Monday, February 28, 2005
Forgotten Flying Saucer Rusting in Central Russian Aviation Center
A unique ’flying saucer’ developed by Russian inventors is aging at an aviation plant in Central Russia, the Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper wrote on Thursday.
The ’saucer’ was invented in the late 1970s. The constructors joined a fuselage and wings into one thick “wing”, before trimming and rounding its edges. The saucer can lift more than half its weight, and its inner volume is 8-10 times bigger than the saloon of the plane it was made from.
The aircraft can take off from any surface with the help of an air cushion. In 1988 it started test flights in Nizhny Novgorod but was moved to Saratov after an accident. U.S. aviation constructors visited Nizhny Novgorod and attempted to make their own saucer, but failed because of a defect in the Soviet model. Later the Soviet constructors managed to remove the defect.
Specialists at the Saratov plant quoted by the paper complained about the indifference of the Russian authorities towards the “saucer” project.
In 1993, it was financed by the Security Council, State Committee of Problems of the North (the saucer was going to be used in the North of Russia), and forestry agencies. However, after 1999 state financing stopped.
In September 2003, officials from the U.S. Congress visited Saratov and the plant concluded a cooperation protocol with the company NAVAIR that deals in aviation equipment. The newspaper failed to mention if the deal was successful.