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  • Writer's pictureMatt


The little town of Humbird in Wisconsin, where Team H now resides, is currently scanning all of their old newspapers to preserve the history. How surprised were we to see this article in The Humbird Enterprise, dated August 3, 1946. Reading that headline one can only imagine that this aircraft was made from UFO technology, but alas not.

The Vought XF5U, nicknamed the Flying Flapjack was an experimental U.S. Navy fighter aircraft designed by Charles H. Zimmerman for Vought during World War II. This unorthodox design consisted of a flat, somewhat disc-shaped body (resembling a flying flapjack/pancake, hence its nickname) serving as the lifting surface. Two piston engines buried in the body drove propellers located on the leading edge, at the wingtips.

The XF5U design was promising: specifications given at the time promised great maneuverability and speeds up to 452 mph (727 km/h). However, it came at the time when the United States Navy was switching from propeller driven to jet propelled aircraft. By 1946, the XF5U-1 project was already long over its expected development time, and well over budget. With jet aircraft coming into service, the Navy finally canceled the project on 17 March 1947, and the prototype aircraft (V-173) was transferred to the Smithsonian Museum for display. Although two aircraft were constructed, a lone XF5U-1 underwent ground runs but never overcame vibration problems. Taxi trials at Vought's Connecticut factory culminated in short "hops" that were not true flights. The only completed XF5U-1 proved to be so structurally solid that it had to be destroyed with a wrecking ball.

It would not surprise us though if this aircraft would have been reported as a UFO by anyone who happened to unexpectedly see it during it's testing phase due to it's unique saucer shape. A wonderful piece of history that

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