Would official science be more inclined to study UFOs if there were compelling evidence the phenomena impacted air-traffic safety? That issue was implicitly raised recently in Leslie Kean’s update on the Chilean government’s latest pronouncement on UFOs. Last month, CEFAA, Chile’s impressive multi-disciplinary panel of military and civilian analysts studying what it calls unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), weighed in on the evidence for danger to its air space. Perhaps Navy Capt. Roberto Bore summed it up best: “Aside from any natural distractions to the flight crews, the risks so far have been null. We cannot call UAP a risk to our operations, not even a low risk. An interaction, either good or bad, between a human being and UAP so far is nonexistent in our skies, as far as I know.”
In the States, that sort of rendering — you know, lack of existential drama, playing to an institutional mindset indicted for “a failure of imagination” following the 9/11 debacle — might scuttle all hopes of establishing a formal study. But for Chile, as well as nearly half a dozen of its South American neighbors, research is apparently just beginning. Consider this statement from Gen. Rolando Mercado, who heads the Chilean equivalent of our own FAA:
“If, as many witnesses have declared, the UAP demonstrates ‘intelligent behavior,’ and if we admit this fact, then we must look for the ‘intention behind’ that intelligence, whatever it may be — a form of energy, perhaps — it doesn’t matter. Intelligence is what matters. If this is so, we must ask: has it shown hostility or carried out openly threatening maneuvers? Has it actually attacked our aircraft? To date, this doesn’t seem to be the case. We cannot possibly call something a threat to something or someone if they have not shown any open intention to do harm. And even less, we do not even know their exact nature!”
Curiosity for its own sake — there’s a novel idea. But the founder of CEFAA’s small private American partner, the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena, sees no contradiction between Chile’s announcement and NARCAP’s own studies, which began addressing UAP/air traffic safety as early as 2000.
“It is significant,” writes Dr. Richard Haines in an email to De Void, “that these government officials met openly to consider various aspects of UAP and seemed to accept their reality. This meeting showed exceptional foresight, planning, and courage by all parties.
“Secondly, at least one of these officials alluded to intelligent control of the phenomenon, which in my opinion is perhaps the most important question we can ask about them. Even to raise the possibility of intelligence is a brave and intellectually honest thing to do at such a meeting.
“Thirdly,” continues NASA-Ames’ erstwhile Chief of the Space Human Factors Office, “the criterion that was used by the group in Chile in order to state that there is no need for the flying public to fear UAP was reasonable as far as it went. Indeed, NARCAP has few documented instances of this kind. Nevertheless, as our website has made clear from the beginning, we employ three different criteria for causes for potential concern: electromagnetic effects on avionic systems, cockpit coordination and communication disruption, and/or sudden flight path deviation to avoid a perceived collision with nearby UAP. I discovered more than one hundred such incidents just for the USA for the years 1950 – 2000 and published them on NARCAP’s website as Technical Report 1 (2000).
“NARCAP does not want to alarm the flying public; it does want to serve as a scientifically based, theory-neutral, confidential collection point for all pilots and air traffic controllers who encounter UAP while carrying out their duties so that, one day, we will understand the core identity of these poorly understood atmospheric phenomena.”
Imagine the windfall of public interest if even a modestly financed and transparent American project, based on the Chilean model, collaborated with international perspectives on this tenacious mystery. Of course, for domestic consumption, the trick would be how to turn it into a reality show …