Fran Ridge is an experienced and respected researcher and investigator involved in the serious study of the UFO phenomena in an official capacity since 1960. Starting out as head of the Indiana National Investigations Committee on Aerial Phenomena (NICAP) Subcommittee (1960–1970), his seven-man team operated as a rapid response team in southern Illinois and southern Indiana. Ridge served as State Section Director for the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) from 1972 to 1986 when he became the MUFON State Director for Indiana (1986–1995). As head of the MUFON Indiana Group (MINDY) he was in charge of Indiana’s Rapid Deployment Team of over 30 field investigators, gleaned from more than 150 hand-selected trainees. Ridge was also a field investigator for CUFOS. He has investigated hundreds of cases, and his computerized Regional Sighting Information Database lists over 4,000 entries for the region covering Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee. Ridge simultaneously operated and directed the UFO Filter Center and is the director of the UFO detection effort called the MADAR Project (1970 to present). In 1997, Ridge began official work on a website that was authorized on December 15 as the NICAP site, a cataloging project for use on the internet that is based on evidence collected by NICAP. He is also the project coordinator for the Nuclear Connection Project, a small group of researchers working on reports of UFOs seen above and near nuclear sites and missile bases. In 2016, Ridge led a re-investigation of the Mantell UFO incident of 1948 that unexpectantly proved Thomas Mantell was chasing a real UFO. He was able to vindicate the pilot after more than 70 years of a cover-up.
Ridge has written Regional Encounters: The FC Files (1994), The Mantell Incident: An Anatomy of a (Re)Investigation (2010), and CAP Point (2022).