Project Blue Book

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The Project Blue Book was one of several systematic studies by the US Air Force Intelligence Service to collect and evaluate sightings of UFOs by Air Force pilots, Air Force radar stations, and other Air Force members, as well as for on-site investigations. The study began in 1952 and was the third of its kind after Sign (1947) and Grudge (1949). The end of the project was ordered in December 1969 and all activities were suspended until the end of January 1970.


Project Sign , Project Grudge

1947 was the Project Sign (dt. Characters ) furnished and also reported on the majority of the year 1948. Some of the staff, including the project manager Robert Sneider, the extraterrestrial hypothesis preferred as the best explanation for some UFO reports. Senior executives disbanded the project and the final report stated that while some UFOs corresponded to real airplanes, there was not enough data to determine their origin.

In February 1949, followed by Project Grudge (dt. Groll ) and everything was evaluated under the premise UFOs did not exist. Mockery spread throughout the Pentagon and many treated the subject as a ridiculous joke. The staff examined little to nothing, but at the same time stated the opposite. Some military officials spread so much malice and ridicule that generals had to demand respect for the reports and their observers. The public was deliberately disinformed with false reports. Pilots were portrayed as incompetent and hallucinatory and generals lied to each other. The final report of August 1949 named as explanations for UFOs the misinterpretation of conventional objects, mass hysteria, lies by persons with a need for recognition and psychopathological persons.

Project Blue Book

In 1951 the new Project Blue Book was founded under the direction of Edward J. Ruppelt . He tried to make the research more systematic and scientific. In particular, he promoted standardization of the questionnaires that were confronted by sighting personnel.

In 1954 the Project Blue Book published Project Blue Book - Special Report No. 14 , which contained inspection reports and tables. A total of around 3200 sightings were documented by the Project Blue Book . The sightings were of known (dt. Known ), unknown (dt. Unknown ) and insufficient information (dt. Insufficient information ) categorized, classified the quality of reporting on a scale of one to four.

Around 69% of the cases were categorized as known , in 9% further information was missing, and 22% were assessed as unknown . 33% of all excellent cases were unknown compared to only 17% of the worst cases. Cases that were observed particularly reliably, for example by several trustworthy and experienced people, were rated as excellent . Furthermore, the known from the unknown sightings differed significantly in the characteristics observed. Despite these statistically abnormal circumstances, the Air Force alleged that the report confirmed that none of the sightings could be associated with alien vehicles. Edward J. Ruppelt criticized this evaluation of the report in his 1956 book Report On Unidentified Flying Objects . He was of the opinion that the report would have been misused for political purposes without going into the content.

Project Blue Book's astronomical advisor was J. Allen Hynek , director of the McMillin Observatory at Ohio State University. He also described the project from his point of view (New York 1972, The UFO Experience - A Scientific Inquiry , Munich 1978 UFO Report - Ein Forschungsbericht ). In 1973 he founded CUFOS (Center for UFO Studies).

Condon Committee and termination of Project Blue Book

The Condon Committee was a commission of inquiry announced by the USAF as independent and objective under the direction of Edward Condon of the University of Colorado . It was supposed to evaluate all documents about UFO incidents collected up to that point. In 1969 the Project Blue Book was ended. The Condon Committee came to serious internal disagreements to the published in the January 1969 conclusion of the irrelevance of UFO sightings for science and the uselessness of further investigations. The USAF oriented itself to this in its justification for the termination of Project Blue Book .

The final report contains statistics on 12,618 reported incidents from 1947 to 1969. Most of the incidents reportedly could be traced back to natural phenomena or conventional missiles. According to Condon, some reports were willful forgeries. 701 incidents (approx. 6%) were classified as “unidentified”.

Criticism of Project Blue Book

David R. Saunders allegedly came across a memo from the commission's project manager, Robert Low, which is said to have been written shortly before the commission's start-up and which is said to have bluntly set out the results the commission had to show and on what way the public should be fooled. After the public learned of this fact, Saunders was fired [no source]; Another employee wrote a detailed memo about glaring grievances to Condon and acknowledged her cooperation. Other UFO experts who were invited to collaborate - e.g. B. Donald E. Keyhoe ( NICAP ) - also withdrew.

After setting the 'Blue Book' published in 1969 J. Allen Hynek 1972, a book called The UFO Experience ( The UFO Experience ), in which he calls facts and figures in his view, and especially about his experience in Project Sign / Grudge / Blue Book reports. According to his account, the USAF has consistently sought to deceive the public about the reality and extent of the UFO problem, in which he himself was not uninvolved. However, Hynek focused primarily on the scientific side of the problem and criticized the inadequacy of the equipment and the unscientific nature of Project Blue Book in all sharpness. In the meantime, however, more recent studies have appeared on the American fascination with UFOs and the state's interest in them.

Head of Project Blue Book

List of leaders of Project Blue Book
From To Surname
March 1952 February 1953 Capt. EJ Ruppelt
February 1953 July 1953 1st Lt. Bob Olsson
July 1953 May 1954 Capt. EJ Ruppelt
March 1954 April 1956 Capt. Charles Hardin
April 1956 October 1958 Capt. George T. Gregory
October 1958 January 1963 Maj. (Later Lt. Col.) Robert Friend
January 1963 December 1969 Maj. (Later Lt. Col.) Hector Quintanilla


The files of the Project Blue Book are stored in the National Archive according to the Freedom of Information Act and are available to the public. The microfilm archive can also be fully accessed and searched on the Internet (see web links). However, the names of the eyewitnesses were deleted from the documents. The document also includes references to two University of Colorado investigations and a public statement ( UFO Fact Sheet ) clarifying that no evidence of extraterrestrial vehicles was found in any of the investigated cases.


  • Since the beginning of 2019 American US on the TV channel History , the eponymous television series Project Blue Book aired

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Project Blue Book Special Report # 14 at , pp. Vii f., Section: Summary , accessed on February 3, 2016.
  2. Project Blue Book Special Report # 14 at , pp. 10-14, section: Evaluation of individual reports , accessed on February 3, 2016.
  3. ^ Project Blue Book Special Report # 14 at , p. 18, Figure 2, accessed on February 3, 2016.
  4. ^ Project Blue Book Special Report # 14 at , p. 24, Figure 8, accessed on February 3, 2016.
  5. ^ Project Blue Book Special Report # 14 at , p. 94, section: CONCLUSIONS , accessed on February 3, 2016.
  6. ^ Raphael Maercker: The Condon Report. Retrieved April 23, 2018 .
  7. ^ David Jacobs: The UFO Controversy in America . Indiana University Press, Bloomington 1975, ISBN 0-253-19006-1 .
  8. Kevin D. Randle: The UFO dossier. 100 years of government secrets, conspiracies and cover-ups . Visible Ink Press, Detroit MI 2016, ISBN 978-1-57859-564-8 .
  9. ^ J. Allen Hynek: The Hynek UFO Report . 1st edition. Sphere Books Limited, New York 1978, pp. 25 .

Web links