The Gorman Dogfight


1948 was either a good or bad year for alien encounters, depending on where you stand on the issue. With the Chiles-Whitted Encounter taking place in July, the year could have finished out without another ‘big-name’ encounter and still gone down in Ufology.

I admit that I’m a little surprised that spell-check is familiar with the term Ufology.

However, 1948 would see another major alien encounter. In October, a pilot named George F. Gorman claimed to have engaged in what would be called a dogfight with an unidentified flying object above Fargo, North Dakota. The craft acted strangely, including flying faster than what Gorman stated a craft should have been able to fly at that time. Like Chiles and Whitted, Gorman had pilot experience from tours in World War II and was familiar with most conventional craft and natural phenomena.

Gorman’s claims were supported by the local control tour. The situation becomes stranger from there, because while two traffic controllers claim to have seen the craft that Gorman encountered it did not appear on their radar. When the plane returned to the landing strip, it was found to be slightly radioactive.

So what was the stance regarding this encounter? Did the Air Force back this one the way that it did the Chiles-Whitted Encounter in July?

The short answer is no.

Essentially, no one could prove that Gorman’s plane shouldn’t have been radioactive after flying at the elevation that he reached, and they decided that even though he knew what one looked like, Gorman had encountered a rather erratic weather balloon.

In the Air Force’s defense, there was a case earlier in 1948 (really, what was it about 1948?) in which a pilot had been killed chasing what he thought was an alien craft that was in actuality a weather balloon. So perhaps they weren’t entirely off base assuming that the same situation was playing out in Fargo.

(photo from Morguefile)


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