September 2, 2005 by

Philip J. Klass


Categories: Writers/Editors

Although Philip J. Klass was a respected, technical journalist for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine, he was best known for his research into the study of little green men and their flying aircraft.
Klass began investigating UFOs in 1966 after participating in a panel discussion on the subject for the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers. He spent the next four decades debunking tales of UFO sightings and alien visits, and published numerous articles and several books on the subject, including The Skeptics UFO Newsletter.
A founding member of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal — with Carl Sagan, Isaac Asimov, Paul Kurtz, Ray Hyman, James Randi, Martin Gardner and Sidney Hook — Klass consistently converted UFOs (unidentified flying objects) into IFOs (identified flying objects) such as celestial bodies, research balloons and secret military aircraft.
He researched dozens of extraterrestrial kidnapping cases, including the 1975 Travis Walton “UFO Abduction” case, which he concluded was a hoax. Klass also investigated the MJ-12 Papers — documents that claimed President Harry S. Truman had created a top secret group to cover up a 1947 saucer crash. His investigation showed the papers were counterfeit.
To further cement his reputation as the “Sherlock Holmes of UFOs,” Klass offered $10,000 to anyone whose UFO or alien abduction claims could be verified by the FBI. The reward was never claimed.
The Iowa native earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Iowa State University and went to work as an electrical engineer for General Electric in Schenectady, N.Y. He began writing for Aviation Week & Space Technology in 1952 and eventually became the publication’s senior avionics editor.
Klass received numerous awards for his dedication to science and publishing, including five honors from the Aviation/Space Writers Association, the Lauren D. Lyman Award and the Boeing Decade of Excellence Award for lifetime achievement. In 1999, the International Astronomical Union named an asteroid in his honor.
Klass died on Aug. 9 of prostate cancer. He was 85.

2 Responses to Philip J. Klass

  1. Henry

    Phil was not only a wonderful human being and a first-rate intellect but a very kind-hearted individual. He even tried to help a teen-age UFO hoaxer who couldn’t afford college by getting him a job with a company that gives scholarships.
    He worked very closely with fellow skeptic and space analyst in debunking Soviet disinformation re the the 1983 downed KAL-007 airliner.
    Phil also had the Midas Touch. Those he supported prospered, those who played unfair with him suffered misfortunes. He was truly one of God’s Elect(I mean this semi-facetiously, but only semi).
    R. I. P.

  2. Big Louie

    Ufoology has much in common with JFK conspir-idiocy theories. One hates the Warren Report while the other hates the Condon Report. Both charge govt. cover-ups. (Question: how could the govt. cover up JFK for 40 years, and flying saucers for 60 years, if it couldn’t cover up Monica Lewinsky for 1 year? And only two people knew about Monica.) Both groups have routinely engaged in fraud and misrepresentation to get people to believe them.
    Phil Klass will be sorely missed because he brilliantly proved beyond any intelligent doubt that there was nothing to any of these two modern myths.

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