The National Archive has declassified files that detail how the U.S. Air Force tried to build a flying saucer during the 1950s.
Included in the files was the illustration above, entitled “Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” with the caption
reading “USAF 1794.”
It is believed that this image of the U.S. Air Force’s goal — to build a hover craft—has never been seen by the public prior
to this release.
What’s interesting to note about the image and story behind the failed flying saucer is that the Air Force actually contracted
the work out to a Canadian company: the name “Avro” comes from “Avro Aircraft Limited” a company based in Ontario, Canada.
As per the report, the U.S. Air Force set goals for the company to achieve: namely, to get the saucer to achieve a top speed
of Mach 4, with a ceiling over 100,000 feet, and a range over 1,000 nautical miles.
Total cost for the estimated 18 to 24-month project: $3,168,000.
Full details in the report’s summary section below:
Needless to say, these goals were not achieved. The saucer was tested in wind tunnels at the NASA Ames Research Center (California),
where it was determined to be aerodynamically unstable and uncontrollable at high speeds.
A bit more specifically, attempts to float the craft just a few feet above the ground using turbojet engines proved too unstable
according to the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force. Also, the wannabe flying saucer suffered from uncontrollable rolling
motions during flight tests above three feet, and it couldn’t travel any faster than 35MPH.
Due to all of the failed tests incurred, the U.S. military ended up cancelling the project in December 1961.
Also included in the report are these two cutaway illustrations of the flying saucer—again, this is the first time these images
have been released to the public:
Odd how similar these illustrations are to the UFO spacecrafts seen in science fiction movies of the time, no?
Images and story via archives.gov ■