Introducing the UFO Case Deliberation Form and Method

I have been developing a form and method for sighting investigation and case report documentation that will be a useful investigator aid for improving the standards of evaluation for sightings to be included in databases. The goal for the application of the form and method is to reduce empty data fields (such as location, date, time, duration, etc) and ambiguous low information cases, such as of floating aerial lights with no apparent anomalous behaviour. As a result, data set quality will hypothetically be improved in terms of usability, reliability, and information content.

It uses a method of information collection and requirements for case evaluation. Improving case sighting standards may be a lofty goal, but an important pursuit.

The above described method is what I call the Case Deliberation Method, which requires any sighting that is being considered for admission for community study must contain sufficient information regarding the witness, the sighted phenomenon, the sighting environment, and the investigator’s participation in documentation.

If a sighting is considered by the method to be inadequate, it doesn’t necessarily get discarded, but separated for further investigation if warranted. Sightings that meet the requirements are considered adequate for inclusion in data sets and for submission to the community. Sightings that are considered by the Case Deliberation Method to be adequate aren’t to be considered infallible, but to be considered as having met the basic requirements of information collection, that the investigator at least minimally established witness reliability, and the sighted phenomenon demonstrated anomalousness.

The Case Report Deliberation Form employs the Case Deliberation Method by providing the investigator with sectional organization for information input, an evaluative method, and a weighted evidence scoring system. It is intended that the form will be used by an experienced investigator when initiating new sighting report investigations.

The informational document containing and discussing the Case Deliberation Form can be accessed here:

(https://drive.google.com/file/d/1Tco9A5_hGVhxkRb_vaEPA1RnvVvCAcZr/view)

If a UFO flies over a forest, and nobody is around to see it, was it even there?

This isn’t a joke, but a metaphor to illustrate a particular question:

Are UFOs present in areas where people aren’t?

A UFO sighting consists of two parts, the object that was observed and the witness who observed it. How might this relationship have affected our understanding of the behaviours and presence of anomalous UFOs?

Have we adopted a visual confirmation bias, to the exclusion of areas without witnesses present to report UFOs?

Around 83% of the terrestrial biosphere is under direct influence by humans. This leaves 17% of the terrestrial biome and the majority of the aquatic biome unaffected – a good percentage of the globe without potential witnesses to observe and report UFOs.

If we were to take the small subsection of comfortable anomalous UFO reports and compare their distribution amongst the areas of the globe under influence by humans (areas with available witnesses), how might we expect these reports to be distributed throughout the unpopulated regions? We know that UFO reports are made by people who have seen them, but do these similar UFOs present themselves where there are no people?

A reason to bring this to light is because of an ongoing debate between the effectiveness of the deployment of instrumented experiments and the apparent rarity of anomalous UFO sightings. If we assume that UFOs are rare because we so infrequently see them and be convinced of their anomalous nature, then what will convince us to expand witness coverage (via technological solutions) into uninhabited areas?

Conventional, technological, and out-of-the-box approaches are the way to go. A small, well equipped and well engineered barge floating throughout the ocean with instruments ready and waiting could be an elegant solution. But are UFOs present and active in areas with no people? How might we determine this? Should we consider changing our conservative budgeted approaches? What directions are feasible to take?

Seven papers from 2000 to 2012 that discuss and examine how UFOs affect aviation safety

One of the interesting areas of UFO study that is really compelling is how the UFO phenomenon affects aviation and aviation safety. Pilot and aircrew encounters with UFOs/UAP are numerous, and can be more troublesome than sightings by ground witnesses. Important instrumentation such as compasses and radios will quit working in the vicinity of a UFO, and even the aircraft’s engines have been reported to sputter and struggle.

Below is a list of PDF documents that have been written by some good authors, and are highly recommended as reading material. They are fundamental for anyone who is unfamiliar with the relation between UFOs and aviation safety. I have organized them by year so they can be read in a chronological progression, since some of them refer to each other.

#1 “Are UFOs an Air Safety Hazard?” , PDF document, Patrick Huyghe, 2000

#2 “Aviation Safety in America – A Previously Neglected Factor”, PDF document, Richard F. Haines, 2000

> This paper addresses the question of whether there is reliable data demonstrating a significant relationship between aviation safety in America today and unidentified aerial phenomena [UAP] (also called unidentified flying objects [UFO] or flying saucers). Three kinds of reported UAP dynamic behavior and reported consequences are addressed, each of which can affect air safety: (1) near-miss and other high speed maneuvers conducted by the UAP near the aircraft, (2) transient and permanent electromagnetic effects onboard the aircraft that affect navigation, guidance, and flight control systems, and (3) close encounter flight performance by the UAP that produces cockpit distractions which inhibit the flight crew from flying the airplane in a safe manner. More than one hundred documented close encounters between UAP and commercial, private, and military airplanes are reviewed relative to these three topics. These reports are drawn from several sources including the author’s personal files, aviation reports prepared by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration administered “Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS).”

#3 “A Preliminary Study of Fifty Seven Pilot Sighting Reports Involving Alleged Electro-Magnetic Effects on Aircraft Systems”, PDF document, Haines and Weinstein, 2001

> This preliminary report presents the findings of a comprehensive review of over fifty years of pilot reports in which permanent or transient electro-magnetic (EM) effects occurred on in-flight aircraft systems allegedly as a direct or indirect result of the relatively near presence of one or more unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP). From a total of 1,300 reports fifty seven (4.4%) were found that involved E-M effects.

#4 “Pilot Survey Results”, PDF document, Haines and Roe, 2001

> This paper presents the results of a confidential aircrew survey presented to 298 currently rated and flying commercial pilots employed by a U. S. airline. Remarkably, a total of 70 completed surveys (23.5%) were returned to NARCAP within a 35 day period suggesting a high degree of general interest in this subject. Twelve questions were asked, most of which dealt with the possibility of past sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) and how these pilots dealt with the experience afterward. Forty respondents were Captains (mean = 9,130 flight hrs.) and thirty were First Officers (mean = 4,799 flight hrs.). A number of interesting things were learned from this survey. It was found that of the sixteen pilots (23% of total) who said they had seen something they could not identify in flight only four (25% of the sixteen) reported it to their company or to a government authority and only one of these pilots (a First Officer) who saw a UAP (he did not report it) felt that it was a threat to aviation safety.

#5 “Aviation Safety in America: Unidentified Aerial Phenomena And Under Reporting Bias”, PDF document, Ted Roe, 2002

> Science has validated the existence of several kinds of natural phenomena that are characterized by unusual aerial lighting displays. Some of these phenomena are not clearly understood and have been only recently documented. Additionally reliable observations from US government and official international sources include descriptions of airborne objects with uncommon characteristics. Some of these phenomena have electrical properties that can adversely effect safe aviation and appear to be very unusual to observers. Some of these phenomena represent a physical hazard that is documented in several US Government operated aviation incident-reporting systems. These poorly understood phenomena have not been given appropriate consideration for the potential hazards they may represent by the US aviation system. Though these observations and incidents do occur they are under reported. This under reporting bias is affecting aviation safety planning and mitigation with respect to unidentified aerial phenomena – UAP.

#6 “Recommended Actions to Improve the Current Climate of Denial within the Aviation World about Unidentified Aerial Phenomena and Related Commentary”, PDF document, Richard F. Haines, 2010

> This paper presents fifty four completely independent recommendations and related comments made by fourteen national and international government officials, military leaders, pilots, academics and others responding to the following basic question: What actions are needed today to improve the current climate of denial about unidentified aerial phenomena in aviation?

#7 “Aviation Safety and Unidentified Aerial Phenomena: A Preliminary Study of 600 cases of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP) Reported by Military and Civilian pilots”, PDF document, Dominique F. Weinstein, 2012

> This report presents the findings of a comprehensive review of 600 cases, over a period of sixty-four years in which pilots have reported the presence of one or more unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP) during flight. In 443 cases (74%) these UAP are described as “objects” (42% circular-shaped) more than as point sources of light. In 162 cases (27%), the visual observation is confirmed by detection by ground and/or airborne radar. This report focuses more especially on 290 cases (48%) in which UAP have had (or could have had) an impact on flight safety. In 108 cases (37% of the 290 cases), pilots have estimated that the impact on flight safety was high enough for them to submit an official Airmiss/Airprox report. It was found that the most reported events with potential impact(s) on aviation safety were: “UAP approached aircraft on a collision course” (78 cases) and “UAP circled or maneuvered close to aircraft” (59 cases). It was found also that in 81 cases (14% of the 600 cases) pilots reported alleged electro-magnetic effects on one or more aircraft systems. Radio and compass systems were the predominant systems affected.

 

8 Examples of Misleading Photos of Airplanes

Let’s be clear on how strange perfectly conventional objects can appear in a photo. These 8 examples were taken using a smartphone camera, and they demonstrate the lack of clarity and proof that is in a photo.

The objects were all identified as aircraft, by sight and sound, before the photos were taken. The camera was held steady, with no effort to distort or lessen the quality of the photo. This is not to say that photos are not proof, but a lot of value is placed on these candid shots, and we always have to be wary of what we are seeing in a photo, because tricks (errors) of perspective, distortion, and resolution are very effective at obscuring what we are really seeing.

Is UFO/UAP Sighting Frequency in Specific Locales Consistent with Global Trends? Evidence Against Traditional Models for Alaska in Two Databases

In a previous paper I had written, “Extended Daylight Hours: A Natural Advantage of High Latitude Regions for UFO/UAP Study”, I discussed the possible opportunities found in northern regions where daylight and darkness cycles are out of the norm from the equatorial and surrounding areas. Because sightings are found to generally be at their highest during the summer months across the globe, particularly in the month of July, it is reasonable to assume that such trends are consistent when applied to any specific locale on a smaller scale. In looking to confirm that the state of Alaska is consistent with the general UFO sightings trend, the reports obtained produced much different results than expected. It is evident that sightings in Alaska are on a much different cycle.

This was the basis of the theory that locations with extended daylight hours could benefit from having natural daylight illumination during the seasonal peak of UFO sightings. But this may no longer be plausible.

Reports for Alaska were collected from the online databases of the National UFO Reporting Center and the Mutual UFO Network. Reports were individually reviewed before being collected, separate from the reviewing process performed by the two reporting organizations. Effort was made to eliminate multiple reports of the same sightings, and to remove duplicate reports between the two databases. In total, 529 reports were collected, 434 from the NUFORC, and 95 from the MUFON.

When the reports are tallied by month, the result is that the winter months have a much high occurrence of UFO sightings than the summer months, which is the opposite of the results of previous studies performed by Larry Hatch and Massimo Teodorani, and may warrant a reconsideration of how we interpret UFO sighting data. It is worth pursuing further analysis of sightings for specific locales, preferably on a state-by-state (or province and territory) basis and comparing with the general sighting trend.

The full paper can be read here.

Extended Daylight Hours: A Natural Advantage of High Latitude Regions for UFO/UAP Study

UFO sighting frequency is at it’s highest in the evening, typically from around 8 pm to midnight. (See footnotes 1-3.) This is a reliable statistic that is derived from the analyses of many hundreds of  UFO reports. (It would not be an exaggeration to say thousands of reports, when the CUFOS has well over 200,000 reports! See footnote 4.) There are multiple contributing factors to explain this specific time for a peak in reported UFO sightings, such as differences in visibility and human activity. But when sightings are most common at times when it is dark, the low visibility impedes observation, resulting in misidentifications or a lack of any apparent detail. This is a nuisance for observational study and photography.

A reasonable approach is to take advantage of naturally beneficial regions for UFO/UAP study. Hessdalen, Norway offers a spectacular recurring luminous phenomenon that has been closely monitored by scientists with cameras and various sensors. And although Hessdalen might not be an unearthly anomalous phenomenon, it is an example of a region providing an advantageous study opportunity.

To take advantage of the 8 pm ~ 12 am time frame of peak sighting frequency, it is suggested to bring more focused UFO study into higher latitude regions. High latitude regions offer seasonally extended daylight hours that provide lighting that is sufficient enough for reading or yard work all through the evening. An opportunity to observe UFOs in daylight at the times when they are most common is presented. It would be reasonable to commit to performing observational study in these areas.

Do UFO sightings occur just as regularly in high latitudes as they do in the lower and equatorial latitudes? This is a question that can also be answered in the process. It has not yet been determined why UFO sightings around the world are more frequent at night. Some likely explanations are:

  •  Many unfamiliar lights become visible and apparent at night, such as planets, stars, satellites, airplanes, city lights, street lights.
  •  Nighttime offers a cover of darkness that reduces visibility and clarity.

Other possible explanations for common nighttime sightings could be:

  •  There might be an inherent “spooky” sense that comes with watching something unfamiliar or apparently strange at nighttime that affects the judgement in thinking ‘UFO’.
  •  Secret aviation projects might be more preferable to test at night.
  •  If UFOs are really extraterrestrial vehicles, they might be more active at night.

Automated instrumented monitoring systems can be brought into areas like Alaska, Norway, Russia, and Sweden, which have their own local sightings while offering the benefit of extended daylight hours during the summer months. Instrumented monitoring systems can be either installed as a permanent station, or brought in during the summer months at temporary study locations. It is also an opportunity for UFO researchers to easily narrow down and locate a specific time and place of the year for focused, directed studies.

As an additional thought: Do other geographical locations offer natural advantages that benefit UFO/UAP study?

 

  1. “UFO Reports by Time of the Day”, V.J. Ballester Olmos
  2.  “Basic Patterns in UFO Observations”, 1975, Claude Poher and Jacques Vallee
  3.  “A Comparative Analytical and Observational Study of North American Databases on Unidentified Aerial Phenomena”, 2009, Massimo Teodorani
  4.  The UFOCAT-2009 database contains over 209,551 UFO reports, and is available through CUFOS.

Reporting Form is now Active

A new page has been added to the DUFORRAK website, the Reporting Form. UFO sighting reports are finally being accepted for submission. Although an Alaska based organization, DUFORRAK won’t limit reports to Alaska sightings, but will accept all sightings.

To encourage the reporting process, the reporter is presented a small number of essential questions. This is to minimize the time it takes to begin the report and prevent discouraging the reporter immediately with a long and complicated form. After submission of the initial reporting form, the reporter will be emailed with follow up questions and the option to share any photos, video, or sketches of the sighting. Communication may be ongoing until all information can be collected.

The next efforts will include improving UFO reporting coverage. As well, an additional reporting directory is under development for pilot sightings, particularly for, but not limited to, rural Alaska bush pilots. DUFORRAK will continue to advocate responsible, prejudice-free reporting opportunities for witnesses of UFOs.

New UFO Reading Center

A wonderful new resource has been added: The UFO Reading Center. Hosted on Google Drive, it’s an organized repository of a large variety of UFO literature from numerous authors. The inclusion of the Reading Center is a step towards realizing the DUFORRAK commitment to distribute UFO reading and research material.

You can access the UFO Reading Center here. All authors have been credited for their extensive contributions. Any authors who would like their work removed or added to the Reading Center can contact the Director through the Contact page.

Discussion on UFO Attraction-Detection-Interaction Methodologies (Part Three)

The third and final facet of ADI methodology includes another radical, but grounded idea involving experimentation in interacting with a UFO. Considering the many sightings where witnesses have interacted with UFOs as pilots or watchmen, having their gun fire evaded and electronic systems disabled, this is a reasonable approach. These are examples of interaction, and with a similar principle, can be replicated as an apparatus for experimentation as field instrumentation. Perhaps through mimicry, light signals, or RF transmissions we could begin to interact with a UFO. An example of an interaction apparatus might be of a satellite in orbit displaying a physical round red button with a tag that said “Press Me”. A camera would be observing the button, and a sensitive vibration sensor is positioned near the button to detect any physical movements of the button sliding up or down. If a UFO were to decide to engage in the experiment, the button would be depressed (something that could not happen in the emptiness of orbit without a physical effort) and we may or may not have footage. Although not an accurate example, it visually communicates the idea of an interaction apparatus in a field experiment.

Together with Attraction and Detection, the use of Interaction is the final step in our ADI methodology field study experiment, providing us with a testing area that takes us beyond standard data collection. While the attraction apparatus tests methods of drawing UFOs near, and the detection apparatus identifies and collects data from the UFO, the interaction apparatus then provides a figurative “hand shake” or signal of acknowledgement. If a response can be elicited, then other interactions can be attempted and studied. Further developments will only continue to improve on tested methodology.

Of course, the idea of a device created for a field experiment that can summon UFOs and then talk to them is a seemingly preposterous notion, but ADI methodology utilizes available technologies and techniques and uses them in unique combinations and in radical applications, with realistic expectations. An attraction apparatus may or may not yield sightings. An interaction apparatus might not be able to interact with or receive any response from a UFO. Experiments may not be presented ideal opportunities to be successful in producing data. If opportunities for study do appear, then a standard, pre-established process of study during the event must be committed to, and the experiment must be capable and functional. ADI experiments are composed of a number of small electronics housed together in a single unit, and then tested on a number of different platforms. Together, the instruments fulfill their individual tasks, and the three ADI units provide appropriate support to each other. The attraction unit provides an event to be studied, the detection unit tracks and draws data for the duration of the event, and the interaction unit adds time and changes in the behaviour of the craft, providing additional data for the detection unit. Together, all three ADI units compliment each other to the benefit of each unit. Theoretically, this is an ideal experiment.

The obvious problem with the ADI experiment is the design of the attraction and interaction apparatuses. Determining how a lighting fixture should be designed to attract a UFO is difficult. What would it look like and how would it function? As well, additional variables like altitude, location, and time of day are important to consider and experiment with. It should be expected that numerous design variations will be developed and tested.

ADI Deployment.png

So what experimentation is possible with ADI methodology? These can easily be separated into land, sky, and space experiments. There is also a potential for underwater experiments. Depending on the characteristics of the platform for testing, different goals can be accomplished. On land, towers can be erected and stations can be constructed. An ADI module can be tested quite a distance from the ground, the assumption being that visibility of the module (and therefore the detectability) is greater the higher the module is from the ground. A simple fibreglass pole tower, inexpensive and portable enough for a single person, can reach distances up to 50 feet off of the ground. If requiring a higher altitude, but wish to remain in a static location, a moored balloon can be used with an ADI testing module suspended below it. In the United States, the FAA allows moored balloons to fly to a height up to 500 feet. Remote control drones are limited to under 400 feet as well. Drones, with the ability to be piloted, can lift an ADI experiment high above the ground, and human input gives room for expansion of interaction capabilities. 500 feet is a suitable height for experimentation; many witnesses report UFOs around and under an altitude of 500 feet. If high altitude is essential, then a high altitude balloon equipped with a GPS can make a flight of long duration and cover a large distance. Altitudes can be reached of over 100,000 feet with large, well designed balloons, making it a suitable platform for experimentation. Even higher in altitude is the use of rockets and satellites, which can lift instrumentation into sub orbit, and even low earth orbit. Space provides an interesting environment to test in, separate from the dense atmosphere with high visibility.

From newspaper clipping to figurative beacons signalling passing UFOs, ufology needs to grow alongside technology to give us every possibility to understand this phenomenon. ADI methodology is inexpensive and straightforward. It is a suitable alternative to traditional post-event investigation. A small organization would have the means to experiment with it, and if successful, can be easily implemented for large scale uses. Perhaps we can discover a method to interact with the phenomenon, learn more from it, and understand the whys and hows of the UFO.

 

 

(The full post can be found as a PDF here for download)

Discussion on UFO Attraction-Detection-Interaction Methodologies (Part Two)

Detection

UFO detection is generally accomplished with radar systems, but radar systems are expensive and heavy, more suited for static locations or specially designed mobile carriers. A suite of other instruments can be used in place of radar to detect a UFO. In addition to detection, the same instruments are used to monitor, collect, and store data on the UFO and other information during the event. This data is crucial for research, so a multitude of instruments will be included in the detection apparatus, including:

  • Magnetometer
  • Photometer
  • Microphone
  • Geiger counter
  • Camera
  • Spectrometer
  • Thermometer
  • Barometer
  • Motion detection
  • RF receiver

Detection (and monitoring) makes use of equipment and applications that are already available, making it an essential minimum for UFO study. Fortunately, the electronics required are lightweight and relatively inexpensive. Detection ability is limited by the quality of the equipment, so an investment in quality should be a priority.

The combination of Attraction and Detection in the ADI methodology creates a new experiment for UFO study. Deployment of standard detection and monitoring equipment is the direction any field research team takes, but the inclusion of an opportunity to attract a UFO has the potential to increase the value of detection equipment. Instrumental attraction of UFOs should be a developmental research goal in the global UFO community. The production of genuine sightings would benefit our understanding of UFOs, as does the collection of high quality data. So, the conjunction of an Attraction apparatus to initiate or encourage a UFO event, and a Detection apparatus to identify and collect various useful data during the UFO event, creates a dual function unit. If the attraction apparatus doesn’t yield any sightings, the detection equipment is still valid if any sightings unrelated to the attraction apparatus occur. The experiment should not be considered a failure if it doesn’t produce data. If the attraction apparatus does yield sightings, the detection and monitoring equipment is even more valuable, because it is in combination with an apparatus that can provide sightings to detect and monitor.

   Attraction Apparatus AD example Detection Apparatus

Use of such an apparatus provides numerous platforms for testing. If a study involved experiments at high altitudes, balloons can be used. If experiments are in space, then rockets and satellites are suitable for instrumental study. Simpler approaches might include a mobile detection station on a car, or attraction equipment on a tower. A curious experiment would be to incorporate instrumentation into coastal buoys, and place them at hotspots and vary their distances from the shore. Another application might be a backpack unit, to be taken through rural areas on foot. As well, drones and airplanes have high potential in attraction-detection experiments.

This kind of objective scientific study provides us with a foundation of experimentation to build on later in the future, potentially with new data. What is currently missing in ufology is the ability to observe a UFO, or perhaps even interact with it. Most, if not all research is done after a UFO sighting has taken place. A new methodology is in development that aims to change that.

 

 

(The full post can be found as a PDF here for download)