Howard Blum's book "Out There."
In my last blog post, I reported on the possible existence of a United States Air Force UFO project, reported by journalist Howard Blum, to have operated between 1983-1985. I am in the process of learning more about this project; as there is some doubt about whether or not, it really existed. I will post my further findings about this, in due course. However, in the meantime, I wondered, if the project were real, if I could locate any individuals who might have served on the project staff?
Dr Ronald F Blackburn
After some time searching on the Internet, I did come across one individual. A report on the 2005 UFO crash retrieval conference, held at Las Vegas, in the USA, mentions one Dr Ron Blackburn. It states, in part "Dr Ron Blackburn was a Lt Colonel in the US Air Force, and he has investigated UFOs for the Air Force and for Military contractors." A photograph of him on that website, revealed he might fit the profile of people I was looking for.
Who was Dr Ron Blackburn?
His name rang a bell in my brain and I turned to my copy of Jacques Vallee's "Forbidden Science: Volume Three." I found five references to Blackburn.
On page 257 there is a diary entry dated Sunday 17 August 1986:
"I had a long conversation with Hal [Puthoff - KB] ...Hal told me many stories he brought back from a visit to Colonel Stevens...Ron Blackburn, a retired Air Force Colonel, was along for the trip..."
Later, in the book on pages 380-381 in an entry dated Friday 21 April 1989:
"Now a truckdriver has seen several discs and a blue sphere on the ground at Deep Springs Ranch (Route 168 close to the Californian border) near two Navy high-altitude research installations according to Fred who got this from Dr Ron Blackburn, a microwave specialist formerly at the Lockheed Skunk Works. Blackburn hinted he was working on UFOs, or the Secret Onion or perhaps on Stealth?"
On page 426, a diary entry dated Tuesday 29 August 1989:
"At the Perfect Recipe this afternoon I met with Ron Blackburn and Fred Beckman, who had hinted that Blackburn was particularly "in the know" about UFO technology and devious government plots. In fact, Blackburn, a PhD consulting engineer for Advanced Systems Technology at Lockheed, presents himself in a humble, even shy fashion. He spent 21 years in the Air Force, was a Lieutenant Colonel when he retired, with assignments in nuclear weapon safety. He joined Lockheed worked at the famous "Skunk Works", saw that reality was not quite up to the glamorous legend, and moved to Palo Alto.
Here too, he has complaints about the bureaucracy. He was almost thrown out of his supervisor';s office when he suggested that cold fusion effects might have something to do with zero-point energy, an idea he picked up from Puthoff's papers. So we are a long way from little aliens in secret bases.
We learnt nothing specific, except that John Lear is now flying cargo in DC-8 aircraft for an outfit called Rosenbaum out of Detroit. Blackburn knows nothing more than anyone else...
Blackburn's ambitions in UFO research are very classic. He wants to compute mass and acceleration for physical UFOs, knowing the observed weight on the ground traces-the usual solid engineering approach. It's a good plan, but would he bother with such hypothetical stuff if Lockheed held the real thing in a lab somewhere."
" Later I had a phone conversation with Hal, who was returning from Palo Alto where he had met with Lockheed physicists, including Blackburn."
Finally, on page 480 in end note 2 for Part Eleven:
"In February 2001 Colonel Alexander published a book (UFOs, Myths, Conspiracies and Realities: NY: Macmillan) describing his efforts to obtain funding for a top-secret project. It has become known that the key meetings took place under DoE supervision on May 20-25, 1985 in the secure facility of the BDM Corporation in McLean, Virginia. The group called itself the "Advanced Theoretical Physics Conference"...Alleged participants were... Ron Blackburn, Milt Janzen and Don Keuble of Lockheed..."
Some fact checking
On the website of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers I found a bio of Dr Ronald F Blackburn, dated February 1978, which read:
"Ronald F. Blackburn (S'67-M'74) was born in Downey, CA, on June 2, 1940. He received the B.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kansa, Lawrence, in 1962, the M.S. degree in electrical engineering from the University of Missouri, Columbia in 1968, and the Ph.D. degree in engineering science from the University of Mississippi, in 1976.
He worked at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, Kirtland, AFB, NM, analyzing Air Force weapons systems and evaluating the adequacy of the safety in the design system and procedures from 1962 to 1967. He rejoined the Air Force Weapons Laboratory in 1972. During this period he was Supervisor of the EM Technology Section and was primarily responsible for coordination, direction and technical supervision of theoretical research in basic EMP generation and coupling mechanisms. In 1976 he was transferred to the Ogden Air Logistics Center, Hill AFB, UT, as a Hardness Program Manager. he is currently responsible for origination of and managing programs associated with survivability/vulnerability assessment and hardness verification of Air Force systems."
An audio interview
I then located an audio interview, dated 6 November 2005 between a Jerry Pippin and Dr Ronald Blackburn. I made the following notes:
* I spent 12-13 years in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
* I started in the Air Force Special Weapons Center.
* Worked at the Air Force Weapons Laboratory, advanced EMP projects.
* "I was doing some UFO investigations and it occurred to me that people were not reporting sonic booms from UFO flights, so I looked at that, and reverse engineered the process to mitigate or eliminate sonic booms, at least up to mach 3 or 4..."
* Sonic booms dissipate. I filed a patent with sketches of flying saucers - the method flying saucers use - high powered microwaves from the leading edge of the disc to preheat the air ahead.
* My analysis was from video clips.
* Half degree beam width, several thousand feet ahead, heating air top several thousand degrees, 60GHz is the resonant frequency of oxygen.
* Submitted an idea for a cloaking device to the patent office. I reverse engineered that. I determined how the saucer cloaked itself. I applied for a patent. They came back and said this idea is not patentable. Not patentable, unclassified but its foreign export controlled!
*When questioned by Pippin about his USAF interest in UFOs, Blackburn stated that UFO investigations was an avocation [hobby - KB]. "My real assignment" can be seen south of the runway there are lots of exotic structures. I was design manager for them in the early 1970's.
* I did have a neighbour Nick Cardell [phonetic -KB]. He was a state director for MUFON - knew him socially. He sparked my interest in UFOs.
*Lt Colonel is a management rank - managing contracts.
* His reason for attending UFO conferences was to stimulate ideas in him.
So, it turns out that the statement made on the 2005 Crash retrieval Conference that Blackburn "has investigated UFOs for the Air Force" was incorrect. His UFO investigations were undertaken as a hobby, and not as part of any official USAF project.
Sonic boom reduction
Now, many researchers have pointed out that UFOs, even travelling at great speed, are reported not to generate sonic booms. So, what was Blackburn's idea? It is revealed in patent number 5797563 granted 25 August 1998 to Ronald F Blackburn, Barry M. Warmkessel, and Sonja M. Kawamoto.
How did it work?
"The system includes radiation generation and transmission components which radiate tuned microwave electromagnetic energy outwardly from a vehicle through an antenna into a fluid medium through which the vehicle is moving. The microwave radiation is at the frequency of harmonic resonance electromagnetic excitation of the molecules of the medium which produces efficient heating and ionizing of the fluid resulting in a reduction of the mass density thereof.
This reduction decreases the drag forces acting on the vehicle resulting in a greatly enhanced aerodynamic and/or hydrodynamic efficiency and also decrease the intensity of the chock waves (which often lead to sonic booms). An aircraft's dramatically higher speed in the surrounding rarefied medium can make it appear to be travelling at "supersonic" speeds."
Dr Barry M Warmkessel authored a 2002 paper titled "Slick Saucer" The abstract for the paper reads:
"An analysis is offered as to how extra-terrestrial alien "saucers" ease their passage through our low atmosphere at supersonic speeds without sonic "booms" and what electromagnetic radio frequencies may leak from their related (and now patented) Aerodynamic Augmentation Device (AAD). Explained are UFO related enigmas like magnetic fields, glowing saucers and the lack of "sonic booms" during high speed encounters. Possible UFO related "radar" transmission frequencies are postulated. A method to distinguish alien vs human produced crop circles is considered."
There has been much talk recently about the ability of UFOs which are reported to be able to "disappear" in thin air, as if engaging some sort of "cloaking device." So, note Blackburn's comments about cloaking:
"Submitted an idea for a cloaking device to the patent office. I reverse engineered that. I determined how the saucer cloaked itself. I applied for a patent. They came back and said this idea is not patentable. Not patentable, unclassified but its foreign export controlled!"
1. I found a 1997 paper by Ronald F Blackburn, Barry M. Warmkessel, and Sonja M. Kawamoto titled "Vulcan, Comets and the Impending Catastrophe." This paper concerns the hypothetical companion star to the Sun (Vulcan); claims to have calculated its orbit and mass; and warns of potential catastrophes if comets influenced by Vulcan were to strike the Earth. "Noah's biblical flood was likely caused by one of these comets striking Earth."
2. The December 2000 issue of the MUFON Journal contain an article by Dr Ronald Blackburn titled "Optical detection of inbound aliens." The "About the author" sections includes:
"He has been involved with research and development for Lockheed space systems since 1988, and has held numerous high-level responsibilities, including leadership of the IRAD program at "Skunk Works" for two years, Project leader of a 15 member Research and Development effort to build an expert system to optimize total performance of special hardware and originator of special prototype devices to validate analytical models and predictions."
The article was about that as a society we radiate electromagnetic energy into space, which might be detected by aliens who may launch probes to Earth. Earth based equipment might be able to detect the energy these probes use to scan ahead of their path to detect and destroy dangerous matter in space. We should therefore look optically, for signs of laser electromagnetic energy being used for such purposes.
Dr Ronald F Blackburn worked for the USAF, then Lockheed aerospace company. One of his hobbies was looking into the UFO phenomenon, which he did from an engineering background. He and colleagues patented an idea for reduction of drag, and reduction of sonic booms on high speed aircraft. He also claimed to have attempted to patent a "cloaking device" derived from the UFO phenomenon.