pilot, he logged more than 8,000 hours flying time, including
5,000 hours in jet aircraft. In April 1959, Deke Slayton was named as one
of NASA's original seven Mercury astronauts. In September 1962, he was named
the first chief of the Astronaut Office, and soon after, Director of Flight
Crew Operations. During the historic Apollo/Soyuz Test Project in July 1975,
he served as the Apollo docking module pilot, participation in a successful
meeting in space between U.S. astronauts and Soviet cosmonauts. On that mission
he logged nearly 2,188 hours of space flight.

As Manager of the Space Shuttle Approach and Landing Test from December 1975
through November 1977, he helped NASA verify the capability to ferry the
shuttle aboard a 747 jet used as a launch vehicle. Slayton then served as
Manager for orbital flight test until his NASA retirement in March 1982.
In November of that year, he was elected President of Space Service, and
managed the design, development and marketing of the Conestoga family of
suborbital launch vehicles. He then managed the first U.S. commercial launch
on March 15, 1989 Starfire I, Consort 1. Chairman of Space America Incorporated;
President of International Formula One Pylon Air Racing; a member of the
U.S. Department of Transportation Commercial Space Advisory Committee; and
Vice President of the Mercury Seven Foundation.


May  2000 
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