Public radio from Western Michigan University 102.1 NPR News | 89.9 Classical WMUK
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Self-proclaimed ufologist claims to have alien corpses


NASA has promised to do a better job studying UFOs. Yesterday, the agency put out a report on what they call UAPs, and the panel found no evidence that UFOs have extraterrestrial origins. But it also doesn't know what they are, and it cited a lack of good data. Joining us now is Ryan Graves. He's executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace and a former Navy fighter pilot. Ryan, so let's start with the news from NASA. I mean, encouraging for you that they're actually speaking about this in public out loud?

RYAN GRAVES: Absolutely, it's encouraging. It's also providing pilots who have been seeing this with a way of actually reporting it for the first time.

MARTÍNEZ: And that's you, right? You've actually seen something.

GRAVES: Yes, I was an F-18 pilot in the Navy, and after upgrading our radar systems, we started detecting objects that we just didn't know what they were. And we had no way of telling anyone about it. That's why this is so important.

MARTÍNEZ: Yeah. And it could - could it fill maybe a huge awareness gap that exists?

GRAVES: Absolutely. Pilots just don't know where to reach out to. Military folks that are having these types of experiences don't know who to report it to. So now that NASA is getting involved, there seems to be a mechanism that's going to allow an unclassified analysis of this data that hasn't been done before. There is work being done on the Department of Defense side in a classified manner, but we're not privy to that information.

MARTÍNEZ: NASA also appointed a director of UAP research, and they're going to keep that person's identity secret because they're worried that that person could be harassed. Would you rather know who that person is?

GRAVES: Yeah, I would say that this just kind of shows the power of the stigma of this conversation. Thankfully, I've heard recently in the past 24 hours that they actually did release the name. So I think a little common sense played out.

MARTÍNEZ: OK. All right. Now, you testified to Mexico's Congress this week in the same hearing where a self-described UFO expert brought in what he claimed were alien bodies in caskets. I saw those pictures. It was a wild scene. How does that kind of sensationalism distract from the work that you're trying to do?

GRAVES: It really just goes to reinforcing the stigma that if people talk about this in a serious manner, they might get upended by a non-serious player. My mission was going there to help identify what was in our skies in behalf of military and commercial pilots. So those type of stunts just distract from the seriousness as a national security issue and an aerospace safety issue.

MARTÍNEZ: Why is it a national security issue?

GRAVES: Well, it's a domain awareness gap. And we saw just a few months ago how serious it can be when we don't have our eyes on our sky. With - and that event concluded with the shootdown of several objects over U.S. airspace for the first time in history.

MARTÍNEZ: And in terms of aerospace or a - in terms of a safety issue, why is it a safety issue?

GRAVES: Well, pilots are seeing objects on a daily basis, and they don't know what they are. They don't have mechanisms for reporting it. They have no way of identifying what these objects are. And these are some of our best observers out there that often are veterans that have - very patriotic. If we're seeing objects out there that are distracting aircrew, that are causing them to be unsure about what's in their surroundings, so much so that they're contacting their controllers to report it, that's a problem that we need to address. And if some of those aerospace safety concerns might actually be national security concerns and adversarial platforms, then we have a serious issue.

MARTÍNEZ: Ryan, one more thing really quick - do you think you'll ever get definitive answers on what you've seen and what others have seen?

GRAVES: I think we can. I don't know if we will, but I think we can. I think we have the tools. I think we're moving past the stigma. And I think people are really curious about what this is. And I think we have the ability to get to the bottom of it.

MARTÍNEZ: That's Ryan Graves, executive director of Americans for Safe Aerospace. Ryan, thanks.

GRAVES: Thank you.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC) Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.