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Possessing these documents without authorization would violate the national security laws of two nations: Canada (where it was built) and the United States (who footed the bill).
October 18, 2012 10:19 AM   Subscribe

Government report on secret flying saucer program (pdf) made available.
posted by joannemerriam (26 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
"[No] large-scale flight tests of the saucer were conducted, and the 18-ft-diameter aircraft that the military tested never rose more than a few feet off the ground. This was more of a flightless saucer."

ICE BURN
posted by griphus at 10:23 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Flightless saucer? They should have had it built in New Zealand.
posted by yoink at 10:29 AM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


They wanted secrecy, yoink, but I don't think they wanted that much secrecy.
posted by koeselitz at 10:40 AM on October 18, 2012


So now the story of the Unidentified Non-Flying Objects has been told.
posted by kozad at 10:42 AM on October 18, 2012


So now the story of the Unidentified Non-Flying Objects has been told.

Yes, we have all the UNFO-info.
posted by yoink at 10:45 AM on October 18, 2012 [6 favorites]


Those are awesome isometric drawings.
They would make great T-shirt and poster designs, or coloring books for nerds.
The big, bold, SECRET makes it even awesomer.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:49 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


In 1956 it couldn't fly. Fifty years later, they had figured out how.
posted by cribcage at 10:53 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


Fun story: My dad, a charged particle physicist who builds weapons for the government, was at a meeting trying to get funding for one of his projects, some sort of plasma sheeting (agile mirror) that could replace radar. Anyways, while talking up some of the other use of plasma sheeting, such as coating the wing of a long range bomber thus reducing friction and therefore fuel use, increasing range, he sketched up a brief plan for a flying saucer device using plasma and gyroscopes. Nothing too serious, just a quick demonstration of some of the applications.

The next day, a pair of folks from NASA that he did not think were at that meeting, showed up and informed him that he needed to apply for a higher top secret clearance.

For years, I've tried to wheedle out what they wanted him to work on. No matter how much wine I slip down his gullet, he just shrugs and smiles knowingly, saying he doesn't remember that happening. I relent, but then the s.o.b. winks.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 10:53 AM on October 18, 2012 [17 favorites]


My dad, a charged particle physicist

What did they charge him with?
posted by yoink at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2012 [5 favorites]


Ah yes, the Avrocar, there is a youtube video of it in action;

Avrocar!

I believe that years later they fitted it with a skirt and found that while it couldn't fly, it DID make an excellent hovercraft.
posted by Barticus at 10:57 AM on October 18, 2012


In truth, the Air Force’s effort to create a flying saucer has not been a secret for years now. The result of the program—a hovercraft named the Avrocar—is on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum in Ohio.

There's also an Avrocar recreation/restoration in Winnipeg's Western Canada Aviation Museum. They also have a banquet hall, so if you book your wedding reception there, your guests get to go on a tour of their collection hangar! Also, here's some Avrocar footage, made better with dance music!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:01 AM on October 18, 2012


BARTICUUUSSSSS!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:02 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


It sounds like its problems were mostly stability and control, which makes me wonder if a design like that could fly with modern automatic controls. We've learned a lot about that since the 1950s.
posted by hattifattener at 11:03 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, so the UFOlogists were right all along - there were flying saucers. Not only that, but the design specs said this beastie was designed for both VTOL and hypersonic flight, which fits eyewitness descriptions of UFO flight dynamics to a "T".

Experimental aircraft rather than spaceships, but the wacky extraterrestrial stuff made one hell of a cover story, huh?

That, and it's 56 years on. No way in hell a design dead-end is classified that long. The friggin' Manhattan Project, in which we built a working nuke was declassified decades ago.

So this basically tells us the saucerheads were at once absolutely right, and useful tools - and it also tells us craft based on this design are now obsolete.
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:07 AM on October 18, 2012


Can I request that, in order to preserve editorial balance in UFOlogy FPPs, the last [more inside] paragraph start with the words "However, ancient alien theorists have a different explanation..."
posted by griphus at 11:15 AM on October 18, 2012 [3 favorites]


This was declassified a long time ago, I remember seeing videos of this when I was a kid.
posted by empath at 11:17 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


So this basically tells us the saucerheads were at once absolutely right, and useful tools - and it also tells us craft based on this design are now obsolete.

So, look. The SR-71 was decomissioned in 1998, and right up to the day it was decomissioned it was the fastest non-rocket-powered thing in the air that anyone knew about. And it was designed back in the late 50s, 40 years earlier.

40 years before that, the fastest thing in the air was a goddamn Sopwith Camel, and forty years before _that_, the fastest, most nimble manmade thing in the air was a glorified balloon. And tech's moved forward a lot more in the last fifty years than it had in any of the fifty year periods prior, ever.

So there's not much question that the current state of classified aircraft is incredible and amazing.
posted by mhoye at 11:18 AM on October 18, 2012 [2 favorites]


For several weeks in 1991, every Thursday morning at around 7:45 AM* this guy would break the sound barrier. When nobody would fess up to the booms my young mind was blooown.

*This is my memory although the wikipedia article claims it was between 6-7 AM. They're wrong. I always ate breakfast and read the funnies** at the same time. It was around 7:45 AM.

**So what I was 14***

***Oh God, what a nerd!
posted by basicchannel at 11:26 AM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I STILL WANT TO BELIEVE!
posted by LordSludge at 12:12 PM on October 18, 2012


Wait, is this a 2nd newly-declassified flying saucer technology in as many weeks, or is my memory just suffering the after effects of a life full of secret abductions and experiments?
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:20 PM on October 18, 2012


Oh wait, this is UFOs, of course it's just a new-ish angle on an old story.
posted by feloniousmonk at 12:21 PM on October 18, 2012


Fox "news?" Eeeewwwww. There should be a warning on links that are going to make me wash my hands afterwards...
posted by Chuffy at 1:17 PM on October 18, 2012


yoink: "My dad, a charged particle physicist

What did they charge him with?
"

Physicing particles, of course!
posted by symbioid at 1:42 PM on October 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think flying saucers are inevitable but the guys who will build the first one are the guys who do the land speed record stuff on the Bonneville Salt Flats. It might be like a maglev where the levitation tech is all self contained. And it will be a jockey size pilot.

It will be magnificent.
posted by bukvich at 1:57 PM on October 18, 2012


That was on the cover of March 1956 issue of Mechanix Illustrated. Apparently it was called Project Silver Bug.
posted by Nyrath at 3:43 PM on October 18, 2012


The SNECMA Coléoptère, 1959.
posted by XMLicious at 8:42 PM on October 18, 2012


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