Know as the Fukuoka UFO Incident this episode was probably the first time that USA Air Force pilots used airborne radar to track an UFO.
On October 15, 1948 an F-61, a World War II “Black Widow” night fighter was on patrol over Japan when it picked up an unidentified target on its radar. The F-61 pilot decided to attempt to intercept the mysterious object.
When the crew closed within gun range, the object suddenly accelerated from 320 kilometers per hour (200 mph) to 1,900 kilometers per hour (1,200 mph). It slowed down, allowing the F-61 to catch up once again, but this time, the object made a sharp turn and dived under the plane. The F-61 pilot tried to follow the turn to keep the object in sight, but he was quickly outmaneuvered. The total encounter, occupying a period of about ten minutes.
The F-61 crew made six attempts to close on the UFO. On one pass, the crew said, they did get close enough to see its silhouette. It was 20 to 30 feet long and looked like “a rifle bullet.”
Dr James E. Mcdonald reported on the incident in his statement on UFOs to U.S. House Committee on Science and Aeronatics:
“The Bluebook file is thick and contains a number of different intelligence reports that are not mutually compatible on certain quantitative details such as closure distances. Briefly, a total of six radar passes were made, and each time the F-61 closed to about 400 yards, the unknown object accelerated suddenly from about 200 mph to an estimated 1200 mph.”
Oddly, the ground radars nearby didn’t pick the object up during the 10-minute dogfight. The Fukuoka UFO Incident is still held as official unidentified and may have the distinction of being the first ever radar correlated UFO case.