Richard Heiden became interested in UFOs around age 15, from reading occasional articles in the newspaper. His only possible UFO sighting was a nocturnal light in April 1971. He had the presence of mind to time it as it moved behind a series of three telephone lines, so he obtained a good figure for the angular speed.
Heiden joined the Aerial Phenomena Research Organization (APRO) in 1970, CUFOS in early 1974, and the Mutual UFO Network (MUFON) in July 1975 and investigated a number of cases for all three organizations (mostly in the 1980s). Starting in 1978, and until the end of APRO nine years later, he was assistant editor of the APRO Bulletin. This job basically consisted of translating correspondence and articles from Spanish and Portuguese into English.
He has also completed many other translations, including a number of works by Vicente-Juan Ballester Olmos of Spain; one of Daniel Perissé’s papers for the 1987 MUFON symposium (the one that didn’t include the translator credit in print); and a couple of articles for CUFOS (an early Journal of UFO Studies article and a story in the International UFO Reporter, both with Roberto Banchs as co-author). He is co-editor with Ballester Olmos of The Reliability of UFO Witness Testimony (in press, UPIAR). Heiden has spoken at a few local lectures (and radio and TV appearances), and he made a presentation on th Roswell incident at a UFO congress in Mexico City in 1995.
Heiden has taken a particular interest in the claims of George Adamski after an Adamski group got a lot of publicity for itself throughout Wisconsin in the mid-1970s. He has lived in Wisconsin all his life, except for five months in Minnesota when he was 10 years old and a year away at college in Monterrey, Mexico. After a first career in engineering, Heiden obtained another degree in accounting.