Richard Haines was born and raised in Seattle, Washington, and attended the University of Washington (College of Engineering) and Pacific Lutheran College in Tacoma, where he received a bachelor’s degree in 1960. He was awarded master’s and PhD degrees from Michigan State University in East Lansing in 1962 and 1964, respectively, in the field of experimental psychology. After working at NASA’s Ames Research Center from 1967 to 1986 as a research scientist in numerous astronautical (Gemini, Apollo, Skylab, Space Station) and aeronautical (as manager of the Joint FAA/NASA Head-up Display Program and landing simulation research) projects, he was appointed chief of the Space Human Factors Office at NASA Ames (1986–1988), where he directed research and development efforts of the AX-5 prototype EVA space suit, habitability design research for the proposed Space Station Freedom, and spacecraft window design. He retired from government service in 1988 and taught at San Jose State University as an associate professor of psychology while working part time as a scientist in the Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science. From 1990 to 1991 he has provided consulting services to NASA in various laboratory activities related to supersonic wind-tunnel automation redesign and bandwidth image transmission reduction.
His work in UFOs spans over 40 years with special interests in reports by pilots, analysis of photographic evidence, and data on Close Encounters of the Fourth Kind. He founded the National Aviation Reporting Center on Anomalous Phenomena (NARCAP) to gather and investigate reports from the aviation community.
He is the author of numerous books and papers, including “Fifty-Six Aircraft Pilot Sightings Involving Electromagnetic Effects” (MUFON, 1992), UFO Phenomena and the Behavioral Scientist (editor, Scarecrow, 1979), Observing UFOs: An Investigative Handbook (Rowman & Littlefield, 1980), Melbourne Episode: Case Study of a Missing Pilot (The author, 1987), and Advanced Aerial Devices Reported During the Korean War (The author, 1990).