Frequently asked questions about UFOs -- a UFO FAQ


                          Is radar used to monitor UFOs?

          Although there are cases in which UFOs are tracked by radar (Radar-Visual sightings), radar is
          not considered a practical surveillance technique for ufology. Radar, including the sophisticated
          systems of the FAA and NORAD, has many shortcomings that limit its value to UFO research. A
          UFO may be too low for it to be detected or too fast to appear on the radar screen for more than
          a few sweeps of the antenna. UFOs that hover or move erratically may be filtered out by a radar's
          sophisticated computer system as ground scatter or noise. Also, planes with transponders return
          stronger radar signals than targets not so equipped, and radars are often tuned only to transponder
          signals. It is also possible that UFOs might not return radar signals at all.

          In spite of the inadequacies of radar in the search for UFOs, FAA supervisors do report "unusual
          air traffic" in their operational logs, and radar confirmation of a UFO sighting can help verify a
          report and details of a UFO's physical characteristics. A serious problem for ufologists, however,
          is that the FAA keeps radarscope tapes of air traffic for only two weeks, and computer printouts
          of this information can be very expensive. As a result, radar data is only available for cases
          reported immediately.

          Although rare, one Radar-Visual case is more significant than dozens of nocturnal light reports for
          increasing our understanding of the UFO phenomenon.