UFO Conjecture(s)

Saturday, October 18, 2014

What would induce the U.S. military to consider flying saucer/aircraft designs?

Flying saucer/disk configurations were relatively rare in science fiction stories prior to Kenneth Arnold’s 1947 sighting.

But there was a documented patent for a lenticular flying machine (according to Wikipedia) submitted by Romanian inventor Henri Coanda, who created a functional scale model in 1932, patenting his conception in 1935.

 A flying disc craft called the Discopter was patented by Alexander Weygers in 1944 (Wikipedia also tells us).

And in films, flying saucers were not depicted until 1950’s The Flying Saucer, and others in the 1950s time-frame.

So why were there efforts by the Army, Air Force, and even the Navy to come up with a flying saucer engineered/designed flying craft?

Did the military have access to films that showed such craft flying in the skies?

Did they actually recover a downed flying disc in Roswell, which spurred the military to try to come up with own versions?

What would cause even the slightest interest in the round flying craft design, except for some evidence that such things were extant after 1947?



  • Truth is stroger than factions. The US has had working designs since Tesla's time and working models since the early 60s. See http://nexusilluminati.blogspot.com/search/label/american%20flying%20saucer

    By Blogger new illuminati, at Saturday, October 18, 2014  

  • Disk tends to be aero dynamically stable...probably a well known property since ancient times...Greeks used discus in Olympics, did they not?

    On a larger scale, the issue of control may be an issue and that of a reliable propulsion system.

    Take the above with a grain of salt, since I'm not an engineer.

    By Blogger Tim Hebert, at Saturday, October 18, 2014  

  • http://www.cufon.org/cufon/flydisc.htm

    By Blogger Bruce Duensing, at Saturday, October 18, 2014  

  • Rich; here is a perfectly conventional aerospace engineering answer to your question:

    By the end of WWII—after we had picked the brains of the NAZI rocket scientists—it was clear that there were a couple of new directions to be explored in military aviation: turbojet-powered high-speed flight (a la Me-262), and the all-wing planform (a la Horten 229). Low speed flight tends to drive airplanes to designs with long thin wings (like a glider). High speed flight places less and less emphasis on long thin wings. The natural convergence of these two factors for supersonic flight results in the classic delta planform—a perfect equilateral triangle, with one vertex of the triangle forming the nose. The F-102 and F-106 fighter aircraft (designed in the 1950s) were examples of this theory applied to Mach 2+ flight. A third factor that applies to all heavier than air craft is the desire to have the aerodynamic lift on the craft to be distributed in an optimal manner across the span of the wing. It had been known for a long time that the mathematically optimum way to do this is the so-called elliptical lift distribution. The easiest way to achieve this is to make the planform of the wing be shaped like an ellipse. Mathematically, a circle is an ellipse where the major and minor axes are the same length.

    Therefore, a disc planform aircraft is the logical convergence of three different design factors, all of which are easily justifiable in conventional aircraft design engineering: 1) low aspect ratio wings for supersonic flight, 2) all-wing design, for structural efficiency, and 3) elliptical lift distribution for aerodynamic efficiency. If the flying saucer had not appeared in popular culture when it did, someone would have experimented with jet powered disc planform designs, anyway.

    That being said, the disc planform aircraft design has a number of limitations that are not so obvious, and have the effect of making it a pretty crappy supersonic design, compared to more conventional layouts. First, a disc planform has zero yaw stability. Airplanes have a nose that must be kept pointed into the relative wind at all times and some kind of thrust-generating device that must be kept pointed backward. A long skinny fuselage helps with this problem as does the vertical tail surface. Second, when a lifting surface is generating lift, it also has a tendency to pitch nose downward; the horizontal tail surface and elevators resist this tendency. Third, the aerodynamic lift on a lifting body acts as though it is concentrated at a distance ¼ of the way back from the nose to the tail. In order for the aircraft to be stable in forward flight, the center of mass of the craft has to be slightly forward of the center of lift. Normally, if you built a circular planform aircraft and distributed the stuff inside it equally, the center of mass would end up at the geometric center of the disc—quite a way behind the ¼ chord point. Such a design could not fly stably, and would quickly fall out of the sky. In order to make a disc planform aircraft stable, you would have to cram more than half the internal mass into the front of the disc ahead of the ¼ chord point. That means the back ¾ of the disc would not be carrying its proportional share of the load—a pretty inefficient design.

    In summary, it was almost inevitable that someone would experiment with a disc planform design for jet-powered high speed flight and equally inevitable that they would discover that it was a lot worse than the conventional alternatives.

    By Blogger Larry, at Saturday, October 18, 2014  

  • Thanks Larry...

    I knew you could/would provide an erudite answer.

    But with all the other 1950s articles about the military efforts to engineer a flying disk craft, I get the feeling that those efforts were spurred by something other than sheer, out of the blue experimentation.

    Some are saying again, as you know, that a German prototype from 1944 (that flew!) was the instigator, but I think there's more to it than just that.

    The evolutionary bird-wing craft still being developed was trifled with because somewhere, someone saw a disk craft flying or saw remains of one (Roswell?) and decided to move toward the round design possibilities.

    That doesn't mean an alien space ship necessarily, and the NAZI thesis is a (remote) possibility.

    Yet, I think something tangible caused the inkling to create a saucer machine.

    Obviously, the current design form won out for the reasons you've stated about the instability and other faulty design features of a round craft.

    The topic has a kind of fascination and a book on the matter would be interesting.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Saturday, October 18, 2014  

  • @RRgroup I actually have a ebook on this very subject. :D Would you like a copy?

    By Blogger Clayton Robertson, at Tuesday, October 21, 2014  

  • Thanks Clayton:

    Send to rrrgroup@gmail.com

    I'm looking forward to it.


    By Blogger RRRGroup, at Tuesday, October 21, 2014  

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