We both had saved just enough to afford one additional year at a university.
My buddy chose Wichita State University, I chose Kansas University, in Lawrence.
We were in my car a black 1949 Chevy that I always kept clean and polished, which will be important for what follows.
The night of our sighting we were on our way back to work on a narrow paved 2 lane road that lead North into Rock Road in the southern part of Wichita.
There were no shoulders back then just huge drainage ditches and no street lights on either side of a narrow a 2 lane blacktop.
Just as we were approaching town I saw a huge bright, yellowish light reflecting in the hood of the car about a foot in front of the windshield.
I immediately slowed down leaning forward looking up but I couldn't see a thing.
I elbowed my buddy who was asleep saying:
Wake up and stick your head out the window, look straight up, and tell me what you see.
His reply was What? so I repeated and he got it.
It just looks like a big bright light to me.
Well does it look like a flare?
A logical guess, as I realized we were almost adjacent the huge Boeing aircraft plant.
What does a flare look like?
Oh good grief, my buddy was not a tech guy.
Well, does it look like it's hanging under a little parachute trailing a small stream of smoke?
No, it's just a big bright light with edges that look soft or funny like.
Yeah, that's exactly what I'm seeing in a perfect reflection in the hood.
What do you think it is? It's not a plane because it's not moving.
I know it's just hanging there, and we sure don't hear any helicopter.
We sat there watching for about 10 seconds as I checked for traffic as we were stopped in the travel lane.
I could easily see about a mile in both directions, saw nothing.
Hey, wait, did you see that?
What the heck is this some kind of really late firework display?
Yes, I see the little tiny one separated from the big one, but it didn't go very far.
After a short pause, the little one shoots off eastnortheast and disappears in about a second.
Oh Wow, did you see that?
Yeah, I saw it.
Then the large light changes.
Hey, does it look to you like the big light is getting bigger?
It sure does, and it's getting brighter too.
Yes, Oh, Wow, There it goes too, same direction as the little one.
The larger light took about 5 seconds to disappear, then my buddy pulled his head back inside.
Ok, what the heck was that?
We sat there. I checked traffic, again nothing.
Well, I'm thinking we just saw a UFO.
Boy, I don't know.
Unfortunately, Don passed away a few years ago.
Only once when I was back in Kansas at a dinner with a group of friends did I have a chance to ask him what he thought we saw that night of the UFO.
He quickly replied that naw, it was just a big light.
Without other folks present, I had a feeling our conversation might have been far more interesting.
I was still years from retirement back then and didn't think to follow up as I certainly would have if I'd been researching this UFO stuff the way I have been since retirement.
Here's what I found recently:
Some history might help to somewhat corroborate our visual sighting time in late July or August 1956 in Wichita.
The huge Boeing plant was ramping up B-52 production in 1955 and upgraded the airstrip adjacent to the Boeing plant to handle the extra weight of the B-52s as crew training began about mid year in 1955.
The first B-52s went operational in February 1956, at Castle AFB, SAC base, northwest of Merced, CA.
As flying ramped up, production glitches at Boeing and mandatory runway repairs at Castle grounded all of the new BUFFs for short periods during those first few months, corroboration, maybe.
The following UFO encounter reported by an RB-47 crew based at Forbes AFB South of Topeka in the summer of 1956 is ranked, as one of, or quite possibly, the best documented sighting ever recorded.
That contact is ranked high because of the extended period of contact time, ground/air radar recording, visual sighting by all 6 crew members and especially because of electronic interaction recorded by 3 Recon-CROWs during the encounter.
The description of the light that followed the RB-47 is identical to what my buddy and I saw hovering over the Boeing plant about the same time period.