The Big Flap
In early June 1952, Project Blue Book was operating according to the operational plan that had been set up in January 1952. It had taken six months to put the plan
into effect, and to a person who has never been indoctrinated into the ways of the military, this may seem like a long time. But consult your nearest government worker
and you'll find that it was about par for the red tape course.
We had learned early in the project that about 60 per cent of the reported UFO's were actually balloons, airplanes, or astronomical bodies viewed under unusual
conditions, so our operational plan was set up to quickly weed out this type of report. This would give us more time to concentrate on the unknown cases.
To weed out reports in which balloons, airplanes, and astronomical bodies were reported as UFO's, we utilized a flow of data that continually poured into Project Blue
Book. We received position reports on all flights of the big skyhook balloons and, by merely picking up the telephone, we could get the details about the flight of any
other research balloon or regularly scheduled weather balloon in the United States. The location of aircraft in an area where a UFO had been reported was usually
checked by the intelligence officer who made the report, but we double-checked his findings by requesting the location of flights from CAA and military air bases.
Astronomical almanacs and journals, star charts, and data that we got from observatories furnished us with clues to UFO's that might be astronomical bodies. All of our
investigations in this category of report were double-checked by Project Bear's astronomer.
Then we had our newspaper clipping file, which gave us many clues. Hydrographic bulletins and Notams (notices to airmen), published by the government, sometimes gave
us other clues. Every six hours we received a complete set of weather data. A dozen or more other sources of data that might shed some light on a reported UFO were
continually being studied.
To get all this information on balloons, aircraft, astronomical bodies, and what have you, I had to co-ordinate Project Blue Book's operational plan with the Air
Force's Air Weather Service, Flight Service, Research and Development Command, and Air Defense Command with the Navy's Office of Naval Research, and the aerology
branch of the Bureau of Aeronautics; and with the