As the author and investigator in the most exhaustive investigation of the RB-47 case ever conducted, which demolished Klass' entire explanatory scheme, I have to disagree with these characterizations of Klass' investigation of the case and his explanations (many of which were based on BB's original ideas in 1957).
Klass did an excellent investigation, far above and beyond anything typically done in the UFOlogy community or even by himself, and of relatively high standards and very impressive, very convincing unless you knew where he made his mistakes. It wasn't "illogical" it was just mistaken. It was not perfect and it was not complete. It was a difficult undertaking. Klass being a journalist helped in some ways and hurt in others. He was outright lied to by George Rappaport former director of the AF Electronic Warfare Center who told him there was no conceivable electronic warfare reason for imitating a CPS-6B radar like the UFO did in this case -- well he blatantly misled Klass because the Soviets' entire air defense radar network in the 50's was based on its P-20 Token radar imitating our CPS-6B radar.
In hindsight Klass should have challenged Rappaport but instead he was totally fooled by him and never knew better, and that is understandable, since having such a high-ranking official make such an absolute assertion like that can be very blinding. One would have to be very well informed on highly classified matters of ELINT intelligence to even conceive of how this assertion could be wrong. Klass was suckered and it actually hurt his own skeptical case. Had he pursued it and found out the truth he might have been able to put together a more plausible explanation of the RB-47 case (that it might have had something to do with electronic warfare regarding Soviet air defenses being simulated using our own radars the Soviets had imitated). That explanation would still have been wrong but it would have been better than the ones he put forward. But he never challenged Rappaport.
You can have an excellent investigation and still be wrong. Klass was wrong. He did a thorough investigation but it was incomplete. No one in the UFOlogical community directly challenged Klass except me (and independently Martin Shough but not directly to Klass), because Klass' investigation was obviously very impressive, seemingly thorough and very convincing.
Klass had the insight to see that the Duncanville CPS-6B radar (actually the FPS-10 version) had been detected by the ELINT equipment aboard the RB-47. He thought that solved the case and that ALL the radar signals had been due to the Duncanville radar. In fact his insight did the exact opposite -- it proved the absolute impossibility of the Duncanville radar causing the UFO radar signals, which were ALSO detected simultaneously with the Duncanville radar signals but 30 degrees away from each other. Klass overlooked the fact that the simultaneous detection of the two radar signals from two different directions matched the location of the UFO and Duncanville and thus proved they were different, also showed that the UFO was moving faster than the 600 mph RB-47 exactly as the RB-47 crew had testified. His attempted explanation thus becomes just about the strongest evidence for unexplainable UFO reality ever recorded.
Klass and McDonald and everyone else were also misled by a mistake by the RB-47 pilot Col Chase who misremembered the navigation data when filling out a BB report form 2 months after the sighting. Chase thought they had followed a 265 True heading when it fact that was the Magnetic heading. Decades of research on the case were warped and misled by this error, which resulted in absurdities such as Klass having a flight map that showed the subsonic RB-47 traveling supersonic at Mach 2 at one point (a fudging that was necessary to fit the warped flight path caused by Col Chase''s error on the flight heading). McDonald's map and CUFOS' map were also wrong and nearly identical to Klass' map.
When I realized the error and corrected it back in 1997, it made all the sighting angles match perfectly, thus proving that the UFO and Duncanville were separate and accurately located by the ELINT receivers on the RB-47. The sighting angles had made no sense prior to that, and thus enabled Klass to get away with fuzzy assumptions that it all fit the ground radar and that no UFO was involved. Clarity and accuracy is what proved the UFO, contrary to skeptic propaganda that UFO's only exist in a shadow realm of poor data and inaccuracy.
Klass interviewed the pilot, Col Chase, and thought that Chase's annotations of the flight path on a map were all he needed. After all, Chase was the pilot. He didn't realize that Chase had made a mistake and that he should have rethought the navigation issues and should have tried to locate and interview the navigator (duh!), Major Hanley. By the time I located and interviewed Hanley too much time had passed and he no longer remembered anything specific enough to help with the case analysis. In hindsight, when things didn't fit on Chase's map or the map in the BB file, Klass should have pushed more on the navigation issue. But so should have McDonald, so it's hard to pin the blame entirely on Klass.
Klass' array of detailed technical explanations of the RB-47 case constitute the most impressive skeptical UFO explanations and the most in-depth skeptic investigation ever carried out. Had they been mere debunker inventions they would not have helped build the case for UFO reality, but would have dissolved into nonsense. So it is something of a backhanded tribute to Klass' efforts that his work helped establish the case as a UFO, rather than the triumphant proof of UFO's "always" breaking down into IFO's upon investigation as debunkers like to trumpet.
Date: Sat, 16 Jan 2010 14:39:46 -0400
From: Don Ledger <dledger@NS.SYMPATICO.CA>
Subject: Re: RB-47 Case: RADCAT
How do you feel about Klass's claim that upon presenting his theories to the
RB-47 crew that they agreed with him that this case was a series of
Quote from Wiki at:
"Klass presented that interpretation to the RB-47 crew, who agreed that the
'UFOs' were the product of human error & excitement combined with ghost
echoes on the radar."
That was Peter Brookesmith's claim quoted on WIkipedia, not quoting Klass. Brookesmith claimed that Klass said "the RB-47 crew" agreed the case was entirely explained now. But I can't find anywhere that Klass said that "the crew" had said that. Klass quoted from letters he received from only 2 of the 6 crew members. Saying that "the crew" agreed makes it sound like the entire "crew" of 6 agreed. As I recall the pilot. Col Chase, was later contacted by Gert Herb of CUFOS and clarified that Klass' explanation was plausible but not that he agreed that Klass had successfully explained the case (I would have to look it all up again to get exact quotes).
You missed quoting the next sentence from Brookesmith on Wikipedia "ghost echoes on the radar. This is a key item in Klass's analysis." Obviously Brookesmith doesn't grasp the fundamentals of the case and doesn't understand the difference between radar and radar detectors (ELINT) that merely listen passively to radar and doesn't transmit anything. It isn't about radar, radar is not the "key item" in Klass' analysis. It's ELINT (called euphemistically "ECM" in Klass' book).
Klass pushed his case endorsements for propaganda victory points and Brookesmith pushed them even farther. But the rug is fully pulled out from under them.