NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (WAVY) — It’s not aliens… but it is a flying saucer.
The U.S. Army Transportation Museum in Newport News has the only “flying saucer” that once actually flew, and will be showcasing it in a new exhibit beginning at 9 a.m. Wednesday
“It will tell the story of Army interest in creating new troop movement vehicles, which will feature a mural and an actual piece of the flying saucer,” Joint Base Langely-Eustis wrote in a news release.
The flying saucer is one of two prototype experimental vehicles that look like flying saucers seen in science fiction movies in the 1950s and 60s. The first saucer never flew and is now at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force in Dayton, Ohio. The second, which flew during testing, is stored in pieces at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum.
The flying saucer has three engines, is 26 feet 10 inches in diameter, is five-and-a-half feet tall and weighs 5,560 pounds.
The story of the U.S. military’s flying saucer begins in Canada.
Canadian firm AVRO Aircraft Limited began a project in 1952 to develop a supersonic fighter-bomber that could take off and land vertically, fly at low altitudes and accelerate to high speeds at higher altitudes, the release said.
The Canadian government ditched the project because it became too costly, but the Americans decided to pick up where Canada left off.
The United States military contracted with AVRO to develop an all-terrain troop transport and reconnaissance aircraft flying saucer.
The program was terminated in 1961, however, after the flying saucer proved to be increasingly unstable when it flew more than three feet off the ground.
That flying saucer is currently housed at the U.S. Army Transportation Museum in pieces.
“The cost for its restoration is exceedingly expensive,” the release said.