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Document Creation Date: 
December 15, 2016
Document Release Date: 
April 30, 2001
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Publication Date: 
July 21, 1960
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PDF icon CIA-RDP81R00560R000100040013-4.pdf449.21 KB
,,6PARTMENT OF DEFENSE OFFICE OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS Washington 25, D. C. IIvIMEDIATE RELEASE July 21, 1960 NO. 812-60 OXford 75131 FACT SHEET AIR FORCE UFO REPORT A total of 173 sightings of unidentified flying objects or aerial phenomena were reported to the USAF during the period 1 January to 30 June 1960. Of these 173 cases 139 have been analyzed and 34 are pending. Of the 139 cases analyzed 51 were categorized "Insufficient Evidence." Of these 51 cases 37 were so categorized because there were no additional witnesses. It is the Air Force,policy to attempt to determine the probable cause of these sightings. However in keeping with good scientific practices they are categorized for statistical purposes as "insufficient evidence." To give full credit to these particular sightings would be comparable to accepting as fact the results of an experiment which was conducted only once. During this same period for 1959 the number of sightings reported to the Air Force was 175. Due to the fact that several reports usually reach the Air Force after the end of a period, it is safe to assume that the 1 Jan - 30 June period of 1960 will slightly exceed that of 1959. However, the 173 cases for the first half of 1960 represents a slight decrease from the 189 cases re- ported to the Air Force for the period 1 July through 31 December 1959. During the period of this report there were 41 cases reported from foreign countries. The majority of these sightings took place in the Pacific and Far East area. It is apparent that the public is taking the reporting of unidentified aerial phenomena more seriously. During this reporting period there was only one instance of an actual hoax. The months of April and June 1960 show a fairly large percentage of astro- nomical sightings. -These large percentages can be attributed to the excessive meteor activity in April and to the proximity of Jupiter in June. Its near- ness resulted in an apparent brightness greater than that of a star of -2.o magnitude and the planet also appeared unusually large. When'categorizing sightings of unidentified aerial phenomena the Air Force attempts to do so primarily by association to a responsible object. If the planet Venus was determined to have been the subject of a report the case is categorizedas'an astronomical sighting. It should be noted that in most instances the condition under which an object is seen is the real cause of the sighting and'not'the object itself. An'example of this would be a star or planet seen low on the horizon with-the associated 'refraction and diffraction patterns. This brings to point the secondary methodof.categorizing sightings. In some instances the evidence in a case will indicate t ;e probable cause.as a reflection Vb~ r lerdS it 3%20`1S4tRW8-t1890Fb0 1b&4%93a a MORE Approved SRelease 2004/03/26: CIA-RDP81R0*R000100040013-4 planet or star. In these instances the cases are categorized according to probably cause. A third method is the categorizing of those cases which are determined to be illusions, probably resulting from over active imaginations. Usually these cases are one witness sightings and ultimately fall into the "insufficient evidence" category. There are still many sightings which are due to the viewing of startling natural objects for the first time; i.e., fireball type meteors. In most of these instances the object itself, coupled with the relative inexperience of the witness, is the resulting cause of the sighting. It is significant to note the adaptation of the public to the satellite era of the space age as evidenced by only one satellit .being reported as an UFO during this period. The one satellite reported was`the startling re-entry of the Discoverer VIII on 7 March 1960. To date no report of unidentified aerial phenomena gaue any indication of a threat to the security of the United States, nor were there indications that these phenomena were other than natural. UFO Report Evaluation - by Category and Percentage Breakdown 1 Januo.ry 1960 - 30 June 1960 Astronomical; 52 37.41 Aircraft ~7 5.04 Balloon 6 4.31 *Insufficient Data 51 36.70 Other (Birds, hoaxes, search lights, etc.) 19 13.67 Satellites (Re-entry of Discoverer VIII) 1 .72 Unidentified 3 2.15 173 1007. *This category includes 37 sightings (21.38%) reported by individuals and in each case there were no supporting witness and no additional information or facts available to allow a valid scientific evaluation of the sighting. Sight- ings of this nature must be discounted becaose of a total lack of supporting data. This in effect reduces the total number of cases for the period to only 136 with 102 of these evaluated to date. In the case of the other 14 sightings in the insufficient data category, addtional witnesses corobrated with sightings but did not provide sufficient data to allow a valid conclusion. Percentages are straight mathematical computations carried out to only two places based upon totals and sub totals, or categories. Therefore when worked in reverse they will not reflect the exact original total or sub total. UFO cases or files are not closed and should additional information be ob- tained at a later date, it can result in a solved case and/or may change the category previously assigned to the individual sighting (as in the case of a previously unidentified case being changed to the aircraft category). This open and policy on all UFO files results in minor changes from time to time in UFO category statistics. This also applies to individual reports submitted after the fact. These continuing inputs account for additional minor changes periodically which, of course, are not consistent with previously released figs e_.:4;. Approved For Release 2004/03T A-: CIA-RDP81 R00560R000100040.0.13-4 1947 a are Approved For Rdse 2004/03/26: CIA-RDP81 R00560R?100040013-4 total number of. sightings reported to the United State;, Air Force as follows: OBJBCTS SIGHTED AND REPORTED 1947 79 1943 143 1949 186 1950 169 1951 121 1952 -.1501 1953 425 1954 429 1955 404 1956 773 1957 1178 1958 573 1959 364 1960 (through 30 June) 173 523 Reporting, investigation, analysis and evaluation procedures have improved considerable since the first sighting of unidentified flying object was made on 27 June 1947. The study and analysis of reported sightings of UFO's is con- ducted by a selected scientific group under the super'ision of the Air Force. Dr. J. Allen Hynek, Head of the Department of Astronomy and Director of the Observatory at Northwestern University, is the Chief, Scientific Consultant to the Air Force on the subject of Unidentified Flying Objects. The selected, qualified scientists, engineers, and other personnel in- volved in these analyses are completely objective and open minded az the subject of UFO's. They apply scientific methods of examination to all cases in reaching their conclusions. The attempted identification of the phenomenon observed generally must be derived from human impressions and interpretations because scientific devices or measurements are not available. The data in the sightings reported are almost invariably subjective in nature. However, no report is con- sidered unsuitable for study and categorization. General categories of identification are balloons, aircraft, astronomical, other, insufficient data, satellites and unidentified. Approximately 4,000 balloons are released in the U. S. every day. There are two general types of balloons: weather balloons and upper air research balloons, Balloons will vary from types 4 feet in diameter to large types 200 feet in diameter. The majority released at night carry running lights which often contribute to weird or unusual appearances when observed at night. This also hold true when observed near dawn or sunset because of the effect of the slant rays of"the sun upon the balloon surfaces. The large balloons, if caught in jet streams, may assume a near horizontal position when partially inflated, and move with speeds of over 200 MPH. Large types may be observed flattened on top. The effect of the latter two conditions can be startling even to experienced pilots. Many modern aircraft, 134rticularly swept and delta wing types, under ad- verse weather and sighting conditions are reported as unusual objects and/or "flying saucers." When observed at high altitudes, reflecting sunlight off their surfaces, or when only their jet exhausts are visible at night, aircraft can have appearances ranging from disc to rocket in shappee Si e tt bombers Approved For Release 2004/03/26: CIA-RDP81 ROO560R0001OUO40013-4 -~ MORE Approved *Release 2004/03/26: CIA-RDP81 RO R0001 00040013-4 having multi-jet pods under their swept-back wings-have been reported as UFOs or,:,,saucers" in "V" formation. Vapor trails will often appear to glow with fiery red or orange streaks when reflecting sunlight. After burners are frequently reported as UFOs. The astronomical category includes bright stars, planets; comets, meteors, and other celestial bodies. When observed through haze, light fog,-or moving clouds, the planets Venus, Mars, and Jupiter have often been reported as un- conventional, moving objects. Attempts to observe astronomical bodies through hand-held binoculars under adverse sky conditions have been a sources-of many UFO reports. The "other" category includes reflections, searchlights, birds, kites, blimps, clouds, sun-dogs, spurious radar indications, hoaxes, firework dis- plays, flares, fireballs, ice 'crystals,bolides, etc., as examples: large Canadian geese flying low over.a city at night with street lights reflecting off their bodies; searchlights playing on scattered clouds, appearing as moving disc-like shapres. . The insufficient data category includes all sightings where essential 'or pertinent items of information are, missing, making it impossible to form a??_ valid conclusion. These include corroboration of the sighting by an additional,. witness; description of the size, shape or color of the object; direction and: ` altitude; exact time and location; wind weather conditions, etc. This category is not used as a convenient way to get rid of what might be referred to as "unidentified objects." However, if. :there is not an additional witness or if '?" the data received is. insufficient or unrelated, the analysts must then place that particular report in this category. The Air Force needs complete infor- mation to reach a valid conclusion. Air Force officials stressed the fact that an observer should send a.complete .report of a bona fide sighting to the nearest Air Force activity. There the report will be,promptly forwarded to the proper. office for analysis and evaluation. A sighting is considered unidentified or unexplained when a report ap- parently contains all the pertinent data necessary to normally suggest at least one valid hypothesis on the cause or explanation of the sighting but when the description of the object and its maneuvers cannot be correlated with any known object or phenomenon.. In its Project Blue Book Special Report #14, released in October 1955, the Air Force showed that evaluated sightings in the unidentified category hadlieen reduced to 3 percent at that time. Unidentified sightings had been 9 percent in 1953 and 1954 and in:previous years unidentified sightings had run-as high as 20 percent. Project Blue Book Special Report X14, covered UFO investigations from June 1947 to May 1955? Since that time, Air Force statistics show the percentage of unidentified- sightings has been reduced to approximately 2 percent. Air Force conclusions for"the thirteen years of UFO sightings involving over 6,500 reports are: first, there is no evidence that unidentified sightings were inimical or hostile; second, there is no evidence that unidentified sight- ings were interplanetary space ships; third, there is no evidence that these unidentified sightings represented technological developments or principles outside the range of our present day scientific knowledge; fourth, there is no evidence that these unidentified sightings are a threat to the security of the Approved For Release 2004/03/26 : CIA-RDP81 R00560R000100040013-4 -4- - MORE Approved For ReI? 2004/03/26: CIA-RDP81 R00560R(~ ~0 01 fti to frag- country; and finally, no physical or material evidence, no ment of a so-called "flying saucer" or space ship has evern been found. The Air Force emphasized the belief that if more immediate detailed objec- tive observational data could have been obtained on the unidentified or unex- plained sightings, these, too, would have been explained satisfactorily. The Air Force, assigned the responsibility for the Air Defense of the United States, will continue to investigate all reports of unusual serial ob- jects over the U. S. including objects that may become labeled Unidentified Flying Objects. The services of qualified scientists and technicians will con- tinue to be utilized to investigate and analyze these reports, ad periodic public statements on the subject will be made as warranted. The Air Force Inspector General's Brief, dated 24 December 1959, contained a notice to all unit Commanders that UFO reports are serious business since they are vitally involved in the Air Force's air defense mission. This Brief stressed. that Commanders are responsible for seeing that UFO sightings are investigated and evaluated quickly, thoroughly and accurately. The Brief referred to Air Force Regulation 200-2 concerning unidentified flying objects which outlines the Air Force's obligation to keep the public adequately informed on this subject and also stresses the fact that UFO sighting reports are not to be classified. If an UFO report is classified it is classified for other reasons than the UFO sighting itself. The Air Force is charged by many pri7:`ate UFO groups with possession of classified information which concludes or proves that space ships from other planets exist and are visiting our atmosphere. Nothing could be further from the truth. The Air Force possesses no information, classified or unclassified, which proves this contention. Many indivi -.-.als associated with these private UFO organizations are self-appointed authorities on UFOs and consider them- selves entitled to be unofficial advisors to the United States Air Force Intel- ligence Community. Since they are not charged under law with these responsi- bilities it would be entirely unappropriate and even dangerous at times to exercise the Intelligence system in order to give them, or their organizations, any notoriety or publicity. It is an interesting fact that most of these individuals fail to recognize the fact that there is such a thing as legitmate classified security information. For the past thirteen years these groups have repeatedly stated that their organizations possess documented evidence proving the existence of space ships from other planets. However, when asked as patriotic citizens to deliver this evidence to the United States Air Force or other government agencies they have refused to do so. The obvious conclusion is that they do not possess this information or evidence proving the existence of space ships. From time-to time the Air Force has been asked the cost of conducting the UFO program. It is impossible to estimate the exact amount of funds expended by the Air Force in investigating reported sightings of unidentified flying ob- jects because in addition to the entire facilities of the Aerospace Technical Intelligence Center, the entire facilities of the nation's scientific and tech- nical community are at the disposal of the evaluators, and the degree of use varies with each case. Also, investigation in the field can involve individual Air Force base personnel and special investigative units and again, in these instances the amount of time expended and the number of personnel assigned to a specific sighting will vary with each case. END Approved For Release 2004/03/20-i CIA-RDP81 R00560R000100040013-4