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Lecture - Dr. Richard F. Haines

Review by Jason Cowland

"Pilot Sightings of UFO Phenomena"

Royal Victorian Aero Club, Moorabbin Airport,
Tuesday, 17th of March, 1998 at 8pm

Dr. Richard Haines is a Senior Research Scientist at the NASA-Ames Research Centre. He is best known for his work with pilots and their UFO sightings. Over the last 30 years he has been investigating the subject, he has amassed over 3000 pilot sighting reports. During his introduction he mentioned that his research has taught him a lot more about Science, Engineering, Optics and Human behaviour He has also investigated photographic evidence of UFO's but stresses that UFO photos are easily faked, however, points out that there are good UFO photographs.

Dr. Haines commenced the lecture by asking the audience a few questions.

How many pilots are present?
How many people have a science background or education?
How many people have seen what they believe is a UFO?
And finally how many reported the sighting?

Once a show of hands were displayed they dramatically dropped off when the final question was asked. Dr. Haines strongly urged people to report sightings so they can be investigated.

A series of slides were shown to demonstrate the diversity of aircraft and airframes from the Wright Brothers to virtually present day. These included the likes of vintage bi-planes to the P-51 Mustang.
Instrument panels were also shown to give the audience an idea of progress in technology amongst aircraft and cockpit instrumentation and how the volume of information required by a pilot is significantly different than before.

According to Dr Haines there are a number of reasons why he has focused on pilot sightings. The main one being their professional reputation and their excellent training. Also the fact that pilots will have thought of all the possible answers to what they saw before reporting a UFO. Pilots also have the unique ability to establish distance of a UFO to background, that is, the sighting can take place while the plane is above the UFO, therefore giving the pilot a point of reference in relation to the background. Finally, pilot reports are usually confirmed by ground control giving the sighting greater credibility.

During his 30 years of investigations Dr. Haines has established a percentage break down of what type of pilot has reported a UFO. From his 3000 odd reports from 1916 (WWI) to October 1996, military pilots have reported 52% of these sightings while commercial pilots represent 40%, private pilots 7% and less than 1% for test pilots. Of these sightings, most are seen in good weather and 30% are during the day while the remaining 70% account for the night. Approximately 3% of the total reports have experienced electromagnetic effects on instruments when a UFO is close to the aircraft; even dimming of the cabin lights has been reported. These effects have lasted for 5 seconds up to a staggering 180 minutes of flight time.

The rest of the night centred on the 1978 Valentich case. Dr Haines displayed the flight plan which Valentich logged for his flight to King Island as well as a map to illustrate the most probable route Valentich would have taken. After explaining the details of the flight plan and the journey of the flight, a weather map was shown for both the morning and the afternoon of the day of disappearance. This let the audience know of the near perfect flying conditions that were present during the night of 21st October 1978.

The most interesting revelation came when Dr Haines critically examined the official radio transcript. While slowly dissecting each word of the radio transmission recorded between Valentich and Melbourne International Airport (Tullamarine) on the night in question. Dr Haines was quick to point out that the words in brackets were words in which the official could not identify 100% (due background noise etc.).
The night finished with Dr Haines reciting some UFO cases he has heard of and personally researched himself. One interesting account was that of a B-52 Bomber crew back in 1952, who witnessed some strange spherical objects around their aircraft. Upon reporting this sighting they were interrogated and the whole case was silenced. The crewmember then told Richard Haines that because of his experience after the sighting he would never report a UFO sighting again.

VUFORS thanks Jason Cowland for writing the above report on the Haines Lecture. Jason is a Melbourne based member of VUFORS who hosts his own radio program dedicated to UFO research. "Encounters" can be heard on 97.9FM, Thursday nights at 10:30pm.

Last Updated: June, 1998
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