Paul R. Hill

Paul R. Hill

Paul R. Hill (1909–1990) was a pioneering aeronautical research engineer who spent a lifetime on the cutting edge of research and development for NACA and NASA.

He is also well-known in the field of Ufology for his scientific research into the subject of UFOs, detailed in "Unconventional Flying Objects", written by Hill in the 1970s, but published posthumously in 1995.cite web| title = Synopsis of "Unconventional Flying Objects" by: Paul Hill| url= | accessdate = 2008-02-10]


Hill received his B.S. in Mechanical Engineering with Aeronautics Option (Specialty) from the University of California, Berkeley in 1936. He also participated in graduate courses at the University of Virginia Extension during his employment with NACA, but considered himself primarily self-educated in mathematics and analysis.


*(1936-1939) Professor of Aeronautics, Polytechnic College of Engineering, Oakland, California.
*(1939-1970) Employee of the Langley Research Center (LRC), Hampton, Virginia, under the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) and then for NASA in the following research divisions: Physical Research Division (PRD), Pilotless Aircraft Research Division (PARD), Applied Materials and Physics Division (AMPD)

Official positions held at Langley Research Center (LRC)

*Aeronautical Research Scientist
*Head, Rocket (Model Propulsion) Section, PARD
*Head, Preflight Jet Section, PARD
*Head, Performance Section, PARD
*Head, Performance Aerodynamics Branch, PARD
*Assistant Chief, PARD
*Assistant Chief, AMPD

upervised sections of Applied Materials and Physics Division

*Aerospace Mechanics Branch: Included orbital and other analytical mechanics, space navigation, horizon physics measurements for spacecraft orientation, re-entry problems.
*Aerothermochemistry Branch: Included ultra-high-speed fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, material combustion and erosion, atmospheric contamination.
*Chemistry and Physics Branch: Spacecraft materials with emphasis on plastics for spacecraft application, Radiation Physics Lab.
*Flight Projects Branch: Operated all of LRC’s rocket-vehicle flights out of Wallops Island, Cape Kennedy, and Vandenberg AFB
*Propulsion Branch: Handled all of NASA’s in-house research on solid fuel rocket motors.
*Space Environment Branch: Operated satellites to measure meteoroid impact rates and penetration rates as a function of material thickness. Research on meteorite shielding with ground-based simulation guns. Operated large vacuum facilities at liquid helium temperatures to simulate the vacuum of outer space. Spacecraft materials and mechanisms tested under combined vacuum and solar radiation.
*Spacecraft Systems Branch: Emphasis on manned systems for space stations, space laboratories, and interplanetary missions. Included research on space-erectable and inflatable structures, underwater astronaut space simulations, regenerative life support systems with a closed environmental test chamber, and a control laboratory for research on gyroscopic control of spacecraft.

pecial NACA/NASA and other assignments

*Member, NACA Special Subcommittee on Rocket Engines
*Member, AEC ad hoc Committee for Nuclear Propulsion, Technical Advisory Board: Aerodynamic design of a supersonic nuclear-powered airplane.
*Member, Army ad hoc Committee for Ballistic Missiles: Aerodynamicist and rocket expect; committee design led to Army’s Middle Range Ballistic Missile (MRBM)
*Member, LRC Planetary Missions Technology Steering Committee: Included Viking Project planning.
*Member and chairman, LRC Space Science and Technology Steering Committee, Planetary Entry Deceleration Panel: Research planning.
*Chairman (6 years), LRC Manned Orbital Research Laboratory Steering Committee: Planned manned space mission research.
*Consultant, NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology: Space laboratories and their supply; led to Space Shuttle and reusable vehicles concept for supply.
*Member, NASA Office of Advanced Research and Technology, Space Station Review Group: Design integration of NASA-Industry Space Station Studies.
*Consultant U.S. Atomic Energy Commission (AEC)

ample personal research involvement

*P-47 aerodynamic design: Early in World War II, personally did aerodynamic prototype design and wind tunnel testing of P-47 Thunderbolt fighter and long-range bomber escort plane.
*Ram-Jet design: Wrote first published NACA report on supersonic Ram-Jet engine theory. Subsequently set up and supervised ram-jet research and flight programs at NACA’s research facility at Wallops Island.
*Wind tunnel design: Complete design responsibility for first supersonic wind tunnel in the United States operating at Mach 2 at full supersonic temperature. Design responsibility of NACA’s Flutter Research Tunnel, the first tunnel to use denser freon gas rather than air and in which high heat generated had to be removed by refrigeration.
*Flying platform research: First kinesthetically-controlled “flying platform” research program, 1950-1953. Eventually led to the Lunar Excursion Module (LEM) design. (Hill also applied research to analysis of UFO dynamical performance, such as observed wobble and falling-leaf motion.)
*Spherical solid-fuel motors: Initiation of research on spherical solid fuel motors.
*Space station technology: Initiation of space station research in the 1960s in inflatable and other self-erecting space structures, regenerative life-supports systems, closed environmental chambers for life-support systems tests, laboratory for study of direct gyroscopic control.
*Lunar low-gravity simulation: Invention along with David Thomas of lunar low-gravity simulation for lunar transport-flyer research; directed the program.

Research publications

Hill was the author of about 30 diverse technical papers, published mostly by NACA and NASA, plus other technical journals.

Interest and research on UFOs

Hill had two spectacular UFO sightings, the first in July 1952, which led him to research the topic for the rest of his life. Soon after, he built the first flying platform and was able to duplicate the UFO’s tilt-to-control maneuvers. Hill stated that official NASA policy prevented him from publishing his findings.

However, for the next 25 years, Hill acted as an unofficial UFO clearing house at NASA, collecting and analyzing sightings’ reports for physical properties, propulsion possibilities, dynamics, etc. To refute claims that UFOs defy the laws of physics, he had to make “technological sense…of the unconventional flying objects.” His studies led him to conclude that UFOs “obey, not defy, the laws of physics,” that not only was the technology explainable but ultimately attainable. His research and conclusions were detailed in a book published posthumously. (Sources, immediately below)

Hill's first UFO sighting

Hill's first UFO sighting occurred on July 16, 1952, near Hampton Roads, Virginia and Langley Research Center, where he worked. The sighting occurred in the midst of numerous other UFO sightings in the area, including a nearby famous one from July 14 by two Pan American Airlines pilots, over Chesapeake Bay (see External links). Hill drove out to the beach with his wife hoping to also see something. He said he didn't have long to wait. At 8:00 p.m., just at twilight, they saw two amber lights, looking like traffic lights, streaking toward them from the southern horizon at an estimated 500 miles an hour. From other witnesses and an aircraft spotter, Hill would later triangulate their altitude as 15,000 to 18,000 feet and their size as 13 to 20 feet in diameter. The lights passed directly over their heads, then slowed and turned west. Hill reported:

:"They practically came to a stop as they approached. It was then that they started their strange jitter, a surprising phenomenon. First one leaped a little way ahead of the other as fast as or faster than the eye could follow... Then the other seemed to jump ahead. They kept up these odd mincing steps for a few seconds as they passed overhead... Then, after passing zenith, they made an astounding maneuver. Maintaining their spacing of about 200 feet, they revolved in a horizontal circle, about a common center, at a rate of lest once per second. After a few revolutions, and without pause, they switched their revolutions into a vertical plane, keeping up the same amazing rate."

Hill said he was "awe-stricken" and blurted out, "Nothing can do that—those are really saucers," adding that it was within his line of business to know that no man-made craft could "remotely approach those maneuvers." He was then convinced "that here were visitors from another world."

Hill then reported that seconds later, an identical spherical light came in from the Atlantic Ocean on an ascending course over Chesapeake Bay and joined the other two. The three started accelerating toward the south, to be joined by yet another amber sphere coming in from the James River. All then flew off in a formation of four. Hill thought that the circling maneuver had been a "rendezvous signal." The entire sighting lasted about 3 minutes. Hill found out afterwards that many people in the area reported the amber lights to local newspapers, particularly the third light traveling up Chesapeake Bay. One report was from an Air Force fighter pilot, who agreed exactly with Hill’s estimate of speed.

Hill filed a report with Air Force intelligence the next day, after first reporting to a NACA superior, who accused him of drinking. While discussing the huge 1952 UFO sightings "flap", Hill’s sighting was briefly described (with some variation from Hill’s) by Project Blue Book head Edward J. Ruppelt in his 1956 book, but with Hill's name not given. Ruppelt referred to Hill as a "high-ranking civilian scientist" from NACA, and concluded saying that, "the man from the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics was a very famous aerodynamicist and of such professional stature that if he said the lights weren't airplanes they weren't." [ Ruppelt, Chapter 12]

In his book, Hill then calculated the centripetal acceleration of the two lights in their tight, rapid circling maneuver as about 100 g's, or 100 times that of normal Earth gravity, an astoundingly high number, again far in excess of any man-made aircraft.

Hill's second UFO sighting

Hill’s second sighting occurred 10 years later in 1962, also in Hampton Roads, while being driven in a car in traffic. The time was about 4:00 p.m. and a storm was clearing. A heavy cloud layer with a bottom at 3000-4000 feet lay over Hampton Roads and the lower end of Chesapeake Bay. Hill would later use the cloud layer data to calculate the acceleration and final velocity of the object.

Looking out over the southern end of Chesapeake Bay, Hill said he was "surprised to see a fat aluminum- or metallic-colored ‘fuselage’ nearly the size of a small freighter, but shaped more like a 'dirigible'." It was maybe 1000 feet high, moving maybe 100 miles an hour, and several miles away over the Bay. At one point its orientation showed him it was round in cross-section. Hill kept looking for a wing or a tail section, but didn’t see any. The big dirigibles that used to be at Langley Field had long since disappeared, and it was too cylindrical and long to be something like the Goodyear blimp. However, blimp origins soon became academic. Hill said that after a few minutes:

:" began to accelerate very rapidly and at the same time emit a straw-yellow, or pale flame-colored wake or plume, short at first but growing in length as the speed increased until it was nearly as long as the object. Also, when it started to accelerate it changed from a level path to an upward slanting path, making an angle of about 5 degrees to the horizontal. It passed us going at an astounding speed. It disappeared into the cloud layer… in what I estimated to be four seconds after the time it began to accelerate. The accelerating distance was measured by car odometer to be 5 miles."

From this information, Hill again calculated an acceleration (linear instead of angular) of about 100 times earth gravity, and a speed when disappearing into the cloud layer of about 8900 miles an hour. Hill added that, "...just as astounding as the performance figures was the silent operation. Not a sound was heard." (Hill, 174-176)

Hill noted that the accelerations in both cases were an order of magnitude beyond the capability (about 10 g) of Earth-type aircraft or large missiles, but not small missiles. Hill said cannon-launched missiles had linear accelerations of thousands of g’s and that small missiles containing computers, guidance, instrumentation, and telemeters to withstand 100 g loadings had been state-of-the-art for over two decades. Hill concluded that skeptical arguments that observed UFO high accelerations were impossible or somehow violated laws of physics were actually bogus.

ome of Hill's UFO theories

From his own sightings and analysis of the reported characteristics of many others, Hill concluded that UFO propulsion was based on a currently unknown antigravity force. Using his aerodynamic expertise, Hill further demonstrated mathematically how this would also explain how UFOs fly at supersonic speed without creating a sonic boom, another frequent skeptical objection to UFO reality. The same antigravity field forward of the craft would push aside the air and prevent it from piling up on the leading surfaces of the craft. The shock wave causing the sonic boom would never form. Furthermore, the system would streamline the airflow and reduce turbulence, thus reducing aerodynamic drag, greatly improving flight efficiency.

Applying the antigravity field to the occupants of the craft would protect them against the effects of high acceleration, since they could be accelerated at the same rate as the craft itself.

Other scientific analysts of UFO performance have come to similar conclusions. One example was rocketry pioneer Hermann Oberth, who likewise thought UFOs had mastered antigravity, and also used this to fly supersonically without generating a shock wave. Oberth, like Hill, supported the Extraterrestrial hypothesis for UFO origins.

ee also

*Unidentified flying objects
*Extraterrestrial hypothesis


*Paul R. Hill, "Unconventional Flying Objects: a scientific analysis’’, 1995, Hampton Roads Publishing Co., ISBN 1-57174-027-9 (Hill’s biographical material here was adapted for this article)
*Edward J. Ruppelt, ‘’The Report on Unidentified Flying Objects”, 1956. [ online]

External links

* [ Review of Hill’s book] , by physicist and paranormal researcher Harold E. Puthoff
* [ Another book review by H. Ellis Ensle]
* [ Some excerpts from Hill's book]
* [ The famous Nash-Fortenberry pilot UFO sighting] , the one that inspired Hill’s sighting 2 days later

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