How to Build a FLYING SAUCER

Aero Sys Div, 1969 (RG 342 UD-UP 138; NND 63253; Boxes 35 and 58)

By Michael Rhodes

Recently declassified records from the Aeronautical Systems Division, USAF (RG 342 – Records of United States Air Force Commands, Activities, and Organizations) reveal some surprising, perhaps never-before-seen images:

USAF Project 1794
USAF Project 1794

The above illustration was discovered in the pages of a document titled “Project 1794, Final Development Summary Report” (d.1956) The caption reads “USAF Project 1794”. However, the Air Force had contracted the work out to a Canadian company, Avro Aircraft Limited in Ontario, to construct the disk-shaped craft. According to the same report, it was designed to be a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) plane designed to reach a top speed of Mach 4, with a ceiling of over 100,000 feet, and a range of over 1,000 nautical miles.

Curiously, these pictures bear a strong resemblance to ‘flying saucers’ in popular science fiction films made during the years these reports were created: 1956 and 1957.

Final Development Summary
Final Development Summary

51 thoughts on “How to Build a FLYING SAUCER

  1. Interesting post! It’s great that these documents are now available to the public. This may show that life is stranger than fiction.

    1. The Avro flying saucer was constructed and tested at Malton Ontario. It was a subsonic saucer although there were plans to build a supersonic one that were never followed through on. During testing it was found to be underpowered and unstable. I witnessed the Avro test pilot, who also flew Avro’s supersonic Arrow CF-105, trying to control it in tethered flight. It was like a dropped plate trying to spin on its edge, almost completely out of control. Later in free flight it could only fly a few feet off the ground and had trouble flying across ditches. The saucer was stored in the military museum at Ft Eustass last time I saw it. Desspite aall thiss the saaucer was a Top Secret project for many years

        1. Quite probably so. The Avro Arrow used a fly by wire system to reduce gust loads in high speed flight in the late fifties by actively controlling pitch. The long pitot tube in its nose sent signals back to the elevators to ameliorate gust loadings. Very advanced for its time but not appreciated by the Diefenbaker government. They preffered Bomarcs with sand war-heads

      1. My dad worked as an mechanical engineer on this design until the project was cancelled by the USAF. Before he passed away recently he said ‘the guys’ also built a mach 2+ aircraft during the same time period. I tend to believe this was why they kept this program and the guys who worked on it tight lipped for so long. This was being built during the mid to late 50’s at what folks call the height of the cold war which would account for the USAF wanting to keep a mach 2 capability ‘off the radar screen’.

        1. Correct that aircraft was the Avro Arrow twin jet two man intercepter carrying 8 submerged misssiles in its weapons bay. Seven flew, 27 were in various stages of construction, several almost complete, when it was cancelled. All jigs, aircraft and models were chopped up within weeks except for a display model and a stainless steel supersonic drag model which I managed to rescue.

    2. The project was started but a catastrophic engin failure in testing forced the project to be scaled back. It resulted in a much smaller craft known as the “Avro Car”. The Avro Car did fly buy was under powered and could never get out of ground effect (just a foot or two off the ground) The project was canceled.

  2. That was quite a price tag back then. Was this project ever started?

    Thank you for sending your comment and question. “Air Force Project 1794”, from what the records in this series (AERO SYS DIV, 1969: RG 342, UD-UP 138) document, was at least in the initial phases of research and development. That much we know.

    However, the images here are from selected reports in just two boxes of this collection. The entire series is available for historians to research.

  3. This is fairly astonishing information given all of the controversy surrounding sightings of objects described by these documents.

    Why has our govt not leveled with us on such an innocuous topic as a failed 60yr old science project?

    The twilight zone theme should be echoing in your head.

    Don’t worry though, no one will ask any interesting questions. The weaklings at Wired certainly won’t. Look how anxious they were to post this article with apparently no attempt at a govt comment.

    I don’t believe in conspiracies. I believe people are too lazy to inquire.

  4. Look up the Avro aerocar project. It was too heavy and underpowered to get up out of ground effect.

    There was a secret follow on project at Avro which cancelled when the Avrocar failed.

    It was an another extraordinary leap by Canadian industry but the reach exceeded the grasp.

  5. This is a wonderful example of disinfo.

    This is fanciful balderdash pseudo-science aka Popular Mechanics circa 1955. If in fact it was ever created at that time. I cannot imagine ANY air force pilot or General thinking this was remotely worth our time given the Russians were actively working on a space program. That’s where you would’ve put your energy – in U2 and SR 71s and strategic bombers, nuke submarines and ICBMs around the Iron Curtain, not childish cartoons like this.

    This ‘scam-matic’ could never actually fly. There’s absolutely nothing here that is remotely logical. However, if during the 1950s you wanted to provide “evidence” that the govt was working on new fangled craft to explain to a population scared about increasing UFO sightings, this is the type of nonsense you’d foist on the public. Just look at the rivets on this thing. Mach 4 and ceiling of 100,000′ and above? Really? Nonsense. This thing would’ve overheated and turned the cockpit into a pressure cooker. Take a look at the SR 71. Notice how FAR the cockpit is from the engines? The pilots would’ve been incinerated if they sat directly atop them. Also, it took 2 16 cylinder Buick car engines just to start its jet engines. And the Blackbird had to be refueled mid flight b/c it burned so much fuel getting off the ground. This lunatic machine would’ve not been able to take off on its own. It would’ve had to have been dropped from a B52 bomber from an already high altitude. But given its size and weight that would’ve been impossible in those days.

    At >Mach 4 this thing would’ve melted and/or ripped the aluminum panels completely off the fuselage. Moreover, what protection would the pilots have at that altitude? How long could it survive there? What was it’s range? Gasoline capacity? How did it insure that it’s fuel didn’t combust? And btw, once it was airborne what was it’s mission? What function did this stupid thing serve relative to the resources it would’ve siphoned off the space program or air force. During the 1950s a lot of the space program was run out of the air force so that must’ve been a question.

    Also, I love those stupid porthole windows. how did they know that those were the optimal sizes? Why 3 windows? Why circles? Why so big? Everything about this contraption screams imbecilic lie.

    1. While it might seem so wild as to infer a conpsiracy of some sort, the AVRO CAnada work int eh 50s and 60s on lenticular aircraft was quite real and was taken to a realtively advanced pre-prototype phase (for the supersonic aircraft) or prototype phase (for the Avrocar) before cancellation.

      There were real hopes that this would work and there was enough engineering and science that indicated it might work for both countries to be interestind in funding the work.

      The pure saucer design was the initial starting point and as you say, it would have had problems. It was developed quite a bit further.

      Take a look at:


    2. I second your graceful statement, “This is a wonderful example of disinfo.” I started reading this thinking great some answers….
      There is just noway this could of flown It’s all mixed up like it was pot luck after a hurricane sucked up a parts yard. My first thought was this would inhale itself and choke. The physics of the craft would suit more as a Sea-Craft(not the engine) to stabilize. It looks like the engine thrust used around the edge ‘Flight Control Shutters’ is just wrong. The surface of an object traveling at Mach-5 can reach 1000°C add about 1800 °C from the thrust outlets and you see a blub. These facts are from 2009, not known back in 1957(me neither). I’m no rocket scientist so simply I say the designers knew the massive forces involved with those engines as children did playing with fireworks it would go round and round alright.
      This does look very convenient for the time but there’s No Similarity’s we can not compare the sightings of UFOs back in 1950’s as this prototype/diagram couldn’t fly.

  6. I was stationed at Edwards AFB, Ca and did some work on a flying saucer. A local farmer and inventor who lived between the Air Force base and Landcaster was working on the outer body/fuslage which I helped in the construction. I never did see any propulsion unit. I was transferred to Germany in early 1957 and never knew if the project was ever completed or if the Air Force was backing the construction.

  7. Why don’t you provide the document you reference? I can’t seem to find it anywhere and people are now referencing this article as fact. Without being able to fact check or read this document itself, I have a hard time taking your remarks as in this article as fact.

  8. Great find! Avro did end up making a similar saucer craft, the Avrocar; Google it and you’ll see numerous images and video.

  9. looks very similar in design philosophy to the ‘avrocar’ that was designed and built by the same company. Unfortunately that program was cancelled as the vehicle could not even break out of ground effect, just a few in height. Google avrocar for pics and video.

  10. In what year was this explained? It is old and not complete. In that is the truth. There was no money involved and no nation made it. Jets exist and no need to build it. No greater purpose for it even though it could be built no one wanted to.

  11. At Ft Eustess Va. in 1968, there was a saucer shaped aircraft on display. A book in the library had details on the craft stating it had flown limited missions. When pointed out that the book was marked confidential, it was immediately removed and the book rebound with the pages missing concerning the saucer craft. The following day the saucer craft was removed from the public display.

    1. I saw the Avro flying saucer in the Ft Eustass military museum during the seventies, at the time I was studying helicopter air-to-air combat capabilites with the US Army. It brought back a lot of memories of Avro Aircraft in the late fifties. Sorry to here they have removed it from display

  12. What I find interesting about the release of Project 1794 and it’s alleged abandonment as a viable project are the two following items: If you do your research and locate a book by Benning from 1954 called: “The Handbook of the Planets.” you will notice that the back page contains that same picture of a “Planned Aircraft of the Boeing Corporation”. On April 15th, 1952 a similar craft exploded over a Seattle City Light substation on 4th and Spokane Street. Later, in the 1960’s, a full sized craft was seen flying over Tierra Del Fuego that looked like both the 1794 aircraft and the proposed design from the book I quoted. Failed Project?

  13. Probably in an effort to debunk UFO “sightings” during the Project Bluebook days, the Air Force needed something for people to actually see. Since the military always would know where the vehicle was (intentionally) flying, they could then make observers in the area out to be incompetent by hiding the aircraft shortly after a sighting was made. All part of debunking UFOs by ‘planting’ misinformation. Even credible witnesses could be made out to look like fools.

  14. SUPER INFO:Those UFO many people has seen and the goverments around the world who closes the facts about the UFO:s,is because the UFO are not UFO,they are IFO for a long time ago:Identified Flying Objekts and they are ours relatives from the futures.I am an inventor and its why I found out why the goverments wants to hold the people uniformed about the IFO:s.10 of Okt.2012.

  15. From memory, the avro aircar worked once they put a skirt on it, and called it a hovercraft.

    Also, the Germans had designs for similar looking craft in the later stages of the war. The disc was spinning blades, powered by vectored thrust from jet/rocket engines. Spinning blades provided lift, vectored thrust provided drive etc.

  16. This is the same junk that has been hashed-rehashed-re-re-re-re-hashed for the last fifty years. It looked impresive when I first saw it in 1959, but its getting pretty old now.
    Theres nothing and no one out there boys, they would have been here by now.
    If we had our hands on a genuine saucer in 1947, why did we spend billions of dollars putting man into space on chemical fueled rockets?
    I wasted god knows how much time and energy on this garbage for years and years, don’t do the same.

  17. In the late fifties (1958/59), the USAF in conjunction with AVRO Canada, contracted Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical for the metallurgy on classified projects that included both AVRO cars. The Buffalo, NY office was the contact point and a Kaiser metallugist traveled back & forth to Canada for assembly & testing. The AVRO cars were inherently unstable and “bounced off the sides of the hangars” when tested. According to the metallurgist, an improved version was under construction when the contract with Kaiser was cancelled. The following spring/summer, there was an increase in UFO sightings in the western parts of the US. My father, Marshall C. Brown, was that metallurgist, and he often wondered if there was a connection.

    1. I doubt any connection. The Avro saucer was so badly underpowered it was strictly a low speed ground effect machine unfortunately.

  18. Pure disinformation ***. There’s no new science in that design. Conventional fuel-burning engines pushing air downward with some fans or propellers, inbedded in a disc-like airframe, with a bunch of flaps and orientable noozles to control direction, attitude and orientation. The Harrier and the F-35 does that though they look like jet fighters. Awake me when someone has understood the intimate nature of space-time continuum and found a way to deflect it around an object, thus making it weightless and capable of travelling faster than the speed of light without any relativistic effects.

  19. I read the engineering brief on the Avrocar when I was employed in the Service department library at Canadair back in the early 60’s. To put it simply, this tghing never got off the ground. The prpulsion system was two turbojet engiines whose exhaust was used to drive a centrally mounted impeller. The impeller being a gyroscope, a mechanical linkage transmitted axial deviations between the body of the craft and the impeller. This was used to adjust impeller pitch ti increase or decrease thrust in order to compensate the tilt. Obviously, no mechanical system could react fast enough and oscillation ensued and the craft would flip over. The project was scrapped long before it reach the Flying Saucer stage.

  20. This proves that the whole Roswell “flying saucer” business was infact a classified USAF project being conducted at the now decommissioned air base there. The USAF were the first to suggest to the local news paper that the crashed saucer may be of extraterrestrial origin as an attempt at misinformation during the Cold War.

  21. I designed a critical part of the fuel system for the USAF Project 1794 while working for the Aerotec Corp. in Greenwich, Conn. I made several visits to Avro in Toronto during the design and construction phases. It really was a top secret project.

Leave a Reply