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The Carson Sink Case was a famous UFO incident that occurred over the Carson Sink in western Nevadamarker in the United Statesmarker on July 24, 1952. The incident is considered especially noteworthy among UFO sightings because of the competency and reliability of the witnesses, two experienced command pilots of the United States Air Force. To this day the objects sighted remain unexplained.


The two pilots who witnessed the incident were Lieutenant Colonel John L. McGinn and Lieutenant Colonel John R. Barton, both veteran fliers with distinguished military careers. At the time, both men were assigned to the Pentagonmarker with highly classified assignments and were familiar with even the most secret foreign and domestic aircraft designs.

That morning the two pilots were at Hamilton Field north of San Franciscomarker. They requisitioned a twin engine B-25 bomber for a cross-country flight. They took off headed for Coloradomarker with unlimited visibility and perfect flight conditions.

Between Sacramento, Californiamarker, and Reno, Nevadamarker, the two officers entered the "Green 3" aerial highway to Salt Lake City, Utahmarker. At 3:40 P.M. MST while at 11,000 feet (3300 m) over the Carson Sink area east of Reno, the two lieutenant colonels spotted three aircraft ahead of them and to their right. At first they assumed that the unknown aircraft were F-86 fighter jets, based on their movements, but realized that aircraft were far too high in the air space. Moreover, the aircraft were flying in a perfect "V" formation, which was highly unusual for military jets.

When the B-25 drew closer to the aircraft, McGinn and Barton saw that the aircraft were bright silver in color with a delta-wing airfoil, but without tails or flight canopies, which every known aircraft possessed. The only break in sharply defined, clean upper surface of the triangular wing was a definite ridge that ran from the nose to the tail.

Neither men had previously seen anything remotely resembling the unknown craft. As the two pilots watched, the three unknown craft made a left bank and flew quickly to within 400 to 800 yards (meters) of their B-25, which was an uncomfortably short amount of space in the air. The two men estimated the speed of the unknown aircraft to be at the very least three times that of any conventional jet known to them. After four seconds, the aircraft sped away out of the vision of the pilots.

When McGinn and Barton landed in Colorado Springs, they contacted Air Defense Command Headquarters and learned that no civilian or military aircraft had been anywhere near the Carson Sink at the time of the incident. In particular, all known delta-wing craft, then flown exclusively by the Navy, hadn't been anywhere in the vicinity. The nearest such craft, which were painted dark Navy Blue, were known to be on the West Coast at the time.

The two men dismissed the suggestion that they had seen F-86 jets, since they were intimately familiar with the design of that craft. Air Defense Command relayed the report to Project Blue Book. An investigation was started into the incident, but the incident was officially left as unexplained. However, it is possible that the pilots spotted a test flight of the Northrop YB-49, an experimental flying wing aircraft that is a precursor to the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber. The YB-49 was operated out of Muroc Air Force Base (now Edwards Air Force Base), near Carson Sink, in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

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