Design Engineering

Canadian-designed flying saucer declassified

Mike McLeod   

General Aerospace Defense Aerospace Avro

Avro Aircraft’s 1950s-era Project 1794 “UFO” intended to fly up to Mach 4 at more than 100,000 ft.

12-oct-Avro-flying-saucer-360It’s long been known by aerospace enthusiasts in Canada, but recently declassified documents from the U.S. Air Force confirm that it partnered Canada’s Avro Aircraft to build essentially a flying saucer in 1956. According to the National Archives blog, the initiative — called Project 1794 — was intended to build a vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) vehicle with a top speed between Mach 3 to Mach 4 and a altitude ceiling above 100,000 ft.

According to the documents, the USAF contracted Avro to build prototypes (which became the Avrocar) for approximately $3 million. While the Avrocar did manage to fly, the small craft quickly became unstable above a few feet above the ground. Referred to as “hubcapping” by Avro’s engineers, the craft experienced uncontrollable rolling during flight tests above three feet and couldn’t go faster than 35 mph. Inevitably, the U.S. military officially abandoned the project in 1961.



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