In the 1950s, UFO sightings reported by pilots – military or civilian – could be the biggest headache for the American Air Force to cover-up. Civilian UFO sighting reports could be questioned or even discarded because of the fact they don’t possess knowledge and expertise to come to conclusions about the UFO. This wouldn’t be the case if civilian and military pilots identified UFOs. However, according to many UFO conspiracy theorists, the American government was prepared for the latter scenario.
The U.S. Air Force allegedly implemented the policy of silencing its Air traffic controllers and pilots. The Air traffic controllers and pilots who reported UFO sightings were reportedly provided with Communication Instructions for Reporting Vital Intelligence Sighting (CIRVIS), which detailed procedures to follow in case they encountered a UFO.
The top U.S. Air Force officials allegedly had a meeting on February 17, 1954, with the representatives of the U.S. top airlines. Before the meeting took place, commercial pilots reported UFO sightings on the average of five to ten per night. Instead of sending reports about their UFO sightings directly to their companies, commercial pilots are instructed to report them to the nearest Air Force base or the Military Air Transport Service (MATS) intelligence in Washington.
Pilots were also asked not to discuss their UFO sightings to the public or share them to the newspaper. Hundreds of pilots gathered together and protested against this government instruction. They even sent a petition to the government, but to no avail. Even at present, pilots are discouraged from discussing their encounters with UFOs to anyone from the media or press.