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US Air Force's 1950s Supersonic Flying Saucer Declassified 300

Posted by samzenpus
from the I-want-to-believe dept.
MrSeb writes "Tighten the strap on your tinfoil hat: Recently declassified documents show that the US Air Force was working on, and perhaps had already built, a supersonic flying saucer in 1956. The aircraft, which had the code name Project 1794, was developed by the USAF and Avro Canada in the 1950s. One declassified memo, which seems to be the conclusion of initial research and prototyping, says that Project 1794 is a flying saucer capable of 'between Mach 3 and Mach 4,' (2,300-3,000 mph) a service ceiling of over 100,000 feet (30,500m), and a range of around 1,000 nautical miles (1,150mi, 1850km). According to declassified cutaway diagrams, the supersonic flying saucer would propel itself by rotating an outer disk at very high speed, taking advantage of the Coand effect. Maneuvering would be accomplished by using small shutters on the edge of the disc (similar to ailerons on a winged aircraft). Power would be provided by jet turbines. According to the cutaway diagrams, the entire thing would even be capable of vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL). The fact that there are no disc-shaped aircraft in the skies today, though, suggests that the USAF's flying saucer efforts probably never got past the prototype stage."
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US Air Force's 1950s Supersonic Flying Saucer Declassified

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  • by alen (225700) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:20PM (#41587507)

    the photos look just like some of the descriptions from the last few decades. probably explains the lights too. if its US Government then they have to follow most of their own laws and put lights on an aircraft so others can see it

    why would aliens put flashing lights on an interstellar space craft? what is the point of glass and flashing lights in space other than to be broken by tiny particles

  • by ByOhTek (1181381) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:22PM (#41587547) Journal

    You assume they'd use glass. You also assume that it's not a 'local' craft that would dock with a carrier for interstellar travel.

    The lights on the craft could serve the same purpose as those on a airplane.

  • The fact that... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by swb (14022) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:32PM (#41587703)

    "The fact that there are no disc-shaped aircraft in the skies today, though, suggests that the USAF's flying saucer efforts probably never got past the prototype stage."

    Or more likely, the fact that it was a huge success led the military to slap top secret over it and any aircraft maker selected to work on it was told of "permanent, irrevocable loss of DoD contracts", "lifetime bans on employment and security clearance", "intrusive FBI investigations and tax audits", "nationalization of defense critical assets" and "extremely likely criminal charges for treason, sedition or aiding the enemy tried in military courts with punishments handed out by military intelligence.."

  • by Dupple (1016592) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:37PM (#41587825)

    The British Rail (a railway company!) flying saucer has been public knowledge for years. []

    Of course, it never flew, as far as we know...

  • Re:Unmitigated crap (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Baloroth (2370816) on Monday October 08, 2012 @01:43PM (#41587907)

    They thought the same about flying wing designs in the 1950s. Indeed, they never did get the design to work right at the time. Turns out, the US Air Force did [], eventually.

    While the saucer design is a challenge to make work, I'm sure if the Air Force saw some great advantage in it, they would have built it. I'm not sure what the advantage of such a craft would be, though, besides VTOL capability being standard.

  • by dadelbunts (1727498) on Monday October 08, 2012 @02:27PM (#41588565)
    Not always true. Most sightings dont have blinking lights. I saw something once, looked like a satellite zipping by, then stopped and started doing zig zags, figure 8s, circles, box shapes and moved in other unsatelliteish ways for about 20-30 minutes before it took off. The person i was with also saw whatever it was and watched it with me for the same amount of time. Was definately not a plane, as i have seen many many planes and am familiar with. We looked on her phone as she had a app that told us the names of all the stars and satellites, something which we used to track satellites in the past. Was not on there either. The best i could come up with was a weather balloon, but that doesnt fit with the movements of w.e this was.
  • by Will.Woodhull (1038600) <> on Monday October 08, 2012 @03:23PM (#41589251) Homepage Journal

    Another possibility is that the Air Force never intended to develop a saucer prototype. It could be that these "designs" were disinformation left where Soviet agents could discover them.

    The timing is right for this being part of the effort to divert attention from the Air Force's super-secret Blackbird program []. The Blackbird became operational in the 1960s and development began in the latter part of the 1950s. By the 1970s, after some 15 years of service, the Soviet Union was apparently aware that the USA had something that could go really high, really fast, and take lots of photos, but apparently they still had no clue about the design. That suggests that the Air Force had done a really good job of hiding the production of lots of titanium parts, etc-- capitalizing on the UFO craziness of the times would have been an excellent ploy.

    And it is clear that releasing some of the documents used in disinformation strategems is part of the declassification process. However I do not believe there is anything that requires the US Government to say what was disinformation and what was factual. I rather think that they would leave that as an exercise for the reader.

    Does anyone know the more recent history of the Blackbird? IIRC, the program was terminated around 1998, then there was talk about reactivating them for a time when we got into the Bush wars, and that's the last I remember hearing about it. Are any of these planes still flying?

  • Re:Correction (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sentrion (964745) on Monday October 08, 2012 @03:57PM (#41589603)

    I don't know much about the Coanda effect or the other factors that would affect flight, but I observed a craft just as you describe when I was a kid living in Australia in 1989. My father worked at the Joint Defence Facility Pine Gap. I asked him about it and of course he said he wasn't aware of any such thing. But he didn't seem to have any concern at all that I was lying or mentally ill. Lying was dealt with very strictly and I would like to think my parents would care enough about my mental health to show some concern if I was clearly delusional or describing hallucinations. Only years later as an adult have I read online how Pine Gap is the Area 51 of Australia and numerous UFOs have been sighted in the area. My father passed away earlier this year so there is no longer any risk of secrets being divulged from him.

    The craft I saw flew on a straight path like you would expect from an fixed wing aircraft or helicopter, except it was a pair of counter-rotating disks stacked vertically. The disks seemed more like ovals though, as the top disk appeared to shrink slightly in diameter while the bottom disk would increase proportionally, and this motion would alternate about once per second. The craft was a fair distance away, so I saw more of a side view and not much of a bottom view. I watched soon after it appeared crossing the horizon of a nearby mountain until it disappeared behind the horizon of another mountain, for about 40-60 seconds. But it was close enough to see clearly the counter-rotating ovals and to notice the complete absence of any sort of extended fuselage or tail assembly. Soon after seeing it I was puzzled trying to guess where the cockpit on such a craft would be located.

    Maybe in another 30 years the docs on this project might get released. I'd like to know exactly what I saw that afternoon.

  • by Seeteufel (1736784) on Monday October 08, 2012 @04:49PM (#41590171) Homepage
    Probably taken from German Reich designs. Don't forget that thousands of US bomber pilots saw foo fighters in WWII. The archives of the German Airforce are still lost.
  • by detritus. (46421) on Monday October 08, 2012 @06:14PM (#41591029)

    I'm trying to still wrap my head around the inspirations for Renaissance paintings like The Madonna with Saint Giovannino [].

% APL is a natural extension of assembler language programming; ...and is best for educational purposes. -- A. Perlis