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Identified Flying Concept

As the U.S. Department of Defense solicits designs for aircraft that can take off vertically, one option is-yes-a flying saucer. In the conceptual design by Go Aircraft of Long Beach, CA, a round fuselage rides on a single large fan whose blades reach the perimeter of the circular craft. Jet engines are mounted on the fuselage; their thrust is routed through ductwork to the fan for vertical lift. Once clear of obstacles, the craft tilts to create forward thrust until finally all jet thrust is redirected rearward to achieve cruising speed. In theory, the craft has twice the range and cruising speed of the military’s troubled tilt-rotor V-22 Osprey. Ron Sincavage, senior program manager for autonomous vehicles at Draper Laboratory in Cambridge, MA, says the concept “offers the potential for a highly agile and maneuverable system.” A patent on the design is expected to be issued soon. However, says Go Aircraft president Gordon Ow, “It’s not capable of outer-space travel.”

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