This is the US Air Force's real flying saucer (video)

Originally published at: This is the US Air Force's real flying saucer (video) | Boing Boing


Just one more Ah-Ha out of the box moment and they would have designed the first practical hovercraft. (Read that somewhere).

All they needed was to add skirts, but then it would not be an aircraft.


Avro Canada was an insanely amazing company - they got the world’s second jet airliner into the skies just a few days after the DeHavilland Comet and they built the Arrow.

After the end of the Arrow programme, the contribution of their former employees to the US space programme was enormous with them contributing heavily to the Mercury and Apollo programmes - including the idea of Lunar Orbit Rendezvous which allowed America to take a decisive lead in the race to the Moon when compared to the complex approach favoured by the Soviet Union.


Hmm US air force vehicle with a Canadian ensign on it. I guess the aliens really have landed .

They should have done a consult with the FBI. I hear the head was knowledgeable about skirts.

Coulda been a Hoover-craft.


Nothing odd here - The US space shuttle famously had a Canadian arm


I haven’t seen these films of the Avrocar tests before. I like how the test pilot’s flight suit at 13:18 has a special pocket just for pencils, sorted by size (presumably to find the number 2 pencil faster for a pop quiz).

From the video description:

Although the Avrocar prototypes were able to actually fly, their novel engine systems produced huge amounts of heat that destroyed the aircraft’s systems after only a few flights.

On top of all the other problems the Wikipedia article mentions: hubcapping, limited flight ceiling, trading away speed to get some measure of stability. Still, the Avrocar was novel enough there’s a webcomic out there that used it as the Fantasticar-like vehicle of a fictional team of Canadian superheroes. It was probably also a source of inspiration for the Hammerhead in Mass Effect 2.

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It really was, and largely forgotten and/or under appreciated by history, since most of their innovations ended up in American planes made by American companies who of course took credit for everything.

Avro (perhaps arguably) figured out that the delta wing was the secret to high speed stability issues that early jets, and then early supersonic craft were having. Delta wings were known long before that, but mostly disregarded as a design curiosity. It was Avro who brought them back and realized all the modern problems they could solve.

Avro is also credited in some circles with inventing force-feedback hydraulic flight controls, which was necessary to allow pilots to fly high speed jets (no human is strong enough to move those control surfaces) while still maintaining the “feel” of flying that they needed.


It was USAF funded, but it’s not a USAF vehicle, it’s a test vehicle developed in Canada by Avro Canada.

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Google ADIFO for some cool stuff. If they ever figure out how to scale it up look out.

I see your Avrocar and raise you British Rail’s fusion-powered flying saucer.


I concede defeat.That’s the sort of vision that built the Empire!

The article had me literally laughing out loud.

“The deck of the passenger compartment may have been the single heaviest thing on the ship. Had the thing been built, the deck would have had to have been made from a solid slab of lead eight feet thick and weighing hundreds of tons. This was to prevent deadly ionizing radiation, such as all nuclear reactions generate, from penetrating the compartment and killing everyone aboard.”

“But to get down to the kind of fundamental particles British Rail was planning to fool with requires a collider running at 100 million million million billion electron-volts. A power plant that size would just barely fit inside the orbit of Neptune and probably add significantly to the ride’s ticket price.”

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