Oil company vice president, USNR pilot, former Army Air Force flight instructor, Joseph C. Shell, flew his lightened load SNJ Navy aircraft from Red Bluff, CA, to Burns, OR, heading northnortheast at 212 mph ground speed.
At 9,000' above MSL, about 4,000' to 5,000' above ground level, saw to his right, about northeast something metallic in the distance, about 20 miles away, oval or egg shaped metallic objects.
2:1 length/width ratio, and 1/5 as thick, each the same size, less than 20' in diameter, fly in trail formation, with an interval equal to 3x to 4x their length between the lead object and the 2nd object, and only ½ to ⅔ object length spacing between the 2nd and all remaining objects.
Which separation remained constant almost as if being towed by the lead object.
He saw the objects outlined against the bluffs of Hart Mountain, and could see the dark ground between each object, and noticed they had slightly changed course from a quartering path to a path parallel to his course in the opposite direction, heading southsouthwest at about 230 mph, ±30 or 40 mph, while following the rim of the bluffs, which rim was about 7,000' MSL, appeared to be about 1,000' to 1,500' below his altitude about 5½2 to 7½ miles away at closest approach, to his eastsoutheast, but less than the 10 mile distance to the bluffs.
Near end of sighting Shell dropped in altitude and then could see the objects at his flight level, at his estimated position, hence his estimate of objects altitude as about 1,000' to 1,500' below his original 9,000' MSL.
Objects disappeared on the horizon out of visual range, at estimated position.
Visibility being over 60 miles.