Originally Posted by RoboTimbo
Fine, so the official explanation said he was observing Venus. This simply reinforces my point. Here we have a pilot who was so apparently determined to catch the image of something in the air above him to the point where he risked blacking out, killed himself in the process.
Now, I am not a pilot, but one thing I do know is that distant objects like stars stay put when you change the angle of observation, by virtue of that distance. In the air, the position of that object has no reference points, but its size and position relative to say the observers compass position from the plane, would display fixed point characteristics. There would be no confirmatory information for such an observer to be confused or miscontrue a star with an object that is close, manouvering and/or speeding away. Only objects that are relatively close and in terrestial airspace would provide observational information to suggest that case.
In other words, we are being asked to believe by the official explanation, that Captain Mantell, who had flown many times before and would be familiar with stars in the sky, had a bad day at the office on this occasion, and because Venus was particularly bright, and only because of that, confused it with an object close, in terrestial airspace, and worthy of a chase to the point where his life was on the line.
My own common sense tells me that he saw something much more impressive and interesting than simply a bright planet Venus. What "that" actually was remains a mystery, and as some other poster said above, it has to be tagged as the "U" in UFO.