Because Phil Klass (1919-2005) played a part in the James Randi CSICOP story, here are relevant bits of his BP talkpage. The alert reader will notice how much smaller the Klass page is to Randi's.
I am surprised that the Wikipedia review of Phil Klass's life and work contains nothing about his work as a writer with "Aviation Week and Space Technology" where his articles were always put together with authority. In correspondence with me in the early 1980s he said that he considered that his book "Secret Sentries in Space" was far more important to him than his UFO books. "Secret Sentries" was the first book to give an authoritative review of the American and Soviet reconnaissance satellite programmes. Although very out of date by today's standards, I consider that it is still essential reading and an essential part of anyone's library about space programmes.
Time for cleanup
I'd like to clean up this page and make it more complete. The external links are almost all dead now and several citations are needed throughout. Furthermore, on reading the page I was struck that if I were the topic, I'd be happier if it started off discussing my accomplishments rather than opinions others held of me.
I'll be working on the page in my sandbox. If anyone has any additional information which should be included in the page, please leave it here on the talk page and I'll incorporate it.
- Valis55 I've had this page on my watchlist for sometime. It has needed so much work and I feel bad that I can't seem to find the time. Super glad you are taking this on, looking forward to seeing your results. Sgerbic (talk) 04:48, 30 April 2013 (UTC)
Suggestion:"The two engaged in a bitter, months-long debate..." The implied antecedents of "the two" appears to be "those" and Klass rather than McDonald and Klass. McDonald was last referred to in the previous paragraph. Orthotox (talk) 20:13, 24 January 2016 (UTC)
Philip J. Klass: career and concerns
This entire section seems to be larely devoted to commentary b y thoses who are most interested in Philip J. Klass's investigations and writings on the subject of UFOs.
However, as his sister, I can confirm that Phil's career was primarily and most importantly as a writer on avionics in his capacity for more than 30 years as senior aviation electronics editor [not "the" editor] of Aviation Week and Space Technology. Indeed, I have been told that he was considered to be the world's leading avionics writer/reporter.(I have met his admirers as far afield as India.) His book "Secret Sentries in Space" was ground-breaking in its revelations of then-unknown intelligence satellites.
All you folks out there may think of him mostly as the critic or the defender of your own views on UFOs -- but that was not the primary focus of his career. He was first and foremost an engineer, and an expert reporter on aviation and rocket/space technology. His eyes were always fixed on the skies. I remember how thrilled he was, in his teens, when he won a ride in a helicopter (then called an auto-gyro) at the county fair. As a young engineer, he spent the war years at GE working on electronics for the U. S. air force.
Aside from his avid love of skiing, for some years after he moved to Washington, his chief recreational interest was Civil War battles around D.C., and as a hobby, he built electrical maps of the battles of Gettysburg, Antietem and others and donated them to the battlefields. It was not until the mid-1960s that he became interested in UFO claims and this gradually, unexpectedly, became his major personal interest.
I think he thought that his first book answering such claims would settle those questions. As a lawyer's son, a trained engineer, and an experienced investigative reporter attuned to technology and facts, he was dedicated to hard evidence, careful research, scientific data and accuracy; his career was focussed on technology -- planes and rockets and satellites that were dependent on the laws of physics, and that had to work. He was a dogged investigator and internationally known and respected for his accuracy. I have been told (though I cannot verify this) that on one occasion, when he criticized a major planned European rocket program, it was postponed and re-examined in the light of his criticisms.
So, being accustomed to working on the basis of scientific evidence, he was initially surprised and, I think, dismayed at the ease with which much of the public accepted unproven, unscientific, and sometimes fantastical UFO claims. This led him to pursue these claims further in another book, and then still further, and this developed into the major interest for which you folks seem to know him best.
Following his nominal retirement from Aviation Week, he turned his attention increasingly to the investigation of such claims, and that more or less developed into a second career. But his first career was aviation and avionics, and it was very distinguished, as indicated by the respect and honors he received along the way.
So you folks only know the half of it.