NARCAP Boss Snubs MUFON
David Twitchell writes,
In the March 2007 issue of the MUFON UFO Journal (#467), Don Allis submitted an excellent article on NARCAP (National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena), not to be confused with NICAP (National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena).
NARCAP was established in 2000, and is dedicated to the advancement of aviation safety issues as they apply to Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). "UAP" is an acronym coined by NARCAP’s Executive Director, Ted Roe, in an effort to distinguish his organization from those who investigate "UFO’s" (Unidentified Flying Objects). His website (www.NARCAP.org) features several quotes from reported sightings of anomalous lights and various unidentified craft from the military and commercial airline industry as well as numerous news releases on the subject. The organization is dedicated to addressing the obvious safety implications involving the air transportation industry and encourages pilots and others within the industry to submit reports of their encounters to the NARCAP website.
After reviewing the article and website, I felt that Mr. Roe would be an excellent person to interview for my radio show on WHFR, We Are Not Alone, so I sent him an email with the request. He promptly replied with the following:
Thank you for your interest in NARCAP. I have not read the MUFON Journal article that you are referring to though I would like to, this is the first I have heard of it...who wrote it?
I tend to decline media interview requests as a rule. It is my opinion that the media and the study of UAP have gone separate directions. Whereas we take UAP seriously as a hazard to aviation, which is a position that is consistent with several international studies, the media consider the matter to be entertainment and filler that can be manipulated for their benefit with no respect for our image or mission. And they cant it all towards the alien/ETV (extra terrestrial visitation) discussion without respect for us or our work.
Further, we changed the term from "UFO" to "UAP" specifically because it is more accurate and less pejorative. In other words, a UAP sighting isn't necessarily an alien spacecraft sighting and unless we treat the entire study of UAP seriously, we won't learn enough to be able to know the difference between a poorly documented phenomenon and an alien incursion. I am seeing that the term is catching on and fear that it will eventually mean "alien spaceship" as the term "UFO" does now...
Most media interest in this topic focuses squarely on the debate between unbelievers and believers/knowers and the ETH (extra terrestrial hypothesis). Our materials tend to be used as weapons even though our own opinions and position on the matter is clearly stated.
This debate and atmosphere is really not conducive to our work with the aviation community. We are judged by the company we keep and the aviation community won't take us seriously if we are sharing the podium with abductees and Richard Hoagland.
There is little to respect in the actions of people like Peter Davenport and Jeff Rense with regard to their public pontifications and egomaniacal abuse of case information. The O'Hare matter was complicated specifically because of Peter's decision to involve the media - he created an environment that threatened the security of the witnesses, overwhelmed the local facility with media and UFO nutcases, put the system on the defensive.....he has never published a paper on the topic. Just an example of what isn't helping and what we want to avoid.
NARCAP has done so much without broadcasting it all over the place... we have had our docs published in federal libraries like the Dept of Transportation, we have participated in congressional subcommittee hearings, we have briefed and engaged the NASA Aviation Safety Program and the NASA administrated FAA ASRS program, we have developed relationships with the few official efforts to study UAP in the world, we have pursued an activist role within the aviation community both nationally and internationally through the UN ICAO and other angles, etc. We owe all of these successes to careful image management and a steady focus on our mission statement.
We will be releasing our O'Hare investigation in the coming weeks and will, of necessity, have a press release. I expect that we will get a lot of media requests but I am not really prepared to engage any of them. We wrote a paper, if someone has a beef, let them write a paper.... That is the only debate we are interested in so BBC and the rest will have to find some other way to fill their hour than at our expense.
We have done a lot of other stuff that is active and effective and we did it without involving the UFO community, George Noory, etc. We have done so well at it that some fringy folks out there have accused us, and me, of government complicity... as if the situation isn't nutty enough already. I have been accused of "secrecy" and worse simply because I care enough about our work, our image and our message that I am not going to "get behind" the various permutations of UFO believers at their demand, entertain them at their conferences, etc.
So, my feelings about the media and "business as usual" in UFOlogy are not really consistent with a good interview for the MUFON folks. NARCAP has no position on whether or not "We are Alone".... science will be the last to weigh in on that discussion, I am afraid. Until somebody can define an alien incursion, science won't be able to validate one. Not enough foundational data and all efforts should be squarely focused on building the base data on UAP so we can separate signal from noise, poorly documented natural phenomena (and it looks like there are several) from truly anomalous objects, etc. Eventually, the truth will come out but not until the whole topic of UAP is engaged. UFOlogy is not patient or disciplined enough to
do this. I am happy to discuss this with you further, if you like. Thanks for your interest in NARCAP. Sorry for the diatribe, I am on my first cuppa joe - Ted.
I wrote back with a copy of the MUFON Journal article and to assure Mr. Roe that although I am a MUFON field investigator, the radio show was not affiliated with MUFON (although I mention it in every show), that I share his concern in regard to airline safety involved with "UAP’s", and would he reconsider an interview. I never heard back from him. Obviously he was not really "happy to discuss it with me further" as he had indicated.
I respect Mr. Roe’s refusal to be interviewed on radio and further respect the work he is doing with his newly formed organization. However, I find glaring contradictions in his rambling missive: Mr. Roe claims to have disassociated himself from the UFO community while two of UFOlogy’s notables, Dr. Richard Haines (Chief Scientist) and Dr. Jacques Vallee, serve on NARCAP’s Executive Advisory Committee.
The purpose of NARCAP is to inform the public of the safety hazards associated with "UAP" yet he criticizes Peter Davenport for "involving the media". Isn’t that what informing the public is all about? Mr. Roe can’t think of any reason for Davenport’s action other than he wanted to "look good on camera". Is that the real reason for Roe’s disdain or was it that Davenport simply one-upped him on the story?
Mr. Roe complains that he has been accused of "government complicity, secrecy and worse" since he founded his organization. Well, welcome to the wonderful world of "UAPs"! It comes with the territory.
The quaint notion that his newly coined term, "Unidentified Aerial Phenomena",
will somehow dignify the subject and segregate it from the UFO community is comical at best. "UAP", "Unidentified Flying Object", "Unconventional Flying Object", "Flying Saucer", "Fastwalker", "Bogey" . . . and on and on – a rose is a rose is a rose . . .At the end of the day, they are in our skies and, among other concerns, present a safety hazard to conventional aircraft. At the end of the day, we are all seeking the same answers to the same questions with precious few resources with which to accomplish our goal.
So thank you Mr. Roe and NARCAP for your contribution to the cause. Keep up the good work. But before you do, please allow me to make two suggestions:
1. Like it or not, you are one of us now. Acclimate yourself to that fact.
2. Have another "cuppa joe". It may steady your resolve.
David Twichell http://www.ufoimplications.com