Aviation Safety in America:
Under-Reporting Bias of Unidentified Aerial
Phenomena and Recommended Solutions
3 of 3)
3. Data Collection
respect to procedural or technical solutions,
a specialized central collection center
is critical to data collection and analysis.
This center should be funded in a manner
so as to allow it to conduct unhindered
investigations and research, participate
in international research efforts, present
its findings and conduct education and outreach
within the aviation community. The existence
of this research organization should be
widely promoted, and all witnesses of current
or historical observations of UAP should
be encouraged to report their information.
relevant data sources should be made available
to specialized investigators with allowances
made for appropriate military and civilian
security requirements. As security issues
continue to evolve within the aviation system
it is reasonable to expect that there will
be overlapping concerns. All efforts should
be made to promote access to UAP data by
Additionally, access and support should be provided with respect
to radar data and analysis. Currently, radar
data acquired through the Freedom of Information
Act (F.O.I.A.) usually is provided as encrypted
code printed on hardcopy, making radar data
reconstructions difficult at best.
to analyze U.S. UAP data should be designed
to dovetail with international efforts in
this field. This research organization should
participate in all appropriate aviation
safety forums, and present its data at all
All completed research should be immediately published and released through traditional media outlets.
rigorous effort should be undertaken to
educate all US aviation professionals about
the basic issue of UAP and aviation safety
and the existence of an organization charged
with the analysis of observations and incidents.
Managers should encourage reporters to contact
Within the US aviation system the matter of UAP and aviation safety should be expressed in terms reflecting that concern. Speculation regarding the nature and source of these lights and objects should be avoided. Emphasis should be placed on the analysis and resolution of the safety related conditions surrounding these events rather than on attempts to determine the exact nature and source of UAP.
the fall of 2001, NARCAP conducted a survey
of aircrew flying for a commercial airline
with respect to UAP observations and related
questions (NARCAP TR-5). Included in the
questionnaire was the question:
On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is max.) about how interested are you in these phenomena? ___
majority of respondents scored their interest
between 5 and 10. This seems to suggest
that there is a large contingent of pilots
who are receptive to information regarding
UAP and would probably respond well to a
basic educational program, perhaps implemented
during their re-currency training programs.
The possible "shock" effect of the acknowledgement of these incidents should not be underestimated, yet as we will see in the French example, this "shock" can be minimized. "In house" psychologists should be educated to support personnel who are uncomfortable with the situation, or who witness UAP firsthand.
5. The French Approach
Internationally, there are examples of aviation systems that
accommodate reporting and investigation
of UAP incidents, however the US aviation
system is the largest and most complex and
will require special considerations with
respect to the above recommendations. Perhaps
the best active model is the French organization,
SEPRA is part of the official French space agency, CNES. SEPRA receives UAP reports from ARTCCs, French commercial airlines, the Gendarmerie, the National Police as well as the French Air Force. Reporting instructions and forms are found in all ARTCCs and aircrews and managers are familiar with the reporting procedures. Air controllers receive course instruction from SEPRA as part of their general training
Direct and forthright discussions regarding these incidents at all levels of the aviation system will lay the groundwork for improving aviation safety and enhancing scientific knowledge.
National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena
there are no official UAP research organizations
in the United States, these issues are being
championed by the National Aviation Reporting
Center on Anomalous Phenomena, NARCAP. This
organization is a nonprofit, scientific,
public benefit, national organization focused
on US aviation and staffed by competent
aviation and aeronautics experts. NARCAP
advisors are familiar with the issues and
are experienced and respected members of
the aviation community.
NARCAP operates a confidential reporting center and conducts investigations and performs outreach and education in the aviation community.
Internationally, NARCAP is officially recognized by the official
Chilean research group CEFAA and has a good
relationship with the official French group,
SEPRA. Additionally, NARCAP has affiliates
in 14 nations and is participating in the
collection and analysis of reliable data
at the international level.
is conducting research to develop base metrics
regarding these incidents and continues
to publish technical reports on this research.
The Air Crew Survey Project is an ongoing
survey of commercial pilots and serves the
dual purpose of gathering data and educating
Clearly the correct approach to the UAP problem is to educate both potential reporters and those who may potentially receive reports, to implement a safety related incident reporting and investigation program, and to develop a data collection and analysis project that dovetails with international efforts and normalizes data across borders with the development of technical and/or procedural solutions as its goal.
NARCAP has undertaken this process directly through its Air Crew Survey Project, the ICAO project and its development of and participation in a global coalition of UAP/aviation safety research groups, both unofficial and official.
For more information contact: www.narcap.org
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