There have been dozens of UFO reports by British pilots. Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 Gerhard Uhlhorn
The Civil Aviation Authority has been using an EU law to withhold information about pilot UFO sightings.
The database of reports, which has been compiled by the UK's civil aviation regulatory body, is thought to contain information on hundreds of UFO encounters reported by pilots and air crews.
Normally files like these are made available through Freedom of Information Act requests, but in this case a piece of EU legislation appears to be blocking all efforts to have the reports released.
"Occurrence information can only be used for the purpose of maintaining or improving aviation safety, and the release of occurrence information to the general public or the media, including in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, is not permitted," the law states.
"However, if you require occurrence information for the purpose of maintaining or improving aviation safety you are able to make an application to the CAA."
Another reason that the files have been withheld is to protect the identities of the pilots, however private information is typically 'redacted' from such releases anyway, rendering this a moot point.
It is also worth noting that the files had been more readily available in the past, meaning that the use of EU laws to block access to them is something that has happened only relatively recently.
"The only conceivable reason for this change of policy is embarrassment on the part of the aviation industry," said David Clarke of Sheffield Hallam University's department of journalism.
"It does not want to admit that its pilots do occasionally report things in the sky that are difficult to explain. To improve public confidence in air safety, the authorities should be proactively promoting open access to records of this type."
Source: News.com.au | Comments (21)