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HandWiki. John Olsen Lear. Encyclopedia. Available online: (accessed on 16 April 2024).
HandWiki. John Olsen Lear. Encyclopedia. Available at: Accessed April 16, 2024.
HandWiki. "John Olsen Lear" Encyclopedia, (accessed April 16, 2024).
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HandWiki. "John Olsen Lear." Encyclopedia. Web. 14 December, 2022.
John Olsen Lear
ufo collusion conspiracy

1. Introduction

John Olsen Lear (December 3, 1942 – March 29, 2022) was an influential conspiracy theorist, record-breaking pilot, and a one-time candidate for State Senate.[1][2][3]

Unlike previous UFO conspiracy theorists, Lear promoted a story of alien collusion with secret governmental forces.[1] Lear's tale left a lasting influence on the UFO movement -- one author observed "in the early years [UFO writers] did not, by and large, embrace strong political positions. [Lear and his partner] were the tip of a spear asserting that the number one thing we had to fear was not little green men, but the government that colluded with them, appropriating their technology against us." [1][2][4]

2. Early Life

John Olsen Lear was born on December 3, 1942 to industrialist and future Learjet founder Bill Lear and his wife Moya Marie Olsen Lear.[5][6] He was named after his maternal grandfather, famous comedian John Olsen.[5] His second and third birthday parties were covered in the "Society" page of an Ohio paper.[7][8]

Lear graduated from the Institut Le Rosey boarding school in Switzerland and attended Wichita State University.[9][10] Lear claimed that in 1959 he had become the youngest American to ever climb Switzerland's Matterhorn.[11]

3. Career

In 1965, Lear was employed by the Paul Kelly Flying Service when its founder was killed while piloting a LearJet. Lear testified at the Civil Aeronautics Board investigation into the crash.[12]

Between May 23 and 26, 1966, Lear and a crewmate flew a record-breaking flight around the world in a LearJet that covered 22,000 miles in 50 hours and 39 minutes.[13]

In August 1966, Lear was featured in the Wichita Press after he piloted a LearJet carrying the rock band The Byrds and the trip inspired them to write a song about the plane.[14] The track, titled "2-4-2 Foxtrot (The Lear Jet Song)", samples Lear's voice as he speaks over the radio.[14][15]

In 1968, Air Force personnel from Hamilton Air Force Base launched a rescue effort to help Lear land after heavy San Francisco fog interfered with landing. Traffic was cleared from the Golden Gate Bridge in anticipation of a forced landing. After a helicopter pilot established visual contact, Lear was able to successfully land at the base.[16]

Lear flew cargo planes for the CIA during the Vietnam era.[17] He claimed to have flown "secret missions for the CIA" between 1967 and 1983.[18]

4. UFO Claims

In 1987, Lear released a press statement claiming that the US government has close contacts with extraterrestrials and were secretly "promoting" films like E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial and Close Encounters of the Third Kind to influence the public to see extraterrestrials as "space brothers".[19] That year, he was interviewed by journalist George Knapp.[20]

In 1989, Lear served as "State Director" for MUFON, hosting the 1989 symposium "The UFO Cover-Up: A Government Conspiracy?"[2] Despite initial objections from MUFON founder Walt Andrus, Lear was able to submit a slate of speakers after he threatened to split the symposium. [2] At that same symposium, Roswell author Bill Moore tearfully confessed to having intentionally spread disinformation to UFO researcher Paul Bennewitz on behalf of purported counter-intelligence agent Richard Doty. [2] Lear's speakers were slated to provide allegedly-independent verification of the Bennewitz claims. [2] One of those speakers, Bill Cooper, would later break with Lear after accusing him of being an intelligence agent.[1] Lear promoted alleged UFO whistle-blower Bob Lazar and his tales of Area 51.[17]

Lear made multiple appearances on fringe TV shows, including Ancient Aliens, America's Book of Secrets,Brad Meltzer's Decoded, and The Unexplained Files. [21] From 2003 to 2015, Lear was a regular guest on Coast to Coast AM.[22]

5. Personal Life and Death

In 1970, Lear married Marilee Higginbotham, owner of a California fashion modelling agency, at a ceremony in Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles.[9]

Lear died on March 29, 2022.[17][23]

Further Reading
In this part, we encourage you to list the link of papers wrote by the character, or published reviews/articles about his/her academic contributions. Edit


  1. Dickey, Colin (August 28, 2018). "A Pioneer of Paranoia". 
  2. Jacobson, Mark (2018). Pale Horse Rider: William Cooper, the Rise of Conspiracy, and the Fall of Trust in America. Blue Rider Press. ISBN 978-0399169953. 
  3. Pilkington, Mark (July 29, 2010). "Mirage Men: A Journey into Disinformation, Paranoia and UFOs.". Little, Brown Book Group. 
  4. Bishop, Greg (February 8, 2005). "Project Beta: The Story of Paul Bennewitz, National Security, and the Creation of a Modern UFO Myth". Simon and Schuster. 
  5. "5 May 1943, Page 10 - Arizona Republic at". 
  6. "9 Dec 1942, 5 - The Dayton Herald at". 
  7. "8 Dec 1944, Page 2 - The Piqua Daily Call at". 
  8. "5 Feb 1943, Page 2 - The Piqua Daily Call at". 
  9. "14 Sep 1970, 42 - The Los Angeles Times at". 
  10. "24 Jun 1971, Page 16 - Reno Gazette-Journal at". 
  11. "Aerial Revelations". 
  12. "2 Mar 1966, 10 - The Wichita Beacon at". 
  13. "Lear Jet 23". 
  14. "28 Aug 1966, 63 - The Wichita Eagle at". 
  15. "2-4-2 Fox Trot (The Lear Jet Song)". 
  16. "23 Oct 1968, Page 24 - News Record at". 
  18. Affadaviit by John Lear
  19. Barkun, Michael (March 31, 2003). "A Culture of Conspiracy: Apocalyptic Visions in Contemporary America". University of California Press. 
  21. "John Lear". 
  22. "John Lear". 
  23. Statement from journalist George Knapp
Name: John Olsen Lear
Born: Dec 1942
Died: Mar 2022
Titles: Conspiracy Theorist Pilot
Affiliation: Wichita State University
Honor: Unknown
Subjects: Others
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Update Date: 14 Dec 2022