National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena

"To improve aviation safety and to enhance scientific knowledge"


Aviation Safety in America:
Under-Reporting Bias of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and Recommended Solutions

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3. Data Collection

  With 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.

  All 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 appropriate investigators.

  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.

  Efforts 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 appropriate conferences.

  All completed research should be immediately published and released through traditional media outlets.

4. Education

  A 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 NARCAP.

  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.

  In 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? ___

  The 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.

  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

  Although 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.

  NARCAP 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 pilots.

  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:


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