“We’re entering new territory,” said Ryan Graves, a former Navy fighter pilot and defense contractor who co-chairs the AIAA’s Unidentified Aerospace Phenomena Community of Interest. He is joined by Ravi Kopparapu, a planetary scientist at NASA who studies the potential habitability of Earth-like planets.
“This topic is not for everyone,” added Graves, who shared his own experience with UFOs hovering over his F/A-18 Hornet fighter jet in 2014 and 2015. It’s not about forcing people to look into it if they’re not ready yet. People have to live with it.”
But he said dozens of members of the 30,000-strong AIAA — drawn from aerospace contractors, government agencies, think tanks and startups — have already signed on to the effort and are “super excited about what we do”.
“There’s more than we can handle right now,” he said, describing those who have come forward to lend their expertise as spanning the gamut of “people who are over 30 at NASA to “non-traditional members of the tech community.”
“We have to take elements from a lot of different things and combine them in new ways to get the answers,” he added.
The initiative, which has been approved by the AIAA’s board of directors, is expected to be announced on Thursday.
The move comes as Congress has taken additional steps to compel the Pentagon and intelligence agencies to study UFOs and share what they find with oversight committees and the public.
Among them was the creation this summer of a larger all-domain anomaly resolution office at the Pentagon, which also investigates unidentified underwater vehicles. NASA also announced its own UAP study in June.
Meanwhile, new legislation passing through Congress, as part of the annual Defense and Intelligence Policy Bills, goes further.
The National Defense Authorization Act passed before the Chamber in July establish new procedures current or former government officials to provide any information they may have about UFOs without fear of reprisal.
The proposed Intelligence Bill also directs the Government Accountability Office to undertake a historical account of government efforts regarding UFOs over the past 75 years, including any recovery of UFO technology or government efforts to spread the misinformation on the subject.
The Pentagon is also compiling a report to Congress expected later this month on its latest UFO findings. The report is “still due in Congress on the 31st,” Pentagon spokeswoman Susan Gough said in an email.
But having an established group such as the AIAA, founded in 1963 as the leading professional organization for aerospace scientists and engineers, enter the debate is seen by longtime UFO researchers as a turning point.
“We wallow in the fringe realm,” said David Marler, executive director of the new National UFO Historical Records Center in Albuquerque, NM, America’s largest repository of related records. “We need people much smarter than us, and from specific disciplines, to provide credibility and layers of expertise to look at the data.”
The AIAA initiative focuses primarily on the flight safety implications of unannounced craft entering protected military airspace or moving dangerously close to commercial flights.
Graves cited as an example the 11 “near misses” since 2019 – involving UFOs within 500 feet of an aircraft – that Scott Bray, the deputy director of naval intelligence, reported to Congress in May during his first hearing. public on the subject in more than five decades.
“It’s almost like seeing a bullet go past you as a pilot, isn’t it?” said Graves. “People have no idea what’s going on. It will scare people. »
The AIAA effort, according to an internal briefing, is driven by the belief that uncertainty about UFOs exposes pilots, passengers and military forces to unaddressed risks.
Its mission statement is “to enhance aviation safety by enhancing scientific knowledge and reducing barriers to the study of unidentified aerial phenomena.” And he argues that “the AIAA is uniquely positioned to serve our government and our citizens as a neutral scientific/engineering resource.”
But while the initiative is primarily focused on addressing security risks, Graves argues the ultimate intention is to find out more about those UFOs that are truly unexplained.
The vast majority of reported sightings can be explained, he says, as “a drone that was carried by a hurricane…500 miles away.”
“Most of it will go in a bucket explained at some point,” Graves said. “Our primary goal is to apply engineering and scientific effort and energy to the anomalous dataset. It is not to focus on conflicting drone programs or [drone] incursions into military airspace.
The new AIAA committee studying the material of these unexplained craft has a series of studies underway.
She hopes to complete by the end of the year a scientific framework for cataloging the means of detecting UFOs. By the end of 2023, he plans to publish his first “State of the Technology Report,” followed by a peer-reviewed research manuscript in early 2024 detailing UFO assessment methodologies.
“The more people, the more disciplines studying the subject,” Marler said, “the better it bodes for the future, in terms of getting some semblance of understanding the mystery.”