US military veterans say UAPs are serious concern for pilot safety

Unidentified Aerial Phenomena (UAP). Credit: US Navy

Retired military veterans testified at a House Oversight Committee hearing on unidentified aerial phenomena (UAP), commonly known as UFOs, stating that the sightings are serious concern for pilot safety.   

On July 26, 2023, a House Oversight subcommittee convened to discuss the secretive stance maintained by the US government regarding UAP. 

“The lack of transparency surrounding UAPs has fueled wild speculation and debate for decades, eroding public trust in the very institutions that are meant to serve and protect them,” said Subcommittee on National Security, the Border, and Foreign Affairs chairman Glenn Grothman in an opening statement. 

Three whistleblowers testified under oath during the hearing, stating they have encountered or heard of numerous UAP sightings during their service in the US military. One of the witnesses, retired Navy pilot Ryan Graves, claimed he had spotted UAPs off the Atlantic coast “every day for at least a couple of years.”  

“If UAP are foreign drones, it is an urgent national security problem. If it is something else, it is an issue for science. In either case, unidentified objects are a concern for flight safety,” said Graves.  

Military and commercial pilots, often the first and most frequent observers of these unexplained phenomena, have called for a comprehensive review of current reporting processes for UAP encounters.  

“Right now, military witnesses to UAP have limited options for reporting UAP. But more concerning is that the commercial airline aviation sector has not adapted to the lessons that the military has implemented,” Graves warned. 

“The military and DOD [Department of Defense] have stated that UAP represents a critical aviation safety risk, we have not seen that same language being used in the commercial markets,” he added. 

Ryan Graves is also a founder of the non-profit organization Americans for Safe Aerospace (ASA) which focuses on promoting transparency and safety within the aerospace industry, particularly regarding encounters with UAPs. According to Grave, only 5% of US pilots officially report their UAP encounters. 

Adding to the claims, another whistleblower, former US Air Force intelligence officer David Grusch, testified that upon reporting a UAP he had faced retaliation. 

“It was very brutal and very unfortunate some of the tactics they used to hurt me both professionally and personally to be quite frank…there were certain colleagues of mine who were brutally administratively attacked, and it actually makes me very upset,” Grusch told the House Oversight subcommittee. 

The Pentagon’s All-Domain Anomaly Resolution Office (AARO), established in 2022 to investigate these incidents, has received about 800 reports of UAP as of May 2023. While military officials have said most cases have innocuous origins, the subcommittee stated that the military knows more about the phenomena than it has disclosed to Congress. 

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