Philip J. Klass grew up in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University in 1941. He worked for General Electric as an electrical engineer for 10 years before deciding that wasn't his dream job. That's when he saw the advertisement for Aviation Weekly. By April 1953, he wrote his first UFO report for the magazine. "I never dreamed I would do another one," he said.
Klass' father was a lawyer in Cedar Rapids, and Klass credits him with teaching "the crusader's zeal for what seems "right" regardless of whether it brings popular acclaim." His parents remained in Cedar Rapids until their deaths. His mother edited his second book, UFOs Explained, widely regarded as the best written on the subject.
In the 1950s, Klass learned that while dozens of people argued that UFOs existed, virtually no one was qualified to take the opposite view. So Klass, who was unmarried at the time, decided to take the challenge. Klass wrote about UFOs and extraterrestrial issues on the pages of his own Skeptics UFO Newsletter, a 300-reader monthly magazine that he began publishing in 1989.
Philip Klass was a veteran journalist and a top UFO skeptic. Klass, known as the "Sherlock Holmes of UFOlogy," devoted the better part of his working life as senior avionics editor for Aviation Weekly and Space Technology magazine, spending his free time debunking flying saucers and other claims about space aliens.
The Roswell, N.M., case, which goes back to July 1947, is one of the most famous UFO cases. Klass said later that it seemed odd that if an extraterritorial craft crashed in Roswell, everyone forgot to tell the president in Washington, D.C. Klass wrote six books on the subject, the most recent, The Real Roswell Crashed-Saucer Cover-up.
His 1989 book, UFO Abduction: A Dangerous Game, promised $10,000 to any victim whose abduction by aliens could be confirmed by the FBI. Klass said there are plenty of organizations for UFO believers. Among them is millionaire Robert Bigelow's National Institute for Discovery Science. Joe Firmage, a software expert, put money into "International Space Science Organization," which is intended to find UFOs.
In addition to his efforts to debunk UFO theories, Klass also is one of only two journalists to be named an Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering Fellow. He also has won the Aviation/Space Writer's Association award five times and had an asteroid named in his honor.