Engineers Praise Disc Performance

              Fran Ridge              


Updated August 1, 2013
While conducting research into the flap of 1957 and the Project Blue Book Special Report 14 ,I ran across some files on the MX-1794 and Project Silver Bug (Ref.1 ) and an article in 1996 in Invention & Technology (Ref. 2). All of these deal with the serious interest the Air Force had in actually building a flying saucer. Not to mention the work of Alfred Loedding in 1947 (Ref. 3) (See R&D directory for all of these). By the way, Special Report 14 was not an R&D project, but designed by the Air Force to prove that there were no reports that could give them a "model" of what a flying saucer looked like. As you can tell, just as there are numerous concepts of what an airplane or car looks like, there is no single model of one.

Below is the 1/48 scale model kit of the "alien craft" allegedly hidden in Nevada by the U.S. Government, once available from Testors. (Ref 4). The craft illustrated is referred to as  the "sport model". I use this as a simple description of what many have reported over the last half-century, but I am not aware of any direct evidence to support the claims of Robert Lazar nor do I feel WE have anything in the skies that remotely behaves as flying saucers do or have done. I wish we did.

I have maintained a small file throughout the years, of statements by scientists and engineers regarding the use of a saucer shape for space travel and flight within the Earth's atmosphere. In 1990 there was a fascinating article in the April/May issue of SCIENCE DIGEST (Ref. 5), entitled, "Planet Of Origin: Hollywood", by Dennis Meredith, adapted from AIR & SPACE MAGAZINE. According to engineers at McDonnell Douglas Aerospace, some of the craft used in motion pictures are actually plausible. Several members of the company's space-station design team analyzed three of the most famous spacecraft from the movies:

1) 2001's "Discovery"
2) Star Trek's "Enterprise"
3) Star War's  "Millennium Falcon"
Before getting into disc performance, let me briefly mention some other interesting statements which have some relevance to UFO's. According to Meredith's article, the consensus is that writers of these films were scientifically timid in some ways, accurate in others. The supercomputer, "HAL", (of 2001) was too big, says Robert Wood, director of the space station's advanced systems and technology. In fact, he found all three movies to be overly conservative in terms of computers and optical systems. "Based on the trends I've seen, in another hundred years optical computers, in which the calculations are done with light, will be almost magical devices, they'll be so powerful and compact." What does this say about reports of close encounters where humans remember being onboard the craft? If the description is that of very futuristic devices, the story just might be genuine. If the equipment sounds too much like our present hi-technology, the story may either be a fabrication or an honest, but dreamed experience.

Concerning the "barriers"' to ET coming here, Fritz Runge, McDonnell Douglas' manager of user integration arid commercialization, and other experts, still wonder about surpassing the speed of light. "Maybe it will be like breaking through the sound barrier. The faster you go, the harder it gets and greater the drag. Until you break through; then it gets easier."

Rating the three Hollywood spacecraft, some other interesting comments emerged. 2001's "Discovery" came under criticism for its lack of scanning devices for objects ahead, and the impressive rocket boosters it never needed out in space. However, it would make the most impressive warship. "You want a warship to have the smallest possible radar cross-section for anything ahead or behind it," says George King, a specialist in spacecraft configuration design. "So a hot-dog shape is best." Cigar or torpedo-shaped UFOs were mentioned in the Air Force Project Sign report and have been reported many times. The large "Carrier" class of UFOs is generally described as a giant cigar-shaped or rectangular craft. Saucers have been reported to join up with a cigar-shaped "mother ship", and could even be "stacked saucers".

The most interesting part of the article was actually mentioned last. Wood said he appreciated the "Millennium Falcon's" UFO-like contours. "The saucer shape gives you a nice lift-to-drag ratio for aerodynamic maneuvering. The Falcon reflected a McDonnell Douglas study that showed a flying saucer would be IDEAL for maneuvering within the atmosphere. Wood, himself, headed that project, which investigated propulsion schemes that could take advantage of Earth's magnetic field. His team calculated that a gigantic saucer shape, encircled laterally by a band of superconducting material, could hold a huge electric charge. "We concluded that you could actually consider a big saucer that would float in the Earth's magnetic and electric fields."

The Air Force Project Grudge Report of December 1949 (Ref. 7) concluded, on the basis of actual military intelligence reports of UFOs, that the objects were of three basic types.

1) The most numerous-reports indicate daytime observation of metallic disc-like
    objects roughly in diameter ten times their thickness.
2) Rocket-like objects.
3) Sharply-defined luminous objects appearing as lights at night.

Other shapes during the first few decades have been reported in rarer appearance, but becoming more and more common in the 80's & 90's (Ref. 8). One of these is a  "V" shaped object, or "boomerang". Another is a "triangle", sometimes black with  running lights. "Stingrays", "futuristic" and "stealth-looking" have been observed.

Back to the "disc", many years ago I conducted some experiments on the disc shape which provided some interesting insights into UFO propulsion arid many reported maneuvers. A nine-inch plastic disc, flat on top arid bottom, approximately 3/8" thick was tested in a pool of water 8-1/2' deep. When moved about under water, water effectively simulating airflow arid resistance, the disc maneuvered very well by hand as long as you pushed along the discs horizontal plane. When it was tilted from its normal plane the resistance to continue in the same direction became almost like a brick wall, depending on the angle of change. An abrupt turn was the easiest and most dramatic! This resulted, if the forced motion was continued on the "aft end" of the disc, in a right-angle turn or a tight "U" turn, depending on what you desired. Since the disc is an omnidirectional wing, it could be moved in any direction without turning the disc's crew compartment. As stated previously, there was little or no resistance during a maneuver as long as you pushed in the craft's plane of motion, no matter whether this plane was perpendicularly level to, or at angles to, normal gravity. Of course, if the disc was vertical it would move ahead without resistance, but gravity was pulling it down into a turn instead of letting it go perfectly straight.

In another test, when the model was simply dropped vertically into the water, without being pushed or handled in any way, was unable to enter absolutely vertical and was immediately deflected. It was during these tests that it was noticed that the disc started to go into a "pendulum motion" or "falling leaf" maneuver. As the disc arched into a curve and slowed to a stop, it hovered briefly, then retraced its motion in the opposite direction, but slightly lower in another upward arc, then down again. The "falling leaf" motion occurred over and over again in ever-widening arcs until the disc settled on the bottom of the pool in a perfect UFO landing configuration! Whenever the disc was nearly perfectly level and not in motion, it hovered because the line of maximum resistance was directly under it. A very noticeable barrier could be felt just as if the water was Jello! The disc was weightless and would not move "down" even when touched. However, when the disc was pushed forward, it slid effortlessly forward until a turn was made and the increasing turn angle made the resistance so great to continue on straight that the disc seemed to avoid the undesired direction arid glided effortlessly in the desired direction. The weird effects on the disc during motion, some of which are hard to describe, were felt during every maneuver, except the drop test.

There are other advantages to the disc as a vehicle. A large ship built in this mariner would have the "bridge", "sickbay", "security", "cafeteria", and all the other pie-shaped "bays", etc., directly accessible to the entrance just a few feet away. If large enough, the entrance would be an elevator to other levels, all very accessible to each other, opening under the ship! Smaller "scout ships", as are generally described in abductions, however, appear to be a much simpler version of the disc.

For the non-disc sightings where, to some it appears that the objects responsible for them are new stealth aircraft produced from UFO technology, the data actually suggests something else, possibly a covert "Trojan Horse" action by someone with superior technology! A small percentage of the reports could be indicative of our own actual stealth craft, but most reports by reliable witnesses suggest an almost silent, hovering craft, or one that flies under 100 mph. In the earlier years when this type of craft was being reported by many (1970's and 1980's) FAA people had told me that they seriously doubted that stealth aircraft had been routinely flying over the sighting areas.But in more recent years this doesn't hold true and really complicates the identification of this type of craft.

Discs predominated the first 30-years of the UFO era and no doubt were the basic unit involved in the first phases of the UFO agenda. I find it extremely interesting (and rewarding) that those who cried out, "If UFOs are real, then they would have to show up on radar," had no way of knowing that stealth-technology would be possible so early. UFO technology from the outset centers around a basic and very efficient disc that makes little or no noise. The disc can and does maneuver at high speeds and appears to have had stealth qualities all along. The "wings" and "boomerangs" are reported to travel very slow, sometimes very low, almost deliberately asking to be seen, but sometimes traveling faster in straight line speed runs.

There is much talk these days about crashed saucers and the subsequent emergence of stealth into our technology. Building a winged craft from UFO technology may sound reasonable to some, but many disagree. The need for a race (or races) to change from a perfected, high-performance disc to a wing shape 30-40 years later doesn't seem to compute, unless it's a deliberate attempt to pass as aircraft and deceive, or the function of the craft is different requiring the wing or delta. Maybe the ETs that were in the strike team during the first phases were replaced by a "coalition" force which has vehicles and a technology less sophisticated. As for the bonafide winged group of UFO' s, they are important, because there has been a 400% increase in this group arid the sightings cannot all be explained as misidentified aircraft. I have been a witness to several of this class (which I classify as Category 9's)  myself, simply by being "on call". These objects would "pass" as aircraft by 95% of the population.

But the basic disc is not a lost cause after all the criticism throughout the years by skeptics. "When flying saucer sightings first broke into print, most aeronautical engineers considered the reported performance impossible. Experts went on record stating that disc-shaped airfoils were inefficient, unstable arid difficult to control (Ref. 8). Later, as UFO reports got better and refused to go away, engineers have begun to praise the disc performance. Martin Gerloff, aerodynamics expert for General Electric in 1960 released his views on the disc:

"The discus shape has equally good ability to operate in dense air, rarefied regions, and in empty space. The discus shape is superior to all rotating-wing designs (such as helicopters) in vertical take-off, climb arid cruising. Between the 17-mile altitude of today's jets (1963) and 200-mile orbits of earth-circling satellites, there is an uncovered region. The discus is extremely capable of flying in this rarefied area. The discus planform has a blunt-nose radius arid an extended leading edge which alleviate local heating." (Ref. 8,9).

Isn't it strange that the disc's performance, which was considered impossible in the 1940's and 1950's, is now considered, not only possible by our own present technology, but highly recommended by McDonnell Douglas and others? All the arguments against the UFO/disc reality seem to be finally falling by the wayside. After over 50 years we still cannot duplicate the flying saucer. Some feel that OUR hi-tech version of that high-performance vehicle now has to have wings arid noisy jet engines. As the little girl in ET said, "Give me a break.'"

According to Bob Lazar, who claims he was part of a government team involved with back engineering interstellar spacecraft at Area 51, nine "gravity propelled discs" were housed at a secret U. S. installation known as "S4" on the Nellis Air Force Test Range in the Groom Lake of central Nevada. Stanton Friedman, among others,  has reasons for not believing Lazar.

If flying saucers were real and moving around in our atmosphere, somebody would see them. Occasionally, some of these people would be credible and articulate. Occasionally someone would have the sense and the loaded camera to film one. Rarely, but eventually somebody would get a motion picture of one or more. But almost from the beginning, somebody should have picked them up on radar. Strange, but all these things have already occurred!  And since UFOs don't need lights and most of the time are operating in a stealth mode, why do they let us take a glimpse at all?

Finally, why is there a lack of flying saucer sightings these days and why are there less close encounters? Mark Rodeghier of the J. Allen Hynek Center for UFO Studies noticed the same thing that I did while doing statistical studies. In the 1970's close encounters dropped off dramatically. This was the same time that our technology with wireless video cameras was taking off. It appears to me that, when the chance to capture on film and video and prove the existence of flying saucers was available to the general public, the "prime directive of non-interference" might have become necessary. See Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs", section entitled "Implications of a Discovery of Extraterrestrial Life", (commonly referred to as The Brookings Report).
1. Project Silver Bug
4. Testors Ad, "Area S4 UFO Revealed"
5. SCIENCE DIGEST, April/May 1990, by Dennis Meredith
6. UFOLOGY, 1973, James McCampbell
8. NIGHT SIEGE, 1987, The Hudson Valley Sightings, Imbrogno/Hynek
9. THE UFO INVESTIGATOR, Vol. II, No.9, June/Sep 1963
10. AEROSPACE ENGINEERING, Jan 1960, Martin Gerloff.