National Aviation Reporting Center

on Anomalous Phenomena

"To improve aviation safety and enhance scientific knowledge"


On The Radar

by Ted Roe

copyright NARCAP 2010

Note: Historically, no distinction has been made between unidentified lights that may represent poorly documented natural phenomena and alleged reports of unidentified objects. The result is that all reports of UAP are lumped into a common, though inaccurate, category - UFO.  This was one of the reasons that NARCAP adopted the broader term of UAP or Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. However, many historical references use the term "UFO" and we are faced with including them while emphasizing the more correct term "UAP" from our modern perspective.

August 12, 2010


A Pilot's View on Why Today's Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Cannot Explain Unidentified Aerial Phenomena
Jose Americo Medeiros, NARCAP-Brazil, April 2010

A Brazilian pilot offers his perspective on the reasons that Unmanned Aerial Vehicles are inadequate as an explanation for UAP reports. We have placed his paper on the Technical Reports page in the Investegators Support section.

Welcome Aboard!

In further news from Brazil we welcome the latest NARCAP International Technical Specialist, Rogerio Chola, to the NARCAP team. Rogerio has been involved with NARCAP since 2001. He authored the Brazil section of Project Sphere. Rogerio understands NARCAP and our standards and we look forward to working with Rogerio and his colleagues in the future. Events continue to develop as Rogerio and his colleagues begin work on NARCAP Brazil.

Leslie Kean Releases New Book

NARCAP founding member Leslie Kean is releasing her new book "UFOs: Generals, Pilots, and Government Officials go on the Record". Included is a chapter and commentary by NARCAP Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Haines. Leslie has been a member of NARCAP since 2000 and has written several articles and papers advocating for a more serious and intelligent approach to UAP studies. We wish her luck in her publishing endeavor and if you would like to purchase a copy please click here.

NARCAP and CEFAA Collaborate on Studies

In the spirit of cooperation NARCAP has assisted CEFAA, the official research team of Chile, in several case investigations including several photoanalysis. We welcome these opportunities to assist at the international level and will continue to do so when invited.

May 21, 2010

Announcing Project Sphere

For the past year, NARCAP researchers have been responding to our call for papers regarding the subject of UAP that present as spherical objects and lights. The result is a comprehensive exploration of the topic based on our specific concerns for aviation safety.
These papers explore many facets of this profile of UAP manifestation. They offer case studies, analysis of properties and suggested courses of inquiry as well as aviation safety related observations, considerations, concerns and recommendations.

This course of study originated in conversations between Dr. Haines and myself. We were looking for a study to engage and thought that the examination of spherical UAP might be a good idea. Over the course of our conversations Dr. Haines decided to expand the study and I was fully in agreement. He sent out a call for papers and the result is a document that will serve as a foundation for an upcoming symposium and will help develop taxonomy with respect to the profile of spherical UAP.

Of particular interest are the case studies. There are numerous examples of aviation safety being compromised during encounters with spherical UAP. Transient and permenant equipment failures, injuries due to evasive control inputs by pilots, loss of separation and collision headings and near midair collisions (NMACS) are commonly reported in incidents involving spherical UAP. Regardless of the country reporting the incidents, the profile and descriptions are consistent. Of particular interest is the problem of radar detection of UAP in general and Spherical UAP in particular. Most of the papers cite some aspect of this and Martin Shough, NARCAP Research Associate, Scotland, addresses the matter directly in his contribution to the study.

In addition to the case studies there are white papers addressing other aspects of Spherical UAP including aerodynamics, radar detection, geometrical considerations, suggested courses and methods of study, etc... Of particular interest are the contributions of Dr. Richard Spalding and Dr. Massimo Teodorani.

This document is a wake up call for aviation professionals, managers, air controllers, etc... there are phenomena in the skies that are not well documented, that are not easily detected on radar and are contributing to a threat to safe aviation.

This study would not have been possible without the dedicated engagement of NARCAP researchers from around the world. They accepted the challenge, did the work and presented their materials. We couldn’t ask for more. Dr. Haines and I extend our heartfelt thanks to the NARCAP team and invite you all to be prepared because there are more developments on the horizon.

15 April 2010

We are pleased to announce the addition of several new papers to the Technical Reports section of the web site as well as the near-completion of the latest NARCAP project, Project Sphere. Additionally, we are seeing encouraging progress on the International stage with respect to a growing recognition of the issue of UAP and aviation safety.

We are enjoying the research contributions by NARCAP research associates. Topics include UAV documentation, UAP Photo-Analysis Cases, Database Analysis, as well other peripheral topical studies. As the web site process develops we will be featuring these papers and their authors.



30 October 2004

NARCAP Statement on Mexican FLIR case of March 2004

During a visit to Mexico City in May of 2004, NARCAP Chief Scientist Dr. Richard Haines, Executive Director Ted Roe and Spanish Language Coordinator Ruben Uriarte were advised of an impending announcement regarding an alleged aviation related UAP case that occurred near Campeche, Mexico in March of 2004. A subsequent assessment of that case was offered in this web page on 20July2004. NARCAP has since completed a thorough analysis of this incident and will be posting the report on this website at a later date. It is the opinion of NARCAP, based upon the evidence available, that the most likely source of this alleged UAP observation was the oil flares from the Cantrell oil fields in the Gulf of Campeche . While we have not posted our findings yet, we are in general agreement with the findings of Captain Alejandro Franz Navarrete whose documentation can be found at:

NARCAP applauds Captain Franz for his attention to detail as well as his objectivity. This case has received a great deal of attention in the media including many premature and unfounded claims and speculations arising from the so-called “UFO Community”. It is reasonable to remind all of those who are interested in Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAP that NARCAP has taken the position that UAP do indeed exist and seem to represent a threat to safe aviation. However, there is nothing to be gained by declaring a case to be anomalous when it clearly is not. Premature comments and declarations, unfounded speculations, a lack of understanding of the basics of investigation and inquiry and a failure to maintain an objective image and position have created an untenable position for many of the more vocal elements of the “UFO Community” who publicly invested their opinions without a thorough analysis of the material and the conditions surrounding its release. Surprisingly, there were as many comments and speculations that were as unreasonable and unlikely as the declarations of some UFO adherents that arose from the “Scientific Community”. Comments arising from scientists including the possibility that the observations involved falling space junk, ball lightening,

FLIR system failures, the inevitable weather balloons and a host of equally ridiculous speculations adequately demonstrated that some in the scientific world are no better at managing their thinking and image than some UFO Believers. NARCAP is unaware of more than a handful of individuals who have actually undertaken the analysis of this material and it does not seem likely that any "mainstream" scientist who offered public commentary on this case actually undertook an investigation of this incident. An analysis of this matter from the perspective of the media, science and the UFO community would make informative reading.


6 August 2004

What is wrong with the conclusions of the U.S.AF Project Blue Book and the U.S.AF commissioned University of Colorado (Condon) Report? Why is it so difficult for science to examine anomalous phenomena? The following two papers address the fundamental failures of science to address the issue of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, and the inadequacies of the U.S.AF Project Blue Book and the U.S.AF commissioned University of Colorado (Condon) Report. It is important to note that niether author comes to any conclusion regarding the source of so-called UFOs (UAP as we refer to them) but instead addresses the weaknesses in the attempts to scientifically examine and resolve them. It is clear that both feel that the scientific examination of these phenomena is inadequate. It is also clear that there are institutional issues, bias, that have inhibited a thorough examination of the situation. In the case of the UFO Critique, by Diana Palmer Hoyt, some very helpful observations are made with regards to the difficulties that institutionalized science faces when confronted with anomalous phenomena.

UFO Critique: UFOs, Social Intelligence, and the Condon Committee Diana Palmer Hoyt, April 2000 Science in Default: Twenty Two Years of Inadequate UFO Investigations James E. McDonald, Ph.D. 134th meeting of The American Society for the Advancement of Science, December 1969 3August2004

The Aviation Community has attempted to address UAP issues in the past........

The majority of official discussions with respect to what NARCAP calls Unidentified Aerial Phenomena or UAP have been in regard to the concept that some of these phenomena may represent extraterrestrial incursions into the Earth domain. These official discussions have rarely, if ever, engaged the topic from an aviation perspective reflecting a simple need to know. Thus, although new natural  aerial phenomena have been discovered much later than the close of Project Blue Book in 1969, there has been no will to revisit the issue from the simpler and more practical viewpoint of aviation safety.

The historical arguments offered by James E. McDonald, Ph.D. and the American Institute of Astronautics and Aeronautics reflect practical and prudent inquiries that are as relevent today as they were in the 1960's and early 1970's. These discussions represent the starting point of a better and more reasonable attempt to understand the variety of UAP that are encountered by aviation personnel.

The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics was one of the voices of reason in the debate regarding UFO research during the late 1960's and early 1970's. It is clear that the AIAA was seeking further research into UAP encounters over the conclusions of the U.S.AF. Project Blue Book and the U.S.AF. commissioned University of Colorado (The Condon) Report. The position of the AIAA in these matters was conservative and reflected a concern for the best interests of aviation and science.

This case involved an Electronic Countermeasures (ECM) aircraft that encountered a UAP while conducting a routine mission. Please notice that this UAP encounter was described as a bright light by the eyewitnesses rather than an object (though it is referred to as an object due to the ground and air radar detections) and that it presented the crew with aviation safety related problems including control inputs to avoid a mid-air collision and crew distraction.

Additionally, the object was detected on both ground and air radars and so involved trace evidence and multiple witnesses. This incident had a long duration and has never been adequately explained. This is particularly interesting in light of the most recent report on the Hessdalen Phenomenon (see below).


22 July 2004

New Data from Hessdalen, Norway

AstroPhysicist, Earthlights Researcher and NARCAP Research Associate Massimo Teodorani has published a new paper in this month's Journal of Scientific Exploration which examines one type of UAP that have been manifesting at Hessdalen, Norway.This paper probably represents the most thorough instrument-based examination of any suspected UAP. It is important to note that these phenomena may be related to those UAP that manifest in a number of specific geographic locations in the world including the United States. Some of these phenomena seem to resemble some of the UAP reported by pilots (see NARCAP Technical Report 4).It is also interesting to note that the paper describes these light phenomena as having some characteristics of a solid including a radar reflection. In some of these radar detections, the phenomena were manifesting according to instrumentation but were not visible to the unaided eye. This is consistent with many radar observations of UAP that are not visible to aircrews and air traffic controllers. This document contains new instrumental data that further demonstrates that this UAP is an external high intensity radiating field and has electromagnetic properties that may affect aviation systems that depend upon microprocessors. With respect for copyright protection of this article NARCAP offers only the abstract of this paper with the author's specific permission.

A Long-Term Scientific Survey of the Hessdalen Phenomenon

Massimo TeodoraniCNR- Instituto di Radioastronomia/Radiotelescopi di MedicinaVia Florentina - 44406 Villafontana (BO) - Italy

Abstract - The balls of light which appear in the Hessdalen valley in Norway are exemplary of anomalous atmospheric luminous phenomena that occur frequently at some locations on Earth. The recurrence of the phenomenon and the existence of an instrumented observation station makes this area an ideal research site. The apparent correlation of luminous phenomena with magnetic perturbations, radio emission, and radar tracks found by Norwegian researchers, led some Italian physicists and engineers of the EMBLA Project to reanalyze the Norwegian data. The second step was three explorative instrumented, field-study expeditions. The behavior of the phenomenon was monitored with optical, radio, and radar techniques. The global picture of the phenomenon obtained so far shows that the phenomenon's radiant power varies, reaching values up to 19kW. These changes are caused by sudden surface variations of the illuminated area owing to the appearance of clusters of light balls that behave in a thermally self-regulated way. Apparent characterisctics consistent with a solid are strongly suspected from the study of distributions of radiant power. Other anomalous characteristics include the capability to eject smaller light balls, some unidentified frequency shift in the VLF range, and possible deposition of metallic particles. A self-consistent definitive theory of the phenomenon' nature and origin in all its aspects cannot be constructed yet quantitatively, but some of the observations can be explained by an electrochemical model for the ball-lightning phenomenon. The importance is stressed of using more sophisticated instrumentation in the future.

-from The Journal of Scientific Exploration, July 2004



20 July 2004

Re: Campeche, Mexico Case of March 5, 2004

NARCAP has recieved several inquiries regarding the March 5, 2004 case involving alleged observations of unidentified aerial phenomena by a Mexican Air Force C-26 Merlin during a routine smuggler interdiction flight. Though NARCAP is a national organization reflecting US aviation safety concerns, there are several points that NARCAP can offer to the interested public with regards to this case.

Coincidentally, NARCAP staff were meeting with Mexican and regional aviation officials in Mexico City, MX just prior to the release of this material and were advised of the case as well as the impending press conference.

This incident gained a lot of attention in the world press and there was (and still is) a great deal of speculation regarding the source and nature of the detections. Numerous news organizations and individuals including various members of the scientific community have stated their opinions in the public forum.   In almost every case these opinions were offered without examining the material beyond a cursory review of very short film clips of the FLIR camera footage and without conducting any analysis of the case and supporting evidence.



  1. The Mexican Secretary of Defense and the Mexican Government have made no public claims regarding this incident. They have only acknowledged that they were the source of the material.
  2. Niether SEDENA nor the Mexican government have released complete copies of all the material related to this event to any researchers.
  3. The material that has been made available via a third party does not contain complete and unedited copies of the Forward Looking Infrared Radar (FLIR) film. No radar data has been provided.
  4. An examination of the materials that have been made available may offer a mundane explanation however, verification of any conclusion may depend upon the missing radar data.
  5. The interrupted evidentiary chain of custody combined with the incomplete nature of the materials that have been released will severely inhibit any objective analysis of the incident.


17 July 2004

Attention: Pilots and Aviation Professionals- The Media are Interested in Your Comments.

One of the most common questions we encounter when the press and media express an interest in NARCAP is, "Do you know of any pilots or aviation professionals who are willing to discuss their experiences?" In some cases media are willing to de-identify witnesses appearing on televised productions. Otherwise, we are seeking individuals that are willing to openly discuss their experiences and observations.

Pilots and aviation professionals who are willing to speak publicly about their observations or incidents involving Unidentified Aerial Phenomena should contact

11 July 2004

Under-Reporting Bias, New Report

The topic of aviation safety related encounters with UAP is a difficult one for aviation professionals in general and air crews in particular. Sources of this bias can be found both inside and outside the US aviation system and are examined in this new paper by NARCAP Executive Director Ted Roe.


8 July 2004:

Pilots and UAP, Nothing New

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena, UAP, reports which involve aviation safety issues are not new. In the 1960s, although the reports involved a variety of observations involving lights and/or objects, they were collectively referred to as "UFO" reports. Atmospheric physicist James McDonald Ph.D. presented information regarding pilot reports, including safety related incidents, of UAP (then called "UFO") to the House Sub-committee on Science and Aeronautics, 1968 Symposium on UFOs.

Why Don't Pilots See UFOs? by James McDonald Ph.D.

Why isn't science interested in UAP?

Leslie Kean, familiar to many for her work on "Flashpoints" for KPFA Berkeley, has taken an activist role on many social issues from the Death Penalty to the matter of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena. She has written several articles reflecting this interest and citing NARCAP research. Her most recent publication examines the issues surrounding science and UAP.

Science and the Failure to Investigate Unidentified

Aerial Phenomena by Leslie Kean

28 April 2004: Mexico City

NARCAP representatives Dr. Richard Haines, Ruben Uriarte and Ted Roe attended meetings with Mexican aviation officials to discuss development and implementation of a Mexican UAP data collection system to track UAP incidents in Mexican airspace. NARCAP is providing reporting forms and advice as needed to implement a standardized collection system that will interlock with the NARCAP program and be useful in collecting regional data.

NARCAP encourages the many international aviation systems to follow this example and implement data collection systems to track these events in a standardized fashion. For more information contact Ted Roe at

Additionally, NARCAP was advised of a potential UAP case over Campeche, Mexico on 5March2004 involving a FAM C-26 Merlin while conducting smuggler interdiction patrols.


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