Unidentified Anomalous Phenomena – scientific research: Civilian air safety and UAP



Over the years, two key aspects have been emphasized in UAP studies, namely 1) they are a threat to national security and 2) they are a threat to the safety of aircraft. In this blog post I wish to address point 2.

Australian context

In Australia there are three government agencies which have a remit for involvement in civilian air safety. These are the Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA); Airservices Australia (ASA), and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

CASA’s role as defined on their website is:

“The Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) is a government body that ensures the safety of aviation in Australia. We license pilots, register aircraft, certify aerodromes, oversee aviation safety and promote safety awareness. We do this by setting standards and safety outcomes that cover maintenance, airspace, aerodromes, licensing and all types of operations.”

Airservices Australia’s website states: 

“Airservices Australia is a government-owned organization responsible for the safety of 11 per cent of the world’s airspace. We are responsible for the safe and efficient management of Australia’s skies…”

 Whereas the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s site says:

“The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) improves safety and public confidence in aviation, marine and rail transport through our independent ‘no blame’ investigation of transport accidents and safety occurrences…”

UAP research results 

As far back as June 2012 I was writing blog posts about the potential link between UAP and air safety in Australia. The ATSB and ASA had databases of aviation incidents and occurrences which could be keyword searched for references to UFO and UFO-like reports. In 2004 I had already conducted searches and a number of hits came up from the then OASIS ATSB aviation occurrence database. These were dated between 1969 and 1998. 

In October 2012, I reported upon the results of FOIA requests to the three Australian government agencies. From then Air Services Australia I received a number of documents. There were queries from the media, UFO groups, individuals and interestingly an occurrence dated July 2004 where a QANTAS flight filed a report concerning an unidentified object travelling at 150-200 knots not with the wind. Nothing was obtained from either the ATSB or CASA.

The aircraft involved in the 2014 Perth near miss

On 19 March 2014 there was a near miss between a passenger aircraft and an “unknown object” near Perth international airport in broad daylight. The incident was investigated by the ATSB and they issued an official report. Paul Dean and I also conducted an investigation and reported on this in September 2015. 

In 2015 Melbourne researcher Paul Dean sent an FOIA request to Air Services Australia. The request turned up 13 pilot and air traffic control incidents, which included a January 2014 incident near Adelaide airport. 

In around 2022 I submitted an FOIA request to ASA asking for a search of their databases for information on UFO/UAP. When they cited a fee of around $500 I withdrew my request. 


In 2024 ATSB maintains a National Aviation Occurrence Database A keyword search of “UFO and UAP” locates the October 1978 Valentich disappearance; an aircraft registered as VH-UFO; and a March 2015 FOIA request for “unusual; or unidentifiable aircraft or objects i.e. UFOs.” On the latter, documents were released but not now available through the database. A similar search of the ASA website revealed no documents; same with CASA. 

On 12 January 2024 Melbourne researcher Grant Lavac reached out to CASA to mention the proposed US Congressional bill re introducing UAP reporting for US Civil aviation pilots and asked;

“1.  If the proposed legislation is passed, what are the implications for CASA in the event US aircraft operating in Australian airspace (unbound/outbound) observe UAP and are required to report to the FAA?

2. Will CASA commit to reviewing its current reporting protocols and consider implementing comparable UAP reporting/recording mechanisms?”

The CASA media team responded with:

“The following can be attributed to a CASA spokesperson. CASA’s role as a government body is to regulate Australian aviation safety. The reporting of UAP is currently out of our remit.”

The American context

Although there has long been an interest in the air safety aspects of UAP in a US military setting, e.g. near misses off the east coast of the US in 2014 and 2015, in the rest of this blog post I’d like to report on recent events re US civilian aviation safety and UAP.

In February 2022 I reported on the formation of a “Community of interest” (COI) of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) the world’s largest aerospace technical society, led by former US Marine pilot Ryan Graves. During the AIAA’s 2021 annual gathering a panel discussion spoke to the potential aviation safety issues of UAP. The charter of the COI was:

“To improve aviation safety by enhancing scientific knowledge, and mitigating barriers to, the study of Unidentified Aerial Phenomena.”

The COI held its first technical session as part of the AIAA Aviation 2022 forum on 29 June 2022. 

In November 2022, the AIAA “…recognized our UAP community of interest as a fully empowered AIAA UAP Integration and Outreach Committee dedicated to scientific study of UAP.” This committee presented at the Aviation23 AIAA conference. 

In 2023 Ryan Graves went on to co-found an organization called “Americans for Safe Aerospace” with co-founder Brad Crispin. Graves, as the Executive Director of the organization went on to speak at the 26 July 2023 US Congressional hearing on UAP.


On 11 January 2024 US Congressional House of Representatives members Robert Garcia and Glenn Grothman introduced a bill, H.R.6967 titled “Safe Airspace for Americans Act.” H.R. 6967:

“To require the Administrator of the Federal Aviation Administration to establish procedures and reporting requirements for incidents relating to unidentified anomalous phenomena, and for other purposes.” 

Under this Act, if passed, the legislation would apply to US civilian pilots, FAA air traffic controllers, flight attendants, maintenance workers, dispatchers and airlines. Reports would initially go to the FAA and then onto the All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO).

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