Dr. J. Allen Hynek, former 22-year astronomical consultant to USAF UFO investigations programs, aptly points out in his book, The UFO Experience, that the term UFO should only apply to flying objects which "remain unidentified after close scrutiny of all available evidence by persons who are technically capable of making a common sense identification, if one is possible."
Often, this does not prove to be the case. UFO investigators, for the most part, are not professionally trained for their task. Although engineering and scientific credentials increase a prospective investigator's potential, the art of UFO investigation is unique and usually learned only from cumulative experience in actual field investigations of reported UFO sightings.
The purpose of this manual is to help provide you with such knowledge gained firsthand from those who have already been involved in UFO investigations for many years. As you become familiar with its contents and begin using it as a practical tool, you will soon find that most alleged UFO sightings do indeed have a "common sense identification" either in terms of misidentification of man-made objects or misinterpretation of natural phenomena. You will also discover the need to acquire a broad knowledge of several different disciplines in order to effectively separate the true UFO "signal" from the "noise" of homemade hot air balloons, stars, planets, meteors, aircraft, etc.
In addition, and closely coupled with such accumulated knowledge, is the essential recognition that you as an investigator necessarily become an integral part of every UFO sighting personally investigated. It is you who compiles a report on the data extracted from UFO sighting witnesses. Your prejudices, preconceived thoughts about UFOs, the responsibilities of family, career and other social pressures, and your personal relationship with the witnesses are all apt to color your written report on any given UFO incident. You must be both dedicated and objective, scrutinizing all available evidence in an honest effort to identify the reported flying object or phenomenon in terms of something known.
I trust that this Field Investigator's Manual will assist you in meeting these objectives. Thank you for serving MUFON as a Field Investigator.