Early this year, the FAA issued a series of new changes to its official Air Traffic Organization Policy http://www.faa.gov/documentLibrary/media/Order/ATC.pdf page 25. Specifically, this release was related to “air traffic control procedures and phraseology for use by personnel providing air traffic control services.”

Even though the document mentions how air traffic control staff should respond to UFO sightings, it has gone virtually unnoticed by Ufology.

The document first lists a small change in what organization where staff should report sightings. On page 17 under a review of document contents, the document states:

“This change corrects one of the organizations to which UFO/unexplained phenomena activity can be reported. NIDS is defunct and has been replaced by BAASS as the proper reporting agency. This change also includes a phone number and e-mail address for BAASS.”

This section is important because it makes it clear that there has already been an accepted FAA policy related to reporting UFOs even before this document was published, and that the “proper reporting agency” was NIDS – the organization formerly owned by Robert Bigelow and now defunct.

FAA Instructions on How to Report UFO
On page 401 of the document, section 9-8-1 provides a more specific explanation of how the FAA wants its staff to deal with Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) Reports

Persons wanting to report UFO/unexplained phenomena activity should contact a UFO/unexplained phenomena reporting data collection center, such as Bigelow Aerospace Advanced Space Studies [contact details removed], the National UFO Reporting Center, etc.

If concern is expressed that life or property might be endangered, report the activity to the local law

It’s pretty clear from this internal document that the FAA does not discourage its staff from issuing UFO reports. In fact it leaves little doubt that staff are encouraged to report sightings to either private UFO reporting agencies or to the local authorities.

This document flies in the face of how most UFO proponents have always stated that the FAA discourages the reporting of UFOs, and that the agency seeks to cover up all UFO sightings

John Callahan’s FAA “Cover-Up”
For example, in October of 2000, acting as one of the Witnesses in Stephen Greer’s “Disclosure Project”, a man by the name of John Callahan offered his own testimony concerning a UFO sighting that took place over the skies of Alaska.

According to Greer, Callahan was a Division Chief of Accidents and Investigations in the FAA for six years.

The story is now fairly well known within UFO circles – in 1986 a Japanese Airlines 747 flying over Alaska was allegedly followed by a UFO for about half an hour.

In his testimony, John stated that after the incident, there was a meeting with staff from the CIA, FBI and Reagan’s Scientific Study group. Callahan claimed that after reviewing the boxes of data, one of the CIA men stated that the meeting “never happened.”

“When they got done, they actually swore all these other guys in there that this never took place. We never had this meeting. And this was never recorded.”

Callahan didn’t stop there, he further stated that from his own personal experience, the FAA had a history of covering up such incidents when he stated:

“Well, I’ve been involved in a lot of cover-ups with the FAA. When we gave the presentation to the Reagan staff I was behind the group that was there. And when they were speaking to the people in the room, they had all those people swear that this never happened.”

Contradictory Witness Statements
At this point, Callahan’s credentials and story has never actually been independently confirmed. In fact, back in 2007, as we were attempting to verify his claims, we contacted CIA Science Analyst Ron Pandolfi. Ron admitted that both he and Maccabee had in fact attended an FAA meeting like the one Callahan described. However, he did not recall anyone making any statement that the meeting never happened, or that the data should be covered up.

Pandolfi stated, “I don’t recall trying to ‘keep the sighting hushed’ since it was already widely publicized.”

In fact Pandolfi turned over all the data to Maccabee to conduct a full investigation and report (which Maccabee published in 1987).

Pandolfi did say that he recalled John Callahan being present at the meeting, and that all discussion regarding “delaying dissemination of information” was between Bruce and Callahan. This implies, of course, that Callahan could have mistaken Maccabee for a “CIA guy,” when he was actually only there as a private contractor.

We contacted Maccabee and he also confirmed that he was at such a meeting and received all of the data for his analysis and report, but he also did not recall anyone at the meeting trying to cover it up.

We reported this contradiction to Leslie Kean of the Coalition for Freedom of Information – the only listed contact for Callahan – and she initially did not believe us. Therefore, I put her in direct contact with Pandolfi and Maccabee, who both told her exactly what they told us. Kean refused to let us speak directly with Callahan to resolve the discrepancy, and eventually refused to cooperate regarding getting any clarification from Callahan.

Leslie Kean Hits the Ufology Media Circuit
In fact, Kean completely ignored the contradictory witness statements that she received first-hand, and instead went on to publish a book in 2010 titled UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go On the Record, where she repeated Callahan’s testimony in full on page 222, and even focused on the “this never happened” statement.

She completely left out the fact that she had received direct testimony from both a CIA analyst and Bruce Maccabee, stating that they were at such a meeting that matched the meeting John described, and that no one said anything about covering-up.

Regardless of the reasons why Callahan made that statement, the fact that the data was immediately released to Maccabee to do a full public disclosure immediately following the event blows both Kean and Callahan’s claim of secrecy completely out of the water. And the fact that Kean ignored the contradictory evidence offered to her first-hand does the same to her journalistic integrity.

This latest FAA release provides a much clearer example of what the FAA really tells its staff – not what Ufologists would like you to believe. There is no vast conspiracy to cover up UFO sightings at the FAA. In fact, as you can see in this document, the FAA tells its staff to report all UFO sightings to the appropriate UFO organization, or in the case where life or property is threatened – to the local authorities.


Official FAA cockpit recordings of pilot UFO sightings: