Flying Saucer Craft Set to Fly
The stuff of science fiction or are we about to see something revolutionary?
June 23, 2008 -- A new wingless, saucer-shaped aircraft is scheduled to take to the skies. Just don't call it a UFO.
Subrata Roy, a scientist at the University of Florida, calls his aircraft a "wingless electromagnetic air vehicle," or WEAV, and if it flies he says it could usher in a new age of aircraft design.
"If this works and we are able to fly it, this will be a quantum shift in how we see flying objects," said Roy.
The WEAV will fly based on a physical phenomena known as magnetohydrodynamics.
Sean Connery skippered a submarine powered by a magnetohydrodynamic drive in the movie "The Hunt For Red October," in what is probably the most widely known example of the technology.
The fictional submarine engine had no moving or rotating parts, just a series of electrodes that ionized the water and shot it out, silently propelling the submarine forward.
Whether a craft moves through water or air, the principle is the same.
In Roy's WEAV there will be two different sets of electrodes placed on a thin ceramic plate. One set will be located on the top and bottom of the craft to move ionized air down, providing lift, and another set along the sides to propel the aircraft forward. The electrodes create a conducting fluid by ionizing the surrounding air into plasma.
The force created by passing an electrical current through this plasma pushes around the surrounding air, and that air creates lift and momentum and provides stability.