Wednesday, July 16, 2014

The CAIPAN GEIPAN UFO UAP workshop at CNES Paris July 2014

http://www.cnes-geipan.fr/index.php?id=181&no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=172&tx_ttnews%5BbackPid%5D=211

This was an important workshop focusing on the scientific examination of UAP UFO observations held at CNES (French equivalent to NASA) headquarters in Paris.  I was pleased to get an invite, but the costs involved were prohibitive, plus I was in Toronto for filming of season 2 of Close Encounters during the same week.

Here is a rough translation from the GEIPAN site:

July 8 and 9, CNES Paris met scientists and ufologists for a workshop on methods and tools to improve the collection and analysis of information on Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena (CAIPAN).This international meeting allowed for the first time to combine the experience of UFO associations in research in psychology and astronomy, as well as the expertise of the National Gendarmerie and the Air Force.

The objectives of this workshop CAIPAN

Dedicated to the study of Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena ( PAN ), created by the CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales) therein, GEIPAN (Study Group and Information Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena) analyzed hundreds of testimonies and of reports OBSERVATION of PAN . It appeared that the vast majority was a scientifically brittle material: Unique testimony or in small numbers, significant delay between observation and testimony, no photographs or low quality ... To advance the study of the possible causes of these phenomena GEIPAN organized this workshop to seek first how to consolidate available information about these observations PAN .


Specialists present

Pioneer PAN , CNES could meet for the first time high-level scientists (Jeremiah Vaubaillon, Observatoire de Paris, Jacques Py, Professor of Psychology, Thomas Rabeyron, lecturer in psychology ...), representatives of the gendarmerie and the Air Force, recognized experts in the field of ufology (Richard Haines, Jacques Vallée, Méheust Bertrand, Ron Westrum ...) and a hundred players in the global UFO world, thus demonstrating the major contribution of the multidisciplinary approach to analyze this complex issue.
For this work of reflection, GEIPAN invited players UFO associations with which it maintains close relations.
Participants promised to consolidate these ideas in subsequent meetings.


Proceedings of the workshop CAIPAN

Several areas for improvement were explored during the workshop to improve the quality of scientifically usable data:
  • The hearing witness techniques can be based on those used by the gendarmerie and the police or that applied for control of lightning, another rare and disturbing phenomenon witnesses. Analysis of photos by specialized tools used to verify the authenticity and characterize the observed objects. 
  • Sharing databases Case observation PAN , from various sources, could allow general or specialized studies on these phenomena, researchers in natural sciences, social sciences or ufologists.
  • Observations of PAN can be correlated with the data provided by the automatic monitoring systems: detection cameras fireball (meteorite) of FRIPON network cameras or northern lights, military radar system for air monitoring and space.
  • Recent research in applied psychology now possible to make the best of human testimony, first by helping the witness better express what he has in mind, other discerning in the story the most reliable information.

GEIPAN gradually publish on this site all the documents presented.
already see below the program of the workshop.

Syllabus


Methodologies of field surveys

Oral session
       Useful research methods for aircrew and air traffic controller UAP sighting,  Richard F. Haines, NARCAP
-        Chronic UFO investigation, transfer, Gilles Munsch, engineer, investigator GEIPAN 
-        Expertise qualitative and quantitative characterization of official reports of aerial phenomena observation held unidentified France (1951-1979), Jean-Pierre Rospars, Expert GEIPAN 
-        Technical examination of witnesses in the case of observations of ball lightning,  Philippe Ollier, Laboratory of Lightning
-        The testimony of the Force, F. Thomas, National Gendarmerie 
-        Optimize the collection of testimonies of unidentified aerospace phenomena through a modified cognitive interview for use on the Internet,  Jacques Py, Professor of Psychology, University of Toulouse 2
-        Consideration of audio components in the analysis of evidence of PAN ,  Gaelle Fedoce
-        Authentication photos / videos of PAN , Antoine and François Cousyn Praise 
Poster session
-        Distance Education investigators, Jean-Luc Lemaire, MUFON France 
-        Internet service surveys,  Jean-Marc Wattecamps, COBEPS

Preparation of standard case description observations

Oral session
       Keeping omni-comprehensive UFO databases: a cost-benefit analysis,  Edoardo Russo, EIC
-        Foundations of the future platform for knowledge management and collaboration strategy GEIPAN,  Michael Vaillant, expert GEIPAN
-        Operational Database for phenomena PAN , Xavier Pasco, FAC 
       Unidentified aerial phenomena: a strategy for research,  Jacques Vallée
Poster session
-        The magazine "Lights in the Night" by Joel Mesnard to today: analysis and results of a database,Thomas Margout, University of Brest 
-        Abductions in alleged UFO : an evaluation test,  Claude Maugé
-        Container format and metadata UFO,  Jean-Marc Wattecamps

Observatio No systematic sky

Oral session
-        Operational monitoring of space and air by the Air Force,  Captain Colliard Air Force
-        FRIPON: 100 cameras in France to monitor the sky,  Jeremiah Vaubaillon, F. Colas, IMCCE
-        Aspects, events and classification of ball lightning and storm phenomena bright transients, Raymond Piccoli, Laboratory of Lightning
       Instruments, methods and networks of optical auroral observations in arctic,  Sergey Chernouss, Polar Geophysical Institute
       The Hessdalen Phenomena: 30 years of research. Instrumentation, results, witness stories, challenges, and Difficulties,  Erling Strand, Ostfold University
       Instrumented monitoring of aerial anomalies,  Massimo Teodorani, seseña University
-        Implications of instrumental research unidentified Nico Conti, DTC Hessdalen Committee 
Poster session
       Unidentified aerospace phenomena and experimental strategy: methods, equipment and lessons from Instrumented field studies,  Philippe Ailleris
-        Operation meerkat,  Stéphane Dier, Meerkat

Psychological aspects of testimonials

Oral session
-        The importance of psychological and emotional context in the analysis of testimonies from unidentified aerospace phenomena  Rabeyron Thomas, Senior Lecturer, University of Nantes
-        About the alleged psychological and sociological aspects of the testimony of UFO sightings,Pierre Lagrange, ESAA Avignon 
-        The influence of culture on UFO sightings, Jean Michel Abrassart, IACCHOS 
-        The impact of beliefs on the testimony of PAN , Romain Bouvet, Doctor of Psychology, University of Toulouse 2 

Roundtable with   J. Vallee, B. Meheust, J. Arnould, R. Westrum

Monday, June 30, 2014

UFO Truth and the Oriental Thread

The latest issue of Gary Heseltine's UFO TRUTH magazine (Issue 7 May/June 2014) has just appeared and the contents page reveals a lot of interesting information.  In my own 6 page "OZ Files" column I discuss "The Oriental Thread" of my group UFOIC (UFO Investigation Centre) and my research and investigation of the Chinese UFO experience:



The UFOIC thread has weaved its way from its formal beginnings in 1956 and earlier foundations, through the decades, going through changes of focus and format. Each of these changes contributed to the UFOIC thread, which for me provided the foundation fabric of my own involvement. UFOIC has been a backbone of my body of interest in the UFO subject and continues today.

Throughout all this “floating life” of UFOIC there were many ties that bound numerous people together, past and present, indeed even “East and West, physical and spiritual.”
I reflected on my own deep research into the Chinese UFO scene – my East West nexus. Given my current and past UFOIC connections I pondered this Chinese connection – a “Dragon Seed” – from its earliest manifestations through pioneer UFOIC researcher Andrew Tomas.  


The Chinese and Asian UFO experiences are complex and often steeped in ambiguity and mirages that entrap the casual enquirer.  It takes a deep and constant research effort to come even close to unraveling the real story, which in true oriental measure is a reflection of the beguiling mysteries and attractions of that fascinating part of the world.  I have illustrated this account from my recent Powerpoint presentation – “UFO in my eyes – Bill Chalker’s personal journey through the complexities of the Chinese UFO experience and its reflections in the wider worldwide UFO experience.”  The title came from my appreciation of Xiaolu Guo’s novel “UFO in her Eyes” – a striking satire of some of the problems that haunt China’s extraordinary march to modernization.  It was made into a film. The beguiling Chinese UFO experience continues to attract our attention with its fascinating and extraordinary manifestations.  Time will tell just how much it shapes our understanding of the reality of UFOs.
 Some of the areas covered in my Powerpoint presentation:








Images copyright Bill Chalker and where noted Zhang Zangping
UFO Truth web site: http://www.ufotruthmagazine.co.uk/
UFO Truth on Facebook: www.facebook.com/UfoTruthMagazine

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Socorro & the UFO symbol - 1964-2014

My old friend Ray Stanford circulated this communication today:

Ever since the death of the principal Socorro witness, Lonnie Zamora, after which I could then (without embarrassing Lonnie) tell of his agreement with Captain Richard T. Holder to substitute a fake red 'insignia' for what he actually saw, I have been accused by certain internet loudmouths of anything from being an outright liar trying for unexplained reasons to conceal what Zamora actually saw, to being totally deluded either by my own mind or by unnamed covert operatives out to deceive me and the world. But, if one looks closely as their statements and totally baseless claims, it should not surprise any intelligent, objective person that unfounded speculation and even paranoia is rampant among some internet persons pretending to make UFO-related revelations without due research, while using the internet as a playground.
You learned in my mass-mailed letter of yesterday, that Captain Holder's son was often told by his father that he obtained Zamora's agreement to not divulge the real 'insignia' he saw in red on the observed vehicle, so a bogus one was substituted.
My purpose today is NOT to tell you that I know exactly what Zamora really saw in red on the side of the ellipsoidal object he saw. I cannot accomplish that simply because I don't know for sure exactly what he saw in red on the object's side.  So let me be clear what my purpose is. I intend to simply show that the alleged red 'insignia' Zamora began describing only after his talk with Captain Richard T. Holder on the evening of Friday, April 24, 1964, that is, , was NOT what he really saw, but is the substitution he decided to describe after talking with Captain Holder.
As to how the red 'insignia' Zamora actually saw might have looked, David Rudiak's totally objective and honest search for the reality contrasts beautifully against the internet 'rif-raf-rattle' of those who had rather publish unfounded speculation instead of doing due research on this matter.  
There was even one internet-published speculation that I made up the story of the inverted V with three lines beneath it . Ignorant people can be awfully ridiculous at times. 
Rather that rewrite all I have written years ago about that matter, let me provide you the assemblage of facts David Rudiak very kindly sent me recently, with the links he  provided attached.
He very accurately reported:
The inverted V with three bars through it was being reported in the media before Ray even got to Socorro four days later and finally questioned Zamora (as I recall) on day 5.  So despite some nonsense on the Net, Ray certainly did NOT invent that insignia, somehow getting Zamora to change his story.  Examples of the media mentioning the symbol in the days immediately following:
1.  Zamora interviewed by Walter Shrode on KSRC, I think the day after the incident.  Transcript at my website and link to recording:
SHRODE: And someone said that the markings that you saw was an upside down “V” with three lines running through it.
ZAMORA:  No sir, I couldn’t tell you that, because they still don’t want me to say nothing about the markings.
2. Walter Shrode interviewing Hynek had him saying it (maybe April 29, after Hynek arrived at about the same time as Ray the evening of April 28), my transcript and link to recording:
SHRODE:  Well, about this marking, can you tell us how he described this marking and what the marking was?
HYNEK:  Yes, I see no reason why not.  He described it to me as an inverted “V” with a sort of a bar across it...
3.  AP quoted Hynek saying it:
AP Story, April 30 (e.g. Frederick MD News)
“The scientist [Hynek] also discussed the markings that Zamora said he saw on the side of the object, a red, inverted V with bars through it.”
4.  First responder and Zamora's friend Sgt. Sam Chavez was quoted saying it:
Hobbs NM Daily News, April 28, front page
“State Police Sgt. Sam Chavez said he was told by Socorro policeman Lonnie Zamora that the UFO he saw Friday… had red markings on its silvery side. Chavez said Zamora told him the design was an inverted V with three bars crossing it, but that the Air Force had told him not to discuss the markings.”
5.  AP attributed the description directly to Zamora himself:
AP Story, April 29 (e.g., San Antonio TX Light, Danville VA Bee)
“Officer Lonnie Zamora said the object he saw last Friday was a brilliant white. He said there was a red marking on it like an upside down V with three lines across the top, through the middle and at the bottom.” (San Antonio paper also showed a drawing of the object with the symbol, said to be based on "newspaper accounts")
6.  Ray has a recording of Socorro police dispatcher Mike Martinez saying it.  As Ray notes in his book:  "Martinez quoted Zamora in Spanish, "...un 'V' invertido, con tres líneas debajo," meaning exactly what it says, "an inverted 'V' with three lines beneath it"
In fact, I haven't been able to find a similar description of what became known as the real symbol in this early reporting.  That seems to have appeared later.
Thank you Dave Rudiak.

In the National Archive's files on the Socorro case, one sees contradictory drawings of the red 'insignia' Zamora allegedly saw, but there may be several rational explanations for those, including the fact that at least two of them look as though they conceivably might have been drawing experiments made by  Captain Holder and/or Zamora. That might have been done either with Zamora just trying, by drawing it, to figure out what he saw in those rushed  moments of observation, or maybe drawings made when he and Holder were trying to decide on the substitute 'insignia' Zamora would, thereafter, publicly claim he saw.  It seems conceivable that Holder mistakenly left them in the report, and that slip-up might have been induced by the long interview that went on into the night.
As you will see below, when movie producer James Fox and I were at the National Archive on August 3, 2013, just as James had  predicted in coaxing me to go back to the Archive with him for a second day, I made a discovery that thrilled me and filled me with great satisfaction, because the document basically confirms what I had been saying for fifty years, and it should show any realistic person that the  Zamora began  (on the April 25, 1964) drawing (in any of its slight variations) and telling the media and independent investigators he saw, was a bogus substitute instead of what he really observed.
Look below: James Fox asked to take that photo of me holding an important Hynek letter I had just discovered in the Archive's Socorro files, because he wanted to record for posterity the satisfaction on my face, that was a obvious as it could be.  I've set into James' photo, below, another document found in the Archive's Socorro files. It's Allen Hynek's Polaroid photo (and its enlargement, at upper-left) of me standing beside the SW Socorro object landing pad imprint.  Lonnie Zamora is at left, and N.M. State Police Sergeant Samuel Chavez, stands between Lonnie and me at age 25 on the morning of Wednesday, April 29, 1964. Thankfully,  Hynek, who had known me since 1959 insisted -- over Sergeant Chavez's objections --  that the Socorro police dispatcher Mike Martinez tell me I would be welcome to join them at the landing site during Hynek's on-site investigation. (See my Socorro book for details, pages 49 - 63.)
Proudly, the 'slide' below illustrates my fifty years and early involvement in the Socorro case. THANK YOU, James Fox, for the wonderful opportunity that the situation be photo documented in my 50th year on the case.
PLEASE CAREFULLY READ THE WRITTEN TEXT IN EACH IMAGE THAT FOLLOWS.
O.K., now that you've seen in James fox's photo of my unconcealed satisfaction, look closer at the letter I uncovered, as shown below.   You can now understand my satisfaction, because it contains, in Allen Hynek's hand-written letter (while he was enjoying a badly needed vacation) to Major Hector Quintanilla at the United States Air Force's Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, Hynek's own drawing of the 'insignia' Lonnie Zamora reported
Was there a stamp thief at the National Archive or at the Air Force's FTD? ;o) We noticed immediately that the postage stamp Hynek had affixed had been cut out.:
The second page of Hynek's letter to the FTD contains only trivia, and is unrelated to the Socorro case, so although it's available on request, I don't want to cause this letter to be rejected by some systems because of large data content..
A closer look at Hynek's drawing of the 'insignia' he reports Zamora saw is included in the slide below, with its color changed to the red in which Zamora said he saw the 'insignia'. What you see as the background of that red enlargement is  the advertisement which Hynek enclosed with his letter to FTD, for a very new company seeking employees, that used a logo somewhat resembling what Zamora had described. Notice, too, that their logo was black and NOT RED. The FTD was hoping to find a company on earth that might have created the Socorro vehicle, but as major Hector Quintanilla told the CIA later, they never did.
Please notice what I tell in the blue area of the slide about that company's status.:
The USAF tried so desperately to locate a research facility that they hoped would explain what Zamora (and the other witnesses) saw, that they convened a highly classified conference at Holloman AFB, trying to find some terrestrial source for the high-performance object Zamora had seen within about 35 feet, with his glasses still ON, but they could find no source for the vehicle, and FTD's Major Hector Quintanilla told the CIA that despite all efforts, it was unexplained and unidentified. A copy of a declassified document concerning the secret Holloman meeting is in my files, from the National Archive visit with James Fox.
In closing, let me stress that I'm not trying to present the exact shape of the red 'insignia' Zamora saw on the side of the object. If you read my book, you know that all the persons to whom I spoke (including several law officers) told me the same thing, describing . And I have no doubt that the persons who told me that were actually told that  before Lonnie had his interview with Captain Holder.
Well, Hynek drew the following for the Foreign Technology division:  We plainly see that it is also an inverted V with three lines, but with some change in their lengths and placement. So whether Hynek's version was more accurate, or what first-arrivers at the landing site who talked to Zamora before he talked with Captain Holder said Zamora told them (and in at least one case drew) is more accurate, we can reasonably deduce that whatever the little variations might have been, it was the inverted V with three lines that Zamora saw and absolutely NOT the Zamora described to all media persons and other investigators after his agreement with Holder to provide a substitute 'insignia'.
My point here, again, is simply that, for example, the  Richard Hall of NICAP insisted on publishing for NICAP and asserted was what Zamora saw (despite my protests as their only on-site investigator) absolutely was NOT what he saw.  it's only what he and Captain Holder agreed he would tell people after their meeting on the night of Friday, April 24, 1964.
I don't know whether Zamora saw this , or this , or even if it was perhaps some variation from either of those as, if I understand him correctly, Richard T. Holder, Jr. feels he recalls his dad showing him. However,  as the only on-site-with-Hynek, Zamora, and Chavez investigator of the Socorro case, and the only living person who has studied the case in-depth for fifty years, and as the one who wrote the 211-page 1976 book of the case, I strongly recommend that the 'UFO community' realize the  was purposeful fiction, and that the red 'insignia' was actually some version of an inverted V with three lines.
There is more on the Socorro case which I hope to be sharing, and an important part of it is a video James Fox says will be in his forthcoming UFO movie, showing Hynek admitting to me something very significant about the Socorro case.  And, by the way, if what Hynek tells me (in the interview) that the U.S. Air Force told him is true, it proves that a certain guy's pretense that the Socorro event was a student hoax is utter bilge (foolish or worthless claim).
The central proponent of the silly idea that the Socorro, multi-witness case was the result of a student hoax, has made numerous flimsy excuses for not debating me or others about his Nth-degree fictional extrapolation from one man's closed-minded fantasy about the case. Well,  I've heard enough of his fiction which misrepresents a highly observant and intelligent man, Lonnie Zamora, as a blundering fool. Such misrepresentation of Lonnie Zamora are disgusting to anyone who really knew him, to his wife and children, and such claims are indefensible.

I CHALLENGE THE PRIMARY PROPONENT OF THE CLAIM THAT THE SOCORRO EVENT WAS TO RESULT OF A STUDENT HOAX TO DEBATE ME.

But, once again the primary proponent of that foolishness will surely not dare debate me, and likely (if he's still behaving as in the past) will hurl insulting excuses at me, as he did when I challenged him to debate me on Coast-to-Coast, and he chickened out.
I'm sick and tired of anyone trying to misrepresent the quiet but,  intelligent, and highly observant Lonnie Zamora as some stupid, unobservant fool.
Well, back to my main purpose of this letter. Now you have Hynek's hitherto unpublished letter confirming the inverted V with three lines. I hope future illustrators will not show the fictional, substituted 'insignia' on the object's side when the Socorro object is illustrated. It was only because 'researchers' everywhere, including NICAP,  had by 1976 convinced the public that the fictional 'insignia' was the real one, that, at my Socorro book editor's virtual insistence, we used the fictional 'insignia' on the side of the object on page 25 of the Socorro book.  He said that, otherwise, people under the influence of organizations like NICAP and APRO would come across the book and reject it, saying that the author didn't even know what was really seen on the object.  ;) For that reason, I wrote Appendix A: An Obfuscated Red "Insignia"?, pages 206 - 211, in the Socorro book's original Blueapple Books edition.
Now, fifty years after the Socorro event, I am happy to be able to set the record straight, yesterday with Richard T. Holder's important revelation, and, today, with J. Allen Hynek's letter to his employer, the Foreign Technology Division of the U.S. Air Force.
Still at it, after fifty years investigating what actually happened at Socorro on April 24, 1964,
Ray Stanford 

(Note: in the original mail out Ray had included inserts of the symbols within the text, but theses didn't come out here, but I think things are clear enough particularly if you pay attention to Ray's slides. Well done Ray - great anniversary present)
Ray Stanford's book on the case originally appeared as "Socorro Saucer in a pentagon pantry" and later in paperback as "Socorro Saucer" - well worth reading.

Friday, May 16, 2014

"Science and the UFO controversy" and "The OZ Files" columns in the UFOlogist and "UFO Truth" magazines


I have columns in both these magazines - A review of Dr. B. Timothy Pennington's book "Science, Skeptics and UFOs" and commentary on the "Close Encounters" TV series I have been involved with; Comments on "Science, Skeptics and UFOs" and some ball lightning encounters in my "OZ Files" column in UFO Truth magazine.
Both publications are worth your support:
http://www.ufologistmagazine.com/
www.ufotruthmagazine.co.uk

Something Intelligent This Way Comes

An intriguing article has been just published in the peer reviewed Journal of Astrobiology: "Something Intelligent this Way Comes" which includes the following quote: 
"... as a society we have difficulty dealing with the possibility that intelligent life may reach us first and may have already done so."
The author - Robert Powell, a friend, a co-author with me & others on the book "UFOs and Government" and research director of MUFON. The word UFO doesn't appear in this peer reviewed article, but this is a nice stealthy alternative, seemingly acceptable to current mainstream scientific sensibilities.
Nice one Robert. Congratulations.

http://www.sciknow.org/journals/show/id/ja

Thursday, May 01, 2014

The Australian Chief Defence Scientist Dr. John Farrands and UFOs

From the UFO Truth magazine just out - Issue 6 - April 2014 - the first 2 pages of my 5 page OZ Files column, covering contact I had with the late Dr. John Farrands - the Australian Chief Defence Scientist from 1971 to 1977 and head of the Australian government's Department of Science from 1977 to 1982. He had a strong interest in UFOs:



Monday, April 21, 2014

WESTALL, HIBAL & the balloon explanation

Keith Basterfield has been researching the HIBAL balloon hypothesis as an explanation for the 1966 Westall case:
http://ufos-scientificresearch.blogspot.com.au/2014/04/project-hibal-answer-to-westall-files.html#comment-form

I posted the following contribution to the discussion:
Of course the HIBAL Westall hypothesis is a worthwhile exercise, however context, detail etc should inform the debate.  While high altitude is required the balloon to be perhaps mistaken for a classic "flying saucer" (theres a good telescope picture of one at 40 km altitude in the 1976 NRC document "The Use of Balloons for physics & astronomy" - hardly would qualify for a close encounter!), at launch, low altitude, the balloon would be comparatively deflated.  The size relationship of the payload and the balloon decreases with altitude.  If the payload was in descent, to precipitate a "close encounter" then you would expect it would be attached to the deployed parachute.  Continued attachment at low altitude would create a crash situation, I would suspect, hardly accounting for sighting observations over a small geographical area like Westall, that lend support to a UFO observation, let alone a close encounter at ground level, where the UFO takes off again.  I would suspect if HIBAL was the culprit, it would have been blatantly obvious, and little need for a coverup.  No one died, to the best of our knowledge, and the incident did not have catastrophic consequences at the state or national level.  HIBAL was being summarised in the Australian government Year Books.  It seems difficult to reconcile the sighting observations with HIBAL unless one disregards the many elements that seem more supportive of a UFO explanation. 
Still HIBAL has utility as a possible explanatory data base for "UFO" sightings.  I was looking at it as a possible explanation for the "UFO" seen in my "angel hair" experience, although I cannot for one moment see it explaining my ground level handling and apparent sublimation effects of the material in my hands.  Anyway to this end I noted a HIBAL ASHCAN launch from Mildura on August 29, 1969, one day before my "angel hair" experience. The Kyogle area also had sightings on August 30, which some suggested was a high level balloon, but it was allegedly ruled out by some authorities.  It now seems a likely explanation. Sadly NO DATA on landing point or if failure involved. 
While the actual purpose of the balloon flights were often secret (eg. ASHCAN was nuclear air sampling), the balloon flights were not so much, other than deploying "weather balloon" as the standard response.  In conclusion I would think a low level HIBAL "landing" or "hovering" etc would be readily obvious to most observers and the level of "coverup" reported seems totally disproportional to the possible sensitivities of the payload. 
On balance I don't see HIBAL as being a good fit for Westall, but maybe for the "UFO" seen by others, not me, at Grafton and Kyogle on 30 August 1969.  This doesn't explain my "angel hair" experience, with apparent sublimation observed, which seemed to me to take it out of the ballooning spider web category.  That was the explanation I had as I paddled over to the "web fall", but that explanation evaporated quickly (pardon the pun) when I began handling the material. 
My "retrieval team project" informant emailed me with the following info per this discussion: "I do not concur with Keith Basterfield’s working hypothesis in relation to Westall. "For what it’s worth, my own verbal enquiries made today into the matter have revealed
 little : "DOS Hibal flight 292 was not launched from Mildura . 292 did not terminate in
 Melbourne. "Series records were destroyed as stated. "I was not able to glean any other factual information. "My people tell me that American personnel were indeed present in Victoria in 1966.
 "Some in connection to Hibal, other personnel were involved with classified military projects around Australia. ( Westall?)"As per our previous correspondence, I still believe that the Westall incident was tied in with other UAP sightings preceding and shortly following April 6, 1966."Unfortunately, as discussed, so much stuff was selectively “lost” or “destroyed” by military & government agencies during project transition."If you are in touch with Keith Basterfield, I have no objection to you passing on any information. Your call…... although the above doesn’t reveal all that much.
Same with Shane Ryan and Rosie Jones."So thats my informant's take on HIBAL & Westall.
Anyway I still think HIBAL has utility as a database for explaining some UFO events as suggested by my discussion of my 30 August 1969 experience.  I didn't see the "UFO" in question, but my mother did, some other Grafton residents and a host of Kyogle resident also saw something, which may well have been a HIBAL balloon. It would have been an impressive sight.  My mother described a sort of undulating shape which may well have been a good fit for a HIBAL balloon.

















I was struck by the following image:
This was a HIBAL Genetrix launch from the USS Valley Forge apparently in the 1950s.
See Steve Blank's fascinating "Balloon Wars" post: http://steveblank.com/2010/01/28/balloon-wars/
Now consider the following image from investigation notes of an investigation done by David Buching & Michael Smyth in my case file for an apparent "solid light" case that occurred on the 25 October 1974 in Lismore, northern NSW, Australia.  

I undertook the on site field enquiries at Lismore in the UFOIC investigation at the time.  I pondered a sort of nocturnal mirage explanation at the time, but this didn't seem tenable on the evidence.  The drawing on the left hand side came to mind when I saw the above HIBAL aircraft carrier photo - a striking likeness, but certainly not sufficient as an explanation in the Lismore case.  In that incident 2 truck drivers driving near to each other (friends) saw a UFO from various vantage points, which seem to project a long beam  - a "transparent glass like tube", "like honey dripping from a spoon." The "beam" or "tube" apparently retracted back into the UFO with "something" attached.  The UFO apparently was over a railway yard.
As indicated I am not suggesting a HIBAL balloon as an explanation of the 1974 Lismore event. My enquiries with police at the time revealed an uneventful night, with only one call, it seems. 
Still HIBAL is an interesting source of possible UFO reports, more likely for high level events, but less likely with low level close encounter events, where one would think a balloon, parachute or payload, would tend to direct a witness or investigators quickly to a relatively prosaic explanation.