Tuesday, November 30, 2021
The Case of the Missing Telegram
One official document.
That’s all I was looking for. Probably just one page, if that.
In my research into official documents regarding the subject of UFOs, I came across two particular mentions of them by the Prime Minister of Canada in 1966.
That in itself was fairly significant, as any head of state publicly raising the subject of UFOs was (and is) quite unusual to say the least. Of more significance is that these circumstances were not in response to questions from the media during a press conference, or in the context of banter on a network TV show.
These were during relatively staid and controlled government discussions among debates about issues such as diplomatic missions, farm policy and military concerns.
The first instance under consideration was on April 5, 1966. Prime Minister Lester B. Pearson was in a meeting with ministers and members of Parliament in his cabinet, discussing the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, followed shortly thereafter by a proposal for the Health Resources Fund, which was to provide critical federal support in building hospital infrastructure.
But in between those two topics under discussion was “Unidentified Flying Objects.” This was not just a mention of UFOs in a joking way or a mention of shooting stars mistaken for UFOs. This was an actual topic for discussion.
The brief reference in the Minutes of Cabinet that day read:
The Prime Minister said that, in view of the interest being shown in Parliament and the press concerning reports of unidentified flying objects, he would ask the Minister or Ministers responsible to provide him with reports on what had been done in recent years in connection with such reports.
The Cabinet noted that the Prime Minister would seek information from the responsible Ministers concerning actions taken by the government in recent years as a result of reports of unidentified flying objects.
That was it.
A few things to note: within Pearson’s Cabinet, the Minister of Defence at that time was none other than Paul Hellyer, who in much later years claimed inside knowledge that aliens were visiting Earth on a regular basis. But Hellyer also said that during his time in office, he was not all that interested in UFOs.
Hellyer admits that when he was defence minister, he never got any briefings on UFOs from the military. He says he got reports of sightings, and that some of them could not be explained.
And at the Citizens’ Hearings on Disclosure in 2013, Hellyer said:
Although as Minister of National Defence I had sighting reports of UFOs, I was too busy to be concerned about them because I was trying to unify the Army, Navy and Air Force into a single Canadian Defence Force.
So while he was not that interested in UFOs, it does seem that he was asked by the Prime Minister to provide reports on what was being done about UFOs by the Royal Canadian Air Force and National Defence. It was likely he did therefore get briefings on UFOs from the military.
Anyway, that was an interesting entry in the minutes of the Liberal Cabinet of 1966.
What was even more interesting, however, was what happened the next day, April 6, 1966.
The Hansard of the Canadian House of Commons recorded that during Question Period, no less a political strategist than the famous Tommy Douglas, former premier of Saskatchewan and the leader of the federal New Democratic Party, stood up and asked about an issue making the national news at that time: UFOs.
Mr. Speaker, may I direct a question to the Prime Minister. In view of widespread concern over press reports regarding unidentified flying objects, and in order that these reports may not lead to unfounded speculation, I want to ask the Prime Minister if this matter is being investigated by any department of his government. If so, may I ask what department has been assigned this responsibility?
Douglas was referring to a media frenzy that was taking place at that time in southern Ontario regarding the case of 13-year-old Charles Cozens. On March 29, 1966, at 9:15 pm, he claimed to have seen two luminous oval objects about eight feet in diameter descend and land, making a buzzing sound. He said the objects had a row of multicolored lights around their rims that were “flickering like a computer.”
Cozens bravely got closer and even touched the nearest UFO, which he said felt hard and smooth like metal. He noticed an antenna of some kind sticking out from the object, and touched it as well, but there was a bright flash and he received an electrical shock. Frightened, he ran home, where his parents confirmed that he had a three-inch burn on his hand. Two days later, it had not healed well, so they took him to a hospital where he was treated for the burn.
This case was part of a very significant UFO flap that flared through the region that month. According to one UFO historian, “It was by far the most intensive and widely reported UFO ‘flap’ ever recorded in Canada.” No wonder it was discussed in the Canadian Parliament!
In fact, on April 4, 1966, a few days before Tommy Douglas addressed the Prime Minister, a different politician, New Democratic Party member William Dean Howe, had asked a question in open session about Cozens, since the case had occurred in his own riding of Hamilton.
Mr. Speaker, I have a question I should like to direct to the Minister of Transport. In view of the increased sightings of unidentified flying objects which are now getting past the point of being funny – a young citizen in my riding is nursing a burn on his hand after touching the antenna of one of these objects, and there are dozens of other reports in southern Ontario – can the minister say whether his department is doing anything about investigating these reports; and would he be prepared to set up a special committee for this purpose in order to satisfy public curiosity?
This was a very significant development, as a Canadian politician was asking the government about the status of UFO investigations, and was taking the subject very seriously.
(Of course, despite noting the topic was “past the point of being funny,” a Progressive Conservative Member of Parliament, Gordon Fairweather, couldn’t resist a snide remark: “Ralph Cowan should be the chairman.” This was because Cowan, a Liberal Party member, had a reputation for being a “renegade” and often voted against his own party on bills before the House. He was the subject of ridicule and was even considered a “windmill tilter.”)
Unfortunately, Howe’s questions were never addressed until April 21, 1966, when then Associate Minister for National Defence, Leo Cadieux, stated that there was no such investigation underway but that he would initiate one.
I do not personally think there is a coordinated effort being made now, but I believe several departments of government are interested in the subject matter referred to by the honourable member.
This in itself was interesting, because the Minister for Defence at the time was Paul Hellyer, who chose to have his subordinate address the issue instead of himself.
But back to Tommy Douglas’ question of Prime Minister Pearson regarding the flurry of UFO reports in Ontario. In response, Pearson replied:
Mr. Speaker, I am aware of these reports. Indeed, I had a telegram, a few hours ago concerning another report from western Canada. These matters are being investigated by the Department of National Defence.
So on April 6, 1966, the Prime Minister of Canada said that National Defence was investigating UFO reports, but two weeks later, the public was told that there were no investigations underway but there would be soon. Which was correct?
Reading all this, my curiosity was piqued. What was in the telegram that Pearson said he had received? Why was the Prime Minister sent a telegram about a UFO report if there was no investigation already? Who was keeping the head of state informed on UFO sightings in the country? How often was he sent this information?
I decided that taking a look at this telegram could yield some insight into what the government was doing about UFOs at that time. I sent off an Access to Information request (the Canadian equivalent of the FOIA request) for this one specific document.
While I waited for the response to my request, I dug deeper into my files of historical Canadian UFO reports. Since 1989, I had been coordinating the annual Canadian UFO Survey, taking a “snapshot” of all UFO sightings reported in the country during the year. But in addition to keeping track of current cases, I had been developing a parallel database of historical Canadian UFO cases to better understand the characteristics of the UFO phenomenon over the years.
It turns out that 1966 was a pretty good year for UFOs in Canada and elsewhere. It marked the beginning of the 1966-67 UFO wave that affected North America, described by some as “the Mother of All UFO Waves.”
In Canada, noted sightings included the aforementioned Cozens case, and that same night of March 29, 1966, at 11:15 pm in London, Ontario, a bright disc-shaped object with a dome was seen hovering above Westminster Hospital for five minutes.
But those were in eastern Canada, not the west. My examination of the National Research Council of Canada (NRC) UFO files showed there were five separate sighting reports on April 4-5, 1966, all around Montreal – again not the west.
However, there was one single report from western Canada, on April 6, 1966, from Comox, British Columbia. The trouble is that it could not have been the subject of a telegram to Pearson that same day, as the sighting had occurred at 9:05 pm Pacific Time, or after midnight on April 7, 1966!
Which case had been noted in the telegram, then?
When I received the response to my ATI request after three months of waiting, I was told that the telegram could not be found. The archivists had searched through the Lester B. Pearson fonds, including the general Prime Minister’s office correspondence, numbered subject files, secret (!) subject files, diaries and personal papers, and files of the Privy Council Office. They also looked in the House of Commons fonds, including files on Debates, Proceedings, and Sessional Records.
Further, they looked in the Department of National Defence fonds, including the Central registry files of National Defence Headquarters and the files of the Canadian North American Air Defence Region Headquarters.
Finally, they looked in the NRC files, and an archivist noted: “I could not identify a sighting report in Western Canada that would have occurred in the few days before April 6th, 1966.”
No telegram sent to the Prime Minister about UFOs in Western Canada could be found in any file. Why not?
Well, there are several possible explanations.
· The Prime Minister could have said Western Canada, but meant Eastern Canada.
· The Prime Minister could have been using hyperbole, simply boasting that he was on top of the situation and there was no such telegram. (If so, why be so specific?)
· It was not a telegram, but a memo of some kind.
· The telegram was classified higher than Secret.
However, there was no telegram about a UFO sighting in western Canada on or around April 6, 1966.
Yet there could have been such a telegram. The day before in Cabinet, as noted, Pearson said that he was going to ask the Minister of Defence “to provide him with reports” on UFOs. It makes sense, therefore, that a day later the Minister of Defence would have given Pearson something about the current UFO situation at that time. And if there had been a UFO case around that time, it could have been the subject of that missive. Was it the missing telegram?
Further, according to Pearson’s comment in the House of Commons, the Department of National Defence was investigating UFO reports in 1966. This is remarkable, because research by journalist Daniel Otis found that in 2021, “Canada’s military says it does not typically concern itself with UFO reports, unless they represent emergencies or ‘credible threats.’” Further, a later paper noted that credible UFO reports routinely get ignored by the Canadian military.
So what exactly does Canada’s Department of National Defence do with UFO reports? Did it ever investigate them in any detail?
What did Lester B. Pearson know?
I suppose a follow-up question would be: what does the current Prime Minister know?
Tuesday, November 09, 2021
Tic Tac seen at close range in Yukon in 2003
Whitehorse, Yukon, August 10, 2003, 2:22 pm
The witness was driving toward Whitehorse on the Alaska Highway just north-west of MacRae Subdivision when she spotted an object on Haeckel Hill. It was just left of the windmills and just below the top of the ridge (about 11 km distance) and moving south, down the hill toward Copper Ridge Subdivision very fast. The witness had her mother as a passenger, but she did not say anything to her about the object as she did not know what it was. Her mother did not see it. The object was cigar-shaped, no wings or markings, and looked like the body of an aluminum airplane.
The witness was wondering what that object was doing, flying low down Haeckel Hill toward the subdivision, knowing that the airport wasn't there. At the bottom of the hill it looked like the object was skimming the top of the trees but when the highway turned left, she lost sight of it behind the trees on the right. The duration of this first part of the sighting was about 20 seconds. The object had been coming toward her direction, so she kept on looking sideways as she was driving.
Almost 1 km further on was a short road (100 m) on the left side of the highway going into Canyon Creek Subdivision. As she passed the road, the UFO came from the opposite side at the end of the road, going south. She did not see the whole craft but figured that about 10 meters of the front was visible in the 1 to 2 seconds it took to drive by. It was moving fast just above the road and the trees were visible above the UFO. The surface of the UFO was like brushed aluminum, no portholes or doors were visible, and the front of the UFO was perfectly round. By the time she had passed the road, the front (nose) of the UFO was half way across the road at the other end. Being inside a vehicle herself, she doesn't know if there was any sound from the UFO.
At the time of the sighting, the witness had no unusual feelings, but said that after driving another kilometer she realized that this was a bit scary being so close to a UFO. After bringing her mother home, she went back to Canyon Creek to see how this craft could maneuver across the road. She called our UFO hotline the next morning, and we went out to Canyon Creek that afternoon to investigate the site. There was a road going parallel to the Highway, which the UFO was following. Right at the intersection where she saw the craft, there were two hydro-poles, one on each side of the road which the craft had to fly between, and there was a heavy steel guy wire about 7 meters up between the poles it had to get under. It was estimated by her description that the craft was cigar-shaped (round at the ends and in circumference) flying about 2 meters above the road surface. The body itself was about 4 meters high, which would leave about 1 meter between the top of the craft and the guy wire. Not seeing the whole craft, we don't know how long it was. From seeing the UFO on Haeckel Hill to meeting it at Canyon Creek it took about 1 minute. Assuming it was the same object, one can calculate the velocity. In one minute it traveled 10 kilometers which is about 600 km/h. (Allow + or - 15% for all the measurements).The case was investigated by Hand Grasholm of UFOBC.
Wednesday, October 13, 2021
Another USAF UFO report in Canadian files
Continuing my research and posting of information about Canadian UFO docs, here's another NRC UFO doc that describes UFOs observed and reported by USAF personnel assigned to the DEW Line in the Northwest Territories. Several personnel watched a number of lights for a total of two hours (!) on December 1, 1981.
The significance of this report is that it was a sighting by Americans stationed in Canada, and was reported through the Canadian UFO reporting system at the time. It is unknown whether this case made it into any kind of American military UFO (or UAP) files.
Labels: UFO USAF Canada report
Tuesday, July 27, 2021
Many UFO/UAP fans have posted details of the news conference that Avi Loeb held announcing the Galileo Project based at Harvard. It seems to be a good step towards a situation where the the scientific community can be contributing its collective knowledge towards understanding the UFO/UAP phenomenon.
It raises some important questions, however. For example, one “activity” listed in the GP documentation is photographing UAPs using “a network of mid-sized, high-resolution telescopes and detector arrays with suitable cameras and computer systems, distributed in select locations.”
This is a lot easier said than done. Anyone who has been into ufology for any length of time knows that photos of UFOs leave a lot to be desired, if they can be obtained at all. But apart from that, which “mid-sized” telescopes are we talking about? Certainly larger than the typical C-8 or C-14 in amateur astronomers’ backyard observatories. (The GP mentions telescopes with a 36-inch aperture or better.) Also, telescopes are woefully inadequatefor imaging objects moving within a local frame of reference. At most, we might expect a camera to catch a trailed image of some kind.
[Back in 2009, I noted earlier astronomical research devoted to UAPs (even called that back then!):
...a group calling itself UAP Reporting (uapreporting.org)... (sent out a news release). What was most remarkable is that the release announced the opening of a website where astronomers could report sightings of Unidentified Aerosapce Phenomena (UAPs).
As many ufologists will know, UAP is a term used in place of UFO by some scientists who don't want to call them UFOs because of the stigma associated with it. (Actually, UAP originally has stood for Unidentified or Unusual Aerial Phenomena, but we can go with Aerospace if they really want. See: http://www.susanrennison.com/Index_Joyfire_UAP_Index.htm)
Anyway, the website is the brainchild of Philippe Ailleris, a Dutch financial officer working for the Euopean Space Agency. An amateur astronomer, he has been quietly presenting papers at astronomical conferences on SETI and topics related to UFOs.
Ailleris cites the 1976 study by Peter Sturrock on professional astronomers' UFO sightings (in this case a revision published in 1994) and also the reports on the Hessdalen lights over the past few decades. He doesn't note (or is aware of) the Gert Herb report on amateur astronomers' sightings. (http//www.rasc.ca/publications/nationalnewsletter/nn-1981-02.pdf, page 12)
The Galileo Project also mentions “select locations” This probably means “UFO Hotspots,” which as Cheryl Costa has pointed out many times, are not as cut-and-dried or as simple to identify. Sedona? Near Area 51? Catalina? Installing these high-resolution cameras in remote locations may not be easy.
The rest of the stated activities mostly revolve around examining all-sky surveys for anomalous objects within our Solar System, and using the Vera Rubin Observatory on Kitt Peak to search for alien microsatellites in orbit above Earth.
It’s good that the GP has generous donors, because none of this will come cheap. Buying time on “very sophisticated large telescopes on Earth” is going to drain bank accounts, and the operator time alone will be considerable. This is a long-term, expensive proposition.
The other interesting thing about the GP is that while many UFO/UAP fans have expressed excitement about the project, it really has little to do with UAP as most people define the term. Nowhere does the GP website mention anything about the UFO reports that continue to be filed every day around the world, nor is there anything about examining existing databases or documents concerning UAP that have been observed in the past 75 years.
The GP does not mention previous scientific studies of UFO/UAP cases, most notably the Condon Report. Nor is there any mention of the many peer-reviewed scientific papers that have been published on the subject throughout the decades (even those by Ailleris). There's also the scientific discourse published in the many issues of the Journal of UFO Studies. And the analyses of the SCU. It almost seems like there is a desire to reinvent the wheel.
Don't get me wrong; it’s great that a group of scientists are planning on taking the subject of UAP seriously, and have even acquired independent funding for their research. I would hope that some take the opportunity to investigate UAP reports personally, and interview witnesses, and collect data on cases as they are reported
Or maybe that’s up to ufologists.
Saturday, June 26, 2021
When does "Unexplained" not mean "Unexplained?" - Reading that darned UAP Report...
What does the Pentagon’s UAP Report really say?
A lot has been written about the brief but fascinating Preliminary Assessment: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena released late on Friday, June 25, 2021 by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) of the US Department of Defense.
Hardcore skeptics and debunkers are pointing out that the Report does not mention aliens or extraterrestrial spacecraft as possibilities in evaluating the UAPs. In fact, it avoids that suggestion like the plague.
Ardent UFO zealots, on the other hand, read the Report as saying that UAPs are physical objects that for the most part have no explanation. That leaves the door open to the possibility of alien technology, since the Report also notes that the UAPs investigated don’t seem to be either American or foreign technology.
But what does the report actually say on all these points? What details can we glean from its meagre nine pages of information?
First, some media outlets and UFO experts are noting that only 144 cases were evaluated for the Report, and of those, only one had an explanation:
We were able to identify one reported UAP with high confidence. In that case, we identified the object as a large, deflating balloon. The others remain unexplained. (p.5)
That’s a very significant detail, with almost all cases having no explanation!
But this detail was repeated a few pages later, with a slight but significant change in wording:
With the exception of the one instance where we determined with high confidence that the reported UAP was airborne clutter, specifically a deflating balloon, we currently lack sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations. (p.5)
There is a big difference between saying 143 cases have no explanation and saying there’s not enough information to definitively explain them as specific objects or things.
The second interesting thing to note is that the Report looked at cases reported during a very small window of time.
The dataset described in this report is currently limited primarily to U.S. Government reporting of incidents occurring from November 2004 to March 2021. (p.2)
… the UAPTF concentrated its review on reports that occurred between 2004 and 2021, the majority of which are a result of this new tailored process to better capture UAP events through formalized reporting. (p.3)
This “tailored process” is quite important, because it didn’t exist until 2019!
The Air Force subsequently adopted that mechanism in November 2020… (p.4)
This meant that the Report was very limited in scope:
These reports describe incidents that occurred between 2004 and 2021, with the majority coming in the last two years as the new reporting mechanism became better known to the military aviation community. (p.4)
What this means is that nearly all of the only 144 cases that were examined for the Report came from a very small time period between March 2019 and (presumably) June 2021, perhaps only two years.
It’s worse than that.
… the USAF began a six-month pilot program in November 2020 to collect in the most likely areas to encounter UAP… (p.7)
So the Air Force only looked at reports from between November 2020 and April 2021 as data for the UAPTF Report, and even then, only from certain unspecified locations. We can only speculate that these were near military installations, and near operational theaters.
And from whom did these cases come?
…the UAPTF focused on reports that involved UAP largely witnessed firsthand by military aviators and that were collected from systems we considered to be reliable. (p.4)
So this means that a rather remarkable 144 UAP reports were submitted to the Navy and Air Force by military personnel (mostly pilots) during only the past few years, with possibly a few exceptions.
This should be of concern, and it is. That implies that at least once a week, American military pilots are seeing and reporting unidentified aerial phenomena.
And what of the sightings themselves? The unclassified version of the Report that was made available does not mention any case specifically, save the “deflated balloon,” and even on that one we have no details as to where or when it was seen, or under what conditions.
The Report offers a few curious tidbits, however.
… 80 reports involved observation with multiple sensors. (p.4)
Well that’s something. Eighty cases had at least two methods of observation, such as both radar and visual, or tracked by weaponry, although the phrasing could be interpreted to allow for simply two different visual observations of the same object.
Then there’s this:
And a Handful of UAP Appear to Demonstrate Advanced Technology:
In 18 incidents, described in 21 reports, observers reported unusual UAP movement patterns or flight characteristics. (p.5)
First of all, the UAP Task Force seems to have large hands, as 18 is more than a typical handful. Secondly, these 18 UAPs moved in such a way as to seem unlike ordinary craft. But only 18 out of 144, so that the vast majority of UAPs did not seem to have abnormal movement compared with conventional objects.
Furthermore, some cases involved the same object. In other words, a UAP was seen by multiple witnesses (or sensors) and reported independently. This is also significant because it means that at least there were three reports of the same object, bringing the actual number of UAPs included in the Report down to 141. One can ask if this was the situation with others as well. Only an examination of the full, unclassified version of the Report can shed light on this.
The UAPTF holds a small amount of data that appear to show UAP demonstrating acceleration or a degree of signature management. (p.5)
In other words, only a fraction of the total number of cases have UAPs that move in such a way as to defy explanation. This seems more manageable in terms of data analyses.
Okay, then, what about the reports themselves? What do they look like?
The limited amount of high-quality reporting on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) hampers our ability to draw firm conclusions about the nature or intent of UAP. (p.3)
Right in the Executive Summary, the Pentagon cautions that the Report has its problems. Most UAP reports are incomplete or inadequate. This isn’t at all surprising, given that formal reporting by military personnel only has a reporting process recently, and we have no idea what that looks like.
This also echoes the problems with Project Blue Book, the original UFO investigation program by the Pentagon (that most people, including those on the UAPTF, seem to have forgotten or are ignoring). Even though Blue Book involved hundreds of UFO sightings by military personnel, many reports were judged to have insufficient or inadequate information for evaluation, despite a formalized reporting process.
And actually, that’s why I will now point to the Canadian UFO Survey.
The Survey has four categories of conclusions regarding UFO reports. Two are most obvious: Explained and Unexplained. But there are two additional categories that we have been using to classify UFO reports: Possible/Probable Explanation and Insufficient Information. These comprise the bulk of UFO reports in the Survey every year.
Possible/Probable Explanation is used if the description of the observed UFO fits well with a prosaic explanation or a conventional object.
Insufficient Information is used if there is information lacking that could help identify the UFO. A lack of a definite date or location is insufficient information, for example.
Typically, the yearly breakdown in Canada has been something like: 2% Explained, 20% Insufficient Evidence, 68% Possible Explanation (for a combined percentage of about 88%), and 10% Unexplained. From what we know from the UAP Report, they had 0.7% Explained, something like 87% Insufficient Information or Possible Explanation, and 12.5% Unexplained.
Not bad, for a ballpark comparison.
If a UFO report has characteristics of, say, a drone, but the specific drone cannot be located or the operator can’t be identified positively, the report is not completely explained, but we suspect it may have a conventional explanation.
And if a report is submitted but the date or time of observation is not precisely given or known, then there isn’t full enough information to evaluate the case.
And that’s what’s missing in the UAPTF Report. It appears as though they were considering only two options: Explained or Unexplained, without allowing for any “grey basket” (as ufologist Stanton Friedman called it). No wiggle room.
They note this situation exactly, as noted earlier:
With the exception of the one instance where we determined with high confidence that the reported UAP was airborne clutter, specifically a deflating balloon, we currently lack sufficient information in our dataset to attribute incidents to specific explanations. (p.5)
What were these other explanations?
Our analysis of the data supports the construct that if and when individual UAP incidents are resolved they will fall into one of five potential explanatory categories: airborne clutter, natural atmospheric phenomena, USG or industry developmental programs, foreign adversary systems, and a catchall “other” bin. (p.5)
“Airborne clutter” meant “birds, balloons, recreational unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), or airborne debris like plastic bags,” and “natural phenomena” include sundogs and moisture-laden clouds that can be detected on radar.
Then there’s this one:
USG or Industry Developmental Programs: Some UAP observations could be attributable to developments and classified programs by U.S. entities. We were unable to confirm, however, that these systems accounted for any of the UAP reports we collected. (p.5)
In other words, some UAP reports could be of classified American craft or devices. UFO fans note correctly that the Pentagon should know if an observed object seen by its own military personnel was one of “ours.” And indeed, the Report states that it could not get confirmation that any UAPs were secret American projects.
(Because, presumably, they might have been secret, and not simply “classified.” In fact, in an unclassified report, it would be unlikely that any information on secret programs would be provided.)
Similarly, UAPs don’t seem to be craft or vehicles belonging to China or Russia. That we know of.
And then there’s the “catchall ‘other’ bin”:
Although most of the UAP described in our dataset probably remain unidentified due to limited data or challenges to collection processing or analysis, we may require additional scientific knowledge to successfully collect on, analyze and characterize some of them. We would group such objects in this category pending scientific advances that allowed us to better understand them. (p.6)
First, note the reaffirmation that most UAPs are unidentified because of a lack of data or information. But then the sentence goes on to note that some cases might need “additional scientific knowledge” to understand them.
What the heck does that mean? This is a phrase that many UFO fans and experts are pointing to as proof that notable cases such as the “Tic Tac” and the “Go Fast” involve craft that seem to break the laws of flight and physics. They seem to move in and out of water, accelerate but don’t make sonic booms, and so forth.
But do they? We simply won’t know until we get more information.
What else do we know about the UAP reports?
… there was some clustering of UAP observations regarding shape, size, and, particularly, propulsion. (p.5)
Again, we don’t have the data so it’s hard to understand what this means. But varying shapes of UFOs have been recorded for decades, and there are some shapes that seem more common than others. Similarly, with sizes. (See, for example, the Canadian UFO Survey statistics.)
The “propulsion” observation likely means that the witness did not see an visible means of propulsion for the UAP, which is almost universal (pardon the pun).
UAP sightings also tended to cluster around U.S. training and testing grounds… (p.5)
Of course they did. Most reports were from military pilots.
One of the most significant parts of the Report was in bold capital letters: UAP THREATEN FLIGHT SAFETY AND, POSSIBLY, NATIONAL SECURITY. (p.6)
That almost didn’t need the emphasis. If UAP are being seen by military personnel in and around military installations or bases, and if there’s no explanation for some of the objects seen, then that’s obviously of concern.
The Report states in no uncertain terms:
UAP pose a hazard to safety of flight and could pose a broader danger if some instances represent sophisticated collection against U.S. military activities by a foreign government or demonstrate a breakthrough aerospace technology by a potential adversary. (p.6)
If UAPs are flying circles around jet fighters, then that’s a problem.
Okay, so what happens when a pilot does see something? What does he or she do about it?
When aviators encounter safety hazards, they are required to report these concerns. (p.6)
Indeed, pilots are required to report UAPs (and UFOs), according to flight regulations. In Canada, this directive is found in NAV Canada instructions on CIRVIS reporting, under Transport Canada regulations:
220.127.116.11 CIRVIS Reports – Vital Intelligence Sightings
Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sightings (CIRVIS) reports should be made immediately upon a vital intelligence sighting of any airborne and ground objects or activities that appear to be hostile, suspicious, unidentified or engaged in possible illegal smuggling activity. Examples of events requiring CIRVIS reports are: unidentified flying objects…
(Yes, the term unidentified flying object (UFO) is actually used in Canada, not UAP.)
Okay, so pilots are supposed to report UAPs, but the UAP Report acknowledges that they might not be believed, and one challenge in studying UAPs is that:
Narratives from aviators in the operational community and analysts from the military and IC describe disparagement associated with observing UAP, reporting it, or attempting to discuss it with colleagues. Although the effects of these stigmas have lessened as senior members of the scientific, policy, military, and intelligence communities engage on the topic seriously in public, reputational risk may keep many observers silent, complicating scientific pursuit of the topic. (p.4)
The Report goes on to note ways in which it is hoping to overcome witness reporting hesitancy, including by working with the FAA to reach out to pilots who might have seen UAPs.
The FAA has its own way of gathering UAP data, analogous to the Transport Canada and NAV Canada:
The FAA captures data related to UAP during the normal course of managing air traffic operations. The FAA generally ingests this data when pilots and other airspace users report unusual or unexpected events to the FAA’s Air Traffic Organization. (p.7)
But by acknowledging that serious UFO research by members of the scientific community has helped lessen the “stigma” of UAP reporting, the Report suggests that civilian UFO research is having an impact on concerted studies in this field.
This of course leads to the obvious question of who will be paying for UAP studies by scientists. The Report offers this in its final paragraph:
The UAPTF has indicated that additional funding for research and development could further the future study of the topics laid out in this report. (p.7)
Send some of that our way, please.
Thursday, June 24, 2021
A UFO report that wasn’t “logical”
It stands to reason that a report of a UFO that flies circles around a jet fighter doesn’t seem logical. In fact, it’s absurd. Nothing like that could possibly be real.
Except when it’s actually reported by not one but two different pilots.
In the files of Project Blue Book is such an incident that the USAF admitted defied logic.
The main record card for the case:
The main record card for the case:
On February 13, 1956, at 0255Z (or before midnight on February 12, 1956), two F-89 jet fighters were 40 miles southeast of Goose Bay, Labrador, on a routine training mission. One fighter aircraft, a F-89D Scorpion, acquired visual and radar contact with an object that “rapidly circled” the F-89D, which was flying at 260 knots and an altitude of 20,000 feet. The object had green and red lights that were flashing. It was estimated to be ¾ mile away.
The object was observed visually for about one minute, and during this time, the second F-89 pilot also had radar contact with it. About 15 seconds after the pilots encountered the object, air traffic controllers monitoring the situation reported radar contact with the same or another object, noting that it was stationary, about 38 miles southwest of Goose Bay.
The fighter aircraft were then both vectored to head for the object that had appeared on the ATC radar scope. The aircraft radar locked on to this object but the target faded when the aircraft got within eight miles of it.
The weather at the time was clear visibility of 20 miles, with some ice crystals.
The report noted: “Sighting cannot be correlated with any known FRD activity,”
We don’t have any information on what was done in terms of investigation at the time, but almost ten years later, some kind of review of the case was made. A note from the USAF Foreign Technology Division at Wright-Patterson AFB, dated 11 February 1965, read:
“The information in this report is too incomplete for an evaluation to be made. It is not logical for a genuine target to ‘fade’ and disappear when the fighter gets close to it – the normal situation is for the target to get stronger the closer the fighter gets to it.” [NB: emphasis in original]
Despite this, the original report is labeled “UNIDENTIFIED.”
Wednesday, June 23, 2021
UFO seen on USAF B-29 Bomber's radar southeast of Newfoundland in 1949