Request for Aviation Professionals
Owing to modern ground-based, computer-controlled instrumentation and observations using satellites, modern astronomers spend essentially zero time watching the sky as part of their professional activity. I learned the constellations when I was a boy scout, not when I did my Ph. D. There are astrophysicists who could not point to the North Star to save their lives. And even when an astronomer happens to actually look through a telescope (a real treat, especially if it is a classic old refractor on a college campus... we had a 15-inch at the University of Wisconsin that was so old it was once one of the largest in the world -- with a Clarke lens as I recall), the narrow field of view makes this the worst possible way to spot any aerial anomaly. (I recall reading one crazy claim that the Hubble Space Telescope was really launched so that NASA could keep a conspiratorial eye on UFOs. The field of view of Hubble is so tiny and the maneuvarability of the telescope so rigidly constrained that I would be hard pressed to find a dumber plan than this... though the UFO business certainly does have enough outliers that I'm sure I could if I really tried!)
On the other hand the nearly 70,000 commercial pilots flying over 3000 passenger and cargo runs in the U. S. alone each day constitute a pretty good network of skywatchers. Unfortunately it is well known that the current official reporting system makes it hazardous to your career in aviation to report a sighting of anything out of the ordinary. For that reason, Dr. Richard Haines (a retired NASA Ph. D. psychologist and aviation expert) and colleagues have founded the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) to provide "a completely confidential reporting center for use by pilots, radar operators, and air traffic controllers in order to obtain scientifically valid data related to a variety of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP, a semantically neutral term). The identity of all reporters will be safeguarded following NASA's current Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS) reporting procedures. Both visual sightings and cockpit instrument anomalies are of interest as are all anomalous radar contacts. The resulting databank will be analyzed by professional teams much as the National Transportation Safety Board now studies aviation accidents and the results will be made available to the general public. Reporting can be by telephone (1-800-732-3666), by website (contact www.narcap.org), or by regular mail: P. O. Box 140 Boulder Creek, CA 95006
There are two motivations for the establishment of this center. The first is obviously to gather data on the nature, character and occurrence of unidentified aerial phenomena. The other is to begin to address the issue of Aviation Safety. As discussed in a lengthy paper by Haines posted on the NARCAP website, there are incidents of UAP encounters (near misses and in-flight pacing) which have resulted in collision avoidance maneuvers that have caused passenger and flight crew injury. There are also numerous cases of transient and permanent electromagnetic effects onboard aircraft that have affected navigation, guidance and flight control systems. I urge you to contact NARCAP if you are lucky (or unlucky, you choose) enough to encounter any "UAP activity." I expect that within the constraints of confidentiality some of that evidence will be posted or linked from here in the future.